Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Ship CSS Alabama.

There seems to be a lot of controversy over the CSS Alabama of late and I helped to fuel the fire by posting a page at my web site ( Civil War Days & Those Surnames), the page was called ( Newly Discovered Photo’s CSS Alabama And USS Kearsarge ), These photos were discovered by Mr. Francois X. Crevel, and with the help of Mr. Ron Tarburton, a noted researcher, the photos were identified as those of the CSS Alabama and photos of the crew were also identified as belonging to the CSS Alabama. The Controversy began when noted Naval Historian and researcher Mr. Terry Foenander, saw the photos and did not agree with Mr. Ron Tarburton findings, so the controversy begins.

I have posted some of the correspondents between Mr. Francois X. Crevel and Mr. Terry Foenander, which can be read at; ( Controversy Over CSS Alabama & USS Kearsarge Photos), Mr. Terry Foenander, is well known in the naval research community and has many pages on the web and many are controversial on other researchers work. Now I can not take either sides, as my site is neutral ground. The main work at this site is on Surnames, and in hunting for these names it takes me into many historical records and I will record some of these records as long as they pertain to a surname or surnames.

The position of this site is to record any and all historical documents that pertain to a surname or surnames, and it’s not the duty of this author to correct any errors historians may or may not have made. This will be the case in the following information. I will only record what was written and leave it up to other researchers and historians to correct any errors that were made by those who recorded our historical records.

This information will come from “Rebel Cruisers Vol.3., Senate Executive Document No. 11.”, which is housed at the library of Congress.


Mr. Dudley to Mr. Seward.

Liverpool, May 16, 1862.

In a previous dispatch I mentioned the fact that Messrs. Laird & Co. were building a gunboat at Birkenhead, which I believed was intended for the confederacy. This boat was launched yesterday. She will be, when finished, a very superior boat. Her planks were caulked as they were put on, her timbers are of the very best English oak, every plank and timber was most critically examined, and all her fastenings were copper bolts. The steam gear is all copper and brass; in a word, the foreman who had charge of building her says that no boat was ever built stronger or better than her. The order, when given, was to build her of the very best material, and in the best and strongest manner, without regard to expense; and the foreman says that this has been done. Her powder is to be placed in copper cans of a new patent, and are now being made. There is no doubt but what she is intended for the rebels. This was admitted by one of the leading workmen in the yard; he said she was to be the sister to the Oreto, and for, the same purpose and service. She is not yet named.
THOMAS H. DUDLEY, United States Consul.

Mr. Dudley to Mr. Seward.

Liverpool, June 18, 1862.

The gunboat built for the confederates by Messrs. Lairds will soon be completed. She made a trial trip last Thursday. None of the press were invited. No one was admitted on board without a ticket. They were issued only to the persons actively engaged in aiding the rebellion. All the active persons and houses engaged in fitting out ships, &e., were represented on her. The New York papers have published articles stating that information of ships fitting out at this port is sent to our government. These pieces have been copied in the newspapers here, and the effect has been to make the people much more careful and guarded. It is now difficult to obtain information about this vessel. They will not admit any one except those connected with the yard to go in. I have obtained the following description of her, which is correct, so far as it goes.

Her engines are 350 horse-power, oscillating in principle. She will draw 14 feet when loaded, and is 1,050 tons burden has one funnel or smoke-stack painted black, forward of the mainmast, two ventilators forward of the funnel, also painted black. The hull painted black; billet-head gilt, with a shield painted red. The stern is round, with black galley windows. The stern has carvings on it of gilt. She has three masts, bark-rigged; the masts and spars very bright. Her propeller is a screw, so arranged that it can be raised by steam from the water. The frame-work in which this screw or fan works is of solid brass, weighing from one and a half to-two tons.

The vessel is coppered, and has copper fastenings, and is calculated to run fifteen knots per hour. Her powder cases or cans are two hundred in number, all made of copper, with a patent screw in the top, which costs two pounds apiece. No pains or expense has been spared in her construction, and when finished will be a very superior boat of her class. Indeed, they say there will be no better afloat. Her trial trip was entirely satisfactory. She will be finished and ready for her armament in about ten days or two weeks. I have not yet learned what it is to be. The platforms for the guns that are being made are such that the gun can be used on both sides of the vessel.

Mr. Dudley to Mr. Seward.

Liverpool, July 12, 1862.

I have learned a few more particulars this morning about Lairds’ gunboat No. 290. ( Alabama ) Captain Butcher, who is now acting as the captain, and will continue in that capacity until after they clear, is a British subject, and was, if he is not now, second officer on one of the Cunard line of steamships, which ply between Liverpool and the United States. He has been in the service of this company for a number of years; has been second officer on the Africa and Arabia, and, is well known in New York. Barnet.t, who is shipping the crew, I am informed is also in the employ of this company. After they get out to sea Butcher will turn over the command of the ship to Captain Bullock and take his place as second in command.

Mr. Dudley to Mr. Seward.

Liverpool, July 26, 1862.

I in closed find copy of affidavit of the boatswain of the gunboat No. 290. No information as yet of the decision of the authorities upon our application to stop her sailing.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,

Deposition of Henry Redden.

I, Henry Redden, of Hook street, Liverpool, in the county of Lancaster, seaman, make oath and say as follows:

1. I am a seaman and have followed the sea for fifteen years. I have been boatswain on board both steamers and sailing vessels, and belong to the naval reserve.

2. About six weeks ago 1 was engaged by Captain Butcher, (with whom I have previously sailed,) as boatswain on board a vessel then in Messrs. Laird & Co.’s shipbuilding yard, but now lying in the Birkenhead float, and known by the name “290.” ( Alabama ) The said Captain Butcher offered me ten pounds per mouth, and said an agreement should be signed when we got outside. He told me that we should have plenty of money when we got home, as we were going out to the southern States on a speculation to try and get some.

3. The crew now on board the said vessel consists of about forty men, but I believe that she will take to sea about one hundred men all told. It is generally understood on board that she will clear for Nassau, but not make that port. The said vessel has all her stores and coals on board ready for sea. She is fitted in. all respects as a man-of-war to carry six broadside guns and four pivots, but has no guns or ammunition on board as yet. The rules on board are similar to those in use on a man-of-war, and the men are not allowed to sing as they do on a merchantman. The call is used on board. The said vessel is of about eleven hundred tons.

4. I know Captain Bullock; he has been superintending the building of the said vessel in Messrs. Laird & Co.’s yard, and is, I believe, to take charge of the vessel when we get outside.

5. It is generally understood on board the said vessel that she belongs to the confederate government.
Sworn, this 4th day of July, 1862; before me, JOHN STEWART, Justice of the Peace for the County of Lancaster.

Mr. Dudley to Mr. Seward.

Liverpool,. September 2, 1862.

Sir: The steamer Bahama returned to this port yesterday. You will see by the in closed slip from the newspapers of this day, that my information that she was taking out a part of the armament and crew for the gunboat 290 was correct. The 290 is now called the Alabama, and has entered upon her cruise with Captain Semmes, late .of the Sumter, as commander. There is much rejoicing over this news among those who sympathize with the rebels.

This steamer Bahama is owned or held by Edwin Haigh, the same man who is now before the prize court in Philadelphia, claiming as owner the steamer Bermuda, and who is so anxious to use this consulate to certify his papers. The Bahama took out eight guns, which were placed on board of the gunboat.
I am sir, your obedient servant,

[From Liverpool Journal of Commerce, September 2, 1862.]

The Bahama steamship, hence for Nassau, ha put back from Angra, Terceira, which port she left on the 24thAugust, in company with the confederate gunboat Alabama, Semmes, commander, formerly 290, on board of which the Bahama had put an armament of heavy guns. The Bahama also brings back forty of the crew of the Alabama, one of whom reports that she proceeded on a cruise with a view to the destruction of American shipping. About one hundred and forty bands were shipped at Terceira.

Mr. Dudley to Mr. Seward.

Liverpool, September 5, 1862.

The Bahama took out from here to the gunboat 290, now Alabama, four Savannah pilots, who are now on her. Their names are, two Kings, .one Bormenstein, the other Hardy. This would look as if she intended to run into Savannah. The men who were brought back from the gunboat were all paid off, after they arrived, in M. G. Klingender’s office, the same man who owns, or pretends to own, the steamers Gladiator and Bonita.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Mr. Dudley to Mr. Adams.

Liverpool, September 3, 1862.

I have just obtained the affidavit of the boatswain’s mate who shipped in and went out on the No. 290, now called’ the Alabama. I in close it to you, with bill for his services, signed by Captain Butcher. He returned on the Bahama. He states that the Alabama is to cruise on the line of packets from Liverpool to New York; that Semmes told them so. This may have been said for the purpose of misleading us. The bark that took out the guns and coal is to carry out another cargo of coal to her; is to take it on either at Cardiff or Troon, near Greenock, in Scotland; the bark to meet the Alabama near the same island where the armament was ptt on board, or at least in that neighborhood.. There will be no difficulty to get other testimony, if it is required.
I am, &c.,
P S.__There were two American vessels in sight when they parted with the Alabama, which Captain Semmes said he would take. They no doubt, were taken and destroyed, the first fruits from this vessel.
T. H. D.
NOTE.—It was the bark Agrippina, Captain McQueen, from Lojidon.—T. H. D.

Deposition of Henry Redden.

Henry Redden says: I reside at 16 Hook street, Vauxhall Road, and am a seaman. In April last I shipped as boatswain’s mate of a vessel lying in Laird’s Dock at Birkenhead, known as 290, and worked on board until she sailed. We sailed from Liverpool about 28th July; Captain Butcher was master; Mr. Law, a southerner, was mate; Mr. Lawrence Youiig was purser. A Captain Bullock went out with us, but left with the pilot at Giant’s Cove, near Londonderry. There were five lathes and a number of gentlemen went with us as far as the Bell Buoy:. We went first to Malfre Bay, near Point Lynas, when we anchored and remained about thirty hours. The Hercules tug brought down about forty men to us there; nothing else was then taken on board. Her crew then numbered ninety men, of whom thirty-six were sailors. She had no guns on board then, nor powder, nor ammunition. We left ]\{alfre Bay on the Thursday night at 12 o’clock, and steered for the North Channel. We discharged Captain Bullock and the pilot on Saturday afternoon.

We first steered down the South Channel as far as Bardsea, when we ‘bout ship and steered north. From Derry we cruised about until we arrived at Angra, eleven days after leaving Holyhead. About four days after we arrived an English bark, Captain Quinn, arrived from London with six guns, two of them 98-pounders (one rifled and the other smooth. bore) pivot guns, and four 38-pounder breech guns, smooth-bore broadside guns, two hundred or three hundred barrels of powder, several cases of shot, a quantity of slops, two hundred tons of coal. She came alongside and made fast. We were anchored in Angra Bay, about a mile and a half or two miles from shore.

After being there about a week, and while we were taking the guns and ammunition on board, the authorities ordered us away. We went outside, and returned at night. The bark was kept lashed alongside, ard we took the remainder of the guns, &c., on board as we could. While we were discharging the bark, the steamer Bahama, Captain Tessier, arrived from Liverpool. Captain Bullock, Captain Semmes, and forty men came in her. She also brought two 38-pounder guns, smooth-bore, and two safes full of money in gold. She had a safe on board before, taken on board at.Birkenhead. The Bahama was flying the British flag. The Bahama towed the bark to another place in the island, and we followed. The next morning we were ordered away from there, and went to sea until night, when we returned to Angra Bay. The Bahama, after towing the bark away the evening of her arrival, came back to the Alabama or 290, in Angra Bay, made fast alongside of her, and discharged the guns on board of her and the money.

The men struck for wages, and would not then go on board. There were four engineers, a boatswain, and captain’s clerk, named Smith, also came in the Bahama, and they were taken on board the same evening. All three vessels continued to fly the British flag the whole time. The guns were mounted as soon as they were taken on board. They were busy at work getting them and the Alabama or 290 ready for fighting while the Bahama and the bark were alongside. On the Sunday afternoon following (last Sunday week) Captain Semmes called all hands aft, and the confederate flag was hoisted, the band playing “Dixie’s Land.” Captain Semmes addressed the men, and said he was deranged in his mind to see his country going to ruin, and had to steal out of Liverpool like a thief. That instead of them watching him, lie was now going after them.

He wanted all of us to join him, that he was going to sink, burn, and destroy all his enemy’s property, and that any that went with him was entitled to two-twentieths prize money. It did not matter whether the prize was sunk, or burned, or sold, the prize money was to be paid. That there were only four or five northern ships that lie was afraid of. He said he did not want any to go that was not willing to fight, and there was a steamer alongside to take them back if they were not willing. The vessel was all this time steaming to sea, with the Bahama at a short distance.

Forty-eight Inca, most of them firemen, refused to go, and an hour afterwards were put on board the Bahama. I refused to go, and came hack with the rest in the Bahama. Captain Butcher, Captain Bullock, and all the English engineers came with us, and landed here on Monday morning. When we left the Alabama she was all ready for fighting, and steering to sea. I heard Captain Semmes say he was going to cruise in the track of the ships going from New York to Liverpool, and Liverpool to New York. The Alabama never steamed while I was in her more than eleven knots, and cannot make any more. We signed articles while in Malfre Bay for Nassau or au intermediate port. Captain Butcher got us to sign. The provisions were put on board at Laird’s yard before sailing; they were for six months. When we left her she had about ninety men, and eight guns mounted, three on each side and two pivots.
Declared and subscribed at Liverpool aforesaid, the 3d day of September, 1862, before me, WILLIAM G. BATESON, Notary.Public and a Commissioner to administer oaths in Chancery.

Ships destroyed or burnt

Between September 4 & 11th. 1862, near Flores, the Alabama destroyed or burnt the following ships: Ship Ocmulgee, Captain Osborn, of Edgartown; bark Ocean Rover, Captain Clark; bark Alert, Captain Church, of New London; schooner Weather Gauge, Captain Small, of Provincetown; schooner Starlight, Captain Doane; schooner Altamaha, of Sippican; schooner Admiral Blake, of Sippican; bark Benjamin Tucker, of New Bedford; bark Osceola, Captain Hogan; and the Courser, supposed to be of New Bedford.

Note. Semmes in Alabama has destroyed ten whalers. He is aided by another steamer called Barcelona. Both wooden.

Samuel H. Doane.

On September 7, 1862, Samuel H. Doane, master of the Schooner Starlight was stopped by the Alabama, and taken a board her and was taken before Captain Semmes, the commander was a medium size man, slim, with grey hair, moustache, and imperial, dressed all in grey. The officers were in blue with navy buttons.

Elijah Johnson.

In September 19, 1862, Elijah Johnson, boat-steerer aboard the Ocmulgee, a whaling ship who had been by the Alabama, and had been on board of her, stated that the crew of the Alabama was English and Irish; the officers southerners


CONSULATE OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE Azoees, Fayal, September 19, 1862.

The schooner Weather Gauge, of Provincetown, was captured by the Alabama near Flores, on the evening of the 9th of September, and was burned on the Uth instant; the captain, Samuel Small, and his crew being put ashore at Flores after they had given their parole not to serve against the. South till exchanged. Captain Small, in his deposition, states the same facts, and gives the same description of the Alabama and her officers as Captain Doane, Mr. Luce, &c. In addition he states the guns to be of English make, some bearing the name of — Preston & Co. He also states that the Alabama’s steering-wheel is forward of the mizzenmast, and bears the inscription “Aide toiet Dieu t’aidera.”

Part deposition of Theodore Julius.

Theodore Julius, master of the ship Tonawanda, of Philadelphia, was captured by the Alabama on September 9, 1862, states; “The Alabama, or 290, is a splendid vessel, and the fastest under canvas I ever had my foot on board of; and I have no doubt she is under steam, as she has very powerful machinery. She is two hundred and twenty-five feet long, entirely built of wood—they say on board of teak. She is calculated to remain at sea as long as they like, as they condense all the water they use; it takes one pound of coal to make a gallon of water, and they have now three hundred tons of coal on board.

Her armament consists of six 32-pounders broadside guns, one 68-pounder midships between main and mizenmasts, and one 100-pounder rifled cannon midships forward of the mainmast. I judged there were about one hundred persons on board, mostly English man-of-war’s men. I do not believe there is an American-born Seaman on board.

Part deposition of Nathan Parker Simes.

Nathan Parker Simes, master of the Emily Farnum, out of Portsmouth New Hampshire, was captured October 3, 1862, and while on board he was told by the officers they could get up steam in twenty minutes, and that she could steam fifteen knots, and sail under canvas only thirteen knots.

Note. Clarence R. Yonge, was the paymaster of the Alabama.

Part deposition of Clarence B. Yonge.

I, Clarence Randolph Yonge, citizen of the State of Georgia, in the United States, late paymaster on board the steamer Alabama, formerly called the 290, and also called the Eureka, and was built by Messrs. Laird, of Birkenhead, in Eng1and.

Officers and crew of the steamer Alabama. As noted by Clarence B. Yonge, late paymaster 1863.

Raphael Semines, commander.
J. M. Kell, first lieutenant.
Richard F. Armstrong, second lieutenant.
Joseph Wilson, third lieutenant.
John Low, fourth lieutenant, Englishman. Sisters living in Liverpool. Made his allotments payable to brother-in-law, Charles Green, jr. Fraser, Trenholm & Co. pay the men all the allotments; that is, the half monthly pay. Every month they draw this allotment.
Arthur Sinclair, master; that is, sailing master.
Francis L. Gait, surgeon, from Virginia; now acting as paymaster.
Miles J. Freeman, - first assistant engineer, ranks as chief; born in Wa1es Does not know whether naturalized.
David Herbert Liewellyn, assistant surgeon, Englishman.
B. K. Howell, brother-in-law of Jeff: Davis, lieutenant of marines.
No marines on board.
William U. Sinclair, midshipman.
Irvine S. Bullock, midshipman; Captain Bullock’s brother.
Eugene Maffit, midshipman; Captain Maffit’s son.
Edward Maffit Anderson, midshipman; son of Colonel Anderson.
William P. Brooks, second assistant engineer.
S. W. Cummings, third assistant engineer.
Matthew O’Brien, third assistant engineer.
John H. Pundt, third assistant engineer.
George T. Fullam, first master’s mate, Englishman. Father teaches navigation school in Hull.
James Evans, second master’s mate, Charleston pilot.
William B. Smith, captain’s clerk.
Benjamin L. McClaskey, boatswain.
T. 0. Cuddy, gunner.
William Robinson, carpenter.
Henry Alcott, sailmaker, Englishman.

Petty officers and seamen.

James King, master-at-arms, Savannah pilot.
Adoiphus Marmelstein, signal quartermaster, Savannah pilot.
William A. King, quartermaster, Savannah pilot.
James G. Dent, quartermaster,. Savannah pilot.
William Forestall, quartermaster.
Ralph Masters, quarter gunner.
William Crawford, quarter gunner; royal naval reserve of England.
George Addison, armorer.
William Rinton, carpenter’s mate, Englishman.
Edward Rawes, ship’s carpenter, Englishman.
George Harwood, chief boatswain’s mate; English reserve. English government pay him a pension. Time up February 24, 1863, (as he states.)
Michael Genshled, fireman. Has a pension in England, (has been discharged November 25, 1862;) Irishman.
Brent Johnson, second boatswain’s mate; English reserve.
William Purdy, sailmaker’s mate, Englishman.
John Latham, fireman, Englishman.
David Roach, fireman, Englishman.
Thomas Murphy, fireman, Englishman.
John McAlee, ordinary seaman, Englishman.
Thomas Welch, ordinary seaman, Englishman.
James Smith, captain forecastle, Englishman.
Edward Fitz-Morris, ordinary seaman, Englishman.
George Edgarton, fireman, Englishman; lives at Liverpool.
James McFaden, fireman, Englishman; time up February 24, 1863.
William Robinson, able seaman, Englishman.
Martin Malk, able seaman, Englishman.
George Yoman, ordinary seaman, Englishman.
William McGinley, able seaman, Englishman.
George Freemantle, able seaman, Englishman.
Fredrick Johns, purser’s steward, Englishman; father lives at Ostend.
John Grady, boy, Englishman; uncle lives at 36 Regent street, Liverpool; boot maker,
Thomas Wier, gunner’s mate, Englishman.
Janies Brosner, able seaman, Englishman.
Edgar Tripp, seaman, Englishman.
John Neil, seaman, Englishman.
Joseph Neil, seaman, Englishman.
Samuel Henry, seaman, Englishman.
John Roberts, seaman, Englishman.
John Duggan, seaman, Englishman.
Martin King, seaman, Englishman.
F. Williams, seaman, Englishman.
R. Williams, seaman, Englishman.
Joseph Pearson, seaman, Englishman.
Joseph Connor, seaman, Englishman.
Thomas McMillan, seaman, Englishman.
Michael Mars, seaman, Englishman.
Robert Egan, boy, Englishman.
Malcolm McFarlan, seaman, Englishman.
Peter Henry, seaman, Englishman.
Charles Godwin, seaman, American.
James Higgs, captain of hold, Englishman.
Peter Duncan, fireman, Englishman.
Richard Parkinson, ward-room steward, Englishman.
George Appleby, yeoman, Englishman.
John Emory, seaman, Englishman.
William Hearn, seaman, Englishman.
Thomas L. Parker, boy, Englishman.
A. G. Bartelli, captain’s steward, American.
Peter Hughes, seaman, American.
Henry Fisher, seaman, Englishman; belonging to reserve.
Frank Townsend, seaman, Englishman.
Frank Cunen, fireman, Irishman.
William Levins, coal-trimmer.

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