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    C.S.S. Shenandoah-- Why No Piracy Charges?

    Guest Rick Research

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    Guest Rick Research

    Among the 1861-65 Confederacy's commerce raiders, the C.S.S. Alabama and C.S.S. Florida are fairly well known.

    But what on earth was Captain (resigned from U.S. Navy 1862 that's right folks 186-TWO) James Iredell Wadell (1824-1886) of North Carolina DOING when he learned on 23 June 1865 the Civil War was OVER and the government whose commission he sailed under had ceased to be--

    and he continued on his own personal rampage up the Canadian coastline, destroying most of the United States whaling fleet in winter anchorage south of the Alaska ice pack that fall?

    Why was he-- if not the entire crew of C.S.S. Shenandoah-- NOT charged with piracy on the high seas and hanged?

    The war was OVER-- he KNEW it was over-- his commission was therefore void-- and yet he chose to go on, causing millions of dollars (real money) damage and ruining the whaling industry for YEARS.

    I cannot see ANY legal or military justification-- let alone HONOR-- in his action, and am baffled by the lack of consequences.

    Anyone know how he cheated the hangman?

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    Ah, Sea Lawyers...

    Waddell was convincing when he played "Jackson at New Orleans." The difference is, Jackson was on the winning side! Imagine what might have happened to Old Hickory had the British been triumphant.

    The dispatches available to the Carolinian at sea stated that Richmond was abandoned but the government was removed to Danville. Given this, he chose to fight on. Later, a British ship tendered the word of the surrender. Here's a piece I dragged off a website:

    "THE SHENANDOAH - The steamer Shenandoah has been handed over to the United States Consul, and will be sent to New York. Her captain and crew were unconditionally discharged. Captain Waddel, in his letter to Earl Russel, which is published says:- "In obedience orders I found myself in the Arctic and Okhotsk seas, far from ordinary channels of commerce, and in consequence of this awkward circumstance was engaged in acts of war until th 28th June. I wass ignorant of the reverse suffered by the Confederates, and the total obliteration of the Government under which I acted. I received the first news of the downfall of the Confederates on the 2nd of August, from the British barque Baracohts(?), and desisted immediately from acts of war till I could communicate with European ports, and learn if the news was true. I could not have been sensible that the tales told by the American ships were true. but merely upon the statement of the British captain. I diligently sought for precedent in law for guidance and the future control and final disposal of the vessel, but found none." Finding the authority questionable under which he acted, he ceased cruising and shaped his course for the Atlantic. He did not feel justified in destoying vessels, but, on the contrary, thought the ship should revert to the American Government. He therefore sought Liverpool to learn the news, and, if without foundation, to surrender the ship, with guns, stores, aadn apparel complete to the British government, for such disposition as it should deem proper. The Shenandoah was surrendered to the American Consul on the 10th who took formal possession, and placed her under Captain Freeman and a crew of his own selection, to convoy the ship to New York. - May 1866."

    Waddell stayed in England until 1875. The Treaty of Washington (The "Alabama" Claims) had been signed in 1871 (?) There's a clue. Back home, general amnestys were the order of the day.

    He had a good lawyer, and some luck.

    Also, he was a North Carolinian, like me.... wink.gif We get free passes, from time to time. The thing is, you want them to think you're just smart enough to get out the door in the morning...

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    • 3 months later...
    • 2 months later...
    Guest Rick Research

    Connecticut book remainder king Edward R Hamilton has a current history books supplement out with what must be THIRTY Confederate navy titles in it... which would be THIRTY more than I have ever seen==


    He also has as title #4164016 Robert Krick, "Staff Officers in Gray: A Biographical Register of the Staff Officers of Northern Virginia," 2,300 officers, with 3,000 other CSA officers in appenices (!), $13.95

    Anybody interested in "Rebel Rank Lists" ought to order fast!

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