JULY 5TH, 1865: During Waddell's last week in the Bering Sea an idea had occurred to him and as the raider proceeded across the North Pacific he developed it into an audacious plan of action. The idea germinated from reading a San Francisco newspaper that he had obtained from the Susan Abigail on 23 June.
From the article he learned that the USS Saginaw, Commander Charles McDougal, was the only Union warship in San Francisco harbor and constituted the city's sole means of defense. Waddell had been second officer on her before the war and was thoroughly familiar with her capabilities and limitations.
Moreover, its commander was "an old and familiar shipmate" whom Waddell remembered as being "fond of his ease." Waddell planned to bring the Shenandoah into San Francisco harbor under cover of darkness, ram the Saginaw, and carry her by boarding.
Beginning at daylight, he would begin bombarding the city, after which he would send a negotiating party ashore "to parlay for a sizable ransom.
Bold Plans from a Bold Man. --Old B-Runner