Admiral Raphael Semmes


This Site:

Civil War

Civil War Overview

Civil War 1861

Civil War 1862

Civil War 1863

Civil War 1864

Civil War 1865

Civil War Battles

Confederate Generals

Union Generals

Confederate History

Robert E. Lee

Civil War Medicine

Lincoln Assassination


Site Search

Civil War Links


Civil War Art

Revolutionary War

Mexican War

Republic of Texas


Winslow Homer

Thomas Nast

Mathew Brady

Western Art

Civil War Gifts

Robert E. Lee Portrait

Up | Robert E. Lee | Stonewall Jackson | P. G. T. Beauregard | J. E. B. Stuart | General James Longstreet | Nathan Bedford Forrest | Joseph E. Johnston | George Pickett | John S. Mosby | Patrick Ronayne Cleburne | General John Bell Hood | Albert Sidney Johnston | John C. Breckenridge | General Braxton Bragg | General William Barksdale | General Jubal Anderson Early | General Ambrose Powell Hill | General Richard Stoddert Ewell | General John Hunt Morgan | General Lewis Armistead | Admiral Raphael Semmes | General Edmund Kirby Smith | General Wade Hampton | General Leonidas Polk | General Benjamin Cheatham | General Joseph Wheeler | John Pemberton | General John B. Gordon | General Daniel Hill | General William Hardee

Confederate Generals

Confederate Admiral Raphael Semmes

Admiral Semmes in the 1863 Edition of Harper's Weekly

Raphael Semmes

Biography (Written and Submitted by Mr. Gabe Weaver)

Admiral Raphael Semmes was born on September 27, 1809 in Charles County, Maryland. He was orphaned at the age of ten. He began training as a U.S. Navy Midshipman at the age of 15. He moved to Mobile, Alabama in 1849 so he could be close to the naval base in Pensacola, Florida and to practice law. Semmes resigned from the United States Navy in 1861 and became a Commander in the Confederate States Navy. Semmes then brought a steamer over from New Orleans and converted it into the cruiser, The Sumter. It was the Confederacy's first commerce destroyer. After the decommission of the Sumter, Semmes was assigned to the CSS Alabama. Captain Semmes and the Alabama would spend the next 22 months at sea capturing or sinking 69 ships valued at 6 million dollars. Adding this to his record aboard the Sumter it added up 87 ships sunk or captured, his record still stands today.

Admiral Raphael Semmes

Raphael Semmes on the CSS Alabama


The Alabama went to port in Cherbourg, France on June 11, 1864. It was spotted within a few days by the USS Kearsearge. On June 19, 1864 the Alabama met the Kearsearge in battle and was sunk within an hour. Nineteen crewmen were lost, and the USS Kearsearge picked up the rest. Captain Semmes and 41 other crewmen were picked up by the Deerhound and escaped to England. In June 1865 Raphael Semmes was promoted to Admiral and was put in command of the James River Squadron that was protecting Richmond. He was forced to burn his ships upon the Union advance towards Richmond. President Jefferson Davis appointed Admiral Semmes a Brigadier General. Admiral/Brigadier General Semmes surrendered with Joseph E. Johnston at Durham, North Carolina. Semmes died on August 30, 1877 after eating spoiled shrimp at his daughter's home in Point Clear, Alabama. He is buried with his wife Ann in Mobile Catholic Cemetery, a statue of Admiral Semmes stands over Government Street in Downtown Mobile.

Many thanks to Mr. Gabe Weaver for Writing and Submitting this Biography.



site stats


Site Copyright 2003-2018 Son of the South. For Questions or comments about this collection,


privacy policy

Are you Scared and Confused? Read My Snake Story, a story of hope and encouragement, to help you face your fears.