In October of 1862, Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles was in a state of apprehension and baffled frustration. In this, he was joined by President Lincoln, Secretary of War Stanton, and many high-ranking officials in Washington. In only two months since the British-built Confederate cruiser, the CSS Alabama, slipped out of Liverpool on her maiden voyage, she had wreaked havoc on the U.S. merchant and whaler fleets in the North Atlantic. In September, she had captured and burned ten U.S. commercial vessels. On October 3, the Alabama took two more prizes in a single day. The Emily Farnham was carrying English cargo and was therefore released on bond. The 839 ton Brilliant was carrying U.S. cargo from New York to London, so after her crew, passengers, and supplies were taken aboard the Alabama, the magnificent two-year-old ship was set ablaze at sea.
It was standard practice for Confederate commerce raiders to take the crews and passengers of captured Yankee ships aboard their own ship and transport them to a convenient port or another ship bound for port. Although the Alabama had so far captured eleven Yankee ships and sunk them in a fiery spectacle, there was not a single loss of life. Union commercial losses were, however, substantial.
More @ The Tribune