CSS Robert E. Lee

CSS Robert E. Lee

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CSS Robert E. Lee

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CSS Robert E. Lee was a blockade runner for the Confederate States during the American Civil War that later served in the United States Navy as USS Fort Donelson and in the Chilean Navy as Concepción.

CSS Robert E. Lee

Robert E. Lee was originally the merchant ship Giraffe, a schooner-rigged, iron-hulled, oscillating-engined paddle-steamer with two stacks, built on the River Clyde in Scotland during the autumn of 1862 as a fast Glasgow-Belfast packet. Alexander Collie & Co. of Manchester acquired her for their blockade-running fleet, but were persuaded by renowned blockade-runner Lieutenant John Wilkinson, CSN, to sell her to the Confederate States Navy for the same £32,000 just paid.

Her first voyage was into Old Inlet, Wilmington, North Carolina in January 1863 with valuable munitions and 26 Scottish lithographers, eagerly awaited by the Confederate Government bureau of engraving and printing. On January 26, Union intelligence maintained she "could be captured easily" at anchor in Ossabaw Sound, but this was not to be for another 10 months. Running out again, Robert E. Lee started to establish a nearly legendary reputation for blockade running by leaving astern blockader .

Lieutenant Richard H. Gayle, CSN, assumed command in May 1863, relieving Lieutenant John Wilkinson; but Wilkinson was conning the ship again out of the Cape Fear River from Smithville, North Carolina on October 7, 1863, as recounted by Lieutenant Robert D. Minor, CSN, in a letter to......
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