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CSS Shenandoah

James McLean was born in Scotland, migrated by way of England to Victoria, Australia and upon his arrival disembarked from his ship and made his home in the vicinity of Melbourne, Victoria. McLean was living and working there when he heard that the Confederate Cruiser, the “CSS Shenandoah” had entered Port Phillip Bay off Melbourne, on January 25, 1865, to make repairs to a faulty propeller shaft, recalk the ships hull and replenish her supplies; and, though it was illegal in a neutral port to do so, its Captain was also looking to acquire new crewmembers. McLean immediately went to the Williamstown docks with hundreds of others to see the ship, and decided he would like to sign on as a crewmember. So on the night of February 17, 1865 he made his way back to the “Shenandoah” and upon an invitation from the crew went aboard,.

Having already heard, he was told again by the crew, that if he was found aboard local police would forcibly remove him because Victorian authorities had issued orders that absolutely no one was to be allowed aboard the Confederate Cruiser. McLean was then assisted by crewmembers and hidden out of sight until the ship again set sail sail and made its way out of Australian waters. When that occurred McLean came out of hiding, joined forty-one other men and on February 18, 1865, placed his mark beside his name on the ships log for a pay rate of $33.95; and became a 1st class fireman and member of the “Shenandoah” crew. William Temple, however, incorrectly recorded his name as ‘Thomas’. James McLean was also one of the signatories who expressed confidence in the command of Lieutenant James I. Waddell in a petition dated September 1865.

McLean continued serving on the “Shenandoah” until November 6, 1865 at which time the “CSS Shenandoah” was officially surrendered by Lieutenant Waddell, commanding, to British Captain Paynter, commanding Her Majesty’s ship “Donegal; in Liverpool, England. Afterwards, he joined the crew ashore where they were given temporary lodging.


Alabama Claims, “Correspondence Concerning Claims Against Great Britain

   transmitted to the Senate of the United States in answer to the Resolutions of 

   December 4, and 10, 1867, and of May 27, 1868”, Washington; 1869

Eleanor S. Brockenbrough Library, Museum of the Confederacy, Richmond, Virginia.

History of The Confederate States Navy, J.T. Scarf, 1996

Marauders of the Sea, Confederate Merchant Raiders During the American Civil

     War, Mackenzie J Gregory

The Cruise of the Shenandoah, Captain William C. Whittle, CSN

William A. Temple, affidavit


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