Saturday, July 05, 2003

Robert Register
with his buddy,
Mr. Hugh Taylor.

As always, any suggestions or other unwanted comments should be sent to

The following comes from an article published in the Spring '97 issue of the Gulf Coast Historical Review. I wrote the article

Indian hostility to this treaty(The Treaty of San Lorenzo, 1795) did not begin with the adventurer Bowles. Baron de Carondelet, Spanish Governor of Louisiana and West Florida, saw war clouds on the horizon as early as May 1796. In a letter to his superior (and brother-in-law), Luis de Las Casas, the Captain-General of Cuba, Carondelet observed:

The evacuation of the forts of San Fernando de las Barrancas (Memphis), Nogales (Vicksburg) and the Confederation (Epes, Alabama) will excite the greatest resentment and probably the hate and vengeance of the Chickasaws and Choctaws, who will accuse us of perfidy if, against the promise we made them at the time they ceded the lands where they are situated, we ever allow those lands to be occupied by the Americans; it is known that through them, themselves, the United States could easily take possession of their lands, and would force them to flee, causing them to settle in the part west of the Mississippi where those numerous and belligerent nations will cause the ruin of our settlements of interior towns and provinces.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Items to bring to Cuba with you to leave as gifts:
Any unwanted cosmetics ~ Sundries ~ Clothing
Shoes ~ Small household items ~ Batteries
Film ~ Computer disks ~ Watches
Pens/Pencils ~ Bottles of cooking oil ~ Aspirin
Toothpaste ~ Combs ~ Soap
Vitamins ~ Underwear and socks ~ Antacid ~ Band-Aids ~ Antibiotics ~
Men & women toiletries of any kind ~ Shampoo
Towels & wash cloths ~ Toilet tissue ~ Chewing Gum - (ie "Chicklets" so you can share with many kids)
Chocolate ~ Candy - small individually sealed packs to share with many.
$1 bills - a neat gift for a kid or a tip


A river in southwest West Virginia formed by the confluence of the New and Gauley Rivers at Gauley Bridge, W.Va. The Kanawha empties into the Ohio River at Point Pleasant, W. Va.

The first Kanawha was launched 21 October 1861 by G. E. & W. H. Goodspeed, East Hadden, Conn.; and commissioned at New York Navy Yard 21 January 1862, Lt. John C. Febiger in command.

Assigned to the Gulf Blockading Squadron, the new gunboat arrived off Pass a l'Outre, La., 13 February and a week later was ordered to take station ile, off Mobile, Ala., where she soon distinguished herself for vigilance.

She drew first blood with a vengeance 10 April capturing four blockade-running schooners in a single day: Southern Independence, Victoria, Charlotte, and Cuba. The first three had attempted to slip to sea laden with cotton and naval stores while the latter had tried to run into Mobile with supplies badly needed by the South.

Thereafter, her kills were frequent. She caught schooner R. C. Files carrying cotton out of Mobile 21 April and took British sloop Annie on the 29th between Ship Island and Mobile headed for Cuba. On 17 November near Mobile she and Kennebec chased an unidentified schooner ashore where she was set afire by her crew. Then the guns of the Union ships assured her complete destruction by preventing Confederate coast guards from boarding her to extinguish the flames.

On 25 March 1863 Kanawha, then commanded by Lt. Comdr. William K. Mayo, took schooner Clara attempting to run the blockade at Mobile. Schooner Dart attempted to slip into Mobile from Havana 1 May but fell prey to this vigilant blockader. A fortnight later the same fate befell British brig Comet some 20 miles east of Fort Morgan, Ala. On 17 May Kanawha snared schooner Hunter, laden with cotton for Havana, running out of Mobile. The next day she caught schooner Ripple attempting the same feat.

Dawn of 12 October disclosed steamer Alice aground under the guns of Fort Morgan and an unidentified Confederate tug attempting to pull her free. Kanawha, accompanied by tender Eugenie, steamed boldly toward the strongly defended Confederate shore to destroy the Southern vessels; but Fort Morgan's batteries, outranging the guns of the Union ships, hulled Kanawha, forcing the Union ships to retire. Lackawanna and Genessee then headed in to finish the task with their 150-pounders; but before they got in range, the daring tug managed to refloat Alice and escaped with her into Mobile Bay.

On 29 November Kanawha took schooner Albert, also called Wenona, attempting to carry cotton, naval stores, and tobacco out of Mobile. The toll collected by relentless Northern blockaders like Kanawha in capturing Southern blockade runners steadily drained away the life blood of the Confederacy. The loss of ships carrying the products of Southern fields and forests to foreign markets undermined the South's financial structure and increased her difficulty in purchasing war material abroad. The loss of incoming ships deprived Southern armies of a growing proportion of the shrinking supplIes and equipment persuasive Confederate agents did manage to procure.

In the spring of 1864 Kanawha was transferred to the Texas coast. On 8 July, now under Lt. Comdr. Bushrod B. Taylor, she forced steamer Matagorda aground near Galveston. On 9 September, after Union troops had been withdrawn from the area, Kanawha reinstituted the blockade of Brownsville, Tex., which had been lifted by Presidential proclamation in mid-February. On 28 December she forced an unidentified sloop ashore near Caney Creek, Tex., and destroyed her. She captured Mary Ellen of Montreal 3 January 1865 as the schooner tried to run into Velasco, Tex. She remained on blockade duty until after the end of the war and was ordered north 27 May. Kanawha decommissioned 5 July and was sold at New York 13 June 1866.

Black Warrior
The two-masted wooden ship Black Warrior was built in New York City by William Collyer and was launched on 1 July 1852. She weighed about 1,900 tons and was 248 feet long, 18 feet deep and had a 37 foot beam. Her engine was constructed by Allaine Works and had a 65 inch cylinder and a full 11 foot stroke which was used to power her two side-mounted paddle wheels. Her total value at the time of the launch was $135,000, which was a considerable amount of money in 1852. The Black Warrior’s main lot in life was to ferry passengers, cargo, and mail between New York, New Orleans, Mobile, and Havana.
Now, I said earlier that the Black Warrior was historically interesting. I guess what I should have said was that the Black Warrior had a flair for getting itself into trouble. In fact, the Warrior got into trouble for the first time just 8 months after she was launched. On Feb. 18, 1853 just a mere 4 hours after leaving the port of Havana on a routine trip to New York, the Warrior came across three Spanish ships. One of these ships was a Spanish warship which for unknown reasons was not flying a pennant that indicated it to be a man-of-war. As the Warrior passed alongside the brig, the Spanish ship fired its leeward gun. The shot missed, but before the Captain Shufeldt could hoist his flag, the ship fired another shot that barely missed the forward stay. The Warrior eventually hoisted its colors and the brig stopped firing. The New York Times indicated that this act was a “...very arbitrary act, as Capt. Shufeldt had not time to hoist his ensign between the firing of the lee and the loaded guns-nor was he aware of her being a man-of-war, as she had no pennant flying.” Nothing further became of this incident.
The second incident the Warrior got itself into was later dubbed the “Black Warrior Affair” and nearly brought the United States to war with Spain. On 28 February 1854 the Black Warrior set anchor in the port of Havana, Cuba while on her way to New York from Mobile. As was customary, custom house officials boarded the Black Warrior to check the cargo manifest against the cargo on the ship. The ship’s manifest listed the cargo it had on board, which was over 900 bales of cotton, as ballast. This is not as unusual as it may first appear since the Warrior and many other ships routinely listed cargo as ballast if they were not planning to unload any of it in Cuba.
Later, when the owner of the boat sent a clerk to the custom house to get clearance for the ship to leave, the ship was refused clearance. Captain Bullock, the captain of the Warrior at the time, in an attempted to correct the problem went to the custom house. He soon discovered that the problem was with the manifest and immediately asked to alter the manifest to include the cargo. The Cuban government would not allow it even though their law stated that a ship could alter its manifest for a full 12 hours after laying anchor in the port. The next morning, Cuban authorities went to the Warrior to demand that the cargo be turned over to them. Captain Bullock, recognizing this to be an illegal seizure, told them that if he was forced to turn over his cargo, that he would lower his flag and abandon the ship. The Cubans were a little shaken by his proposal, but after conferring with their superiors, boarded the ship and began removing the cargo. Captain Bullock lowered his flag and abandoned his ship to the Cubans.
The passengers and crew of the Warrior went aboard the steamship Fulton which happened to be in Havana at the same time. Captain Bullock was fined for bringing the cargo into Cuba and the Warrior was seized. The ambassador to Cuba, William Robertson, sent a letter to the Secretary of State, William Marcy, detailing the situation and then things started to get really bad.
To rectify the problem, the Governor of Cuba hastily wrote a memo that suspended the regulation which allowed captains to alter their manifests after arriving in port. The memo was post-dated to make it appear that the rule was in effect before February 28, which made the seizure legal. The United States was enraged by this ex post facto law and demanded retribution for the crimes that had been perpetrated against its citizens. The United States also demanded that Cuba be sold to prevent an imminent conflict. The Spanish refused, of course, and America was brought to the brink of war. Remember, these were volatile times and the southern states really wanted Cuba annexed to make it another slave state. Fortunately for Spain and Cuba, the Kansas-Nebraska act was being debated at the same time and diverted the attention of the American public and the Legislature away from the Black Warrior Affair. After things cooled down a bit, the Spanish Government conceded its mistake and paid retribution to the Captain, owners, and passengers of the Warrior in the amount of $59,000.
In the winter of 1857, the warrior was on a trip from Havana to New York when she encountered a gale between Havana and Cape Hateras. The Gale was so bad that the wheel house, life boats and bulwarks (sides of the ship above the upper deck for you land lubbers) were destroyed. All of the coal on the ship was consumed during this gale and the captain of the ship, Captain Smith, was forced to burn all the furniture, light woodwork, and the remaining spars. The Warrior eventually reached Old Point where she took on additional coal and went on to complete her trip.
The last voyage of the Black Warrior ended with a close encounter with the shore line of East Rockaway, NY on February 20, 1858. The ship was making a cargo and passenger run from Havana to New York and encountered heavy fog as it approached New York Harbor. While under pilot and during a high tide, the boat simply ran aground. In a New York Times article on February 22, 1858, it was assumed that the Warrior was a total loss since it ran aground during a high tide and that the expected low tide was going to be particularly low since a strong westerly wind had been blowing for several days. After several attempts, the Black Warrior was freed and then immediately stuck again. A storm eventually smashed the Warrior to pieces.
Today, the Warrior sits in 30-35 feet of water. The wreck is quite broken up and is scattered. The only recognizable parts of the ship are the engine, boiler and one of the paddle wheels. The ship is considered a novice dive due to the shallow depth, low current and about 15 feet of visibility. The most common artifacts still found are brass spikes and pins. With a little digging and some good luck, however, silverware and port holes can still be found. The ship is frequented by most of the local dive boats and is sometimes used as the first open water dive by some instructors. I have not yet had the pleasure of visiting the Warrior, but after doing this article I am inclined to say that I will be visiting it very soon. Just the rich history of this short lived ship makes it an interesting ship to add to any dive calendar. Who knows, maybe I'll see you down there

Monday, June 30, 2003


At 8:30 a.m. February 4, 1940, approaching the Gloria Colita, British schooner of the West Indies, as seen from the deck of the Coast Guard patrol boat Cartigan.

Closer view, not long before boarding her. "The boom and sails were hauled in and secured."

Coming abeam Colita. She is listing to port. "The deck was awash, foresail set, other sails overboard and about the deck . . ."

Well, what can explain all this? She was found deserted, her decks awash, one sail set but torn; her cargo of lumber was intact and made it impossible for her to sink. Her lifeboat was gone. What made a crew so stupid as to leave an unsinkable ship? Even if heavy weather had overwhelmed her, surely they knew a wood vessel carry wood could not sink.
"From indications an attempt had been made to lower the foresail,'' noted S. Halvorsen, the skipper of the patrol boat. "It is presumed that the halyards had fouled in the deck cargo so the throat halyard had been cut, but the end had fouled in the upper block," he went on to deduce.
Just what was going on on the Colita? If they were in heavy weather, why lower all sails? They would only founder from loss of steerage way. The Colita carried no motor. To lower all sails indicates something peculiar. Did bad weather come after and swamp her? What had happened to the crew first, and what made them stop in mid rigging?

Found in the Gulf of Mexico, she was towed to Mobile, Alabama, where she was claimed by her owner's representatives. Here she is at dry dock. Her green hull was found intact.

February 15 – U.S.S. Maine ordered to Havana, Cuba to protect Americans, exploded in Havana Harbor, killing 260 sailors. The cause of the explosion is still questioned. March 22 – Henry Plant writes to Secretary of War Russell Alger to point out the importance of defending Tampa. Plant suggested Egmont and Mullett Keys were good sites for coastal defense positions.

March 25 – Secretary Alger orders the Chief of Engineers to plan on defenses for the two sites.

April 14 – Tampa is selected, along with Mobile, Alabama and New Orleans, Louisiana, as a mobilization point for United States troops. Tampa is also chosen as the supply base for a possible operation in Cuba.

April 20 – The United States Congress passes a joint resolution against Spain, recognizing Cuban independence.

April 25 – President William McKinley declares war.

Sunday, June 29, 2003

Stephen Minor was born in Pennsylvania. As a young man in New Orleans he was recruited to serve in Spanish service. He distinguished himself in the Spanish attack on the British fort at Mobile. By the early 1800's he was a distinguished gentleman living in Natchez and known as Don Esteban Minor. He was married to Katherine Lintot who was known as the Yellow Duchess, not so much because of her strikingly beautiful blond hair but because she loved the color of gold and had many items including her clothing and carriage reflect this favoritism. When Don Manuel Gayso de Lemos was replaced as Governor of Natchez, it was Minor who received the appointment as the next Governor of Natchez. He even bought the beautiful home Gayso had built known as Concord.

Fannie Lintot was the red-headed younger sister of Katherine Lintot. She married Phillip Nolan and had a child by him. There is a description of a potrait of Nolan made shortly after his wedding in the book, Natchez On The Mississippi.