Liverpool and the American Civil War

The American Civil War began on 12 April 1861 and ended in Liverpool on 6 November 1865, when the last Confederate warship 'CSS Shenandoah' surrendered in the Mersey. It resulted in the abolition of slavery in the United States.

This online feature marks the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War. It accompanies a series of special displays and a gallery trail, running from 2011 to 2015. Over this period many fascinating archives, objects and paintings relating to Liverpool's role in the American Civil War are being highlighted; all from the collections of Merseyside Maritime Museum, the Maritime Archives and Library and the International Slavery Museum.

The end of the American Civil War

Although the last battle of the American Civil War was at Palmito Ranch in May 1865, the last Confederate surrender occurred in Liverpool on 6 November 1865, when the Confederate warship 'CSS Shenandoah' surrendered at the Pier Head, Liverpool. During 1864-1865 the 'Shenandoah' had captured, sunk or bonded 38 Union merchant vessels, mostly Union whaling ships, and was also responsible for firing the last shot of the American Civil War at a whaler off the Aleutian Islands in June 1865.  Find out more about the surrender of the Shenandoah at Liverpool.  

Archive displays

Displays of archive material, on the second floor of Merseyside Maritime Museum.

Further information

Follow the links below for more information about how Liverpool was involved in the American Civil War.

Find out more about the collections relating to the American Civil War held at the Maritime Archives and Library in our special research guide number 59.