[From the Acadian Recorder, May 3, '70]
The steamer Chicora, now owned by the Messrs. Milloy of Toronto and chartered to convey the Red River Expedition from Collingwood to Fort William, was built on the Clyde for the "Bee" Line (Messrs. Fraser, Trenholm & Co.,) and was employed during the American Rebellion in running the blockade between Charleston and the Bahama Islands. On one occasion she ran out from Charleston through the American convoy which was closely guarding the harbor, and after being chased fourteen and a half hours by the fast American gunboats Atlanta and Connecticut, she managed to reach her haven in safety. On this occasion, the captain's wife (Mrs. Coxsetter) stood at the wheel-house defiantly waving the British flag in the faces of the pursuing Yankees.
Her undaunted conduct instilled a spirit of heroic bravery into the crew and cheer after cheer rolled over the deep as shot after shot boomed from the chasers, who did their utmost to destroy or capture the gallant blockade runner. During the chase the Seward of the Chicora, who was a genuine Scotch bard, composed the following poem, which will be appreciated by all who take an interest in the gallant vessel. The Chicora was chased on several occasions but escaped with her usual good luck, passing scathless through the great American rebellion:--
The moon stinks to rest and the clouds darken o'er,
Our anchor's aweigh and we steer from the shore;
Nor beacon, nor buoy, no mark as our guide,
But the enemy's fleet as they ripple the tide.
Chicora! Chicora! hopes rest on they flight,
As thou glidest along through the dangers to-night;
While the sound of the guns, as the flash lights the foam,
Brings a thrill to the hearts of the lov'd ones at home.
Hard a port, steady so, quick, a cast of the lead,
There are breakers to starboard, a sail right ahead;
And another to port, ha! a rocket and gun,
And "a quarter less three," "open wide," let her run!
Fleet-winged Chicora, speed quick on thy way,
For the cruisers are closin in fast on their prey;
And they gloat even now o'er their prize of to-night,
But the Captain is firm, and the Pilot "all right".
The day opens clear, not a cloud in the sky,
But a light curl of smoke marks our course as we fly;
Light-hearted and jovial, right onward we go
With a look-out aloft, and good engine below.
White-winged Chicora, make speed while ye may,
Leave the gulls in your wake, to the crumbs of to-day;
For those who would be at the feast of the morn,
Must come from the East where the sunshine is born.
Hark! a hail from aloft, "There's a cruiser abeam,"
Keep her off, steady so, pass the word for all steam;
And now, Mr. Yank, if you're sharp, you may see
Our name on the stern, -- but look out, "Let her Bee."
Chicora! Chicora! glide swiftly o'er the sea,
And bring back my love with his kind heart to me;
The spray from the thy wheels, glistens bright in the sun,
But the cruiser's hull-down, and your welcome is won.
E. O. M.