United States Department of Defense United States Department of Defense

News Release

Press Operations Bookmark and Share

News Release


Release No: 203-95
April 18, 1995


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 archaeological exploration.

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 011-33-1-45-63-7289.

Additional Links

Stay Connected