The Alabama mounted 8 guns to te Kearsarge's 7, yet Captain Winslow of the Kearsarge enjoyed a heavier broadsode including two heavy XI-inch Dahlgren guns while Semmes' only heavy gun was an VIII-inch.
Another big plus for the Union ship was its superior ammunition as the Alabama's had deteriorated during its long cruise. In addition, Winslow had protected the sides of his ship and vital machinery with heavy chains from topside to below the waterline.
The ships closed to one and a half miles where Semmes opened the action with a starboard broadside. Within minutes the two ships were engaged in circling each other and firing their starboard batteries. Lt. Sinclaor, CSN, wrote that Semmes should have tried to close in and board the Kearsarge and rely on his crew's superior physique to turn the day.
Shot and shell from the Kearsarge crashed into the Alabama's hull, while the Alabama's return fuire caused only minor damage thanks to the chain armor.
Battle Engaged. --Old B-R'er