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[206]

Chapter 30:

  • Naval affairs continued

  • -- necessity of a Navy -- Raphael Semmes -- the Sumter -- difficulties in creating a Navy -- the Sumter at sea -- alarm -- her captures -- James D. Bullock -- Laird's speech in the House of Commons -- the Alabama -- Semmes takes command -- the vessel and crew -- Banks's expedition -- Magruder at Galveston -- the steamer Hatteras sunk -- the Alabama not a pirate -- an Aspinwall steamer ransomed -- other captures -- prizes burned -- fight with the Kearsarge -- rescue of the men -- demand of the United States government for the surrender of the Drowning men -- reply of the British government -- sailing of the Oreto. Captain Maffit -- the ship half equipped -- running of the blockade -- her cruise -- capture and cruise of the Clarence -- the capture of the Florida -- Captain C. M. Morris -- the Florida at Bahia -- correspondence -- the Georgia -- Cruises and captures -- the Shenandoah -- Cruises and captures -- the Atlanta -- the Tallahassee -- the Edith.


To maintain the position assumed by the Confederate States as a separate power among the nations, it was obviously necessary to have a navy, not only for the defense of their coast, but also for the protection of their commerce. These states, after their secession from the Union, were in that regard in a destitute condition, similar to that of the United States after their Declaration of Independence.

It has been shown that among the first acts of the Confederate administration was the effort to buy ships which could be used for naval purposes. The policy of the United States government being to shut up our commerce rather than protect their own, induced the wholesale purchase of the vessels found in the Northern ports—not only such as could be made fit for cruisers, but also any which would serve even for blockading purposes. There was little shipping of any kind in the Southern ports, and to that scanty supply we were, for the time, restricted.

A previous reference has been made to the Sumter, Commander Raphael Semmes, but a more extended notice is considered due. Educated in the naval service of the United States, Raphael Semmes had attained the rank of commander, and was distinguished for his studious habits and varied acquirements. When Alabama passed her ordinance of secession, he was on duty at Washington as a member of the

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