Friday, October 14, 2011

Mason and Slidell Run the Blockade-- Part 2

James Mason and John Slidell now even considered journeying to Mexico to embark on their trans-Atlantic journey. But then, they found the Gordon, a 500-ton sidewheel steamer, which had already run the blockade several times and was under the capable command of Captain Thomas J. Lockwood.

It was not, however, big enough to go directly to England, so the two men who have to go to Havana, Cuba, and get another ship to get across the Atlantic. At least, this part of the trip would be on a neutral ship.

Should a neutral ship be stopped by the US Navy and mason and Slidell taken off, this would cause an international incident.

On October 9th, the Gordon was chartered for $10,000 and its name changed to Theodora (probably because it had also previously been a privateer). The Confederate envoys boarded it on the night of October 11th. Slidell also had his wife and four children with him and his secretary had his whole family along as well.

At 1 am, the following morning, the Theodora exited Charleston Harbor in the rain and clouds and passed within a mile and a half of one Union ship and was on its way to Havana. mason and Slidell were on their way to a date with history when they were stopped on the British ship Trent.

Really Running the Blockade. --Old B-Runner

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