The Last Confederate Cruiser
Cornelius E. Hunt
The principal part of the duty assigned us had been discharged in the destruction and dispersing of the New England whaling fleet, and it was with feelings of profound relief that we at last saw these frozen seas, with their many perils seen and unseen, where for weeks we had been battling with ice or groping blindly in impenetrable fogs, fading in the distance.
All were in good spirits, as we had reason to be, after performing well a laborious and in many respects unpleasant duty, and as each day carried us nearer these genial seas where for a time we expected to cruise, the memory of many hardships faded from our minds. Thus we sped us on our way....
We saw no sail after leaving the Straits on the 30th of June, until the 2d of August, when we sighted a barque. The wind was very light, so we got up steam, and stood toward her, flying the English ensign at our peak. As we approached, she showed the same colors, and although we had no reason to doubt from her general appearance but that she had a perfect right to carry the flag she flew, we stopped our engines and dispatched an officer on board, in the hope of obtaining some comparatively recent news from the world of which we had known so little for many weary months.
In the course of half an hour the boat returned, bringing intelligence of the gravest possible moment. The Southern cause was lost -- hopelessly -- irretrievably -- and the war ended. Our gallant generals, one after another, had been forced to surrender the armies they had so often led to victory. State after State had been overrun and occupied by the countless myriads of our enemies, until star by star the galaxy of our flag had faded, and the Southern Confederacy had ceased to exist....
CORNELIUS E. HUNT, The Shenandoah; or the Last Confederate Cruiser ( New York, 1867), Chs. ix. x.
The Shenandoah, purchased by the Confederacy in England, was second only to the more famous Alabama in the amount of damage inflicted on United States commerce. Cruising mainly in the Arctic, it captured and destroyed or released on bond 38 ships of the New England whaling fleet in Northern Pacific waters. Conlelius Hunt was a minor officer, and his charges of Commander Waddell's peculations have been doubted. Yet Waddell, who lived until 1885, took no notice of the charges.