June 19, 1864 ~ The Battle of Cherbourg

Today in 1864, The Battle of Cherbourg was fought during the American Civil War off the coast of France between the United States warship, Kearsarge, and the Confederate raider Alabama.

For 2-years, the Alabama, under the command of Captain Raphael Semmes, conducted commerce raiding missions around the globe.

From the Atlantic to the Gulf of Mexico, around Africa’s Cape of Good Hope, and into the Pacific to the East Indies.

During her cruise, she captured 65 U.S. merchantmen and quickly destroyed the USS Hatteras, off Galveston.

When Alabama arrived in Cherbourg on June 11th, Captain John Winslow, and the Kearsarge were in hot Pursuit. Kearsarge Initiated a blockade.

When Alabama, exited the harbor on June 19th she charged Kearsarge with guns blazing. The onslaught from Both ships was heavy, but Kearsarge’s fire was more effective.

After just over an hour, the Alabama was finished. Captain Semmes struck the Confederate colors and surrendered. The battle was over and the greatest commerce raider in history slipped beneath the waves.

In November 1984 the wreck of Alabama was located. France and the United States signed an agreement recognizing the wreck as a common historic heritage for both nations and established a joint scientific team for its exploration.


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