Out of the Fog: Ode to the C.S.S. Alabama

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On June 19, 1864,  commerce raider, the Confederate States Ship (CSS) Alabama was sunk off the coast of Cherbourg, France. She had an illustrious career of effectively badgering and frustrating the Union navy for several years. Her short history mirrors the fight of the Confederate States’ quest for independence.

**Don’t have time to read? Click on the audio above to listen to the author read this poem.**

 

Out of the fog, thick as night

Guns are readied for a fight

Prey caught in helpless flight

Crossing sea foam capped with white

The C.S.S. Alabama

 
On her prey she does bear down

Seeking silver, gold and crown

Across the vessel a warning sound

Onward comes the Southern hound

The C.S.S. Alabama

 
Do they run or do they stay?

Do they die or bounties pay?

Perchance to live another day?

Quickly! Death cometh wearing gray

The C.S.S. Alabama

 
Pockets are lighter, but lives are saved

Death and burning have been staved

Only loot and pillage craved

Bounty counted while Dixie’s waved

The C.S.S. Alabama

 
Ah, Confederate prize yet again

Paid to Semmes and his men

Will terror of the sea ever end?

Sweet victory sails into the wind

The C.S.S. Alabama

 
Why this commerce raider? Tell, what for?

She’s a Mavor pirate, no less no more.

Feeding rebellious chests of war

A lustrous guardian of hell’s double door.

The C.S.S. Alabama

 
She was like the South, fast and furious,

The cause she hailed a little spurious.

Many a merchant Yankee left furious.

Less drawn to battle, more to luxurious.

The C.S.S. Alabama

 
Too little in skill, too much in fame,

Preying on unarmed and the lame,

Yankee cursing at sound of her name,

Men un-battle tested when it came.

The C.S.S. Alabama

 
One day off the coast of Cherbourg, France,

Accepting the invitation to the dance.

With a little skill, lots of hope in chance.

She came with great pomp and circumstance.

The C.S.S. Alabama

 
From Kerrsage broadsides cannon roared

Hot lead through Rebel mainsail soared

Sweet Union victory at last was scored

Damage final, complete, they’ll not board

The C.S.S. Alabama.

 
Mourn the end of this marauder,

This profitable Southern daughter,

The Gray Ghost, now lying underwater.

Should we sing her praises, shall we laud her?

The C.S.S. Alabama

 
Eight gongs were sounded on the bell,

The South’s great tide also, losing swell.

A yet oncoming quiet of Rebel yell.

A great symbol of cause remember well.

The C.S.S. Alabama.

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