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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORY AND HERITAGE COMMAND
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Bat

 

(SwStr: t. 750; l. 230'; b. 26'; dr. 8'1"; s. 16 k.; cl. Owl)

 

Bat and her sisters—Owl, Stag, Deer—were side-wheelers, long, low, molded steel hulls, schooner-rigged, fore and aft, with two funnels. They had twin, 180-nominal h.p., vertical, double-oscillating, Watt engines and capacity for 800 to 850 bales of cotton, plus enough anthracite to return from Nassau, Havana or Bermuda.

 

The quarto was built by Jones, Quiggin & Co., Liverpool, for Capt. James D. Bulloch, CSN, principal Confederate Navy purchasing agent in Britain. They were Government-owned ships, reporting to the Army Chief of Ordnance, were commanded by CSN captains, carried pilots and as many other CSN regulars as available— but keeping a British master to bring the ship out of the United Kingdom and "front" for them so as not to lose her mercantile register before she reached Confederate waters and until any outstanding liens were paid in full. The Owl class was the first new building program after this pattern and, despite the Army's presence in their management, Navy kept a good share of control: Secretary Mallory speaks of the Owls as "under this Department" and of "this Department having to defray the expenses of the vessels sailing under its direction." [cf. Cornubia]

 

Bat, the second ship, reached Halifax on her maiden voyage and ran down to the Cape Fear River, attempting entrance the night of 8 October 1864 with a cargo of shoe machinery and 200 tons of coal; she was turned back by the blockaders Eolus and Emma and chased by Vicksburg. The morning of the 10th, Captain A. Hora, an "old blockade runner," tried again and was hit by USS Montgomery in the forecastle before her speed, double that of Montgomery, could save Bat. The 30-pounder amputated the leg of seaman Match Madick, an Austrian, who had been captain of the forecastle in Alabama during her battle with Kearsarge;Captain Hora surrendered and called Montgomery's surgeon but Madick died.

 

Less than a month old, Bat was taken into Beaufort and bought by the Navy from the Boston Prize Court in November for $150,000. Valuable to the Union the remainder of the war in the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, USS Bat was sold at public auction in New York, 25 October 1865. One time in March 1865 she had been Admiral Porter's flagship. Renamed Teazer, 1865-72, she next became Miramichi, for the New Brunswick river, and a Canadian institution in the St. Lawrence and Gulf of Newfoundland trade, avoiding the breakers until after 1902.