English Steamer Queen of the Wave Runs Aground at the Mouth of North Santee Inlet (Naval Event - non-combat)

County: 
Georgetown County, S.C.
Conflict: 
American Civil War
Date: 
24 February 1863 - 25 February 1863
Forces Engaged: 
English Queen of Wave
Forces Engaged: 
U. S. S. Conemaugh under Lieutenant Eastman
Campaign: 
South Atlantic Blockading Squadron
Result: 
Union forces destroyed the Queen of Wave and captured part of her crew.

Lieutenant Commander Eastman of the U.S.S. Conemaugh reported that “on the morning of the 24th February [1863] a steamer was discovered lying at anchor outside the bar.”1 The Conemaugh was reportedly unable to get out and the steamer got underway at about 8:00 a.m. and “stood in slowly for the North Santee River, and ran ashore at the mouth of the river.”1 She was identified as the “English steamer Queen of the Wave, loaded with an assorted cargo, and her crew had deserted her and set her on fire.”1

Lieutenant Eastman reported on her condition stating that the “inside of the vessel and the greater portion of her cargo is destroyed, but her hull and engines are in good order.”1 The next day Eastman “sent down an armed boat to wreck the steamer, and on approaching her Lieutenant Cromwell, in charge of the boat, discovered the enemy on board.”1 Cromwell “immediately proceed to attack them, and on seeing his preparations, they surrendered, seven in number.”1

Amongst the captured crew, one called himself Sperry, but was recognized by the Union men “as Captain Sperry, who formerly commanded the First Battery near Georgetown light-house.”1  Rear-Admiral Du Pont reported on the engagement and provided a list of the men captured from the Queen of Wave’s crew, “Lieutenant P.R. Lachicotte, Sergeant W.A. Woodward, Corporal Francis Justice, [and] Privates D.A. Sperry, Eli Hughes, B.F. Vereen, M. Vaught, Ward’s Light Artillery.”2  Reportdly “after their capture, the enemy sent a boat with a flag of truce, desiring to forward some clothes to the prisoners, and at the same time delivering to Lieutenant-Commander Eastman a letter from Major Warley, [who was] commanding the [North Santee] battery.”2

On March 6th 1863, Lieutenant Eastman “proceeded with the Conemaugh to the Santee River and endeavored to get off the steamer Queen of the Wave, but found it impossible, as the late bad weather had broken her in two.”3  Eastman then saved as much of her cargo as possible and a part of her machinery. Eventually, Eastman blew her up, “entirely destroying her, and then returned” to his anchorage in Winyah Bay.3  Eastman further listed the articles found on board: “three thousand two hundred sheets of tin, 20 ounce bottles quinine, 23 ounce bottles morphine (sulphate of), 15 pounds opium (damaged), a few bales of calico (afterwards destroyed by the swamping of the boat), 2 anchors, 1 binnacle complete, [and] 12 reams of large-size printing paper.”3

 

Footnotes and Additional Information: 

1. Official records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion. ; Series I - Volume 13: South Atlantic Blockading Squadron (May 14, 1862 - April 7, 1863), 688-689. http://ebooks.library.cornell.edu/m/moawar/index.html, accessed, 12 October 2011. Lieutenant Eastman provided a detailed report of the engagement, listing the specific dates  and names. 

2. Official records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion. ; Series I - Volume 13: South Atlantic Blockading Squadron (May 14, 1862 - April 7, 1863), 687-688. http://ebooks.library.cornell.edu/m/moawar/index.html, accessed, 12 October 2011. Rear-Admiral Du Pont provided a detailed report of the engagement and included the list of names of the men captured for the crew of the Queen of Wave.

3. Official records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion. ; Series I - Volume 13: South Atlantic Blockading Squadron (May 14, 1862 - April 7, 1863), 690-691. http://ebooks.library.cornell.edu/m/moawar/index.html, accessed, 12 October 2011. In another report Lieutenant Eastman provided the account of the U. S. S. Conemaugh's return to the Queen of Wave to ultimately destroy her, and the cargo found on board.

4. Official records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion. ; Series I - Volume 13: South Atlantic Blockading Squadron (May 14, 1862 - April 7, 1863), 689-690. http://ebooks.library.cornell.edu/m/moawar/index.html, accessed, 12 October 2011. Rear-Admiral Du Pont provided another brief report on the incident that displayed no new information.