Saturday, September 27, 2003

John Newland Maffitt (1819-1886) was one of the best-known of all Confederate naval officers. In 1861, after serving nearly 30 years in the U.S. Navy, Maffitt resigned his commission and entered Confederate service. Maffitt is best known for his command of the commerce raider Florida, which in a single cruise destroyed or captured 47 U.S. merchantmen, but he also commanded the ironclad ram Albemarle and ended the war commanding blockade runners. Maffitt was an aggressive officer. A reporter for the New York Herald who encountered Maffitt in neutral Havana wrote, "Captain Maffitt is no ordinary character. He is vigorous, energetic, bold, quick and dashing, and the sooner he is caught and hung the better it will be."

Friday, September 26, 2003

Dear Robert,

Thanks for featuring the Denbigh on the blog. Very nice, indeed.

Got the map and the bird’s eye Xerox yesterday. Thank you, it looks like I’ll be able to scan and stitch the map’s pieces together, at least for the part of Havana of most interest. Where can I get an original of the bird’s eye? I’d like to use that one, too.

Thank you for being such a big help. Please consider yourself officially appointed to the Institute of Nautical Archaeology’s Denbigh research team.

Yours truly,



Call spent about two months in Havana [after arriving from Key West on January 5, 1830] and there enjoyed the pleasures of Cuban society. The American merchant Vincent Gray seems to have been his chief host, and the two men spent long hours recounting event of the War of 1812. Gray claimed that it was his intelligence which informed Jackson on British plans to attack New Orleans. In March, 1830, Call returned to the United States arriving in Tallahassee about the twentieth. He was "mortified" at the delay which had attended his mission but expressed satisfaction that he had done everything possible to protect the public interests of Florida land cases. He reported that most of the grants " bear on their face conclusive evidence of their fraudulent character", and the "prejudices in behalf of the claimants" were clearly apparant among the Spanish officials.

The papers which Call produced relating to the grant to Don Fernando de la Maz Arredondo indicated that although the grant was a genuine one, it had been made on condition that two hundred families be settled on the tract within three years. The documents relating to the Forbes grant indicated a more complex situation. In the first place, the so-called "Forbes grant" was really a series of claims based upon several alleged grants to the commercial house of Panton, Leslie and Company and its successor John Forbes and Company, as well as to John Forbes individually. One large grant, estimated at about 1,500,000 acres, and located between the Apalachicola River and Choctawhatchee River[all of the Gulf Coast between Destin and Apalachicola], was granted by the Captain-General of Cuba to John Forbes and Company for services rendered to the Spanish government and losses sustained by the company. This was the only obviously fraudulent grant, bearing on its face a clumsy alteration of the date of execution. Under the treaty by which Florida was ceded to the United States all grants made after January 24, 1818, were "declared and agreed to be null and void." the alteration of dates was attempted in an effort to validate this grant.
The other grants to Panton, Leslie and Company, John Forbes and Company, and to John Forbes individually, took in most of the land between the Apalachicola and St. Marks Rivers and were estimated to have a total acreage of about 1,200,000 acres. These grants were made by Florida Indian tribes in payment of debts owed to the commercial houses, and were confirmed by the Spanish governor of West Florida. These grants were presented for adjudication by Colin Mitchel, a Havana merchant who claimed American, English, and Spanish citizenship, who had purchased the rights of the original grantees. One historian of the Supreme Court says that the real promoters of the Mitchel claim were George Griswold, a New York shipper, "combined with other capitalists and with some of the most noted politicians in the country." A conservative historian of the Court observes that " a large number of these Spanish claims had been assigned to and were being prosecuted by bankers, financiers, and speculators in New York and London" thus giving Andrew Jackson, in his fight upon the money power, a vivid interest in the outcome of the cases...

...Many have been critical of the course of the Court in the Florida land cases and the decision in the Mitchel case did raise questions worth pondering. The Court apparantly closed its eyes to the hindrances which the Spanish officials put in the path of those who sought to uncover original documents. It would be interesting to know why, in the face of contrary evidence, the aged Chief Justice stated that no difficulty had been put in the way of American agents and that every facility had been accorded them.....

One historian of the Supreme Court, Gustavus Myers, saw the decisions in the Florida cases as part of a pattern of decisions by which "judicial dictator" John Marshall designed to strengthen the governing and capitalist classes. The more conservative Charles Warren viewed the decisions as designed to protect private property rights and preserve the national honor of the United States by strict adherence to the article of the treaty of cession which recognized property rights existing before 1818. A third historian, Ernest Sutherland Bates, points out the the rights of Spain were not at issue in any of the claims because the actual claimants were American capitalists not Spanish citizens. It is his contention that the Court was governed less by respect for treaties that by the formalisitic procedure established in the Yazoo land fraud cases whereby it refused to consider the evidence of fraud behind a formal grant....

.....After the signing of the treaty of cession in 1819 a genuine boom in Florida lands set in, Niles Register reporting a price rise of from 500 to 1,000 per cent, with city lots selling from $500 to $7000. About the time of the transfer in 1821 Call managed to secure several tracts near Pensacola. In partnership with James Innerarity he purchased 800 arpents of land on Santa Rosa sound and a like amount on Escambia Bay in partnership with Henry M. Brackenridge. An arpent in Spanish Florida was slightly more than an acre. In the city of Pensacola Call secured one town lot.

Dr. Doster:

Remember the first time we met?

I'm from Dothan.
My Daddy was born in Hartford. His Daddy, Will Young Register, was the conductor on the Judy, the east bound Atlantic Coast Line train from Enterprise to Chattahoochee, Florida via Bainbridge. (I rode with him)

My Mother was born in Baker Hill and was delivered by Dr. Wallace who had left Clio because his WWI veteran son had come home to roost, had fathered a boy named George in 1918 and the people of Baker Hill in Barbour County had told him, " Dr. Wallace, we know you are ready to retire and are sick of Clio. Come to Baker Hill and we will build you a house to live in." Which the people of Baker Hill did.

Anyway, Dr. Mazyck delivered me in Moody Hospital in 1950. I know you know Dr. Mazyck cause you had a crush on his wife, the daughter of Moody Hospital's founder, Dr. Earle Moody.(I used to work as a groundskeeper in the Dothan City Cemetery. Both of Dr. Moody's parents died in the same week in May of 1901. The oblisk that marks their grave is topped with an flaming urn draped with roses and poppies. The inscription on the tombstone says," Our Mother and Father are no more. They are wandering hand in hand over in the spirit land. Here they rest, side by side. Even Death itself could not divide.")

Dr. Doster, when I study history, I am simply studying myself.


Robert Young Register

>To: "Robert Register"
>Subject: Continued
>Date: Fri, 26 Sep 2003 18:06:29 -0500
>You seem to have all the information that I intended to convey by an earlier e-mail. More important, you have found the sources, which do not now come into my mind. --J.F.D.

From Confederate Mobile:

One Mobilian complained that the value of goods exported through the blockade far exceeded that of goods imported and that ships coming in brought too few munitions and staple goods. On the basis of statistics from the customhouse, John E. Murrell informed the War Department that from May 1862 to April 1863 cotton worth $1,823,000 had gone out of Mobile while the value of imported goods stood at only $208,168. This represented a balance of $1,614,832 against the Confederacy. Murrell, who had participated in blockade running himself, expressed concern that runners brought too much liquor into Mobile.......

Thursday, September 25, 2003

From Confederate Mobile by Arthur W. Bergeron, Jr.:

Official Confederate policy on blockade running out of Mobile began taking shape in the spring of 1862. Three or four businessmen in Mobile approached General Sam Jones and his successor in command at Mobile, General Butler, about taking cotton to Havana so they could use the proceeds to purchase military supplies for the Confederacy. Both Jones and Butler expressed reluctance to grant them permission. Jones did allow a few small cargoes to go out but under restrictions "requiring that the parties interested, the Captain and Crew, shall be loyal and indentified[sic] in interest with the Confederate States and that the return cargoes shall as far as practicable by composed of munitions of war." The Confederate Navy Department signed contracts with two or three individuals to supply munitions to the government after taking cotton out of Mobile. Secretary of War Randolph encouraged Jones to allow blockade running on the grounds that it was "good policy to exchange produce for arms and munitions of war" even though "the practice is liable to great abuse and should not be allowed indiscriminately."

Great stuff from John Sugden's "The Southern Indians In The War of 1812: The Closing Phase":

Before Nicolls reached Apalachicola Bay in August 1814, a new development had increased the prospects of the Indians engaging the American forces, and they were, themselves, the cause of the changing circumstances. Andrew Jackson, district commander of the American troops, had viewed with alarm the resurgence of the Indian cause. He complained to Governor Mateo Gonzalez Manrique of Pensacola that the British had been allowed to mobilize upon Spanish soil against the United States, and that the Spaniards themselves were harboring refugee Red Sticks. McQueen and Francis, Jackson maintained, should be surrendered to the Americans. In view of the aggressive attitude of Jackson and the Americans to both the Creeks and the Spaniards in recent years, these aggrieved protestations failed to impress Manrique. Nevertheless, the governor was alarmed. The solution to the problem was not easy to find. While the Spanish were too weak to successfully contest the Untied States, they feared that an attempt to improve their position might cost them any remaining American goodwill. Confronted by the threat from Jackson, but unwilling to act in any way that might antagonize the Americans, they vacillated. Governor Manrique refused to sever connections with his Creek allies and sent appeals for help to his superior, Apodaca, at Havana, but he shrank from too vigorous a defense of Pensacola. Apodaca, on his part, was willing to allow Nicolls's Indians and British to operate as they desired, provided that they recognized Spanish control of St. Marks, St. Augustine, and Pensacola, but he refused to give direct aid...

From The Life of Andrew Jackson by Marquis James:

(this commentary by James is based upon a fragment of a letter dated Havana, August 13, 1814, apparantly addressed to Jackson or intended for him, Jackson Papers, Library of Congress)

The American Commander [Jackson] had been following the moves of Colonel Nicholls since he had appeared in Havana a month before. Fortunately for Jackson, the Colonel loved the sound of his own voice. In Cuba he had talked too much for a military man, and his words had found their way to the alert Commander at Mobile. According to Nicholls the British would occupy Pensacola as a base, then seize the mouth of the Mississippi and Mobile,and, marching on Baton Rouge, cut off New Orleans from above and below. Slaves were counted on to join the black regiments of Jamaica and help was expected from the Louisiana Creoles. With the landing at Pensacola the first step in this broad program had been taken....

The first of many old houses in Pensacola, FL. I [Nedra Innerarity] am adding Robert's comment on the Panton Trading Post here which brings more current information.

Robert Register - Sep 5, 2003

Leora Sutton made a couple of mistakes in her Panton Trading Post article. She wrote "In 1812 William Augustus Bowles attempted to break the company's monopoly in the Creek country."

Bowles was seized by the Indians near present day Wetumpka, Alabama, on May 28, 1803 and turned over to Spanish authorities. He died on December 23, 1805 at Morro Castle in Havana harbor. Ms. Sutton was probably thinking about Woodbine who assisted Nichols in organizing the runaway slaves and Indians at the Negro
Fort on the Apalachicola. Woodbine was called a "second Bowles" in letters describing his activities during the War of 1812.

She also wrote " The actions between the American Indians and the British caused John Forbes to claim an indemnification of 100,000 dollars from Spanish government which was paid off by enormous land grants."

Forbes did receive a 1,276,000 acre land grant located between the Apalachicola and Choctawhatchee Rivers from the Spanish in 1818, however, it was ruled invalid because it violated provisions of the Adams- Onis treaty.

Ms. Sutton leaves the impression that the land grant known as the Forbes Purchase(land between the Apalachicola and St. Marks River)came to be owned by John Forbes & Co. as a consequence of the War of 1812.

This first Forbes Purchase land, 1,427,289 acres, was deeded over to the company to cover Indians debts and Bowles's destruction of the Wakulla store (1793 and 1800) at Indian congresses held at Chiskatalofa in present-day Houston County, Alabama in 1804 and 1810.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1835 that this land grant was perfectly legal.

Robert Register

Read what others had to say:

>Nedra Innerarity Creamer - Sep 25, 2003
I am so sorry that it has taken me so long to thank you for the information on Panton Trading post. It is so good to see so many reading these postings so the can catch the mistakes. I am so happy with this site. It is "My Baby" to care for and I just love it. Thanks for taking part.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003


Tuesday, September 23, 2003


Robert Register
with his buddy,
Mr. Hugh Taylor.

photo by Michael Palmer



Victor Manuel was the first one; with him started our golden age.

Manuel Garcia Valdes was born in Havana in 1897 and died in 1969. Started to study painting at the age of 12 although was already painting since he was 6 or 7 years old. Studied in the San Alejandro School of Arts and at fourteen is named unofficially as a professor of elemental drawings. Studied with Roma?ac and was not until he was 19, that his own talent was revealed, as himself confessed.

Opened his first exposition in Havana, at "Las Galleries", in 1924. Traveled to France in 1925 and toured the country for two years, where a group of artist in Montparnase named him "Victor Manuel."

Opens new exhibitions in 1927 at the salons of the Sculpture and Painters Associations. This is one of the first steps for the "modern Cuban painting" era. For a year or two teaches free of charge to other painters along the island. After another trip to Europe which included Spain and Belgium, comes back to Havana in 1929.

Obtains the first prize at an exhibition in the Lyceum in 1935. Open his own exhibitions at the University of Havana, 1945; the Reporters' Association, 1951; Galeria Lex, 1956; Venice, Italy, and national galleries in 1959.

He always thought that artists should first posses expressive simplicity. He would not conceive art that was not human, as he said: "...for me art is not a refuge, but an expression."

The themes of Victor Manuel are out of time, more or less the same in all of his work, the faces of women, landscapes, parks, countrysides. "I am like any Cuban of my era, that not having that much to do, they would make love... ...I once saw a Picasso: a profile of a woman made on fabric that I thought it was wonderful; almost faint at its sight." The classics were his passion, Clouet, Signorelli, Fouquet, Van Dyck, Divino Morales, Leonardo and Giorgione. Of Brueghel he said: "That is what I want for me." Among his work: 'Gitana Tropical',1924; 'Novios',1940; 'Acuarela',1940.

collection. The jewel of Cuban art is 20th century painter Victor Manuel's ``Tropical Gipsy'', according to museum director Moraima Clavijo. ``It is the symbol of the Cuban vanguard,'' she said in an interview with Reuters. As for the foreign collection, she chose as the most remarkable item an ancient Greek amphora from the 5th century B.C. ``It is completely unharmed'', she said. The museum first opened in 1913 then closed in 1996 because of its deplorable condition. Restoration work started in 1999 at a total cost of $14.5 million. Expectation ahead of the reopening rose with rumors, mostly from Cuban exiles in Miami, that President Fidel Castro's government had sold some works during the economic crisis suffered by the island after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. ``In Miami, people were wondering what we were going to exhibit at the museum, if everything had been sold,'' Castro said at the official inauguration of the museum in July. ``Maybe I'll send them some videos so they can appreciate everything, because those who have sold their homeland think we can sell the cultural soul of our country,'' he added. An important part of the heritage is formed by the private collections left behind by rich families who, soon after the 1959 revolution, fled the Caribbean island, leaving everything behind, but hoping to return soon. Among the collections are those of the Lobo, Gomez Mena, Falla and Bacardi families, who had, among other treasures, paintings by Spanish artists Sorolla, Murillo and Zurbaran. Clavijo said the museum had maintained cordial contact with some of the descendants of those families. ``We are in touch with some of them and the origin of the works is mentioned in the catalogs,'' she said, adding that some had traveled to Cuba to see their family's former possessions.



Do ya think ya could sell some paint in Cuba?


Clock features:

•Hourly recitations of the Ten Commandments

•Features a light sensor so the clock will not go off at night

•Operates on three AA batteries.

•Comes in a shelf ready package with “try me” button

•UPC code on box

Check out Judge Roy Moore's fund raising website for the Foundation for Moral Law. He's raising money by selling Ten Commandments clocks, each one with Moses's face printed on it and reciting a commandment on the hour (except at night when you turn off the lights.....tee hee)
I would think all skypilots would be interested in seeing how Judge Roy Moore (who came within a red cunt hair of being fragged in 'Nam by his fellow MPs) is raising money. Just make out your check to $24.95 (that's $19.95 plus $5 for shipping and handling) to the FOUNDATION FOR MORAL LAW!!!!
click on

P.S. Classic quote from the futile "round-the-clock" vigil to keep Roy Moore's Rock on display in Monkeytown,"(in the loudest, most hysterical voice possible) KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF OUR GOD!!!!"

Subject :

Date :
Thu, 22 May 2003 12:17:48 -0400

Hi Nedra:
I am going thru some books about Remedios, Cuba and I saw the name
Inerarity mentioned. I had seen your posting in Cuba-L so I remembered the
In the book: "El Sr. Julio Iglesias Inerarity establece en la azotea de
su casa de la calle de Balmaseda, la primera estacion de radio-telefonia."

(Rough Translation: Julio Iglesias Inerarity established the first
Radio-Telepnone station in Cuba called Balmaseda

Mariela Fernandez
Founding Member of the Cuban Genealogy Club of Miami, Florida, Inc.

Monday, September 22, 2003

Thank you for the Denbigh info on your blog. I love to see her story getting out to the public.

Yours truly,


rom :
"Barto Arnold"

To :
"'robert register'"

Subject :
RE: Slight Delay On the Havana Map

Date :
Mon, 22 Sep 2003 15:16:41 -0500

You are quite right about the movie. Many more thanks for the other image, sounds absolutely fabulous.

Yours truly,


-----Original Message-----
From: robert register []
Sent: Sunday, September 21, 2003 3:43 PM
Subject: Slight Delay On the Havana Map


Kinko's postage meter was down so I will mail the map tomorrow. Looking through my papers today I found what looks to be an 1860's aerial view of the harbor as if you were looking toward the ocean from Regla. I will copy it and send it separately. I have no idea where I found it but I found another engraving very similar to it that was labeled "Hazard, 1865). Of the many ships in the harbor, at least three appear to be sidewheelers. With the map as a guide, you can really identify many of the buildings and streets of the city.

Sorry about the delay.

I'm gonna go back and tune up the blog with some Denbigh/blockaderunner stuff.

Should have something on there by about 6 P.M. Central this evening.

You know the whole financial speculation that paid for the construction of the blockaderunners would make a great movie. Especially the ships captains who went to Europe to sell Erlanger bonds and contract for the shipbuilding. Somebody ought to be able to get real good "Spy Vs. Spy" story out of all that.



Sunday, September 21, 2003

Dr. Bergad:

On page 62 of your 1990 book on Matanzas, you mention John Forbes owning a cafetel along the Canimar River. Your notes which include a reference to the map reproduced in Marrero have helped me a lot. If you have anything else on John Forbes or any of the Inneraritys who owned plantations along the Canimar, I'd appreciate you passing it along to me.
In February of this year, I found out that the University of Alabama was sponsoring an Alabama-Cuba Week in November
This stimulated me to start an Alabama-Cuba weblog called "Cuba, Alabama"
I am very interested in the lives of individuals associated with John Forbes & Company in Cuba. There is a letter dated August 2, 1818 from Colin Mitchel to John Innerarity which states that John's brother James had bought some land on the Canimar. Right now I don't know of anyone who knows where that plantation was located, however, it became known as "Heloisa" and I believe it was located near Forbes's plantation at the mouth of the Canimar River.
A June 9, 1820, letter from James Innerarity in Cuba to his brother John in Pensacola stated that he had 200 to 230 acres on the Canimar River being cultivated by 53 slaves.
John Forbes died on May 13, 1823 at sea en route to New York City.
On August 26, 1823, James wrote his brother John from the Canimar. James wrote that he believed John Forbes had taken money from the company. I am very interested in the Forbes estate because of large Spanish land grants Forbes had received in Florida. Archives concerning this Florida land may still sit undiscovered in Cuba.

May 25, 2004, will mark the 200th anniversary of a 1.2 million acre land cession John Forbes & Company received from the Indians in Florida. This entire acreage was later purchased by Colin Mitchel from Havana and litigation concerning this land exists in Cuban archives.
Please feel free to forward this to anyone who may be interested. If you have any suggestions, I would appreciate hearing from you.
Robert Register
Wilkes reached St. Thomas on October 13, 1861,where he took command of two other cruisers, and then sailed onward, arriving at Cienfuegos, Cuba eleven days later. While in port Wilkes learned of the arrival of the Confederate commissioners in Havana. He then set sail in the hopes of catching the Theodora, but by the time he reached Havana on the last day of October the Theodora had already left. Rather than attempt a near futile chase of the Theodora (which had a two week head start), Wilkes turned his attention towards the two Confederates.

The Captain sent to of his officers to call upon Mason to try and ascertain through casual conversation what the Confederates' plans were. Mason, however, realized their intent and made sure to thwart their efforts. Wilkes, however, discovered through the United States consul-general in Havana, Robert Shufeldt (himself a formal naval officer), that the Confederates were planing to sail November 7th on board the British mail packet Trent. Wilkes began making preparations for the capture of Mason and Slidell and provisioned his ship with supplies for their comfort.

His executive officer, Lt. Daniel Macneill Fairfax, however, objected to Wilkes' course of action. He felt that the capture of the Trent could ignite a war between the United States and European powers such as Britain and France. Fairfax urged Wilkes to consult an expert in maritime law before continuing. Wilkes, however, was confident in his own interpretation of the law and was unmoved by Fairfax's arguments. Fairfax, realizing the futility of further reasoning with his commanding officer, dropped the issue.

On November 2nd the San Jacinto departed Havana, making sure to leave the impression that she was sailing directly for the United States, as per her original orders. However, during the night Wilkes had the ship double back towards Key West. There Wilkes planned to take on additional supplies for the planned "guests" and he hoped to find additional Navy vessels to aid in the capture of the Trent. Unfortunately, no vessels were then at Key West, so Wilkes turned the San Jacinto around and set a course to intercept the Trent in the Bahama Channel, 300 miles east of Havana.

At 11:40 am on November 8th, the San Jacinto's lookout spotted the Trent less then 10 miles away. Wilkes called his officers to his quarters and explained to them his plans. He put a number of them whose loyalties he doubted under arrested and then selected the members of the boarding party, to be commanded by Lt. Fairfax. The boarding party was authorized and ordered to board the Trent and demand her papers. If Mason and Slidell were on board, Fairfax was to make them and their secretaries prisoners, seize their possessions and dispatches, and make the Trent a prize of war.

At 1:15 pm the San Jacinto fired a shot across the Trent's bow, and that vessel stopped and received the boarding party. Fairfax encountered no resistance beyond the verbal variety and the reluctance of the Confederate commissioners to leave the Trent. However, they eventually realized the futility of resistance and allowed themselves to be taken prisoner. Then, disobeying his orders, Fairfax departed the Trent without making it a prize. He was able to convince Wilkes, however, to overlook that fact by claiming that put a prize crew on the Trent would inconvenience its innocent passengers and would also impair the San Jacinto's fighting ability.

Unfortunately, as the San Jacinto sailed back to a hero's welcome in the United States, Wilkes and Fairfax had no way of knowing that the British didn't appreciate their generous act of allowing the Trent to go rather than making it a prize. Little did they know that their actions would bring the United States and England to the brink of war.

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 1862 John Newland Maffitt was given command of the Confederacy’s first commerce raider, Florida. May 4, 1862, then commanded her until October 1863. At some point during his command he was photographed by a Northern firm, C.D. Fredericks & Co., based in New York. However, they had branch operations in Havana, Cuba, and Paris, and it is at one of these that Maffitt sat for his photograph. On August 7, 1863, Maffit was promoted to commander. The commander’s cap badge bore two stars, while the cap badge in Maffitt’s photograph bears the single star of a lieutenant.

Maffitt was twice in Havana when in command of the Florida. The first time was in early August 1862, when the crew was struck with yellow fever. Maffitt had to put into a port. On August 19 he anchored off Cardenas, Cuba. The local Confederate official then reported to Richmond that Maffitt was “prostrated by yellow fever” and unable to comply. He was deathly ill for ten days, but recovered to take the ship to Havana on September 1. Unable to get necessary help there, however, a still ill Maffitt put to sea that night for Mobile. It’s unlikely the photo was taken then.

The second time was on January 20, 1863. The log entry for January 21, reads, “Many persons visited the ship. We were enthusiastically welcomed at Havana.” On January 22 the Florida left Havana. Certainly Maffitt would have had a chance to have his photograph taken between the 21st and the 22nd, while leaving his executive officer to oversee coaling operations.

In August 1863 the Florida, badly needing repairs, put into Brest, France. Maffitt left the ship there in October to return to the Confederacy. He was then a commander, with a new cap badge, but could have visited Paris with his old hat to be photographed then. However, Maffitt is more likely to have taken advantage of being in Europe to obtain a new uniform

JANUARY 16,1863- C.S.S. Florida, Lieutenant John N. Maffitt, ran the blockade out of Mobile in the early morning after having remained in that port for some 4 months in order to complete repairs to her equip-ment. Confusion in the blockading fleet enabled Florida to escape, for the Confederate commerce raider passed within 300 yards of U.S.S. R.R. Cuyler, Commander George F. Emmons. Upon her arrival at Havana on 20 January to debark prisoners from her first prize, U.S. Consul-General Robert W. Shufeldt described the raider: ''The Florida is a bark-rigged propeller, quite fast under steam and canvas; has two smoke-stacks fore and aft of each other, close together; has a battery of four 42's or 68's of a side, and two large pivot guns. Her crew consists of 135 men . . . is a wooden vessel of about 1,500 tons." Farragut was concerned by Florida's escape: "This squadron, as Sam Barron used to say, 'is eating its dirt now'-Galveston skedaddled, the Hatteras sunk by the Alabama, and now the Oreto [Florida] out. . . . The Admiral's son, Loyall Farragut, com-pleted the letter: ''Father's eyes have given out; so I will finish this letter. He has been very much worried at these things, but still tries to bear it like a philosopher. He knows he has done all in his power to avert it, with the vessels at his disposal. If the Government had only let him take Mobile when he wished to, the Oreto would never have run out."

Captain Semmes, with a keen interest in the advancement of scientific knowledge, recorded the following observation from on board C.S.S. Alabama.' . . . the old theory of Dr. Franklin and others, was, that the Gulf Stream, which flows out of the Gulf of Mexico, between the north coast of Cuba, and the Florida Reefs and Keys, flows into the Gulf, through the channel between the west end of Cuba, and the coast of Yucatan, in which the Alabama now was. But the effectual disproof of this theory is, that we know positively, from the strength of the current, and its volume, or cross section, in the two passages, that more than twice the quantity of water flows out of the Gulf of Mexico, than flows into it through this passage. Upon Dr. Franklin's theory, the Gulf of Mexico in a very short time would become dry ground. Nor can the Mississippi River, which is the only stream worth noticing, in this connection, that flows into the' Gulf of Mexico, come to his relief, as we have seen that that river only empties into the Gulf of Mexico, about one three thousandth part as much water, as the Gulf Stream takes out. We must resort, of necessity, to an under-current from the north, passing into the Gulf of Mexico, under the Gulf Stream, rising to the surface when heated, and thus swelling the volume of the outflowing water."

Here are two notes of interest to you I have on Robert W. Shufeldt.

U.S. Navy lieutenant, "resigned from the service to become a merchant ship captain for the New York and Alabama Steamship Company while John Quitman was planing the Cuba expedition. He quit the conspiracy fearing that the Spanish authorities might detain him in Cuba during his biweekly voyages to Havana. (Robert May, Manifest Destiny's Underworld, 34)
"Havana. Arrival of the Quaker City." The United States Mail steamship Quaker City, R. W. Shufeldt, Commander, left New-Orleans on the morning of the 12th inst. for New York via Havana at which port she arived at 9 A.M. of the 14th after a rapid run of forty-eight hours from city to city; left Havana evening of same dayfor this port and arrived at her wharf at 6 o'clock last evening. The Quaker City brings 174 passengers, $118,000 in silver spicie, a full cargo for this port. (N. Y. Times, May 19, 1859, 4).
I have also enjoyed your website.
Regarding my review of Tom Chaffin's book, not only is it badly researched and written because he does not understand Spanish, but I have compared where he ripped off every single reference to Portell Vila from my Ph.D. dissertation. That makes him an "authority" on rip-offs.
This is the biography of Robert Wilson Shufeldt who negotiated with Quitman in Mobile in 1854 for the command of the filibuster navy the junta planned to send to Cuba. At the time Shufeldt was commander of the side wheeler, Cahawba(I believe this should read "Catawba"), which the junta negotiated to purchase from the New York and Alabama Steamship Company
SHUFELDT, Robert Wilson, naval officer, born in Red Hook, Dutchess County, New York, 21 February, 1822. He entered the navy as a midshipman, 11 May, 1839, was attached to the naval school at Philadelphia in 1844-'5, and became a passed midshipman, 2 July, 1845. He was promoted to master, 21 February, 1853, and to lieutenant, 26 October, 1853, but resigned from the navy, 20 June, 1854, and was connected with the Collins line of Liverpool steamers as chief officer for two years. He then commanded the steamers "Black Warrior" and "Catawba" on the line between New York and New Orleans, and had charge of the party that surveyed the Isthmus of Tehuantepec for a railroad and interoceanic canal. When the civil war began he was in command of the steamer "Quaker City," of the New York and Havana line of steamers, and was appointed United States consul-general at Havana. In April, 1863, he resigned, and was reinstated in the navy with a commission of commander, dated 19 November, 1862. He was given the steamer " Conemaugh," on the blockade at Charleston, where he participated in the engagements on Morris island. He commanded the steamer "Boteus," of the Eastern Gulf blockading squadron, in 1864-'6. After the war he had the "Hartford" of the East India squadron, in 1865-'6, and the "Wachusett," of the Asiatic squadron, in 1866-'8. He was commissioned captain, 31 December, 1869, and commanded the monitor "Miantonomoh " in 1870, after which he had charge of the Tehuantepec and Nicaraguan surveying expeditions of 1870-'1. He was chief of the bureau of equipment and recruiting in the navy department in 1875-'8, and was commissioned commodore, 21 September, 1876. In 1879-'80 he sailed in the "Ti-Conderoga" oil a special mission to Africa and tile East Indies, to ascertain and report on the prospects for the revival of American trade with those countries. While he was on this expedition the sultan of Zanzibar, Said Barghash, presented him with a sword. He was promoted to rear-admiral on 7 May, 1883, and was retired, 21 February, 1884.

Click on

From Bergeron's Confederate Mobile:

Although Mobile occupied a stategic position in the Confederacy because of its railroad connections, of almost equal importance was the city's status as a major port for blockade runners. New Orleans outranked Mobile as a port early in the war, but the fall of the Crescent City in April 1862 made Mobile the leading port on the Gulf. The vessels that ran the blockade in and out of Mobile took their cargoes to and from HAVANA,CUBA, the best base in the Gulf for this trade. The trip between Mobile and Havana took about three days if the runner encountered no problems. Taking out of Mobile primarily loads of cotton, the runners exchanged their cargoes for both military supplies and items for consumption by the civilian populace of the Gulf South. Running the blockade was very dangerous, but attempts to get by the blockading squadron increased as the war progressed. Of the men who engaged in the trade, one author has written: "Some of the blockade runners were patriots who wished to aid the Confederacy, but many were in the business only for money, and they made profits equal their risk."

from page 123

During 1864, British side-wheel steamers dominated and revived the blockade-running business at Mobile. The most prominent of these ships were the Denbigh, Donegal, and Mary. A description of the Denbigh fits almost all of these vessels, which had been specifically designed to run the blockade:


Only the presence of large numbers of Federal warships off Mobile Bay in February and March 1864 and the capture of the forts at the bay entrances in August 1864 slowed and eventually ended the highly successful trade conducted by these steamers.


Abner M. Godfrey: Denbigh's First Master

Abner M. Godfrey was born in 1825 or 1826 in Maine. Sometime prior to 1859 he relocated to Mobile, Alabama , for in that year's City Directory he is listed as a stevedore, with lodgings at the Battle House Hotel. In the 1861 edition of that same work, he is again listed as a stevedore, at that lodging at the boarding house of one Silas Bower, on Center Street. His listing as a stevedore seems odd, however, for that same summer, shortly after the Union blockade was declared, he sailed for England to serve as a Confederate agent there.
By mid-1863, Godfrey and his wife were living in Cardiff, where he served as a coal agent for the Confederacy, purchasing good Welsh coal for blockade runners. In the fall of 1863 he was appointed to command the new runner Denbigh. Captain and Mrs. Godfrey sailed in her on October 19 for HAVANA.

Masters of ship attempting to run the blockade faced considerable risks, but THE REWARDS WERE VERY HIGH The salary of a successful captain might amount to several thousand dollars in gold for a successful round trip through the Federal fleet. It seems a safe assumption that Captain Grodfrey amassed a small fortune during his command of Denbigh, for after the war he purchased the Battle House Hotel in Mobile (left), the same hotel were he'd rented lodgings as a stevedore just a few years before.

Godfrey died on October 14, 1869 of natural causes, and was buried in Lot 12, Square 19 of the Magnolia Cemetery in Mobile .


The following chronology is adapted from Stephen R. Wise’s Lifeline of the Confederacy (Columbia: University of South Carolina, 1988), Robert E. Denney’s The Civil War Years: A Day-by-Day Chronicle (New York: Grammercy, 1992), and U.S. Navy's Civil War Naval Chronology, 1861-1865 (Washington: Navy Department, 1971). Note that some dates of Denbigh’s arrivals and departures are unknown, and so have been left out of this chronology.

Date Denbigh Elsewhere
September 10, 1863 Denbigh is written up in a Liverpool area newspaper as being fitted out "to go to China." This attempt at what a later generation would call "disinformation" fools almost no one, least of all U.S. Consul Thomas Dudley, who's been keeping a close eye on this particular vessel.

October 19, 1863 Denbigh sails from Liverpool for Havana.

December 7, 1863 Assistant Secretary of the Navy Gustavus V. Fox forwards to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron intelligence reports on Denbigh and other suspected blockade runners.

January 10, 1864 Denbigh arrives at Mobile on her first blockade-running voyage. Confederate officers in Mobile are discussing the previous day’s message from President Jefferson Davis, warning that Mobile will soon be attacked by Admiral Farragut’s West Gulf Blockading Squadron.

March 14, 1864 Denbigh arrives at Mobile on her second blockade-running voyage.

March 16, 1864 Denbigh clears Mobile for Havana.

April 14, 1864 Denbigh arrives at Mobile on her third blockade-running voyage, carrying (among other things) a large lot of cobbler’s tools.

April 16, 1864 Denbigh clears Mobile for Havana.

April 30, 1864 Denbigh arrives at Mobile on her fourth blockade-running voyage.

May 7, 1864 Denbigh clears Mobile for Havana.

May 18, 1864 Denbigh arrives at Mobile on her fifth blockade-running voyage.
Confederate Admiral Franklin Buchanan, "Old Buck," manages to get the new ironclad ram Tennessee over Dog River Bar and into Mobile Bay. C.S.S. Tennessee greatly increases the strength of Confederate forces on the bay, and sets the stage for one of the most dramatic naval actions of the war.

May 26, 1864 Denbigh clears Mobile for Havana.
Union Rear Admiral Farragut, watching Confederate boats setting out mines at the entrance to Mobile Bay, writes that he has "come to the conclusion to fight the devil with fire, and therefore shall attach a torpedo to the bow of each ship, and see how it will work on the rebels -- if they can stand blowing up any better than we can."

June 7, 1864 Denbigh arrives at Mobile on her sixth blockade-running voyage.

June 14, 1864 Denbigh clears Mobile for Havana. At Cherbourg, France, Captain Semmes of the Confederate raider Alabama concludes that he will have to fight the U.S. Navy's steamer Kearsarge, which is waiting for him outside the harbor. Semmes judges that the ships are about evenly matched, and that he has a good chance of defeating the Union ship. He will be proven wrong five days later.

July 26, 1864 Denbigh clears Mobile for Havana. Mobile is now cut off from the sea – Denbigh is the last blockade runner to safely escape Mobile. In just over a week’s time, Admiral Farragut will lead his ships into Mobile Bay.

We recently received this email from Barto Arnold, DENBIGH Project Director.
Very nice site and very interesting material. Thank you for sending it to me.

Yours truly,

Barto Arnold

Barto Arnold
Principal Investigator and DENBIGH Project Director
Austin, Texas
Barto Arnold is a native of San Antonio and studied anthropology and archaeology at the University of Texas at Austin. Arnold’s introduction to nautical archaeology came when, as a graduate student, he was hired to work at the conservation laboratory handling artifacts taken by salvors from the 1554 Spanish wrecks on Padre Island. Arnold served for more than 20 years as the State Marine Archaeologist for the Texas Historical Commission, and in 1997 moved to the Institute of Nautical Archaeology as Director of Texas Operations.