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CSS Shenandoah

James Simms was born in England and after migrating to Victoria, Australia, made his home in Melbourne, Victoria. In February 1865 Simms became aware, as did many in Melbourne, that a Confederate Cruiser, the “CSS Shenandoah” had entered Port Phillip Bay, off Melbourne on January 25, 1865 to resupply her stores, make repairs and possibly acquire additional crewmen; before resuming her attacks on Union merchant and whaling ships at sea. Legally the “Shenandoah” was not allowed to recruit crewmembers in a neutral port, but word of mouth soon changed that.

The local population had been warned by Australian authorities, at the urging of the U.S. Consulate, that Australians were not to board the “Shenandoah” under ant conditions, but Simms like others ignored the warning.

On the night of February 17, 1865 Simms slipped boarded the “CSS Shenandoah” and the crewmembers concealed him until the ship was again at sea and out of Australian waters. Once in international waters, Simms and others who had likewise come aboard in Melbourne, came out of hiding sometime shortly before midnight on the night of February 17, 1865, and officially signed aboard; Simms placing his mark beside his name, became a seaman and crewmember of the “Shenandoah”; on February 18th, 1865, for a rate of $29.10. William A. Temple, however, incorrectly recorded his name at the time as John ‘Simmes’.

After the surrender of the CSS Shenandoah, on November 6, 1865, to British Captain Paynter, commanding her Majesty’s ship “Donegal at Liverpool, England, Simms joined other crewmembers ashore and eventually made his way back to Australia.

 

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

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

William A. Temple, affidavit

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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