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C.S.S. Shenandoah History

 

History and Mission
She was designed as a British transport for troops to the East, and was built on the River Clyde, Scotland, but the Confederate Government purchased her in 1864 for use as an armed cruiser. On October 8, she sailed from London ostensibly for Bombay, India, on a trading voyage. She rendezvoused at Funchal, Madeira, 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 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 16 and her name changed to Shenandoah.
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, and thereafter her course lay in pursuit of merchantmen on the Cape of Good Hope - Australia route and of the Pacific whaling fleet. En route to the Cape she picked up six prizes. Five of these were put to the torch or scuttled, after Capt. Waddell had safely rescued crew and passengers; the other was bonded and employed for transport of prisoners to Bahia, Brazil. Still short-handed, though her crew had been increased by voluntary enlistments from prizes, Shenandoah arrived at Melbourne, Australia, on January 25, 1865, where she filled her complement and her storerooms. She also took on 42 crew 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 42 crew 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.
Shenandoah had taken but a single prize in the Indian Ocean, but hunting became more profitable as she approached the whaling grounds. Waddell burned four whalers in the Caroline Islands and another off the Kurile Islands, without loss of life. After a 3-week cruise in the ice and fog of the Sea of Okhotsk failed to yield a single prize, due to a warning which had preceded him, Waddell headed north past the Aleutian Islands into the Bering Sea and the Arctic Ocean. On June 23, he learned from a prize of General Robert E. Lee's surrender and the flight from Richmond, Virginia of the Confederate Government 10 weeks previously. Nevertheless, he elected to continue hostilities, and captured 21 more prizes, the last 11 being taken in the space of 7 hours in the waters just below the Arctic Circle.
Surrender of the CSS Shenandoah
Waddell then ran south to intercept commerce bound from the West Coast to the Far East and Latin America, and on 2 August received intelligence from a British bark of the War Between the State's termination some 4 months before. 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.
The Captain of HMS Donegal took the last surrender of the War Between the States on 6 November, 1865 when the CSS Shenandoah under Captain Waddell surrendered after travelling 9,000 miles (14,500 km) to Liverpool to do so. She was then turned over to the United States government. The Shenandoah had been in the Pacific Ocean when news reached her of the end of the Civil War, necessitating such a long voyage.
Conclusions
Shenandoah had remained at sea for 12 months and 17 days, had traversed 58,000 miles (carrying the Confederate flag around the globe for the first and only time) and sunk or captured 38 ships, mostly whalers. Waddell took close to a thousand prisoners, without a single war casualty among his crew: two men died of diseases. 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, but instead took unarmed United States merchant vessels. This was an attempt to influence the Union, by eliminating a very lucrative source of income which could be used to further advance the cause of the Union Army. Also it was believed, that these actions would help to disillusion Northerners, in continuing to pursue their attacks of the South.
Battle Ensign
Battle Ensign of the CSS Shenandoah
The Battle Ensign of the CSS Shenandoah is unique amongst all of the flags of the Confederate States of America in that it was the only Confederate flag to circumnavigate the Earth, and that it was the last Confederate flag to be lowered by a combatant unit in the Civil War (Liverpool, UK on 6 November, 1865). The flag is on display at the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia.
The battle ensign has been in the Museum of the Confederacy’s collection since 1907. Lt. Dabney Scales CSN, gave the flag to a cousin - Eliza Hull Maury - for safekeeping. Col. Richard L. 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.” (source: Robert F. Hancock, Director of Collections & Senior Curator, The Museum of the Confederacy)
Commander James Iredell Waddell
Confederate States Navy, (1824-1886)
James Iredell Waddell was born in Pittsboro, North Carolina, on 13 July 1824 and joined the Navy as a Midshipman in September 1841. His nearly two decades in the U.S. Navy included early service in USS Pennsylvania, Mexican War operations off Vera Cruz aboard USS Somers, a tour off South America in USS Germantown, an assignment as a Naval Academy instructor, eastern Pacific duty in USS Saginaw and a cruise with the East Indies Squadron with USS John Adams. Lieutenant Waddell resigned his commission while returning home in the latter ship late in 1861 and was dismissed from the U.S. Navy in January 1862.
In March 1862, Waddell was appointed a Lieutenant in the Confederate States Navy. Sent to New Orleans, he was assigned to the incomplete ironclad CSS Mississippi until her destruction in late April. The next month, while serving as an artillery officer ashore, he
participated in the battle between Confederate shore batteries and Federal ironclads at Drewry's Bluff, Virginia. He had more shore battery service at Charleston, South Carolina, during the rest of 1862 and into 1863. Sent abroad in March 1863, First Lieutenant Waddell was stationed in England awaiting the availability of a seagoing position.
That opportunity finally arrived in October 1864 at sea in the central Atlantic, where he converted the English steamer Sea King to the Confederate cruiser CSS Shenandoah. As her Commanding Officer, Waddell made a long and productive cruise through the south Atlantic, across the Indian Ocean and into the north Pacific. In the Arctic waters there, he devastated the United States flag whaling fleet during June 1865. However, by then the Civil War had been effectively over for more than two months and, when he received confirmation of this fact in early August, Waddell disarmed his ship and took her back to England.
Waddell did not return to the United States until 1875, when he became captain of the commercial steamer City of San Francisco. He later was in charge of the State of Maryland's oyster regulation force. James Iredell Waddell died at Annapolis, Maryland, on 15 March 1886.

Photographed in Confederate Navy uniform, circa 1864-1865. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Commander James Iredell Waddell, CSN
Line engraving published circa the later 19th Century. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Hauled out for repairs at the Williamstown Dockyard, Melbourne, Australia, in February 1865. Note Confederate flag (possibly retouched) flying from her mizzen gaff, and fresh caulking between her planks.
Courtesy of Martin Holbrook, 1977. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Painting depicting the Confederate cruiser in the Arctic ice, circa June 1865. This image has been credited to the "Illustrated London News", though it appears to be a painting on canvas and not a line engraving.
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Nineteenth Century photographic reproduction of an artwork, depicting the ship under sail. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

"Destruction of Whale Ships off Cape Thaddeus Arctic Ocean June 23 1865 by the Confederate Steamer Shenandoah"
Colored lithograph of an artwork by B. Russell, depicting CSS Shenandoah's assault on the U.S. whale ships in the Bering Sea area. Individual items shown are (from left to right): brig Susan Abigail (burning); ship Euphrates (burning--distant); CSS Shenandoah; ship Jerah Swift (burning--distant); ship William Thompson (burning--distant); ship Sophia Thornton (burning); whaleboat going to warn other whalers (very distant); ship Milo which carried the destroyed vessels' crews to San Francisco; ice in the distance. Collection of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Former Confederate Naval Officers
At Leamington Spa, England, Autumn 1865, following the return of CSS Shenandoah. Those present include former Assistant Surgeon Edwin G. Booth (seated), and (standing, left to right): former Acting Master Irvine S. Bulloch (of CSS Shenandoah); former Passed Assistant Surgeon Bennett W. Green; former First Lieutenant William H. Murdaugh; and former Passed Assistant Surgeon Charles E. Lining (of CSS Shenandoah).
Donation of Hugh S. Cumming, Jr. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Acting Master Irvine S. Bulloch, Confederate States Navy, (in service, 1861-1865) Irvine S. Bulloch was born in Georgia and entered the Confederate States Navy from that state in August 1861 as an Acting Midshipman. He served initially in CSS Savannah, then went to sea for a cruise in CSS Nashville in 1861-62. Next posted to CSS Nansemond in the James River area, he was sent abroad in mid-1862. Joining CSS Alabama in the Azores, he soon earned promotion to Acting Master and served as the ship's Sailing Master during her long cruise against Federal shipping. Following Alabama's loss in the 19 June 1864 battle with USS Kearsage, Bulloch was assigned to CSS Shenandoah, and served in her to the end of her career in late 1865. Following the War Between the States, he lived in Liverpool, England, where he worked as a cotton-broker.
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

 

 

 

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