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Captain W.H. Nelson of the Harvey Birch, Sworn protest at the November 19, 1861 destruction of his ship, November 22, 1861

Civil War at Sea Topic Image, Crew members of the USS Pawnee
The C.S.S. Nashville was a 1,200 ton former passenger side-wheeler fitted as a commerce raider. Commanded by Lieutenant Robert B. Pegram, she slipped out of Charleston on October 26, 1861. Nearing the British Isles on November 19, 1861, she boarded and burned the Harvey Birch, an American merchantman bound from Le Havre to New York. The Harvey Birch was the first American merchantman commerce raiders destroyed in the north Atlantic during the war. Captain Nelson and his crew were allowed to disembark at Southampton the next day, and the Nashville docked for repairs. Nelson gave a sworn and detailed account of the encounter, the loss of his ship, and events that followed, at the United States Consulate in London two days after that. The event and the subsequent diplomatic wrangling that followed the Nashville docking in Southampton were largely overshadowed by the ongoing Anglo-American crisis over the Trent Affair. (By John Osborne)

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