CABINET CARD PHOTOGRAPH OF THE PRESENTATION GRADE SWORD GIVEN TO RAPHAEL SEMMES BY FRENCH OFFICERS AFTER THE SINKING OF THE ALABAMA

$450.00 ON HOLD

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 160-545

The card depicts a very ornate sword in a brass scabbard with attached raised decorations of floral work, cannons, scrolls etc.

Bottom of the card is marked “REED… MOBILE, ALA. Bottom right corner of the mount is creased and there is light to moderate surface dirt throughout.

With the image is a label written in period ink that reads “SWORD PRESENTED THE FRENCH OFFICERS, TO REPLACE THE ONE SEMMES HURLED INTO THE SEA AS THE “ALABAMA” SANK OFF CHERBOURG.”

Alabama made port in Cherbourg, France, for a much-needed overhaul; she was soon blockaded by the pursuing Union steam sloop-of-war USS Kearsarge. Captain Semmes took Alabama out on June 19, 1864, and met the similar Kearsarge in one of the most famous naval engagements of the Civil War. After receiving a fatal shell to the starboard waterline, which tore open a portion of Alabama's hull, causing her steam engine to explode from the shell's impact, Semmes was forced to order the striking of his ship's Stainless Banner battle ensign and later to display a hand-held white flag of surrender to finally halt the engagement.  As his command sank, the wounded Semmes threw his sword into the sea, depriving the USS Kearsarge's Captain Winslow of the traditional surrender ceremony of having it handed over to him as victor.  [ad][ph:L]

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