George Addison

George Addison

Death 2 Feb 1876 (aged 42)
Charleston, Charleston County, South Carolina, USA
Burial Charleston, Charleston County, South Carolina, USA
Memorial ID 19377440 · View Source
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George Addison, born February 28, 1833, in England; resided in Liverpool; served as carpenter's mate and armorer aboard the Confederate cruiser CSS Alabama, enlisted August 24, 1862; wounded slightly in the cheek, during the action with the USS Hatteras, off Galveston, Texas, January, 1863; in action off Cherbourg, France, June 19, 1864; after the CSS Alabama was sunk in this action, he returned to England, and was paid off, and honorably discharged at Southampton, England, 1864; died February 2, 1876, at Charleston, South Carolina; buried Magnolia Cemetery, Charleston.

CSS Alabama was a screw sloop-of-war built for the Confederate States Navy at Birkenhead, United Kingdom, in 1862 by John Laird Sons and Company. Alabama served as a commerce raider, attacking Union merchant and naval ships over the course of her two-year career, during which she never anchored in a Southern port. She was sunk in battle by the USS Kearsarge in 1864 near the Port of Cherbourg, France.

Expeditionary raids of the CSS Alabama

All together, Alabama conducted a total of seven expeditionary raids, spanning the globe, before heading back to France for refit and repairs and a date with destiny:

The CSS Alabama's Eastern Atlantic Expeditionary Raid (August–September, 1862) commenced immediately after she was commissioned. She immediately set sail for the shipping lanes southwest and then east of the Azores, where she captured and burned ten prizes, mostly whalers.
The CSS Alabama's New England Expeditionary Raid (October–November, 1862) began after Captain Semmes and his crew departed for the northeastern seaboard of North America, along Newfoundland and New England, where she ranged as far south as Bermuda and the coast of Virginia, burning ten prizes while capturing and releasing three others.
The CSS Alabama's Gulf of Mexico Expeditionary Raid (December, 1862 – January, 1863) was centered around a needed rendezvous with her supply vessel, CSS Agrippina. After that, she rendered aid to Texas during Major General Banks' invasion near Galveston, Texas. There, she quickly sank the Union side-wheeler USS Hatteras.
The CSS Alabama's South Atlantic Expeditionary Raid (February–July, 1863) was her most successful raiding venture, taking 29 prizes while raiding off the coast of Brazil. Here she recommissioned the bark Conrad as the CSS Tuscaloosa.
The CSS Alabama's South African Expeditionary Raid (August–September, 1863) occurred primarily while ranging off the coast of South Africa, as she worked together with the CSS Tuscaloosa.
The CSS Alabama's Indian Ocean Expeditionary Raid (September–November, 1863) was composed of a long trek across the Indian Ocean. The few prizes she gathered were in the East Indies.
The CSS Alabama's South Pacific Expeditionary Raid (December, 1863) was her final raiding venture. She took a few prizes in the Strait of Malacca before finally turning back toward France for a much needed refit and long overdue repairs.

Upon the completion of her seven expeditionary raids, Alabama had been at sea for 534 days out of 657, never visiting a single Confederate port. She boarded nearly 450 vessels, captured or burned 65 Union merchant ships, and took more than 2,000 prisoners without a single loss of life from either prisoners or her own crew.
[edit] Final Cruise
Main article: Battle of Cherbourg (1864)
"Kearsarge and the Alabama" by Édouard Manet
Sternpost of USS Kearsarge containing unexploded 100-pound shell fired by CSS Alabama

On 11 June 1864, Alabama arrived in port at Cherbourg, France. Captain Semmes soon requested permission to dry dock and overhaul his ship, much needed after so long a time at sea and so many naval actions. Pursuing the raider, the American sloop-of-war, USS Kearsarge, under the command of Captain John Ancrum Winslow, arrived three days later and took up station just outside the harbor. While at his previous port-of-call, Winslow had telegraphed Gibraltar to send the old man-o-war USS St. Louis with provisions and to provide blockading assistance. Kearsarge now had Alabama boxed-in with no place left to run.

Having no desire to see his worn-out ship rot away at a French dock while quarantined by Union warships, and given his instinctive aggressiveness and a long-held desire once again to engage his enemy, Captain Semmes chose to fight. After preparing his ship and drilling the crew for the coming battle during the next several days, Semmes issued, through diplomatic channels, a bold challenge to the Kearsarge's commander,[9] "my intention is to fight the Kearsarge as soon as I can make the necessary arrangements. I hope these will not detain me more than until to-morrow or the morrow morning at farthest. I beg she will not depart until I am ready to go out. I have the honor to be Your obedient servant, R. Semmes, Captain."

On 19 June, Alabama sailed out to meet the Union cruiser. As Kearsarge turned to meet her opponent, Alabama opened fire. Kearsarge waited patiently until the range had closed to less than 1,000 yards (900 m). According to survivors, the two ships steamed on opposite courses in seven spiraling circles, moving southwesterly with the 3-knot current, each commander trying to cross the bow of his opponent to deliver a heavy raking fire. The battle quickly turned against Alabama due to the superior gunnery displayed by Kearsarge and the deteriorated state of Alabama's contaminated powder and fuses. Her most important shot, fired from the forward 7-inch (178 mm) Blakely pivot rifle, hit very near Kearsarge's vulnerable stern post, the impact binding the ship's rudder badly. That rifled shell, however, failed to explode. If it had done so, it would have seriously disabled Kearsarge's steering, possibly sinking the warship, and ending the contest. In addition, Alabama's too rapid rate-of-fire resulted in frequent poor gunnery, with many of her shots going too high, thus sealing the fate of the Confederate raider. As a result, Kearsarge benefited little that day from the protection of her outboard chain armor, whose presence Semmes later said was unknown to him at the time of his decision to issue the challenge to fight. In fact, in the years that followed, Semmes steadfastly claimed he would have never fought Kearsarge if he had known she was armor-clad.
The ironclad frigate French battleship La Gloire was in the English Channel, near Cherbourg, during the battle between Alabama and Kearsarge

This hull armor had been installed in just three days, more than a year before, while Kearsarge was in port at the Azores. It was made using 120 fathoms (720 feet) of 1.7-inch (43 mm) single link iron chain and covered hull spaces 49 feet (15 m), six-inches (152 mm) long by 6-feet, 2-inches deep. It was stopped up and down to eye-bolts with marlines and secured by iron dogs. It was concealed behind 1-inch deal-boards painted black to match the upper hull's color. This chaincladding was placed along Kearsarge's port and starboard midsection down to the waterline, for additional protection of her engines and boilers when the upper portion of her coal bunkers were empty. This armor belt was hit twice during the fight: First in the starboard gangway by one of Alabama's 32-pounder shells that cut the chain armor, denting the hull planking underneath, then again by a second 32-pounder shell that exploded and broke a link of the chain armor, tearing away a portion of the deal-board covering. If those rounds had come from Alabama's more powerful 100-pounder Blakely pivot rifle, the likely result would not have been too serious, as both struck the chain armor a little more than five feet above the waterline. Even if both shots had penetrated Kearsarge's side, they would have completely missed her vital machinery.

A little more than an hour after the first shot was fired, Alabama was reduced to a sinking wreck by Kearsarge's powerful 11-inch (280 mm) Dahlgrens, forcing Captain Semmes to strike his colors and to send one of his two surviving boats to Kearsarge to ask for assistance.

According to witnesses, Alabama fired 370 rounds at her adversary, averaging one round per minute per gun, while Kearsarge's gun crews fired less than half that many, taking more careful aim. During the confusion of battle, five more rounds were fired at Alabama after her colors were struck. (Her gun ports had been left open and the broadside cannon were still run out, appearing to come to bear on Kearsarge.) Then a hand-held white flag came fluttering from Alabama's stern spanker boom, finally halting the engagement. Prior to this, she had her steering gear compromised by shell hits, but the fatal shot came later when one of Kearsarge's 11-inch (280 mm) shells tore open a mid-section of Alabama's starboard waterline. Water quickly rushed through the defeated cruiser, eventually drowning her boilers and forcing her down by the stern to the bottom. As Alabama sank, the injured Semmes threw his sword into the sea, depriving Kearsage's commander Captain John Ancrum Winslow of the traditional surrender ceremony of having it handed over to him as victor. Kearsarge rescued the majority of the survivors, but 41 of Alabama's officers and crew, including Semmes, were rescued by the private British yacht Deerhound, while the Kearsarge stood off to recover her rescue boats as the Alabama sank. Captain Winslow was forced to stand by helplessly and watch Deerhound spirit away to England his much sought after adversary, Captain Semmes and his surviving shipmates.

The battle between the Alabama and Kearsarge is honored by the United States Navy with a battle star on the Civil War campaign streamer.


In their memory
Plant Memorial Trees


  • Maintained by: Rubbings
  • Originally Created by: Terry Foenander
  • Added: 14 May 2007
  • Find a Grave Memorial 19377440
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for George Addison (28 Feb 1833–2 Feb 1876), Find a Grave Memorial no. 19377440, citing Magnolia Cemetery, Charleston, Charleston County, South Carolina, USA ; Maintained by Rubbings (contributor 47671529) .