Comments: This is one of the best accounts of my Wilmington, N.C., grandfather, Edward Yonge Wootten's kinsman, Clarance Randolph Yonge
.Please be aware that his brother P.H. Braqg Yonge, served honorably in the CSA Army, and as a Confederate ship's third engineer.
If memory serves, it was either the Savannah, or the Florida? What Capt. Bulloch omits was Bulloch and Yonge were kin.
In November 1861 Yonge
was serving at the naval Paymaster's office in Savannah.Captain James Dunwoody Bulloch, who had recently arrived by the steamer Fingal from Liverpool, was looking for a clerk competent enough to assist him in the management of his affairs and was making enquiries to the paymaster about Yonge's qualifications to see whether he was suitable for the post.
The paymaster eventually released Yonge
into the care of Mr Bulloch who, in January 1862, appointed him to the position of acting assistant paymaster.
Bulloch and Yonge
left Savannah for Wilmington, North Carolina, and shortly after arriving they boarded the blockade-runner Annie Childs on the evening of February 5 1862, for their voyage to England.It was a voyage in which, as Bulloch later recalled in his
letter to Mr Mallory of June 30 1863, he
to be "a quiet, modest young man, who was light and trivial in character and disposition, and whose conduct was most exemplary".
CSS AlabamaThe Annie Childs arrived in Liverpool on March 11 1862 and Yonge
soon settled into his
duties of attending to Commander Bulloch's correspondence with the Confederacy, and in paying those officers who were attached to the CSS Alabama , which included Yonge
remained in Liverpool until receiving orders from Commander Bulloch on July 28 1862 assigning him to the '290'.He
was instructed to act on board as its purser, under the temporary command of Captain Matthew James Butcher, but was also appointed to the position of acting assistant paymaster with orders that during the cruise to the Azores "he
was to move freely amongst the Warrant and Petty
officers taking great interest in their comfort and welfare, and to excite their interest in the southern states and their struggle against great odds for freedom and liberty which every Englishman now enjoys".He
was also instructed to "keep account of any money paid out, and to fully acquaint himself with the ship's invoices and that of the 290's tender, the Agrippina , as well in order that everything will be in its proper place when the stores are later transferred".
On August 20 1862, Commander Bulloch, Captain Semmes and some of his
officers rendezvoused with the '290' off the Azores via the steamer Bahama , and it was here that Bulloch first informed Semmes about his
mistrust of Yonge
, remarking that "he
was an unsteady and unreliable young man, whose judgement and discretion were not to be trusted", though he
had "no reason to suspect his
honesty". After the Alabama's commissioning at the Azores on August 24, Yonge served on board as its paymaster up until her arrival at Port Royal, Kingston, Jamaica on the evening of January 20 1863.
It was during her
stay here that Yonge
had been sent on shore with about £400 in order to settle a few of the Alabama's accounts but he
failed to return to the ship and was found that evening in one of his
regular drunken bouts at a local inn, talking quite openly to the American consul and some recently paroled seamen of the enemy.In company with an armed party from Alabama , Lieutenants Kell and Low arrested Yonge
and brought him back to the ship to await the arrival of Captain Semmes, who had been staying for a few days with an old acquaintance of his
country seat in the mountains.
Yonge's court martial began on board Alabama on January 25 1863 due to the neglect of his
duties "and behaving in a most disreputable manner by talking to the enemy".Within half an hour he
was found guilty of all the charges put before him.After refusing Captain Semmes' offer "to remain on board, confined to his
room, until they reached a Confederate port", he
was deprived of his
sword and sent ashore in disgrace, turning his
back on the country and flag to which he
had sworn allegiance.
The Alabama sailed from Kingston, Jamaica that evening bound for the Brazilian coast and within a few weeks of her
departure Yonge, who had been staying at a local lodging house run by a young mulatto widow and her
mother, began to make plans to leave the island as well.Before leaving Jamaica he
married the young widow, despite the fact that he
was still legally married to his
first wife; within a few days of their marriage he
had managed to convince her
to sell the lodging house, and any other property to her
name.Along with his
two teenage children, and mother-in-law, he
travelled to Liverpool on the steamer Askalon , arriving on March 22 1863.They lodged for a while at the Angel Hotel, on the corner of Dale and North John Street, before Yonge
deserted them all on the streets with barely enough money to survive.
C.F.AdamsYonge first sought refuge in Lancaster before moving to London on April 1, on advice from Thomas Haines Dudley, the American minister in Liverpool.
called on the U.S.
minister, Charles Francis Adams.He proceeded to inform Mr Adams about his duties as private secretary to Bulloch and about his brief service aboard the Alabama , all of which he later agreed to put down in the form of an affidavit which he duly signed on April 2 at the judges chambers, Rolls Gardens, Chancery Lane, London, before John Payne, the acting commissioner. Yonge
didn't stop here.He became one of a number of paid informers of the U.S. Minister and was dispatched to Liverpool on April 5 in search of evidence of the building of the two Confederate steam ironclads, '294' and '295', which he found upon his arrival to be under construction in the south part of the Laird yards.
The following day, at the Liverpool Customs House, and sworn before S.P. Edwards, he
duly signed another affidavit over what he
had seen at the Laird yards as well as witnessing the plans, drawings and specifications of the rams the previous year at the offices of Fraser, Trenholm and Co.
This would now prove instrumental in destroying Commander Bulloch's chances of purchasing the rams for the Confederate Government.
It caused Bulloch
to transfer the ownership of the rams to the Paris shipbuilder Messrs Bravay & Co, though this transference of ownership didn't stop the eventual seizure of the Laird rams.The first was boarded on the evening of October 8 1863 as she
lay in the great float, Birkenhead, by an officer from the Liverpool Customs House acting on behalf of the crown, and the second the following evening at the Laird yards. Meanwhile, Yonge had been recalled to London to appear as the crown witness in the case of 'The Seizure Of The Ship Alexandra ', which began at the Court of Exchequer, Westminster, on June 22 1863 before the Lord Chief Baron, Sir Frederick Pollock, Kt, and a special jury.The Alexandra was launched from the Liverpool shipyards of William C. Miller & Sons on March 7 1863, only to be seized on the following mouth as she lay in a Toxteth Dock by Liverpool Customs Officer Edward Morgan, acting on behalf of the crown, on the charges of violating the 7th section of the 1819 Foreign Enlistment Act.
This section simply meant that "the Alexandra was fitted out or equipped or permitted to be equipped, to harass and be hostile to the government and citizens of a state with whom her
majesty was at peace"
The Attorney general had filed a petition against 12 men alleging forfeiture of the Alexandra , though only 5 names had appeared on the petition, those being the engineers and ironfounders who traded under the name of Fawcett, Preston & Co
and who were responsible for the fitting of her
engines at the time that she
was seized.It was also alleged that agents of the Confederate States
had taken an interest in the Alexandra , with those named being Commander Bulloch and Lt J.R. Hamilton, C.S.N. and Captain Eugene L.Tessier who was in the service of Fraser, Trenholm & Co
, merchants of Liverpool who were mixed up in the interest of the Confederate Government On June 23, Yonge
was called into the witness box to give his
evidence on his
brief term of service with the Confederate Navy
, and as private secretary to Commander Bulloch.
But it was during Yonge's cross-examination from Mr Karslake, QC for the claimants, that his
evidence and reliability as a crown witness were to be totally discredited.And this was summed up to the jury at the close of the trial on June 24 by Sir Hugh Cairns acting on behalf of the claimants, when he
began by describing Yonge
as "this specimen of humanity".
With the close of the trial certain circumstances prevented Yonge
from remaining in England any further.And so with the assistance of the U.S. minister Mr Adams,