Friday, December 12, 2008

Comet Connection

We're certainly not the first to note it, but the appearance of a comet the same day both of Raphael Semmes raiders went to sea is another part of the marvelous lore about the man and his vessels.
The Sumter escaped from the mouth of the Mississippi on Sunday June 30th, 1861 and on that first night at sea, Semmes sees what becomes known as The Great Comet of 1861 (C/1861 j1) It had been "discovered" the previous month. Then, on August 24, 1862 at Midnight, Bullock leaves the Alabama on the Bahama for Liverpool. As he leaves, “Swift’s Comet” blazes across the star-filled sky…the first appearance of that comet since 1739.


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