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Object Record

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Object Name BOX
Catalog Number 0985.13.00344, a-d
Description Work box: Black lacquered work box with inlaid mother-of-pearl and colored shells arranged decoratively in the shape of birds and flowers. Rests on four pedestal feet. A brass lockplate is on the front side of the box. (.344a-d) are compartments that can be removed.
Dimensions H-6.5 W-14 L-9.75 inches
Owned Dabney Minor Scales; Mary Herndon Maury Werth
Owner Regiment CSS Shenandoah
Made Japan
Provenance A "Japanese work-box" captured by the CSS Shenandoah from a Yankee barque in the Pacific Ocean. This box was given by Dabney Minor Scales, the second mate of the vessel, to his cousin, Mrs. Mary Herndon Maury Werth.

"In November 1865 I was visiting with my mother and sisters...(in) Birkenhead, (Liverpool), England. During this time the Confederate Cruiser Shenandoah came up the Musey [River] and surrendered to H. M. guard ship Donegal. Capt. James Waddell and his officers called on us repeatedly. His 2nd Lieutenant, my cousin, Dabney Minor Scales, gave me this box as a trophy of the destruction fo the whaling fleet of the enemy in the north Pacific." (donor statement by Mary Herndon Maury Werth, April 23, 1896)

This box may have been taken from the whaling bark "Abigail", which was captured in the Okhotsk Sea in the north Pacific Ocean on May 27, 1865:
(1) According to Francis Thornton Chew's journal, he and some of the other officers took off the Abigail, "some beautiful Japanese boxes..."
(2) Surgeon Charles Lining described in his journal on May 27, 1865, the capture of an "old blubber hunter" out of New Bedford named Abigail: "She was last from Yokahama, Japan - & had a great many curios on board in the shape of Japanese boxes, &c….I went a little later in the day & found Chew & Scales with a crowd of curios &c all put by for themselves…."

The CSS Shenandoah continued to harass the Yankee whaling fleet months after Lee's surrender, ceasing only upon hearing of the surrender in the Sandwich Islands in August 1865 from the British barkque Barracouta, and turned her course to Liverpool. There the CSS Shenandoah surrendered herself to the HMS Donegal in the Musey River.
People Scales, Dabney Minor
Werth, Mary Herndon Maury [Mrs. James R.]
Maury, Mary Herndon (Mollie) (Molly)
Search Terms Confederate States Navy
items captured by Confederate soldiers
items captured from Union soldiers
items taken by Confederate soldiers
items taken from Union soldiers
Liverpool, England, Great Britain
United States Navy
Subjects boats
Booty
Captures
gifts
navies
Prizes
ships
Whaling
women