The Loss of the Alabama
Few of the stirring events of the times have created a greater sensation in Europe as well as on this continent than the battle between the Alabama and the Kearsage. It might have been feared that its disastrous termination would have had injurious effect in Europe upon the reputation of the confederacy. But the reverse is the fact. Both England and France are ablaze with enthusiastic admiration of Capt. Semmes and his gallant crew, and with sympathy in his misfortune – a sympathy not unsubstantial, for he was to be forthwith provided with a new ship superior to the Alabama, and with any number of swords in place of the one he threw into the sea rather than risk the possibility of having to surrender it. He was the “guest of England.” The yankee correspondent of the New York Herald growls over the manifest favor with which Semmes is treated, and the determination to put him afloat again speedily.
We copy copiously from the accounts of the battle and the resulting expression of feeling.
It is said that our Secretary of the Navy had given express orders to Capt. Semmes not to fight, his business being of a more useful nature, the destruction of yankee commerce. This is probably true, and it was doubtless wrong to fight, but though the judgment may condemn, the feelings applaud the gallant spirit that would not refuse a dare.
It will be seen that the Kearsage had concealed iron-plating – a trick on par with the coat of mail sometimes worn by duelists, which is considered infamous all the world over.
Source: Fayetteville Observer, July 18, 1864 as found on www.ncecho.org