"The gunboat now building at Laird's yard, no person knows whom she is for, excepting Laird's themselves, and the foreman carpenter. Mr. Laird declines to give any information. The information we shall endeavor to obtain from some person employed there" (Image: Stern and Midship Plan)
- Union spy report
Union Spy Report
The Alabama attracted attention even during her construction. Union spy reports trace the ship designated "290" from her days in the building dock through six months of her sea voyages. Information about the ship's dimensions, manpower, and armaments was gleaned from workers around the ships and even from the sailors themselves. "Met the seamen, say thirty in number, on Saturday (July 26, 1862) coming down Canning Street from the ship, playing "Dixie's Land".... Went up to one of the men and asked him when he thought the ship would be going out. He told me that their bed clothes and bedding were on board and that the boatswain had told those who intended to go in her, to hold themselves in readiness for early next week."
(Reported Friday July 18, 1862)