The enthralling story of the greatest Civil War battle at sea by the award-winning and bestselling historians Phil Keith and Tom Clavin.
On June 19, 1864, just off the coast of France, one of the most dramatic naval battles in history took place. On a clear day with windswept skies, the dreaded Confederate raider Alabama faced the Union warship Kearsarge in an all-or-nothing fight to the finish, the outcome of which would effectively end the threat of the Confederacy on the high seas.
Authors Phil Keith and Tom Clavin introduce some of the crucial but historically overlooked players, including John Winslow, captain of the USS Kearsarge, as well as Raphael Semmes, captain of the CSS Alabama. Readers will sail aboard the Kearsarge as Winslow embarks for Europe with a set of simple orders from the secretary of the navy: "Travel to the uttermost ends of the earth, if necessary, to find and destroy the Alabama."
Winslow pursued Semmes in a spectacular fourteen-month chase over international waters, culminating in what would become the climactic sea battle of the Civil War.
Keith and Clavin follow All Blood Runs Red with this dramatic account of the Confederate raider CSS Alabama and its showdown against the steam "sloop of war" USS Kearsarge. As the authors explain, the vastly outnumbered Confederate Navy was unable to break the Union's blockade of Southern ports or mount its own blockade. Instead, Confederate commanders sought to disrupt the federal war effort by attacking Union merchant ships. With Capt. Raphael Semmes at the helm, the crew of the Alabama chased down and boarded almost 300 vessels, captured 64 Union ships ("with all but twelve set aflame"), and cost the North more than $6 million in lost cargo. U.S. Navy secretary Gideon Welles charged Capt. John Winslow—a former friend and bunkmate of Semmes's—with traveling "to the uttermost ends of the earth" to find and destroy the Alabama. It took 14 months, but the Kearsarge finally tracked down the worn-out Confederate vessel off the coast of Cherbourg, France, in June 1864, and sunk it in little more than an hour. Keith and Clavin spin a spirited tale of high-seas adventure and bring both Semmes and Winslow to vivid life. Naval history buffs will be enthralled.