74 - Roll Alabama, Roll

Words by Frank Townsend
Tune by Traditional

CSS Alabama was built in secrecy in 1862 by British shipbuilders John Laird Sons and Company at their shipyards at Birkenhead. Under British neutrality law during the American Civil War, it was possible to build a ship designed as an armed vessel as long as it wasn't actually armed until after it sailed into international waters. Alabama was a successful Confederate commerce raider, attacking Union merchant and naval ships. She was sunk in June 1864 by USS Kearsarge at the Battle of Cherbourg.

When the Alabama’s keel was laid

Roll, Alabama, roll

It was laid in the yards of Jonathan Laird

Oh roll, Alabama, roll

It was laid in the yards of Jonathan Laird
It was laid in the town of Birkenhead

Down the Mersey way she sailed then
Liverpool fitted her with guns and men

Down Mersey way she sailed forth
To destroy the commerce of the North

To Cherbourg harbour she sailed one day
To collect her share of the prize money

And many a sailor saw his doom
When the Yankee Kearsage hove into view

A shot from the forward pivot that day
Took the Alabama’s gear away

Off the three mile limit in sixty-four
The Alabama sank to the ocean floor