The Tallahassee

This is a record of activities of the Confederate cruiser Tallahassee


The CSS Tallahassee, formerly the blockade runner Atlanta, was built at Millwall, London, on the banks of the River Thames.
She had passed through the blockade on several occasions at Wilmington, North Carolina. She was commisioned into the Confederate Navy in early 1864, under the command of Commodore J.T.Wood.

On 6th August 1864, the CSS Tallahassee was taken through the blockade, and, during a 19 day period, 26 vessels were destroyed off the East coast of America and Canada. She returned to Wilmington on 26th August, due to shortage of coal.

Re-named the CSS Olustee, under a new commander Lt. W.H.Ward, she again sailed through the blockade, suffering some damage from Union ships. Off the Delaware coast she captured and sank 6 merchant vessels, returning to Wilmington for more coal. On November 6th, she avoided attempts by the USS Sassacus and four other Union men of war to capture her, reaching Wilmington on 7th November.

After these successful voyages, she was renamed Chamelion, and had her battery removed. Captained by Lt.J.Wilkinson, she sailed out through the blockade on 24th December, having no trouble with the Union navy, as they were preoccupied with the bombardment of nearby Fort Fisher. The Chamelion sailed to Bermuda, to obtain much needed supplies for the Confederate Army. On her return to the Confederacy, she attempted to enter 2 different ports without success.


The decision was then taken to sail her to Liverpool, and hand her over to the Confederate agent, James Dunwoody Bulloch.

The Chamelion arrived in Liverpool on 9th April 1865, and was seized and then sold by the British authorities. Hearing of the seizure, the United States issued a suit for her possession, and she was handed over to the US Consul on 26th April 1866.


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