Blockade runners 1864

Liverpool Daily Post

Sept 21st 1864


The Yellow Fever continues to rage in Bermuda, and its ravages are lamentable, scarcely one vessel in the harbour but had to hoist her flag “half-mast,” once - twice, indeed, in more than one case - till most of the crew had succumbed to the epidemic.

This was particularly the case with the Liverpool steamer POWERFUL and the sailing ship KITTY JONES. The captain of the FLAMINGO was reported dead, also Capt BUTCHER of the OWL. Capt BUTCHER was one of the greatest Confederate navigators afloat, second only to Capt SEMMES. It was Capt BUTCHER who navigated the ALABAMA when she left the Mersey and who took her to Terceira, where Capt SEMMES assumed command, indeed, he has always played an important part in Confederate business in English waters. He subsequently had command of the SOUTHERNER, and, still later, that of the OWL, in which last command he was when at Bermuda, intending to run the blockade of some southern port.

His sudden death will not only be mourned by a large circle of friends in Liverpool and England, but will be a heavy blow to the Confederates and their cause, by whom he was much respected and highly valued.

The OWL had left Bermuda for Halifax, principally on account of the fever.

This “steering north,” for Halifax had been rather extensively entered into by the blockade-runners, for we here of no less than seven being there - the FLAMINGO, the NORTH HEATH, the HELEN, the LITTLE HATTIE, the FALCON, the CONSTANCE, and the OWL. The FALCON had made an unsuccessful attempt to enter Wilmington, but, being so closely pressed by the squadron, put back to sea and returned to Halifax. The CONSTANCE had also returned after an unsuccessful attempt to run the blockade.

The OWL and the HELEN were expected to sail about the 10th of August. The fever at Nassau was decreasing rapidly, very few cases being now reported. It had, however, caused almost a stagnation of trade.

A sad accident occurred to the steamer MARY BOWERS when on her last outward voyage to Charleston. While attempting the Long Island channel she struck an unknown wreck, and almost immediately filled and sank. The crew and passengers took to her boats and were landed safely at Charleston. She had a valuable cargo.

The prize steamer LILIAN, the capture of which we reported last week, has arrived at Philadelphia in charge of a prize crew.


Kindly forwarded by Dorothy McKay

The reported death of Capt Matthew James Butcher in the Liverpool Daily Post Sept 21st 1864, was refuted by the following report from the Liverpool Telegraph Sept 21st 1864. He was the Great Grandfather of my husband.

The Reported Death of Captain Butcher

We are exceedingly glad to learn that the reported death of this gallant commander is premature, and sorry that we have been the means of this report. We had it from undoubted authority he unfortunately having been misled by a passenger per steamer Darien from Bermuda, reporting the death of a gentleman bearing this similar name as Capt. Butcher of the Owl. We regret that this mistake has arisen.

Matthew James Butcher eventually died in Edinburgh, 18 October 1909

James Butcher, was the father of Matthew Butcher, and he was described also as a Master Mariner, until the 1881 Census where he is described as a Collector. The family were living at 160 Chatham Street at the time of the 1881 Census


Liverpool Journal

Nov 10th 1864

Telegram, via CITY OF WASHINGTON, Nov 1st 1864

Movements of the Blockade Runners

Arrived at Havannah, ST FRANCIS with 1,050 bales of cotton, JANE with 500 bales. The DENBIGH is expected.

All from Galveston, sailed, LIZZIE, SUSANNAH.


At Charleston the steamers, COQUETTE, STAG and DIANA.

The CONSTANCE has been totally lost.

Arrived at Bermuda from Wilmington, THE WILD ROVER and OWL.

Captured, the steamers, HOPE, FLORA, BAT and LET HER RIP.

Arrived at Wilmington, the steamers BADGER, BANSHEE, ATLANTA and EDITH.

On shore the steamer, LYNX, NIGHT HAWK and CONDOR.

At Halifax the steamers, HELEN, COLONEL LAMB [since sailed], PTARMIGAN, DOMINION

The RACER and CITY OF PETERSBURG have returned twice.

At Mobile, the steamers, VIRGIN, REDGAUNTLET, the MARY and HEROINE expected to arrive at Havana shortly.


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