Extraordinary hunt for the most terrible ship in the Confederation

Photo by Luis G.  Rendon / The Daily Beast / Library of Congress / Getty / Marine Historical Center

Photo by Luis G. Rendon / The Daily Beast / Library of Congress / Getty / Marine Historical Center

Beginning in the summer of 1862, CSS Alabama, a Confederate ship led by Raphael Semmes, traveled the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans to locate, capture, and burn Union Fleet ships. The southern ship was very successful in this. Navigating 75,000 miles around the world and returning, “that pirate Sams”, as the newspapers called him, sent more than 60 ships to the bottom of the ocean. Their expensive cargo will never support military campaigns in the North.

As a last resort, Gideon Wells, secretary of the Lincoln Navy, instructed the USS Kearsarge to “travel to the ends of the earth, if necessary, to find and destroy Alabama if necessary.” After months of pursuing the rebels, Winslow Sams trapped his crew in the French port of Cherbourg. The captain of the confederation refused to surrender. Instead, he walked around the tables. The “pirate” swore that on the morning of June 19, 1864, he would destroy Kirsargin, his captain, who had dared to corner him. The following is an excerpt from a new book: To the ends of the earth. An epic hunt for the most feared ship in the South ամենամեծ The greatest naval battle of the Civil War.



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To the Extreme Lights of the World Phil Kitt և Tom Clavin

Phil Keith և Tom Clavin

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To the Extreme Lights of the World Phil Kitt և Tom Clavin

Phil Keith և Tom Clavin

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Phil Katie և Tom Clavin’s “Towards the Extreme Lengths of the World”.

Phil Keith և Tom Clavin

Sunday, June 19, 1864. Off the coast of Cherbourg, France

At 8.30 Kirsarge, After the morning meal was over and the dishes were washed and set, the crew worked on their final pre-battle tasks. The clasps were sharpened, the pistols were made, the sailors cleaned their guns. The first stage was carefully loaded in each chamber. No one knew if a boarding school would be called in or there might be a need to push back the border guards, but the staff would be ready for both scenarios. The gunners arranged their shots and shells, and the dust monkeys carefully placed buckets of water on all the rifles if needed to put out the fire. Each cannon was loaded with a cartridge.

Then the waiting started. Will there even be a fight that day? Despite Captain Semmes’s bravery, no one really knew if he was bluffing. Unfortunately, this whole exercise would have turned into nothing more than a confrontation like the one the staff tried. Sumter, Floridaև: Raphannok. Men with pipes were told that they could not smoke. There was too much dust’s loose ammunition on the deck.

The temperature began to rise, the heat hit the men on the deck with new sacred stones. There was little talk. The predominant sound was sliding down the sea Kearsarge: as he spun back and forth.

There was no reason for further delay. Finally, Semmes gave the order. Seconds later Alabama It was light steam, sliding through the harbor. He could not only see Kearsarge: Beyond the entrance to Cherbourg, but Wreath: also ready to accompany the rebel raider three miles across the border. In addition, it was moving through the port Deerhound. Captain Jones would keep a safe distance while giving the Lancaster family a good view of the action.

How? Alabama Leaving Cherbourg, his officers and staff could see the tops of the buildings, the nearby hills, lined up with people hoping to witness a unique event.

Whatever the case, the captain of the southern ship intended to be the best-dressed participant. Just before embarking on a journey away from the French city, Sam went down. He returned wearing his best’s barely-ever US Confederate uniform, gold axes and brass buttons that shone under the strong June sun. The captain even allowed his steward Bartelli to clean his mustache. How? Alabama Moving around the harbor on an almost magnificent horse, those with sharp eyes on the shore noticed the captain’s proud outfit and posture.

When it passed the dock of a French warship Napoleonis: Alabama he was given three joys. The French frigate band did as much as they could to play Dixie. As Arthur Sinclair put it, “We were surprised and satisfied. It was highly appreciated by us և, no doubt, pushed our brave boys to the center. “

At the same time, Captain Winslow walked slowly toward the quarter deck! Kearsarge:. His head was down, his hands behind his back, his eyebrows were deeply clenched. What if he does not come out today? Where is the damned? St. Louis? What will Wales do to me if I let another raider avoid my perception?

Light Cdr. Thornton slowly approached his captain, trying not to disturb his personal thoughts too much. When he approached, he cleared his throat and whispered to his leader. «It’s time, sir. “

«“Very well, Mr. Thornton.”

According to Sunday tradition, all crews who could not do their homework in their best uniform would fall on the main deck to listen to the Bible the captain was reading, perhaps the sermon; I hope a few words about the situation they were facing. Winslow took his usual position among his two long lines of sailors lined up on the right board in the harbor, paying close attention. Almost all of his staff was there. Two engineers were under the deck և serving Kearsarge:Steam shovel խումբ A group of coal shovels were feeding the stoves. The usual deck clock was posted: alert.

Winslow cleared his throat and began. «Calm down, men. Today I want to read a few passages for you … ”

«Cap’n! The boss, positioned high above the main deck, shouted from his urinal. «He is a-comin! He is coming out. “

It was as if the St. Elmo fire bolt had been released by the crew. Everyone tightened, waiting for the order «Take stations. ”

Winslow slapped his Bible and gave it to Thornton. «My cup. ” he barked.

The captain’s detachment ran to the center, grabbed his boss’s spy glass, and ran back to the commander.

Winslow walked to the harbor railroad, lifted a powerful brass-optical instrument to one of his good eyes, and looked at a large ship with gray smoke billowing from the mouth of the harbor. He could not bear to announce. «And so, here you are, you idiot. Eventually!”

The crew, hearing this, burst into fierce joy, shook their hats, and jumped up and down. They were on a hairpin, some even at the ends of their legs, waiting for the captain’s next order.

He lowered his glass, turned to his boss and said: «Combat stations, Mr. Thornton. “

Thornton only had to turn to the staff and shout. «Go”.



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The Battle of Cherbourg, by Louis Le Breton, depicts the battle between the USS Kearsarge և CSS Alabama հունիսի on June 19, 1864, nine miles from Cherbourg, France. The infamous runner-up in the Confederate blockade, the merchant rider, took 65 ships during his career during the Civil War.

Louis Le Breton / Everett

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The Battle of Cherbourg, by Louis Le Breton, depicts the battle between the USS Kearsarge և CSS Alabama հունիսի on June 19, 1864, nine miles from Cherbourg, France. The infamous runner-up in the Confederate blockade, the merchant rider, took 65 ships during his career during the Civil War.

Louis Le Breton / Everett

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