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04 November 2020


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One of the heart warming results of the cruise of CSS Shenandoah was the permanent damage they did to the New England whaling business.

The Twisted Genius

Mark Logan,

Those 42 Australians signing on with Waddell were first called stowaways because of international law at the time. It was illegal recruit in a neutral country. Those 42 were not officially signed on until the Shenandoah was in international waters. Many in Melbourne and in most of Australia were sympathetic to the Confederacy. This was clear in the welcome offered to Waddell by Walrus' yacht club. There's a book about this incident although I haven't read it. The short section shown on Amazon was interesting. I'll have to check out our libraries.


According to the article from the 7 Nov 1865 edition of the Liverpool Mercury linked in the Wikipedia page, The Shenandoah had some whale oil, but not much. Your theory about returning the ship to the original owners and being among those who obtained the ship sounds about right to me.

The Twisted Genius

The Shenandoah definitely damaged the New England whaling fleet. Commerce raiding claimed 46 whalers. The Union also bought 40 whaling ships and used them to try to block the shipping channels of the ports of Savannah and Charleston. Another 33 out of 40 whalers of the Arctic fleet were lost in the winter of 1871 when they became icebound off Alaska.



As you know, Waddell returned to the US in 1870 and became first a merchant marine captain and then commissioner of fisheries in Maryland.

The Twisted Genius


I'm also aware he was an Annapolis graduate and later an instructor at USNA as well as a very successful US Naval officer.



I suspect that Waddell polled the crew as to where they wanted to go. I doubt there was ever any chance of "obtaining" the ship. It would be a prize to be disposed of by an admiralty court.



He, Semmes, Maury and a lot others were successful US Navy officers before the war. The Confederacy had more qualified naval officers than it had ships. These guys had all resigned their USN commissions, and those resignations had been accepted.

Mark K Logan

Greenpeace will someday erect a statue in his honor. Someday.

I harbor a different image of the crew. IMO there were probably only a handful of CSA men aboard, the rest were the same stock which manned most privateers and ships with Letter Of Marque: Particularly adventurous tars. Those men were not prone to joining causes. Their own lot took more than enough tending-to.

The docks of the British Empire were filled with ex-man of war men and Waddell forged a crew out of that lot. Getting them all back to dock save one is no small accomplishment and there appear to be no stories of cruelty or floggings. It seems the crew went away after that trip with little comment which says they got paid.

This speaks about as well of Waddell as a captain as is possible.

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