Confederate crews looted anything of value on the whaleships and then set them ablaze. An officer with the Shenandoah recorded one particularly successful raid on a whaling fleet; Soon the work of demand, surrender, debarkation, and conflagration began. Two [of eleven whaleships] were saved and bonded to take home the other crews. Then followed the torch and auger. Never before had these far latitudes beheld such a dread scene of devastation as this, as ship after ship went up in flame. In spite of such destruction at sea, Confederate forces were losing on land.
Although the Shenandoah destroyed a large portion of the Arctic whaling fleet, its raids had little effect on the outcome of the Civil War. Much of the devastation occurred in the two months following General Lee’s surrender at Appomattox. The Shenandoah kept raiding whaleships. At first, the captain did not know the war had ended and then he refused to believe it.