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Admiral David D. Porter, The Naval History of the Civil War., chapter 48 (search)
the authorities, steamed out again without coming to an anchor, and took a station off the breakwater, in order to prevent the Alabama from escaping. It was evidently not Semmes' intention to fight anybody, for he was about to go into dock and give his men two months leave, when they would have scattered to parts unknown; but as Cherbourg was exclusively a naval port, the French Admiral would not admit the Alabama into drydock until he obtained permission from the Emperor, then absent at Biarritz. Had the latter been in Paris, the fight with the Kearsarge would never have taken place. Under the circumstances, it would not have done to decline the combat which the Kearsarge offered; and Captain Semmes. after so long warring on peaceful merchant vessels, directed the Confederate agent in Cherbourg to request Captain Winslow to wait for him and he would give him battle as soon as he could get some coal on board. The Captain of the Alabama occupied four days in preparations for ba