Sea Battle, 20 miles off Galveston, Texas
CSS Alabama v. USS Hatteras
Having come into the Gulf of Mexico to aid Galveston, and then having learned that the ramshackle Rebel river fleet had chased the USN squadron out, Capt. Rafael Semmes and the CSS Alabama determines to steam close to Galveston anyway, since the U.S. Navy’s blockading squadron is already engaged in trying to re-take the port city. Semmes has promised his men that they are "to have some sport off Galveston." He steams close enough to the Yankee blockaders to finally be noticed, and the USS Hatteras, under a Captain Blake gives chase. The Alabama turns to flee, and draws the Yankee further from the protection of the squadron, and then turns to engage in a running gun battle. The Rebels follow the time-honored ruse of claiming to be a Royal Navy ship, the Petrel, when the Hatteras asks her identity. Semmes writes of this engagement, and how his ship—smaller than the Hatteras and armed about equally—is able to best the Federal navy in the Alabama’s only classic ship-to-ship action of its career, before its last battle:
Our broadside was returned instantly; the enemy, like ourselves, having been on his guard, with his men standing at their guns. The two ships, when the action commenced, had swerved in such a way, that they were now heading in the same direction—the Alabama fighting her starboard-broadside, and her antagonist her port-broadside. Each ship, as she delivered her broadside, put herself under steam, and the action became a running fight, in parallel lines, or nearly so, the ships now nearing, and now separating a little from each other. My men handled their pieces with great spirit and commendable coolness, and the action was sharp and exciting while it lasted; which, however, was not very long, for in just thirteen minutes after firing the first gun, the enemy hoisted a light, and fired an off-gun, as a signal that he had been beaten. We at once withheld our fire, and such a cheer went up from the brazen throats of my fellows, as must have astonished even a Texan, if he had heard it. We now steamed up quite close to the beaten steamer, and asked her captain, formally, if he had surrendered. He replied that he had. I then inquired if he was in want of assistance, to which he responded promptly that he was, that his ship was sinking rapidly, and that he needed all our boats.
---Gen. Grant sends a telegram to Gen. McClernand asking him where he is, and what he is doing. McClernand responds that he is moving against Arkansas Post—which was not approved by Grant.
Battle of Arkansas PostPrelude – McClernand’s Federals advance toward the fortifications of this town, while Gen. Thomas Churchill, the commander of Fort Hindman, orders most of his 5,000 troops out of the fortifications and into the forward rifle pits. But then Admiral Porter’s gunboats open fire on the rifle pits, scattering the Rebels and sending them back into the fortress. Meanwhile, as the day closes, Federal troops are able to occupy some high ground north of the fort, so elevated that they can fire down into the fort.
—In the atmosphere of heated debate in American and British newspapers about the raids and destruction by the CSS Alabama, this cartoon appears, showing John Bull (England) roaring in fury as a sneaky Capt. Semmes runs off with booty from the prizes he has burned:
JOHN BULL ( furious.) "Hallo! there, SEMMES; that’s my Property. Fair play, you Rascal! If I’d suspected this, you’d never have got out of Liverpool!" ("Most of the property destroyed by the Pirate SEMMES on board the vessels he has seized was insured in England, and the loss will consequently fall on Englishmen."—Daily Paper