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Matagorda

 

(SwStr: t. 616 dw., 1,250 gr.; l. 220'; b. 30'; dph. 10'6")

 

Matagorda, also known as Alice, was an iron side-wheeler built in 1858 as their Hull No. 53 by Harlan & Hollingsworth, Wilmington, an old Delaware River shipbuilder. One of 14 owned by Charles Morgan's Southern S. S. Co., she was "impressed for public service" 15 January 1862 by Maj. Gen. Mansfield Lovell, CSA, acting on orders from Secretary of War Benjamin. Too valuable as a Government-owned blockade runner, Matagorda was not one of the trio chosen for conversion to cottonclad rams—small towing steamers with low-pressure" power plant serving more satisfactorily as gunboats. Under a Captain Cole, she made successful runs with 1,000 bales of cotton to Havana from Gulf ports such as Sabine Pass, Tex. Under Capt. William Stumminger, she was chased for 6˝ hours, while she jettisoned her whole deck cargo of 200 bales in an attempt to increase speed and tempt her pursuer, but was finally run down and captured, 10 September 1864, by USS Magnolia (q.v. supra as Confederate), 75 miles off Cape San Antonio, Cuba.