Thursday, March 04, 2010

The Capture Of The Royal Yacht 1861.

Of Galveston Bar, Texas, November 12, 1861.

Sir: I respectfully inform you that on the night. of the 7th instant an expedition left this ship, composed of the first and second launches, armed with howitzers, under command of Lieutenant James E. Jouett and John J. Mitchell, with Mr. William Carter, gunner, and Acting Master’s Mate Charles W. Adams, which I am happy to inform you resulted in the total destruction, by fire, of the schooner Royal Yacht, captured after a desperate encounter. She was a large schooner, with accommodations for about twenty-five persons. She carried a 32-pound gun on a circle, and was handsomely fitted up. She appeared nightly off the entrance of the harbor, and I was apprehensive that she was fitted out as a privateer, and was awaiting a favorable opportunity to escape.

Thirteen prisoners were taken, three of whom are wounded. Several of the rebels were killed. It is with deep regret that I have to add that Henry Garcia, seaman, was killed during the action, and John L. Emerson, coxswain, has since died of his wounds. Lieutenant James E. Jouett and Mr. William Carter, gunner, are wounded, but are doing well; their services we shall not have for some time. The following men are wounded: Edward Conway, gunner’s mate; Geo. Bell, coxswain; Francis Brown, seaman; Hugh McGregor, ordinary seaman; and Charles Hawkins, seaman. The surgeon reports that they are all doing well. A copy of my orders and Lieutenant Jouctt’s official report, with my remarks upon the gallant conduct of the officers and men engaged in the expedition, I will forward by the next steamer.

Lieutenant Jouett is not yet well enough to make out his report. The prisoners will be sent to New York by the next steamer. One of them is the notorious villain Thomas Chubb; and it is my opinion that they are a desperate set of fellows. I take this opportunity to mention that we are very short of officers, on account of so many having been transferred, two being away in the prize, two being in the schooners, and the illness of Lieutenant Jouett and Mr. Carter. I respectfully request that Acting Master Freeman, or some watch officer, may be ordered to this ship.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant, HENRY EAGLE, captain.

JAMES E. JOUETT, report.

Of Galveston Bar, Texas, November 14, 1861.

SIR: In obedience to your orders of the 7th instant, I took the first and second launches, and, at 11.40 p. m. that day, proceeded into the harbor, intending, if we could pass the armed schooner guarding the channel, and the Boliva.r and Point forts, to try to surprise and burn the man-of-war steamer General Rusk, lying under Pelican island fort.

We succeeded in passing the schooner and two forts; but in attempting to avoid the sentinels on Pelican fort, we grounded on the Bolivar spit. At this juncture we were discovered. Deeming it imprudent, after this discovery, to encounter so large a vessel, and so heavily armed and manned, I determined to abandon that portion of the expedition.

As had been my intention, in returning we boarded, and after a sharp conflict, captured ihe armed schooner Royal Yacht. We took a few stands of arms, thirteen prisoners, and her colors. As our pilot had been shot down, and the schooner had received a shell between wind and water, I did not deem it advisable to attempt to bring her out; we therefore burned her, after spiking her gun, a light 32-pounder. After this we returned to the ship. I regret to state that one man was killed, two officers and six men wounded, one mortally, who has since died.
Respectfully your obedient servant, JAMES E. JOUETT, Lieutenant United States Navy.


To be read on. the quarter-deck of every ship attached to the Gulf squadron.

December 7, 1862.

The commander-in-chief of the United States naval forces in the Gulf of Mexico is anxious to express, in the most public manner, his entire appreciation of the gallantry and coolness displayed by the officers and men of the United States frigate Santee, engaged in the expedition, for the seizure and destruction of the privateer schooner Royal Yacht in the harbor of Galveston on the night of the 7th ultimo.

He desires to assure them that he fully shares the satisfaction they must feel at the brilliant success which crowned their efforts ; offers his sincere sympathy to the wounded, and to the friends of those whose lives were given to the service of their country; and, while expressing his conviction that their names will be enrolled by a grateful country among those who in former years have shed so bright a luster upon the American navy, feels confident that the survivors will unite with him in thanksgivings to the protecting providence manifested to them while engaged in so hazardous an enterprise.
W. W. McKEAN, Flag- Officer, Commanding Gulf Blockading Squadron.

Side Note.

Henry Eagle, Midshipman, 1 January, 1818. Lieutenant, 3 March, 1827. Commander, 4 June, 1844. Captain, 14 September, 1855. Commodore, 16 July, 1862. Retired List, 1 January, 1863. Died 26 November, 1882.

James E. Jouett, Midshipman, 10 September, 1841. Passed Midshipman, 10 August, 1847. Master, 14 September, 1855. Lieutenant, 15 September, 1855. Lieutenant Commander, 16 July, 1862. Commander, 25 July, 1866. Captain, 6 January, 1874. Commodore, 11 January, 1883. Rear Admiral, 19 February, 1886. Retired List, 27 February, 1890.

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