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CSS Shenandoah

Henry Sutherland, whose first name was also recorded as Harry, was born in Scotland and migrated by way of England to Victoria, Australia. There he made his home in the community of Williamstown, on the outskirts of Melbourne, and records show that his occupation was that of a ship’s carpenter. With the arrival of the Confederate Cruiser, the “CSS Shenandoah, in Port Phillip Bay on January 25, 1865, Sutherland made his way to the Williamstown docks where she was berthed for repairs to see her. Arriving, he was impressed with her size and stature and wanted to go aboard and examine her. He was prevented from doing so, however, as Victorian authorities at the urging of the U.S. Consulate in Melbourne had issued orders that none of the citizenry were to be allowed aboard. Word had gotten out that the Captain of the “Shenandoah” was also interested in recruiting new crewmembers while in port; which was in violation of international law in a neutral port.

Returning home, Sutherland later stated he sold and disposed of all his personal belongings as quickly as possible; determined to return to the docks and join the “Shenandoah” crew before she sailed. On the dark Friday night of February 17, 1865, Sutherland saw his chance and returned to the docks, boarding the “Shenandoah’ and with the help of its crew hid out below decks. He had to remain in hiding until the “Shenandoah” set sail and made its way out of Australian jurisdiction; into international waters. He then came out of hiding and along with forty-one other stowaways, on February 18, 1865, Southerland officially signed aboard the “CSS Shenandoah” as a coal trimmer for a rate of $26.30. Like many others, Southerland placed his mark beside his name on the ships log and became a member of the Confederate Navy.

Sutherland is said to have later sent a letter back to someone in Queenscliff, Victoria, Australia; most likely from Liverpool, England. Henry Sutherland was a great admirer of Lieutenant James I. Waddell, his Captain, and was one of the signatories who later expressed confidence in the command of Lieutenant James I. Waddell, in a petition dated September 1865.  

With the surrender of the “CSS Shenandoah”, by Lieutenant Waddell, to British Captain Paynter, commanding Her Majesty’s ship “Donegal at Liverpool, England on November 6, 1865, it is believed Sutherland went ashore with the rest of the crew and may have returned to Australia

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, May 30th, 1865

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

William A. Temple, affidavit


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