Affidavit of William Passmore of Birkenhead, July 21, 1862

I, William Passmore, of Birkenhead, in the county of Chester, mariner, make oath and say as follows:--

1. I am a seaman, and have served as such on board Her Majesty's ship "Terrible," during the Crimean war.

2. Having been informed that hands were wanted for a fighting vessel built by Messrs. Laird and Co., of Birkenhead, I applied on Saturday, which was I believe the 21st day of June last, to Captain Butcher, who, I was informed, was engaging men for the said vessel, for a berth on board her.

3. Captain Butcher asked me if I knew where the vessel was going. In reply to which I told him I did not rightly understand about it. He then told me the vessel was going out to the Government of the Confederate States of America. I asked him if there would be any fighting; to which he replied yes; they were going to fight for the Southern Government. I told him I had been used to fighting vessels, and showed him my papers. I asked him to make me signal man on board the vessel, and, in reply, he said that no articles would be signed until the vessel got outside, but he would make me signal man if they required one when they got outside.

4. The said Captain Butcher then engaged me as an able seaman on board the said vessel at the wages of L4 10s. per month; and it was arranged that I should join the ship in Messrs Laird and Co.'s yard on the following Monday. To enable me to get on board, Captain butcher gave me as a password, the number "290."

5. On the following Monday, which was I believe the 23rd day of June last, I joined the said vessel in Messrs. Laird and Co.'s yard at Birkenhead, and I remained by her until Saturday last.

6. The said vessel is a screw steamer of about 1,100 tons burthen, as far as I can judge, and is built and fitted up as a fighting ship in all respects. She has a magazine, and shot and canister racks on deck, and is pierced for guns, the sockets for the bolts for which are laid down. The said vessel has a large quantity of stores and provisions on board, and she is now lying at the Victoria Wharf, in the Great Float at Birkenhead, where she has taken in about 300 tons of coal.

7. There are now about thirty hands on board her, who have been engaged to go out in her. Most of them are men who have previously served on board fighting ships, and one of them is a man who served on board the Confederate Government, to act against the United States, under commission from Mr. Jefferson Davis. Three of the crew are I believe, engineers, and there are also some firemen on board.

8. Captain Butcher and another gentleman have been on board the ship almost every day. It is reported on board the ship that Captain Butcher is to be the sailing-master, and that the other gentleman, whose name I believe is Bullock, is to be the fighting captain.

9. To the best of my information and belief, the above-mentioned vessel, which I have heard is to be called the "Florida," is being equipped and fitted out in order that she may be employed in the service of the Confederate Government in America, to cruise and commit hostilities against the Government and people of the United States of America.


Sworn before me, at the Custom-house, Liverpool, this 21st day of July, 1862.

(Signed) J. Price Edwards, Collector.


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