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“Capture of the United States mail steamer Ariel, Captain Jones, off the east end of Cuba, by the pirate Alabama (’290’), Captain Semmes, December 7th, 1862. Report of the first officer of the Ariel: ‘On the 7th of December, at 1:30 P.M., when rounding Cape Maysi, the eastern point of Cuba, we saw a vessel about four miles to the westward, close under the high land, bark-rigged and under canvas. As there was nothing in her appearance indicating her to be a steamer, her smokepipe being down, no suspicions were aroused until in a short time we saw she had furled her sails, raised her smokestack, and was rapidly nearing us under steam, the American flag flying at her peak. Such was her speed in comparison to ours that in about half an hour she had come up within half a mile of us, when she fired a lee gun, hauled down the American ensign and ran up the Confederate flag. No attention was paid to the summons, and the Ariel was pushed to her utmost speed. She then sailed across our wake, took a position on our port quarter, about four hundred yards distant, and fired two guns almost simultaneously, one shot passing over the hurricane deck, and the other hitting the foremast and cutting it half away. A body of United States marines, consisting of 126 men, passengers on board the Ariel, had been drawn up and armed, but the officers in command deemed it worse than folly to resist, as we could plainly see they were training a full broadside to bear upon us, and Captain Jones gave orders to stop the ship and haul down the ensign.’"— Frank Leslie, 1896


Frank Leslie Famous Leaders and Battle Scenes of the Civil War (New York, NY: Mrs. Frank Leslie, 1896)


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