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150th Anniversary (1864–2014) This Month in the Civil War: Battle of Cherbourg

Civil War Collection 150th Anniversary

June 19, 1864, saw the most famous Confederate raider, the CSS Alabama, sent to the bottom of the ocean after a battle with the USS Kearsarge off the coast of Cherbourg, France. After two years of disrupting U.S. shipping all over the world—and sinking a Union warship in 1863—the Alabama’s captain, Raphael Semmes, took his ship to France for maintenance and repair.

The Kearsarge, captained by John Winslow, followed the Alabama and waited in Cherbourg’s harbor for the Alabama to reemerge. Semmes, aware that he was blockaded in the harbor, decided to challenge the Kearsarge to a ship-to-ship duel. Winslow accepted, and on June 19, a French ironclad escorted the Alabama to meet up with the Kearsarge in international waters.

The Battle of Cherbourg began about 11 a.m., with the Alabama firing the first shots, and lasted about an hour. The Alabama fired faster but less accurately, and its shells and powder were in poor condition. The Kearsarge, firing more deliberately, eventually struck the Alabama below the waterline, causing it to start to sink. Semmes surrendered, but he and some of his crew were rescued by a British yacht and escaped before they could be captured by the Federals.


  1. It would be great if this CSS Alabama could be raised and restored. It would be a fine memorial to a people who laid it on the line to exercise their rights. The right that Thomas Jefferson supported when he stated that he would give his blessing to any State that wished to separate from the Union, and let them go without any malice. There would have been no war such as the one forced on the Southern States.

    • Yeah, dude. But what about slavery?

    • We are all slaves under the Obama Administration. More so than those in the 1800’s.

    • Fine and DANDY!! at that time……..Union States of America & Confederate States of America, two separate countries. This would have changed history for all of us. What about 50 years & 70 years later??? World Wars I & II with NO!! USA to “throw-its-weight” into the fight and win both wars. Great Britain ALONE was not powerful enough to win. German lead United European Empire would be ruling the world today……..FINE AND DANDY????

  2. Pingback: Genealogy News Bites to June 3, 2014

  3. Man, Joel, which century are you living in?

  4. Man, Joel, which century are yo living in? It’s the 21st., case you hadn’t noticed.

  5. Anyone raping your women and selling your children?

  6. The principles that Joel mentions are timeless. Unfortunately, those rights were lost to the aggressor and will never be regained. I’m surprised at the success the victors have had in brainwashing the generations that have followed to directly relate the War between the States to slavery.

  7. The first person who legalized slavery in america was a black man name anthony johnson.

  8. Thanks for THAT bit of info, Mac. I will have to read about that. If you dare, read about the Newsom – Christian torture murders in Knoxville from a few years ago. I know a TBI agent retired who worked that case from crime scene to trial and it was worse than anything you will read.

  9. My oldest brother, 26 year old unmarried, 2nd. Lt. Robert L. Curtis was killed on the Normandy beachhead. He flew a P51 Mustang fighter plane, he was seen to bail out but chute didn’t open. Is buried on the Rock Island Arsenal National Cemetery, Rock Island, IL Was first buried in a Cherbourg cemetery and then brought home in 1948.

  10. To John Paul McDaniel – Fine and DANDY!!

    in results of american civil war I won’t mix up –

    B U T without US-intervention in WW1 WW2 never had taken place!

    Seduced by british fraud (Winston Churchill as this times Navy Secret Service Chief knew about German submarines lurking for the LUSITANIA, but didn’t warn her!!!) you interfered and caused the humiliation of German People by the treaty of Versailles.

    Without this tremendous dishonour n o o n e would have voted for Hitler.

    I fear this sight of view never was discussed in USA!

  11. It would be nice if those who comment would stick to the issues and not bring in current day politics. Others who are trying to do research really don’t care about your opinions.