MAILBOAT NAME: SS Ella Warley
PAST NAMES: not known
DIMENSIONS: 212.6′ long, 33.5′ wide, 21′ deep, 546 net tons, 1042 gross tons, Official # 43251, call sign TNFJ, 500 hp, paddle wheels, one on each side
YEAR BUILT: 1848
BUILDER: Baltimore, Maryland US
EARLY CAREER: registered to Nassau 1861
CAPTAINS: A. G. Swasey in 1862
OWNERS: Edwin C. Adderley, Nassau
FATE: Featured in the Mercantile Navy List 1870, 1880, 1890, 1900, 1910 and 1915
NOTES: Though this does not appear to have been a mail boat, it was one of the largest steam ship owned by Bahamians, the initial purpose at least appears to have been to run weapons and supplies to the South during the American Civil War. The “New York Times” reports that it was captured in this capacity by the US Navy USS Santiago de Cuba in 1863:
“LAW REPORTS.; The Case of the Ella Warley,” Published: August 2, 1863
“The Steamer Ella Warley and Cargo vs. The United States. — NELSON, C.J. — This vessel was captured about one hundred miles north of the island Abaco, one of the Bahamas, east of the Gulf Stream, on the 24th of April, 1862, by the war steamer Santiago De Cuba, D.B. Ridgley, Commander. The cargo consisted principally of arms, Enfield rifles, Austrian rifled muskets and others, lead, saltpetre, &c.
The Ella Warley belongs to E. Adderly, of Nassau, a British subject, and probably the cargo, although this is left in some uncertainty. The vessel had been recently purchased of an American citizen of Charleston, S.C. After running the blockade of Charleston two or three times from that city and Nassau, N.P., she left the latter place in ballast for Havana, where she look in a part of her cargo and returned, completing it at Nassau, and then sailed according to her papers, for St. Johns, N.B., and was captured some twenty four hours out, as already stated.
The master, A.G. Swasey, states that the vessel was cleared at Nassau or St. Johns, and the cargo consigned to W.B. Wright or that ??? same way that previous cargoes had been consigned, when he run the blockade of the port of Charleston.
R.W. Lock wood, the pilot of the Ella Warley, states that he cannot say where the vessel was bound after leaving Nassau, and that he don’t know where she was bound. He further says. “I ??? never heard, nor asked any question, as to where we were bound. The master, to the best of my knowledge, was the only one who knew where we were bound.” He further says, “I think the last voyage began at Nassau, N.P., ??? I don’t know where it was to have ended;” and again. “At the time we were taken we were steering our course about north, half west, ???? to get into the Gulf Stream, and we were not steering to any particular place;” again, “I don’t know whether or not we were bound to that port (Charleston, S.C.,) on the voyage during which we were captured.” It is remarkable that the pilot should be thus in doubt and uncertainty as to the course of the vessel on her voyage from Nassau, and as to her destination…..”
Also from “The New York Times,” May 26, 1862, is this report of cargo going into and out of the south:
“IMPORTANT FROM NASSAU
Activity of Contraband Trade Arrival of Confederate Stores from England Arrival and Departure from Charleston. Correspondence of the New-York Times,
Nassau, N. p., Tuesday, May 13, 1862. The mail closes at 1 P. M. This communication will necessarily be short.
The following is a list of arrivals from Secessiondom and arrivals of contraband goods for Secesslondom, since May 1:
Steamer Ella Warley, Havana assorted cargo, to H. Adderley & Co.”
Note: This is not to be confused with a ship of the same name which was sunk in a collision with a ship named North Star east of New Jersey in 1861, in which many lives were lost, and which is trying to be salvaged to this day.