Edited by board administrator June 23, 2014, 7:56 am
Oh come on Taylor! What about the USS Fort Donelson?
OK let me take you back to the days of the American civil war. The South was not a manufacturing entity but badly needed hardware to conduct the struggle against the more mechanized North. And this is where Britain with an eye to trade stepped in. It wasn't a case of the rights or wrongs of the situation, it was a case of trade, of business. Very soon it was in for a penny and in for a pound with hundreds of steam ships breaking the USN blockade of southern ports. There was a frenzy of ship building in the UK not unlike the Liberty ship program. Not that Great Britain was sympathetic to slavery which had been banned throughout the Empire decades before. In fact these blockade runners gave passage to whole families of slaves on the return voyage to the staging post of British Bermuda. (You may care to read the story of one of those freed slaves who eventually became a US Senator.)
Yes yes Taylor! And the Fort Donelson?
All right, the USS Fort Donelson started life as a UK merchant ship the 'Giraffe' before getting involved in the lucrative trade with the South. It was then purchased by the CSN and renamed the CSS Robert E Lee. No prizes for guessing what happened next, you're right it was captured by the USN and became our friend the USS Fort Donelson. It successfully saw the war out and returned to being a merchantman with the name Isabella.
But after a time it was bought by the Chilean Navy and took the name Conception. And thatís definitely the end of the ship, possibly.