"Beyond The Southern Star" is a multi-volume work of biography concerning Thomas Jefferson Page
Before the American Civil War, Page was a US Navy officer who fought pirates in the Pacific, patrolled the Atlantic Ocean, and most famously, became the first person to command a steamship (the "USS Water Witch") that sailed deep into the La Plata River region of South America.
The "La Plata Expedition" was hailed in the 1850s as "the equal of Darwin" as a scientific expedition.
When the American Civil War broke out in 1861, Page "went South" to his home State of Virginia and became first a Confederate Army officer, then a naval commander.
Page was selected to travel to Europe and ranked as a Commodore to lead the Confederate Navy's ill-fated squadron of sea-going ironclads and fast wooden cruisers.
The Virginian's greatest exploit was the breakout of the CSS Stonewall in 1865 from France, where it became the first ironclad to cross an ocean under its own power, landing in Havana, Cuba.
But, by then, the American Civil War
refused to return to America, and instead returned to South America and the "La Plata" region where he
became a signal figure in the development of several navies in the area.
The world-wise Virginian died in Italy in 1899, where had served as a naval representative for a South American country to Italy.
was buried in the famous Protestant Cemetary in Rome, where the poet Keats is interred as well, with the inscription, "Thomas Jefferson Page of Virginia; Captain, U.S.N. and C.S.N., Explorer, Christian Gentleman."