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A Steamer Named Alice

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Recent activity149810 of 180752Walker, Confederate AgentTales from the Blockade (title page)
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Posted 7 years ago


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Another of the extremely successful blockade-running steamers, with 24 successful runs, was the Alice. An iron-hulled, sidewheel steamer, she was built by Caird and Company in Greenock, Scotland in 1857 as the Sirius. She was purchased by the Importing & Exporting Company of South Carolina in 1863 for $244,403 Confederate. She returned briefly to Scotland in 1864 for repairs.

Her success was undoubtedly due to the talents of her captains. An article appeared in a July 1863 issue of the Nassau Advertiser that praised her new commander as follows:
Capt. Egan, Commanding Steamship Alice:
DEAR SIR: The undersigned passengers on your ship from Charleston to this port, beg leave to express to you their admiration of your skill as commander, and your deportment as a gentleman to those who have
the good fortune to travel with you.

At all times the navigation of the sea is one of peril; if so in time of peace, how much more so is it when you not only have to encounter its usual dangers, but also are in constant dread of an enemy, perhaps even
more dangerous. A good navigator such as you have proved yourself, can escape the perils of the ocean by your skill in the profession, but that knowledge will prove of but little avail when the bullets and shot of the enemy are whizzing around the wheel, the management of which is to bring you safe in port -- therefore it is with sincere pleasure that we congratulate you on the safety of your ship, self, and the undersigned, on this your first trip in command of so fine a steamer.

Captain Egan had recently replaced another famous captain of the Alice, James Carlin. An American steamboat captain and one of the first captains employed by the Importing and Exporting Company of South Carolina, he had the requisite experience to be both pilot and captain. In 1863 Carlin was sent by the firm to England to assist the company in constructing and outfitting additional blockade runners.

Posted By Richard Frajola

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