The U.S. Naval Historical Center and the French Association CSS Alabama have
signed a five-year joint agreement that establishes a precedent for
international cooperation in archaeological research and the protection of a
famous Confederate warship.
The CSS ALABAMA was sunk off Cherbourg, France, on June 19, 1864, by USS
KEARSARGE. A shipwreck was located in 1984 by the French navy mine hunter
CIRCE and confirmed to be ALABAMA by French navy Capt. Max Guerout. The
non-profit Association CSS Alabama was founded in France in 1988 to conduct
scientific exploration of the shipwreck and has, to date, completed seven
underwater archaeological surveys and excavations on the site.
Although the wreck resides within French territorial waters, the U.S.
government, as the successor State to the former Confederate States of America,
is the owner of the wreck, as recognized by the government of the Republic of
France. On Oct. 3, 1989, the U.S. and the Republic of France signed an
agreement recognizing the wreck of CSS ALABAMA as an important heritage
resource of both nations and establishing a Joint French-American Scientific
Committee to consider issues of protection and the conditions for
For further information, contact: William S. Dudley, Senior Historian, Naval
Historical Center, Building 57, Washington Navy Yard, Washington, DC
20374-0571, telephone (202) 433-7230; or Ulane Bonnel, President, CSS Alabama
Association, 28 Rue D'Artois, 75008 Paris, FRANCE, telephone