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CSS Alabama Relics Being Recovered

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  • A.J. Wright
    fyi..aj wright // ajwright@uab.edu APRIL 03, 01:10 EST CSS Alabama Relics Being Recovered By GARRY MITCHELL Associated Press Writer MOBILE, Ala. (AP) - A
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 3, 2001
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      fyi..aj wright // ajwright@...
      APRIL 03, 01:10 EST
      CSS Alabama Relics Being Recovered
      By GARRY MITCHELL
      Associated Press Writer
      MOBILE, Ala. (AP) - A ship's pennant from Tasmania. A flag from South
      Africa. Cannons from the wreckage off the coast of France.
      Slowly, but surely, relics from the sunken Confederate raider CSS Alabama
      are being recovered, and with them a piece of Southern naval history.
      The Alabama sank June 11, 1864, in about 200 feet of water in the English
      Channel after a battle with the Union's USS Kearsage.
      In June, divers plan to return to the 135-year-old Alabama wreck site off
      Cherbourg, France, in hopes of finding more cannons and other relics, which
      will be unveiled at the Museum of Mobile on Sept. 14.
      Museum director George Ewert said the CSS Alabama exhibit will include ship
      artifacts never before displayed in the United States and will be a key
      feature of Mobile's 2002 tricentennial celebration.
      Built for the Confederacy by a company in Liverpool, England, the Alabama
      was one of the most successful raiders in history. During the 22 months it
      sailed, her crew boarded 447 vessels, including 65 Union merchant vessels,
      and took 2,000 prisoners, according to the CSS Alabama Association.
      Adm. Raphael Semmes, the Alabama's captain, spent his last days practicing
      law in Mobile, where a statue in his honor sits. It was Semmes who gave the
      ship's flag to Capetown, South Africa, during a visit, said Robert Edington,
      president of the Association of the Friends of the CSS Alabama. Negotiations
      for its return from a museum are continuing.
      The Museum of Mobile recently secured the return of another relic, however,
      the ship's pennant which was plucked from the water following the battle.
      The pennant was given to businessman John Low, chief officer aboard the
      Alabama, who died in 1906. When Low's son, Henry Morris Low, moved to
      Tasmania he took along the Alabama's pennant.
      It remained in his family's care until Low's great-great grandson, Phillip
      Sweetingham, brought it to Mobile. The museum is planning a ceremony to
      accept the pennant on May 14.
      The ship recovery project has been funded by public and private donors in
      both the United States and France, including a $400,000 grant from the U.S.
      Department of Defense.
      The ship's cannons are being restored by the Navy lab at Charleston, S.C.
      They will be taken to the Navy museum in Washington, D.C., and eventually
      loaned to the Mobile museum.
      In 2002, diving crews plan to excavate the Alabama's hull. Still to be
      recovered are items from the lower decks of the ship, including the cruise
      boxes, which hold the crew's personal possessions, and boxes of ship's
      chinaware and copper cooking pots.
      ---
      On the Net:
      <http://www.history.navy.mil/branches/org12-1.htm >
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