and were rejoiced to find that he had been saved. They appeared to be a set of first-rate fellows, and to act well together in perfect union under 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 a 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 enabled 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 opinion that it was the Kearsarge's eleven-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, etc. As far as could be seen, every thing appeared to be well planned and ready on board the Kearsarge for the action. It was apparent that Captain Semmes intended to fight at a 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 her 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 the Alabama's boats, and sank her, for the same reason. Before leaving the Deerhound, Captain Semmes presented to Mr. Lancaster's son one of his officers' 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 extraornary 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 mate 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 one thousand and thirty-one tons register, and carrying eight guns, being two guns less than the Tuscarora mounts, to which, in 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. Editorial from London times. 1 On Sunday morning, just as all good people were coming down to breakfast, an awful Sunday morning's work was preparing within sight of the British isles, if among these isles we may include the barren rock upon which a million has been spent to make it a sentry-box to watch the port of Cherbourg. From the latter port, just about nine o'clock, there issued the Alabama, the ship that for two years has struck terror into the heart of the most confident and almost the strongest naval power in the world. More than a hundred times over the very name of the Alabama, thundered through a speaking-trumpet, has brought down the rival flag as if by magic, and compelled the luckless crew to submit to the inglorious process of examination, surrender, spoliation, and imprisonment, to see their ship plundered and sent to the bottom. In the shape of chronometers and other valuables, the Alabama carried the spolia opima of a whole mercantile fleet. This time, however, it was not to order a merchantman to lie — to while his papers were examined
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Foreign accounts of the fight.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.