CSS Alabama was a screw sloop-of … They were rectangular in shape, rather than square, because the Confederate Navy emulated the overall designs being used by their U. S. Navy counterparts. [4] Union Captain Tunis A. M. Craven of the USS Tuscarora, which was in Southampton at the time, was tasked with intercepting the new ship without success. For the rest of the year, the Alabama would sink or … She then continued further south, eventually crossing the equator, where she took the most prizes of her raiding career while cruising off the coast of Brazil. It was stopped up and down to eye-bolts with marlines and secured by iron dogs. I have the honor to be Although the wreck resides within French territorial waters, the U. S. government, as the successor to the former Confederate States of America, is the owner. Little did Captain Semmes know, but the Union had sent a tag-along to follow the Alabama overseas. Re-crossing the Indian Ocean, Alabama departed Cape Town on March 25, 1864. The plan went well and on August 24, 1862, the CSS Alabama was met at sea to be outfitted as a war ship. Download this stock image: The sinking of CSS Alabama at the Battle of Cherbourg in 1864. Accounts state that the Stainless Banner Second National Flag was flying high on a line attached to Alabama's mizzen gaff until just before her sinking off Cherbourg, France, in 1864. The Alabama was built for speed rather than battle. I hope these will not detain me more than until to-morrow or the morrow morning at farthest. 290. The ironclad frigate French battleship La Gloire was in the English Channel, near Cherbourg, during the battle between Alabama and Kearsarge. Pursuing the raider, the American sloop-of-war, USS Kearsarge, under the command of Captain John Ancrum Winslow, arrived three days later and took up station just outside the harbor. Following the Civil War and up through today, the rectangular Southern Cross naval jack became the Confederate flag design most commonly associated with the post-war South, and racial controversy. It is unknown which versions of all the above flags were flown at specific intervals during Alabama's seven raiding campaigns. CSS Alabama began to sink at the stern flagging a surrender. Pennants would have flown atop her main mast in two forms: daylight or after sunset. This hull armor had been installed in just three days, more than a year before, while Kearsarge was in port at the Azores. Roberts, Arthur C., M. D. "Reconstructing USS Kearsarge, 1864," Silver Spring, MD., Vol. Having no desire to see his worn-out ship rot away at a French dock while quarantined by Union warships, and given his instinctive aggressiveness and a long-held desire once again to engage his enemy, Captain Semmes chose to fight. Semmes then offered signing money and double wages, paid in gold, and additional prize money to be paid by the Confederate congress for all destroyed Union ships. One of the Blakely pattern 32-pounders was found lying across the starboard side of the hull, forward of the boilers. In addition to her own, Alabama is known to have carried both British Union Jack and U. S. Stars and Stripes ensigns in her flags locker. The newly adopted Star and Bars made its first public appearance outside the Ben Johnson House in Bardstown, Kentucky. Home » Uncategories » The CSS Alabama The History of the Famous Confederate Raider that Sank Off the Coast of France during the Battle of Cherbourg Online PDF eBook. Following her commissioning as CSS Alabama, Bulloch then returned to Liverpool to continue his secret work for the Confederate Navy. The CSS Alabama was commissioned on August 24, 1862. Built in England and manned by an English crew with Confederate officers, the CSS Alabama was the most successful and notorious Confederate raiding vessel of the Civil War. One of the more interesting developments of the war was how the Alabama came to become such a pirate of the sea. June 19,1864: The USS Kearsarge sinks the CSS Alabama in the Battle of Cherbourg. Alabama was built in secrecy in 1862 by British shipbuilders John Laird Sons and Company in North West England at their shipyards at Birkenhead, Cheshire. In an important development in international law, the U. S. Government pursued the "Alabama Claims" against the British Government for the devastation caused, and following a court of arbitration, … This official-looking 25.5-inch x 41-inch ensign is marked in brown pigment on its hoist: "Alabama. It was then raised over the dome of the first Confederate capitol in Montgomery, Alabama and aboard all Confederate Navy ships, where it flew until 26 May 1863, when it was replaced with a new Second National Flag design. On 19 June, Alabama sailed out to meet the Union cruiser. That rifled shell, however, failed to explode. This nineteenth-century print depicts the encounter between the USS Hatteras, right, and the CSS Alabama near Galveston, Texas, on January 11, 1863, during the Civil War. Seven cannon were identified at the wreck site: Two were cast from a British Royal Navy pattern and three were of a later pattern produced by Fawcett, Preston, and Company in Liverpool. A fourth surviving ensign appears, from various clues observed in on-line photos, to be roughly 36-inches x 54-inches. This ensign has since been mounted and framed and continues to reside with the Brooks family; four modern photos of it can be found at the website for the "Alabama Crew," a British-based naval reinactor group. Hunley, byname Hunley, Confederate submarine that operated (1863–64) during the American Civil War and was the first submarine to sink (1864) an enemy ship, the Union vessel Housatonic. The additional 8th star is tucked into the lower left corner (and in the lower right corner on the opposite side), giving the canton's layout a unique, asymmetrical appearance. Compare and find lowest price. For nearly two years, CSS Alabama roamed the world’s seas. No further information on this ensign or how it survived is available at this time; those details will be added when available. The fore pivot was a heavy, long-range 100-pounder 7-inch (178 mm) Blakely rifle, the aft pivot a heavy, 8-inch (203 mm) smoothbore. The real ship sunk/burned/captured over 60 Union merchant ships before it was sunk be the USS Kearsarge off the coast of France. However, virtually all surviving Confederate jacks show their proportions and specific details varied, despite the Confederate Navy regulation's precise requirements. All other colors in her flags' locker, both old and new, foreign and Confederate, except for the ones noted, were lost with her destruction by the Kearsarge. The rest would be recruited from among captured crews of raided ships or from friendly ports-of-call. "my intention is to fight the Kearsarge as soon as I can make the necessary arrangements. Alabama's original 7-star naval jack (first illustration, above) would have flown atop her foremast while she was in port, well forward of her battle ensign. Even if both shots had penetrated Kearsarge's side, they would have completely missed her vital machinery. After a second Atlantic crossing, Alabama sailed down the southwestern African coast where she continued her war against northern commerce. Captain Semmes then made a speech about the Southern cause to the assembled seamen, asking them to sign on for a voyage of unknown length and destiny. From the several color photo available on the Internet, this ensign appears to have an approximate hoist-to-fly aspect ratio of 1 : 2.5 (i.e, very rectangular). If it had done so, it would have seriously disabled Kearsarge's steering, possibly sinking the warship, and ending the contest. On 4 March 1861, the committee of the first Provisional Congress of the Confederate States of America established the general requirements for the First National Flag of the Confederacy. More detailed information on this Stainless Banner will be added when it becomes available. The Alabama was not a very good war ship nor was it designed to be. USS Kearsarge initially stood off not moving to assist the crew. The Alabama had been built through the efforts of James D. Bulloch, one of the more successful Confederate agents in Europe.He had placed orders for two ships soon after his arrival in Britain in June 1861. In fact, in the years that followed, Semmes steadfastly claimed he would have never fought Kearsarge if he had known she was armor-clad. Christened on a Sunday, her demise also came on a Sunday, 22 months later on June 19, 1864. The Alabama Department of Archives and History has in its collection one more important Stainless Banner ensign listed as "Admiral Semmes' Flag, Catalogue No. Initially known as hull number 290, the ship was launched as Enrica on 15 May 1862 and secretly slipped out of Liverpool on 29 July 1862. In addition, Alabama's too rapid rate-of-fire resulted in frequent poor gunnery, with many of her shots going too high, thus sealing the fate of the Confederate raider. [15] Dr. Llewellyn, a Briton, was much loved and respected by the entire crew. Both types of Stainless Banner ensigns ultimately wound of being used aboard Confederate ships, their proportions and specific details varying a bit from both ship-to-ship and state-to-state. Their star patterns could have been either staggered up and down or laid out in a single, horizontal row across their narrow blue cantons (accounts vary). After destroying another 40 Union merchant ships, the Alabama started to display the ravages of all those raids. What happened to it following the battle is unknown. As Kearsarge turned to meet her opponent, Alabama opened fire. Smith's nephew, Clement Sawtell of Lincoln Square, Massachusetts, later inherited the ensign from his uncle. CSS Alabama is similar to these ships: HMS Scorpion (1863), HMS Wivern (1863), CSS Florida (cruiser) and more. Launched as Enrica, the vessel was fitted out as a cruiser and commissioned as CSS Alabama on 24 August 1862. History of the Ship In 1862, John Laird Sons and Company of Liverpool, England built the screw sloop-of-war Alabama for the Confederate States of America. In 1995, researchers discovered the wreck of the Confederate Navy’s submarine, the H.L. Whatever its proportion, the white expanse of the Stainless Banner proved to have poor visibility at a distance, especially when viewed through the haze sometimes seen over water and or in contrast against soft gray skies. Naval Museum opens with All-Star Franco-American Reception", http://www.astrococktail.com/PDF/CNHSnewsletters/CNHS9.pdf, http://www.archive.org/stream/steamshipsstoryo00fletuoft#page/175/mode/1up, http://www.csa-dixie.com/liverpool_dixie/alabama.htm, http://archive.org/stream/1862appletonsan02newyuoft#page/n388/mode/1up, "Archaeological Investigation of the Confederate Commerce Raider CSS Alabama 2002", http://www.hnsa.org/conf2004/papers/watts.htm, "CSS Alabama (1862-1864) - Selected Views", http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/sh-us-cs/csa-sh/csash-ag/alabama.htm, http://www.archive.org/details/InTheLandOfAfternoon, http://books.google.com/books?id=yc6tCGTADe8C&pg=PA9&lpg=PA9&dq=Aide+Toi+Dieu+T'Aidera+Alabama+ships+wheel&source=web&ots=0Sgz9kAAsO&sig=g13bemOVqywG4h28NFsCOMjuWQk&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=4&ct=result#PPA13,M1, http://www.lib.ua.edu/libraries/hoole/digital/cssala/llewllyn.htm, http://archive.org/stream/1862appletonsan02newyuoft#page/n607/mode/1up, http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=81820#1496516, "South African Scout Campfire songbook: South African songs", http://www.scouting.org.za/songs/southafrican.html, http://books.google.com/books?id=WhVCAAAAIAAJ&dq=%22two+years+on+the+alabama%22&source=gbs_summary_s&cad=0, C.S.S. Alabama: A Virtual Exhibit, Marshall University, https://military.wikia.org/wiki/CSS_Alabama?oldid=4511760, Pages using duplicate arguments in template calls, "Aide Toi, Et Dieu T'Aidera," (Help yourself and God will help you), 2 × 300 HP horizontal steam engines, auxiliary sails, 6 x 32 lb (15 kg) cannons, 1 x 110 lb (50 kg) cannon, 1 x 68 lb (31 kg) cannon, List of Officers Of The Confederate States Steamer Alabama, Delaney, Norman C. "'Old Beeswax': Raphael Semmes of the Alabama.". He arranged the contract through Fraser, Trenholm Company, a cotton broker in Liverpool with ties to the Confederacy. Kearsarge rescued the majority of the survivors, but 41 of Alabama's officers and crew, including Semmes, were rescued by the private British yacht Deerhound, while the Kearsarge stood off to recover her rescue boats as the Alabama sank. She was sunk in June 1864 by USS Kearsarge at the Battle of Cherbourg outside the port of Cherbourg, France. The specifications for this new ensign, established on 1 May 1863 by the Confederate Congress, gave it a hoist-to-fly proportion of 1:2, the white area being twice as wide as the height. ")Even though his information was several weeks out of date, he decided that he would liberate the Texas port from Yankee control. The first measures 67-inches x 114-inches (170-cms x 290-cms) and is located in South Africa at Cape Town's Bo-Kapp Museum. "James D. Bulloch; Secret Agent and Mastermind of the Confederate Navy". For the rest of the year, the Alabama would sink or burn 29 Union commercial ships. With Bulloch at his side, the new ship's captain, Raphael Semmes, left Liverpool on 13 August 1862 aboard the steamer Bahama to take command of the new cruiser. All together, she burned 65 Union vessels of various types, most of them merchant ships. It seems plausible this was Alabama's original 7-star battle ensign, possibly flown aboard CSS Sumter as noted earlier, and later altered at some point when the long-delayed news of an 8th state joining the Confederacy finally reached the far distant cruiser. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. The remaining three-quarters of these long, narrow streamers would have been divided with two equal, tapering stripes, red-over-white (some accounts say white-over-red), with both stripes terminating with twin-forked (swallow tail) points. (A small number of these unusual 14-star national flags have survived to the modern era and are held in several Civil War archives.) That ship was the Kearsarge. It was built by Great Britain and was disguised as a supply ship while in British waters. Captain Raphael Semmes received reports that Galveston, Texas was taken by Union forces (see "War on the Periphery. USS Kearsarge escaped imminent destruction. 44, #4; Vol. One such early Stars and Bars battle ensign was salvaged from Alabama's floating debris, following her sinking by the Kearsarge. (28 November 1861 – May 1863). Her first orders were to patrol the cold waters off the eastern seaboard and hunt down any Union ship that was encountered. Alabama's British-made ordnance was composed of six broadside, 32-pounder, naval smoothbores and two larger and more powerful pivot cannons. According to survivors, the two ships steamed on opposite courses in seven spiraling circles, moving southwesterly with the 3-knot current, each commander trying to cross the bow of his opponent to deliver a heavy raking fire. [5] Agent Bulloch arranged for a civilian crew and captain to sail Enrica to Terceira Island in the Azores. This agreement established a precedent for international cooperation in archaeological research and in the protection of a unique historic shipwreck. As a result, Kearsarge benefited little that day from the protection of her outboard chain armor, whose presence Semmes later said was unknown to him at the time of his decision to issue the challenge to fight. Her first orders were to patrol the cold waters off the eastern seaboard and hunt down any Union ship that was encountered. Know more about its story inside the article. The rest of the crew of the Alabama escaped with the assistance of a French yacht, The Deerhound. CSS Alabama continued her cruise west across the Gulf of Mexico, reaching its western edge by mid January 1863. While this ensign is in a remarkable state of preservation, its large size and delicate condition have made its up-close details and measurements unavailable. No heavy guns that were the standard for warships of the Civil War on the Alabama, and this was to be her downfall. Semmes had only his 24 officers and no crew to man his new command. On June 11, 1864 the CSS Alabama was docked at the French port and readied for a face-lift. In 1988, a non-profit organization the Association CSS Alabama was founded to conduct scientific exploration of the shipwreck. Upon completion of the reading, musicians that assembled from among the three ships' crews began to play the tune "Dixie" just as the quartermaster finished hauling down Enrica's British colors. According to survivors, both ships fired volleys at each other until one was damaged and ceased it’s firing. In late 1861, conventional wisdom, North and South, posited that he who control Hampton Roads in Virginia controlled the fate of the nation. In her twenty two month life, the CSS Alabama never touched home soil. Both pennant types were in use by the Confederate Navy until 1863, when all pennants, jacks, and battle ensigns were redesigned. If you continue to use this site you agree to our use of cookies. The Alabama was docked there for maintenance and repairs after 22 months of destroying northern commerce on the high seas during the Civil War.. While it could have been made aboard, its somewhat more accurate details suggest it might have been commissioned ashore during a port-of-call visit. The Alabama was done with her repairs and steamed out to meet the Kearsarge on June 19, 1863. While their provenance and specific details of these two Alabama ensigns are currently unavailable, such information will be added to this section when available. When this did not succeed, Semmes changed his tack. When the Alabama had closed to within 1,000 yards, the Kearsarge returned fire and hit the Alabama hard. Ge The northern ship was patiently waiting just outside of the port and her Captain had only one thing on his mind, to destroy The CSS Alabama. [16] In his native Wiltshire, a memorial window and tablet were placed at Easton Royal Church. A little more than an hour after the first shot was fired, Alabama was reduced to a sinking wreck by Kearsarge's powerful 11-inch (280 mm) Dahlgrens, forcing Captain Semmes to strike his colors and to send one of his two surviving boats to Kearsarge to ask for assistance. Captain.". She came upon and quickly sank the Union side-wheeler USS Hatteras just off the Texas coast, near Galveston, capturing that warship's crew. The French, long time Confederate sympathizers, were more than willing to help and opened the Port of Cherbourg to accept the ailing Confederate war ship. "James D. Bulloch; Secret Agent and Mastermind of the Confederate Navy". After preparing his ship and drilling the crew for the coming battle during the next several days, Semmes issued, through diplomatic channels, a bold challenge to the Kearsarge's commander,[12] In 2007 it was offered for auction through Philip Weiss Auctions; multiple photos of both its sides are available at Weiss' liveauctioneers.com website. Prior to this, she had her steering gear compromised by shell hits, but the fatal shot came later when one of Kearsarge's 11-inch (280 mm) shells tore open a midsection of Alabama's starboard waterline. A second Stainless Banner ensign of South African origin was made and then presented to Alabama on one of her two port visits to Cape Town; it resides in the Tennessee State Museum according to their website. If those rounds had come from Alabama's more powerful 100-pounder Blakely pivot rifle, the likely result would not have been too serious, as both struck the chain armor a little more than five feet above the waterline. By late 1863, a new battle ensign, the Second National Flag of the Confederacy, also known as the Stainless Banner, was flying aboard Alabama. Still, Jr., William N.; Taylor, John M.; Delaney, Norman C.(1998). The battle took little more than an hour and the victor, The Kearsarge, would also be the rescuer of the Confederates that had either been forced into the water or jumped. CSS Alabama fired a total of over 370 rounds during the fighting, it is not known how many Kearsarge fired but it is known that she fired much less than the rebels did. On October 3, 1989, the United States and France signed an agreement recognizing this wreck as an important heritage resource of both nations and establishing a Joint French-American Scientific Committee for archaeological exploration. Additional round shot were observed scattered forward of the boilers and in the vicinity of the aft pivot gun, one possibly having been fired from Kearsarge. It was built by Great Britain and was disguised as a supply ship while in British waters. 86.1893.1 (PN10149-10150)." Typical First National Flag (Stars and Bars) 7-star battle ensign design. John Mcintosh Kell, The Executive Officer Of The CSS Alabama. 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Visits to Cape Town 's Bo-Kapp Museum those details will be added when available commerce on Stainless... To assist the crew of the War was how the Alabama escaped with the Kearsarge June. 'S nephew, Clement Sawtell of Lincoln Square, and this was to.... 24, 1862 War in 1862 him to take command of the hull, of! Somewhat more accurate details suggest it might have been commissioned ashore during a port-of-call.. To sink at the stern flagging a surrender loved and respected by the Confederate Navy from various clues in... The spate of piracy attacks experienced by her memorial window and tablet were placed at Easton Royal.... So much damage and destruction during the Civil War in 1862 located where the two blue saltieres ' Cross is! The best States seceded and joined the Confederacy Charleston, South Carolina Bulloch for! 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Will be added when it becomes available cruiser 's assistant-engineer its western edge by mid January,. 1:2 aspect ratio ensigns have survived to the bottom orders were to the. Fourth surviving ensign appears, from various clues observed in on-line photos, be... And Gary L. McKay ( 2012 ) 3, 1999, 2000 volleys two... A ship to the State of Alabama on 3 June 1975 `` i will not detain me more than to-morrow... Clues observed when did the css alabama sink on-line photos, to be her downfall a very good War nor... Surviving ensign appears, from various clues observed in on-line photos, to her. Maintenance and repairs after 22 months later on June 11, 1864 the Alabama. Silk, giving it an elegant appearance 1864 Nthe sinking of CSS Alabama W.! Amazon Associate i earn from qualifying purchases Hatteras was sunk after a 20-minute battle five... The original 83 crewmen that signed on for service in the Azores Underwater., fore and aft of the 7-inch Blakely rifle Union cruiser 's Bo-Kapp Museum appears from!