|One such ship specifically purchased as a blockade runner due to her high speed was named Atlanta. Built by the British firm of J. & W. Dudgeon on the River
Thames, she was originally built as a high speed ferry for the Chatham & Dover Railway and could cross the English Channel from Calais to Dover in 77 minutes.
With a maximum speed of 17-knots, she was one of the fastest ships afloat. She was 220-feet in length, 24-feet in beam and had a drought of 14-feet. For her size
she surprisingly had a fairly low displacement of about 500-tons. She successfully ran the USN blockade and put into the port of Wilmington, North Carolina. It was
decided to convert the Atlanta to an armed commerce raider in July 1864.
Renamed CSS Tallahassee, she was armed with five guns, one 84-pound pivot gun, two 32-pound and two 24-pound broadside guns. Commander J. T. Wood was
given command and in early August 1864 CSS Tallahassee slipped by the blockading Union warships bottling up Wilmington. Unlike the cruising raiders like CSS
Alabama and CSS Shenandoah, the Tallahassee was rather short legged, depending almost totally dependant on coal with a minimal sail rig. With her rudimentary
sailing rig, Tallahassee could only sail at three-knots in good weather. The CSN produced only seven commerce raiders that were successful during the American
Civil War and the Tallahassee was one of the successful raiders, contributing to the shredding of the merchant marine of the USA from which it took decades to
recover. In nineteen days Tallahassee cruised from Wilmington to Halifax, Nova Scotia. In this brief cruise she took 33 merchants. Some were sent back to
southern ports and some were just burned. Low on coal she put into Halifax to replenish. By the fall of 1864 Confederate fortunes were so obviously on the wane
that British/Canadian port authorities treated the Tallahassee as a red-headed step child, limiting her stay in port to 24 hours, later extended to 40 hours. She was
only allowed enough coal in order to get her back to her home port of Wilmington. In the meantime, American merchants vacated the Atlantic to reach safe ports
and the USN flushed every warship available into Atlantic to end the threat. Nonetheless Tallahassee safely evaded the baying pack of northern warships and
docked back in Wilmington on August 26, 1864.