The Last Shot: The Incredible Story of the C.S.S. Shenandoah and the True Conclusion of the American Civil War

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9780060523336: The Last Shot: The Incredible Story of the C.S.S. Shenandoah and the True Conclusion of the American Civil War

In the autumn of 1864, at the height of the American Civil War, the Confederate raider Shenandoah received orders to "seek out and utterly destroy" the whaling fleets of New England as part of an effort to bleed the Union of its economic strength -- an undertaking that met its greatest success when the raider fell upon a fleet of whalers working the waters near Alaska's Little Diomede Island and sank more than two dozen ships in a frenzy of destruction.

Before the Shenandoah's voyage was over, the raider had captured or sunk thirty-eight ships. She also took more than a thousand prisoners and led the best warships of the Union navy on a twenty-seven-thousand-mile chase that ended with her escape to England, making her the only Confederate vessel to circumnavigate the globe. At the end of her journey -- truly one of the most remarkable in naval history -- the effects of the raider's actions reached far beyond the glow of the flames marking the sky above the Arctic ice. The inferno signaled not only the near-demise of the New England whaling industry, but also the end of America's growing hegemony over worldwide shipping for the next eighty years. These Civil War clashes also helped precipitate the establishment of international laws that remain in effect today.

But more important than the tally of damage was the date the final conflagration began: June 22, the longest day of the year, and almost a full three months after General Lee lay down his sword at Appomattox. Contrary to contemporary belief, it was not on the battlefield in Virginia but high in the Arctic where the last shot of the American Civil War was fired.

Blending high-seas adventure and first-rate research, Lynn Schooler's The Last Shot is naval history of the very first order, offering a riveting account of the last Southern military force to lay down its arms.

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About the Author:

Lynn Schooler, author of The Blue Bear, has lived in Alaska for more than thirty years. He is a two-time winner of Alaska magazine's grand prize for wildlife photography and winner of the National Wildlife grand prize.

From Publishers Weekly:

A longtime Alaskan has given us this impressive history of the last Confederate commerce raider, which fired its last shot at a Yankee whaler north of the Aleutian Islands two and a half months after Appomattox. It begins with the ship leaving England under the name Sea King, then meeting a chartered cargo ship at Madeira and loading guns and other warlike gear—without more than a fraction of the crew needed to use them. A gifted seaman if more than a little irascible, Capt. James Waddell recruited his crew as he sailed. After an eventful stop in Melbourne, Australia, the ship sailed north to the Arctic whaling grounds, ravaged the whaling fleet and was proceeding to attack the California gold ships when Waddell learned that the war was over—whereupon he set off to deliver his ship and crew to the British by sailing 23,000 storm-tossed miles back to Liverpool without sighting land. Researched heavily from primary sources, filled with vivid personality portraits and almost miraculously accessible to readers without a background in maritime history, this is an absolutely irresistible sea story. The seafaring audience is likely to be as strong as or stronger than the Civil War audience for this book, and the combination may really set it afloat. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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