As the Confederacy felt itself slipping beneath the Union juggernaut in late 1864, the South launched a desperate counteroffensive to shatter the U.S. economy and force a standoff. Its secret weapon? A state-of-the-art raiding ship whose mission was to prowl the world’s oceans and sink the U.S. merchant fleet. The raider’s name was Shenandoah, and her executive officer was Conway Whittle, a twenty-four-year-old warrior who might have stepped from the pages of Arthurian legend. Whittle would share command with a dark and brooding veteran of the seas, Capt. James Waddell, and together with a crew of strays, misfits, and strangers, they would spend nearly a year sailing two-thirds of the way around the globe, destroying dozens of Union ships and taking more than a thousand prisoners, all while continually dodging the enemy.
Then, in August of 1865, a British ship revealed the shocking truth to the men of Shenandoah: The war had been over for months, and they were now being hunted as pirates.
What ensued was an incredible 15,000-mile journey to the one place the crew hoped to find sanctuary, only to discover that their fate would depend on how they answered a single question. Wondrously evocative and filled with drama and poignancy, Last Flag Down is a riveting story of courage, nobility, and rare comradeship forged in the quest to achieve the impossible.
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of eBook: Last Flag Down|
|Release Date: 05-15-2007|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Crown Publishing Group|
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|Parent title||Last Flag Down|
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Last Flag Down
The Noble Cause bleeding to death, starving to death. The Northern aggressors with their dirty heels in the sacred ground of Louisiana, Georgia, Virginia; his generation largely in its graves, or soon to be. And here he was watching the empty horizon from a coal-laden merchant steamer off the coast of West Africa. Three decks below him, his crew bent to dismal duty, the drudgework of the high seas. They were securing the ship’s bunker coal—her fuel supply—and preparing her cargo, of yet more coal, for heavy weather. The description given to those sweating wretches who had to carry it out said it all: “coal heavers.”
A mundane cargo for this fine fast ship running now in front of the wind, racing for her life, almost due south, and almost diametrically away from the Confederate States of America. Within her, a cargo weighing almost as much as the ship itself and a valuable cargo indeed: 800 long tons of almost smokeless Welsh coal. A cargo so expensive its owners had sent a man on the voyage to look after it, to see it wasn’t pilfered for fuel, to see it was delivered as planned. A cargo almost as mundane as the young “coal agent’s” undercover alias: “George Brown.”
To be hauling coal, not Enfields, at this moment of the Confederacy’s most parlous plight: Atlanta, proud citadel of the Confederacy, lost to Sherman; Lee in the trenches at Richmond since June; Sheridan’s cavalry chasing Jubal Early’s ragged men up the Shenandoah Valley, burning the fields and barns and mills behind them.
Norfolk, Virginia, or those remnants that had not been burned, wa