The "Harriet Lane" and the Blockade of Galveston 109
THE "HARRIET LANE" AND THE BLOCKADE OF
H. A. TREXLER
The capture of the Harriet 'Lane and the abandonment of Galveston
was not only the most unfortunate thing that ever happened to the Navy,
but the most shameful. . . . Admiral Farragut.
For hard fighting, long and continuous service, and for variety
of experience, perhaps no American war vessel can compare with
the Harriet Lane. She was in the thickest of nearly every en-
gagement along the Atlantic and the Gulf from Sumter to her
capture by the Confederates at Galveston on New Year's Day,
1863. She entered upon her active career as the terror of the
African slavers, the "rum-runners" of the day, and wound up her
hectic years as a lowly lumber freighter.
In 1857 Congress voted a hundred and fifty thousand dollars
for a revenue-cutter of six hundred tons. The firm of William
H. Webb of New York was given the contract and in November
of the same year she was launched. The Secretary of the Treas-
ury, Howell Cobb of Georgia, christened her the Harriet Lane in
honor of a niece of President Buchanan.'
The Harriet Lane was a side-wheeler of 619 tons, and had a
complement of one hundred men. Her battery was seven guns,
three 32-pounders and four 24-pounder howitzers. The first
master was Captain John Faunce.2
On November 30, 1857, immediately after being commissioned,
Captain Faunce set sail to prey on violators of Federal laws and
soon overhauled the Wanderer, a slaver.3 In 1860 the Harriet
Lane was placed at the disposal of the nation's guest, the Prince
of Wales. The prince and his suite were so highly pleased with
their accommodations on board the vessel that an official expres-
sion of thanks was received by the Navy Department.4
1First Lieutenant H. D. Smith, The Harriet Lane, in "United Service"
(Philadelphia), New Series, V, 55 (January, 1891).
'Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of
the Rebellion, Series I, vol. 5, p. 704. (Hereafter this collection will be
referred to as O. R., Navies.) There is some dispute as to the arma-
ment, but from year to year the guns may have been changed.
'Smith, The Harriet Lane, 55.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 35, July 1931 - April, 1932. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101092/. Accessed July 28, 2015.