to the Civil War Round Table of the District of Columbia on December 13, 2016, at the Fort McNair Officers' Club in Washington D.C.

Questions and answers follow the presentation.
A copy of the PowerPoint to his presentation is available at

ABOUT THE TOPIC: "The cruise of a ship is a biography,” wrote the Confederacy’s foremost sailor, Raphael Semmes. A ship can be, therefore, a central character in a life story through which we view the momentous past more clearly.
From October 1864 to November 1865, the CSS Shenandoah carried the Civil War around the globe to the ends of the earth through every extreme of sea and storm. Her officers represented a cross section of the Confederacy from Old Dominion first families through the Deep South aristocracy to a middle-class Missourian: a nephew of Robert E. Lee; a grandnephew of founder George Mason; a son-in-law to Raphael Semmes; grandsons of men who fought at George Washington’s side; and an uncle of Theodore Roosevelt.
They considered themselves Americans, Southerners, rebels, and warriors embarking on the voyage of their lives, defending their country as they understood it and pursuing a difficult, dangerous mission in which they succeeded spectacularly after it no longer mattered.

Shenandoah was a magnificent ship. Her commerce-raiding mission was a central component of U.S. Navy heritage and a watery form of asymmetric warfare in the spirit of John Mosby, Bedford Forrest, and W. T. Sherman. She contributed to the diplomatic maelstrom of the Civil War, as evidenced by a contentious visit to Melbourne, Australia.

Later, at the Pacific island of Pohnpei, Southern gentlemen enjoyed a tropical holiday while their country lay dying, mingling with an exotic warrior society that was more like them than they knew. Their observations looking back from the most remote and alien surroundings imaginable, along with the viewpoints of those they encountered, provide unique perspectives of the conflict.

Finally, Shenandoah invaded the north, the deep cold of the Bering Sea. She fired the last gun of the conflict and set crystal waters aglow with flaming Yankee whalers.
Seven months after Lee’s surrender, Shenandoah limped into Liverpool. Captain Waddell lowered the last Confederate banner without defeat or surrender. This is, as Admiral Semmes describes, a biography of a cruise and a microcosm of the Confederate-American experience.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Dwight Sturtevant Hughes graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1967 and served twenty years as a Navy surface warfare officer on most of the world's oceans in ships ranging from destroyer to aircraft carrier and with river forces in Vietnam (Bronze Star for Meritorious Service, Purple Heart).
Lieutenant Commander Hughes taught Naval ROTC at the University of Rochester, earning an MA in Political Science; he later earned an MS in Information Systems Management from USC. In his final sea tour, he planned and conducted convoy exercises with over twenty ships of the Maritime Prepositioned Force.

Dwight's second career was software engineering, primarily in geographic feature naming data and electronic mapping under contract for the U.S. Geological Survey. A ridge in Antarctica is named for him in recognition of contributions to Antarctic databases and information services.
Dwight's current calling builds on a lifetime of study in naval history with the desire to translate a love of the sea and ships into an understanding of our naval heritage and to communicate that heritage in an educational and entertaining manner.
Dwight is a guest author at the Emerging Civil War blog. He is a life member of the U.S. Naval Institute, the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association, and the Historic Naval Ships Association. He is a member of the Naval Historical Foundation and the National Maritime Historical Society.
Dwight Hughes lives near Manassas in Virginia with his wife, Judi, a former Air Force officer and Electronics/Communications Engineer.

For more information about the speaker's book, visit
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