Shenandoah Down Under

Shenandoah Down Under Episode 40

As the Shenandoah travels further back into the Pacific and closer to the American mainland the weather is warmer, and the ship is travelling at a fair clip, but all is not well in the hearts of men. After a month where whaling crews have been trying to tell them, with increasing stridency that the war is over, are the crew of the Shenandoah beginning to suspect that, perhaps, the war is over?

While they ponder this question 150 years ago, Rob and Mob turn their attention to a slightly different subject. The Shenandoah took the chronometer of every prize as a trophy. Just why was the chronometer so crucial to the operations of a ship, and why did the best minds of several centuries try (and often fail) to develop a practical method of finding longtitude?

Shenandoah Down Under Episode 39

Rob and Mob interview horticulturist, eighteenth century reenactor and polymath Michael Hagen about some fascinating relics of the civil war that can still be visited today. the first of these is the Waterbury Button Company, which cheerfully made brass buttons for both sides of the American Civil War, and is still operating today at the same location using the same equipment. The second is the Charles W. Morgan, the only surviving nineteenth century whaling ship and the oldest merchant ship in the world. The Charles W. Morgan was the sister ship, built to the same plan, of the Acushnet, the whaler that Herman Melville shipped on, and that was the inspiration for the fictional Pequod in Melville’s Moby Dick.

Meanwhile, back one hundred and fifty years ago on the Shenandoah, the Master at Arms has a very very bad no good  day. Was alcohol involved? Find out on this weeks episode, the one with the drunk Master at Arms….

Shenandoah Down Under Episode 38

In part two of Rob and MOB’s interview with author and historian Chris Gidlow, Chris continues to entertainingly detail the tortuous history of the Confederate States’ attempts to design a suitable flag – one that couldn’t be confused with the Stars & Stripes on the battlefield, or look like a flag of surrender. This somewhat contentious process had not reached a satisfactory conclusion when the war, um, ended. Chris also recounts the history of the first Confederate flag to be torn down, a trend that has just recently once again become fashionable…

Back 150 years ago on the CSS Shenandoah, the ship heads back to the relative safety of the (ice-free) Pacific. Two major events ruffle the peace of onboard life. The first is Captain Waddell’s 41st birthday, planned to be celebrated by all in the finest ‘Knobby’ style, complete with roast pig, lots of liquor, and ‘splicing the mainbrace’ (so that the crew can drink the captain’s health). What could spoil this auspicious occasion? Why, the Ship’s cat could. When pussy cat is thought to have gone overboard a terrible storm erupts, just as sailors’ superstition predicts. Will the ship turn over? Will the cat be saved? Will Lieut Whittle (not a cat fancier) be convicted of being a Jonah? Find out in episode 38 of Shenandoah Down Under, the one with the cat.

Shenandoah Down Under Episode 37

In this week’s episode of Shenandoah Down Under Robert and Michael are delighted to interview author and historian Christopher Gidlow, the Live Interpretation Manager at the Historic Royal Palaces, UK (his office is actually in the Tower of London). In a wide ranging interview that naturally manages to touch on the bad false beards in American Civil War movies, Chris explains in detail the history of the Confederate flag, the same flag that is currently causing so much controversy.

Back on the CSS Shenandoah one hundred and fifty years ago, the ship has turned back from the Arctic and is heading south towards the Pacific, hoping by doing so they’ll escape the ice. Do they do this? Find out in this topical and iceberg-filled episode of Shenandoah Down Under, aka Confederate Pirates Save the Whales.