"THE MOST FAMOUS SHIP OF THE CONFEDERACY": FIRST EDITION OF SINCLAIR'S TWO YEARS ON THE ALABAMA, 1895
(CIVIL WAR) SINCLAIR, Arthur. Two Years on the Alabama. Boston: Lee and Shepard, 1895. Thick octavo, original pictorial gray cloth, patterned endpapers. $950.
First edition of "one of the best accounts" of the legendary Confederate ship, with frontispiece and 31 full-page illustrations, in original cloth.
"The Virginia-born Sinclair was an officer on the Alabama during its entire career… Together with the works of Raphael Semmes and John Kell, the book constitutes a narrative of the Alabama, the most famous ship of the Confederacy." Sinclair's memoir is considered "one of the best accounts" of the Alabama's key role in the war—"interesting, reliable, comprehensive and thoughtful" (Nevins I:234). Yet this remains a "controversial Confederate naval memoir… the work was attacked by a number of Sinclair's contemporaries because of the repetition of material that had appeared in Semmes' book. Kell launched several disputes with Sinclair's recollection of key events. Sinclair's narrative disagrees with that of Semmes in critical places, however. The negative reactions may have come as a defense of criticism toward Semmes" (Eicher 343). From 1862 to 1864 "the Alabama captured 65 vessels flying the U.S. flag and sank one Union warship. It was a media sensation and spread panic throughout the pro-Union merchant fleet and distracted part of the U.S. Navy from the essential duty of blockading southern ports" (Encyclopedia of Alabama). In 1864 the Alabama was sunk in battle near France. Its wreck was found over a century later, and hundreds of artifacts were recovered by the U.S. Navy. Wright II:527. Broadfoot, 415. Contemporary title page pencil owner signature of E.R. Archer, possibly the Confederate lieutenant. Early owner gift inscription.
Interior generally fine, light rubbing and soiling to cloth, gilt bright. A near-fine copy.