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Letter from the Acting U.S. Consul-General at Havana to Capt. T.P. Greene, U.S. Navy, regarding the movements of blockade runners

Just as U.S. Consul Thomas Dudley had kept a close watch on Denbigh at Liverpool, his counterpart in Havana, Thomas Savage, followed her comings and goings closely there.


Havana, August 25, 1864.

Captain T. P. GREENE,
Commanding East Gulf Blockading Squadron.

SIR: The Anglo-rebel steamer Mail (or Susanna) sailed yesterday morning.for Galveston. The Denbigh is ready to leave at any moment, and carries a very valuable cargo. She cleared for Bermuda; may go to Wilmington; but the information I have is that her destination is Galveston.

1 accompany herewith a copy of a letter that reached me yesterday from Nuevitas, in this island.  I have sent no answer to the writer, because I have no authority to to make the pecuniary arrangement which he proposed.  Are you authorized to enter into it, and would you do so? The man is unknown to me, and I am unable to say how reliable he may be.  If he can give the information which he says that he posesses, and is willing to furnish us, the price demanded is not large, but I do not feel at liberty to pay it on account of the Government.  [There follows a letter from an informant offering military intellegence on Confederate naval operations in exchange for $4,000 in gold.]

Please to advise me immediately what you think about it and whether you would enter into the arrangement proposed by the writer of the letter.

The steamer Frances [also known as Marian and Zephine], of New York, has been sold here to an Englishman named George Thomas Watson residing here. She is of 679 tons, of iron, I believe, and probably fast, built at Wilmington, Del. The bill of sale was for 26,000. 1 have no doubt she is to be used as a blockade runner. The latest date [i.e., newspaper] we have from New York is to the 13th, in the Nassau papers; they give accounts of the doings of the privateer Tallahassee. She burned six vessels, some about 60 miles from New York; is represented as a very fine, fast steamer.

I beg of you to return me an immediate answer to this letter, that I may know what to say to the writer of the letter from Nuevitas. How would it do to send a trustworthy person there to see the writer, and if everything is satisfactory, make the arrangement, provided that you have authority to pay such a sum of money as the man calls for? Our latest date from New Orleans is of the 8th. We are anxious to get news from both New York and Mobile. May I ask of you the favor to send me late papers if you have any.

With much respect, I am, sir, your obedient servant,

Acting Consul-General

N.B. -- The Denbigh can not make over 8 miles per hour, and her boilers are in a bad condition. Thirteen schooners, I am advised, lately got safe into the Suwanee River, west coast of Plorida.

T. S.


Source:  Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series I, Vol. 17.

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Credits & Thank-Yous

J. Barto Arnold et al. 1998-2000, The Denbigh Project, World Wide Web,
Institute of Nautical Archaeology, Texas A&M University, E-mail: (  
Monday, July 03, 2000 Revision.

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