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The gun that sunk the “Alabama” --on board U. S. S. “Kearsarge” On the main deck, showing one of the two 11-inch pivot-guns that were handled with superb skill in the famous fight with the “Alabama.” The engagement was in reality a contest in skill between American and British gunners, since the crew of the “Alabama” was composed almost entirely of British sailors. Word was passed to the men in the “Kearsarge” to let every shot tell, and there followed an exhibition of that magnificent American gunnery that had characterized the War of 1812. The “Kearsarge” fired only 173 missiles, almost all of which took effect. The “Alabama” fired 370 missiles, of which but 28 struck her antagonist. An 11-inch shell from the pivot-gun of the “Kearsarge” entered the “Alabama's” 8-inch gun-port, mowing down most of the gun crew. It was quickly followed by another shell from the same gun, and then by another, all three striking in the same place. Although the gunnery aboard the “Alabama” was inferior, one of her 68-pound shells lodged in the sternpost of the “Kearsarge” but failed to explode. Had it done so, in all likelihood it would have been the “Kearsarge” and not the “Alabama” that went to the bottom of the English Channel. Although the “Kearsarge” was wrecked on Roncador Reef in 1894, her sternpost with the shell still imbedded in it was recovered and became a historic relic.

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