The Alabama was the most notorious commerce raider of the Confederate navy during the Civil War. She was built in England as a 1016 ton steam-and-sail cruiser with six 32-pounders, one rifled 100-pounder, and an 8-inch gun. Operating on the high seas in both oceans, she destroyed 58 Union vessels during her two year career.
Commanded by Capt. Raphael Semmes and manned by a crew of 149 men, she represented a peak of achievement in both design and performance and became the most feared raider in the world. She was finally intercepted off Cherbourg by the Federal sloop Kearsarge on June 19, 1864. For several hours, the two vessels circled each other while exchanging broadsides. Finally, with 48 casualties and his ship sinking, Semmes hoisted a flag of surrender, dropped his sword into the sea and jumped overboard. He was saved by an English yacht as the Alabama went down.