November 6: The Shenandoah Surrenders

ShnandoahWhen did the American Civil War end? Most people would say it was when Robert E. Lee surrendered on April 9, 1865. Some political commentators may joke that there are people who are still trying to fight the Civil War. While I would agree with both of these opinions, it’s worth noting that it was on this day in 1865 that the last sovereign Confederate flag was lowered and the Confederacy officially came to an end.

The CSS Shenandoah was a Confederate warship that was launched in August 1863 with a simple mission: Travel around the world, and destroy or capture Union merchant vessels. Over the next two years, the Shenandoah managed to capture or destroy 38 ships. After the capture of a Union merchant ship in June of 1865, the Shenandoah‘s captain was presented with a copy of a San Francisco newspaper that detailed Lee’s surrender.

However, this same paper contained CSA President Jefferson Davis’ promise that “war would be carried on with re-newed vigor,” and so the Shenandoah continued on its mission. It wasn’t until August that the crew of the Shenandoah learned of Davis’ capture and the final surrender of all Confederate troops. After coming to terms with the fact that the war was over, it was determined that the Shenandoah couldn’t return to an American port for fear of being treated as traitors because commerce raiders were not going to be given the same conditions of amnesty that Confederate soldiers received. So, the ship began its long journey to Liverpool, England,  the unofficial home port of the Confederate fleet. After a three month journey, the Shenandoah sailed into Liverpool on November 6, 1865, lowered the Confederate flag for the last time and promptly surrendered to the Royal Navy. After a brief investigation, the U. S. government determined that the crew of the Shenandoah acted within the laws of war and were granted full pardon for their actions.

So, let’s raise a glass to the end of the Confederacy with a Confederate cocktail. It’s a too-sweet combination of liqueurs (including Southern Comfort, naturally) that’s not for everyone, but might just strike your fancy.


  • 1/2 ounce Amaretto
  • 1/2 ounce Peach Schnapps
  • 1/2 ounce Southern Comfort
  • 1 ounce sweet and sour mix
  • 1/2 ounce Triple Sec
  • 1/2 ounce grenadine
  • 1/2 ounce Blue Curacao

Shake the Amaretto, schnapps, Southern Comfort, sour mix and triple sec in a cocktail shaker with ice. In a hurricane glass, add grenadine and ice. Strain the mix from the cocktail shaker into the glass, and carefully layer the mixture on top of the grenadine. Then, float the blue curacao on top of that and serve.

Tomorrow: Galloping Gertie


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