Crewmen aboard CSS Alabama pose next to the same type of 32-pounder that was recovered from the ship’s wreck site. Courtesy of the Museum of Mobile.
The state of Alabama never saw the sloop CSS Alabama, which was built for the Confederacy in Great Britain in 1862, but the Museum of Mobile is set to receive one of the feared raider’s restored cannons just the same. Alabama was constructed in the UK in 1862, and before it sank off the French coast in 1864 was credited—or blamed—for the destruction of 64 merchant ships and one U.S. warship. The Rebel raider went down during a battle with USS Kearsarge on June 19, 1864.
A French navy mine hunter located the ship in 1984. In 2000 a 32-pounder cannon was delivered to Charleston, S.C., for restoration at the Warren Lasch Conservation Center. Conservators discovered the inscription “Liverpool, 1862” on the 2½-ton, 10-foot-long gun.
One of six 32-pounders stationed along the edges of the sloop’s deck, the gun will be on long-term loan to the Mobile museum from the U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command. Carpenters are currently building a carriage for the gun.