Ships built in Liverpool for the American Civil War
When the American Civil War broke out the Confederacy had no navy or ships to beat the Northern blockade of Southern ports and looked to Liverpool shipyards to secretly build a fleet of blockade-runners and naval cruisers. 2012 was the 150th anniversary of the construction of CSS 'Alabama', which launched on the Mersey on 29 July 1862.
To mark this anniversary there was a small display of archive material in the museum. This online exhibition accompanies the display, featuring images of items which are too large or fragile to be displayed in the museum - such as the plans of the guns made for the CSS 'Alabama' by Fawcett, Preston and Company which have never been available online before.
Former display in the museum
The museum display, which has now closed, included a letter from Captain Semmes and other archive material relating to some of the ships built on the Mersey such as the blockade runner 'Banshee', and the famous raider CSS 'Alabama'.
For a limited period only, 20 July-3 August 2012, the original photographs taken on board CSS 'Alabama' were also displayed. Find out more about these rare photographs of CSS 'Alabama' in this feature from 2005, when they were purchased.
Find out more about Liverpool and the American Civil War
You can read more about the history of the Alabama on this website and see the following documents from our collections relating to the Alabama:
This Maritime Archives and Library display is part of National Museums Liverpool's programme to mark the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War. From 2011-2015 there is a series of displays and a gallery trail highlighting Liverpool's involvement in the war; through the collections of Merseyside Maritime Museum, Maritime Archives and Library and the International Slavery Museum.