The Union in Liverpool

old photograph of a man on the deck of a ship

First Lieutenant John McIntosh Kell, on board 'CSS Alabama', 1863. Archive reference NML, PR/469/2. See more archive photographs of CSS Alabama on this website.

Fully aware of the importance of the port of Liverpool to the American economy, the Union also had representatives in the city - mainly Thomas Haines Dudley, United States Consul.

His spy, Matthew Maguire, reported on the Liverpool built 'Oreto' (renamed 'CSS Florida') secretly leaving Liverpool on 22 March 1862 with engines, arms and munitions supplied by the Liverpool engineering firm, Fawcett, Preston and Company.

Dudley tried to prevent the escape of the 'Enrica' - built secretly at Laird's shipyard and later renamed the 'CSS Alabama' - from the Mersey on 30 July 1862. During her two year career, with a mostly British and Liverpool crew, this famous and successful commerce raider captured or burned 65 Union merchant ships until sunk by 'USS Kearsage' at Cherbourg in June 1864.

painting of a ship

Painting of the 'CSS Alabama' by Samuel Walters. Depicted on the way to the Azores to be fitted out for her career as the most successful commerce raider of the war. Accession number 1940.22.2