The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #81820 Message #4154915
Posted By: GUEST,JeffB
13-Oct-22 - 11:33 AM
Thread Name: Origins: Roll, Alabama Roll
Subject: RE: Origins: Roll, Alabama Roll
Many years ago I read an account of her voyages written, I think, by one of her officers. If I recall correctly, she was taken to Terciera in the Azores by a crew recruited in Liverpool under the command of a temporary officer. In Terceira she was met by a supply ship carrying Semmes. This ship's last port of call might have been London but I think she must have been a vessel chartered by the Confederate government. The Alabama was victualled and her guns mounted, whereupon Semmes formally named her and took command.
The Liverpool crew was invited to sign on, and many of them did. Again I am going by memory, but I believe that about a third of the Alabama's crew were English (or at any rate British), and that it was remarked that if they were treated harshly they were good seamen and fighters, but they became unruly and difficult to command if their officers showed any leniency.
I think also that this book claimed that while she was being built it became an open secret that she was to be a Confederate raider, but the British government delayed in taking any action until she was under sail.
The Alabama was of composite construction, i.e. iron ribs supoorting a wooden hull. She displaced about 1050 tons and was powered by sail and a 3oo hp engine.