Rose O’Neale Greenhow’s European Diary

 
Transcribed and Annotated by Bev Crowe and John W. O’Neal, II

Page 1
At twelve o’clock in the morning of 5th August I left Wilmington to go on board the Phantom, one of the vessels of the Confederate States successfully engaged in running the blockade between this Port and the island of Bermuda.Capt. Porter (1) of the Phantom(2) and Mr. Seixas (3) our polite and Gentlemanly agent at Wilmington escorted us aboard. Soon after we dropped down the river to be in readiness for the tide and the friendly screen of night to get over the bar and through the blockading squadron out at sea, when we should consider ourselves fairly launched upon our voyage. 

During the day all was preparation in the little vessel. She had been but recently transferred to the confederate service having been built and owned by one of our Merchant Marines Mr. Trenholm(4) of Charleston. Capt. Porter being in command for the first time.  I was his only passenger including my little girl. The Capt. took me to my stateroom where everything good taste could suggest was provided for my comfort.I busied myself in arranging the necessary toilet articles for the voyage with a distinct foreshadowing of the inutility of such ... 

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1    Captain Stephan G. Porter was furloughed Naval Officer assigned to the Confederate Ordinance Bereau.

2    More than three hundred steamers made over 1,300 attempts to run the blockade during the Civil War. Many of these were normal merchant vessels, but an ever-increasing number were purpose-built, with low silhouettes, light draft, and high speed. Blockade Runners were designed for hauling freight, not passengers.
Phantom: length 190', beam 22', draft 8' 6", crew 33, speed 18 knots. Phantom is said to have been one of the original line of Confederate Government steamers operated between Wilmington NC and Bermuda by the CSA Ordnance Bureau. She was a "very handsome," steel-plated, screw steamer of 170 horsepower, constructed at Liverpool late in 1862 as "Hull No. 167" by a "G. Hillman"; drawings of her lines, captioned in German, do not specify the builder's yard. She seems to have left Liverpool early in April 1863. Chased ashore by USS Connecticut, she was lost on her third run into the Cape Fear, 23 September 1863, near Rich or New Topsail Inlet above Fort Fisher and fired by her crew, who made good their escape in the lifeboats. Boats from Connecticut could not get near her to put out the fires or get her off. One landsman in a boat making the attempt was killed by Confederate sharpshooters.
Source: From the Famous Blockade Runner Website. 

3    J. M. Seixas
 was a Special War Department Agent in Wilmington, N.C. (Coincidentally, he was also a pall bearer at Rose’s funeral)
 

4    George Trenholm of Fraser, Trenholm & Company, which was the largest blockade running firm in the Confederacy.