Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 35.djvu/254
240 Southern Historical Society Papers.
qualify, shape and control. But the sequel to its general observ- ance by Commander Waddell, of the Shenandoah, proves with what masterly hand it was drawn up. Captain Bulloch also procured from the distinguished Commodore Matthew F. Maury, "the pathfinder on the ocean," who had likewise followed the standard of Virginia, a full set of "whaling charts." This expe- dition was to be the work of another vessel. It was to operate in distant and extensive fields and against vessels whose voyages were not finished until they were filled with oil. For such work, remote from every source of supply of coal or other stores, a cruiser of peculiar construction, etc., was needed. She must have good sail power and sailing qualities to economize coal, and she must have auxiliary steam power to carry her through calms of the tropics and to get her out of any peril in which Arctic ice might place her. She must have a propeller that could be, when not in use, detached and hoisted out of water, so as not to impede her headway under sail. She must have a means of condensing steam into fresh water, for drinking purposes. She must have comfortable and healthy quarters for her crew and strength of construction to carry her battery.
The very vigilant professional eyes of Captain Bulloch and Lieutenant R. R. Carter, who was associated with him at that time, fell upon the trim new British steamship Sea King, when just on the eve of sailing from the Clyde for the East Indies on her first voyage. They, as far as circumstances permitted, pos- sessed themselves of thorough knowledge of her. She was built for an East Indian trader, with capacity, etc., to carry govern- ment troops, if desired. They were greatly impressed by her fine lines, sail power, deck capacity, arrangement of machinery, her hoisting propeller, etc., and Captain Bulloch saw in her the very vessel he wanted to convert into a cruiser against the whaling fleet. He kept track of her, laid his plans for purchase and quietly awaited her return to carry them out, making, ad interim, all. arrangements to speedily equip and dispatch her.
This and all his work required great caution, tact and judg- ment, for a sharp system of -espionage surrounded him all the time.
The Sea King was a composite built vessel. That is, had iron frame and teak wood planking about six inches thick. She was