John A. Winslow and Raphael Semmes had become best friends while serving together during the Mexican War. However, during the Civil War, Semmes captained the C.S.S. Sumter and the C.S.S. Alabama and became the scourge of Federal commercial shipping, sinking or capturing 85 merchant ships and one Union warship. As Captain of the U.S.S. Kearsarge, Winslow pursued his former friend and the Alabama for 14 months before cornering him off the coast of Cherbourg, France, where the two ships fought to the death. Their last view of each other and the action taken by Winslow in consequence of it is the stuff of legend. The story is not only history; it is supreme literature.