The Final Gun

Emerging Civil War

Today, we are pleased to welcome back guest author Dwight Hughes

Captain James I. Waddell. Naval History and Heritage Command. Captain James I. Waddell. Naval History and Heritage Command.

The CSS Shenandoah steamed northward through the Bering Sea in Arctic twilight. Shortly after midnight on June 22, 1865, the horizon was smudged by smoke from a whaler’s tryworks, and by morning, the New Bedford whalers Euphrates and William Thompson hove into view. Euphrates made a feeble attempt to flee but was quickly caught. Crews were removed and both ships went up in flames.

From Thompson’s Captain F. C. Smith, Shenandoah’s officers learned of the April 14 assassination of President Lincoln and the attempt on Secretary of State Seward. “I am certain that it was not done by anyone from our side,” wrote First Lieutenant William Whittle, a Virginian, but he feared that Confederates would be blamed anyway.[1]

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