Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 33.djvu/193

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Seals, Stamps and Currency. 189

plates. Eventually steel plates were obtained and beautiful speci- mens of the engraver's art were turned out, equaling the best work of the day."

Mr. Baumgarten ran the blockade in the closing days of the strug- gle. In the latter two years of the war the subject of erecting mints for the coinage of silver and gold was discussed, and Baumgarten was sent to England to make necessary arrangements for doing this. He was furnished with credentials to persons in England and drafts on the London fiscal agents of the Confederate States, amounting to more than ,2, 000,000 with which to purchase machinery.

He went from Richmond to Wilmington, where the start to run the blockade was to be made. Presenting his credentials to the of- ficers in charge of the port, he was put abord a blockade runner due to get out at the first favorable opportunity.

After waiting an entire day, Mr. Baumgarten approached the Captain and asked the reason for the delay. The Captain handed him a pair of marine glasses and told him to take a look. The glass- es revealed fourteen Yankee gunboats lying off the harbor in a semi- circle.

"Do you think you'd try to get through that?" asked the Cap- tain. "We can only go under the most favorable conditions, and I am ready, rather than be captured, to blow up the ship and all on board."

The vessel had a cargo of cotton, and most of the bales were ranged upon the desks along the rails, fastened together with chains and forming a bulwark about the height of a man's, being a splendid protection against a cannon shot. Mr. Baumgarten was led to a spot immediately over the forecastle. There the Captain, lifting a tarpaulin which covered the desk, displayed to the astonished gaze of Mr. Baumgarten about six bushels of coarse gunpowder which the Captain said was to be used in "blowing everybody to hell if capture seemed inevitable."

At midnight the blockade runner started. Bermuda was reached safely, but Mr. Baumgarten had to wait there two weeks to get a vessel to Liverpool and this delay proved disastrous to him in a financial way.

An uneventful voyage brought him to Liverpool and thence to London. There he presented his credentials and drafts, and sought to get down to business at once. The fiscal agent, how-