SANBORNTON — The Sanbornton Historical Society will host historian Mike Mckinley of Bristol Thursday, November 14 at 7 p.m. at the Lane Tavern. The topic will be the last major battle between two wooden ships in open water: the victory of the USS Kearsarge over the Conferate ship Alabama June 19, 1864 off the coast near Cherborug, France.
The program will take you aboard the two vessels during their dual at Cherbourg. It will give you a sense of what naval warfare was like on the last of the wooden warships. Mike McKinley has much experience as a historical interpretor with the US Park Service and also does personal historical research.
The subject of the Kearsarge/Alabama battle was the topic of an All Hands Magazine 1989 article "Duel At Cherbourg" by McKinley when he was a member of the US Navy as a petty officer journalist.
The USS Kearsarge was built at Portsmouth NH navy yard in 1861 under the American Civil War emergency shipbuilding program and launched at Portsmouth January 24, 1862 , Captain Charles Pickering in command. It was a steam powered vessel, as was the CSS Alambama. Subsequent ships in the 20th century were named in honor of the civil war ship. The original Kearsarge was the only American war ship named after Mt Kearsarge in NH.
While in later US service protecting waters in the Caribean Sea, the Kearsarge was wrecked February 2, 1894 off Rondacor Cay. The crew made it to shore, but the sip was unsalvageable. Some items from the ship are at the US Navy Museum in Washington DC.
All programs of the Sanbornton Historical Society are free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served after the program. Call 286-4526 for further information.