Mr. Seward to Sir F. Bruce

Sir: With reference to the case of the steamer General Rusk, alias Blanche, which was chased ashore on the coast of Cuba in 1862, by the United States steamer Montgomery, and burnt by those on board to prevent her from falling into the hands of her pursuers, this department has received authentic information which confirms its original moral convictions upon this subject.

The steamer referred to, which, at the beginning of the rebellion, was one of a line plying between New Orleans and Galveston, in Texas, was seized by insurgent authorities at the last-named place in June, 1861. A few months afterwards she was fitted out as an armed vessel for the protection of the harbor of Galveston. In May, 1862, F. J. Moise, a quartermaster in the insurgent service at Galveston, addressed a letter to James Sorley, then collector of customs there, asking him to issue a register to the General Rusk, in the name of Leon Smith. The request was complied with. The steamer was then disarmed, laden with cotton, and proceeded to Havana, under a contract with Moise, to bring back arms, ammunition, quartermaster stores, and medicines. She returned to Indianola, in Texas, with the cargo contracted for; was there again laden with cotton under the same contract, or another contract with the same parties; but on her next voyage to Havana, her career was put an end to, as above mentioned.

Under these circumstances, this government deems itself further and conclusively warranted in holding that the steamer Blanche and her cargo, at the time of her capture, were the property of the insurgent authorities; that the transfer of that vessel to an alleged British subject at Havana, named George Wigg, was simulated and for the purpose of defrauding the government of the United States; which cannot acknowledge the legality of such transfer, or any rights claimed by Mr. George Wigg, pursuant to the same.

I have the honor to be, sir, with the highest consideration, your obedient servant,


The Hon. Sir Frederick A. W. Bruce, &c., &c., &c.