Washington & London, 1st.ed., 1994. Xiii + 319 pp., 14 plates. D.j.,24 x 16cm. FINE. Captain Raphael Semmes was either a Yankee-hating pirate or a brilliant sea-raider commander, depending on whether you hailed from the North or the South during the American Civil War of the early 1860s. Either way he undeniably commanded the most successful commercial raider of the war ' the famous Confederate ALABAMA built by Lairds on the Cheshire banks of the Mersey. During a two-year cruise she destroyed almost a hundred Federal merchant ships and became a house-hold name all over the world. She was finally brought to count by the USS KEARSARGE off the coast of France, by which time ALABAMA was almost worn-out by constant sea service. It was an epic clash ' and the last single-ship engagement between wooden ships of war.