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CSS Shenandoah

Charles H. Morton was born in America and it is possible that he was born in Virginia. There was a Charles Morton of Virginia who travelled a lot with the railroad throughout the southeast prior to the war. Charles later migrated to Australia to begin a new life. While living in the Melbourne area, Charles heard that the Confederate Cruiser, the “CSS Shenandoah”, had entered Port Phillip Bay, off Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, on January 25, 1865, to resupply before continuing her raids on Union merchant vessels on the open sea. After learning the “Shenandoah” was also looking for able bodied seamen to sign on as new crewmembers, Charles ignored  police orders that locals were not to board the “Shenandoah”, and went aboard anyway; and hid out until the “Shenandoah” had set sail and was once again in international waters. Charles then came forth and by placing his mark beside his name, he signed aboard the “Shenandoah” as a 3rd class boy at a pay rate of $12.00; on February 18th, 1865. On February 23, 1865 Charles was transferred, on the ships rolls, from seaman to one of a Confederate Marine aboard ship.

Upon Captain Waddell learning of the end of the war while in the Bering Sea, he did something never done before or since in the annals of naval history; he sailed the “Shenandoah” from the Bering Sea to Liverpool, England, a distance of thousands of miles, without once coming in sight of land. Just thirteen months after the departure from the Thames, and just six months, lacking four days, after the war ended, the Confederate ship-of-war, the “CSS Shenandoah" surrendered to Her Majesty's frigate “Donegal”; commanded by Captain Painter.

Charles was later assigned to assist Lewis Wiggins, of the “Shenandoah” in the issuance of pay at the end of the voyage to the seamen at the ‘Sailors’ Home’ at Canning Place, in Liverpool, England. Charles was also one of the signatories who expressed confidence in the command of Lieutenant James I. Waddell, in a petition dated September 1865. Morton is said to have taken a second-class ticket to Bristol, England around November 1865 and in March 1866 he become to seriously ill and was admitted to the Royal Infirmary, in Liverpool.


Alabama Claims Vol. 1, “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

CSS Shenandoah Deck Log

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

Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion

The Illustrated London News, November, 1865

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


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