Hello, followers! The image above is entitled “Duel Between CSS Alabama and the USS Kearsarge”, and represents one of several riveting land and sea battles in my book, The Colonel and the Vicar.
British-built in 1862 under contract with the Confederate States of America, the Alabama was state of the art during a time when naval ship design was undergoing rapid change – the transition from sail to steam; the transition from wooden-hulled ships to ironclads; and ever-improving naval artillery. She was known as a “screw sloop”, so-named for the ship’s configuration of sail plus the addition of a steam-powered propeller for increased speed. When it wasn’t necessary, the propeller could be raised into a recess in the hull that streamlined the keel, thus eliminating drag, and conserving precious coal.
The Alabama’s captain was the audacious Raphael Semmes, who after a thirty-five year career in the US Navy, resigned his commission and offered his services to the Confederacy.
As Captain of the Alabama, he wreaked havoc within Union commercial shipping, especially the vast Union whaling fleet, over the course of a two-year cruise. During that time this famed Confederate raider was credited with sixty-five prizes or ships sunk
The USS Kearsarge was also a screw-sloop commanded by James A. Winslow, an experienced captain with thirty-seven years’ experience in the U.S. Navy.
Together with other Union ships, the Kearsarge had been dogging the Alabama all over the world’s oceans, but the Alabama proved to be elusive and always seemed to escape danger.
That was until June 19, 1864 when the two ships met in battle off the coast of Cherbourg, France.
The “Duel Between CSS Alabama and the USS Kearsarge” was created by noted British marine artist Edward D. Walker.
Until next time …