Foreign Ventures

In time the younger Theodore Roosevelt would be troubled by his father's failure to serve. His sister Conie attributed much of her brother's later obsession with war to a desire to compensate for their father's deficiency in this regard. But at seven Teedie was too busy being impressed by those of his relations who did serve. The most conspicuous family heroes hailed from his mother's side. The Bullochs fought under the wrong flag, of course, but they did so with conspicuous gallantry. Several Bullochs served in the Confederate army; one uncle, James Bulloch, was an admiral in the Confederate navy who carried out secret assignments for Jefferson Davis in Europe. The most important of these was the construction of the famous raider Alabama. Bulloch arranged with a Liverpool shipbuilder to construct a vessel Bulloch called the Erica, ostensibly a merchantman. The ruse didn't fool anyone for long, however, and Charles Francis Adams, Lincoln's ambassador in London, complained that the construction of what clearly was destined to be a Confederate warship violated Britain's avowed neutrality in the war and constituted an unfriendly act. The consequences could be most grave. British leaders, under pressure from British arms-makers and, in any event, not particularly solicitous of Washington's good wishes, tugged their chins and shuffled their papers for many months, until the ship was nearly completed. In July 1862, Bulloch took the unfinished vessel on what was billed as a sea trial; for cover he invited along dozens of English notables and their wives. But as the liquor ran out and the day waned, he politely asked his guests to step aboard a tender, which carried them


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T.R.: The Last Romantic
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