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‘ [211] the same time neither of her two modes of locomotion being at all dependent upon the other. . . . She was about nine hundred tons burden, two hundred and thirty feet in length, thirty-two feet in breadth, twenty feet in depth, and drew, when provisioned and coaled for a cruise, fifteen feet of water. Her model was of the most perfect symmetry, and she sat upon the water with the lightness and grace of a swan.’ She was yet only a merchant ship, and the men on board of her, as well as those who came out with the captain on the Bahama, were only under articles for the voyage. She therefore had no crew for future service. When her armament and stores had been put on board, she steamed from the harbor out to the open sea, where she was to be chistened and put in commission. Captain Bullock went out on her and stood sponsor at the ceremony. He had just cause to be proud of the ships and we to be thankfull to him for the skill and care with which he had designed her and supervised her construction. The scantling of the vessel was comparatively light, having been intended for a scourge to the enemy's commerce rather than for battle, and merely to defend herself if it became necessary. Her masts were proportioned so as to carry large canvas, and her engine was of three hundred horse-power, with an apparatus for condensing vapor to supply the crew with all the fresh water requisite. The coal, stores, and armament having been received from the supply ships, she steamed out to sea on Sunday morning, August 24, 1862. There, more than a marine league from the shore, on the blue water over which man holds no empire, Captain Semmes read the commission of the President of the Confederacy appointing him a captain, and the order of the Secretary of the Navy assigning him to the command of the Alabama. There, where no government held jurisdiction, where the commission of the Confederacy was as valid as that of any power, the Alabama was christened, and was henceforth a ship of war in the navy of the Confederate States. The men who had come thus far under articles no longer binding were left to their option whether to be paid off with a free passage to Liverpool, or to enlist in the crew of the Alabama. Eighty of the men who had come out in the several vessels enrolled themselves in the usual manner. Captain Semmes had a full complement of officers, and with this, though less than the authorized crew, he commenced his long and brilliant cruise. The ship's armament consisted of six thirty-two-pounders in broadsides and two pivot-guns amidships, one of them a smooth-bore eight-inch, the other a hundredpounder rifled Blakely.

Captain Semmes, from his varied knowledge of affairs both on sea

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Raphael Semmes (3)
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August 24th, 1862 AD (1)
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