Confederate Navy Sloop of War
American Civil War
CSS Alabama (1862-1864)
CSS Alabama , a 1050-ton screw steam sloop of war, was built at Birkenhead, England, for the Confederate Navy. After leaving England in the guise of a merchant ship, she rendezvoused at sea with supply ships, was outfitted as a combatant and placed in commission on 24 August 1862. Commanded by Captain Raphael Semmes , Alabama cruised in the North Atlantic and West Indies during the rest of 1862, capturing over two-dozen Union merchant ships, of which all but a few were burned. Among those released was the mail steamer Ariel , taken off Cuba on 7 December with hundreds of passengers on board.
Alabama began the new year by sinking USS Hatteras near Galveston, Texas, on 11 January 1863. She then moved into the South Atlantic, stopped at Cape Town in August, and went on to the East Indies, seizing nearly 40 more merchantmen during the year, destroying the majority and doing immense damage to the seaborne trade of the United States.
cruiser called at Singapore in December 1863, but soon was back at sea to continue her commerce raiding. However, Alabama was increasingly in need of an overhaul and only captured a few ships in 1864. Captain Semmes brought her to Cherbourg, France, for repairs. On 11 June 1864, Alabama arrived in Cherbourg, France and Captain Semmes requested permission to dock and overhaul his ship. Pursuing the raider, the American sloop-of-war USS Kearsarge arrived three days later and took up a patrol just outside the harbor.
On 19 June, Alabama sailed out to meet Kearsarge . As Kearsarge turned to meet its opponent, Alabama opened fire. Kearsarge waited patiently until the range had closed to less than 1,000 yards. According to survivors, the two ships steamed on opposite courses moving around in circles as each commander tried to cross the bow of his opponent to deliver a heavy raking fire. The battle quickly turned against Alabama because of the poor quality of its powder and shells, while Kearsarge benefitted from the additional protection of chain cables along its sides.
A little more than an hour after the first shot was fired, Alabama was reduced to a sinking wreck, causing Semmes to strike his colors and send a boat to surrender. According to witnesses, Alabama fired 150 rounds at its adversary, while Kearsarge fired 100. When a shell fired by Kearsarge tore open a section at Alabama 's waterline, the water quickly rushed through the cruiser, forcing it to the bottom. While Kearsarge rescued most of Alabama 's survivors, Semmes and 41 others were picked up by the British yacht Deerhound and escaped to England.
During its two-year career as a commerce raider, Alabama caused disorder and devastation across the globe for United States merchant shipping. The Confederate cruiser claimed more than 60 prizes valued at nearly $6,000,000.
Her wreck was located by the French Navy in the 1980s.
Captain Raphael Semmes, Alabama 's commanding officer, standing by his ship's 110-pounder rifled gun during her visit to Capetown in August 1863. His executive officer, First Lieutenant John M. Kell, is in the background, standing by the ship's wheel.
Confederate Ironclad vs Union Ironclad: Hampton Roads 1862
The Ironclad was a revolutionary weapon of war. Although iron was used for protection in the Far East during the 16th century, it was the 19th century and the American Civil War that heralded the first modern armored self-propelled warships.
Release date Nov. 2008
The action between the Ironclad Federal steamer 'Kearsarge' and the Confederate steamer 'Alabama', off Cherbourg, June 19th 1864.
Painting by W.F. Mitchell.
Print depicting the Alabama sinking at the close of the battle, with small portraits of the two ships' commanders, John A. Winslow (left) and Raphael Semmes.
Confederate Ironclad 1861-65
Every aspect of Confederate ironclads is covered: design, construction, armor, armament, life on board, strategy, tactics, and actual combat actions.
Sid Meier's Civil War Collection
Take command of either Confederate or Union troops and command them to attack from the trees, rally around the general, or do any number of other realistic military actions.
Civil War A Nation Divided
Rally the troops and organize a counterattack -- Your strategic decision and talent as a commander will decide if the Union is preserved or if Dixie wins its independence
Battle on the Bay:
The Civil War Struggle for Galveston
Civil War history of Galveston is one of the last untold stories from America's bloodiest war, despite the fact that Galveston was a focal point of hostilities throughout the conflict. Galveston emerged as one of the Confederacy's only lifelines to the outside world.
The H. L. Hunley
The Secret Hope of the Confederacy
On the evening of February 17, 1864, the Confederacy H. L. Hunley sank the USS Housatonic and became the first submarine in world history to sink an enemy ship. Not until World War I "half a century later” would a submarine again accomplish such a feat. But also perishing that moonlit night, vanishing beneath the cold Atlantic waters off Charleston, South Carolina, was the Hunley and her entire crew of eight
Confederate Blockade Runner 1861-65
The blockade runners of the Civil War usually began life as regular fast steam-powered merchant ships. They were adapted for the high-speed dashes through the Union blockade which closed off all the major Southern ports, and for much of the war they brought much-needed food, clothing and weaponry to the Confederacy
Union Monitor 1861-65
The first seagoing ironclad was the USS Monitor, and its profile has made it one of the most easily recognised warships of all time. Following her inconclusive battle with the Confederate ironclad Virginia on March 9, 1862, the production of Union monitors was accelerated. By the end of the year a powerful squadron of monitor vessels protected the blockading squadrons off the Southern coastline, and were able to challenge Confederate control of her ports and estuaries
Confederate Submarines and Torpedo Vessels 1861-65
Interesting information and many excellent illustrations. It addresses the CSA David class torpedo boats and the Hunley (and its predecessors), as well as Union examples such as the Alligator and the Spuyten Duyvil
Halls of Honor
The U.S. Navy Museum takes you on an informed and entertaining romp through one of North America s oldest and finest military museums. The museum has been in continuous operation at the Washington Navy Yard since the American Civil War
Raise The Alabama
She was known as "the ghost ship." During the Civil War, the CSS Alabama sailed over 75,000 miles and captured more than 60 Union vessels. But her career came to an end in June of 1864 when she was sunk by the USS Kearsarge off the coast of Northern France
The Civil War - A Film by Ken Burns
Here is the saga of celebrated generals and ordinary soldiers, a heroic and transcendent president and a country that had to divide itself in two in order to become one