This Week in the Civil War - #935
In March 1862 the ship that ultimately became the CSS Florida left Liverpool, England, to begin her career as a Confederate raider. After taking 37 prizes in two plus years, the Florida visited the harbor at Bahia, in neutral Brazil, in October 1864 where she found the U.S.S. Wachusett. Determined to prevent the Florida from leaving port, the Wachusett’s captain first rammed the Florida and then fired on her opponent, forcing her surrender. The Wachusett would return to the U.S. with her valuable prize; despite Secretary of State William Seward acknowledging the seizure of the Florida as illegal. The Florida was sunk one month later after an unfortunate collision with an army transport ship in the Chesapeake Bay. Many believed the U.S. Navy purposely destroyed this infamous Confederate raider.