Sea Of Gray by Tom Chaffin (HC/DJ)
Assembled from hundreds of original documents, including intimate shipboard journals kept by Shenandoah officers, Sea of Gray is a masterful narrative of men at sea
The sleek, 222-foot, black auxiliary steamer Sea King left London on October 8, 1864, ostensibly bound for Bombay. The subterfuge was ended off the shores of Madeira, where the ship was outfitted for war. The newly christened CSS Shenandoah then commenced the last, most quixotic sea story of the Civil War: the 58,000-mile, around-the-world cruise of the Confederacy's second most successful commerce raider. Before its voyage was over, thirty-two Union merchant and whaling ships and their cargoes would be destroyed. But it was only after ship and crew embarked on the last leg of their journey that the excursion took its most fearful turn.
Four months after the Civil War was over, the Shenandoah's Captain Waddell finally learned he was, and had been, fighting without cause or state. In the eyes of the world, he had gone from being an enemy combatant to being a pirate―a hangable offense. Now fearing capture and mutiny, with supplies quickly dwindling, Waddell elected to camouflage the ship, circumnavigate the globe, and attempt to surrender on English soil.
"A superb account of how the Confederate raider Shenandoah brought the American Civil War to the farthest reaches of the world." -- Nathaniel Philbrick, author of Mayflower and Sea of Glory