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The Voyage of the Bat


The Voyage of the Bat


James William "Jim Billy" Craig recounts his tale of being captured by the Montgomery while serving as pilot aboard the blockader runner Bat. He tells of how the federal forces imprisoned him and how they tried to bribe him to betray his brethren.


Craig, James William


McNeil, Jim. Masters of the Shoals. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press, 2003. Originally printed in Sprunt, James. Chronicles of the Cape Fear River 1660-1916, 2nd Ed. Raleigh: Edwards & Broughton Printing Co. 1916


October 9, 1864


Swing, Matt



Original Format



For the second time I was made a prisoner of war and under the following circumstances, which I have mentioned but once before. 

Before I became engaged in the Blockade Running service, I was acting as mate on the Confederate steamer Flora MacDonald, a transport on the Cape Fear River, and when the Confederate privateer Retribution sent into Wilmington a prize schooner, which she has captured at sea, in charge of one , of the Retribution's officers named Jordan, who had shipped with Capt. Joseph Price in Wilmington, I assisted in towing that vessel form the bar to Wlmington, and of course saw much of Jordan.

When I was captured by the Montgomery, I was taken to the Portsmouth Navy Yard, where we were boarded by a Federal officer in a cpatain's uniform, who proved to be non other than my quondam Confederate friend Jordan, who had gone over to the enemy, and who immediately recognized me and informed against me.

I was then put in irons and sent onboard the U.S. Man-of-war Sabine, where I was most kindly treated by its commander, Captain Loring, and while a prisoner on his ship I was repeatedly approached by the Federal officers, who offered to pay any sum I would name if I would join their fleet off Fort Fisher and take part as a pilot in their attack against my home. I told thm that the United States Government did not have enough money to induce me to accept such a proposition, and I accordingly remained a prisoner at Point Lookout until the war was over


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Craig, James William, The Voyage of the Bat, Civil War Era NC, accessed May 21, 2024,