The cruise of the Shenandoah.
The stirring story of her Circumnavigation of the globe and many Conquests on the high seas.
From the pen of her Executive officer, Captain William C. Whittle
The following is taken from the Confederate Column of the Portsmouth Star
, conducted by Colonel William H. Stewart
, published in serial issues of March 13, April 3, 1907:
We are pleased to announce that the marvelous story of the Confederate States
, from the pen of her executive officer, commences with this issue of The Star and will be continued until finished.
On May I, 1863, the Confederate Congress adopted the design of the second national flag with the battle flag for the union and a pure white field.
The first flag made was sent by President Davis
to enfold the body of Stonewall Jackson
, and from this fact it was sometimes called ‘Jackson
Its other name was ‘Stainless Banner.’
This was the only Confederate flag that circumnavigated the globe and waved on every ocean except the Antarctic
It was carried at the peak of the Shenandoah
in the most wonderful cruise that the world has ever known and was hauled down in Liverpool
on the morning of November 6, 1865, six months after the war was over.
That gallant naval officer, William Conway Whittle
, who has made this most valuable contribution to Southern history, was born in Norfolk, Va.
, in 1840.
In 1854 he entered the United States
Naval Academy, from which he was graduated in 1858 and was ordered to the flagship of the Gulf squadron, at Key West
In part of 1858, 1859 and 1860 he served on the frigate Roanoke
and sloop-of-war Preble
in the Carribbean Sea
and Gulf of Mexico
In December, 1860, he was ordered to Annapolis
for examination, and upon passing was promoted to passed midshipman and
sailing master, respectively.
Upon the secession of Virginia
he resigned and tendered his services to Governor Letcher
and was commissioned a lieutenant in the State
navy, and later in the Confederate States
In 1861 he was stationed at a naval battery at West Point
, York River, Va.
, and there reported to General Magruder
to drill soldiers at the navy guns covering the Williamsburg Road
Later he was ordered on similar duty at a naval battery on Spratley
's farm, on James River
, and thence to Charleston, S. C.
, as the third lieutenant
of the C. S. S. Nashville
, and made her cruise to England
and back to Beaufort, N. C.
, where he was left in command of the vessel until her purchasers could send a crew to her. Upon the capture of Newberne
by the Federals
he ran the ship through the blockade and into Georgetown, S. C.
, and there delivered her to her purchasers.
He was, in March, 1862, ordered to New Orleans as third lieutenant of the Confederate States
and commanded her bow division in the desperate fight with Farragutrs fleet in passing Forts Jackson
and St. Philip
After this conflict, when the Louisiana
was destroyed to prevent her falling into the enemy's hands, he was captured and sent to Fort Warren
, at Boston
He was exchanged in August, 1862, and ordered as first lieutenant of the gunboat Chattahoochee
, on the Chattahoochee River
Later he was ordered abroad to join a Confederate vessel.
While awaiting her, he was selected to take dispatches from the Confederate
commissioners in England
, and Captain Bulloch
, in charge of equipping cruisers, to the Richmond
These dispatches were taken through the blockade and delivered, and he was sent back to the commissioners with return dispatches.
In October, 1864, he was ordered as executive officer of the C. S. S. Shenandoah
, and after her unique cruise surrendered to the British Government
in Liverpool, Eng.
, in November, 1865.
In December, 1865, he went to Buenos Ayres
, and remained in the Argentine Confederation
until 1867, when he returned to his home in Virginia
In 1868 he was appointed captain of one of the Bay
Line steamers between Baltimore
served in that capacity until 1890, when he resigned to become superintendent of the floating equipment of the Norfolk
and Western Railroad Company.
After this fleet was sold, in 1901, he assisted, in 1902, in organizing the Virginia Bank and Trust Company, of which he became cashier, and is now a vice president and a director.—W. H. Stewart
From time immemorial one of the most effective and damaging means resorted to in wars between nations and peoples has been an attack upon the commercial marine of an adversary.
It was a mode of warfare legitimatized by being resorted to all through the ages.
It was adopted by our colonial cruisers during the revolutionary war, and during the war of 1812, 1813 and 1814 seventy-four British merchant vessels were captured by the United States Navy under direct orders from their Navy Department and President Madison
Such depredations only became ‘piratical,’ in the minds of the Federal Government
, when their own interests were jeopardized during our late war. Situated and conditioned as we were when that war began and during its continuance, such means of warfare were peculiarly alluring and suggestive of many and great results.
The Southern Confederacy had no commerce and was at war with the United States
, which had a large commercial marine.
To attack it was not only to inflict heavy pecuniary loss from vessels destroyed, but to force upon them great expense in insurance against these ravages and marine war risks.
Nor was this all. The United States
had a formidable navy with every facility to increase it; utilized most disastrously to the South
by blockading its ports and closing the doors through which to receive, from the outside world, materials and munitions of war, so greatly needed, and, too, in attacking its seaboard cities and towns.
Every cruiser put on the ocean must and did have the effect to divert a force to protect as far as might be their threatened commerce.
But the South
had no vessels of war, nor such as could be converted into cruisers.
The quickest, best and well nigh only way to procure them was by purchase abroad, from the proceeds of sale of their cotton.
Early in the beginning of the war
this was seen and the course adopted.
To manage this difficult and important work a man of professional ability, clear business capacity, wise judgment and discretion in selecting and dealing with men, a knowledge of maritime and international law, calm equanimity and great sagacity was needed.
To find such a man meant such a measure of success as all the difficulties and counteracting efforts would admit of. To select the wrong man meant foreign entanglements, prejudice of cause and failure.
For this work the Confederate Government selected Captain James D. Bulloch
, formerly an officer in the United States Navy, from Georgia
, who, when the war began, commanded a merchant steamer running between New York and a Southern port.
They might have searched the world over and would have failed to find another combining all the qualifications needed, as preeminently as he did. His heart was thoroughly in the cause and he threw his whole body and soul into his work.
To his judgment, sagacity, energy and tact, was due the possession and fitting out of the Alabama
, Georgia, Florida
, and the building of the ironclad rams at Liverpool
and the vessels in France
Such of these vessels as took the sea, took it not as privateers, as they were called by some; not as pirates, as our enemies opprobriously spoke of us, but as armed government vessels of war, commanded and officered by men born in the South
and holding commissions in the Confederate States
Navy, of a government whose belligerent rights were acknowledged by the kingdoms of the earth—commissions as valid as those held in the United States Navy.
The Confederate States
had, as I said, no naval vessels and none or very few that could be converted into cruisers.
They had, however, a fine, loyal, able and true personnel, composed of officers educated and commissioned in the United States Navy before the war. They were Southern-born men, who represented their respective States in the United States Navy, just as their representatives in Congress and other governmental branches represented them in their respective spheres.
The expense of educating and qualifying them for their positions was borne from the general fund collected from all the States, their respective States bearing their just proportion for the qualifying
of their quota.
These men were not politicians, but when the war clouds gathered felt bound by every sense of duty, love and devotion, many of them against their judgment as to the judiciousness of disruption, and all of them against the professional hopes, aspirations and pecuniary interests, when their mother States withdrew, to rally to their standard, resigned and tendered their services.
They were accepted and given commissions properly signed by the executive and confirmed by the Congress of the Confederate States.
No more loyal men lived on earth.
Let no slanderous tongues or libelous pens impugn their motives.
Let not their reputation for purity of purpose, as to their duty, be handed down to posterity with any stain, but let their children have perpetuated in their minds and hearts the fact that their fathers were neither knaves, fools, cowards nor traitors.
These men were ready and anxious to serve their country in her hour of peril, in any honorable field that they might be called to by her. These men officered the cruisers of the Confederate States
The Confederate States
, Nashville, Georgia
, and others, had gone out and done damaging service against the United States
There was, however, one branch of that marine, a large and remunerative interest, prolific with gain and profit, against which no special expedition had been sent.
That interest was the whaling fleet of the United States
The conception of the judiciousness of such a special expedition came, I think, primarily from Lieutenants John Mercer Brooke
and the late Robert R. Carter
, two distinguished officers of the United States Navy, who, upon the secession of their native State, Virginia, had resigned and joined her cause.
is now, and has been for years, a professor at the Virginia Military Institute at Lexington
They had, as members of a scientific expedition fitted out by the United States
, become acquainted with the extent and cruising grounds of the whaling fleet.
, afterwards associated with Captain Bulloch
, talked the matter over with him, and to him it was due, from his knowledge of the field, that a comprehensive letter and general plan was formulated for such a cruise.
Of course it could only be an outline of an expedition which constant and unavoidable emergencies and exigencies must
qualify, shape and control.
But the sequel to its general observance by Commander Waddell
, of the Shenandoah
, proves with what masterly hand it was drawn up. Captain Bulloch
also procured from the distinguished Commodore Matthew F. Maury
, ‘the pathfinder on the ocean,’ who had likewise followed the standard of Virginia
, a full set of ‘whaling charts.’
This expedition was to be the work of another vessel.
It was to operate in distant and extensive fields and against vessels whose voyages were not finished until they were filled with oil. For such work, remote from every source of supply of coal or other stores, a cruiser of peculiar construction, etc., was needed.
She must have good sail power and sailing qualities to economize coal, and she must have auxiliary steam power to carry her through calms of the tropics and to get her out of any peril in which Arctic ice might place her. She must have a propeller that could be, when not in use, detached and hoisted out of water, so as not to impede her headway under sail.
She must have a means of condensing steam into fresh water, for drinking purposes.
She must have comfortable and healthy quarters for her crew and strength of construction to carry her battery.
The very vigilant professional eyes of Captain Bulloch
and Lieutenant R. R. Carter
, who was associated with him at that time, fell upon the trim new British steamship Sea King
, when just on the eve of sailing from the Clyde
for the East Indies
on her first voyage.
They, as far as circumstances permitted, possessed themselves of thorough knowledge of her. She was built for an East Indian trader, with capacity, etc., to carry government troops, if desired.
They were greatly impressed by her fine lines, sail power, deck capacity, arrangement of machinery, her hoisting propeller, etc., and Captain Bulloch
saw in her the very vessel he wanted to convert into a cruiser against the whaling fleet.
He kept track of her, laid his plans for purchase and quietly awaited her return to carry them out, making, ad interim
, all arrangements to speedily equip and dispatch her.
This and all his work required great caution, tact and judgment, for a sharp system of espionage surrounded him all the time.
The Sea King
was a composite built vessel.
That is, had iron frame
and teak wood planking about six inches thick.
220 feet long, 35 feet breadth of beam and was of about 1,160 tons.
She had a single, detachable and hoisting propeller.
Direct acting engines; two cylinders of 47 inch diameter and of two feet nine inch stroke; of 850 indicated horse power.
She had three masts, the lower masts and bowsprit being of iron and hollow.
She was a full rigged ship, of full sail power with royals, rolling, self-reefing topsails and royal topgallant, topmast and lower studding sails, with all proper fore and aft sails.
By October 6, 1864, the officers of the Confederate Navy who were to go on her had been quietly collected at Liverpool, Eng.
, by Commodore Samuel Barron
, commanding Confederate Navy officer abroad, to hold themselves in readiness, without a clear knowledge of for what, but simply at Captain Bulloch
On October 6, 1864, I was ordered by Captain Bulloch
to take the 5 P. M. train from Liverpool
, and on arrival to register at Wood's Hotel, Furnival Inn, High Holborn, as Mr. W. C. Brown
I was to appear the next morning for breakfast in the restaurant of the hotel, and while reading a morning paper to have a napkin passed through a button hole of my coat.
So seated, I would be approached by a stranger with, ‘Is this Mr. Brown
to which I was to reply, ‘Is this Mr.
Upon an affirmative reply I was to say ‘Yes,’ and Mr. —– and I, after finishing breakfast, were to retire to my room.
All this was done, and on October 7 A. M., Mr.
——and I were in my room arranging for my getting on board the Sea King
, which was then in port ready to sail.
I went with Mr.
——, and at an unsuspicious distance viewed the ship, and later, at a safe rendezvous, was introduced to her captain, Corbett
The ship was loaded with coal and cleared for Bombay
by the captain, who had been given a power of attorney to sell her, at any time after leaving London
, should a suitable offer be made for her. As I had been selected to be her executive officer after her transfer, naturally much, in every way, would devolve upon me, in the transformation of the vessel and her equipment, it was deemed expedient that I should observe her qualities, see her interior arrangements of space, etc., and formulate and devise for a utilization and adaptation of all the room in her. Captain Bulloch
wisely deemed it best that I should thus have all opportunity
of familiarizing myself with her, and hit on the plan of letting me join her in London
On the early morn of October 8, 1864, I crawled over her side, at the forerigging, and the ship in a few moments left the dock and went down the Thames
To everybody on board except Captain Corbett
, who was in our confidence, I was Mr. Brown
, a super-cargo, representing the owners of the coal with which she was laden.
We were fully instructed to proceed to Madeira
, where we were to call, a fact only known on board to Captain Corbett
and myself, and not to exchange signals with passing vessels en route.
On the voyage, with judicious caution and Captain Corbett
's assistance, I possessed myself of much information that served a good purpose afterwards.
No one on board suspected anything out of the usual course.
By preconcerted arrangement, on the same October 8, 1864, the propeller steamer Laurel
, J. F. Ramsay
, Confederate States
Navy, commanding, sailed from Liverpool
, with passengers and general cargo.
The Laurel was to call also at Madeira
and get there sufficiently ahead of the Sea King
to enable her to coal up. The Laurel arrived at Madeira
on October 15 and coaled all ready for moving, upon the appearance of the Sea King
The ‘general cargo’ of the Laurel
consisted, as afterwards found, of the guns, carriages, ammunition, etc., and stores for the future cruiser, and her passengers were the commander, officers and small nucleus for her crew.
On the early morn of October 18, the Sea King
arrived off Funchal
, and running in sight of the harbor, displayed a private preconcerted signal.
This was answered by her little consort and the two moved off successively to the Desertas, a rocky, uninhabited island not far from Madeira
There the Sea King
anchored and her consort was secured alongside.
It was perfectly smooth and a sequestered place, where there was little chance of observation or interruption.
A rapid transfer of everything from the hold of the Laurel
to the deck and hold of the Sea King
was made, on October 19.
Her officers were: Lieutenant Commanding James I. Waddell
, C. S. N., from North Carolina
; W. C. Whittle
, Virginia, first lieutenant
and executive officer; Lieutenants John Grimball
, South Carolina
; Sidney Smith Lee, Jr.
; F. T.
, Missouri, and D. M. Scales
; Irvine S. Bulloch
, Georgia, sailing master; C. E. Lining
, South Carolina
, surgeon; Matthew O'Brien
, Louisiana, chief engineer
; W. B. Smith
, Louisiana, paymaster; Orris A. Brown
, Virginia, and John T. Mason
, Virginia, passed midshipmen, all regular officers in the Confederate States
Navy, and F. J. McNulty
, acting assistant surgeon
, and C. H. Codd
, Maryland, acting first assistant engineer
; John Hutchinson
, acting second assistant engineer
; E. Mugguffiny
, acting third assistant engineer
; Acting Master
's Mates John F. Minor
; C. E. Hunt
; Lodge Cotton, Maryland
; George Harwood
, acting boatswain
; John L. Guy
, acting gunner
; H. Alcott
, acting sailmaker
; John O'Shea
, acting carpenter, were given the said acting appointments in the Confederate States
Navy by proper authority.
These twenty-three men were the officers who were transferred to the Sea King
, all except myself and two engineers who joined from the Sea King
, went out on the Laurel
read his commission and addressed both crews, calling for volunteers.
Only nineteen men, including the small nucleus from the Laurel
, volunteered, making, with the twenty-three officers, forty-two in all. Captain Waddell
had the Confederate
flag hoisted at the peak, received a bill of sale and christened the Sea
King the C. S. S. Shenandoah
I do not know why the name Shenandoah
was chosen, unless because of the constantly recurring conflicts, retreats and advances through the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia
, where the brave Stonewall Jackson
always so discomforted the enemy, causing, it is said, one of the distinguished Federal generals to say of that valley that it must be made such a waste that a crow to fly over it would have to take its rations.
The burning there of homes over defenseless women and children made the selection of the name not inappropriate for a cruiser, which was to lead a torchlight procession around the world and into every ocean.
Guns, carriages and their fittings, ammunition, of powder, shot and shell; stores of all kinds, all in boxes, were transferred from the Laurel
to the Sea King
All was confusion and chaos.
Everything had to be unpacked and stored for safety.
No gun mounted, no breeching or tackle bolts driven, no portholes cut,
no magazine for powder or shell room for shell provided.
All was hurriedly transferred and in a lumbering, confused mass was on board.
Every particle of work, of bringing order out of chaos and providing for efficiently putting everything in a condition for service, and of converting this ship into an armed cruiser at sea, amidst wind and storm, if encountered, stared us in the face.
The entertained and expressed hopes, that from the two crews a sufficient force would be induced to volunteer, were disappointed.
Only nineteen men volunteered, which, with the twenty-three officers, made forty-two men for this stupendous work, and to man and care for a ship whose crew, with her battery, etc., as a cruiser, should be at least 150 men.
, though brave and courageous, accustomed as a naval officer, to step on the deck of a man-of-war fully fitted and equipped at a navy-yard, where every facility aided to make everything perfect, was naturally discomforted and appalled.
He conferred with Captain Corbett
, late commander
, and Lieutenant Ramsay
, Confederate States
Navy, who commanded the consort Laurel, both experienced seamen, and he told me that they both said they considered his taking the ocean, in such a condition, and so shorthanded, impracticable.
As his executive officer, he naturally consulted me, saying that it was his judgment that he should take the ship to Teneriffe
, communicate with Captain Bulloch
and have a crew sent to him. I knew every one of the regular officers personally.
They were all ‘to the manner born.’
With the fate of the C. S. S. Rappahannock
(which about a year before had gone into Calais, France
, for some such object, had been held there inactive ever since) before me, and a positive conviction that our fate would be the same and result in ignominious failure, I strenuously advised against it. I said, ‘Don't confer, sir, with parties who are not going with us. Call your young officers together and learn from their assurances what they can and will do.’
They were called together; there was but one unanimous sentiment from each and every one, ‘take the ocean,’ and so it was, be it ever said with credit to them, and to the zeal and courage of the now lamented Waddell
, we did take the ocean, as we were, and steered clear of Teneriffe
and every other port not in our cruise.
Let those who hear the sequel judge of the wisdom of the decision.
The battery consisted of four eight inch smooth bore guns of 55 cwt., two rifled Whitworth
32-pounder guns and the two 12-pounder signal guns belonging to her as a merchant ship.
The two vessels parted company at 6 P. M., October 20, 1864, and left the Desertas, we on our southerly course and the Laurel
, to report progress.
Every officer and man ‘pulled off his jacket and rolled up his sleeves,’ and with the motto ‘do or die’ went to work at anything and everything.
The captain took the wheel frequently in steering to give one more pair of hands for the work to be done.
We worked systematically and intelligently, doing what was most imperatively necessary first.
In twenty-four hours we had mounted and secured for sea, two eight inch guns and two Whitworths, and the next day the other half of the battery was similarly mounted and secured.
We cleared the holds and stored and secured everything below, and in eight days, after leaving the Desertas, had all portholes cut and guns secured therein.
Under our instructions we had to allow sufficient time for Captain Corbett
to communicate with England
and have the custom house papers cancelled and all necessary legal steps connected with the bona fide sale taken before any overt act.
On October 30, 1864, we captured the first prize, the bark Alina
, Captain Staples
, of Searsport, Maine
, from Newport, Wales
, for Buenos Ayres
, with railroad iron
There was no notarial seal (required under law to establish ownership) to the signature of the owner of the cargo, and so she was, as an American vessel, with her cargo a legal prize.
An order was given that nothing on any prize should be appropriated by any officer or man without permission from the commander through me. We determined to scuttle the prize, and after transferring her crew and effects and saving such furniture as was on board, sorely needed for comfort, such as basins, pitchers, etc., we sunk her. Seven men of her crew of twelve shipped on the Shenandoah
On November 5 we made our second capture, the United States
Schooner Charter Oak
, from Boston
for San Francisco
, Captain Gilman
, who had his wife and wife's sister, Mrs. Gage
, and her little son Frank
$200 he had on board, which Captain Waddell
gave to Mrs. Gilman
and her sister.
The schooner, after transferring a good supply of canned fruits and vegetables, was burned.
November 8, captured the American bark D. G. Godfrey
, Captain Hallett
, from Boston
, which was burned.
Six of her crew shipped on the Shenandoah
November 9, overhauled the Danish
vessel Anna Jane
and sent the prisoners from the Alina
on her, giving a full supply of provisions for them and a chronometer (captured) as a present to the Danish
November Io, captured the American Brig Susan
, Captain Hansen
, of New York, with coal from Cardiff
for Rio Grande
do Sul, Brazil
This cargo was wanting in the notarial seal to the signature of the owner.
She was sunk.
Three men shipped from her on the Shenandoah
(two seamen and one boy).
November 12, overhauled the splendid American ship Kate Prince
, of Portsmouth, N. H.
, Captain Libby
, from Liverpool
, with coal.
She had notarial seal to establish a neutral cargo, and we bonded the vessel for $40,000 and put on her all prisoners remaining with us. CaptainGilman
and Mrs. Gilman
and Mrs. Gage
, of the Charter Oak
, were profuse in their thanks for kindness Chile
November 12, overhauled the bark Adelaide
, Captain I. P. Williams
, of Mathews County, Va.
The vessel was under the Argentine flag, but there was everything to show a bogus sale.
Learning, however, positively that she belonged to a Southern sympathizer, after preparations (crew and effects removed) to burn her, we bonded her.
November 13, captured and burned the schooner Lizzie M. Stacey
, Captain Archer
, from Boston
Four men out of the seven, shipped on the Shenandoah
Crossing the equator.
On November 15, 1864, at I:30 A. M., we crossed the equator, or ‘crossed the line,’ and an amusing break in routine and monotony occurred.
There were many officers and men on board who had never before gone into the Southern
hemisphere, I among the number.
I was approached, as executive
officer to know if I had any objection to King Neptune's coming on board to look after and initiate those on board who had never crossed his domain before.
I did not object.
It was nearly calm.
At 7:30 P. M. a loud hail was heard from under the bows and a brilliant light shone, asking permission from King Neptune to visit the ship.
It was granted.
A giant-like figure came over the bow, with an immense harpoon in his hand, and a chafing mat for a hat, and came aft, followed by a well disguised retinue or suite, to look after King Neptune's new subjects.
was first seized.
The first question was, ‘Where are you from?’
Woe to the man who opened his mouth to answer.
It would be filled with a mixture of soap, grease and molasses.
If no answer was given your face was lathered with a mixture and you were shaved with a long wooden razor, and then the pump was started, which nearly drowned you, to wash it off. Dr. McNulty
, on being asked where he was from, replied ‘Ireland
,’ and his mouth was filled with the mixture.
This was too much for his Irish blood and he knocked the barber full length on the deck.
I, as executive officer, for that reason thought I would be let off, particularly as I had given permission for the fun, but I was shaved also.
The sport all went off very well and was a break in the shipboard life.
We now, from enlistments from our several prizes, had increased our crew from nineteen to thirty-nine, or, including the officers, had all told sixty-two souls, so that we felt quite comfortable.
With such a mixture of nationalities the most rigid discipline had to be, and was, maintained, and the happiness of all was promoted by prompt punishment of all offenders.
This, of course, devolved on me. Justice was tempered with humane and kind treatment, to the general good and as necessary to success.
On December 8, sighted the Island of Tristan
da Cunha, and while sailing for it captured the first whaler, the bark Edward
, Captain Worth
, of New Bedford, Mass.
Got from her a quantity of ship's stores, beef, pork, sea biscuits, etc., and after everything we needed at the time, or prospectively, was removed, the vessel was destroyed.
Her crew consisted of captain, three mates and twenty-two men, or twenty-six all told.
The whale ships, from
the nature of their work, have very large crews.
With the three left of the crew of the schooner Stacey
we now had twenty-nine prisoners on board, which, when the number of our own force and the manner in which it was made up, was considered, was more than we wanted to watch.
So we landed them at Tristan da Cunha, sending off an abundant supply of stores from the last prize to maintain them until called for by some passing vessel.
The Island of Tristan da Cunha taken its name from the Portuguese discoverer.
It was when Bonaparte
was a prisoner at St. Helena, occupied by the British
as a naval station.
When we were there there were thirty-five souls on the island, divided into seven families.
The island is about seven miles each way and very high.
One side of it, on the northwest, is productive and had fine beef cattle, chickens, eggs, milk, butter and sheep.
It is a good point to call for such stores, but while the water is bold and deep, there is a ‘kelp,’ or sea weed, growing up from the bottom and so covering the surface, and so strong that it is hard to get through, and endangers the disabling of a steamer by winding up the propeller wheel.
The island is under English protection— When we were there old Peter Green
, a Dutchman from Holland
, who was the oldest man on the island, had been there twenty-five years and seemed to be the leading man among them.
The island is about 37 degrees south latitude and 10 degrees west longitude.
On December 29, while laying to in the Indian Ocean
, after a heavy gale, which had lasted two days, and just before making sail, saw a trim bark running down towards us. As she passed she hoisted the United States
flag and we fired a shot across her bow. She hove to and we sent a boat on board and captured the American bark Delphine
, Captain Nichols
, of Bangor, Maine
, from London
, in ballast.
Going as she was, had the captain the nerve he could have saved his vessel and been out of reach of our second shot and before we could have made sail would have been beyond our power to catch her. The captain came on board with his papers.
She was a legitimate prize, but he said his wife was on board and not in good health, and that to remove her would be dangerous.
It was suggested by me to Captain Waddell
to let our surgeon look into that.
was that she was found in splendid health.
She came off in a boat, and as it was rough, a whip and a boatswain's chair was gotten from the yard arm, and she, with perfect self-possession, got into it and told the men when to hoist.
She was very irate with her husband and told him that he should have saved his ship by keeping on. We burned the ship.
An amusing incident I will here relate.
was very much depressed at the loss of his vessel and was moodily pacing the deck.
It was Lieutenant Chew
was a good, kind hearted fellow and he wanted to comfort the poor captain, and approaching said some cheering words.
Poor Captain Nichols
was not to be comforted.
, very scientific, then said, ‘captain, upon what small actions important results depend.
Just think that if at daylight this morning you had changed your course one-quarter of a point you would have passed out of our reach or sight.’
The captain turned and said, ‘That shows how darned little you know about it, for this morning at daylight I just did change my course “a quarter of a pint,” and that's what fetched me here.’
retreated but it was heard, and it was a long time before he heard the last of that comforting conversation.
and her little son, Phineas, six years old, with her husband, had a comfortable cabin, but she was always bitter and never appreciated our kindness.
January 25, 1865, arrived at Melbourne, Australia
, and our prisoners, after being paroled, went ashore in shore boats with their effects.
' last words were to express a hope that we would come to grief.
I cannot blame her much.
The Shenandoah needed caulking and docking to repair the shaft bearings.
We were given permission to do the work necessary for safety at sea. The population were generally kind and hospitable and treated us with marked courtesy.
They came on board by thousands.
Soon, however, enemies attempted to draw our men from us, but generally failed.
We had myriads of applications to enlist, but we had had notice given us not to violate the Queen
's proclamation of neutrality, forbidding shipping men, and we refused all. Men of their own volition, or, as we were persuaded at the time, in many cases were secreted on board, to entrap us into some violation
of neutral laws and get us into difficulty with the local government.
We hauled out on the marine railway or slip, and at one time our enemies so far succeeded, despite our constant efforts to keep all men not belonging to the ship from getting on board, that one man was reported as on board and the authorities demanded to search the ship.
This was positively and firmly refused, we saying that as a vessel of war we would not allow it, but would search her ourselves and send anyone, not on the vessel when we came in, ashore.
This did not satisfy them, and pending reference to the law officer, the slip or railway was embargoed and all of her majesty's subjects forbidden to launch or work on the vessel.
A formal demand, in the name of our government, for the removal of the embargo was being drawn up when the law officer decided in our favor and our work continued.
She was repaired and launched, and notice as requested given of when we would sail.
At request of the authorities I was ordered to have her thoroughly searched for any stowaways.
I selected several of the best officers, who made a conscientious search, and reported that they had examined carefully and could find no one not on the vessel when she came.
In the meantime, however, when we gave our men liberty, the American
consul or his emissaries persuaded several of our crew to desert.
Application for assistance to arrest them was made to the authorities, but denied.
Thus it is clear that the Victorian Government
treated us badly.
We got some 250 tons of coal, and on February 18 A. M., sailed.
We had received an intimation of a suggested plot among some Americans
to go on board, go to sea and capture the vessel.
but we were on the alert and never saw anything to cause us to think that they did more than to talk of this desperate attempt.
We were numerically weak, but it would have been fatal for all who had entered into any such plot.
Getting well to sea, outside the jurisdiction, after discharging the pilot, forty-two men, who had stowed themselves away, some in the hollow bowsprit and some in the coal all where the officers of the ship could not find them, came on deck and wanted to enlist.
We wanted men after our losses in Melbourne
, but we were suspicious, after the intimated plot.
men were black with dirt.
We drew them up in a line, took their names and nationality.
Thirty-four claimed to be Americans
and the other eight of various nationalities.
We shipped them all, but watched them closely.
They turned out to be good, faithful men. These gave us seventy-two men on deck.
Some were from New England
. One, George P. Canning
, said he had been aide-de-camp to General (Bishop
, C. S. A., who had been discharged as an invalid.
With him as sergeant, a marine guard was organized.
Sighted Drummond's Island and learned from natives in canoes that no vessels were there.
Sighted Strong's Island and near enough to see no vessels in Chabrol Harbor. Sighted Mc-Askill Island.
Sighted Ascension (Pouinipete or Ponapi Island) of Carolina
group, about six degrees north and longitude 160 degrees east, and on April 1, looking into ‘Lod Harbor’ of that island, found four whalers there.
Took a pilot (an Englishman, named Thomas Harrocke
, from Yorkshire
, who had been a convict, and had lived on this island thirteen years) and anchored in the harbor.
Sent off four boats and boarded each vessel and made prizes of American whalers Edward Carey
, of San Francisco
, of New Bedford; Pearl
, of New London, and Harvest, from New Bedford, nominally from Honolulu
, but really an American under false colors, having an American register, having no bill of sale, and being under her original name.
All four of the captains had gone on a visit to a missionary post near by. As they returned in their boat we intercepted them and brought them on board.
It was no April fool for them, poor fellows.
We transferred everything needed from the prizes, and taking them to a point indicated by the King
where no harm could be done the harbor, destroyed them.
King Ish-y-Paw visited the ship with his suite in a large fleet of canoes.
His royal highness drank freely of Schiedam Schnapps.
He became very friendly and communicative through the pilot as interpreter.
Before firing the prizes we furnished the King
with muskets and such things as he desired, and also sent ashore large quantities of provisions for the prisoners, who were, on the day of our sailing, sent ashore with the King
preferred to be landed there.
We shipped eight men from the prizes.
Sailed on April 13, leaving the Ladrone Islands
, Los Jardines, Grampus and Margaret Islands
to the westward, and Camira, Otra and Marcus Islands
, to the eastward, we steered to intercept vessels from San Francisco
and West Coast
of South America
for Hong Kong
We cruised in these tracks, but saw no sail.
Before reaching the forty-fifth parallel of north latitude had heavy typhoons.
Above that the weather settled.
On May 21, passed Moukouruski Island, and going through Amphitrite Straits, of Kuril Islands, entered the Ohkotsk Sea
The most beautiful optical illusions I ever witnessed were in the mirage in this latitude, about Kamchatka.
When not foggy the atmosphere was a perfect reflector.
We saw prominent points seventy miles distant. We would see a snow clad peak direct, and above it, inverted, the reflection, peak to peak, with perfect delineation, or we would see a ship direct, and above it, the reflection of the same ship, inverted, masthead to masthead.
Just as if you put your finger to a mirror you would see the finger and reflection, point to point.
We were in the Arctic
and contiguous regions during their summer.
It was most interesting, as we went north towards the pole, to mark the days grow longer and longer, and to experience the sun's being below the horizon, a shorter and shorter period each twenty-four hours in its diurnal circuit, until finally we went so far that the sun did not go out of sight at all, but would go down to the lowest point, and without disappearing would rise again.
In short, it was all day.
In the Okhotsk we encountered thick fogs and heavy ice. On May 27, in latitude 57 north, longitude 153, captured the American
whaler Abigail, of New Bedford, which was burned.
We took her crew of thirty-five men on board.
Went up as far as Ghifinski and Tausk Bays, but could not enter for ice from fifteen to thirty feet thick.
June 10 and 12 twelve of the Abigail
's crew enlisted.
June 14 we went out of Okhotsk Sea, through Amphitrite Straits. June 16 two more men enlisted, and on same evening entered Bering Sea
, through the Aletuian Islands
, going north towards Captain Navarin
June 23, captured whalers William Thompson
Abigail, which left San Francisco
in April, and brought papers of April 17, giving correspondence between Generals Grant
and a statement of the surrender of the latter to the former at Appomattox
, but they also contained President Davis
' proclamation from Danville, Va.
, stating that the surrender would only cause the prosecution of the war with renewed vigor.
We felt that the South
had sustained great reverses, but at no time did we feel a more imperative duty to prosecute our work with vigor.
Between June 2 and June 28, inclusive, we captured twenty-four whaling vessels, viz.: William Thompson
, Sophia Thornton
, Jireh Swift
, Susan Abigail
, General Williams
, Nimrod, Nye
, Catherine, General Pike
, Waverley, Hillman
, James Murray
, Martha, Congress, Nile, Favorite and Covington
, of which three, viz.: Milo
, James Murray
and Nile, were bonded and the others burned, and all prisoners put on board the bonded vessels, with ample provisions taken from the vessels destroyed for their support.
Eleven of the enumerated vessels were captured on June 28.
These were our last prizes.
Some of the prisoners expressed their opinion, on the strength of the papers brought by the Susan Abigail
, of General Lee
's surrender, that war might be and probably was over, but as an evidence that such was not believed to be the case, eight men from these vessels enlisted on the Shenandoah
On June 29, at 1 A. M., passed the Behring Straits
into the Arctic Ocean
At 10 A. M., finding heavy floes of ice all around ahead of us, we turned to the southward and re-entered, through Behring Straits, Behring Sea, being at noon, or two hours after we turned around, in 66 degrees 14 minutes north latitude.
Encountered very heavy ice on July 1.
On July 5 passed through Amukta Pass
(172 degrees west longitude) of the Aleutian Islands
, from Behring Sea into the Pacific Ocean
. One of the islands by which we passed in coming out was volcanic, for smoke was seen coming out from its peak.
This was the last land which we were destined to see for a long time.
Our course was shaped towards the coast of California
, Lower California
, with the hope of falling in with some trans-Pacific vessels, or some of the steamships from San Francisco
On reaching the 129th meridian of west longitude we ran down parallel with the coast.
On August 2, when in latitude 16 degrees 20 minutes north, longitude 121 degrees 11 minutes west, we made out a vessel, a sailing bark, which we chased under steam and sail and overhauled and boarded at 4 P. M. It proved to be the English bark Barracouta
, from San Francisco
, thirteen days out from the former port.
The sailing master, I. S. Bulloch
, was the boarding officer, and after he had examined her papers, to establish her nationality, he asked the captain for the news about the war. The English captain said ‘What war?’
‘The war between the United States
and Confederate States
When the Englishman replied, ‘Why the war has been over since April.
What ship is that?’
‘The Confederate steamer Shenandoah
He then told of the surrender of all the Confederate forces, the capture of President Davis
and the entire collapse of the Confederate
cause, and when Bulloch
returned he not only told all this, but, too, that Federal cruisers were looking for us everywhere and would deal summarily with us if caught.
Files of recent papers confirmed everything.
The information given by the captain of the Barracouta
was appalling to the last degree.
Coming as it did from an Englishman, we could not doubt its accuracy.
We were bereft of country, bereft of government, bereft of ground for hope or aspiration, bereft of a cause for which to struggle and suffer.
The pouring of hirelings from the outside world had at last overpowered the remaining gallant Confederates.
That independence for which our brave people had so nobly fought, suffered and died, was, under God's ruling, denied us. Our anguish of disappointed hopes cannot be described.
Naturally our minds and hearts turned to our dear ones at home.
We knew the utter impoverishment of those who survived, for surrender proved that, but what of the fate of each and all who were dear to us. These were the harrowing thoughts which entered into our very souls, the measure and intensity of which can never be portrayed.
Then, too, by comparing dates, we found that most of our destruction was done, unwittingly, after hostilities had ceased at home.
We knew the intensity of feeling engendered
by the war, and particularly in the hearts of our foes towards us. We knew that every effort would be made for our capture, and we felt that if we fell into the enemy's hands we could not hope, fired as their hearts were, for a fair trial or judgment, and that the testimony of the whalers, whose property we had destroyed, would all be against us, and that the fact that we had been operating against those who had been nearly as much cut off from channels of information as we were ourselves, would count for naught.
Even during the war we had been opprobriously called ‘pirates,’ and we felt that if captured we would be summarily dealt with as such.
These were disquietudes which caused no demoralization, or craven fear, however, but were borne by true men with clear consciences, who had done their duty as they saw it, with the powers given them by God.
It was a situation desperate to a degree, to which history furnishes no parallel.
Piracy is a crime, not against any one nation, but against all. A pirate is an enemy to mankind, and as such is amenable to trial and punishment, under the laws of nations, by the courts of the country into whose hands he may fall.
The first thing was to suspend hostilities and to proclaim such suspension.
promptly ordered me to disarm the vessel and crew.
This was done immediately and our guns were dismounted and stowed and secured below in the hold of the ship.
The captain addressed his crew and told them unreservedly the situation and declared all warlike operations stopped.
The next step was to go into the hands of some nation strong enough to maintain the rulings of the laws of nations and resist any demand, from our enemies, for our surrender, that we might have a full, fair trial.
There were various opinions advanced as to the best course to pursue to promote the general safety.
Our captain decided and made known his decision: that we would proceed to England
, learn the true situation, and if all we heard was true, surrender to the British Government
We steered for Liverpool
Our coal supply was short and was needed for ballast and for emergency of pursuit, and for the last home stretch of our gauntlet of about 17,000 miles. So our long voyage must he under sail.
The admirable discipline, sedulously enforced and maintained all through, now, on our changed condition, brought forth good fruit.
The crew, from here, there and everywhere, many being from our prizes, behaved splendidly and with a high loyalty to general safety.
No serious disorders arose, but every man did his duty in the effort to safely reach our selected destination.
It was a long, weary and anxious voyage, with its share of gales and storms.
We rounded Cape Horn
on September 16, 1865, under top gallant sails, but on getting to the eastward of it had heavy adverse gales, which threw us among icebergs.
We passed many sails, but exchanged no signals-we were making no new acquaintances.
We crossed the equator, for the fourth time, on October 11, 1865.
On October 25, P. M., when about 500 miles southeast of Azores Islands, we sighted a supposed Federal cruiser.
Our courses converged.
The stranger was apparently waiting for us, but to avoid suspicion we did not change ours, until nightfall, and then we made a short detour and the next morning nothing more was seen of her. We on that occasion got up and used steam, for the first time on a voyage of over 13,000 miles.
On November 5, 1865, we entered St. George's Channel, making Tuskar lighthouse, which was the first land we had seen for 122 days, after sailing 23,000 miles, and made it within a few moments of when it was expected.
Could a higher proof of the skill of our young navigator, Irvine S. Bulloch
, be desired?
That night we took a Liverpool pilot, who confirmed all the news we had heard.
He was directed to take the ship to Liverpool
On the morning of November 6 the brave ship steamed up the river Mersey
with the Confederate
flag at her peak, and was anchored by the pilot, by Captain Waddell
's order, near H. B. M. guardship Donegal
, Captain Paynter
, R. N., commanding.
Soon after a lieutenant from the Donegal
came on board to learn the name of our vessel and advised us officially of the termination of the war. At 10 A. M. November 6, 1865, the last Confederate flag was hauled down and the last piece of Confederate property, the C. S. S. Shenandoah
, was surrendered to the British
nation by letter to Earl Russell, from Captain Waddell
, through Captain Paynter
, royal navy, commanding H. M. S. Donegal
The gallant little ship had left London
thirteen months before as the Sea King
, and had, as a Confederate cruiser, defied pursuit, for twelve months and seventeen days, had captured thirty-eight vessels valued at $1,172,223, bonding six and destroying thirty-two—second only to the C. S. S. Alabama
in number; had circumnavigated the globe, carrying the brave flag around the world and into every ocean on the globe except the Antarctic
; traveling over a distance of about 60,000 miles, without the loss of a single spar.
's letter to Earl Russell set forth the unvarnished facts and work of our cruise and surrendered the vessel to the British
The Shenandoah was placed under custody of British authorities, the gunboat Goshawk
being lashed alongside.
United States Minister Adams
, on November 7 addressed a letter to the Earl
, Secretary of State
for Foreign Affairs, requesting that necessary steps be taken to secure the property on board, and to take possession of the vessel with view to her delivery to the United States
. Minister Adams
' letter, with that of Captain Waddel
, with other documents relating to the Shenandoah
, were referred to the law officers of the Crown on November 7, 1865, who advised in substance as follows:
‘We think it will be proper for her Majesty's government, in compliance with Mr. Adams
' request, to deliver up to him, in behalf of the government of the United States
, the ship in question, with her tackle, apparel, etc., and all captured chronometers or other property capable of being identified as prize of war, which may be found on board of her. . . With respect to the officers and crew . . . if the facts stated by Captain Waddell
are true, there is clearly no case for any prosecution on the ground of piracy in the courts of this country, and we presume that her Majesty's government are not in possession of any evidence which could be produced before any court or magistrate for the purpose of contravening the statement or showing that the crime of piracy has, in fact, been committed.. . . With respect to any of the persons on the Shenandoah
who cannot be immediately proceeded against and
detained under legal warrant upon any criminal charge, we are not aware of any ground upon which they can properly be prevented from going on shore and disposing of themselves as they think fit, and we cannot advise her Majesty's government to assume or exercise the power of keeping them under any kind of restraint.’
The law officers who gave this advice and these opinions, and whose names were attached thereto, were Sir Roundell Palmer
, Sir R. P. Collier
and Sir Robert Phillimore
In consequence of these opinions of the law officers of the Crown, instructions were sent to Captain Paynter
, of her majesty's ship Donegal
, to release all officers and men who were not ascertained to be British subjects.
reported on November 8 that, on receiving these instructions he went on the Shenandoah
, and being satisfied that there were no British subjects among the crew, or at least none of whom it could be proved were British subjects, he permitted all hands to land with their private effects.
Thus ended our memorable cruise—grand in its conception.
Grand in its execution, and unprecedentally, awfully grand in its sad finale.
To the four winds the gallant crew scattered, most of them never to meet again until called to the Bar of that Highest of all Tribunals.
The ship was handed over to the United States
agents, a Captain Freeman
was appointed to take her to New York, but going out and encountering high west winds, lost light spars and returned to Liverpool
It was not tried again.
The noble vessel was put up and sold to the Sultan of Zanzibar
She finally was lost on a coral reef in the Indian Ocean
in 1879— fourteen years after the last Confederate flag was hauled down.
[The flag of the Shenandoah
, reverently preserved by the late Colonel Richard Launcelot Maury
, C. S. A., son of Commissioner Matthew Fontaine Maury
, was recently deposited with the Confederate Memorial
Literary Society, and is preserved in the Museum Building