James Evans was born in Wales
around 1840, and later his family
lived in Ireland.
James emmigrated into the United States in
1855 and settled in Charleston, South Carolina, where he was a harbor pilot.
With the outbreak of the war, James joined the crew of the CSS Savanah, a
that had been granted a "letter of marque" by President Jefferson Davis
in early June of 1861.
James joined the crew as a pilot.
The Savannah was a sailing
ship with a crew of about 18 and in June of 1861, was patrolling off
SC looking for Northern commercial vessels. A Northern merchant ship
was soon captured and James
Evans was made prize captain with a crew of six, and then proceeded to
Georgetown to claim their prize.
As their first prize sailed away
towards the coast, other crew members saw a Northern
sail and went after it. Unfortunately for them, it turned out to be the
which promptly engaged in a onesided shooting contest with the Savannah,
which the Perry emphatically won. The crew was taken to New York and charged with
priacy.Upon hearing of this
President Davis contacted President Lincoln after the battle of
threatened to hang a federal officer for every crew member found
guilty and hanged. A standoff ocurred and the men were released some
Evans placed the prize vessel before the court and then headed to England aboard CSS Nashville which
landed in England. James Evans stayed in Liverpool at the request of
Commander James Dunwoody
Bullock who had him apparently working at 10 Rumford Place (the unofficial
Confederate Embassy in England), until Raphael Semmes
James then travelled with Bulloch, Semmes, and other future Alabama
officers to the Azores aboard the Bahama.
While serving on the Alabama, James also acted as pilot on occasion.
After the sinking of the Alabama at Cherbourg, France, James is not heard of again until 1867, the first year
he is listed as a pilot in the Charleston
directory. Family history says he returned to the US with.John McIntosh
Kell, but his name has not been found amongst those who went to the US
He is alleged to have joined the James River Squadron and fought
to the end with Lee's army. While evidence on this has yet to be unearthed,
it is a fact that Raphael Semmes served here.
After the war, between 1867 and 1903, James was a pilot in Charleston.
He died in 1903 and is buried in a family plot in Magnolia Cemetery in
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