Confederate Naval Efforts In The Pacific

Numerous confederate plans were made to outfit ships in the Pacific into warships to capture the gold steamers, but most never got beyond the planning stages. U.S. government officials stopped several, and British officials stopped several attempts in Victoria, B.C. One attempt to seize the U.S. revenue cutter Shubrick was stopped before it reached Port Townsend. Two attempts by groups of confederates wearing civilian clothes to hijack the gold steamers failed.

The Confederates did manage to outfit one small schooner into a warship, the J.M. Chapman, but it was seized by an American warship in San Francisco harbor before it could do any harm.

The fear of the confederate CSS Alabama never developed into a real threat. Another confederate raider the CSS Shenandoah however was a serious threat in the Pacific. The Shenandoah was moving to attack San Francisco when it learned in July, 1865 that the war was over. The Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies are full of dozens of reports concerning confederate privateers in the Pacific. The threats of any substance have already been mentioned.

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