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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Sea of Gray

Sea of Gray

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

Tom Chaffin

Hill and Wang


Assembled from hundreds of original documents, including intimate shipboard journals kept by Shenandoah officers, Sea of Gray is a masterful narrative of men at sea

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 superb account of how the Confederate raider Shenandoah brought the American Civil War to the farthest reaches of the world." -- Nathaniel Philbrick, author of Mayflower and Sea of Glory

Chapter One

Of Ice Floes and Arctic Fires

It was just past 1:00 a.m., June 28, 1865, a few tilting spins of the earth beyond the year's longest day. And in the Bering Strait the hazy summer dawn breaking over the blue-white ice floes...

Praise for Sea of Gray

“An intriguing Civil War story and a bracing nautical yarn.” —Michael Kenney, The Boston Globe

“Chaffin delivers a crackerjack story. He writes with authority and a clear passion for the colorful, fated characters of this truelife bluewater saga.” —Philip Gerard, The News and Observer

"Chaffin 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


Reviews from Goodreads

Tom Chaffin

Tom Chaffin is the author of Pathfinder: John Charles Frémont and the Course of American Empire (H&W, 2002). His work has appeared in The New York Times, Harper's, Time, and other publications. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

image of Tom Chaffino
Nacer Jalloul

Hill and Wang

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