Monday, September 30, 2013

CSS Shenandoah: The Last Rebel Warrior

The Raiders of Rebel Raiders   -  CSS Shenandoah: The Last Rebel Warrior

Rebel Raiders on the High Seas is a strategic game of the Civil War which focuses on the role of the navies on the rivers, along the coasts and on the oceans.  While most ships are represented by generic counters for Ironclads, Blockade Runners, Gunboats, and Screw Sloops and, of course Raiders, there are cards and corresponding counters for many individual vessels.  This series presents those cards and offers a glimpse into the history of these storied ships.

The New Bedford Whaling Fleet never recovered from the ravages of James Waddell and his storied raider, CSS Shenandoah.  This ship, represented by its own special named counter and card (CSN Card 64) specialized in hunting whalers – and was in the process of doing so in the Aleutians when she fired the last shot of the Civil War – in late June, more than two months after Lee’s surrender at Appomattox.  (The board game has a special Whaling Zone where raiders are especially effective to reflect the immense damage done by Waddell and his raider).

For two years Waddell, a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Navy before going South, scourged the seas, sinking, bonding or capturing 38 ships.  He circumnavigated the globe, leading Union warships on a merry chase from the Atlantic to the Indian and Antarctic, past New Zealand into Pacific and finally to the Arctic.  No other raider covered so much of the globe, or showed the flag in so many oceans, seas or ports.

When Waddell learned from his last victim of the war’s end, he sailed on for another three months, searching for a port where he and his crew, now deemed pirates for carrying out acts of war after the cessation of hostilities, could surrender in safety and honor.   He found that port in Liverpool, on the banks of the Mersey where his ship was built.  On November 6, 1865 Waddell lowered his flag and surrendered CSS Shenandoah to a British warship, on condition that he and his men be paroled.

Not only did CSS Shenandoah fire the last shot of the war, she was the last Confederate force to surrender.

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