Photo: Capt. Raphael Semmes, CSS Alabama’s commanding officer, stands by his ship’s 110-pounder rifled gun during her visit to Capetown in August 1863. His executive officer, 1st Lt. John M. Kell, is in the background, standing by the ship’s wheel. Collection of Rear Admiral Ammen C. Farenholt, USN(MC), 1931. NHHC Photo Archives.
On June 19, 1864, during the Civil War, USS Kearsarge, commanded by Capt. J.A. Winslow, sinks CSS Alabama, commanded by Capt. R. Semmes, off Cherbourg, France, ending the South’s most famous commerce raider. During her career, Alabama captures and burns 55 vessels valued at $4.5 million and bonds 10 others for more than half a million dollars. After Capt. Semmes is rescued by the British private yacht Deerhound, it causes an international dispute between the United States and Great Britain.
“Hauling Down the Flag — Surrender of the Alabama to the Kearsarge off Cherbourg, France, 19 June 1864” Artwork by J.O. Davidson, depicting the sinking of CSS Alabama, as seen from USS Kearsarge. The crew of one of Kearsarge’s eleven-inch Dahlgren pivot guns is celebrating their victory. Collection of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1936. NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 1261.
USS Kearsarge vs. CSS Alabama, 19 June 1864. Painting by Xanthus Smith, 1922, depicting Alabama sinking, at left, after her fight with the Kearsarge (seen at right). Courtesy of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, New York. Official U.S. Navy Photograph. National Archives photograph, K-29827 (Color).
“Battle of the ‘Kearsarge’ and ‘Alabama’ off Cherbourg, France, June 19, 1864.” Line engraving after a sketch by Frank Beard, published in “Pictorial Battles of the Civil War”, page 366, depicting the sinking of CSS Alabama, with USS Kearsarge in the right distance. NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 46958.
“Last of the Alabama” “Commodore Winslows Grand Victory March” Lithographed cover of Civil War era sheet music, published by J. Mensh, Philadelphia.
Courtesy of Lester S. Levy. NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 50453-KN (Color).
National Museum of the U.S. Navy, Building 76, Washington Navy Yard, Washington, D.C. View in the Civil War exhibit area, March 1980, showing the sternpost of USS Kearsarge with an unexploded shell from CSS Alabama embedded in it, a relic of the 19 June 1864 battle between those two ships. Other artificts visible include the Historical Data Plaque of USS Cushing (DD-797), immediately to the right of the Kearsarge sternpost. Photographed by PH3c F. Brownson.
NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 96016.
Seaman Joachim Pease. U.S. Navy poster photographed in 1970. Joachim Pease received the Medal of Honor for his conduct while loader of the No.2 Gun on USS Kearsarge as she battled CSS Alabama off Cherbourg, France on 19 June 1864. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from NHHC, NH 103763.
On the Web: Recovered CSS Alabama artifacts
Beautiful and dangerous, CSS Alabama ruled the sea