Thursday, March 20, 2014

March 20, 1864 – CSS Alabama Returns to Cape Town

This day 150 years ago in Rebel Raiders’ History

-Dedicated to Civil War episodes, battles, people and ships that also appear in my game, GMT’s Rebel Raiders on the High Seas.

March 20, 1864CSS Alabama Returns to Cape Town

Historical Event:  On March 20, 1864 the Confederate cruiser CSS Alabama returned to Cape Town, from which she departed the previous August to go raiding in the Indian Ocean, Straits of Malacca and as far as Borneo and Singapore.  Pickings had been slim; only nine Union ships had been found in those seven months, compared to the 55 captures CSS Alabama had made in the nine months before setting out from Cape Town.)

 Captain Raphael Semmes and his crew were again hailed as heroes by the people of Cape Town, but they found British officials far less welcoming.  Much had changed in the last half year, and Semmes and his ship were both worn and in need of rest and a refit.  Unable to find either in Cape Town, and forewarned not to go to England and risk being seized, four days later Semmes set his course for France.  CSS Alabama would take only two more prizes on what would become her final voyage, for shortly after arriving in Cherbourg she would be challenged by USS Kearsarge, which the raider fought in an epic and fateful duel in June 1864.

Game Connection:  The CSS Alabama is not only one of the ships for whom the game Rebel Raiders on the High Seas is named; she graces the cover.  The Confederate cruiser appears in the strategic naval game as a unique counter and card (CSN 63).  The many oceans of the world are presented on the map for CSS Alabama to raid – provided she can stay clear of the Union warships sent to hunt her down – among them, USS Kearsarge – as represented by USN Card 14.

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