Raider se­duces Vic­to­ri­ans

Benalla Ensign - - Ensign Brain Time -

ar­ma­ment, her speed and her dash­ing crew. Even her flag called for com­ment and praise.

Her com­man­der, James Wad­dell, al­lowed 40 000 mem­bers of the Vic­to­rian pub­lic to in­spect Shenan­doah dur­ing the ship’s time in Vic­to­ria.

The crew’s sto­ries of Shenan­doah’s ad­ven­tures en­tranced Mel­bur­ni­ans. Her dres­suni­formed of­fi­cers and crew at­tended din­ners and balls given in their hon­our.

Churchill Is­land, off Philip Is­land, still holds a sig­nal can­non from Shenan­doah pre­sented to the is­land’s for­mer own­ers by Cap­tain Wad­dell as thanks for a for­mal din­ner hosted by them.

In truth, Shenan­doah had hur­riedly set sail with barely enough crew to work her af­ter be­ing pur­chased at sea by the Con­fed­er­acy for $90 000.

She was crewed ini­tially by young men who had been trav­el­ling on board nearby ships. In Mel­bourne, 19 de­serted.

How­ever, when the raider left Port Philip Bay nearly a month later, she was fully crewed. Such was Vic­to­ria’s en­thu­si­asm for the South­ern cause, that Vic­to­ri­ans by the dozens signed on to fight for the Con­fed­er­acy.

Once it left Mel­bourne, Shenan­doah preyed on Union ship­ping, mainly whal­ing and fish­ing ves­sels, for the rest of the war. She sank 38 mer­chant ves­sels.

Six months af­ter the Con­fed­er­acy sur­ren­dered, Shenan­doah fired the last shot of the Amer­i­can Civil War across the bows of a whaler off the Aleu­tian Is­lands.

With her war over, Shenan­doah faced a dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion.

To sur­ren­der in a US port could mean piracy charges.

Con­fed­er­acy raiders were not cov­ered by the sur­ren­der amnesty.

To sur­ren­der to the Bri­tish meant its Vic­to­rian crew could face trea­son or armed re­bel­lion charges.

Be­fore a crowd, CSS Shenan­doah sur­ren­dered in Liver­pool in Bri­tain in Novem­ber 1865, fly­ing a de­funct state’s last sov­er­eign flag.

Many Vic­to­rian crew mem­bers swam ashore charges.

A ju­di­cial in­quiry was held. It de­cided that all crew mem­bers who ac­knowl­edged the United States of Amer­ica, even the south­ern States, would be freed.

Each mem­ber of the crew was asked what coun­try they ac­knowl­edged. All an­swered they were ‘‘south­ern cit­i­zens’’. They were freed.

Noth­ing fur­ther is known of the crew or its Vic­to­ri­ans. Shenan­doah was re­turned to the Union as the Con­fed­er­acy’s suc­ces­sor.

The United States govern­ment later won $15.5 mil­lion in dam­ages against Bri­tain. The Bri­tish em­pire had vi­o­lated neu­tral­ity.

All raiders had been built in Bri­tish docks and sold se­cretly to the Con­fed­er­acy. Also, Bri­tish sub­jects from Vic­to­ria had manned Shenan­doah.

— John Barry, ANZAC Com­mem­o­ra­tive Work­ing Party, Coo-ee — Hon­our­ing our WWI

he­roes to avoid crim­i­nal

Lieu­tenant John Grim­ball

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