Sea History 176 - Autumn 2021

Page 17

museums’ department collections at historic charleston foundation, sc

The Bonita, shown here under its previous name, Economist, during its single successful run into Charleston, South Carolina, in the spring of 1862. (below) “She is an extremely fine specimen of the perfection to which naval architecture is now brought.” A description of the Lord Clyde from the time of her launch in 1862. Painting by famed Scottish maritime artist William Clark.

charleston museum, object from the southern maritime collection, state of sc

this return voyage led to his future role in the Ad-Vance, which would become one of the most successful runners of the war. Zebulon Vance, the recently elected governor of North Carolina, had ordered agents to be sent to England to procure supplies for his state and a steamer in which to carry them. Thomas Morrow Crossan, an experienced naval officer, was charged with finding a suitable ship; John White was a businessman, carrying cotton bonds to be used to purchase the cargo and steamer. The two made their way to Nassau, where they booked passage in the Bonita to Liverpool. It was during the transAtlantic voyage that Captain Wyllie’s involvement with the Ad-Vance began. How exactly he was selected as the commanding officer for the Confederate steamer has been lost to time, but providence might have played a part. For John White himself was Scottish, born in Kirkcaldy, Fife, very near Wyllie’s family home. One can only imagine the men’s discussions as the Bonita made its way back to the docks on the river


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