The Narrative of a Blockade-Runner

John Wilkinson

The Narrative of a Blockade-Runner, by John

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Title: The Narrative of a Blockade-Runner
Author: John Wilkinson

Release Date: June 30, 2007 [eBook #21977]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
E-text prepared by Suzanne Shell, Martin Pettit, and the Project Gutenberg Online Distributed Proofreading Team (

Transcriber's note:
Some obvious typographical errors have been corrected. The use of double quotation marks for quotations within quotations has been retained as in the original, and the reader's attention is called to the author's failure to close some quotations.

J. WILKINSON, Captain in the Late Confederate States Navy.

New York: Sheldon & Company, 8 Murray Street. 1877 Copyright, Sheldon & Company, 1877.

In deference to the judgment of two or three literary friends, I have entitled this, my first attempt at authorship, "The Narrative of a Blockade-runner." They do not agree with Shakspeare that "a rose by any other name would smell as sweet," to the reading public; nor that it is always advisable to call a thing by its proper name. It will be seen, however, by any reader who has the patience to peruse the work, that it embraces a wider scope than its title would imply. I have endeavored to give a full account of the passage by the U. S. fleet of the forts below New Orleans; and to contribute some facts that will probably settle the controversy, in the judgment of the reader, as to the real captors of that city. "Honor to whom honor is due."
It will be seen that I have been favored with access to Commodore Mitchell's official report of that conflict, a document never published. The information derived from it, added to facts and circumstances coming under my personal observation, furnishes the means of laying before the public an account of that action from a new point of view.
In bearing testimony to the kind and humane treatment of the prisoners of war at Fort Warren, I perform a most grateful duty. It was my good fortune to be captured and held a prisoner, before the "retaliatory" measures were adopted by the United States Government.
I have contributed some new, and, I hope, interesting facts about the manner in which blockade running was conducted.
I cannot do better than furnish the following extract from a literary friend's letter to me in reference to this effort of mine. "I am particularly glad, believing as I do, that such a volume will help to the production of that state of mind, North and South, which every good man wishes to see grow. It is only necessary that we shall all fall into the habit of talking and writing about war matters without feeling; that we shall forget the bitterness of the conflict in our interest in its history; and if you or I can amuse Northern readers, or entertain them with our recollections, we shall certainly leave them in a pleasanter and better state of mind than we found them in."
I should be happy to believe that I had contributed, in ever so small a degree, to this consummation so devoutly to be wished for. But I would make no sacrifice of principle nor of interest to achieve this end.
While accepting the situation consequent upon the unsuccessful appeal to arms, the Southern people do not stultify themselves by professing to renounce their conviction of their right and duty in having responded to the call to defend their respective States from invasion.
But they believe that the war was conducted by the Confederate Government in a spirit of humanity. Conceiving it to be the duty of every southern man to submit any testimony in his possession relating to this subject, and especially to the treatment of prisoners of war, I have quoted some passages from a "Vindication of the Confederacy against the charge of Cruelty to Prisoners." This work was recently published by the Southern Historical Society, and was compiled by the Rev. J. Wm. Jones, D.D., author of "Personal Reminiscences of Gen. R. E. Lee." The candid and dispassionate student of History, in seeking after the truth, should read this work before forming a judgment upon this point, which has, perhaps, caused more bitter resentments among the Northern people than all the other deplorable events of our civil strife combined.
WOODSIDE, AMELIA CO., VA., Oct. 15th, 1876.

Secession of Virginia.--Service at Fort Powhatan.--Volunteers at the Big Guns.--"Wide Awake" Clubs.--Want of preparation in Virginia.--Fort Powhatan abandoned.--Service at Acquia Creek.--The "Tigers."--Coal Mining on the Potomac. 15
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