On July 29, 1862, Hull "No. 290" steamed out of the Mersey from the Laird's Birkenhead Yard and into Civil War history. Soon taking her given name, ALABAMA, the Commerce Raider set out on a tour with devastating results for the American North's commercial shipping interests the world over. The screw sloop-of-war proved to be a fast, capable ship under the command of Captain Raphael Semmes, capturing or destroying 69 ships in less than two years. Measuring 220'l x 32'b, her barkentine rig and lifting screw propeller could hit 13-plus knots.
The ship is carved in good detail with the Confederate "stars and bars" flag at the stern and a pennant flying above the mainmast. The reverse features a smaller three masted ship at sail.
ALABAMA met her well-documented fate off Cherbourg, France at the barrels of the U.S.S. KEARSAGE, but fewer know that she captured ships in the North Atlantic, South Pacific and China Seas. She also defeated a naval blockade ship, U.S.S. HATTERAS, in the Gulf of Texas on Jan.11, 1863 in singular naval combat in less than 17 minutes.
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