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NavSource Online: "Old Navy" Ship Photo Archive

CSS Alabama


Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Civil War Medal

Screw Sloop-of-War:
  • Laid down as Hull No. 290 in 1862 as a screw sloop Alabama for the Confederacy at John Laird and Sons and Company, Birkenhead, England
  • Launched, 15 May 1862, under the name of Enrica
  • Sailed secretly from Birkenhead, 29 July 1862, arrived at Terceira Island, Azores, 20 August 1862 where she was fitted out as a cruiser by CAPT Raphael Semmes, CSN
  • Commissioned CSS Alabama, 24 August 1862, at sea off Terceira, Azores
  • During the Civil War CSS Alabama roamed the seas capturing and burning many ships while disrupting American commerce
  • CSS Alabama arrived at Cherbourg, France, 11 June 1864, looking for permission to dock and make repairs
  • Denied permission, Alabama coaled and stood out to sea, 19 June where CAPT. John A. Winslow in USS Kearsarge awaited
  • The ensuing battle with Kearsarge lasted just one hour with Alabama being reduced to a sinking wreck forcing CAPT. Semmes to strike his colors
  • Kearsarge rescued the majority of Alabama's survivors, but Semmes and 41 others were picked up by the British yacht Deerhound and escaped to England
  • During her 21-month career CSS Alabama took more than 60 prizes
    Specifications:
    Displacement 1,050 t.
    Length 220'
    Beam 31' 8"
    Depth of Hold 17' 8"
    Draft 14'
    Speed 13 kts
    Complement 145
    Armament
    six 32-pdrs
    one 110-pdr rifle
    one 68-pdr
    Propulsion sail and steam

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Contributed
    By
    Alabama 76k Painting by Rear Admiral J.W. Schmidt, USN (Retired), 1961, depicting CSS Alabama in chase of a merchant ship.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 85593-KM(Color), courtesy of the Navy Art Collection, Washington, DC., Donation of RADM. J.W. Schmidt.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Alabama 81k Sepia wash drawing by Clary Ray, November 1894 of CSS Alabama underway.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 57836, courtesy of the Navy Art Collection, Washington, DC.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Alabama 257k CSS Alabama built by the British, served as a Confederate commerce raider attacking Union ships.
    "Harper's Encyclopedia of United States History (vol. 1)" (New York, NY: Harper and Brothers, 1912), Benson John Losing, ed.
    Tommy Trampp
    Alabama 165k "The Confederate Privateer Steamer 'Alabama' ('290'), Captain Raphael Semmes -- from a photograph taken at Liverpool, where she was built"
    Line engraving published in "The Soldier in Our Civil War", Volume II, page 56, depicting CSS Alabama at sea under steam and sail.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 58740
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Alabama 121k CSS Alabama - "The Pirates Decoy" - Captain Semmes of the Confederate Privateer "Alabama" decoying ships toward him by burning a prize vessel.
    From Frank Leslies Illustrated History of the Civil war, circa late 1800's.
    Tommy Trampp
    Alabama 120k 19th Century photograph of an engraving of CSS Alabama published in "Battles and Leaders of the Civil War", Volume IV, page 601.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 57257
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Alabama 132k "In Chase"
    A halftone print of CSS Alabama copied from Arthur Sinclair's "Two Years on the Alabama", 2nd Edition, 1896.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 57259
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Alabama 82k 19th Century artwork, depicting CSS Alabama in stormy seas.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 57260
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Alabama 107k Lithograph published by Seitz, Hamburg, Germany, circa the 1860s. Its depiction of CSS Alabama is rather inaccurate.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 57258, courtesy of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, April 1936.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Alabama 180k "The Pirate 'Alabama,' Alias '290,' Certified to be correct by Captain Hagar of the 'Brilliant'" Line engraving published in "Harper's Weekly", 1862, depicting CSS Alabama burning a prize.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 58738
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Alabama 159k The Confederate Sloop of War "290" or Alabama, "Leaving the Merchant Ship Tonowanda." by W. Wood.
    Line engraving published in "The Illustrated London News", 14 November 1862, depicting CSS Alabama after capturing and releasing the merchant packet Tonowanda, 11 October 1862, off the coast of New England.
    Tommy Trampp
    Alabama 129k Captain Raphael Semmes CSN, CSS 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 CSN, is in the background, standing by the ship's wheel.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 57256 from the collection of Rear Admiral Ammen C. Farenholt, USN(MC), 1931.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Alabama 134k Two of the CSS Alabama's officers on deck, during her visit to Capetown in August 1863. They are Lieutenant Arthur Sinclair IV, (left) and Lieutenant Richard F. Armstrong. The gun beside them is a 32-pounder of Lt. Sinclair's Division. Halftoned image, copied from Sinclair's book, "Two Years on the Alabama".
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 57255.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Alabama 155k Line engraving by H.B. Hall, Jr., New York, featuring portraits of seven officers who served with CAPT Raphael Semmes in CSS Alabama and were present during her engagement with USS Kearsarge.
    In center is Lieutenant Richard F. Armstrong.
    The others are (clockwise from top):
    Lieutenant Arthur Sinclair, IV (or Jr.);
    Midshipman Eugene A. Maffitt;
    Midshipman Edwin M. Anderson;
    Master's Mate George T. Fulham;
    First Lieutenant (later Captain) Becket K. Howell, Marine Corps; and
    Acting Master Irvine S. Bulloch. Howell and Armstrong also served with Semmes in CSS Sumter.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 66640.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Alabama 141k "The Approach of the British Pirate 'Alabama'."
    Line engraving after a drawing by Homer, published in "Harper's Weekly", Volume VII, January-June 1863, page 268, depicting an anxious scene aboard a merchant ship as the Confederate cruiser CSS Alabama comes up. This may represent the capture of the California mail steamer SS Ariel off Cuba, 7 December 1862, as there were many ladies among the prize ship's passengers.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 59351.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Alabama 175k "Capture of the United States mail steamer SS Ariel, Captain Jones, off the east end of Cuba, by the pirate [CSS Alabama] ('290'), Captain Semmes, December 7th, 1862. Report of the first officer of the Ariel: 'On the 7th of December, at 1:30 P.M., when rounding Cape Maysi, the eastern point of Cuba, we saw a vessel about four miles to the westward, close under the high land, bark-rigged and under canvas. As there was nothing in her appearance indicating her to be a steamer, her smokepipe being down, no suspicions were aroused until in a short time we saw she had furled her sails, raised her smokestack, and was rapidly nearing us under steam, the American flag flying at her peak. Such was her speed in comparison to ours that in about half an hour she had come up within half a mile of us, when she fired a lee gun, hauled down the American ensign and ran up the Confederate flag. No attention was paid to the summons, and the Ariel was pushed to her utmost speed. She then sailed across our wake, took a position on our port quarter, about four hundred yards distant, and fired two guns almost simultaneously, one shot passing over the hurricane deck, and the other hitting the foremast and cutting it half away. A body of United States marines, consisting of 126 men, passengers on board the Ariel, had been drawn up and armed, but the officers in command deemed it worse than folly to resist, as we could plainly see they were training a full broadside to bear upon us, and Captain Jones gave orders to stop the ship and haul down the ensign.'" Frank Leslie, 1896
    Frank Leslie Famous Leaders and Battle Scenes of the Civil War (New York, NY: Mrs. Frank Leslie, 1896)
    Tommy Trampp
    Alabama 123k An 1898 print of a Civil War artists etching.... "The Confederate Steamer "290", afterwards known as "Alabama", Captain Raphael Semmes, burning the American bark "Virginia". Tommy Trampp
    Hatteras 178k 19th Century print, depicting the sinking of USS Hatteras by CSS Alabama, off Galveston, Texas, 11 January 1863.
    US Navy History and Heritage Command photo # NH 53690
    Bill Gonyo
    Hatteras 91k USS Hatteras in action with CSS Alabama, off Galveston, Texas, 11 January 1863. Lithographed by A. Hoen & Co., Baltimore, MD.
    US Navy History and Heritage Command photo # NH 42372
    Bill Gonyo
    Alabama 118k CSS Alabama inport Singapore, late 1863. Photo from the Tennessee State Library and Archives. Tommy Trampp
    Alabama 173k CSS Alabama from an original vintage tobacco/cigarette card issued by WD & HO Wills Bristol & London, 1911, from a set of 50 cards titled "Celebrated Ships" Tommy Trampp
    Kearsarge 368k The duel off Cherbourg, France between USS Kearsarge and CSS Alabama, 19 June 1864. The Alabama sinking. "The Illustrated London News" June 24, 1864. Tommy Trampp
    Kearsarge 86k Painting by Xanthus Smith, 1922, depicting CSS Alabama sinking, at left, after her fight with the USS Kearsarge (seen at right).
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # K-29827 (Color) . Courtesy of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, New York.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Alabama 91k "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.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 1261, collection of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1936.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Alabama 214k "Sinking of the 'Alabama' ("290"), Captain Semmes, After an Hour's Engagement With the 'Kearsarge,' Captain Winslow, Off Cherbourg, June 19th, 1864". Salvaged from a damaged 1885 copy of Frank Leslie's The Soldier in Our Civil War. Tommy Trampp
    Kearsarge 855k Oil on canvas painting by Edouard Monet (1832-1883) of the battle between USS Kearsarge and CSS Alabama, off Cherbourg, France, 19 June 1864. Image courtesy of the Philadelphia Museum of Art/Bridgeman Art Library. Robert Hurst
    Alabama 43k Limited edition print by Dean Mosher that depicts the sinking of the CSS Alabama, 19 June 1864, off the coast of Cherbourg France. Tommy Trampp
    Alabama 246k Sinking of CSS Alabama, 23 July 1864. Engraving from "Harper's Weekly". Artist unknown. Robert Hurst
    Alabama 181k "The sinking of the [CSS] Alabama."E. Benjamin Andrews 1895.
    E. Benjamin Andrews, History of the United States from the Earliest Discovery of America to the Present Day, Volume IV (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1895)IV:157
    Tommy Trampp
    Alabama 66k Sinking of CSS Alabama
    Civil War Lithographs (J. Steeple Davis + Warren Sheppard) 1899 "The History of Our Country" by Edward S. Ellis published by The History Company, Philadelphia, PA in 1899. Ship lithograph signed in the plate by artist Warren Sheppard.
    Tommy Trampp
    Alabama 136k Bank advertisement depicting the destruction of CSS Alabama, 19 June 1864, off the coast of Cherbourg France. Tommy Trampp
    Alabama 102k 34" model CSS Alabama. Tommy Trampp
    Alabama 662k Raphael Semmes Monument, Intersection of Government and Royal streets, Mobile, Alabama. sculpture by Caspar Burl (1834-1899). Standing figure of Admiral Raphael Semmes. He wears confederate attire, including a long coat which extends to his knees, and a cap on his head. His proper left arm is bent so that his fist rests on his hip, with sword hanging immediately behind. His proper right arm is at his side with binoculars in his hand. The base features three bronze plaques, including one which depicts the C.S. steamer Alabama at sea. 1899. Dedicated June 27, 1900. Relocated 1980s. Relocated 1990. Rededicated 1992. Image by Basil (real name unknown).
    Inscriptions. (Proper right side of front of plinth:) C. Buberl Sc. 1899/NY (On plaque on upper front of base, raised:) COMMANDER/C.S. STEAMER/ALABAMA/REAR-ADMIRAL/C.S. NAVY/--/SAILOR, PATRIOT,/STATESMAN,/SCHOLAR,/AND/CHRISTIAN/GENTLEMAN (Below upper plaque, incised:) ERECTED JUNE 27, 1900 (On plaque on middle front, incised:) 1861-1865 (Plaque depicting the C.S. steamer Alabama at sea on lower front) (On second to lowest tier of front of base, raised:) RAPHAEL SEMMES signed
    Robert Hurst
    Alabama 263k CSS Alabama plaque at Simonstown, South Africa. Image taken, 1 March 2007, by Kaihsu Ta. Robert Hurst
    North Carolina 41k Newspaper article from the Hackettstown Gazette, February 4, 1864, reports on activity of CSS Alabama in the Indian Ocean. Jan Williams
    Cultural and Historic Resources Specialist
    County of Morris
    Office of Planning & Preservation


    For more photos and information about CSS Alabama see;
  • Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
  • List of Officers Of The Confederate States Steamer Alabama As They Signed Themselves
  • CSS Alabama Expeditionary Raids (Wikipedia)
    South_Atlantic_Expeditionary_Raid
    Eastern Atlantic Expeditionary Raid
    New England Expeditionary Raid
    Gulf of Mexico Expeditionary Raid
    South_African_Expeditionary_Raid
    Indian_Ocean_Expeditionary_Raid
    South_Pacific_Expeditionary_Raid

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    Last Updated 3 November 2017