Swanton, whose first name William A. Temple incorrectly
recorded as ‘Thomas’, was born in England, migrated to
Victoria, Australia and made his home in the vicinity of
residing there when the “CSS Shenandoah”, a Confederate
Cruiser during the American Civil War, arrived in Port
Phillip Bay off Melbourne on January 25, 1865.
February, Swanton like many others living in the area joined
the thousands that went down to the Williamstown docks to
see the Confederate warship, but Swanton wanted more;
hearing the “Shenandoah” was also trying to recruit new
crewmembers, Swanton wanted to be among those to be
night of February 17, 1865, Swanton secretly went aboard the
“CSS Shenandoah”, in violation of the Victorian mandate not
to do so, and was aided by the crew who hid him below decks.
He had to remain hidden so not to be found, until the
“Shenandoah” had returned to sea, leaving Australian waters.
On February 18, 1865, after the ship was well into
international waters, Swanton came out of hiding and joined
forty-one others who signed aboard the “Shenandoah”. Swanton
signed on as a seaman for a rate of $29.10; and by placing
his mark beside his name in the logbook, Swanton became a
“Shenandoah” crewmember. On
Saturday, May 27, 1865 Swanton was a member of a
“Shenandoah” boarding party who boarded the Abigail, a
captured prize vessel. Searching the captured ship, Swanton
found a large quantity of liquor aboard and together with
his fellow boarders managed to get quite intoxicated.
Subsequently, as Swanton was leaving the Abigail to return
to the “Shenandoah”, for reasons only known to him, in a
drunken state he deliberately jumped overboard; but he was
quickly hauled in and lashed to the bottom of the boat as
Swanton was, however, one of the signatories who expressed
their confidence in the command of Lieutenant James I.
Waddell, in a petition dated September 1865; and he remained
aboard the “Shenandoah” until the end of her epic voyage.
surrender of the “CSS Shenandoah” by Lieutenant James I.
Waddell, on November 6, 1865 to British Captain Paynter
commanding Her Majesty’s ship “Donegal, at Liverpool,
England, Swanton accompanied the crew as they disembarked
and was given quarters ashore.
“Correspondence Concerning Claims Against Great Britain
the Senate of the United States in answer to the Resolutions of
December 4, and
10, 1867, and of May 27, 1868”, Washington; 1869
Brockenbrough Library, Museum of the Confederacy, Richmond,
The Confederate soldier in the Civil War, 1861-1865,
of the Union and
Confederate Navies in
the War of the
Cruise of the Shenandoah,
Captain William C.
William A. Temple,