Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas Day 1862, CSS Alabama

(From the log book of Capt. Raphael Semmes, Thurs., Dec. 25.)

The second Christmas since we left our homes in the Sumter. Last year we were buffeting the storms of the North Atlantic, near the Azores; now we are snugly anchored in the Arcas; and how many eventful periods have passed in the interval! Our poor people have been terribly pressed in this wicked and ruthless war, and they have borne privations and sufferings which nothing but an intense patriotism could have sustained...

Our crew is keeping Christmas by a run on shore, which they all seem to enjoy exceedingly. It is, indeed, very grateful to the senses to ramble freely over even so confined a space as the Arcas, after tossing about at sea in a continued state of excitement for months... Yesterday was the first time I touched the shore since I left Liverpool on the 18th of August last.

My thoughts naturally turn on this quiet Christmas-day, in this lonely island, to my dear family. I can only hope, and trust them to the protection of a merciful Providence. The only sign of a holiday on board tonight is the usual “splicing of the main-brace”, giving Jack* an extra allowance of grog."

(*Ordinary seamen on the ship.)

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