Got totally distracted by letters extolling the virtues of practically every member of the Kearsarge crew. Indeed their nobility of mind seems not have been met by the dastardly (English Royalist) enemy aboard the Alabama who saw an opportunity to carry on being naughty:
Letter from the Secretary of the Navy to Captain Winslow, U. S. Navy, commanding U. S. S. Kearsarge,
regarding his action in the matter of the survivors from the C. S. S. Alabama.
NAVY DEPARTMENT, July 12, 1864.
Captain JNO. A. WINSLOW, U. S. Navy,
Commanding U. S. S. Kearsarge, Cherbourg, France.
SIR: Your dispatch of the 21st ultimo is received, stating your efforts to save the lives of the survivors of the
Alabama after the battle of the 19th of June, and after the formal surrender and destruction of that vessel. Your
efforts in the cause of humanity in striving to rescue these men, most of them aliens, who have, under their ignoble
leader, himself a deserter from our service and a traitor to our flag, been for nearly two years making piratical war on
unarmed merchantmen, are rightly appreciated. It is to be regretted that the confidence and generous sympathy which
you exercised, and which would actuate all honorable minds under similar circumstances, should have been so
requited and abused by the persons on board the Deerhound, an English vessel of the Royal Yacht Squadron. That
the wretched commander of the sunken corsair should have resorted to any dishonorable means to escape after his
surrender; that he should have thrown overboard the Sword that was no longer his; that before encountering an
armed antagonist the mercenary rover should have removed the chronometers and other plunder stolen from peaceful
commerce, are not matters of surprise, for each act is characteristic of one who has been false to his country and flag.
You could not have expected, however, that gentlemen, or those claiming to be gentlemen, would on such an
occasion act in bad faith, and that having been called upon or permitted to assist in rescuing persons or property
which had been surrendered to you, would run away with either. It is now evident that your confidence in the
Deerhound and the persons connected with her was misplaced. The Department commends your efforts to save the
lives of drowning men, although they had been engaged in robbing and destroying the property of those who had
never injured them.
In paroling the prisoners, however, you committed a grave error. The Alabama was an English-built vessel,
armed and manned by Englishmen; has never had any other than an English register; has never sailed under any
recognized national flag since she left the shores of England; has never visited any port of North America, and her
career of devastation since she went forth from England is one that does not entitle those of her crew who were
captured to be paroled. This Department expressly disavows that act. Extreme caution must be exercised that we in
no way change the character of this English-built and English-manned, if not English-owned, vessel, or relieve those
who may be implicated in sending forth this robber upon the seas from any responsibility to which they may be liable
for the outrages she has committed.
Very respectfully, etc.,
Secretary of Navy.
(Official Records, Series I, vol. 3, pp. 74-75)