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NavSource Online: "Old Navy" Ship Photo Archive

CSS Shenandoah

Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Civil War Medal

  • Laid down, date unknown, on the River Clyde, Scotland as Sea King, by Alexander Stephen & Sons as an iron-framed, teak-planked, full-rigged ship, with auxiliary steam power
  • Launched, 17 August 1863
  • Purchased by the Confederate Government in 1864 for conversion to an armed cruiser
  • Sea King departed London, 8 October 1864, for Bombay, India, on a "trading voyage"
  • Off Funchal, Madeira, Sea King was converted to a ship-of-war
  • Commissioned CSS Shenandoah, 19 October 1864, LT. James I. Waddell, CSN in command
  • Short handed the cruiser headed for Australia, capturing nine prizes enroute
  • Departing Melbourne, Shenandoah headed for the North Pacific whaling grounds, burning four whalers in the Caroline Islands in April
  • Proceeding north, the ship captured a single prize in the Sea of Okhotsk and twenty-one more in the Arctic Ocean
  • On learning of the surrender of the Confederate armys, 2 August 1865, and knowing that the war was over CAPT. Waddell lowered his Confederate flag, Shenandoah underwent a physical alteration. Guns were dismounted and stored below deck, and her hull was painted to look like an ordinary merchant vessel
  • The ship sailed to Liverpool were she surrendered to the Royal Navy on 6 November 1865, marking the last surrender of the Civil War
  • In 1866 the United States government, having taken possession of Shenandoah, sold her to the first Sultan of Zanzibar, who renamed her after himself El Majidi
  • On 15 April 1872, a hurricane hit Zanzibar. El Majidi was one of 6 ships owned by Seyed Burgash which were blown on shore and seriously damaged
  • During her service as a Confederate commerce raider CSS Shenandoah captured 38 vessels
    Displacement 101 t.
    Length 81' 6"
    Beam 18' 9"
    Draft 6'
    Depth of Hold 8'
    Speed 14 kts
    Complement 19
    one 20-pdr Parrot Rifle
    one heavy 12-pdr
    auxiliary steam engine

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    Size Image Description Contributed
    Shenandoah 242k Pencil sketch of the ship (1864-1865) from the inside cover of a notebook kept by her Commanding Officer, James I. Waddell. The original artwork is at the U.S. Naval Academy Museum, Annapolis, MD.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 42282
    US History and Heritage Command
    Shenandoah 88k CSS Shenandoah 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.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 85964, courtesy of Martin Holbrook, 1977
    Robert Hurst
    Shenandoah 79k 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.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 50454-KN )color) from the collection of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 85964, courtesy of Martin Holbrook, 1977
    Robert Hurst
    Shenandoah 101k A Nineteenth Century photographic reproduction of an artwork, depicting CSS Shenandoah under sail. Original artwork is at The the U.S. Naval Academy Museum, Annapolis, Maryland.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 42280
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Shenandoah 136k Painting depicting the Confederate cruiser CSS Shenandoah 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.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command # NH 42279
    Robert Hurst
    Shenandoah 113k 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).
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 59499, donation of Hugh S. Cumming, Jr.
    Robert Hurst
    Shenandoah 499k Lieutenant John Grimball (1840-1922) of CSS Shenandoah, Confederate Navy, circa 1863-65. Photograph by the French photographer Georges Penabert
    United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division digital ID ppmsca.38005
    Robert Hurst
    Shenandoah 353k CSS Shenandoah, 25 June 1865, in the Bering Strait. The Confederate trade destroyer tows boats with the crews of three burnt pinches, which can be seen in the background on the left. Artist and source both unknown. Robert Hurst
    Shenandoah 129k "The Late Confederate Cruiser the Shenandoah in the River Mersey".
    Illustration from The Illustrated London News 18 November 1865. Artist unknown.
    Robert Hurst
    Shenandoah 106k One of identical pair of saluting guns from the Confederate cruiser CSS Shenandoah. The original artifact is at the U.S. Naval Academy Museum, Annapolis, MD.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command # NH 42281
    Robert Hurst

    CSS Shenandoah
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    Commanding Officer
    01LT. Waddell, James Iredell, CSN19 October 1864 - 6 November 1865

    Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
    Wikipedia - CSS Shenandoah
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    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
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    Last Updated 17 May 2019