Rob and Mob are joined by Barry Crompton from the American Civil War Round Table of Australia, to launch his intensively researched tome Dixie Down Under. Barry describes the efforts made to track down the Australian members of the Shenandoah’s crew, including William Kenyon, the only Australian born member of the crew, and the only Australian crewman whose grave has been identified. Find out what William did with the rest of his life (hint, it involved alcohol and ‘disorderly women’), on this weeks episode of Shenandoah Down Under.
With the Shenandoah heading through a patch of sea that Executive Officer Whittle calls ‘Oh, the terrible monotony’ Rob and Mob are lucky enough to have a listener alert them to the fact that they rather neglected the Shenandoah’s departure from Melbourne, which was much more exciting. In full flashback mode they describe the troubles of Union Consul Blanchard in trying to find a magistrate ready to stop the Shenandoah, when every magistrate in Melbourne is trying to avoid him….
After leaving Melbourne in 1865, Captain Waddell falls into what seems to be a depressive episode. Worn down by the cares of command, he constantly finds fault with his officers, and the situation is not helped as the long days pass without the sight of a Yankee prize. . . .
Back in 2015, we have the second half of our interview with Byard Sheppard of the Civil War Round Table of Australia, where we continue to discuss the career and eventual fate of the Sea King turned Shenandoah. Will the ship have a happy ending? Find out in episode 20 of Shenandoah Down Under.
On the way to Australia the Shenandoah makes a stopover at the isolated (aren’t they all) island of St Paul. With six square kilometres of barren rock surrounding a sea filled volcanic crater, St Paul today looks like the perfect island for a James Bond supervillian, but in 1865 it is the haunt of two Frenchmen who sell the Shenandoah a chicken and a penguin (lets hope they don’t get them mixed up). In other news, the Shenandoah captures another Yankee Ship, the Delphine, and the Captain’s wife, the redoubtable Mrs Nichols, proves something of a handful.
The Shenandoah sails towards Tristan da Cunha, the most isolated inhabited archipelago in the world. Executive Officer Whittle continues his enthusiastic experiments with naval discipline, most of which include tricing, the gentle art of hanging men from their thumbs. Captain Waddell also begins to show himself an autocrat and stickler, insisting that his officers wear the unflattering Confederate naval uniform (gray does show the dirt so).
With the Shenandoah traversing the Atlantic, Rob and Mob fill in the previous biographies of the junior officers of the Shenandoah. These include Sydney Smith-Lee, nephew of the famous General Robert E Lee, and the splendidly named Debney Minor Scales. There is also Lieutenant Chew, who gave up drugs for the sea (he was a pharmacist, not a addict). On the action front, Executive Officer Whittle has a potentially fatal altercation with a rhubarb pie, and the Shenandoah captures it’s third prize in ten days.
Robert explains in perhaps overly enthusiastic detail how the narrative progression in Shenandoah Down Under differs from that in the cult tv series ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’. Perhaps more to the point, there is also a description of the consequences of the Treaty of Paris in 1856, and how the agreement of Paris (which came after) has had repercussions to the present day, especially for a small town in Scotland which remained at war with Russia for one hundred and twenty years. When Michael can get a word in edgeways, he reports on the taking of the Shenandoah’s first prize as a warship. Will they get chains and blocks and tackle to mount their guns? Will they get any furniture? Perhaps most crucially, will their terrible lack of 600 pounds of tinned lobster be remedied?
The Sea King is now the CSS Shenandoah, but his new command is far from easy for Captain Waddell. He has barely enough men to raise his own anchor, and his ship is lacking essential equipment. The ship has no furniture, and none of the chains and pulleys to mount her guns, although to look on the bright side he does have three flush toilets and Cunningham’s self reefing topsails. Will he repair to a friendly port to complete the ship’s fit-out, or will he press on and try and get what he needs with force of arms?