Open main menu

Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 31.djvu/61

This page needs to be proofread.

Jefferson Davis, Privateer. 53

[From the Savannah News, December 1, 1903.]

JEFFERSON DAVIS, PRIVATEER. Thrilling Story of the Exploits of a Confederate Privateer.


The Confederate privateer, Jefferson Davis, previously the con- demned slave brig Echo, and which is said to have been owned at one time by J. R. Gilmore, better known as "Edmund Kirke," whose death recently occurred in New York, has a history which inspires younger generations, who know of the chivalric deeds of the Southerner in the 6o's only through listening to the war tales told by the gray-haired around the fireside, or through the reading of a few disconnected portions of the inside history of the hosts who saw their last banner furled at Appomattox, and wended their ways homeward to begin life over again after having revolutionized the wars of the world.

On bloody battlefields and on the high seas the soldiers and sail- ors of the Confederacy covered themselves with glory, their fighting qualities giving to the world a story of selfsacrificing greatness un- precedented in the history of nations, to marvel at and to hand down to oncoming generations, but few of the adventures of the warrior of the South, which were not buried with the gray-clad hero, are more thrilling than those of the crew of the privateer named after the President of the Confederacy. ' ] ,

The Jefferson Davis was 230 tons register and rated at i^, was a full-rigged brig, and carried four waist-guns, two eighteen-pounders and two twelve-pounders, and one long eighteen-pounder of old English make, amidships. Starting out upon a privateering expe- dition in 1861, she was in command of Captain Lewis M. Coxeter, who will be remembered by the older citizens of Savannah as the commander of steam-packets plying between Charleston, Savannah and Jacksonville.

Soon after leaving Charleston the Davis reaped a rich harvest in capturing Federal vessels with an estimated value of over $225,000. When the Davis captured the John Welsh, off Hatteras, Captain