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05.05.07 Semmes, Raphael, Memoirs of Service Afloat During the War Between the States, published in 1869.

Notes Concerning the Author:

Raphael Semmes’, Memoirs of Service Afloat, During the War between the Stateswas published in 1869, clearly showing that his is an eye-witness account of his subject.  Semmes (1809—1877) was from old Maryland Catholic family.  He resigned a high position in the U.S. Navy to join the Confederacy.   


In Raphael Semmes’ two-year voyage in command of the commerce raider C.S.S. Alabama ,  cruising in nearly all the world’s oceans, he literally drove the Northern merchant marine from the seas, taking a record 65 prizes.  His memoirs give a vivid account of the Alabama, as well as his service before and after.  Semmes was a learned man and a fine writer.  The reader,  besides enjoying an outstanding  Civil War narrative, will also learn a great deal about oceanography and international law.  Semmes’s strong personality emerges from his book  as well as his relentless and often witty discussions of the bad character of “the Puritan Yankee” who was making war on the South.  This is among the best Confederate memoirs. 

Availability of this Book:

You should have no problem acquiring a copy of this important naval book, in spite of the fact that it was published first in 1869.  There are reprints and an e-book edition.