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Raphael Semmes
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Military Personnel
    (September 27, 1809-August 30, 1877)
    Born in Charles County, Maryland
    American naval officer
    Captured 18 Yankee vessels while commanding CSS Sumter and 69 while commanding CSS Alabama
    Namesake of Semmes, Alabama
    Most well-known as the captain of the CSS Alabama, the Confederate raider during the War between the States
    Memoirs of Service Afloat During the War Between the States
    Service Afloat and Ashore During the Mexican War
    The Cruise of Alabama and Sumter
    When the war first broke out, he was originally made the official lighthouse keeper for the Confederacy.
    He lost his first command when USS Summers sank in a storm during the Mexican-American War.
    He lost his first Confederate command when CSS Sumter was cornered at Gibraltar by the US Navy.
    When CSS Alabama was sunk by USS Kersarge, he threw his sword into the water rather than surrender it as was custom.
    Losing three ships in combat has to be some kind of record.
    He became a lawyer while in the reserves after the Mexican-American War.
    He sank or captured a total of 77 Yankee ships.
    This made him, in combat, one of the most successful ships' captains of all time.
    He was noted for his gallant behavior towards captured enemy sailors, setting them free and either escorting them to a safe port or providing them with boats and provisions for a safe trip.
    After the war he was captured and tried for treason, piracy, and maltreatment of prisoners.
    He was freed after captains of ships he had captured repeatedly testified to his humane treatment of prisoners.
    Though extremely fast, CSS Alabama was under-gunned, under-sized, and usually poorly stocked, with a mostly mercenary crew, making Semmes accomplishments all the more incredible.
    He taught at Louisiana State University and became a newspaper publisher after the war before returning to the law.
    He had been orphaned and went to sea when he was only 15.
    Ironically, he was from Maryland which fought for the North.

Credit: tom_jeffords

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