St. Petersburg: Kom. po ustroistvu dobrovolnogo flota, 1878. Item #90
VIII, 490 pp. 25x18 cm. Later cloth binding. Owner's signature on the last page, very rare light foxing. Otherwise a near fine crispy copy.
First edition. Interesting book regarding the influence of American navy on Russian naval system.
Raphael Semmes (1809-1877) was a captain of the commerce raider Alabama during the American Civil War. He was later promoted to rear admiral and also served briefly as a brigadier general in the Confederate army. This book was compiled from the diary and other documents of captain Semmes. It contains description of events took
place during the Civil War. Also it bears a few supplements: Sumter and Alabama's prizes, Alabama's measurements, correspondence about Tuscaloosa and others. It was translated and published in Russian possibly because of its high relevance in Russia at that time.
Fleet of the Northern States in the beginning of the war started to block Southern coast and in 1864-1865 southerns had to stop the trade. Southerns couldn't create a strong fleet to compete with Northern so they focused on the struggle for water communications by sending attacking cruisers. One of the first such privateer was CSS Sumter, the merchant steamship purchased by the Confederate Government in April 1861 and captured 18 ships by February 1862. Unable to repair it confederates ordered a new steam boat Alabama. This cruise ship captured 68 Northern ships in two years. In general all Confederate cruisers were able to capture or sink about 200 merchant US ships but it didn't cause much damage to the merchant fleet of the opponent.
The effect caused by Confederate cruise privateers was quite big in the world. They were not too fast and had their disadvantages but had its influence on shipbuilders across the world immensely. These ships also had influence on the American expedition of Russian fleet. Two Russian squadrons were situated near American costs during in 1863-64. They were supposed to attack British trading ships in case of the war. But British authorities were very impressed by Russian cruisers in New York and San-Francisco which led to collapse of anti-Russian coalition. American Expedition approved the doctrine of cruisers' war in Russian navy which defined Russian shipbuilding until the beginning of the 20th century.