{⋆★⋆} 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
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(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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farrargirl

Sergeant
Joined
Jul 9, 2017
Location
Baldwin County, on the Alabama Gulf Coast
I wrote thread on Father Ryan a few years ago.

It is at:


I hope it comes up.
I’d just like second Donna’s suggestion to visit her thread on Father Ryan. I read it all, and it is such a well-written treatise. Having said that, it is unfortunate that there is no way to resurrect a non-viable thread of over three months. I read threads and if I would like to comment , there is apparently an expiration date on them.
Overall, this is an extremely well-organized site. It is quite an accomplishment to host and sort the massive amount of topics and data shared here. Thanks to all who make this happen!
 

rebelatsea

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 30, 2013
Location
Kent ,England.
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.

View attachment 362036

The large, arched glazed structure behind the hotel is Lime Street Railway Station.
Now all swept away to reveal the front of the station in all it's glory. An open piazza replaces the old buildings.
 
Joined
Sep 28, 2013
Location
Southwest Mississippi
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.​

I never knew that fact .
Thanks !

I believe Grant remembered Lee from the Mexican War. (I think he may have even mentioned that to Lee during the surrender at
Appomattox).

1865 - In February, Semmes was promoted to Rear Admiral, and commanded the James River Squadron during the last months of the Civil War.​
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​
Now that I did know .

Semmes was talented on both land and sea.
 
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