While most think of Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court House as the end of the Civil War, the final group of Confederates to surrender was not until November 6, 1865.
The Confederate flag was surrendered after the CSS Shenandoah discovered that the Civil War was over. However, it was in England, not America, that they surrendered. They discovered the news from a British vessel and realized that they could be considered pirates now that the Confederacy no longer existed.
Captain Waddell stowed all weapons below deck and even had the hull repainted. The CSS Shenandoah then fled halfway across the globe to Liverpool, England, the same place the Confederacy secretly purchased the vessel in 1864. The CSS Shenandoah had recorded capturing or destroying 38 ships, seizing more than 1,000 captives, and inflicting $1.6 million in damages. It did most of its damage in the Pacific Ocean against Union whaling ships. Some historians debate if the ship’s captain knew the war was over and continued attacking ships, but no conclusive evidence has yet been uncovered.
After surrendering to the British, the sailors were eventually released, and the ship was returned to the US government. The ship was later sold to the sultan of Zanzibar and sank in 1872.
Written by Josh Yohe