Friday, June 11, 2010

Fighting Her Way Out Of Cherbourg France

Two years at sea for the “CSS Alabama” only to find itself trapped June 11th 1864 at Cherbourg, France.

The Confederate ship the “CSS Alabama” a screw sloop, was built by John Laird Sons and Company at their shipyard in Birkenhead, Merseyside, England. It was commissioned August 24th 1862. The “CSS Alabama” under the command of Captain Raphael Semmes.  It spent the next few months in the North Atlantic capturing American grain ships heading for Europe. Then going through the West Indies, she sank the “USS Hatteras” off the coast of Galveston Texas. From here she traveled to the East Indies, before returning to Europe.
The “CSS Alabama” arrived on June 11th 1864 at Cherbourg, France. Captain Semmes requested permission to dock his ship and have her overhauled. Three days later the ship the “USS Kearsarge” under the command of Captain John Ancrum Winslow; which had been chasing the “CSS Alabama” arrived in Cherbourg. The “CSS Alabama” sailed out of Cherbourg on June 19th 1864 and engaged the Union ship. With less then a 1,000 yard between the two ships they opened fired on each other. The battle quickly went bad for the “CSS Alabama”, in about an hour she was nothing more then a sinking hulk. Captain Semmes struck his colors and surrendered the ship to his opponent. The “USS Kearsarge” rescued most of the crew of the “CSS Alabama”, but Captain Semmes and 41 other crew member were picked up by the yacht the “Deerhound” and escaped to England. During her two years at sea the “CSS Alabama” took over 60 prizes worth over $6,000,000.

1 comment:


Warfare is a fascinating subject. Despite the dubious morality of using violence to achieve personal or political aims. It remains that conflict has been used to do just that throughout recorded history.

Your article is very well done, a good read.