Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 38.djvu/44
32 Southern Historical Society Papers.
with the Sumter to Cadiz, but being harrassed by the commander, who had, in the meantime, hi en influenced by the Federal Con- sul, Semmes, in disgust, sailed for Gibraltar — capturing a vessel within sight of the harbor. Being unable to obtain coal at Gi- braltar, through the machinations of the ever-vigilant Federal Consul, and being without funds, as soon as they could be pro- cured from our Commissioner in England, which took about a month, the paymaster of the Sumter — Henry Myers — was dis- patched to Tangiers, Africa, to purchase and forward a cargo of coal. Upon his arrival in Tangiers, Myers was arrested, through the agency of the Federal Consul, handcuffed, thrown in jail, where he was robbed of his personal effects, maltreated and -finally transported to the United States. The Sumter being thus prevented from coaling, and being watched on the outside by Federal cruisers, she was abandoned by her commander and finally sold, again being converted into a merchantman, and singular to relate, sank a few years afterwards, almost in the same spot where reposed the remains of her successor — the Alabama — and the sword of her former gallant commander.
In no ways daunted, Semmes, now a captain in the Confeder- ate States Navy, proceeded to England, where he found that the Lairds had nearly completed a vessel for the Confederate Gov- ernment, numbered the "290," and he was assigned to I*<r com- mand when ready for service.
To avoid a violation of the neutrality laws, the "-90" left Eng- land without armament, and ostensibly as a merchantman, but, in fact, she proceeded to Terceira, one of the group of the Azores Islands, where she was joined by her commander and his offi- cers — the crew taking her out volunteering to remain — and her armament and supplies were placed on board from the trans- ports which had previously arrived. As soon as ready for sea. her commander had the Confederate flag run up, read his com- mission from the Confederate Government, announced the object of his mission, called for volunteers from among the crew — nearly all of whom enlisted — and named the new Confederate cruiser the Alabama. Thus was the Alabama, destined to become famous the world over, launched upon her career of destruction to American commerce and to teach Xew England shipbuilders and shipowners some of the costs of war.