In the U.S. Civil War, Britain sympathized with the the North over slavery. But there were many Britons who favored the South for economic reasons and helped them acquire warships from British sources to attack the Union merchant fleet in retaliation for the blockade of Southern ports. The most famous British-built commerce raider was the CSS Alabama, commanded by digruntled former U.S. Naval officer Raphael Semmes, who burned Union ships at sea for 22 months while Union vessels tried to find him. A hero in the South whose narrow escapes attracted worldwide fame and growing public support for the Confederacy in Britain, Semmes was finally cornered in 1864 in Cherbourg, France by the USS Kearsarge, whose captain was also a Southerner but one who'd remained loyal to the Union.

















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