A widely known naval action, the historic duel of Civil War ships off the coast of France resulted in the sinking of the most successful of the Confederate Raiders, a fast screw sloop-of-war with a vast array of canvas, ALABAMA. Blockaded in the port of Cherbourg while making needed repairs, Captain Ralph Semmes notified Captain John A. Winslow, in command of the Union Sloop KEARSAGE, that he would come out to battle the following day: June 19, 1864. Semmes intended to allow his crew, just slightly outnumbered and outgunned, to fire first at a range of 1500', and then steam close to board with the enemy. KEARSAGE held to 1000' and instead of closing with the Confederate, circled closer to throw devastating broadside attacks. ALABAMA, hampered with old, deteriorating powder from of her two-year world cruise against the North’s shipping interests, knew her fate would soon be found at the bottom of the Atlantic. After one hour and ten minutes, and 173 shots fired from KEARSAGE, ALABAMA was lost with 127 men out of 149 rescued. Three sailors onboard the Union ship were injured from the 370 rounds fired at them.
A fitting artistic tribute to the victory of North, the amazing career of the Raider, and of the courage of each crew and captain, Jacobsen’s 50-year commemorative portrays both ship in full glory, with determined hope and their respective colors flying proud. The small chop of the calm day is in his deep sea, and the smoke of battle blends with the bright coastal day. The crews at the batteries are shown onboard KEARSAGE, especially the 11" Dahlgren smooth-barrel at the foredeck, an early application of a large bore pivot gun that would revolutionize Naval Warfare.
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