Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Ships of Rebel Raiders   -  The Don

Rebel Raiders on the High Seas is a strategic game of the Civil War which focuses on the role of the navies on the rivers, along the coasts and on the oceans.  While most ships are represented by generic counters for Ironclads, Blockade Runners, Gunboats, Screw Sloops and, of course Raiders, there are cards and corresponding counters for many individual vessels.  This series presents those cards and offers a glimpse into the history of these storied ships.

The Blockade Runners -  The Don

With few arsenals or factories of its own, the Confederacy relied upon European manufacturers for much of its war material as well as other vital supplies.  As European vessels would not cross the Union naval blockade to deliver those goods into Southern ports, the South relied upon a fleet of swift merchantmen to “run” the blockade.  

The Don (CSN Card 66) was a particularly fast twin-screw, two-stacker Blockade Runner.   Capable of 14 knots and drawing only six feet, The Don was hard to run down and could slip into coastal inlets to hide.  The vessel cost $115,000 to build, but made back that and more for her owners, who included the State of North Carolina and Francis Muir of Pudding Lane in London and on her first trip from England via Nassau in 1863.  Her 32-year-old captain, Fred Cory, made a second similarly successful voyage, but on his third trip his ship was caught off Beauport, on March 4, 1864, by the wooden screw gunboat USS Pequot.

On that final voyage the ship was packed not with weapons and munitions, but with uniforms, blankets and shoes, a cargo valued at over $200,000 – or twice what it cost to build The Don.

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