cover image To the Uttermost Ends of the Earth: The Epic Hunt for the South’s Most Feared Ship—and the Greatest Sea Battle of the Civil War

To the Uttermost Ends of the Earth: The Epic Hunt for the South’s Most Feared Ship—and the Greatest Sea Battle of the Civil War

Phil Keith with Tom Clavin. Hanover Square, $29.99 (320 pages) ISBN 978-1-335-4

Keith and Clavin follow All Blood Runs Red with this dramatic account of the Confederate raider CSS Alabama and its showdown against the steam “sloop of war” USS Kearsarge. As the authors explain, the vastly outnumbered Confederate Navy was unable to break the Union’s blockade of Southern ports or mount its own blockade. Instead, Confederate commanders sought to disrupt the federal war effort by attacking Union merchant ships. With Capt. Raphael Semmes at the helm, the crew of the Alabama chased down and boarded almost 300 vessels, captured 64 Union ships (“with all but twelve set aflame”), and cost the North more than $6 million in lost cargo. U.S. Navy secretary Gideon Welles charged Capt. John Winslow—a former friend and bunkmate of Semmes’s—with traveling “to the uttermost ends of the earth” to find and destroy the Alabama. It took 14 months, but the Kearsarge finally tracked down the worn-out Confederate vessel off the coast of Cherbourg, France, in June 1864, and sunk it in little more than an hour. Keith and Clavin spin a spirited tale of high-seas adventure and bring both Semmes and Winslow to vivid life. Naval history buffs will be enthralled. (Apr.)