The Ships of Rebel Raiders -
CSS Robert E. Lee
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.
Built in England as the merchant ship Giraffe, unlike most blockade runners which were either owned by private individuals or commissioned by the states, the Robert E. Lee was part of the regular navy – hence the
CSS before its name. Among the more important of its 21 voyages
was a trip to Halifax to deliver
cotton and a number of key passengers, including 20 naval officers destined to
serve aboard other blockade runners and raiders. Her frequent runs, however, were between Bermuda
Naval officer Lt. Richard H. Gayle took command in May 1863 and eluded capture several times, but on
November 9, 1863 his ship was finally run down off the North
Carolina shore by a pair of Union warships: USS
Iron Age and USS James Adger. The Navy took her as a prize, armed and
rechristened her USS Fort Donelson and put her into service on the blockade.