On June 28, 1861, the Union’s first charge of Confederate piracy since the Civil War erupted took place in the Potomac River when the passenger steamer St. Nicholas was captured. Captain George Hollins developed a daring scheme to capture the ship. Using the flamboyant Lt. Colonel Richard Thomas Zarvona masquerading as Madame La Force, the ship was taken over by the Confederates and used to capture three other Union merchant ships. Hollins and Zarvona were proclaimed vicious pirates in the North and treated like heroes throughout the South.
THE DARING VETERAN: CAPTAIN GEORGE HOLLINS, CSN