The NY Times’ Andrew Revkin recently published part two of his interview with Paul Watson, shedding some light on a new book the Sea Shepherd founder is working on called “The War That Saved The Whales”.
In a nutshell, the novel will focus on the campaign by the Confederacy during the Civil War to target the Yankee whaling fleets; specifically the actions of Lieutenant James Iredell Wadell, Captain of the Confederate steamer Shenandoah. As Watson relates, the story of the Shenandoah is unique in that of the 38 ships sank or captured during her 12 1/2 months at sea (mostly whaling vessels), none of the crews were ever killed. Not only did Iredell become the only Captain to carry the Confederate flag around the world (58,000 miles traversed total), but his was also the last shot fired in the Civil War – at a whaler in the North Pacific.
Naturally, news traveled slowly back then and it wasn’t until November 6, 1865 that Iredell made port off Liverpool and formally surrendered to the British.
He later went on to become one of the first conservation officers of the United States, protecting oysters in Chesapeake Bay.
As a history buff, I find this to be a fascinating (and rather unknown) piece of American history, so count me in to pick up a copy when it’s finished. Check out Watson explaining a bit more about “The War That Saved The Whales” in the NY Times interview below.