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After graduating from Princeton University in 1941, Douglas H. Maynard served in the United States Navy for five years. He took his Ph.D. degree at the University of California at Los Angeles in 1951, and is now Assistant Professor of History at Hunter College, New York. The Confederacy's Super- "Alabama" DOUGLAS H. MAYNARD of the several warships buüt in Great Britain for the Confederate states, one was almostcompletely unknown to the contemporary public, and it has been similarly overlooked by historians since that time. Officially, but secretly, named the "Texas," this vessel first bore the name "Canton" and was later christened "Pampero" to conceal its Southern ownership. In the spring of 1862 Lieutenant George T. Sinclair was sent to England by the Confederate Navy Department to buy or buüd "a cupper propellor for cruising purposes," and to take command of her when ready for sea.1 It was known that purchasing a warship presented grave difficulties, and Sinclair from the beginning directed his attention to the alternative of constructing a new one. He was instructed to confer with James D. Bulloch, principal Navy Department agent in Europe, as to the design of the ship and the best means of bunding, arming, and outfitting it. Bulloch in turn was ordered to aid and assist Sinclair with advice and funds.2 When Sinclair arrived in England in the early summer, Bulloch furnished him drawings and specifications of the "Alabama" and the contract under which she was built, to be used as a basis for buüding the new vessel.3 Because Bulloch was hard pressed for funds at the ? Stephen R. Mallory to James D. Bulloch, May 7, 1862, Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1894-1922), Ser. II, Vol. 2, p. 191; cited hereinafter as O.R.N., followed by the series number in Roman numerals, the volume number in Arabic, and the page, as O.R.N., II, 2, p. 191. i Ibid. 2 Bulloch to Mallory, August 11, 1862, September 24, 1862, ibid., pp. 235-39, 2747a 80 time, Sinclair made efforts to raise the money in other ways. With the help of James M. Mason, the South's diplomatic representative in England, a deal was made with W. S. Lindsay and Company, the largest shipowning firm in England, and one headed by a pro-Southern member of Parliament. Bonds were drawn up by Sinclair, and endorsed by Mason, obligating the Confederate government to deliver for each bond twenty-five bales or 12,500 pounds of cotton to any point in the Confederacy at thirty-days' notice. The price of the cotton was set at eight cents or four pence per pound (evaluating the dollar at four shillings, two pence), giving each certificate a face value of £208 6s. 8d. The bonds were accepted for flotation by W. S. Lindsay and Company in payment for a ship which was to be constructed by Messrs. James andGeorgeThomson ofGlasgow, a firm already at work on a large ironcladbeingbu üt forthe South under the supervision of Lieutenant James North.4 The purchase price of the new vessel was to be £51,250, and Sinclair agreed to turn over to Lindsay and Company, in installments as the work progressed, 246 cotton bonds in payment thereof. The financiers in turn contracted with Thomsons for the construction of the ship at a figure of £46,600.5 In addition, Lindsay and Company undertook to buy, within ten days after the contract was signed, eighteen more bonds, equal to £3,750, to provide Sinclair with ready cash for incidental expenses. The transaction was handled on behalf of Lindsay and Company by Edward Pembroke, either a partner of the firm or a broker acting in conjunction with it. Later correspondence revealed that seven individuals furnished the capital for the construction of the vessel; presumably the bonds were distributed among them in proportion to their investment. Technically these men were the owners of the vessel until the contract was completed. The ship which was thus contracted for in October, 1862, was modeled after the "Alabama," although somewhat larger than her famous prototype...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 80-95
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-02
Open Access
No
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