Confederate Flag flown on the CSS Alabama

flag of the CSS Alabama, The Mariners Museum, Newport News, Virginia, May 10, 2009

The Mariner’s Museum, Newport News, Virginia, May 10, 2009

Unable to build or buy enough warships to contest Northern control of the seas, the South purchased several fast cruisers in Britain and sent them out with orders to raid Union shipping. The most famous of these vessels was the Alabama, commanded by Raphael Semmes. Prowling the seas from the West Indies to the Indian Ocean, the Alabama captured 63 vessels in just 22 months.

The Alabama was caught by the Kearsarge at Cherbourg, France. Although his ship was worn out by many months at sea, Semmes chose to meet the Kearsarge in battle. The Alabama was sunk within two hours. Semmes and many of his crew were rescued by the English yacht Deerhound and escaped captivity.

Gallery: The Mariners’ Museum, Newport News, May 10, 2009

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