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Stag

 

(SwStr: t. 600 [771]; l. 230'; b. 26'; dph. 9'6" [10'9"]; dr. 7'6"; sp. 16 k.; cl. Owl)

 

Stag was a fast, modern, steel paddle-steamer built for the Confederate Navy at Liverpool as Jones, Quiggin & Co.'s Hull No. 169 in 1864 to the order of Comdr. James D. Bulloch, CSN. A superior ship, "one of a number of steamers to be run under the direction of the Navy Department," she sailed from the Mersey on her maiden voyage in August, getting away from Nassau about 1 September. She was busily running out of the Carolinas—Charleston and Wilmington—the rest of the year, to Nassau or Bermuda.

 

Secretary Mallory wrote Lt. Richard H. Gayle, Provisional Navy, C.S., 6 December 1864, "It is understood that the new steamer Stag, now at Wilmington, will be at once turned over to this Department." Gayle relieved British Captain J. M. Burroughs (cf. Cornubia,) formal transfer taking place about the 12th, as arranged by William H. Peters, special (fiscal) agent, C.S. Navy Department, Wilmington. Their correspondence, however, suggests this was not the Stag renamed Kate Gregg in October, as reported by the U. S. Consul in Nassau, but an older and larger Stag with capacity for 1,200 cotton bales whereas the new Owl-class Stag was unmistakably rated at only 850 bales on a draft of 7'6".

 

Capt. J. F. Green, USN, Senior Officer Offshore Blockade, can be thanked for preserving in official records, "Rumor says that the Stag is to be converted into" a gunboat, along with Badger (destroyed about this time)—ironic in view of the sequel: five months later Admiral D. D. Porter, USN, victor over Fort Caswell that protected Wilmington, wrote from Smithville, N.C., 20 January 1865, "I had the blockade runners' lights lit last night, and was obliging enough to answer their signals, whether right or wrong we don't know*** Stag and Charlotte, from Bermuda, loaded with arms, blankets, shoes, etc., came in and quietly anchored near the [flagship] Malvern [v. William G. Hewes]and were taken possession of***I intrusted this duty to Lt. [William B.] Gushing [in Monticello], who performed it with his usual good luck and intelligence. These two are very fast vessels and valuable prizes. They threw a portion of their papers overboard immediately on finding they were trapped***The Stag received three shots in her as she ran by our blockaders outside." Thus the curtain fell at 0200, the 20th, in New Inlet, N.C.; on the 24th, "hatches battened down" and hold "not entered", Stag was ordered to New York under a prize master, Actg. Master E. S. Goodwin, USN.

 

She was sold that year to F. Nickerson of Boston and became an asset to his coastwise service to New York and New Orleans as Zenobia. In 1867 George Savary & Co. bought her; resold 17 November in Buenos Aires for $82,000, she disappeared from the North American scene, although she is believed to have lived on until 1885 or later.