Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
CSS Shenandoah

CSS Shenandoah

Overview


CSS Shenandoah, formerly Sea King, was an iron-framed, teak-planked, full rigged ship
Full rigged ship
A full rigged ship or fully rigged ship is a sailing vessel with three or more masts, all of them square rigged. A full rigged ship is said to have a ship rig....

, with auxiliary steam power, captained by Commander  James Waddell
James Iredell Waddell
James Iredell Waddell was an officer in the United States Navy and later in the Confederate States Navy.-Biography:...

, Confederate States Navy
Confederate States Navy
The Confederate States Navy was the naval branch of the Confederate States armed forces established by an act of the Confederate Congress on February 21, 1861. It was responsible for Confederate naval operations during the American Civil War...

, a North Carolinian with twenty years' service in the United States Navy.

During 12½ months of 1864–1865 the ship undertook commerce raiding
Commerce raiding
Commerce raiding or guerre de course is a form of naval warfare used to destroy or disrupt the logistics of an enemy on the open sea by attacking its merchant shipping, rather than engaging the combatants themselves or enforcing a blockade against them.Commerce raiding was heavily criticised by...

 resulting in the capture and sinking or bond
Ransom Bond
A ransom bond was a legally binding document issued as a promise for future payment for the safety and the release of a captured marine vessel. It was particularly in use during the American Civil War when Confederate States Navy privateers would seize Union merchant vessels and hold them for ransom...

ing of thirty-eight Union
Union (American Civil War)
During the American Civil War, the Union was a name used to refer to the federal government of the United States, which was supported by the twenty free states and five border slave states. It was opposed by 11 southern slave states that had declared a secession to join together to form the...

 merchant vessel
Merchant vessel
A merchant vessel is a ship that transports cargo or passengers. The closely related term commercial vessel is defined by the United States Coast Guard as any vessel engaged in commercial trade or that carries passengers for hire...

s, mostly New Bedford
New Bedford
-Places:*New Bedford, Illinois*New Bedford, Massachusetts, the most populous New Bedford**New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park*New Bedford, New Jersey *New Bedford, Ohio*New Bedford, Pennsylvania...

 whaleships
Whaler
A whaler is a specialized ship, designed for whaling, the catching and/or processing of whales. The former included the whale catcher, a steam or diesel-driven vessel with a harpoon gun mounted at its bows. The latter included such vessels as the sail or steam-driven whaleship of the 16th to early...

. This ship is notable for firing the last shot of the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, at a whaler in waters off the Aleutian Islands.


She was designed as a British commercial transport vessel for the East Asia
East Asia
East Asia or Eastern Asia is a subregion of Asia that can be defined in either geographical or cultural terms...

 tea trade and troop transport.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'CSS Shenandoah'
Start a new discussion about 'CSS Shenandoah'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia


CSS Shenandoah, formerly Sea King, was an iron-framed, teak-planked, full rigged ship
Full rigged ship
A full rigged ship or fully rigged ship is a sailing vessel with three or more masts, all of them square rigged. A full rigged ship is said to have a ship rig....

, with auxiliary steam power, captained by Commander  James Waddell
James Iredell Waddell
James Iredell Waddell was an officer in the United States Navy and later in the Confederate States Navy.-Biography:...

, Confederate States Navy
Confederate States Navy
The Confederate States Navy was the naval branch of the Confederate States armed forces established by an act of the Confederate Congress on February 21, 1861. It was responsible for Confederate naval operations during the American Civil War...

, a North Carolinian with twenty years' service in the United States Navy.

During 12½ months of 1864–1865 the ship undertook commerce raiding
Commerce raiding
Commerce raiding or guerre de course is a form of naval warfare used to destroy or disrupt the logistics of an enemy on the open sea by attacking its merchant shipping, rather than engaging the combatants themselves or enforcing a blockade against them.Commerce raiding was heavily criticised by...

 resulting in the capture and sinking or bond
Ransom Bond
A ransom bond was a legally binding document issued as a promise for future payment for the safety and the release of a captured marine vessel. It was particularly in use during the American Civil War when Confederate States Navy privateers would seize Union merchant vessels and hold them for ransom...

ing of thirty-eight Union
Union (American Civil War)
During the American Civil War, the Union was a name used to refer to the federal government of the United States, which was supported by the twenty free states and five border slave states. It was opposed by 11 southern slave states that had declared a secession to join together to form the...

 merchant vessel
Merchant vessel
A merchant vessel is a ship that transports cargo or passengers. The closely related term commercial vessel is defined by the United States Coast Guard as any vessel engaged in commercial trade or that carries passengers for hire...

s, mostly New Bedford
New Bedford
-Places:*New Bedford, Illinois*New Bedford, Massachusetts, the most populous New Bedford**New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park*New Bedford, New Jersey *New Bedford, Ohio*New Bedford, Pennsylvania...

 whaleships
Whaler
A whaler is a specialized ship, designed for whaling, the catching and/or processing of whales. The former included the whale catcher, a steam or diesel-driven vessel with a harpoon gun mounted at its bows. The latter included such vessels as the sail or steam-driven whaleship of the 16th to early...

. This ship is notable for firing the last shot of the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, at a whaler in waters off the Aleutian Islands.

History and mission



She was designed as a British commercial transport vessel for the East Asia
East Asia
East Asia or Eastern Asia is a subregion of Asia that can be defined in either geographical or cultural terms...

 tea trade and troop transport. She was built on the River Clyde
River Clyde
The River Clyde is a major river in Scotland. It is the ninth longest river in the United Kingdom, and the third longest in Scotland. Flowing through the major city of Glasgow, it was an important river for shipbuilding and trade in the British Empire....

 in Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

. The Confederate Government purchased her in September 1864 for use as an armed cruiser to capture and destroy Union
Union (American Civil War)
During the American Civil War, the Union was a name used to refer to the federal government of the United States, which was supported by the twenty free states and five border slave states. It was opposed by 11 southern slave states that had declared a secession to join together to form the...

 merchant ships.

On October 8, she sailed from London ostensibly for Bombay, India, on a trading voyage. She rendezvoused at Funchal
Funchal
Funchal is the largest city, the municipal seat and the capital of Portugal's Autonomous Region of Madeira. The city has a population of 112,015 and has been the capital of Madeira for more than five centuries.-Etymology:...

, Madeira
Madeira
Madeira is a Portuguese archipelago that lies between and , just under 400 km north of Tenerife, Canary Islands, in the north Atlantic Ocean and an outermost region of the European Union...

, with the steamer Laurel, bearing officers and the nucleus of a crew for Sea King, together with naval guns, ammunition, and stores. Commanding officer Lieutenant James Iredell Waddell
James Iredell Waddell
James Iredell Waddell was an officer in the United States Navy and later in the Confederate States Navy.-Biography:...

 supervised her conversion to a ship-of-war in nearby waters. Waddell was barely able, however, to bring his crew to half strength even with additional volunteers from
Sea King and Laurel.

The new cruiser was commissioned on October 19 and her name changed to
Shenandoah. The ship, commanded by Captain Waddell, then sailed around the Cape of Good Hope
Cape of Good Hope
The Cape of Good Hope is a rocky headland on the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula, South Africa.There is a misconception that the Cape of Good Hope is the southern tip of Africa, because it was once believed to be the dividing point between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. In fact, the...

 of Africa to Australia. While at Melbourne, Victoria, in January 1865, Waddell obtained additional men and supplies
Australia and the American Civil War
Despite being across the world from the conflict, Australia was affected by the American Civil War economically and by immigration. The Australian cotton crop became more important to England, which had lost its American sources, and it served as a supply base for Confederate blockade runners...

.

In accord with operation concepts originated in the Confederate Navy Department and developed by its agents in Europe,
Shenandoah was assigned to "seek out and utterly destroy" commerce in areas as yet undisturbed (i.e., attack Union ships), and thereafter her course lay in pursuit of merchantmen on the Cape of Good Hope
Cape of Good Hope
The Cape of Good Hope is a rocky headland on the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula, South Africa.There is a misconception that the Cape of Good Hope is the southern tip of Africa, because it was once believed to be the dividing point between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. In fact, the...

–Australia route and of the Pacific whaling
Whaling
Whaling is the hunting of whales mainly for meat and oil. Its earliest forms date to at least 3000 BC. Various coastal communities have long histories of sustenance whaling and harvesting beached whales...

 fleet.

En route to the Cape she picked up six prize
Prize (law)
Prize is a term used in admiralty law to refer to equipment, vehicles, vessels, and cargo captured during armed conflict. The most common use of prize in this sense is the capture of an enemy ship and its cargo as a prize of war. In the past, it was common that the capturing force would be allotted...

s. Five of these were put to the torch or scuttled, after Captain Waddell had safely rescued crew and passengers; the other was bonded and employed for transport of prisoners to Bahia, Brazil.

Australia stopover




Still short-handed, though her crew had been increased by voluntary enlistments from prizes, Shenandoah arrived at Melbourne
Melbourne
Melbourne is the capital and most populous city in the state of Victoria, and the second most populous city in Australia. The Melbourne City Centre is the hub of the greater metropolitan area and the Census statistical division—of which "Melbourne" is the common name. As of June 2009, the greater...

, Victoria, on January 25, 1865, where she filled her complement and her storerooms.

She also took on 40 crew members who were stowaways from Melbourne. However, they were not enlisted until the ship was outside the legal limits of Australian waters. The Shipping Articles show that all these 40 crew members enlisted on the day of her departure from Melbourne, February 18, 1865. Nineteen of her crew deserted at Melbourne, some of whom gave statements of their service to the United States Consul there. An 1871 hearing at the International Court in Geneva awarded damages of £820,000 against Britain to the US government for use of the port facilities at Williamstown
Williamstown, Victoria
Williamstown is a suburb in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 8 km south-west from Melbourne's central business district. Its Local Government Area is the City of Hobsons Bay. At the 2006 Census, Williamstown had a population of 12,733....

  by the CSS Shenandoah.

Vessels captured



Sea King
Sea King
Sea-King , refers to a Viking, pirate chieftain of the early Middle Ages.It may also refer to:-Aviation:* SH-3 Sea King, American, naval helicopter* Westland Sea King, British, licensed version of the SH-3...

departed from Liverpool on October 8, 1864, and on October 19, off the coast of France, was surreptitiously re-commissioned as the warship CSS Shenandoah. En route to Cape Horn
Cape Horn
Cape Horn is the southernmost headland of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago of southern Chile, and is located on the small Hornos Island...

, she captured and disposed of eight prizes in the Atlantic Ocean.

Shenandoah took only one prize
Prize (law)
Prize is a term used in admiralty law to refer to equipment, vehicles, vessels, and cargo captured during armed conflict. The most common use of prize in this sense is the capture of an enemy ship and its cargo as a prize of war. In the past, it was common that the capturing force would be allotted...

 in the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

, but hunting became more profitable after refitting in Melbourne
Melbourne
Melbourne is the capital and most populous city in the state of Victoria, and the second most populous city in Australia. The Melbourne City Centre is the hub of the greater metropolitan area and the Census statistical division—of which "Melbourne" is the common name. As of June 2009, the greater...

. Enroute to the North Pacific whaling grounds, on April 3–4, Waddell burned four whalers in the Caroline Islands
Caroline Islands
The Caroline Islands are a widely scattered archipelago of tiny islands in the western Pacific Ocean, to the north of New Guinea. Politically they are divided between the Federated States of Micronesia in the eastern part of the group, and Palau at the extreme western end...

. After a 3-week cruise to the ice and fog of the Sea of Okhotsk
Sea of Okhotsk
The Sea of Okhotsk is a marginal sea of the western Pacific Ocean, lying between the Kamchatka Peninsula on the east, the Kuril Islands on the southeast, the island of Hokkaidō to the far south, the island of Sakhalin along the west, and a long stretch of eastern Siberian coast along the west and...

 yielded only a single prize, due to a warning which had preceded him, Waddell headed north past the Aleutian Islands into the Bering Sea
Bering Sea
The Bering Sea is a marginal sea of the Pacific Ocean. It comprises a deep water basin, which then rises through a narrow slope into the shallower water above the continental shelves....

 and the Arctic Ocean
Arctic Ocean
The Arctic Ocean, located in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Arctic north polar region, is the smallest and shallowest of the world's five major oceanic divisions...

. Shenandoah then proceeded to capture 11 more prizes.

On June 27, 1865, he learned, from a prize Susan & Abigail, of General Robert E. Lee
Robert E. Lee
Robert Edward Lee was a career military officer who is best known for having commanded the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the American Civil War....

's surrender when her captain produced a San Francisco newspaper reporting the flight from Richmond, Virginia
Richmond, Virginia
Richmond is the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia, in the United States. It is an independent city and not part of any county. Richmond is the center of the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Greater Richmond area...

, of the Confederate Government 10 weeks previously. The same paper contained Confederate President
President of the Confederate States of America
The President of the Confederate States of America was the Head of State and Head of Government of the Confederate States of America, which was formed from the states which declared their secession from the United States, thus precipitating the American Civil War. The only person to hold the...

 Jefferson Davis
Jefferson Davis
Jefferson Finis Davis , also known as Jeff Davis, was an American statesman and leader of the Confederacy during the American Civil War, serving as President for its entire history. He was born in Kentucky to Samuel and Jane Davis...

's proclamation, after Lee's surrender, that the "war would be carried on with re-newed vigor." He then proceeded to capture 10 more whalers in the space of 7 hours in the waters just below the Arctic Circle
Arctic Circle
The Arctic Circle is one of the five major circles of latitude that mark maps of the Earth. For Epoch 2011, it is the parallel of latitude that runs north of the Equator....

. It was not until August 2 that Shenandoah learned of the final Confederate collapse when she encountered the British barque
Barque
A barque, barc, or bark is a type of sailing vessel with three or more masts.- History of the term :The word barque appears to have come from the Greek word baris, a term for an Egyptian boat. This entered Latin as barca, which gave rise to the Italian barca, Spanish barco, and the French barge and...

 Barracouta. Among the devastating news was surrender of General Johnston's, Smith's, and Magruder's armies and, crucially, the capture of Mr. Davis and a part of his cabinet. Captain Waddell then disarmed the ship and proceeded back to surrender at Liverpool.
Barracouta had come from San Francisco; Waddell was heading to the city to attack it, believing it weakly defended. Immediately Shenandoah underwent physical alteration. She was dismantled as a man-of-war; her battery was dismounted and struck below, and her hull repainted to resemble an ordinary merchant vessel.
  • See also: List of ships captured in the American Civil War

Surrender of CSS Shenandoah



Regardless of Davis's proclamation and knowing the unreliability of newspapers at the time, Captain Waddell and the crew knew returning to a US port would mean facing a Union court with a Northern perspective of the war. They correctly predicted the risk of being tried in a US court and hanged as pirates. This later showed to be accurate. Commerce raiders were not included in the reconciliation and amnesty that Confederate soldiers were given. Captain Raphael Semmes of CSS Alabama
CSS Alabama
CSS Alabama was a screw sloop-of-war built for the Confederate States Navy at Birkenhead, United Kingdom, in 1862 by John Laird Sons and Company. Alabama served as a commerce raider, attacking Union merchant and naval ships over the course of her two-year career, during which she never anchored in...

escaped charges of piracy by surrendering May 1, 1865 as a Ground General under General Johnston
Joseph E. Johnston
Joseph Eggleston Johnston was a career U.S. Army officer, serving with distinction in the Mexican-American War and Seminole Wars, and was also one of the most senior general officers in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War...

. Semmes's former sailors surrendered as artillerymen.

The CSS Shenandoah was therefore surrendered by Captain Waddell to the Captain of on November 6, 1865, after travelling 9,000 miles (14,500 km) to Liverpool to do so. This marked the last surrender of the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

. She was then turned over to the United States government. The United States Naval War Records published in 1894 as The Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of Rebellion state: "November 5 - Arrived in the Mersey, off Liverpool, and on Monday, the 6th, surrendered the Shenandoah to the British nation, by letter to Lord John Russell, premier
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the Head of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Parliament, to their political party and...

 of Great Britain
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

. (signed) JAMES I WADDELL."

After the surrender of Shenandoah to the British, the British had to decide what to do with the Confederate crew, knowing the consequences of piracy charges.
After a full investigation by law officers of the crown, it was decided that the officers and crew had done nothing against the rules of war or the laws of nations to justify being held as prisoners, so they were unconditionally released. But the authorities of the United States considered them pirates and in their hatred of that time would have treated them as such if they had fallen into their hands.

S. S. Lee, Orris M. Brown, John T. Mason and W. C. Whittle sometime in December 1865 sailed from Liverpool to Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina, and the second-largest metropolitan area in South America, after São Paulo. It is located on the western shore of the estuary of the Río de la Plata, on the southeastern coast of the South American continent...

, via Bahia, Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro , commonly referred to simply as Rio, is the capital city of the State of Rio de Janeiro, the second largest city of Brazil, and the third largest metropolitan area and agglomeration in South America, boasting approximately 6.3 million people within the city proper, making it the 6th...

 and Montevideo
Montevideo
Montevideo is the largest city, the capital, and the chief port of Uruguay. The settlement was established in 1726 by Bruno Mauricio de Zabala, as a strategic move amidst a Spanish-Portuguese dispute over the platine region, and as a counter to the Portuguese colony at Colonia del Sacramento...

. After prospecting for a while, they went to Rosario
Rosario
Rosario is the largest city in the province of Santa Fe, Argentina. It is located northwest of Buenos Aires, on the western shore of the Paraná River and has 1,159,004 residents as of the ....

, upon Paraná River
Paraná River
The Paraná River is a river in south Central South America, running through Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina for some . It is second in length only to the Amazon River among South American rivers. The name Paraná is an abbreviation of the phrase "para rehe onáva", which comes from the Tupi language...

, and near there bought a small place and began farming.

As the animosity of the United States Government began to soften towards them, Brown and Mason returned home, Lee and Whittle returned sometime later.

On returning home, Mason took a law course at the University of Virginia, graduated, and was brilliantly successful at his profession. He settled in Baltimore, and married Miss Helen Jackson, of New York, daughter of the late Lieutenant Alonzo Jackson of the U. S. Navy.

Conclusions


Shenandoah remained at sea for 12 months and 17 days, traversed 58,000 miles (carrying the Confederate flag around the globe for the only time) and sank or captured 38 ships, mostly whalers. Waddell took close to one thousand prisoners, without a single war casualty among his crew: two men died of disease. The reason the vessel did not have any war casualties was because it was never involved in a battle against any Union Naval vessel, as was the CSS Alabama
CSS Alabama
CSS Alabama was a screw sloop-of-war built for the Confederate States Navy at Birkenhead, United Kingdom, in 1862 by John Laird Sons and Company. Alabama served as a commerce raider, attacking Union merchant and naval ships over the course of her two-year career, during which she never anchored in...

, but instead took United States merchant vessels.

In 1866 the US, having taken possession of Shenandoah, sold her to the first Sultan of Zanzibar
Majid bin Said of Zanzibar
Sayyid Majid bin Said Al-Busaid was the first Sultan of Zanzibar. He ruled Zanzibar from October 19, 1856 to October 7, 1870....

, who renamed her after himself (El Majidi). On April 15, 1872 a hurricane hit Zanzibar. Shenandoah (El Majidi) was one of 6 ships owned by Seyed Burgash which were blown on shore and seriously damaged.

Repercussions


During her year-long service as a commerce raider
Commerce raiding
Commerce raiding or guerre de course is a form of naval warfare used to destroy or disrupt the logistics of an enemy on the open sea by attacking its merchant shipping, rather than engaging the combatants themselves or enforcing a blockade against them.Commerce raiding was heavily criticised by...

, Shenandoah caused disorder and devastation across the globe for Union merchant shipping. The Confederate cruiser claimed more than 20 prizes valued at nearly $1,400,000 ($ in today's dollars). In an important development in international law, the U.S. Government pursued claims (collectively called the Alabama Claims
Alabama Claims
The Alabama Claims were a series of claims for damages by the United States government against the government of Great Britain for the assistance given to the Confederate cause during the American Civil War. After international arbitration endorsed the American position in 1872, Britain settled...

) against the British Government, and following a court of arbitration, won heavy damages.

Battle ensign


The battle ensign
Battle ensign
A battle ensign is the name given to a large war flag which is flown on a warship's mast just before going into battle.The flag identified the allegiance of the ship in what could be a very confusing situation, with thick clouds of gunsmoke obscuring the ships in action, hence the large size of...

 of CSS Shenandoah is unique amongst all of the flags of the Confederate States of America as it was the only Confederate flag to circumnavigate the Earth during the Confederacy, and it was the last Confederate flag to be lowered by a combatant unit in the Civil War (Liverpool, UK, on November 6, 1865).

The Shenandoah's battle ensign has been in the Museum of the Confederacy
Museum of the Confederacy
The Museum of the Confederacy is located in Richmond, Virginia. The museum includes the former White House of the Confederacy and maintains a comprehensive collection of artifacts, manuscripts, Confederate imprints , and photographs from the Confederate States of America and the American Civil War...

's collection since 1907 and is currently on display. Lieutenant Dabney Scales CSN, gave the flag to a cousin, Eliza Hull Maury, for safekeeping. Eliza Hull Maury was a daughter of and Richard Launcelot Maury was the eldest son of Commodore Matthew Fontaine Maury
Matthew Fontaine Maury
Matthew Fontaine Maury , United States Navy was an American astronomer, historian, oceanographer, meteorologist, cartographer, author, geologist, and educator....

. Colonel Richard Launcelot Maury CSA, Eliza's brother, brought the flag from England in 1873, and donated it to the Museum in 1907. The flag itself measures 88" x 136."

External links