Scattered on the ocean's bottom, thousands of kilometres apart, lie the remains of three vessels linked by their service to a tragic cause. Each is a testament to the desperate naval war waged during the American Civil War, and the innovations of a doomed Confederate navy. Join the Sea Hunters as they explore two vessels which smuggled goods to the rebel armies and the wreck of the most famous open sea raider of the war, the CSS Alabama. During America's great Civil War, President Lincoln ordered the blockade of all southern ports in an effort to starve the Confederacy into submission. Necessity being the mother of invention, the Confederacy countered by developing a diversified naval strategy. Drawing on the steam technology of the day, two new types of ships were built. One was the blockade-runner, a fast vessel designed to slip past and outrun the ships of the Union navy. The other was the raider, a well-armed warship whose purpose was to strike at the Union commerce on the open sea. These new naval tactics would mark a place in the evolution of naval warfare. When Confederate shore batteries opened fire on the besieged garrison at Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbour, South Carolina on April 8th, 1861, the American Civil War began. The Confederacy faced a very real prospect of slow strangulation as the federal navy grew increasingly effective at intercepting vessels carrying supplies in and out of the south. This quandary would lead to the development of a new phase in the evolution of naval design. With the unofficial help of England, the south would create two new and very different classes of ship - the blockade-runners, for swiftly darting in and out of the harbours under the noses of the Union navy, and the open sea raiders, for the destruction of the enemy merchant fleet. Two blockade-runners rest in the warm, clear waters off Bermuda. Largely intact, these two wrecks offer unique insights into these highly specialized ships, and into the very nature of Bermuda's involvement in the American Civil War. Now join us as we visit the last resting places of two blockade-runners and one of the most famous Confederate raiders in history, the CSS Alabama.
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