It would be pretty difficult to serve your country’s navy: to be away from home for months at a time, to be in dangerous situations while capturing merchant ships to support your country in a time of war, and to miss out on important things like family birthdays or current events. It would be even worse to return home and find out that the country you had been sweating and bleeding for didn’t exist anymore.
On this day in history in 1865, the CSS Shenandoah returned after a long cruise. They had been very successful in their mission to disrupt various economically important vessels of their enemies, but the mission had lasted longer than anticipated: the ship had actually circumnavigated the globe.
Unfortunately, instead of being praised as heroes and given a parade, the crew of the Shenandoah was forced to surrender. The war had ended seven months earlier and the Confederate States of America was no more.
|The only Confederate flag to circumnavigate the globe,|
lowered in surrender by the crew of the CSS Shenandoah
on this day in history in 1865.
Fortunately, they had caught wind of the news and so headed to a safer port, even though it was across the Atlantic in Liverpool. They were (rightly) apprehensive about being hung for piracy in the United States, even though they hadn’t attacked any actual US vessels while they were out circumnavigating Earth and taking merchant ships.
Many of the officers and crew eventually trickled back to the New World, starting new careers or heading to college. Others joined the crews of ships heading elsewhere. So even though the CSS Shenandoah was too late to be celebrated, it was one of the Confederacy’s most successful ships.