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Agrippina

 

(Bark: t. 285; l. 97'; b. 24'4"; dph. 16'5")

 

Agrippina was a British bark built at Scarborough by the Tindall yard in 1834 and engaged in the Mediterranean trade when bought or chartered secretly by the Confederacy in 1862; she acted as the first and principal tender to the raider Alabama throughout her meteoric career. One distinguishing mark recorded of her is hull painted "black with a yellow bead along the sides."

 

Orders of 28 July 1862 written by Commander Bulloch and signed by the ostensible "owner," Mr. A. Hamilton, St. Helen's Place, London, told British Capt. Alexander McQueen—whom the U.S. Consul dubbed "a most active rebel agent"—to proceed to Praya, Island of Terceira in the Azores and await the Enrica (Alabama),which he should recognize when she should "stop a white English ensign to the after shroud of the main rigging * * * you will answer with your number, after which you can communicate freely." Captain McQueen was told that Capt. Matthew S. Butcher (master until relieved by Semmes at Praya) would give him written orders thereafter but, "You are to consider all orders from the commander of the steamer [Alabama] as authorized by us, with or without any other letter of advice."

 

Later Agrippina, coaled and rearmed Alabama at uninhabited Blanquilla Island in the Caribbean, at Praya again in mid-January 1864, and elsewhere, while Federal cruisers searched in her wake all over the Caribbean and South Atlantic. Once in May-June 1863 USS Mohican and Onward cornered both Agrippina and Castor (Georgia's tender) in Bahia and stayed there in Brazilian waters until their presence forced the two barks to sell their coal and gunpowder in consideration of a clearance from the port; Agrippina loaded "pecava" and rosewood for London, thus being unable to meet Semmes at the Cape of Good Hope as ordered.