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CSS Shenandoah

John Ramsdel, whose name also appears as Ramsdale, was born around 1831 in Surrey, England; the son of George and Elizabeth Ramsdale. John married Sarah Samuel at Middlesex, England, in 1856 and they had nine children. After migrating to Australia John and his family, in 1856, took up residence in Victoria, Australia. Upon learning that the Confederate Cruiser, the “CSS Shenandoah” had dropped anchor in Port Phillip Bay, off Melbourne on January 25, 1865, on February 17, 1865 John went aboard the CSS Shenandoah on the night of February 17, 1865.

He was not immediately enlisted, however, he had to wait until the ship was outside the legal limits of Australian waters. He then signed on as a seaman and a member of the ships crew the following day, February 18th, 1865, at a pay rate of $29.10 by making his mark beside his name. With the surrender of the “CSS Shenandoah” at Liverpool, England on November 6, 1865, to British Captain Paynter commanding her Majesty’s ship “Donegal, John is said to have returned to Australia and worked as a waiter, in Melbourne.

John Ramsdel died at his home at 134 Cardigan Street, Smith Ward, Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria on July 19, 1884, and was buried, in an unmarked grave, in the Melbourne General Cemetery.


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.

John Ramsdel, Death Certificate

Sands and McDougall’s Directory, Victoria, 1884

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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