This next item is a folio manuscript letter book kept by the British Consul to Cherbourg, France, from 1862-1874. It contains over 600 letters from Consul Horace Hamond to the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. This might not appear to be a source of information important for Americans, but it includes important documentation regarding British involvement in the U.S. Civil War. Of particular interest is an eyewitness account of the Battle of Cherbourg, a Civil War naval battle that occurred far from home, off the coast of Cherbourg. The CSS Alabama was a confederate ship that had inflicted much damage on Union shipping, it being, in Union eyes at least, little more than a Confederate pirate ship, disrupting their shipping. In 1864, the Alabama put up in Cherbourg harbor for repairs. The American ship USS Kearsarge had been tracking her for ages, and now having located her, waited outside Cherbourg harbor. The battle lines were drawn. If she was ever to be of use again, the Alabama would have to take on the Kearsarge. That she did, on June 19, 1864. The Kearsarge retreated to just outside of French territorial waters. There, the battle began, with an audience watching the unfolding drama from the harbor. The Kearsarge was stronger with its metal hull, and while the Alabama resorted to massive firing of its guns, the Kearsarge was more deliberate in its aim. A few holes below water line proved too much for the Alabama. As she began to sink, the Confederates were forced to surrender to the Kearsarge. Over 40 of her sailors died, to just one on the Kearsarge, with the remainder being saved by the Kearsarge or a passing British yacht. The Alabama appears again later in this correspondence, as part of the successful international lawsuit filed by the U.S. against Britain for allowing the construction of a Confederate ship on its territory. $5,750.
British Army Captain Charles Harvey Palairet traveled across America for four months in 1871-1872, and kept a journal of what he saw. That journal is offered, along with a collection of other items he gathered along the way. Palairet met President Grant, but the most notable part of his journal was a visit to Chicago, shortly after the great fire. Speaking of walking around the streets and viewing the ruins, Palairet writes, “A more complete wreck it would be impossible to imagine, the actual plan of the streets being in most places unrecognizable.” However, he notes that rebuilding is taking place at a rapid pace, while business is conducted from “wooden shanties” that sprung up all over the city. Palairet was just 24 years old at the time of his visit. We don't know a great deal about him, but he did have noble blood, being a descendant of King Henry VII. He later would be married twice (his first wife died), had a son, and died in 1905 at the age of 58. His son, Sir (Charles) Michael Palairet, was knighted, and served in various diplomatic posts in Europe at a critical time, the years leading up to the Second World War. He reported on Hitler's visit to Austria, and later was transferred to Greece, where he had to be evacuated, eventually being ambassador to the country's government in exile. Later descendants of Charles Harvey Palairet have continued the tradition of diplomatic service. $3,750.