The steamship Isabel, built in Baltimore in 1848 and owned by Moses David Morcedai of Charleston, S.C.,  carried mail weekly from Charleston to Havana, and like George Law’s United States Mail Steamship Company, was associated with filibuster activity, including transporting Lopez himself from Key West to Savannah after the Cardenas expedition. Law’s U.S. Mail steamers regularly carried filibuster weapons, literature and men. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Isabel made several successful trips between Nassau and Charleston, before being captured by the steamship Santiago de Cuba, later purchased by Trujillo and Vining of New York, and renamed the Ella Warley. On February 9, 1863, the Ella Warley collided with the North Star and sank. “Local Intelligence: A Disaster at Sea,” New York Times, February 11, 1863;  “Loss of the Ella Warley,Sacramento Daily Union, March 9, 1863; Tom Chaffin, Fatal Glory, 174-175.

67Isabel colour

The Isabel (steam-sail). Edward McGregor, 1848, oil on canvas, Maryland Historical Society.


Steamship Isabel, Charleston, South Carolina, c.1855. Oil on canvas thought to be painted by Joseph B. Smith (1798-1876). The Charleston Renaissance Gallery.