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Great Naval Engagement.


July and August 1864

From The Missouri Democrat, Saturday, July 9, 1864.






An English Yacht Rescues him and Brings him Ashore.

English and French Sympathy with the Pirates.

Correspondence New York Herald.

CHERBOURG, June 27, 1864.

A little after ten o’clock on this beautiful, bright sunshiny Sabbath morning, the Kearsarge, then lying about four miles off the port, the Alabama was discovered steaming towards her, through what is known as the “eastern passage.” The men were immediately beat to quarters, and every man sprang to his place, eager for the commencement of the fray.

In order to put beyond the shadow of a doubt any question about a violation of neutral territory, Captain Winslow, immediately upon discovering the Alabama, headed his vessel out to sea, and steamed away from the port until he had reached a distance of about seven miles, the Alabama following in her wake, at a distance of about a mile and a half, the rebel flag, so soon to be struck, flaunting saucily in the breeze of the morning.

After reaching an offing of about seven miles, the Kearsarge slackened speed and turned her port side toward the Alabama slowly, allowing the latter to approach her.  While bringing her portside to bear upon the Alabama, for the purpose of fighting the battle on that side, the Kearsarge, reserving her fire, and a deathlike silence prevailing on board, permitted the Alabama to approach within a distance of twelve hundred yards.  The Kearsarge had five guns with which she fought the battle, mounted on the port side, her crew not being sufficiently large to work the whole seven guns upon one side.

When the Alabama had arrived within the distance above mentioned she opened the combat with a broadside fired at the Kearsarge.  The Alabama fought seven of her guns, two more than were used by the Kearsarge, and also on her starboard side.  None of the shots struck the Kearsarge, one or two passing over and the rest falling short.  The reverberations of the cannon and the wicked, whizzing sound which the shot made in passing through the air, however, excited the men, who were anxious to return shot for shot.

Captain Winslow, however, deemed it wise to allow his antagonist, evidently flushed with the hope of a speedy and an easy victory, to approach still nearer.

The Alabama, still approaching slowly, fired a second and a third broadside, none of the shots, however, taking effect, before the Kearsarge returned a shot.

When the proper distance seemed to be obtained Captain Winslow opened his batteries upon the rebel, and poured broadside after broadside into her as rapidly as the gunners could load and fire.  A lively scene was now exhibited.  The moment it was known that the Alabama was leaving port, the people of the town, who for some days had been on the qui vive, began to flock towards the entrance to the port, and before the final gun was fired hundreds were gazing from the high cliffs and eminences which surround the port.  The first sound of cannon shot, distinctly heard in this town, brought out all who had been waiting for a certainty, ad a crowd of excursionists, having just arrived from Paris, without the remotest idea that one of the prettiest naval contests of the age was to be thrown in for their amusement.  In a few minutes thousands of people were gathered upon the hilltops looking out upon the open sea, where the contestants were engaged in deadly strife.  All the military and naval authorities of the port were assembled there, with spy glasses in their hands, and witnessed the fight with great satisfaction.  Even with the naked eye, the combat could be distinctly observed; for the day was particularly bright and clear.  After the Kearsarge opened her batteries upon the Alabama, a rapid and continuous fire was kept up from both sides.  Each vessel, of course, kept her steam up, and each was sailing in a circle in a direction opposite to the other, keeping the starboard battery bearing upon her antagonist.

Spectators describe the maneuvering of both the vessels as beautiful.  They continued approaching each other until, towards the end of the fight, a distance of but about five hundred yards separated them.  The Alabama fired much more frequently than the Kearsarge, and wasted a great deal more powder and ball.  Generally her shots were evidently badly aimed, wild and high.  Evidently her forte was to attack and awe into surrender unarmed merchant vessels, but from the first the firing from her showed that she was not competent to grapple with the trained and disciplined crew of a vessel of war.  Many shots, however, struck and cut the rigging of the Kearsarge, without inflicting, however, any serious damage—the shrill whistle of every one as it flew over their heads exciting the crew of the Kearsarge and rendering them more than ever determined to conquer.

The fight commenced at twenty minutes past ten o’clock, and lasted just one hour and five minutes.  During this time four shots lodged in the hull of the Kearsarge.  Eight shots in all struck her hull.  One rifle shot passed entirely through her smokestack; another rifle shell through the starboard side, below the main rigging, near the shear plank, bursting and wounding three men, causing the only casualties to the crew of the Kearsarge during the fight.

On of these, a man named Dempsey, had his arm taken off, and the others received fractures of the legs.  Another rifle shell struck under the stern and lodged in the rudder post without exploding; another carried away the starboard life buoy; another scratched the hammock netting aft.  Three thirty-two pounders passed the port side, opposite the wardroom hatch.  Another carried away one of the cranes over the wardroom hatch, and, taking a slanting direction upward, passed through the bottom of the cutter on the port side.  Another rifle shot struck the top of the engine room skylight, cutting clear across it like a saw, and finally passed through the skylight window.  Several struck the starboard light; but their force was broken by chains hung on the side to cover and protect the boiler.  These, therefore, caused no damage.  Shots were continually whizzing through the rigging like hailstones, and it seems almost a miracle that more casualties did not occur.

The first shot noticed as producing any effect upon the Alabama struck her amidships, but in her upper works, making a perceptible gap, but doing little or no serious damage.  About half way through the fight and 11-inch shell exploded on the Alabama’s deck, near one of the divisions, killing fifteen out the nineteen men, and scattering bones and flesh in all directions, and cutting one man entirely in two.

One of the Alabama’s crew says the scuppers literally “ran blood.”  Third Lieutenant Wilson, also taken prisoner, says he was knocked down four times, but escaped without a wound.  From the deck of the Kearsarge it could be plainly seen that her effective and destructive fire was seriously injuring the Alabama, and as each shot struck her side loud cheers went up from the crew of the Kearsarge, more than ever enthusiastic by a speedy prospect of success.  During the entire fight the men (whose first baptism with fire this was) noted with the greatest  coolness and determined courage, not a single one of them showing the “white feather.”

One hundred and seventy-four rounds were fired during the fight from the Kearsarge, and it is computed that the Alabama fired at least twice that number.  At a quarter past eleven it was observed that Captain Semmes had altered his opinion in relation to the prowess and skill of his Yankee antagonist, and arrived at the conclusion that “discretion was the better part of valor;” had, in short, as our amiable President once elegantly expressed it, decided to “turn tail and run.”  He veered round and commenced steaming in the direction of the French coast, evidently desirous of placing himself as speedily as possible within the limits of the “marine league” which marks the boundary between French territory and the common ocean.

The Kearsarge immediately followed, the Alabama continuing to fire her stern gun.  Finding that the speed of the Kearsarge, who was rapidly gaining on her, was superior to hers, the Alabama slackened speed, and it was reported that she had struck her flag and seemed to be settling, but her boats were not lowered, because, as was afterward learned, they had been shattered by the shot from the Kearsarge.  No white flag being seen from the Kearsarge, she delivered another final broadside, which did more damage than all the previous ones.  The white flag was run up from the Alabama, and a boat from her approached the Kearsarge.  The firing then finally ceased.  The boat was under the command of an English officer, belonging to the Alabama, who informed Capt. Winslow that the latter was in a sinking condition, and asked for boats to rescue the men.  All the available boats on the Kearsarge were now lowered and manned; but before a single one could reach her the Alabama went down—down clear and straight to the bottom of the ocean.  She was at this time about six miles outside the port, and about five hundred yards distant from the Kearsarge.  The men, as she was sinking, jumped overboard.  Many were doubtless drowned—how many is not yet known.  She had about the same sized crew as the Kearsarge, and seventy were all that were saved by the available boats of the Alabama and taken from the water by those of the Kearsarge.  Fifteen of those they saved were wounded.  Two of these died after being rescued, and the carpenter of the Alabama, one Robinson, was picked up dead and perfectly naked.

A new character now appeared upon the scene.  An English yacht steamer belonging to the Royal Yacht Squadron, named the Deerhound, and owned by a gentleman in Liverpool, came in sight of the Kearsarge immediately upon the disappearance of the Alabama.  It seems she had been at anchor during the early part of the action; but towards its close weighed anchor and steamed away outside of the Kearsarge, afterward passing under her stern.  Captain Winslow hailed her and asked her assistance in rescuing the drowning men of the Alabama.  She proceeded toward them, lowered her boats, which were seen to pick up a few men, and then, without approaching the Kearsarge again, steamed away, and, spreading her canvas, headed toward the English coast.  Among others rescued by her were two English officers who came on board the Kearsarge to surrender the Alabama and several other officers who had been permitted to leave with their boats to rescue their own crew, but who, it appears, deserted them and sought refuge on board their English tender.  It is generally supposed that Captain Semmes escaped in this yacht, although among the officers of the Kearsarge this is by no means considered positive.

One of the men taken prisoner asserts that the last he saw of the Captain, just before the ship went down, he was going down to his cabin, while another asserts that he saw him alongside of him in the water.  It is proven that Mr. Kell, the first lieutenant and executive officer of the Alabama, did escape in one of the boats of the Deerhound.  It has since been stated, as is believed, that the yacht, which had been two days in port, was alongside the Alabama shortly before her departure, and that Captain Semmes put on board of her his chronometer and other articles of value.  It is thought she might have saved a dozen men altogether.  These, in good faith and legally, should have been delivered to Captain Winslow.  When they were taken the Alabama had struck her flag and surrendered, and these men were legitimately prisoners.  Captain Winslow would have been perfectly justified in firing into the yacht.  It is probable they had remained at Cherbourg expressly for this purpose of aiding in the escape of Semmes in case, as he did, he should get the worst of the fight.  Another instance of the fair and honorable dealing of “perfide Albion.”

A few scattering men were picked up by some French pilot and fishing boats, and taken into Cherbourg.  After saving all the men she could find, the Kearsarge took a pilot and came into Cherbourg, arriving here about two o’clock, without, it is believed, any serious damages, although it will require her some weeks probably to repair.  Captain Winslow, giving as a reason that he had no room to keep them in, immediately paroled the prisoners—five officers and sixty-two men—and  they went on shore.

It is doubtful whether the action of Captain Winslow, in paroling the prisoners, will meet with the approbation of the Government.  It is equivalent, so far as his act can make it, to a recognition of the “belligerent rights” of this British pirate, who has never yet entered a rebel port.  It may have the effect to seriously complicate the question of claims which our Government will make upon Great Britain for property destroyed by this vessel, built, armed, equipped and manned in an English port.  It was certainly in opposition to the instructions of Mr. Dayton, to whom Captain Winslow applied as to whether or not he should parole the prisoners.  Mr. Dayton’s answer by telegraph, however, did not arrive until after the men were paroled.  It is certainly in opposition to the feelings and wishes of his officers.  As to the matter of room, Mr. Dayton informed me before I left Paris that he had telegraphed to Captain Winslow that the St. Louis would arrive at Cherbourg in a few days from the Mediterranean, and could take most of the prisoners on board.  That Captain Winslow believed he was acting for the best, of course I firmly believe.  Still I think he acted very unwisely and injudiciously.

The fifteen wounded men are in the hospital, and are attended by the surgeon of the Kearsarge and the surgeon of the Rappahannock, who came over from Paris yesterday.  I have not yet seen them but shall do so to-day, and by next mail will give you much further particulars.  Some of the paroled officers have gone to Paris to-day, and the men are loafing about the streets.  One of them told me just now that he had lost all taste for pirating, and knew of no inducement, even had he not been given his parole, which would make him ship in a rebel cruiser.

I met Captain Winslow last evening, in company with the surgeon and Purser Smith, at the American consular agent’s.  I am greatly indebted to all these gentlemen, and particularly to the purser, who has sat up with me nearly all night detailing the particulars which I have given you.  The officers are of course all in high spirits.  Captain Winslow is evidently as modest as he is brave and determined.  In response to my “God bless you; you have made yourself immortal,” he simply replied that he was glad to have been instrumental in ridding the ocean and the world of such a pest as the Alabama.  He is a short, thick-set, good-natured looking man, of about fifty, and is looked upon by the people here as a great hero.

Thus ended, with the destruction of the Alabama, one of the neatest little naval battles which has occurred during the war.  Let the country rejoice and render homage to the gallant fellows who so gallantly fought and won it.


Details of the Engagement.

[Correspondence of the London Times.]

Southampton, Monday.

The English steam yacht, Deerhound, belonging to Mr. John Lancaster, of Hindley-hall, Wigan, Lancashire, arrived here last night and landed Captain Semmes, commander of the late Confederate steamer Alabama, thirteen officers and twenty-six men, whom she rescued from drowning after the action off Cherbourg yesterday, which resulted in the destruction of the world renowned Alabama.  From interviews held this morning with Mr. Lancaster, with Captain Jones, (master of the Deerhound,) and with some of the Alabama’s officers, I am enabled to furnish you with some interesting particulars connected with the fight between the Alabama and the Kearsarge.


The Deerhound is a yacht of one hundred and ninety tons and seventy horse power, and her owner is a member of the Royal Yacht Squadron at Cowes, and of the Royal Mersey Yacht Club. By a somewhat singular coincidence she was built by Messrs. Laird & Son, of Birkenhead, and proof of her fleetness is furnished by the fact that she steamed home from the scene of action yesterday at the rate of thirteen knots an hour.  On arriving at Cherbourg at 10 o’clock on Saturday night, by railway from Caen, Mr. Lancaster was informed by the captain of the yacht which was lying in harbor awaiting his arrival, that it was reported that the Alabama and the Kearsarge were going out to fight each other in the morning.  Mr. Lancaster, whose wife, niece and family were also on board his yacht, at once determined to go out in the morning and see the combat.


The Alabama left Cherbourg about ten o’clock on Sunday morning, and the Kearsarge was then several miles out to seaward, with her steam up ready for action.  The French plated ship of war Couronne followed the Alabama out of harbor, and stopped when the vessels were a league off the coast, her object being to see that there was no violation of the law of nations by any fight taking place within the legal distance from land.  The combat took place about nine miles from Cherbourg, and as there are some slight differences (as might naturally be expected under the circumstances) in relation to the period over which it lasted, and other matters, it may be well here to reproduce from Mr. Lancaster’s letter in the Times of this morning the subjoined extract from the log kept on board the Deerhound:


Sunday, June 10, 9 A. M.—Got up steam and proceeded out of Cherbourg harbor.  10:30—Observed the Alabama steaming out of the harbor toward the Federal steamer Kearsarge.  11:10—The Alabama commenced firing with her starboard battery, the distance between the contending vessels being about one mile.  The Kearsarge immediately replied with her starboard guns; a very sharp, spirited firing was then kept up, shot sometimes being varied by shells.  In maneuvering both vessels made seven complete circles at a distance of from a quarter to a half a mile.  At 12 a slight intermission was observed in the Alabama’s firing, the Alabama making head sail, and shaping her course for the land, distant about nine miles.  At 12:30—Observed the Alabama to be disabled and in a sinking state.  We immediately made toward her, and on passing the Kearsarge were requested to assist in saving the Alabama’s crew.  At 12:50, when within a distance of two hundred yards, the Alabama sank.  We then lowered our two boats, and, with the assistance of the Alabama’s whale boat and dingy, succeeded in saving about forty men, including Captain Semmes and thirteen officers.  At 1 p. m. we steered for Southampton.


One of the officers of the Alabama names the same hour, namely ten minutes past eleven, as the commencement of the action, and forty minutes past twelve as the period of its cessation, making its duration an hour and a half; while the time observed on board the Deerhound, which is most likely to be accurate, that vessel being free from the excitement and confusion necessarily existing on board the Alabama limited the action to an hour, the last shot being fired at ten minutes past twelve.  The distance between the two contending vessels when the Alabama opened fire was estimated on board the Deerhound at about a mile, while the Alabama’s officer tells me that she was a mile and a half away from the Kearsarge when she fired the first shot.  Be this as it may, it is certain that the Alabama commenced the firing, and it is khown that her guns were pointed for a range of two thousand yards, and that the second shot she fired, in about half a minute after the first, went right into the Kearsarge, that may be taken as the real distance between the two ships.  The firing became general from both vessels at the distance of a little under a mile, and was well sustained on both sides, Mr. Lancasters’s [sic] impression being that at no time during the action were they less than a quarter of a mile from each other.  Seven complete circles were made in the period over which the fight lasted.  It was estimated on board the Deerhound that the Alabama fired in all about one hundred and fifty rounds, some single guns, and some in broadsides of three or four, and the Kearsarge about one hundred, the majority of which were eleven inch shells.  The Alabama’s were principally Blakeley’s pivot guns.  In the early part of the action the relative firing was about three  from the Alabama to one from the Kearsarge, but as it progressed the latter gained the advantage, having apparently a much greater power of steam.  She appeared to have an advantage over the Alabama of about three knots an hour, and steam was seen rushing out of her blow pipe all through the action, while the Alabama seemed to have but very little steam on.


At length the Alabama’s rudder was disabled by one of her opponent’s heavy shells, and they hoisted sails; but it was soon reported to Captain Semmes by one of his officers that his ship was sinking.  With great bravery the guns were kept ported till the muzzles were actually under water, and the last shot from the doomed ship was fired as she was settling down.  When her stern was completely under water, Captain Semmes gave orders for the men to save themselves as best they could, and every one jumped into the sea and swam to the boats which he had put off for their rescue.  Those who were wounded were ordered by Captain Semmes to be placed in the Alabama’s boats and taken on board the Kearsarge, which was as far as possible obeyed.  Captain Semmes and those above mentioned were saved in the Deerhound’s boats, and when it was ascertained that the water was clear of every one that had life left, and that no more help could be rendered, the yacht steamed away for Cowes, and thence to this port.


The Kearsarge, it is known, has been for some time past in hot pursuit of the Alabama, which vessel Captain Winslow was determined to follow everywhere till he overtook his enemy.  Very recently she chased and came up with one of the vessels of the Chinese expeditionary force, returning to England, and ran along sice with her guns pointed and crew at quarters before she could be convinced of her mistake, for the expeditionary vessel was very like the celebrated Confederate cruiser.  The Kearsarge was then described as likely to prove a formidable over-match for the Alabama, having higher steam power and rate of speed, a crew “nearly double” that under Capt. Semmes, and, unlike her sister ship the Tuscarora, carrying ten instead of eight very heavy 11-inch shell guns—the so called columbiads of the American navy.  The Alabama, on the contrary, is stated to have had only two heavy rifled guns, and six broadside 32-pounders.  The Confederate, too, after her long cruise, was sorely in need of a refit.  Part of her copper, it is said, was off, and her bottom was covered with long weeds.  The crew of the Alabama comprised in all about one hundred and fifty when she left Cherbourg.  Of those ten or twelve were killed during the action, and a number were known to be drowned; the difference between these and the number brought home by the Deerhound being, it is hoped, saved by the boats of the Kearsarge, or some French was vessel Couronne did not come out beyond three miles.  The surgeon of the Alabama was an Englishman, and, as nothing has been heard of him since he went below to dress the wounds of some of the sufferers, it is feared that he went down with the ship.


The wounded men on board the Deerhound were carefully attended to until her arrival here, when they were taken to the Sailor’s Home, in the Canute road.  Several of the men are more or less scarred, but they are all out about the town to-day, and the only noticeable case is that of a man who was wounded in the groin, and that but slightly.


Captain Semmes and the first lieutenant, Mr. J. M. Kill, are staying at Kelway’s Hotel, in Queen’s terrace, where the gallant commander is under the care of Dr. Ware, a medical gentleman of this town, his right hand being slightly splintered by a shell.  When the men came on board the Deerhound they had nothing on but their drawers and shirts, having been stripped to fight, and one of the men, with a sailor’s devotedness, insisted on seeing his captain, who was then lying in Mr. Lancaster’s cabin in a very exhausted state, as he had been intrusted by Captain Semmes with the ship’s papers, and to no one else would he give them up.  The men were all very anxious about their captain, and were rejoiced to find he had been saved.  They appeared to be a set of first-rate fellows, and to act well together in perfect union in the most trying circumstances.  The captain of the forecastle on board the Alabama, a Norwegian, says that when he was in the water he was hailed by a boat from the Kearsarge, “Come here, old man, and we’ll save you,” to which he replied, “Never mind me, I can keep up half an hour yet; look after some who are nearer drowning than I am.”  He then made away for the Deerhound, thanking God that he was under English colors.


Throughout the action the Deerhound kept about a mile to windward of the combatants, and was unabled to witness the whole of it.  The Kearsarge was burning Newcastle coals, and the Alabama Welsh coals, the difference in the smoke (the north country coal yielding so much more) enabling the movements of each ship to be distinctly traced.  Mr. Lancaster is clearly of the opinion that it was the Kearsarge’s 11-inch shells which gave her the advantage, and that, after what he has witnessed on this occasion, wooden ships stand no chance whatever against shells.  Both vessels fired well into each other’s hull, and the yards and masts were not much damaged.  The mainmast of the Alabama had been struck by shot, and as the vessel was sinking broke off and fell into the sea, throwing some men who were in the maintop into the water.  Some tremendous gaps were visible in the bulwarks of the Kearsarge, and it was believed that some of her boats were disabled.  She appeared to be temporarily plated with iron chains, &c.  As far as could be seen, everything appeared to be well planned and ready on board the Kearsarge for the action.  It was apparent that Capt. Semmes intended to fight at long range, and the fact that the Kearsarge did not reply till the two vessels got nearer together showed that they preferred the short range, and the superior steaming power of the latter enabled this to be accomplished.


It is remarkable that no attempt was made by the Kearsarge to close and board the Alabama, and when the Alabama hoisted sails and made as if for the shore the Kearsarge moved away in another direction, as though her rudder or screw was damaged and out of control.  Great pluck was shown on both sides during the action.  On board the Alabama all the hammocks were let loose, and arrangements had been made for sinking her rather than that she should be captured.  As far as is known, not a relic of the Alabama is in the possession of the successful rival.  When she was sinking Captain Semmes dropped his own sword into the sea to prevent the possibility of its getting into their hands, and the gunner made a hole in one of Alabama’s boats and sank her for the same reason.


Before leaving the Deerhound Captain Semmes presented to Mr. Lancaster’s sone one of his officer’s swords and a pistol in remembrance of the occurrence and the kind treatment he and his men had received on board the yacht.  The men stated that the best practice generally on board the Alabama during the action was shown by the gunners who had been trained on board the Excellent in Portsmouth harbor.  The spectacle presented during the combat is described by those who witnessed it from the Deerhound as magnificent, and thus the extraordinary career of the Alabama has come to a grand and appropriate termination.  The presence of the Deerhound on the scene was a providential circumstance, as in all probability the men saved by her would otherwise have been drowned, and a lamentable addition would thus have been made to the number of lives lost on the occasion.


Nothing is known here respecting the Kearsarge or her subsequent movements.  She was in command of Captain John Winslow, and had about the same number of officers and crew as the Alabama.  The last official American navy list describes her as on thousand and thirty-one tons register, and carrying eight guns, being two guns less than the Tuscarora mounts, in which all other respects the Kearsarge is a sister ship.  The Tuscarora will be remembered as the Federal ship of war that some two years and a half ago lay at this port watching the Nashville.  Several of the Alabama’s officers now here were attached to the Nashville on that occasion.  The Alabama’s chronometers, specie, and all the bills of ransomed vessels are saved, having been handed over to a gentleman at Cherbourg before she left that port.  Mr. Mason, the Confederate agent, Captain Bullock, and the Rev. Mr. Tremlett arrived by the four o’clock train this afternoon from London, and proceeded to Kelway’s Hotel to meet Captain Semmes.  Captain Semmes and all the men are now placed under the care of Mr. J. Wiblin for such medical attendance as may be required.


Official Report of Captain Semmes.

Mr. Mason, the representative of the “Confederate” Government, has sent a copy of this report to the Times.  Captain Semmes says that in an hour and ten minutes the Alabama was found to be in a sinking state—the enemy’s shells having exploded on her sides and between decks.  For a few minutes he had hopes of reaching the French coast, but the ship filled rapidly and the furnace fires were extinguished.  Captain Semmes says:  “I now hauled down the colors to prevent further destruction of life, and dispatched a boat to inform the enemy of our condition, although we were now but four hundred yards from each other.  The enemy fired at me five times after the colors had been struck.  It is charitable to suppose that a ship of war of a Christian nation could not have done that intentionally.  Some twenty minutes after my furnace fires were extinguished, and the ship being on the point of sinking, every man, in obedience to a previous order which had been given to the crew, jumped overboard and endeavored to save himself.  There was no appearance of any boats coming from the enemy after the ship went down.  It was fortunate myself thus escaped to the shelter of the neutral flag on board Mr. Lancaster’s yacht Deerhound, together with about forty others.”


Another Account—Preparation on Board the Kearsarge—Capt. Semmes Refutes the Stories of the Inhumanity of Captain Winslow.

[Southampton Correspondence London News.]

Mr. Mason, the Confederate Envoy, Captain Bullock, and the Rev. Mr. Tremlett, breakfasted with the officers of the Alabama, at Kelway’s hotel this morning, after which Mr. Mason took his departure for London.  Captain Semmes is better, but he is still unable to see any one.  As soon as he landed yesterday, he inquired for Mr. Alderman Perkins, of this town, his [illegible] friend.  That gentleman is in London, but he telegraphed to Southampton last night to know if Captain Semmes would accept of an invitation to a public dinner at Southampton, but Captain Semmes declined.  An officer on the Alabama said that she fought all her arms on the starboard broadside.  This gave the ship a list.  The great object of Captain Semmes was to come to close quarters with the Kearsarge and board her, but the commander of the latter, knowing the strength of his armament, dexterously prevented the Alabama from coming too near.  Semmes kept his bow well toward the Kearsarge, to screen his rudder and screw.  At length a shot knocked away one blade of the Alabama’s screw, and another shell damaged her rudder, which the commander of the Kearsarge seeing, got round to the port side and peppered the Alabama awfully.


The sides of the Kearsarge were trailed all over with chain cables.  Between the coils and under the planking were stuffings of oakum, pitched.  A great portion of the sides were invulnerable.  Mr. Mason, the Confederate envoy, regrets the loss of the Alabama, but does not consider that Captain Semmes was in the slightest degree to blame. The fight, he says, was simply a mistake on the part of the Confederate commander.  Semmes has often been twitted for avoiding armed Federal vessels, and for gallantly attacking utterly unarmed merchantmen in genuine pirate style.  When he was challenged by the commander of the Kearsarge, everybody in Cherbourg, it appears, said it would be disgraceful if he refused the challenge, and this, coupled with the belief that the Kearsarge was not so strong as she really proved to be, made him agree to fight.  The gunnery on the part of both warships is said by the Deerhound people to have been very fine.


A gentleman here remarked to Captain Semmes that it was a wonder the Kearsarge did not run him and his crew down when they were struggling in the water, but the Captain submitted that the Federal commander acted humanely, and according to the laws of civilized warfare.  Some of the Deerhound sailors say that the Kearsarge fired four times at the Alabama after she had surrendered, but from all inquiries I have made I have made I have reason to believe that this is an error.  One eleven inch shell from the Kearsarge fell on the Alabama’s deck without exploding, and was taken up and thrown overboard.  When the Confederate ship was sinking, her first lieutenant told the men to jump overboard with something in their hands, an oar or any other portable object.  Captain Semmes is a capital swimmer.  The wound in his hand was caused by a splinter from a shell, and, being in the water so long, the wound, though trifling at first, became inflamed.  He is going into the country for a few days to recruit his health.


Semmes Whets his Knife and Makes a Display.

[Paris Correspondence London News.]

Nine miles at sea is but a little distance on a fine day, and fifteen hundred Parisians who had arrived at Cherbourg by an excursion train to see the new Casino had a capital view of the combat.  Captain Semmes meant to fight all along, and intended to board the Kearsarge.  On Thursday last he entertained a large party on board the now extinct Alabama, and showed with pride to the ladies who dined with him the boarding hatchets and sabres (fresh ground) which were displayed on deck.  He left with the Brazilian Consul all his gold, his papers, forty-five chronometers, and his will.  Mrs. Semme was in Paris yesterday, but has now probably gone to join her husband in London.  The French Government papers, all favorable to the South, lament the loss of the famous corsair, the Alabama.



[From the London Herald (Derby organ), June 22.]

The Kearsarge was terribly injured in the fight, many large gaps in her side attesting to the accurate aim of the gunners, some of whom were instructed on board Her Majesty’s ship Excellent.  Many of the crew of the Alabama must have been killed and drowned.  It is much to be feared that the young English surgeon in charge of the crew was engaged in his humane duties in the cabin when the ship settled down.  We cannot but feel grieved at the loss of the brave ship, which was almost as much English as Confederate, in whose defense we may recognize the bulldog courage of our countrymen, as well as the chivalric impetuosity of her Southern commander.  The news of the combat will, we fear, carry mourning into more than one English home.  But in the end of the gallant ship—which was English too—there is, after all, little to regret, much of which to be proud.  She sank unconquered and defiant in the waters of the channel, refusing to the last to lower her flag, leaving no trophy in the hands of her enemy.



[From the London News, June 21.]

From Liverpool we learn that the American shipping in that port was never so profusely decked out with bunting as it was yesterday.  When the notorious Confederate cruiser made her appearance at Cherbourg there was a general opinion in Liverpool that the Kearsarge (one of the swiftest sloops-of-war in the Federal service) would “fight” Semmes. The office of Frazer, Trenholm & Co., the Confederate agents in Liverpool, was invested yesterday by people eager to learn the fate of the crew of the Alabama, and it was rumored on ‘Change that there was £180,000 in gold on board the ship when she went down.



[From the Liverpool Courier, June 22.]

Yesterday the excitement about the expected arrival of the captain of the late Confederate cruiser Alabama was kept up at Liverpool, and for several hours the neighborhood of the Exchange was crowded with persons anxious to get a glimpse of the famous sea “raider.”  About one 0’clock a double hoax was played in a highly successful manner.  A middle aged man, who has passed several years in tropical climates, and who delights in “sporting” a white blouse and a Panama hat during summer time, is often to be found lounging about one of the landing stages, having some connection with shipping.  Having a bronzed complexion, clean shaved cheeks and chin, and a pair of “fierce’ moustaches, some mad wag conceived the jest of palming him off upon the public as Captain Raphael Semmes, Confederate States Navy.  Accordingly he was got hold of, treated very hospitably, and then asked to go on ‘Change in order to see the redoubtable hero of the Sunday’s sea fight arrive.  One or two out-door officials connected with the Underwriters’ room were also got “in tow,” and under some pretence or other the fictitious Captain Semmes was taken through Brow’s buildings, where the headquarters of the Southern Club are, and was then brought out at the entrance which abuts on the Exchange flags.    This ruse was quite enough.  Coming from such a neighborhood, followed by the Underwriters’ officials, and making across the flags in the direction of the newsroom, the expectant crowd at once made up their minds that this was the man they were on the lookout for, and they clapped hands, waved their hats and caps and cheered vociferously.  The object of this demonstration was rather nonplussed at first; but readily catching the idea of the joke, he raised his straw hat, “bobbed around,” and by his gracious demeanor raised the enthusiasm to fever heat, a special cheer rewarding a reverential obeisance that he made on passing Nelson’s monument.  He disappeared, not at the main entrance of the newsroom, but at the foot of the stairs leading to the Underwriters’ room, and in a little time it leaked out that the public had been hoaxed, that the object of their ovation was not Captain Semmes at all, but a “highly respectable” sailors’ boarding house keeper, who lives in Leeds street, and is named ——–.  Well, never mind, dear reader, if to-day he is nameless.



[From the Manchester Guardian, June 21.]

The loss of the Alabama will, of course, be celebrated in the Northern States of America with the wildest demonstrations of joy; the captain of the Kearsarge will be for a few brief weeks a hero of the first water, and the daring deed of Captain Wilkes will be [sent?] into the shade by the dazzling glory that surrounds the brow of the conqueror of Captain Semmes.  It was not alone with ordinary feelings of hostility that the Federals watched the career of the famous Confederate cruiser.  They might be content with commonplace expressions of enmity in speaking of General Lee, Jefferson Davis, or any other of the Southern leaders, but for “the pirate Semmes” the language did not supply terms of sufficiently vehement execration.  *  *  *  Considering the ferocious threats against Captain Semmes that have repeatedly been made by the New York papers, it is satisfactory to find that there is no likelihood of his falling victim to the fury of an American mob.  We cannot believe that, even had he been taken by the Kearsarge, the Federal Government would have willingly disgraced it reputation by treating him in any other way than as a prisoner of war; but there would, no doubt, have been a popular cry for revenge, which the Government might have found it difficult to resist.  The popular cry will now be directed against ourselves.  We can imagine beforehand something of what will be written in the New York papers.  We have, however, borne much obloquy already, and can easily bear a little more.  Had any direct aid been rendered to the Confederates during the battle by the owner of the Deerhound an embarrassing difficulty might have arisen; but no fault can be found with him for performing an act of simple humanity at the request of the Federal commander.


Comments of the Press.


[From the London Times, June 21.]

It is not in our power to say why Captain Semmes, who had gathered so much glory and so unquestionable a reputation for courage that he could afford to be prudent, came out with a ship just returned from a long voyage and much in want of repair, to encourage a foe larger, better manned, better armed, provided, as it turned out, with some special contrivances for protection, and quite likely to be as well handled as his own ship.  For many months we have heard of the Kearsarge as a foe worthy of the Alabama should she have the good luck to catch her; indeed, the Captain of the Kearsarge had assumed that if they met there could be only one possible result.  Why, then, did not Captain Semmes see that this was an occasion for the exercise of that discretion or that ingenuity which the greatest Generals have thought rather an addition to their fame?  Did his prudence give way, as they say a brave man’s courage will sometimes?  Was he wearied with a warfare upon the defenseless?  Did conscience or self-respect suggest that the destroyer of a hundred unarmed merchantmen had need to prove his courage and to redeem his name from piracy?  It is simply said that he had been challenged, and thus he accepted the challenge, not without some forecasts of the result.  As any ordinary duelist hands his watch and pocketbook to a friend, Captain Semmes sent on shore sixty chronometers—the mementoes of so many easier conflicts—his money, and the bills of ransomed vessels. He then steamed nine miles out to sea, and entered into mortal combat with the enemy, first exchanging shots at the distance of little more than a mile—out of all distance, our fathers would have called it; not so now.

As it happened, and as it frequently happens on such occasions, an English yacht was in the harbor, and its owner, Mr. Lancaster, thought the view of one of the most important naval engagements likely to occur in his time was worth the risk of a stray shot.  His wife, niece and family were on board; but, no doubt, they shared his interest in the spectacle.  The firing began just as we Londoners had got to the First Lesson in the Morning Service.  As the guns of the Alabama had been pointed for 2,000 yards, and the second shot went right through the Kearsarge, that was probably the distance at first, and we are told the ships were never nearer than a quarter of a mile.  The Alabama fired quicker, in all about 150 rounds; the Kearsarge fired about 100, chiefly eleven-inch shells.  One of these shells broke the Alabama’s rudder, and compelled her to hoist sail.  By this time, however, after about an hour’s work, the Alabama was sinking, and could only make the best of her way in the direction of Cherbourg.  Pursuing our comparative chronology, this brings us to the beginning of the sermon; and it was at the very time that our congregations were listening, as well as they could, to the arguments or the eloquence of our preachers that the very moving incidents of death and of rescue took place off Cherbourg—the gradual sinking of the Alabama, the picking up of the drowning seamen, and the final departure of the Deerhound, with Captain Semmes, his surviving officers and some of the crew.  The men were all true to the last; they only ceased firing when the water came into the muzzles of their guns; and as they swam for life, all they cared for was that their commander should not fall into Federal hands.  He reports that he owes his best men to the training they received on board the Excellent.  To all appearance the superiority of the Kearsarge lay partly in her guns, and, of course, somewhat in her more numerous crew, but not [less?] in her more powerful machinery, which enabled her to move quicker and maneuver more easily.

We are becoming accustomed to [illegible] that only four years ago [illegible] thought appalling, horrible and portentous.  Think of a quiet gentleman, with wife, niece and family, perhaps governess, on Sunday morning, a fight, not between two cocks or two dogs, but two men-of-war, a few hours’ sail from Southampton.  In fact, they and the survivors of the ship destroyed, were walking about Southampton, and shopping on Monday morning.  There appears to have been a very respectable allowance of killed, wounded, and missing, and among the latter is an English surgeon, who is supposed to have gone to the bottom in the midst of his bleeding patients.  We shall know very shortly whether the chains hung outside the Kearsarge saved her men.  To all appearance they did not, and but for the melancholy fact that some of the Alabama’s wounded must have gone down with her, the loss would probably have been nearly the same on both sides.  Is there not something ominous in such an encounter within our own seas?  Such a contest, so brief, so hard fought, and so decisive, is even more terrible than the hand-to-hand tussle and the mere game of fisticuffs that our old fleets used to indulge in with a thousand popguns on either side.  True, there was damage done at last, but sometimes a very little damage to speak of, and a big ship might receive many hundred shots only to have the glory of showing the shot-holes to the populace of Portsmouth.  It is not so now.  At the distance of a mile, never less than a quarter of a mile, a formidable ship, the terror of American commerce, well armed, well manned, well handled, is sent to the bottom in an hour.  Exactly an hour elapsed from the first shot to the moment when it became obvious that the vessel was sinking, when, indeed, the rudder was broken, and the fires were put out.  This is the pace at which our naval engagements will be fought in the future.  In this instance the race was all the quicker because the guns had start of the ships, the guns being the new artillery, the ships wooden excepting the chains of the Kearsarge, if they constitute an exception.  The next duel in the British Channel will probably be between two vessels of the Warrior class, and he must be a bold man who can be sure that it will last as long as a Sunday morning service, or be less decisive than the last Sunday’s.



[From the London Star, June 22.]

The Alabama has at last met her well-deserved fate.  Her career of lawless destruction has ended in a short fight and an utter wreck.  She had gone down under the guns of the first war-ship she has ventured to encounter.  After preying for nearly two years upon unarmed merchantmen, and having performed  nothing more worthy of her boasted prowess than the destruction of a gunboat lured by the display of false colors, within range of her fire, she has fought her first and last battle.  *  *  *  *  *  *

The utter destruction of the Alabama within an hour and a half after her meeting the Kearsarge will by no means compensate the shipowners of the North for the hundreds of vessels which these Confederate privateers have plundered and burned.  Neither would our merchants find compensation in the similar fate of a privateer that for a couple of years had preyed upon our commerce.  If the oft-threatened interference of our fleet in the Dano-German struggle should really take place, how long will it be before Austrian or Prussian Alabamas issue from French ports to capture and destroy English merchantmen?  and how long before one of those privateers would be encountered by the Warrior or the Black Prince?  A well armed gunboat may finish the career of a corsair when the latter is overtaken and brought to battle—but, let it be well noted, one swift-going privateer may elude for many months the best ships in the British navy.  For which reason, if for no other, let us make very sure that no second Alabama steals forth from our harbors, an example to enemies of our own as well as an outrage on our friends and kindred.


[From the Manchester Examiner, June 22.]

Thus ends the career of one of the most notorious ships of modern times.  Costly as has been her career to Federal commerce, she has been hardly less costly to this country.  She has sown a legacy of distrust and of future apprehension on both sides of the Atlantic; and happy will it be for both England and America if with her, beneath the waters of the channel, may be buried the memory of her career and of the mischief she has done.