alabamaThe Confederate raider the Alabama was built by Lairds of Birkenhead during the American Civil War. She was designed to prey on the mercantile shipping of the Northern states. The Northern government attempted to have her impounded under the neutrality laws, but she escaped to the Azores, where she was armed on 29 August 1862. Her captain, Raphael Semmes, and her officers were Southerners, her crew British. By 28 July 1863, when she arrived at Saldanha Bay, she had accounted for SS enemy ships, and on 5 August she captured the Northern bark Sea Bride outside Table Bay. The Alabama was unsuccessfully pursued to the Cape of Good Hope by the U.S.S. Vanderbilt. In the following March the Alabama returned to the Cape, and this was probably the occasion when the Malays composed the well-known ‘ghommaliedjie’ (folk-song) Daar kom die Alabama. From Cape Town she went direct to Cherbourg in France, where she was sunk outside the harbour by the U.S.S. Kearsarge on 19 June 1864.