CSS Alabama's South Pacific Expeditionary Raid

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The CSS Alabama's South Pacific Expeditionary Raid commenced shortly after the CSS Alabama left the Carimata Strait between Borneo and Sumatra heading east into the south Pacific Ocean on the most easterly extent of her voyages. The raid lasted from the beginning of December, 1863 to Christmas, when Semmes made a decision to turn west back toward Europe for a planned overhaul and refit.

The primary area of operation during this expeditionary raid, was the southern Pacific Ocean, steaming east and then turning back west toward the Strait of Malacca.

Raid overview

The CSS Alabama passed the Carimata Strait and reached Pulo Condore, anchoring in the western harbor north of White Rock on December 2, 1863. After a few weeks of steaming, she headed back toward Singapore, anchoring at Pulo Aor on December 19. Arriving in the Strait of Malacca on December 24, Captain Semmes overtakes the English Martaban before being blessed with an early Christmas gift in the form of the Texan Star, which is promptly burned. Christmas Day, December 25, 1863, Captain Semmes puts the Texan Star prisoners on Malacca Island, and proceeds to turn down invitations for Christmas dinner from adoring British colonist fans, grateful for the riddance of competitive yankee commerce vessels.

Having spent Christmas Day in peaceful respite, divine providence commences the next day, December 26, 1863, as the provision of bounty includes two enemy vessels, the Sonora of Newburyport and the Highlander of Boston. Both ships are given the usual burning, and Captain Semmes calls it a year, deciding to use 1864 as a time to refit and repair back in France.

Raid bounty

CSS Alabama's Indian Ocean Expeditionary Raid
Date Ship Name Tonnage Ship Type Location Disposition of Ship
December 24, 1863 Texan Star ? ? Strait of Malacca Burned
December 26, 1863 Sonora ? ? Strait of Malacca Burned
December 26, 1863 Highlander ? ? Strait of Malacca Burned


  • Hearn, Chester G., Gray Raiders of the Sea, Louisiana State Press, 1996. ISBN 0807121142
  • Luraghi, Raimondo, A History of the Confederate Navy, U.S. Naval Institute Press, 1996. ISBN 1557505276