Ships named Shenandoah and Sea King

March 21, 2010 11:18 AM
  Subject: "were there two Shenandoahs" WebLog

There was only one CSS Shenandoah as you pointed out. Its Smoke stack was telescopic.

I am only aware of one picture of the CSS Shenandoah, and that is the one in drydock. All others of the CSS Shenandoah are various types of Art, Painting, Sketches(one done by Captain Waddell in a long boat during the cruise.)

 I am very likely to write a  book on the CSS Shenandoah and have alot of info previously to my knowlege unpublished. If I dont however, there is no way I will let the info I have discovered disappear again.

There was however another Shenandoah and that is this one which ironically searched for Confederate Raiders early on, then went to become a blockade ship. This particular ship (other than its existance and photographs) I know little about. The one picture I do remember, it appeared to be riding much lower in the water for some reason. Possibly heavy armament? Strangely her dimensions loosely length and width appear similar to her Confederate counter part.


Because the US already had a USS Shenandoah, the CSS Shenandoah resumed its old Sea King Name. Whether that name was SS Sea King or USS Sea King I do not know.

May I ask what info you have on the ship and specifically to the location, date and circumstances of her sinking.

Also of interest any info on the Shenandoah dry docking in Austrailia.

Im very interested in info that cannon currently in Austrailia from the CSS Shenandoah along with the dates, info and how it came to be where it is.

I believe the Placque says Feb 1865 which is confusing to me because I did not think Shenandoah made it to dry dock by that time.


More about the name Shenandoah: Ships and the airship carrying the name Shenandoah were so named after the Shenandoah valley and the national park. The Shenandoah Valley. Ships were also named for the adjoining Shenandoah National Park. The Valley and the National Park are both located in the western part of the State of Virginia. The name Shenandoah is derived from an Indian word meaning "Daughter of the Stars.

USS Shenandoah
Four United States Navy ships, including one rigid airship, and one ship of the Confederate States of America, have been named Shenandoah, after the Shenandoah River of western Virginia and West Virginia.

  a.. The first Shenandoah was a screw sloop commissioned in 1863, active in the American Civil War, and in use until 1886
  b.. The second Shenandoah (ZR-1) was the first rigid airship built by the Navy, christened 1923 but destroyed in a storm in 1925
  c.. The third Shenandoah (AD-26) was a destroyer tender in service from 1945 to 1980
  d.. The fourth Shenandoah (AD-44) is also a destroyer tender, commissioned 1983 and decommissioned 1996
  e.. USNS Shenandoah (T-AO-181), an oiler laid down in 1964, renamed USNS Potomac (T-AO-181) prior to completion

CSS Shenandoah high and dry on the slip at Williamstown, a suburb of my own city of Melbourne. February, 1865
  US Naval Historical Center Photograph Shenandoah on the Williamstown slip in February of 1865.

It is my understanding that the cannon on Churtchill Island is not from the Confederate Raider.

IF CSS Shenandoah resumed her original name of Sea King she would have carried the prefix CSS and not USS.

CSS Shenandoah at the end of the civil war sailed to England where she gave herself up to the British.

Another picture of CSS Shenandoah.

I am unable to turn up any detail about the demise of USS Shenandoah 1, all the internet turns up for me is a host of articles on the Airship named Shenandoah.

Best regards,

 March 21, 2010 4:09 PM

LOL! Im painfully aware of the Air Ship Shenandoah I unfortunately found early on while researching. I also had the misfortune of editing wikipedia correcting on some of what I had at the time of the end of the ships life of what was previously not common knowlege. By the end of the week it was copied verbatum making my searches literally that much less fruitless by the day and giving away for free part what I had found. The great Zanzibar hurricane on April 15 1872. Lesson learned...

Daughter of the Stars. Ill have to remember that.

I stand happily corrected on the date of Shenandoah reaching Australia.

There is no IF about the Shenandoah resuming her previous Sea King name. It was short lived (that is her US ownership not resuming the Sea King name) and the renaming was AFTER the surrender. The CSS Shenandoah was the under the Shenandoah up until the surrender. After the Surrender to the Capt Paynter of HMS Donegal the ship was put under charge of a gunboat, there was no Confederacy left to have any active CSS ships. Matter of fact the Shenandoah was surrendered to the British, who in turn handed her over to the US becoming either the USS Sea King being US Navy or SS Sea King or civilian. The later is more likely as the ship was turned over to the US foreign Consul to Great Britain under Mr Adams rather than the US Navy unfortunately but so goes the war. I get the impression from your tone that you don't believe me but I assure you its all verifiable. Currently Ive accrued over 260 Newspaper articles from the Date they happened regarding the cruise of the Shenandoah and after. I was actually supposed to go back to the Museum of the Naval Academy this month when a painting was supposed to be on loan but I am just now recovering from being sick and been busy with health issues with my family.

Do you know where I can find pictures of the Cannon in Australia? Who owns it and can I use the pictures with a reference to the owner of them? Who would be the best source for the background of the Cannon. I noticed it is a six pounder which is not usually mentioned regarding the ships Armament. The ship had 4 32 pounder Witworth guns, and 2 64 pounders. The 6 pounders were mentioned early on lending credibility, however with alot of very interesting falsehoods, some intentional from the Shenandoah to put out false information. The other possibility though maybe unlikely, I was wondering about was if the cannon in Australia actually landed there during the first cruise to Auckland NZ in 1864 during which 6 pnders were definately on board while transporting British troops to NZ during the Maori wars. Just thinking out loud. I have attached a pic of the Austrailian Cannon. I would love to use the Cannon pic and am hoping you can help verify info of what it is, how it came to be at Church Island etc.

Bobby Ronayne



I am quite happy with your details of Sea King becoming  USS Sea King

Story of Churchill Island:

Now owned by the Victorian Conservation Trust, I have asked the Trust if they can elaborate on the Cannon, and if any photos of it are still under copywright.

Churchill Island
This tiny and historic island covers only 57 hectares. It is located offshore, just to the north-west of Newhaven. To get there take the signposted turnoff which heads north off Phillip Island Road just 1 km west of the Newhaven bridge. It used to take visitors across a narrow timber bridge to the island which replaced access by longboat in 1961. Today there is a new bridge which allows unlimited access. Access is from 10.00 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. Note that there is an entry fee, tel; (03) 5956 7214.

Churchill Island was discovered, along with Phillip Island, by George Bass and Matthew Flinders when they arrived in the area on the 25-ton sloop Norfolk in 1798. Three years later (1801) Lieutenant James Grant constructed a simple cottage and named the island after his friend, John Churchill, who had supplied him with seeds. He planted corn, wheat and a small garden. This was the first European settlement in Victoria. Nine months later Lieutenant Murray visited the site and found the crops grown to two metres. The island was subsequently abandoned.

In 1857 Samuel Pickersgill and his family inhabited the island. John Rogers took up residence in 1866, building two small cottages.

Six years later the island was purchased by Samuell Amess, a building contractor responsible for the post office, customs house and treasury buildings in Melbourne. He built a symmetrical weatherboard homestead on the island in 1872.

The island was subsequently owned by Gerald Buckley, the son of Mars Buckley, the founder of the Melbourne store Buckley and Nunn. In 1976 it was bought by the Victorian Conservation Trust and it is now part of, and managed by, the Phillip Island Nature Park. Its principal attractions include the structures built by Rogers and Amess and the outbuildings, lawns, fragrant herb and flower gardens. A Norfolk pine planted by Amess in 1872 has now grown to 25 metres with a girth of 4.4 metres. Also in his garden is a cannon from the US ship the Shenandoah (see entry on Williamstown) which was given to Amess by the ship's officers in his appreciation of his hospitality when the ship visited Melbourne in 1865. There are also historical displays, including a museum of old farming machinery. The island is a working farm with highland cattle, sheep, ducks, chickens and Clydesdale horses. There are ranger talks, machinery demonstrations and festivals throughout the year. You can enjoy morning or afternoon tea and lunches in the new Visitors Centre or a BYO picnic on the lawns. There are toilets, disabled facilities, souvenirs, refreshments and barbecue facilities.

Samuel Amess Mayor of Melbourne in 1869

Samuel Amess

It was Amess who brought the cannon given to him by Captain Waddell and his officers to Churchill Island, and it is mounted outside his old home there.

Cannon in front of Amess house

Front of Amess house on Churchill Island




With regard to the cannon on Churchill Island mounted in front of the former home of Samuel Amess, it was presented to him by Captain Waddell and the officers from CSS Shenandoah during their visit to Melbourne in 1865, in return  for hospitalty given by Amess to them. It appears to be a 10 pounder, and at that time Shenandoah did not carry any 10 pounders.

Can you please indicate where that cannon came from? and do you have any photos of this cannon, if so, are they still under any copyright?

Any help is appreciated.



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