James Sterling letter book 1761-1765
During the first year of the Civil War, the schooner J. M. Taylor was captured by John Perene, in employ of the mercantile firm of R. M. Blackwell & Co., whose offices were located at 144 Front Street, New York. In 1862, the J. M. Taylor was leased to the federal government to transport troops and horses from Alexandria, Va., to Fortress Monroe.
In April, 1862, Capt. Perene joked about the schooner becoming "lunch before dinner" for the Confederate iron-clad Merrimac , then patrolling the James River. Ironically, it was not the Merrimac that did in the Taylor : while carrying a cargo of fresh meat for Union troops on July 7, the Taylor became lunch for a barrage of Confederate artillery from the shore and was badly mangled. Blackwell & Co. spent months afterward repairing their prize and requesting restitution for damages of the government.