Southern Seahawk, the first novel in the Seahawk Trilogy, grows from the true story of Commander Raphael Semmes’ rise to infamy, becoming the Union’s “Public Enemy Number One.”
In June, 1861, Semmes’ Confederate cruiser Sumter makes a daring escape through the Federal Blockade of the Mississippi. So begins the commander’s career as the Southern Seahawk. With a hand-picked crew of Southern officers and mercenary seamen, Semmes seizes eight enemy ships in four days, a record never surpassed by any other captain of a warship. By the time the cruises of the Sumter and her successor Alabama end, Semmes will have taken and burned more than eighty prizes, making him the most successful maritime predator in history.
For two and a half years Semmes eludes a pack of pursuers and almost single-handedly drives marine insurance rates so high in the North, that many Yankee ships refuse to sail until he is caught Back in Washington, Semmes’ predations fuel feuds within the Lincoln cabinet and incite the spy games of historical figures like courtesans Rose Greenhow, Betty Duval, detective Allan Pinkerton and the commander’s mistress.