On November 6th 1865, a warship flying the flag of a foreign power sailed up the River Mersey and brought itself up alongside the British man-of-war, HMS Donegal.
Usually back in those days that was the sign that a great deal of violence and death was about to ensue as the two ships started attempting to pummel each other into submission. But on this occasion, nothing of the kind occurred. The ship was the CSS Shenandoah, a warship of the now defunct Confederate States of America and her captain had no greater intention than to surrender his ship to the British authorities. It was the last act of a continent spanning civil war, fought thousands of miles away on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, resulting in the deaths of over 620,000 American servicemen.
I’m not going to go into the strange quirk of fate that led to this nation defining war ending mid river of the River Mersey, that’s not the point of my post today. The point of my post is this, until the other day I wasn’t aware of this. Maybe everyone reading this knew the last combatants in the American Civil War surrendered ten miles upriver from where I live, but I didn’t. It got me to wondering how many moments of historical significance have occurred right on our doorstep, things that have been forgotten to slow march of time.
So, keep an eye out when you’re out and about, who knows what little quirks of history you’ll spot.