HL Hunley



“The Secrets of the Shenandoah”
New York Times
Oct. 13, 2013

“Of Rebel Raiders and the West”
Los Angeles Times
Feb. 6, 2006


The Around-The-World Odyssey of the Confederate Raider Shenandoah

The sleek, 222-foot, black auxiliary steamer Sea King left London on October 8, 1864, ostensibly bound for Bombay.  The subterfuge was ended off the shores of Madeira, where the ship was outfitted for war. The newly christened CSS Shenandoah then commenced the last, most quixotic sea story of the Civil War: the 58,000-mile, around-the-world cruise of the Confederacy’s second most successful commerce raider. Before its voyage was over, thirty-two Union merchant and whaling ships and their cargoes would be destroyed. But it was only after ship and crew embarked on the last leg of their journey that the excursion took its most fearful turn.
Four months after the Civil War was over, the Shenandoah’s Captain Waddell finally learned he was, and had been, fighting without cause or state. In the eyes of the world, he had gone from being an enemy combatant to being a pirate–a hangable offense. Now fearing capture and mutiny, with supplies quickly dwindling, Waddell elected to camouflage the ship, circumnavigate the globe, and attempt to surrender on English soil.


“A spirited account of the Shenandoah’s odyssey—both an intriguing Civil War story and a bracing nautical yarn.” —Michael Kenney, Boston Globe

“Sure to satisfy Civil War and nautical fans, Chaffin’s history describes these adventures in gratifying detail.”
Publishers Weekly

“A satisfying and delicious read, start to finish, for the armchair historian or sailor—or anyone else curious about this strange chapter of the Civil War. . . . Chaffin delivers a crackerjack story, well-researched but not overwhelmed by technical details. He writes with authority and a clear passion for the colorful, fated characters of this true-life bluewater saga.”
—Philip Gerard, Raleigh News and Observer

“Meticulously researched . . . Chaffin, the author of Pathfinder: John Charles Frémont and the Course of American Empire, has drawn from a rich array of primary sources, including shipboard journals, crew memoirs, and newspaper accounts, to tell the story of the raider’s 58,000-mile journey . . . A brisk and engaging read.”
— Elizabeth D. Hoover, American Heritage

“Skillfully utilizing a variety of primary and secondary sources, including officer diaries, Chaffin takes us from the difficulties in outfitting the ship, in terms of equipping and manning it, through its tempestuous trips to ice-filled waters in the Bering Strait and others seas. . . . an important, readable addition to a fascinating chapter in U.S. maritime history.”
—Brother Edward Sheehy, Philadelphia Inquirer

The story of the Shenandoah combines political intrigue, sailing adventures and military history, all finely wrought in Tom Chaffin’s Sea of Gray: The Around-the-World Odyssey of the Confederate Raider Shenandoah.
—Clay Risen, Nashville Scene

Sea of Gray is a masterful, well-researched, easily read narrative showing how a struggle between capitals 100 miles apart actually reached ten of thousands miles around the world.”
—Dave Schiller, Richmond Times-Dispatch

“A highly readable and well researched volume . . . full of beautiful period photographs, excellent maps, line drawings of Shenandoah, a detailed sail plan of the warship, and appendices, footnotes and appendices. It most certainly deserves a place in the library of any serious scholar of the Civil War or of nautical history.”
—Vice Admiral James Stavridis, U.S. Navy, Naval History Magazine

Sea of Gray is a gripping account of a remarkable voyage.”
—Mark Dunkleman, Providence Journal