On this day in 1862, the CSS Alabama – Merseyside’s most famous contribution to the American Civil War – set sail from Liverpool Bay. She would go on to have a remarkable career raiding Union merchant ships.
Her voyage began in the most exciting of circumstances. An apparent series of sea trials turned suddenly into a dash across the Atlantic, foiling the US Consul’s attempt to get her impounded under the Foreign Enlistment Act. An observer at Bidston Lighthouse would have seen the Alabama sail to and fro between the Bell Beacon and the Northwest Lightship until, instead of returning to port to let the Liverpool crew and their sweethearts ashore, she disappeared over the horizon near Great Ormes Head.
Guest writer J.R.W. Davies has written this excellent article on the subject.