The Escape of the Tallahassee

This painting, inspired by Civil War era photographs and water colors, depicts the midnight escape of the Confederate blockade runner Tallahassee through the Eastern Passage in August 1864. After a successful career attacking Union shipping (as many as 35 vessels sunk or captured as far north as Maine), the Tallahassee was damaged with a broken mainmast and put in to Halifax for repairs.

Despite official British neutrality, many loyalist Maritimers were sympathetic to the Confederate cause, and when Union cruisers closed in on the Tallahassee, a local pilot named Jock Flemming lead the ship out through supposedly impassable channels late at night to make an escape.

The Tallahassee returned to North Carolina, successfully running the Union naval blockade, and the daring escape made the ship the subject of local legends. The aura of mystery surrounding the escape is heightened by the fact that it was locally considered an impossible feat to maneuver a 500 ton steam ship through this narrow channel in the dead of night.

To find out more about Confederate operations in Canada, click here. For a fascinating read on this little known chapter in Canadian history, read In Armageddon's Shadow - The Civil War and Canada's Maritime Provinces by Greg Marquis.