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[Extraordinary Capture at Sea]

The Illustrated London News, vol. 39, no. 1118, p. 521.

November 23, 1861

Extraordinary Capture at Sea.—The following strange story was telegraphed from Southampton, through Mr. Reuter's office:— "Southampton,Thursday.—A large paddle-steamer, the Nashville, flying the Confederate flag, has just arrived in our river and landed the captain and crew of the American ship Harvey Birch. Captain Nelson, of the Harvey Birch, reports having left havre on Saturday last, the 17th inst., bound for New York, in ballast. On the 19th inst., when in lat. 42 deg. 6 min. N., long. 9 deg. 52 min. W., she was brought to by the Confederate steamer Nashville, Commander Peagrim, late of the United States' navy. The Harvey Birch was immediately boarded by the officers and crew of the Nashville, who at once ordered the captain and crew on board the steamer, allowing them to take a few of their effects and fresh provisions. Captain Peagrim then ordered the Harvey Birch to be fired, and laid alongside until she was burnt to the water's edge. Captain Nelson is just landed with his crew and officers, twenty-nine in all, and has immediattely placed himself in communication with Captain Britton, the United States' Consul at this port. The Nashville is still lying in the river, flying the Southern Confederate flag. Captain Nelson says that Commander Peagrim states he has no commission from the Southern Government as a war-steamer, and yet declares he is not a privateer. No Southern Commissioners have arrived by the Nashville. There are, however, on board a Colonel Peyton and lady. Colonel Peyton appears to have some commission to execute, as he proceeds to London immediately. The Nashville has experienced very bad weather since running the blockade at Charleston. Her crew consists of English and Irish, who, after shipment, were compelled to sign other articles. The whole of the crew of the Harvey Birch, with the exception of Captain Nelson and his two officers, were placed in irons until arriving here. Captain Peagrim endeavoured to make Captain Nelson and his crew take an oath of allegiance to the Confederate Government. Captain Peagrim has communicated with Mr. Yancey."

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