Author(s): Terry Smyth
IN the summer of 1865, when a Confederate warship sailed into the port of Melbourne, 42 men secretly enlisted to fight for the South in the American Civil War. On the notorious raider Shenandoah scourge of the Yankee merchant fleet they sailed off to adventure and controversy, and fired the last shot of the war. When the Shenandoah - a sleek steamer/sailer and one of the fastest ships afloat - dropped anchor in Hobsons Bay, the fledgling colony of Victoria was taken by surprise, and the Confederates had no way of knowing whether they would be hailed as heroes or hanged as pirates. To the rebels' surprise, Melbourne took them to its heart. Victorians came in their thousands to visit the ship, and its officers were feted as celebrities. They were wined and dined by the city's elite, attended a ball held in their honour , mixed it with Yankee sympathisers in a barroom brawl, and charmed the ladies of Melbourne and Ballarat with their grand Southern manners. Meanwhile, in defiance of the law against foreign warships recruiting in a neutral port, 42 men were smuggled aboard in dead of night and, once at sea, signed up to join the Confederate Navy
Terry Smyth is an award-winning journalist, playwright, scriptwriter and songwriter. The youngest son of Irish immigrants, he was born and raised in the Hunter Valley, and is now based in Sydney. He has, in his time, worked as a builder's labourer, steel worker, cotton mill hand, psychiatric nurse, professional musician and advertising copywriter. Terry has written and produced drama, music and comedy for ABC radio, television and the stage, and continues to write and record original music. In a 25-year career as a feature writer and columnist with Fairfax Media (on The Newcastle Herald, The Sun-Herald and The Sydney Morning Herald), he wrote extensively on historical, social and cultural subjects, and was more recently the co-founder and editor of the popular Australian history online magazine The Forgotten Times. Terry has a longstanding interest in colonial Australian history, British and Irish history, and in American history, particularly the American Civil War.