Note: The following is one of a series of columns looking at places and events of interest in Bulloch County history.
James D. Bulloch was a great-grandson of Archibald Bulloch, a leader of Revolutionary forces and the first president of Georgia's Council of Safety. His father, James Stephens Bulloch, lived at Bulloch Hall in Roswell.
The younger Bulloch was in the U.S. Navy when Bulloch Hall was constructed and thus never lived there. His half-sister, Martha or "Mittie," married Theodore Roosevelt Sr. and became the mother of the future president.
Bulloch served aboard the USS United States, USS Decatur, and the USS Delaware. In 1851, he became the civilian captain of a mail steamer, the USS Georgia.
Ever the adventurer, in 1860 he joined a private New York shipping company that carried freight and passengers between New York and New Orleans, Louisiana. In his memoirs, entitled “The Secret Service of the Confederate States in Europe,” he wrote he was “little connected to the South” at this time.
When Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor was fired upon in 1861, however, he volunteered to assist the Confederacy. Shortly thereafter, he moved to Liverpool, England, where he worked on behalf of the Confederacy.
Bulloch's charge was to buy and outfit vessels which the Confederacy would use to disrupt Northern shipping and acquire supplies with which the South could equip its troops.
He soon signed contracts for both the CSS Florida and the CSS Alabama. The CSS Alabama began cruising against Northern trade in August 1862. She almost drove American shipping out of the North Atlantic until she was sunk off of Cherbourg, France by the USS Kearsarge in July of 1864.
The Commander of the CSS Alabama, he was next ordered to acquire several ironclads for the Confederate Navy. He immediately signed contracts for the building of four ironclad rams and six more fighting ships.
Unfortunately, they were still under construction when both England and France exercised terms of their neutrality treaties with the U.S. government and refused to turn over of the ships.
Bulloch later still managed to sneak out a French-flagged ironclad (which was then renamed the CSS Stonewall), but it reached America after the Confederate surrender at Appomattox, Virginia.
After the war Bulloch retired to Liverpool, where he lived with his daughter and son-in-law. Here he directed the Liverpool Nautical College. He died in Liverpool in 1901.
Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look each week at the area's past. E-mail Roger at firstname.lastname@example.org.