The English-built steamer Georgina had the potential to be one of the most effective ship ever to serve in the Confederate States Navy. She was a large steamer with a good size hold for cargo and had several placement for large caliber guns. Like many of the English-built cruisers, great secrecy surrounded her construction. It is still not clear whether the Confederacy intended her to be a commerce raiding cruiser or a blockade runner.
During her maiden (and only) voyage in the Spring of1863, she was definitely a blockade runner. Loaded with small arms, naval artillery, black powder, money, and alcohol, Georgina attempted to the run into Charleston. She did not make it. U.S. Navy ships USS America, Wissahockon, and Housatonic spotted her and opened fired. The shots struck Georgina. During the chase, Georgina's captain committed a serious navigation error, causing the ship to run hard aground. He and the ship's company immediately abandoned ship.
Wissahockon's commanding officer ordered a boarding team to take possession of the ship and "all prisoners." One of Wissahockon's division officers, Lieutenant Israel Vail, in his excellent memoir Three Years on the Blockade, tells us what happened next:
In due time the boat returned bringing the prisoners, which consisted of a large Newfoundland dog and a very large Southdown sheep. Lieutenant Casey had obeyed his instructions to the letter, so far at least as the prisoners were concerned, for the dog and sheep were the only living things to be found on board the vessel, and these amiable animals had met him at the gangway as he stepped on board, and gave him a hearty welcome, at the same time indicating their willingness to surrender, without any words on the subject.
There was no manifest of the cargo found, but it was presumed that she was loaded with arms and ammunition, as a portion of the cargo was in sight, and consisted of small rifled cannon and Enfield rifles. There must also have been a considerable quantity of medical stores on board, as quite a number of bottles of quinine were found, as well as several cases of brandy. The quality of the latter article was tested.”