{⋆★⋆} BG CSN Semmes, Raphael

Raphael Semmes
Semmes.jpg

:CSA1stNat:

Nickname:
"Old Beeswax," for his habit of twisting his waxed moustache while pacing the quarterdeck

Nickname: Known as "The Nelson of the Confederacy" for his daring exploits

Born: September 27, 1809

Birthplace: Charles County, Maryland

Father: Richard Thompson Semmes 1784 – 1823

Mother: Catherine Taliaferro Middleton Unknown – 1811

Raised by his Uncle: Raphael Semmes

Wife: Anne E. Spencer 1819 – 1892
(Buried: Catholic Cemetery, Mobile, Alabama)​

Married: In Cincinnati, Ohio in 1837

Children:
Captain Samuel Spencer Semmes 1838 – 1912​
(Buried: Violet Cemetery, Osceola, Alabama)​
Oliver John Semmes 1839 – 1918​
(Buried: Magnolia Cemetery, Mobile, Alabama)​
Electra Louisa Semmes Colston 1843 – 1925​
(Buried: Catholic Cemetery, Mobile, Alabama)​
Katherine Middleton Semmes Wright 1844 – 1937
1599061639806.png
(Buried: Forest Hill Cemetery, Midtown Memphis, Tennessee)​
Midshipman Raphael Semmes Jr. 1849 – 1918​
(Buried: Greenwood Cemetery, Montgomery, Alabama)​

Education:

Graduated from Charlotte Hall Military Academy, 1826​
Occupation before War:

1826 - Began service in the United States Navy as a Midshipman​
Semmes studied law and was admitted to the Maryland bar while remaining in the service.​
1837 - Commissioned as a Lieutenant in the United States Navy​
1846 - In December, in support of the Mexican-American war effort, Semmes commanded the brig USS Somers in the Gulf of Mexico as part of a blockade. A fierce storm sank the brig just off Vera Cruz, and 39 crew were lost, and Semmes nearly drowned. A court of inquiry found no fault with Semmes and praised him for the way he handled his ship.​
1847 - Accompanied Gen. Winfield Scott's army as it fought its way to the Mexican capitol​
1847 - In September, Semmes commanded a howitzer that he dragged up onto the roof of a house, in coordination with another howitzer manned by a young Army Lieutenant named Ulysses S. Grant, located on the adjacent Church of San Cosme rooftop. Together they opened fire on the Mexican forces as the U.S. military fought its way into Mexico City.​
Ended the Mexican War as volunteer aide to Brig. Gen. William J. Worth.​
Settled in Mobile, Alabama, and began practicing law while on extended leave after the Mexican War.​
1851 - Published his first book, Service Afloat and Ashore During the Mexican War, a book about his war experiences​
1855 - Promoted to the rank of Commander​
1856 - Assigned to Lighthouse Service as an inspector, in Washington, DC​
1861 - On February 15, Semmes resigned from the United States Navy after Lincoln's Election and Alabama's secession from the Union​

Civil War Career:

1861 - On February 21, Semmes meets with Acting Confederate President Jefferson Davis, who tasked him with a trip north to purchase war materiel for the new nation, a mission Semmes is mostly successful at, though he failed to find and purchase any ships.​
1861 - In April, Semmes is appointed as a Commander in the Confederate Navy, and head of the Confederacy's Lighthouse Bureau​
1861 - Semmes convinces the Confederate Secretary of the Navy to send him to New Orleans, where he converts the steamer Havana into the cruiser CSS Sumter, and ran her through the Federal blockade in June and began a career of commerce raiding​
During Sumter's six months' operations in the West Indies and the Atlantic, Semme's crew captured eighteen merchant vessels and skillfully eluded pursuing Union warships.​
1862 - Made port in Gibraltar in January in need of repairs, but Federal cruisers made it impossible to return CSS Sumter to sea.​
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1862 - Taking his officers to England, Semmes was promoted to the rank of Captain, and oversaw the building of, and was given command of the newly-built cruiser CSS Alabama
1862-1864 - While commanding the CSS Alabama, Semmes and his crew captured some sixty merchantmen and sank one Federal warship, USS Hatteras.
1864 - After a long cruise, Alabama was blockaded at Cherbourg, France, while seeking repairs. On June 19, CSS Alabama was put to sea to fight the Union cruiser USS Kearsarge. Semmes was wounded when the Alabama was sunk in action. Semmes was rescued by a British yacht, and was able to find passage back to the Confederacy.​
1865 - In February, Semmes was promoted to Rear Admiral, and commanded the James River Squadron during the last months of the Civil War.
After War.jpg
1865 - When the fall of Richmond, Virginia forced the destruction of his ships, he was made a Brigadier General by Jefferson Davis, and led his sailors as an cadet infantry force.​
1865 - Semmes and his cadets escorted the fleeing President Jefferson Davis south​
1865 - Semmes is with Gen. Joseph E. Johnston in North Carolina when Johnston surrendered his army on April 26, and given a parole with the rest of the army.​

Occupation after War:

1865 - In December, Semmes is arrested under the charges of treason, piracy, and ill-treatment of prisoners. He is imprisoned by the United States Government in the New York Navy Yard for a term lasting 3 months, held as a Prisoner of War. He is released without having been brought to trial.​
1866 - Elected probate judge of Mobile County, Alabama in May but prohibited from taking office by U.S. authorities​
Professor of Philosophy and Literature, Louisiana State Seminary​
Editor of the Newspaper, the Memphis Daily Bulletin

Died: August 30, 1877

Place of Death: Mobile, Alabama

Cause of Death: Contracted food poisoning

Age at time of Death: 67 years old

Burial Place: Catholic Cemetery, Mobile, Alabama

Admiral Raphael Semmes.JPG
Admiral Raphael Semmes (2).JPG
 
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dhh712

Private
Joined
Jul 12, 2014
Location
Gettysburg, PA
All his children that lived into adulthood lived into the 1900s! Electra's a singular name for that time period. How sad that he was only 2 yrs old when his mother died : ( [and his father didn't live too much longer after that]. I wonder if he had any (half)/brothers or sisters?

Thanks for yet another interesting bio! I've heard of this guy before, just didn't know much of anything about him.
 

farrargirl

Sergeant
Joined
Jul 9, 2017
Location
Baldwin County, on the Alabama Gulf Coast
Raphael Semmes
View attachment 324319
Born: September 27, 1809

Birthplace: Charles County Maryland

Father: Richard Thompson Semmes 1784 – 1823

Mother: Catherine Taliaferro Middleton Unknown – 1811

Wife: Anne E. Spencer 1819 – 1892
(Buried: Catholic Cemetery Mobile Alabama)​

Children:
Captain Samuel Spencer Semmes 1838 – 1912​
(Buried: Violet Cemetery Osceola Alabama)​
Oliver John Semmes 1839 – 1918​
(Buried: Magnolia Cemetery Mobile Alabama)​
Electra Louisa Semmes Colston 1843 – 1925​
(Buried: Catholic Cemetery Mobile Alabama)​
Katherine Middleton Semmes Wright 1844 – 1937​
(Buried: Forest Hill Cemetery Midtown Memphis Tennessee)​
Midshipman Raphael Semmes Jr. 1849 – 1918​
(Buried: Greenwood Cemetery Montgomery Alabama)​

Education:

Graduated from Charlotte Hall Military Academy​
View attachment 324320
Occupation before War:

1826 – 1861: Served in United States Navy rising to rank of Commander​
Attorney in Mobile Alabama​

Civil War Career:

1861 – 1865: Served in Confederate Navy rising to rank of Rear Admiral​
Brigadier General of Confederate Army Infantry Naval Brigade​

Occupation after War:

1865 – 1866: Imprisoned for Treason by the United States Government​
Professor of Philosophy and Literature Louisiana State Seminary​
County Judge​
Newspaper Editor​

Died: August 30, 1877

Place of Death: Mobile Alabama

Age at time of Death: 67 years old

Burial Place: Catholic Cemetery Mobile Alabama

 

farrargirl

Sergeant
Joined
Jul 9, 2017
Location
Baldwin County, on the Alabama Gulf Coast
[/QUOTE]
Please excuse if I made decision to include this post under a.) Biographies of the Civil War, and b.) Raphael Semmes. Possibly Monuments would have been among the choices....

I have lived near Mobile for most of my life. Always enjoyed seeing the lifesize statue of Admiral Semmes, who became a transplanted Mobilian.
Here is what his exquisite statue looked like prior to a few weeks ago: ( Wikipedia)
F7F0ADFF-450B-4A00-AEDF-7B30EE929396.jpeg

It was erected on 27 June, 1900, almost exactly 120 years ago. As of today, all that remains is the very bottom base, with no signage whatsoever.
The reason I chose Biographies was not for Admiral Semmes, but for the amazing amount of these bronze sculptures produced by Caspar Buberl, also solely for the soldiers of the Civil War. Here is his fascinating bio and obituary from 1899:

FE591847-05A7-4701-9F21-867DCDF1B6E9.jpeg

Possibly Mr. Buberl, an immigrant from Bohemia, should be recognized for the significant pieces of work he produced as named in his obituary.
I am wondering now if some or all of his statues have been “removed”, as in Admiral Semmes case.
Thanks for all the inspiration all these forums serve toward the purpose of furthering our knowledge base of this, our own civil war....
Marty
 

Llewellyn

Corporal
Joined
Feb 17, 2020
Location
Britain
For interest, this is the hotel at 29 Queen's Terrace, Southampton, England, where the wounded Captain Semmes and his First Lieutenant John M Kell resided after the Cherbourg battle and their rescue by Steam Yacht Deerhound, Captain Jones.

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At the time it was known as Kelways Hotel, but in later years was renamed Old Oriental, then just Oriental, as shown in the pic.

EDIT: No longer a hotel. Now private residences.
 
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Llewellyn

Corporal
Joined
Feb 17, 2020
Location
Britain
He had the nickname of "Old Beeswax". I assume it was from his moustache wax.
Apparently he had a habit of twirling his waxed 'tache.
His physical appearance was described in the London News of June 21st 1864, and contained this remark about his facial hair, "He is about 50 years of age, with a small red pointed face, and a beard and moustache in the American style."
 

Llewellyn

Corporal
Joined
Feb 17, 2020
Location
Britain
Following on from my post #9 upthread (which seems to have interested at least four fellow forumistas, ha ha), here's a pic of the old Royal Hotel in Lime Street, Liverpool, where Captain James Waddell, CSS Shenendoah, resided after surrendering in the River Mersey to HMS Donegal, Captain Paynter.
Waddell remained in Liverpool for two years before feeling safe enough to return to the United States.

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The large, arched glazed structure behind the hotel is Lime Street Railway Station.
 
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CowCavalry

First Sergeant
Joined
Aug 17, 2017
Ok, one more reason not to visit Mobile, as if there weren't enough already. And I say that as someone who lived there several years, no disrespect meant to the fine people of the city.
 

farrargirl

Sergeant
Joined
Jul 9, 2017
Location
Baldwin County, on the Alabama Gulf Coast
Ok, one more reason not to visit Mobile, as if there weren't enough already. And I say that as someone who lived there several years, no disrespect meant to the fine people of the city.
Well, here’s another reason for not going into “the City”...I saw on the local news, that apparently the Semmes removal wasn’t quite sufficient . They are removing a statue of a Catholic priest, named Father Ryan! Will research this one further :+))..
 

donna

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
May 12, 2010
Location
Now Florida but always a Kentuckian
The thread on Father Ryan was one I had started. Since it is over year old there is warning about posting on it. This third thread of mine which is over 1 year old I have found this warning. When did this go in effect? I guess being old just no need for further discussion.

I had hoped to talk about his statue.
 

farrargirl

Sergeant
Joined
Jul 9, 2017
Location
Baldwin County, on the Alabama Gulf Coast
I didn't know these statues been removed. I know there is thread on Father Ryan.
Yes, Donna.Semmes is gone. He was removed in the dead of night by order of the mayor, and without any notice to the public. It had been defaced several times previously. I hope it can be placed in an appropriate place.
Thank for the tip on Father Ryan. I will check it out.
 
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