The Alabama and the Kearsarge: The Sailor's Civil War

Overview

On June 19, 1864, the Confederate cruiser Alabama and the USS Kearsarge faced off in the English Channel outside the French port of Cherbourg. About an hour after the Alabama fired the first shot, it began to sink, and its crew was forced to wave the white flag of surrender.

Working with personal papers and diaries and contemporary reports, historian William Marvel interweaves the stories of these two celebrated Civil War warships, from their construction to their climactic ...

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Overview

On June 19, 1864, the Confederate cruiser Alabama and the USS Kearsarge faced off in the English Channel outside the French port of Cherbourg. About an hour after the Alabama fired the first shot, it began to sink, and its crew was forced to wave the white flag of surrender.

Working with personal papers and diaries and contemporary reports, historian William Marvel interweaves the stories of these two celebrated Civil War warships, from their construction to their climactic encounter off Cherbourg. Just as importantly, he illuminates the day-to-day experiences of their crews. From cabin boys to officers, sailors have been one of the most ignored groups of the Civil War.

The sailors' lot was one of constant discomfort and monotony, interspersed with riotous frolics ashore and, occasionally, a few minutes of intense excitement and danger. Housed in damp, crowded quarters, their wartime mortality rate did not reach that of their army counterparts, but service-connected diseases shortened their postwar lives disproportionately. Most of the crewmen ended their lives in nameless obscurity, and their story has remained unwritten until now.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"William Marvel knows how to tell a good story."
KLIATT

A fascinating introduction to the common sailor worthy of comparison with the best works on the war's common soldiers.

J. Tracy Power, Society for Civil War Historians Newsletter

Marvel's well-written account of life aboard the two ships should interest both the specialist and the general reader.

Journal of Southern History

[Marvel] has richly tapped new sources by locating the journals, diaries, and letters written by eyewitnesses.

Journal of American History

Highly recommended to those interested in the Civil War at sea.

Blue & Gray

Well written and persuasively argued, Marvel's study will make quite a splash.

Choice

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807858158
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 2/26/2007
  • Series: Civil War America Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 348
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.22 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Meet the Author

William Marvel's many books include Andersonville: The Last Depot and Lee's Last Retreat: The Flight to Appomattox (both from the University of North Carolina Press). He lives in South Conway, New Hampshire.
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Table of Contents

Contents

Preface
1. Escape
2. Pursuit
3. Into the Temp

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2002

    A good Book

    Not a bad book but I feel there were some details that were left out and should have been added. As to the the Kearsarge and it's history during the Civil War it was the only book I have found so far that tell's it's story. You get a good idea of what sea duty was like during the Civil War.

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