Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 38.djvu/41

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Admiral Raphael Semmes. 29

Hill, Washington, D. C. Then followed a three years' cruise on the Mediterranean ; one in the South Sea with Commodore Wilkes' Exploring Expedition and then a cruise off the west coast of Africa and around the Cape to the East Indies.

All through these years of his boyhood and early manhood, •whether on shore or in active service, he assiduously studied languages, literature and law, especially international and marine law, which prepared him for the trying experiences of later years in the Confederate service.

On May 5, 1837, Raphael Semmes, then a lieutenant in the United States Navy, married Anne Elizabeth Spencer, the only daughter of Oliver Marlborough Spencer and Electra Ogden. Mrs. Semmes' grandfather, Oliver Spencer, a Revolutionary Colonel, moved from New Jersey to Cincinnati, when the latter was nothing more than a military post, and her father was the first mayor of the town.

During the Mexican War, Lieutenant Semmes was in com- mand of the brig Somas, doing blockade duty off Vera Cruz. Whilst thus engaged his vessel was suddenly struck by a violent gale, was capsized, and the greater portion of the crew drowned, Semmes himself having been rescued by a boat's crew from the English ship Endymion. After losing his vessel, Lieutenant Semmes was ordered by the Secretary of the Navy, Mr. Marcy, to proceed to the City of Mexico under flag of truce, to inter- cede with the Mexican Government in behalf of some of the members of his crew who had been captured, and whom the government was threatening to execute as spies. Being for- bidden by General Scott, in command of the United States Army, from proceeding in advance of the army. Lieutenant Semmes, at the invitation of General Worth, became a member of that General's staff and accompanied the army throughout the entire campaign.

In 1849 Lieutenant Semmes moved from his old home, on- the Perdido River, near Pensacola, Fla., to Mobile, Ala., which place he ever afterwards considered his domicil. Having seen con- siderably more sea duty than any other officer of his date, he was engaged in no active service until 1856 when he was ap- pointed lighthouse inspector on the Gulf of Mexico, from which