Marmelstien, Quartermaster of the famous Confederate S. S. Alabama,
In the early part of 1862 I left Savannah on a brig, in company with several
Savannah pilots, for Liverpool. After a run of about a month we arrived
safely, and remained there for about two months. Just at this time Laird
& Bros. had constructed a Confederate Privateer, then called the "290,"
to which I attached myself.
On the 2Yth day of July 1862, we left Liverpool under the command of Capt
. M. J. Butcher, then late of the Cunard service, with the following:
Chief Officer, John Low, Savannah, Ga.
Second Officer, G. S. Fullam Hull,
Surgeon, D. H. Liewellyn, Easton, Wilts;
Paymaster, C. R.
Yonge, Savannah, Ga.;
Chief Engineer, J. McNair, England; and a crew of
about 70 men and boys.
We then proceeded to Terceira, and on the 18th of August we met the Agrippina of London, Capt. McQueen, having on board six guns, with ammunition, coals, stores, etc., for us. Then the screwsteamer Bahama, Capt. Tessie, arrived, having on board Commander Raphael Semmes and officers of the Confederate States' steamer Sumter. We took from her two 32-pounders, with some stores.
On Sunday, 24th of August, 1862, at 2 o'clock p.m., Capt. Semmes read his commission, and formally took command of the Confederate States' steamer Alabama, eight guns. I hoisted the Confederate ensign at the peak, the English St. George was placed at the fore and the pendant at the main, and a gun fired at the same time. Commander Semmes made a very spirited address, and three rousing cheers were given in conclusion.
We had cruised about 22 months, the incidents of
which I need not mention, but on the 21st day of July (Sunday), 1863, having the day before captured and taken possession of the barque Conrad, of Philadelphia, we prepared the prize for commissioning as a Confederate vessel-of-war. We sent on board provisions, coals, and the two brass guns taken from a previous prize, the Talisman, of New York, with a quantity of small arms. At 5 o'clock p.m. she fired a gun, hoisted the Confederate flag and pendant, the crew manning the rigging and giving three cheers. She was then finally declared commissioned as the Confederate States' barque Tuscaloosa, Lieutenant Commanding Low, late junior lieutenant of the Alabama; Acting Master Sinclair, Executive Officer, late midshipman; Masters Mates, J. F. Niner, late seaman, and myself, late quarter-master. The vessels saluted each other and parted company.
After cruising about nearly six weeks we went to Cape Town, Cape of Good Hope, and remained there several days making repairs and fitting her generally for service. The English government, not recognizing Commander Semmes' authority to fit up a vessel-of-war, seized our vessel and sent us to England. We reported to our agent at Liverpool, Capt. Bullock, and we were sent or board the Rappahannock to Calais, France, to join the Alabama and kearsarge. Owing to the neutrality of the French government, we were not allowed to go aboard our vessel, and from the French shores, like many others, witnessed the sinking of our grand old ship.
After the sinking of the Alabama I returned to England. I remained in the Confederate service until the close of the war, and assisted in rigging up the Rappahannock, Shenandoah, Stonewall Jackson, and other vessels of war.