She blew up shortly after running aground — Civil War Commemorative Gold Five-Dollar Coin

Today, the Civil War Commemorative Gold Five-Dollar Coin remembers when the Newbern chased the Pevensey and caused her destruction, June 9, 1864.

From the Report of the Secretary of the Navy by the United States Navy department printed in December 1864:


Destruction of the Blockade Running Steamer Pevensey.

Report of Acting Rear-Admiral S. P. Lee.

Flag-Ship, Atlantic Blockading Squadron,

James River, June 20, 1864.

Sir: I have the honor to report the destruction of the blockade runner Pevensey (or Penversey) on the 9th instant by the supply steamer Newbern.  She was attempting to run into Wilmington with an assorted cargo, including arms.

The enclosed report of Acting Volunteer Lieutenant Harris gives all the particulars.

I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, yours, S. P. LEE, Acting Rear-Admiral, Commanding N. A. B. Squadron.

To: Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D. C.


Report of Acting Volunteer Lieutenant T. A. Harris.

United States Steamer Newbern, Hampton Roads, Va., June 16, 1864.

Sir: I have the honor to report the stranding, on the 9th instant, of the blockade runner Pevensey (named Penversey in the extracts, April 16, 1864,) under the following circumstances:

3.30 a. m., steering northeast by north, Beaufort forty-five miles distant, made a steamer bearing northeast by east, four miles distant, running slow and bearing east-northeast; she being to the eastward did not immediately discover this vessel hauled up east-northeast; when gaining on her within two and a half miles she made all speed, steering east; opened fire and stood east by north; the second shot carried away the forward davit of her quarter boat.

She immediately changed her course, steered north and struck the beach nine miles west of Beaufort at 8.05 a. m.

Her crew took to the boats at once, this vessel at the time being one and a half mile distant; ran into three and a half fathoms.

And when within one hundred yards of the strand she blew up; sent in three boats, boarded her, and found her engines and boilers completely blown out; plugged up the pipes, anchored in three fathoms, and made arrangements to pull her off.

9 a. m. tug Violet came down from Beaufort and anchored on the quarter.

9.30 a. m. Commander B. M. Dove arrived in the Cherokee; came on board and said “he would take charge of the wreck, and the Newbern would proceed to Beaufort, it being high water, to save the tide in. ”

Recalled boats and arrived at Beaufort at 10 a. m., anchoring outside, too late for the tide.

One prisoner was found on board the vessel unharmed from the explosion, who proved himself to be an escaped prisoner from Johnston’s island, of Morgan’s guerillas.

One body was found upon the beach, and thirty-five prisoners were captured on shore by the cavalry, three of whom are supposed to be confederate officers, one of them adjutant general to Magruder.

She was loaded on confederate account, cargo consisting of arms, blankets, shoes, cloth, clothing, lead, bacon, and numerous packages marked to individuals.

She had been chased on the 7th instant by the Quaker City, and had thrown overboard, by log-book, thirty tons lead and twenty tons bacon; was 543 tons of English register; no manifest of cargo found.

Gunner S. D. Hines has discovered seven Whitworth tompions tied together, bright and in good condition, which suggests the possibility of that number of guns being under the musket boxes.

The prisoners captured ashore were held in Fort Macon, and the one secured on board was transferred there by order of Commander Dove.

I understood that after the army authorities had satisfied themselves with regard to the identity of the prisoners they were to be transferred to this per Keystone State.

I have learned since leaving Beaufort that the reputed mate is the real captain; that he is a Captain Long, the out-door agent of Major Walker, (the confederate agent at Bermuda,) a citizen of New York, and having formerly commanded a ship from there.

The reputed captain (an Englishman ) was merely the paper or clearing captain.

Of these facts I have informed Captain Gansevoort.

It will not now be possible to get the vessel off, but a large amount of the cargo can be saved if properly guarded.

Had the after 30 Parrott, for which the requisition was approved by yours of April 22, been furnished, his chances of reaching the shore would have been reduced.

He evidently was ignorant of his position, as the first question asked was, “How far is it to Fort Caswell?”

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, T. A. HARRIS,

Acting Volunteer Lieutenant, Commanding.

To:  Acting Rear-Admiral S. P. Lee, Commanding North Atlantic Blockading Squadron.


The Civil War Commemorative Gold Five-Dollar Coin shows with an image of another wrecked blockade runner near the shore of Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina.

Civil War Commemorative Gold Five-Dollar Coin