Wednesday, January 2, 2013

James Dunwoody Bulloch


James Dunwody Bulloch (1823 – 1901) was the Confederate States of America's chief foreign agent in Great Britain during the American Civil War. He was the half-brother of a distinguished Confederate naval officer, Irvine Bulloch and of Martha ‘Mittie’ Bulloch Roosevelt. Mittie was the mother of future U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt and the grandmother of Eleanor Roosevelt.

Bulloch's roots trace back to Scotland, a fact of which he was fiercely proud. His forebear and namesake, James Bulloch received a liberal Glasgow education before entering the clergy. Repression in the early eighteenth century led James to emigrate to Carolina in 1728 before moving sometime later to Georgia.

James Dunwoody Bulloch was born near Savannah, Georgia on June 25th 1823, the only child of Major James Stephens Bulloch and Esther Amarintha Elliot. After the early death of his mother, his father enrolled young James in a private school in Hartford, Connecticut. Major Bulloch then married Martha (Stewart) Elliott on May 8th 1831. She was the second wife and widow of Senator John Elliott. James Bulloch (Senior) and Martha had four children: Anna Bulloch; Martha Bulloch; Charles Irvine Bulloch (died at age two years nine months) and Irvine Bulloch (See photo).

In 1838 Major Bulloch moved his family to Cobb County in the upper Piedmont to become a partner with Roswell King in a new cotton mill. In what would become Roswell, Georgia, the major had an impressive new house built utilizing the labour of both craftsmen and slaves workers. When this was completed in 1839, he and his family moved into the new, ‘Bulloch Hall’. Major Bulloch, a planter, also had land used in cotton cultivation and after his death in 1849, Martha Bulloch retained the use of thirty one enslaved African-Americans.

James D. Bulloch married Elizabethe Caskie in 1851 and after her premature death, he married Hariott Cross Foster in 1857 with whom he had five children. He served in the United States Navy for fourteen years before joining a private shipping company. When the southern states attempted to leave the Union and the Civil War began in 1861, one of the first acts of Washington was to impose a strangling Federal naval blockade on the Confederacy. Prompted by these actions and a deep sympathy for the south, Bulloch decided to serve the southern cause. In 1861, he offered to assist the Confederate States of America. Within days, following the attack on Fort Sumter, Stephen Mallory appointed Bulloch as a Commander in the CSN and sent him to Liverpool as the Confederacy's first Naval Purchasing Agent in England. To many, Bulloch was also seen as the Confederate States’ first secret service agent.

In 1861 Britain was officially neutral in the conflict between North and South, but private and public sentiment mostly favoured the Confederacy. Britain was still desperate to buy all the cotton that could be smuggled past the Union blockade which in turn, provided the South with its only real source of hard currency. Bulloch quickly established a relationship with the Charleston shipping firm of Fraser Trenholm & Company (Liverpool) which in effect became the Confederare States, international bankers.

Through the offices of his new business acquaintance, Bulloch arranged for the construction and purchase of the commerce raider CSS Florida and  CSS Alabama (See photo) - as well as several blockade runners providing the Confederacy's commercial lifeline. With imported cotton easily converted to hard currency, he also purchased war material including arms and ammunition, uniforms, and other supplies. The CSS Florida and CSS Alabama would become equally famous and infamous for causing havoc and destruction amongst the Union's merchant shipping. By coincidence, Bulloch’s' brother, Irvine, would himself serve and fight on the CSS Alabama with some distinction.

James Bulloch, realizing that he must arrange for a steady flow of new funds before he could progress his intended purchasing program, bought the steamship 'Atlanta' with which he carried much accumulated ordnance that he and another agent of the Southern War Department had secretly amassed in several locations. He sailed with his new ship to America but within weeks, returned to England to continue the urgent acquisition of other warships and blockade runners for the Confederacy.

One purchase was of considerable significance. This was the 'Sea King' which was subsequently renamed the CSS Shenandoah. Bulloch instructed her captain, James Iredell Waddell to sail ‘..into the seas and among the islands frequented by the great American whaling fleet, a source of abundant wealth to our enemies and a nursery for their seamen. It is hoped that you may be able to greatly damage and disperse that fleet..’ As history records, Waddell and the CSS Shenandoah not only surpassed Bulloch's expectation; but fired the last shots of the war on 28 June 1865 during a raid on American whalers in the Bering Sea.

As ‘alleged’ Confederate secret agents, James and Irvine Bulloch were not included in the general amnesty that came on the heels of the Civil War. They therefore decided to stay in Liverpool, becoming respectable cotton importers and brokers.

James Dunwoody Bulloch died on January 7th 1901 in Liverpool at 76 Canning Street, aged seventy seven years. In his will he left $30,000 to his nephew, Theodore, who soon after become the 26th President of the United States. Taking cognizance of his treatment following the cessation of hostilities, his gravestone bears this fitting inscription:-
‘An American by birth, an Englishman by choice.’

I am indebted to many for information contained in this short summary of James Bulloch.
Among these are Diane Stephens White, Bob Jones and Roy Rawlinson.
Any fault, misrepresentation or error is therefore mine alone. Ian Dewar

Addendum by Roy Rawlinson:

When Jefferson Davis was released from prison in 1868, he visited various countries, including Canada and Cuba, before finally arriving in England, at the port of Liverpool. It is almost certain that as the Davis`s departed their transport across the Atlantic, they were expected, and that the Bulloch`s, James and Harriot were waiting to meet them.

 Liverpool was certainly a good choice by Jefferson Davis, for there was at that time, a mini Confederate community resident in Liverpool, containing some of the great names from Confederate Naval History. Commander James Dunwoody Bulloch, of course, (and I did read somewhere once that Bulloch and Davis were actually distant cousins, no doubt someone will put me right on that!). Also in Liverpool was Irvine Stephens Bulloch, James`s half-brother, who sailed on both The Alabama and The Shenandoah.
 Captain John Newland Maffitt of The Florida fame, and his son. Lt John Lowe, of the CSS Fingal and the Alabama. Captain James Iredell Waddel, of the CSS Shenandoah.
 Moses P Robertson, Bulloch`s wartime secretary and future business partner; and Charles Kuhn Prioleau, of Fraser Trenholm fame, and I have no doubt that there were many comings together of these parties, to talk about the “old days”.

 After being here for a few weeks, Jefferson and Varina Davis moved on to Leamington Spa, leaving their two boys in the care of Harriot Bulloch. Leamington Spa had been a Confederate hotbed during the war, and was very sympathetic towards the Davis`s and their cause. So much so that Varina stayed there, in Leamington Spa, as Jefferson toured Europe, trying to sell insurance. The Davis children were placed in the same school as the Bulloch`s children, and it was during this period that the Roosevelt`s also came to visit at the start of a tour of Europe. Mittie Roosevelt, James and Irvine`s sister, having married Theodore Roosevelt Snr at Bulloch Hall in Roswell GA. Young Theodore Roosevelt, was taken along to see the Bulloch children at their school, where he also met the Davis boys. Young Theodore and the elder Davis boy got into an altercation of sorts, maybe fists were thrown, maybe not, but they had to be separated. It is only now, with the benefit of hindsight, that we can see the irony of a future President of the United States, fighting with the son of the Ex-President of the Confederacy.

 Theodore Roosevelt came to know James D Bulloch very well indeed, visiting him in Liverpool on numerous occasions, and also welcoming him to the Roosevelt home in New York home. He was immensely proud of his two uncles, Jimmy and Irvine, and spoke of them in speeches in the South, during his first Presidential campaign.

 This is written from memory, and I hope, factually correct.