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CSS Blockade Runner

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Destruction of the Blockade Runner Pevensey

Report of acting Lieutenant Harris, U.S. Navy

From the U.S.S. New Berne

Hampton Roads, Virginia, June 16, 1864

 

Sir I have the honor to report the stranding, on the 9th instant, of the blockade runner Pevensey (named Penversey in the extracts April 16, 1864), under the following circumstances:

3:30 a.m., steering N.E. by N., Beaufort 45 miles distant, made a steamer bearing N.E. by E., 4 miles distant, running slow and heading E.N.E.; she being to the eastward did not immediately discover this vessel. Hauled up E.N.E., when gaining on her within 2 1/2 miles, she made all speed, steering E. Opened fire and stood E. by N. The second shot carried away the forward david of her quarter boat. She immediately changed her course, steered N., and struck the beach 9 miles west of Beaufort at 8.05 a.m. Her crew took to the boats at once, this vessel at the time being 1 1/2 miles distant. Ran into 3 1/2 fathoms, and when within 100 yards of the strand she blew up.

Sent in three boats, boarded her, and found her engines and boilers completely blown out. Plugged up the pipes; anchored in 3 fathoms, and made arrangements to pull her off. 9 a.m., tug Violet came down from Beaufort and anchored on the quarter. a.m., Commander B.M. Dove arrived in the Cherokee, came on board and said he would take charge of the wreck, and the New Berne would proceed to Beaufort, it being then high water, to save the tide in. Recalled boats and arrived at Beaufort at 11 a.m., anchoring outside to late for the tide.

One prisoner was found on board the vessel, unharmed from the explosion, who proved himself to be an escaped prisoner from Johnson's Island, of Morgan's guerrillas. One body was found on the upon the beach, and 35 prisoners were captured on shore by the cavalry, three of whom are supposed to be confederate officers, one of the adjutant-general to Magruder. She was loaded on Confederate account, cargo consisting of arms, blankets, shoes, cloth, clothing, lead, bacon, and numerous packages marked to individuals. She had been chased on the 7th instantby the quaker city, and thrown overboard, by log book, 30 tons of lead and 20 tons of bacon; was 543 tons, of English register; no manifest of cargo was found. Gunner S.D. Hines has discovered seven Whitworth tompions tied together, bright, and in good condition, which suggest the possiblilty of that number of guns being under the musket boxes.  

Fort Macon

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The prisoners captured ashore where held in Fort Macon, and the one secured on board was transferred by order of Commander Dove. I understood that after the army authorities had satisfied themselves with regard to the identity of the prisoners they were to be transferred to this [place], per Keystone State.

I have learned since leaving Beaufort that the reputed mate is the real Captain; that he is a Captain Long, the outdoor agent of Major Walker {the Confederate agent at Bermuda}, a citizen of New York, and having formerly commanded a ship from there. The reputed Captain {an Englishman} was merely the paper or clearing captain. Of the facts I have informed Captain Gansevoort.

It will not now be possible to get the vessel off, but a large amount of the cargo can be saved, if properly quarded.

Had the after 30-pound Parrott, for which requisition was approved by you April 22, been furnished, his chances of reaching the shore would have been reduced. He evidently was ignorant of his position, as the first question

                      Very respectfully, your obedient servant,                     

                                                                                                  T.A. Harris,

 

           asked was, "How far is it to Fort Caswell!" 

                                                 Acting Volunteer Lieutentant, Commanding.

            Acting Rear-Admiral S.P. Lee  Commanding North Altlantic Blockading Squadron.

Report of Acting Rear-Admiral Lee, U.S. Navy 

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