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The Life of the CSS Alabama

Speaker: Len Ellison

The subject of our first talk of 2012 is the chequered history of the CSS Alabama.

The CSS ALABAMA was largest of all the Confederate cruisers at 1,040 tons displacement and built to the highest standards, with the latest innovations specified for Royal Navy ships. She was 220 feet long with a 32 foot beam, her sleek copper hull drew 15 feet fully laden, her two horizontal engines nominally rated at 300 HP, developed 1,000 HP during trials. Although the Alabama was meant to avoid enemy warships and concentrate on merchant shipping, she had very sharp teeth with a 7 inch 100 pounder rifled Blakely gun, an 8 inch smoothbore 68 pounder and six 6 inch 32 pounders.

Barqentine-rigged, with a retractable screw to eliminate drag, she was fast under sail or steam, the perfect raider, needing no home but the sea.

Within six months of her maiden voyage on 29th July 1862 the Alabama would become one of the most famous ships afloat at that time. Raphael Semmes, the captain of the Alabama said she was one of the most beautiful ships he had ever seen and loved her from first sight, He wrote that her model was of the most perfect symmetry and she sat upon the water with the lightness and grace of a swan.

Len has a lifelong interest in the American Civil War reinforced by membership of ACWRT (UK), the CWPT, the Museum of the Confederacy, the Blues & Grays, the 290 Foundation and is a Captain in The Alabama Association. Len has given numerous talks on the ACW and next May he is being sponsored by His Grace the Duke of Westminster to give a talk on the ACW at the Grosvenor Museum, Chester. Len has written articles for Crossfire, Smithsonian Institute mag and many articles for the Daily Post.

Time: 13:30 start - ends 16:30

The CSC has refurbished its Bar area and members can meet there from late morning, a variety of meals are served from 12 midday, whilst drinks and coffee are available before and after meetings.

Admission: £8 with reservations made by 13 January 2012 - contact The Treasurer for further details. Admittance cannot be guaranteed without an advance reservation.

The Venue

The Civil Service Club is situated in Great Scotland Yard, near Trafalgar Square, Charing Cross railway station, Charing Cross Underground Station (Northern and Bakerloo lines), Embankment Underground Station (Circle and District, Northern and Bakerloo lines).

How to get to The Civil Service Club: click here for website.


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