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Raider 'Shenandoah' in the Bering Sea.
Oil on canvas (760 x 500)mm
The 'Shenandoah' had been built in the United Kingdom. She was purchased from the British, equipped as a raiderand cruised round the Cape of Good Hope to Melbourne where she was docked for repairs. 'Shenandoah' the continued through the Pacific, northwards to the Bering Sea where she descended on the Union's whaling fleet, unaware that the Civil War was over; Robert E. Lee having surrendered on 9.April, 1865.
On 26 June 'Shenandoah' had recently captured three whale ships: the ships 'William C. Nye', of San Francisco, and 'Catharine', of New London; and the bark 'Nimrod', of New Bedford. Late in the morning five ships were spotted a few miles to the north. Before setting off in chase there was a problem; from earlier captures and the three recent captures, 'Shenandoah' had around 250 whalemen detained on board. As was remarked by one of the officers there was “a much larger delegation of Yankees than we cared to have on board the Shenandoah at a time, with nothing to do but plot mischief.”
To deter any attempt at mutiny the prisoners were disembarked into 12 captured whale boats to tow astern during the chase. While this was in progress the three captured whaleships were set on fire.