While on a voyage off the coast of Cherbourg, France naval vessel USS Kearsarge came under attack from the confederate controlled vessel CSS Alabama. During the ensuing artillery exchange a brave young seaman known as Joachim Pease aboard the USS Kearsarge showed bravery and diligence in his duty as a gun loader. Pease is said to have acted boldly but calmly during the fierce exchange which took place in international waters. Although this engagement was occurring out of the American jurisdiction, it was an extension of the American Civil War which was going on at the time. By the end of the encounter the CSS Alabama which was under the control of the Confederate States Navy was sunk.
For his bravery and gallantry, Pease was recommended for a military honor by his divisional officer. In 1864 he was awarded with a Congressional Medal of Honor for his efforts.
Survivors of the battle claim that the Alabama was overpowered due to the Kearsarge’s superior gunnery. Apparently, the CSS Alabama’s artillery had deteriorated significantly and could not match up to the Union vessel. The skills of the gun operators aboard the Kearsarge also helped a great deal. Joachim Pease and his fellow seamen timed their attack well and used their artillery skilfully. The CSS Alabama on the other hand fired more rounds but constantly missed the target. Shells finally hit the midsection if the Alabama and water started to gush in as the vessel slowly sank.
In 1984, a patrolling French navy vessel discovered the wreckage of a ship just off Cherbourg and after some investigation it was found to be remains of the CSS Alabama.