Confederate privateer: a British vessel, manned chiefly by British subjects at a British port; armed with British cannon, and provided with coal and other supplies from British soil.
She had no acknowledged flag, nor recognized nationality, nor any accessible port to which she might send her prizes, nor any legal tribunal to adjudge her captures.
She was commanded by Raphael Semmes
, a native of Maryland
, and roamed the seas, plundering and destroying vessels belonging to American citizens.
Her commander avoided contact with American armed vessels, but finally encountered the Kearsarge
Capt. John A. Winslow
, off Cherbourg
, in the summer of 1864.
On June 19 Semmes
went out of the harbor of Cherbourg
to fight the Kearsarge
was accompanied by a French frigate to a point beyond the territorial waters of France
At a distance of 7 miles from the Cherbourg breakwater, the Kearsarge
turned and made for the Confederate cruiser, when, within 1,200 yards of her, the latter opened fire.
After receiving two or three broadsides, the Kearsarge
responded with telling effect.
They fought for an hour, the steamers moving in a circle.
At the end of the hour the Alabama
was at the merey of her antagonist, and a white flag was displayed over her stern.
Respecting this, Winslow
Two minutes afterwards the Alabama
treacherously fired two guns at the Kearsarge
, and attempted to run to the protection of the French
neutral waters, not more than 3 miles distant. Winslow
opened fire again, and very soon a boat came to his vessel from the Alabama
, saying she had surrendered and was fast sinking.
Just then the Deerhound
passed by, when Winslow
humanely asked her owner to assist him in saving the crew of the Alabama
, which, in twenty minutes, went to the bottom of the sea. the Kearsarge
rescued sixty-five of the crew; the Deerhound
picked up Semmes
, his officers, and a few mariners, and carried them away from the lawful custody of Winslow
, to England
was received with great honor.
had three men badly wounded--one of them mortally.
had nine men killed and twenty-one wounded. See arbitration, tribunal of
; joint high commission.