Tag Archives: CSS Shenandoah

Ending The War: The Darkest Day

“The darkest day of my life,” wrote Lieutenant William Whittle in his journal entry for August 2, 1865. “The past is gone for naught—the future is dark as the blackest night. Oh! God protect and comfort us I pray.” The … Continue reading

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Ending the War, More or Less

April 9, 1865, is the day that most people think the American Civil War came to an end. General Robert E. Lee realized his gallant Army of Northern Virginia was simply too beaten up to continue its fight for Confederate … Continue reading

Posted in Civil War Events, Emerging Civil War, Leadership--Confederate, Leadership--Federal, Trans-Mississippi, Western Theater | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Primary Sources: Through a Telescope Backwards

Perhaps no experience is more fulfilling for a historian than becoming immersed in contemporary first-person chronicles, viewing dramatic happenings through the eyes of those who lived them. Thankfully, our Civil War ancestors were avid and literate recorders of that fascinating … Continue reading

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A Confederate New Year Far, Far Away

December 31, 1864: The CSS Shenandoah—the remotest and loneliest outpost of the beleaguered Confederacy—stretched her wings with all sails set as she surged across the Indian Ocean. Her officers were a cross section of the South from Maryland, Virginia, North … Continue reading

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From the ECW Archives: Queen of Delphine, Part II

(Continuing the story from Part I of Lillias Nichols as prisoner of war and her captors aboard the CSS Shenandoah.) New Year’s Day 1865 continued clear and balmy. All sails were set with just enough breeze to fill them, the … Continue reading

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From the ECW Archives: Queen of the Delphine, Part I

A warship at sea was an exclusively male domain and sailors were a superstitious lot. Having a woman on board was unlucky as well as a confounded nuisance. In December 1864, one New England lady found herself a prisoner of … Continue reading

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Confederates Invade San Francisco?

Shortly before his death in 1886, James I. Waddell, former captain of the CSS Shenandoah, wrote in his memoirs: “I had matured plans for entering the harbor of San Francisco and laying that city under contribution.”[i] Waddell never did pass … Continue reading

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A Rebel’s Duty

While researching the Southern Historical Society Papers on another topic, I came across the following passage from 1907: When the question is asked what the followers of Lee and Jackson fought for, let the ringing, unchangeable and ever true response … Continue reading

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The Historic Harbors

A couple of weeks ago I attended a leadership retreat where a speaker touted the longtime importance of Hampton Roads as a harbor and host to very important events in American history. This got me thinking: what are the most … Continue reading

Posted in Antebellum South, Battlefields & Historic Places, Economics, Navies, Ties to the War | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

My Favorite Historical Person: Eugene Matthew O’Brien

Eugene Matthew O’Brien is among those obscure Civil War multitudes whose collective stories inspire for their courage, dedication, and sacrifice even if we know little about them individually—although his story is a bit unusual. O’Brien was a steam engineer who … Continue reading

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