The ship Disarmed.The following entry was made in the log book August 2, 1865, the Shenandoah being then off the coast of Mexico: ‘Having received by the bark Barraconta the sad intelligence of the overthrow of the Confederate government, all attempts to destroy shipping or property of the United States will cease from this date, in accordance with which First Lieutenant W. C. Whittle received the order from the commander to strike below the battery and disarm the ship and crew.’ The next step was to seek asylum with some strong nation, strong enough to maintain the ruling of the law of nations, and resist any demand for our surrender to our enemies, so that we might have a full and fair trial. Writing of that critical time, Captain Waddell wrote:
My own life had been chequered, and I was tutored to disappointments. The intelligence of the issue of the fearful struggle cast a deep stillness over the ship's company, and would have occupied all my reflection, had not a responsibility of the highest order rested upon me—as to the course I should pursue, which involved not only my personal honor, but the honor of that flag entrusted to me, which had thus far been triumphant. I determined to run the ship for a European port—which involved a distance of 17,000 miles—a long gauntlet to run and escape. But why should I not succeed in baffling observation and pursuit? The ship had up to that time traversed 40,000 miles without accident. I considered it due to the honor of all concerned to avoid anything that had a show of dread—under the severe trial imposed upon me, that such was my duty as a man and an officer, in whose hands was placed the honor of my country's flag and the welfare of my command.