back to top
Whilst on holiday recently I picked up a book by John Baldwin and Ron Powers called "Last Flag Down", the story of the commerce raider Shenandoah. It is written from the daily log of Lt Conway Whittle, the ships executive officer and ancestor of author John Baldwin. It gives the reader a very good feel of how tough life at sea was, not only the daily routine drudgery of working a sailing ship but of being alone at sea, no home port to run to and unsure of who your friends were or even if your country was still at war, whilst hunting down and taking many prizes from the US merchant and whaling fleets and in that respect it is a very good book. I do feel though that it is very harsh in its treatment of the Captain, James I Waddell, who it would seem was only aboard the ship so that he could be blamed for everything that went wrong whilst his young exec is credited with everything right. Maybe that's how it was, maybe not, and it certainly has me searching now for other accounts of the Shenandoahs' epic voyage, those of Captain Waddell and other officers and crew members."Sea of Gray-The around the World Odyssey of the Confederate Raider Shenandoah" by Tom Chaffin - Hill and Wang 2006 should fill the bill nicely. It's not only good history...it's a fine read as well.