Saturday, November 1, 2008

Raphael Semmes' two very different stays at Knox Hall in Montgomery

Raphael Semmes was a guest in Montgomery at Knox Hall at least twice. He stayed there on the eve of the Civil War...on February 18th, 1861, as the guest of the home's owner. The ante-bellum Greek Revival house was built by Architect Stephen Button in 1848 for William Knox, the Father-In-Law of one of Semmes cousins. Knox met Button in 1846 while serving on The Montgomery Building Commission. The Irish born Knox had founded The Central Bank of Montgomery, the first institution to lend monty to the new Confederate Government. He lived in the house with his wife Anna and their fourteen children.

Semmes first stay in Knox Hall came when he returned to Montgomery from a CSA military shopping trip to Washington, D.C. He had left the Capitol by train just as Abraham Lincoln's Inaugural was getting underway. He arrived in the new Capitol of the Confederacy just in time to witness Jefferson Davis sworn-in as President.

At the war's end...three weeks after Semmes surrendered to Federal Parole Officers in Greensboro North Carolina...on May 25, 1864, Semmes again stayed in the Greek Revival Knox home.

In between the two visits, Semmes used his naval expertise on both The CSS Sumter and The CSS Alabama to go on a Northern-commerce destroying tour of much of the world. That still-unmatched achievement will be the focus of our documentary.

No comments: