Published quarterly by the
Louisiana Historical Association
In cooperation with
The Center for Louisiana Studies
The University of Southwestern Louisiana
Volume XXXIV, No. 4
(The following article presented is reprinted with the permission of the
Louisiana Historical Association)
The Louisiana State
War Schooner Antonia:
An Historical Foundling
By: Charles E. Pearson
Throughout 1860 Louisiana, like other Deep South states, anxiously awaited the results of the 1860 presidential election, and, like its sister Southern States, it rejected political coexistence with Republican winner Abraham Lincoln. In December 1860, after the Secession of South Carolina, Governor Thomas Overton Moore addressed an extraordinary session of the state legislature, stating that “if any attempt should be made by the Federal Government to coerce a sovereign state to compel her to submission to an authority which she has ceased to recognize, I should unhesitatingly recommend that Louisiana assist its sister states with… alacrity and courage…” On January 26, 1861, a secession convention sitting in Baton Rouge severed the state’s ties with the United States, declaring Louisiana a “free” and “independent power.”1
Even before Lincoln’s election and statewide vote for secession, Governor Moore and other Louisianians recognized the growing threat of armed conflict with the federal government and called for the state to arm itself. A few parishes subsequently raised military companies for their protection,2 and the Louisiana legislature appropriated “half a million
*The author is an archaeologist and director of the cultural resources program for Coastal Environments, Inc., of Baton Rouge.
1John D. Winters, the Civil War in Louisiana (Baton Rouge, 1963), 3.
Dollars to arm and equip the companies that had already formed or were being organized.”3
Louisiana took several additional steps to insure its military readiness. The state Mint at New Orleans and occupied the United States arsenal in Baton Rouge, Forts Jackson and St. Philip, located on the Mississippi River south of New Orleans, and Fort Pike, Fort Macomb, and the United States barracks near New Orleans. Soon, many parishes, local communities, and even individuals were raising military companies to defend the state. The legislature approved legislation creating the Louisiana State Forces under the command of Colonel Braxton Bragg, one of Governor Moore’s military aides, and establishing a military board.
The military board was charged with defense of the Mississippi River, a likely point of entry for invading “Black Republican” forces. Because naval forces constituted Louisiana’s first line of defense, Governor Moore appropriated, in late January, the United States revenue schooners Washington and Robert McClelland at New Orleans.4 The state seized or chartered other vessels into the summer of 1861, despite the establishment of the Confederate navy in February 1861. The Confederate navy would eventually take possession of many state vessels and also begin building warships and converting river steamers in New Orleans.
Considerable documentation exists for the Confederate navy’s activities in Louisiana during the early Civil War, but relatively little is known of the activities of the state naval units.5 The War Department Collection of Confederate Records (often called the Rebel Archives) is a principal source of information regarding the Louisiana navy. These materials, consisting of Civil War documents captured by Union forces
4Ibid., 44; United States Navy History Division, Civil War Naval Chronology, 1861-1865 (Washington D. C., 1971).
Basic information on the Confederate Navy is found in the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, 30 vols. (Washington D. C., 1896-1920), (hereafter cited ORN) and multitude of other secondary sources, particularly, Thomas J. Scharf, History of the Confederate States Navy from its Organization to the Surrender of its last vessel (New York, 1887) and William N. Still, Confederate Shipbuilding (Athens, 1969).
during the Civil War, shed light on the Antonia, a two-masted schooner in the state service in 1861, and other ships serving in the short-lived Louisiana navy, but these state ships have been overlooked in the vast body of secondary literature on Civil War navies, primarily because of their often obscure duties, their brief period of operations, and the dearth of the official records concerning their activities. Information on the Antonia is confined to two sets of papers in this large collection: The set of captured records known as the Vessel Papers, and the set known as the Records of the Louisiana State Government, containing official state papers, most of which were captured by Union forces at Shreveport in 1865.6 Even the Vessel Papers, although they bring to light the existence of the “State Armed War Schooner Antonia,” provide only the barest outline of its career in the form of bills of receipts, equipment lists, crew lists, and related documents.
The Antonia is first mentioned in a Confederate bill of goods dated July 5, 1861, which was provided to the “State of Louisiana for the Armed Schooner Antonia” by “A. LANATA, Importer… and Wholesale and Retail Dealer” of New Orleans. Listed on the bill are a variety of supplies which seem to represent the initial outfitting of the vessel for the state. Valued at $306.71, these supplies included one 700 pound anchor for $70.00; sixty fathoms of “Manila Cable” for $111.16; “6 blocks Gun tackles” for $21.00; 24 tin cups “for crew;” tin pans; water buckets; marlin spikes; three gallons of “Binnacle Oil;” and “provisions for twenty men onboard” for the period from July 5 to July 10; the last at a cost of $21.30. The bill is signed by “A. Oscar Murphy, Capt. Commanding” and A. Lanata has signed to indicate receipt of payment.7
A. Lanata, dealer in “Absinth, Macaroni and Vermicelli of Genoa,” was one Angelo Lanata, New Orleans merchant and owner of the schooner Antonia. Lanata operated his business from the Pontalba Building in the heart of New Orleans, and he
6The Vessel Papers are in the War Department Collection of Confederate Records (Rebel Archives), Record Group 109, National Archives, Washington D. C. (hereafter Vessel Papers) and the Records of the Louisiana State Government 1850-1888, National Archives Microcopy No. 359 (hereafter Louisiana State Government), are from the Microfilm Collections, Louisiana State Archives, Baton Rouge.
7Vessel Papers, Entry A-60.
was one of several Lanatas, apparently all from Italy and probably all related, in New Orleans’ wholesale and retail grocery business. Among the Lanatas present in the Crescent City in 1861 were brothers Duque and Joseph Lanata, “Commission Merchants” located at 9, 10, and 11 Jefferson, and Frank Lanata, a grocer located at 11 Carondelet Walk. Joseph Lanata, apparently either a brother or uncle to Angelo, in addition to his business interest, served as the “Consul of Sardinia” for the city of New Orleans according to the 1861 city directory, and later, during the Civil War, he corresponded with the Union occupation forces in New Orleans as “Consul of Italy.”8
Angelo Lanata may have initially offered his vessel to the state as a patriotic gesture, following the example of many of the state’s citizens who freely provided money, supplies, services and other types of support in the fervor of the early days of separation from the Union. In July, however, the state of Louisiana officially leased the vessel to patrol the waterways of the coast to prevent communication with the Union forces then in the Gulf of Mexico and to apprehend anyone involved in such actions.
The adjutant General’s Order No. 716, issued on the authority of Governor Thomas Overton Moore on July 10, 1861, provides information regarding the state’s charter of the Antonia.9
Head Quarters La. Militia
Adjutant General’s Office
New Orleans, July 10, 1861
I. The Governor and Commander in chief in view of protecting the laws of the State and Confederate States, within the limits and jurisdiction of the State of Louisiana, and to prevent, if possible, communication with the enemy’s fleet now lying within the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, has chartered the Schooner Antonia and has engaged the services of Captain A. O. Murphy to take charge of said schooner and he is ordered to proceed with said schooner through any of the canals leaving from the Mississippi River to any channel or channels giving into the Gulf of Mexico, and the keeper or keepers of said canal or person in charge thereof will allow him to pass through unmolested; and he will proceed to the Gulf of Mexico, and in
8Charles Gardner, Gardner’s New Orleans Director for 1861 (New Orleans, 1861); ORN, Series 3, Vol. 2:156.
9Louisiana State Government, Adjutant General’s Order no. 716, dated July 10, 1861.
His course whether going or returning will visit and search all Bays, Bayous, Canal or Canals, Islands within the limits of this State between the river Mississippi and the Gulf of Mexico. He will proceed also to Barrell Keys and will navigate between Barrell Keys and the line of the State of Louisiana and the State of Texas and will visit and search all Bays, bayous, creeks, inlets, Islands, between the above described limits, and Captain A. O. Murphy is fully authorized and empowered in the name of the State of Louisiana and by virtue of its authority, to arrest all persons or persons, who by their conduct, their actions or their words, may be considered suspicious characters & all persons violating the laws of the State of Louisiana or of the Confederate States, or who may be giving aid or assistance, to the enemies whether at sea or on land; or who may be in ay wise consorting or trafficking with enemies. And in case of instances and it would be found necessary to call for aid & assistance, he is fully empowered and authorized so to do for the purpose of affecting the arrest of such persons then aiding or abetting, and also to compel the attendance to his call.
II. All persons or property which Capt. A. O. Murphy may take, seize and capture, will be sent by him to the first port of the Confederate Army to be brought up to the City of New Orleans with a report to Head Quarters. Captain Murphy may if he deems it best bring up the prisoners & property himself. If so found necessary to place the prisoners in prison or jail he is fully authorized to do so. The property of whatever nature it may be, will be protected from violence or destruction and be subject to the orders of the Commander in Chief.
III. To carry out the object of this order & mission, for which he is engaged, Captain Murphy has authority to engage & employ twenty men & if necessary more, to serve him on the schooner Antonia, subject to his orders…
IV. Should it become necessary to burn all the buildings or any of them, or the huts, built upon the Islands or on the main land, between the Barrells Keys and the limits of the line of this State and that of Texas, which may be the resort of the enemies, their aiders and abettors, and consorts, and which give refuge to evil doers, Captain Murphy has authority to burn and destroy the same…
V. Captain Murphy will from time to time as often as it is in his power communicate to this Department.
By order of Thos. O. Moore
Gov. & Comdr. In Chief
Governor Moore’s concern about civilian attempts to communicate with Union forces was genuine; New Orleans possessed large numbers of antisecessionists and Union sympathizers as well as entrepreneurs ready to turn a profit under any circumstances. The Federal blockade of the U. s. steam sloop Brooklyn off Pass à l’Outre. Boats soon departed New Orleans daily carrying fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, and even newspapers to the blockading forces at the mouth of the Mississippi River. Major General David Twiggs, Confederate commander at New Orleans consequently ordered all boats to Lake Pontchartrain to be stopped and searched. Excess food was confiscated, newspapers were thrown overboard, and persons found communicating with Union vessels were taken into custody for prosecution.10
The Antonia, well suited to anti-contraband duty in the lakes and coastal waters of the New Orleans area, had been built in nearby Jackson County, Mississippi, in 1858-1859. Her first enrollment document, dated March 25, 1859, at the port of New Orleans, notes that the date of construction is provided in a “master Carpenter’s Certificate dated March 19/59 on file in this office,”11 This seems to suggest that the boat was brand new when enrolled in New Orleans, possibly having been launched in February or March. Angelo Lanata was the Antonia’s first owner, and it is not unlikely that he had commissioned its construction. Her first master was Erazanno Olivari; considering the name, possible a fellow countryman of Lanata.
The Antonia was typical of the “coasting” or “lake” schooners that carried merchandise, agricultural produce, and lumber between the ports, rivers, and plantations on the Gulf of Mexico and, particularly, across Lakes Pontchartrain and Borgne to the major port Pascagoula, was one of the several important boat building centers in the region which produced sloops and
10Winters, The Civil War, 47.
11Enrollment Certificate No. 42, Antonia, dated March 25, 1859, New Orleans, United States Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation, Vessel Enrollment Documents, Record Group 41, National Archives, Washington, D. C. (hereinafter cited as BMIN).
Schooners for the coasting trade. The Antonia measured seventy feet in length, twenty feet in breadth, and drew five feet, six inches of water. Her burden was 69 and 79/95 tons. Her shallow draught design was ideally suited for sailing in the shallow inlets, rivers, and lakes of the region. The March 25 enrollment document notes that she was duly surveyed by “S. Henry Surveyor of the port of Bayou St. John” and she had “one deck and two masts,” a “square stern no galleries and a plain head.” 12
Angelo Lanata probably employed his new schooner in his grocery business, carrying supplies and material to various locations along the Gulf Coast. His letterhead, with its depiction of two sailing vessels, suggests that Lanata may have been more of two sailing vessels, suggests that Lanata may have been more heavily involved in the sailing trade than the average New Orleans grocer. This is borne out by the fact that he owned several sailing vessels through the 1850s and 1860s. In November 1855, Angelo purchased the fifty-four-foot schooner Star, enrolling it in the New Orleans with Silvestre Sicar as master. He sold the Star in July 1856, at which time he purchased anther schooner, the Panama. Lanata sold the Panama on the same day he purchased her, apparently to a group of fellow countrymen—Jean-Baptiste Grimaldi, Antoine Variani and Jean Sabastiani. In June 1857, Angelo enrolled the sixty-two-foot schooner Corah at New Orleans, listing himself as both owner and master. He sold the Corah to Antonio Renese of New Orleans in 1859, two months after his purchase of the Antonia. 13 During the Civil War, Angelo purchased and sold several other vessels. These included the schooner Star, which he had previously owned, bought and sold in December 1861; the schooner Joinville, bought in February 1862 and sold in April 1863; the small, thirty-seven-foot-long sloop Warrior, bought in December 1861, and three-masted ship Magenta, bought in January 1862 and sold two weeks later. 14 What Lanata was
13Enrollment Certificate No. 144, Star, dated November 13, 1855; Enrollment Certificate No. 103, Panama, dated July 18, 1856; Enrollment Certificate No. 76, Corah, dated June 2, 1857; Enrollment Certificate No. 76 Corah, dated June 3, 1859; New Orleans, BMIN.
14Various Enrollment Certificates, Work Projects Administration, Ships Registers and Enrollments of New Orleans, Louisiana, Vol. 6 (Baton Rouge, Louisiana 1942).
doing with these vessels is unknown, but he may have intended to use them to run the blockade.
On July 23, 1859, three months after his initial enrollment of the Antonia, Lanata registered it at New Orleans. This registration notes that the previous enrollment document had been cancelled at that Erazanno Olivari continued to serve as master. One year later, on March 31, 1860, Angelo Lanata, still sole owner, again enrolled the Antonia at the port of New Orleans. Her master at this time was Louis Gazano. On June 28, 1861, the Antonia was once more enrolled in New Orleans, this time by the Confederate States government. She was still owned by Lanata, and a Louis Gazano was master. Within a month of the issuance of this enrollment, the vessel was in the service of the state. No subsequent enrollments or registrations for the Antonia have been found, and it is likely that none exist. The vessel may have been reenrolled during the Civil War, but during the Confederacy many records were haphazardly kept or they have been lost. Compiled enrollment documents for the port of New Orleans are available for the period after the Civil War, but none for the Antonia exist. Nor have any later enrollment documents for the vessel been found in the records of the National Archives. This lack of documentation suggests that the Antonia may have been lost, scuttled, or dismantled during the war, a fate which befell many Southern coasting vessels.15
The state of Louisiana chartered the Antonia on July 5, 1861, at a coast of $250.00 a month. Records of charter exist only for the three-month period through October 5, but other documents indicate that the Antonia was in state service at least into February 1862, after which the vessel disappears from the scene. Upon its acquisition, the state immediately begun to supply and refit the schooner. On July 10, the New Orleans firm of Hasam and Anderson submitted a bill for ship’s material and repairs to “Schooner Antonia & Owners” amounting to $686.93. This bill indicates that a considerable amount of structural work was done to the ship. Included in the list of materials are oak timber, oak and pine planking, spikes, “cut nails,” washers, oakum, pitch, bolts, hinges, rivets, hooks and staples. Also on
15Registration Certificate No. 11, Antonia, dated July 23, 1859, and Enrollment Certificate No. 54, Antonia, dated March 31, 1860, BMIN; Confederate States Enrollment Certificate No. 54, Antonia, dated June 28, 1861, Work Projects Administration, Ships Registers and Enrollments, Vol. 5.
The list are straps, chains, and a shackle for a “centre board,” indicating that the Antonia was fitted with a center board, although whether this was being added or was an original feature of the vessel is unknown. This bill also includes wages for carpenters, caulkers, and laborers amounting to $230.37. Carpenters were paid $3.25 a day, while the carpenter’s foreman, the highest paid worker, received $4.50 per day. The types of items on this list, such as the planking and timbers and the eye bolts, the hooks and the “2 port hinges” suggest that the vessel was strengthened and fitted for mounting a gun. It took 4 days to undertake the raft, and the bill was approved by Captain Murphy.16
Other ship’s stores were acquired during the second week of July. The firm of Hickman, Dugas & Maignan, wholesale grocers and commission merchants located at “Nos 5 and 6 Front Levee Street,” provided $299.92 worth of foodstuffs on July 12. Food for the crew included “mess” pork and beef, white beans, rice, salt, flour, and coffee, while the “Cabin Stores” included 6 hams, pickles, butter and tea, as well as allspice, cloves, and pepper. There was also $16.78 worth of “Sundries for Captain.” Several New Orleans merchants provided supplies that went toward arming the Antonia. A July 10 bill from the large and well-known Leeds & Co. “Iron Founders” of New Orleans indicates that they provided 310 pounds of canister shot at a cost of $25.20. M. S. Hedrick, advertised as “AGENT FOR ALL THE NEW IMPROVED SEWING MACHINES” supplied a bill of $15.80 for “making 200 Grape Shot cartridges” which required 28 yards of sail duck. Hedrick made his bill out to “Confederate States Armed Schooner Antonio [sic]” and “Gov. Moore.” While the record indicates that the Antonia was armed, the type or size of gun or guns onboard is unknown. Considering its duties, it is likely that it was a single, small weapon, possible a four- or six- pounder. On July 11, Samuel Locke, “Importer of Foreign & Domestic Hardware, Cutlery, etc.” sold twelve pairs of handcuffs to the Antonia, items no doubt essential in its mission to arrest “aiders,” “abettors,” and “evil doers.”17
16Vessel Papers, Entry A-60.
Part of Antonia’s outfitting consisted of acquiring a ship’s launch. This twenty-three-foot boat was built or supplied by John Mahony, a boat builder in Algiers, just across the Mississippi River from New Orleans. Mahony’s July 10 bill for providing the boat was $143.00, and the masthead of his invoice notes “BOATS, built to order, and kept constantly on hand.”18 No doubt the launch was critical in making landings, examining shallow water bodies, and in otherwise carrying out the duties Governor Moore had assigned to the Antonia.
Repairs complete, Captain Murphy had his vessel painted by John Ormond of Algiers. In his July 13 bill to the “Louisiana State War Schooner Anton” [sic] in the amount of $105.00, Ormond notes that he painted the schooner’s cabin “in and out,” and added an extra coat of “verdigris” to the bottom.19
Little is known about the crew of the Antonia. The captain, A. O. Murphy, did man the vessel with a twenty-man crew, pursuant to Governor Moore’s orders. According to a July 10 receipt the men shipped aboard on July 6, and each were advanced $10 against their pay. At the same time Captain Murphy received $200 as a “contingent fund” for the ship. Only a single crew and pay list is available for the Antonia, and this provides only the names of the ship’s officers, not its crew. Dated September 28, 1861, this document records pay to the crew of the schooner for service from July 5 to October 5. A. O. Murphy, as captain, received $150 per month. The first lieutenant of the Antonia, D. T. Farrar, received $75 per month, and Adolph Brewing (?), its second lieutenant, was paid $50 a month. The twenty unnamed, received $25 a month. The total coast to the state of Louisiana for the Antonia’s three months of service was $2,095.20
The Antonia’s captain, A. Oscar Murphy, had been a customs inspector in New Orleans at the start of the Civil War, but beyond that little is known of his pre-war activities.21 Murphy seems to have become a part of the Louisiana navy early in its
21Charles Gardner, New Orleans Directory.
Organization, and the Antonia was his second command. In June, Governor Moore had given Murphy command of the schooner Colomba, another vessel in the Louisiana navy. The scant documentation available on the Colomba indicates that during the period from June 13 to July 4, 1861, Captain Murphy had taken it to patrol the western Louisiana coast, as he later did with the Antonia. The Colomba had been provisioned by the firm of Hickman, Dugas & Maignan, as was the Antonia, and during June, Captain Murphy had leased a lugger from Adolph Brewny, apparently to support him in the Colomba’s activities. Adolph Brewny is almost certainly the “Adolph Brewing” who later served as a second lieutenant aboard the Antonia.22
By July 12 or 13, the Antonia was ready to undertake its mission. Her orders were to proceed “through any of the canals leaving from the Mississippi River,” in making its way to the Louisiana coast. This was necessary to avoid the blockading forces at the mouth of the river. Captain Murphy apparently took his schooner out of the Mississippi through Bayou Lafourche, because among the documents in the Vessel Papers is a July 12 receipt from the Union Harbor Tug Association indicating that the steam tug Union had towed the Antonia up to the town of Donaldsonville, located at the entrance to Bayou Lafourche. Once in Bayou Lafourche, the Antonia could have sailed, or more likely been towed or poled, down the bayou to the gulf, or to one of the canals leading into the Atchafalaya basin.
Few records as to the Antonia’s activities or the success of its mission to the gulf exist. Presumably, Captain Murphy kept a log and also supplied reports back to the Louisiana state militia headquarters, but only one of Murphy’s reports, dated February 13, 1862, has been located. Apparently, the state did view the Antonia’s mission as crucial, because on July 17, the governor signed an order sending Captain R. G. Darden of the Lafourche Dragoons on a mission similar to that of Captain Murphy’s. Captain Darden was to leave “the Port of Thibodaux” with a yacht, a long boat and 24 men, and proceed to the coast to search for anyone communicating or trafficking with the enemy. Darden and his men also were to search that area between Barrell Keys and Texas, and, if possible, they were to join with Captain Murphy and the Antonia in this mission. Our only
22Vessel Papers, Entry C-46.
Record of the success of this endeavor is a statement by Maurice Grivot, Louisiana’s adjutant general, that Murphy and Darden made some “important arrests.”23
The Antonia seems to have remained on the coast, because on August 25 Captain Murphy was ordered to search for deserters from the Home Guards stationed at Fort Livingston, located at Grand Terre Island, just east of the mouth of Bayou Lafourche. The state meant business, because Murphy’s orders read that “should any resistance be made or any attempt to run away from him,” he had the authority “to fire on them.” To assist Murphy in the capture of deserters, the governor ordered two companies of the state militia to guard the Harvey Canal and the Barataria and Lafourche Canal, apparently considered the two primary routes of escape for the deserters. These two companies came from the 1st Brigade, commanded by Colonel L. A. Charbonnet.24
One month later, on September 24, 1861, Murphy was ordered to take the Antonia “without delay” to the Timbalier Islands and provide assistance to two schooners “loaded with arms for the State or for the Confederacy.” If the schooners were not at Timbalier Island, Murphy was to search for them, and then provide them safe passage into one of the coastal entrances. Captain R. G. Darden of the Lafourche Dragoons received similar orders on the same day.25 The outcome of this venture is unknown.
It appears as if the Antonia also was resupplied in the late September. Whether this entailed sailing to New Orleans or not is unknown. On September 24, the same day as the issuance of the order to proceed to the Timbalier Islands, Angelo Lanata provided $383.03 worth of foodstuff for the Antonia. These supplies included 6 barrels of “Mess” beef and pork, 1 barrel of “Wisky” [sic], beans, rice, flour, split peas, potatoes, yeast, powder, pork lard, sugar, vinegar, olive oil, molasses, dry apples, raisins, and a variety of spices such as black pepper,
23Louisiana State government, Adjutant General’s Order No. 751, August 1861; Napier Bartlett, Military Record of Louisiana (Baton Rouge, 1964), 244.
24Louisiana State Government, Adjutant General’s Order Nos. 957 and 958, August 1861.
25Louisiana State Government, Adjutant General’s Order Nos. 1109 and 1113, September 1861.
Nutmeg, mustard and cloves. Captain Murphy signed the receipt as correct, suggesting he may have been in New Orleans. On September 29, Captain Murphy signed for receipt of 1500 pounds of French bread from Ambroise Jannos.26
The Antonia remained in state charter after October, although there are no documents in the Vessel Papers which would indicate this. There is, however, record of its continuing activities in the papers of the Louisiana Adjutant Genera’s office of the Louisiana State Militia. For example, on November 22, 1861, Governor Moore, at the request of General Lovell, issued Order No. 1420 commanding Captain Murphy and the Antonia to proceed to Brush Island, located near Timbalier Island, “and all other islands in the neighborhood of Fort Livingston” and remove or destroy all of the cattle on the islands. His orders noted that he was to keep his mission a secret from his men and those at Fort Livingston, and he was to “take all necessary precautions to prevent himself & men from being cut off by the enemy.”27 Union forces were apparently in the area, and the Antonia’s mission seems to have been to prevent the cattle from falling into enemy hands.
After November, the activities of the Antonia go unrecorded for two months. Then on January 13, 1862, Governor Moore signs an order accepting the resignation of “Captain A. O. Murphy aide de camp to Brigadier General C. A. Labuzan.” Then, one day latter, on January 14, Governor Moore issued Order No. 25, commanding Captain Murphy to take the Antonia back to the Gulf of Mexico to continue his patrol and search for those “trading, trafficking, and in any manner whatever holding communication with the enemie’s [sic] fleet on the Gulf coast.” This time Captain Murphy was to patrol the area between Bayou Lafourche and the Texas state line and he was ordered to drive everyone from the area that did not actually live there.28
A month later, on February 13, 1862, Captain Murphy sent a report to state militia headquarters detailing his activities
26Vessel Papers, Entry A-60
27Louisiana State Government, Adjutant General’s Order No. 1420, November 1861; Letters Received by the Executive, 1860-1863, Letter 128, Lovell to Moore, November 21, 1861
28Louisiana State Government, Adjutant General’s Order Nos. 22 and 25, January 1862.
concerning the steamer Victoria. The Victoria, in attempting to run the blockade, had been driven ashore near Fort Livingston by Union ships. Murphy reported that:
“…yesterday morg. At 6 A.M., I saw a steam ship standing in towards the Fort, looking for a harbor or pilot, and a Yankee steamer in chase. I left with my boat & boarded it about four miles out. I put a pilot on board and told him to run the steamer in as close as possible to the Fort to be protected by its guns if possible. The tide was so low, she grounded within one & half miles of the fort and enemy opened fire on her. All the passengers were landed, Ladies first, under a heavy fire, and no accident.29
Murphy and his men also were able to safely remove the Victoria’s cargo of “powder, arms, coffee, quick silver, block fire, and sundry other articles” and to refloat the ship and move it into the safety of Barataria Bay. The owners of the Victoria apparently offered Captain Murphy $10,000 for saving their ship and cargo. He refused the money, but indicated that “they could make a present to my crew if they thought proper.”30
The Union vessel which drove the Victoria ashore was the U. S. S. De Soto. Her commander, W. W. Walker, reported that a “schooner and lugger” came alongside the Victoria to give aid, certainly a reference to the Antonia, and possibly to Adolph Brewing’s Lugger.31
Captain Murphy’s report represents the last mention of the schooner Antonia. What happened to it after February 1862 is unknown. It may have been captured or otherwise lost while on its mission, but no evidence for this has been found. Two months later, on April 25, 1862, New Orleans fell to Union forces under Admiral David Farragut, prior to which a number of Confederate vessels were take across Lake Pontchartrain and scuttled in rivers north of the lake. If the Antonia was still on
29Louisiana State Government, Letters Received by the Executive, 1860-1863, Letter 52, Murphy to Moore, February 13, 1862.
30Ibid. The Victoria was a 180-ft, sidewheel steamer owned prior to the War by the Southern steamship Company of New Orleans. She was one of the first boats to run the blockade from Louisiana, sailing from the Mississippi River in late 1861, Stephen R. Wise, Lifeline of the Confederacy: Blockading Running During the Civil War (Columbia, South Carolina, 1988).
31ORN, Series I, vol. 17, 125-26.
Active duty in April, it, also, may have been destroyed to keep it out of Union hands.
Little is known about the fate of the human participants in the story of the Antonia. Captain A. O. Murphy became a prisoner of war, suggesting the Antonia was captured despite the lack of record of this. While the events of his capture are unknown, on September 21, 1862, Captain Murphy was officially exchanged for an imprisoned Union officer, Major Charles E. Livingston of the Seventy-sixth New York Volunteers. During his imprisonment, Captain Murphy was under the jurisdiction of Major General Benjamin Franklin Butler, commanding the Federal occupation of New Orleans. Murphy’s parole was apparently made at the urgent request of Governor Moore, “in whose service [he] had been acting.”32
Angelo Lanata remained in New Orleans during and after the Civil War. He maintained his grocery business and, for a time at least, seems to have proposed. In 1870 he advertised as a “Ship Chandler, Grocer, Importer and dealer in wines, Liquors, Paints, Oils, etc.” at 144 and 146 Old Levee Street in New Orleans.33 He does not, however, appear in the 1870 census for New Orleans, and what became of him is unknown. In fact, by 1870, only a single Lanata, Louise, is listed as a resident of Louisiana. What became of the other family members is also unknown, but possibly, like many others, they were displaced by the economic and social turmoil that followed the Civil War.
The Antonia played only a small part in the American Civil War. She was truly a foundling; the boat’s very existence as a warship has been recorded in only a few obscure documents. This small part, however, does not diminish its importance, in fact, it tends to place the boat’s activities on a more readily understandable and human scale. A view of specific events and persons, such as the activities the Antonia and its crew, can often bring knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of the larger picture.
32ORN, Series II, Vol. 4, 577; Vol. 5, 145, 708.
33Southern Publishing Company, New Orleans City Directory (New Orleans, 1870).