16 September 2012 – The Other Alabama

Near Saldanha Bay, South Africa

S32°58.339 E17°56.935

We managed to grab this cache just before sunset.  It is located within an old family farm graveyard near Saldanha Bay along the R45.

The cache tells the interesting story of the CSS Alabama – a US Confederate commerce raider built in England.  She set sail in the guise of a merchant ship and was then outfitted at sea as a combatant after she rendezvoused with supply ships.  The Alabama was placed in commission on 24 August 1862 and spent her time in the North Atlantic intercepting and burning Union merchant ships bound for Europe.

Her journey then moved into the South Atlantic in 1863, during which she stopped at Cape Town in August, before continuing her course for the East Indies, where her crew seized nearly 40 more merchantmen during the year.

While anchored in South African waters at Saldanha Bay, the crew had rowed ashore to do some hunting.  On their way back, Lt Simeon Cummings accidentally shot himself and was buried in Saldanha.

Many years later, a South African lady was watching an American program about a “lost” confederate soldier of the civil war.  Low and behold, that soldier was the same one buried on their family farm near Saldanha.

The remains of Lt Cummings was exhumed and today he lays buried in Tennessee.

As for the Alabama, she came to her demise on 19 June 1864 outside the port of Cherbourg, from the guns of the Union ship, the USS Kearsage.  Her wreck was located by the French Navy in 1980.

Visit History Lessions at www.geocaching.com

This was day 22 of 30 consecutive caching days.


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