Author Topic: History Gone By the Board  (Read 10198 times)

Bob

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History Gone By the Board
« on: August 15, 2015, 01:24:54 pm »
It would be fun to do a daily blog riffing on the background of interesting items found in the logs while transcribing. There are certainly enough of them, all I need is the extra two (or three or twenty) hours a day for rummaging around the Internet...  :P

HatterJack

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Re: History Gone By the Board
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2015, 01:46:33 pm »
I dunno if saying that is going to trigger a sudden trawl through the different ships for stuff that's already been mentioned or not... but it's definitely a possibility. When I'm at work, and during my commute, I have about 20 hours of time where I'm just sitting around doing basically nothing (key part of my job is that the only time I actually do any work is when there's an actual catastrophic event happening). Would give me something to work on when my eyes start to cross after staring at logs for too long, or when my partner is droning on about her boyfriend for a couple hours (it's a thing, I don't hate it, but I do worry that she's not inhaling enough from time to time).

The more I think about it... the more I kind of want to do that now >.>

 8)

Randi

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Re: History Gone By the Board
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2015, 03:03:23 pm »
Your moderators are happy to help ;D

Janet Jaguar

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Re: History Gone By the Board
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2015, 03:17:31 pm »
Quote and paste - and improvise - at will. :)

Maikel

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Re: History Gone By the Board
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2015, 03:24:55 pm »
Or, become a Naval History editor. ;)
All history will be published there.

Randi

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Re: History Gone By the Board
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2015, 03:33:27 pm »
After the weather data has been transcribed ;)

Bob

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Re: History Gone By the Board
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2015, 11:11:37 pm »
USS Jamestown
August 3, 1849
Adriatic Sea, southeast of Brindisi

Commences   A brig on the lee Bow. [fresh breezes from the Nd. + Ed., course S by E]

From 4 to 8 AM.   The Brig that was to leeward, crossed our bows, and hoisted a British Ensign and pendant, Got the two Bow Guns aft to the Mainmast. Trying our sailing with the Brig, (HBM Brig Racer) at 8 dropped the Brig


http://oldweather.s3.amazonaws.com/ow3/final/USS%20Jamestown/vol004of067/vol004of067_188_0.jpg

There isn't much information that turns up on the Brig 'Racer', but she was apparently for a time engaged intercepting slave ships, and once carried a delegation from the British Consulate in Tampico, led by the Vice Consul Jos. T. Crawford, to the Republic of Texas in March of 1837 (a year after the Battle of the Alamo) to report on conditions there.

Crawford's letters to his government are a detailed (and somewhat opinionated) description of the countryside, the government, the people and their then recent history of events with Mexico. He seemed satisfied that the Republic of Texas was there to stay: "[...] I may be warranted in concluding that Texas has conquered or will ultimately conquer her Independence of Mexico." In deference to their relations with Mexico, the United Kingdom never officially recognized the Republic of Texas, which became a US state in 1845.

There are records of two slave ship interceptions, a Portuguese ship, 'Bom Destino', and an American vessel, the brig 'Sooy'. The Sooy was chased into a reef near Bahia in September, 1841, and taken into Rio as a prize. The Bom Destino, intercepted in September, 1844, wasn't actually found with slaves on board, but had "suspicious alterations in the deck, and other evidences of having very recently had a cargo of slaves on board." The documents in the link include a pretty graphic description of what the 'evidences' were (First Enclosure No. 141).

The mention of moving the bow guns amidships is an interesting detail. I believe this would have been a means to bring the bow up in the water a bit for trying to gain a bit of extra speed.

Crawford Letters:
http://www.jstor.org/stable/30243039?seq=3#page_scan_tab_contents

Brig Sooy Listing:
https://books.google.com/books?id=WXg6AQAAIAAJ&pg=PA1535&lpg=PA1535&dq=brig+sooy+slaver&source=bl&ots=7SMfv409ID&sig=eELyiV6PDQWIXuhk0iuU1c5ysDo&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CCUQ6AEwAWoVChMIwZOd_YWsxwIVCBg-Ch1kKQiq#v=onepage&q=brig%20sooy%20slaver&f=false

Dom Destino Seizure Proceedings Documents:
https://books.google.com/books?id=JZItAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA197&lpg=PA197&dq=h.b.m.+brig+racer&source=bl&ots=fLSpeyrBAh&sig=0n38U3l6zsLaCXV-2FohVNHY8Qw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CCMQ6AEwAmoVChMI3cygue-rxwIVQ6GACh2JUg-t#v=onepage&q=h.b.m.%20brig%20racer&f=false
« Last Edit: August 15, 2015, 11:32:08 pm by kimma001 »

Bob

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Re: History Gone By the Board
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2015, 10:31:43 pm »
USS Jamestown
August 12, 1849
Doro Passage

From 6 to 8. [PM]   Fresh breezes [from the Northd.] and passing squalls, Beating through the Doro Passage [northeasterly course].

http://oldweather.s3.amazonaws.com/ow3/final/USS%20Jamestown/vol004of067/vol004of067_192_1.jpg

The Doro Passage, Greek name 'Kafireas', is a six mile (10 km) wide passage between Euboea and Andros islands. According to the pilot guide, navigation of the Doro channel "is one of the difficulties of the Levant, especially in sailing-vessels" due to the prevailing northerly winds, particularly during the summer months. The current could also be a problem, with the pilot guide reporting an example instance in 1905 where "during a strong northerly wind, H.M.S. Sentinel experienced a southerly set of 7 knots." The Jamestown made the passage traveling northeastward against those northerly winds, taking nearly the entire day to approach and pass through the strait.

If winds and currents weren't enough, there were the occasional pirate attacks. In October, 1827, a convoy of American and British vessels was traveling southward through the straits when the wind died at dusk. A British ship (the brig Comet) drifted away from the convoy and was attacked by a large force of Greek pirates, with 200 to 300 men in five small galleys. The ship was taken by the pirates, but a rescue force of 35 men was dispatched in oared boats from the main convoy, which managed to recapture the ship, allegedly causing 80 to 90 pirate casualties. I suspect the pirate numbers may be exaggerated, but it makes a good story.


Modern Map:
http://www.geographic.org/geographic_names/name.php?uni=-1197693&fid=2172&c=greece

1844 British Admiralty Map of Andros Island and Doro Channel:
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/10/Andros_Island-1844.jpg

Mediterranean Pilot Entry (1908):
https://books.google.com/books?id=ADqwAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA77&lpg=PA77&dq=navigating+the+doro+channel&source=bl&ots=wvZoHgbPpz&sig=u-4asvIeX4gC8QQ2guvS-wK_lxc&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CDYQ6AEwBGoVChMIzb2zjJGuxwIVSnA-Ch0h_Qid#v=onepage&q=navigating%20the%20doro%20channel&f=false

Battle of Doro Passage Article:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Doro_Passage
« Last Edit: August 17, 2015, 12:11:45 am by kimma001 »

Bob

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Re: History Gone By the Board
« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2015, 10:20:25 pm »
USS Jamestown
September 14, 1849
Constantinople

From 8 to Meridian.

At 12 hoisted the Turkish [flag] at the Fore. Manned the yards, and fired a salute of 21 guns, as the Sultan passed going to Mosque.


http://oldweather.s3.amazonaws.com/ow3/final/USS%20Jamestown/vol005of067/vol005of067_018_0.jpg

This was Abdulmecid I, who became Sultan at the age of sixteen in 1839. He was notable for continuing a program of reforms, started by his father Mahmud II, with the goal of strengthening the Ottoman empire through modernization and engagement with Western countries. The reforms included changes to the taxation, financial and legal systems, establishment of modern schools, expansion of rights to non-Muslim Ottoman subjects, and the banning of turbans in favor of the fez. He was also married twenty-five times and had a few dozen children. He died of tuberculosis in 1861.

His main architectural legacy, apart from restoring the Hagia Sophia, was the European-style Dolmabahce Palace. Constructed in Istanbul, it cost the modern equivalent of about 1.5 billion $US, starting a slide into eventual state bankrupcy. Fourteen metric tons of gold leaf were used in its ceilings. There's also a 4.5 metric ton crystal chandelier, and all manner of other niceties befitting a dwelling that cost the equivalent of a quarter of the empire's annual tax revenue.

Abdulmecid I
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abd%C3%BClmecid_I

Dolmabahce Palace
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolmabah%C3%A7e_Palace

Janet Jaguar

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Re: History Gone By the Board
« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2015, 10:51:51 pm »
Amazing stuff.  Aware of the world's currents with a big blind spot when it comes to his own magnificence. 

HatterJack

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Re: History Gone By the Board
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2015, 11:50:46 am »
Alright, so I had said initially that this http://oldweather.s3.amazonaws.com/ow3/final/Albatross/vol017of055/vol017of055_034_1.jpg didn't warrant its own blog post... I've since changed my mind because I'm a big fan of speculating on the what-ifs in the many twists and turns that is the history of our species.

As I said in my original post (http://forum.oldweather.org/index.php?topic=3903.msg114117#msg114117), the German steamer Titania was essentially a gun runner. In March of 1891 (officially 2nd March, 1891), Titania attempted to sail through the Straits of Magellan, en route to Valparaiso, where she was to offload 7,000 rifles and an undisclosed amount of ammunition for the Chilean army, which was loyal to President Jose Manuel Balmaceda. This was a bit shy of two months after the bulk of the Chilean navy and the Chilean Congress had sailed out of Valparaiso, with the intention of forming armed resistance against President Balmaceda.

Titania was stopped in Punta Arenas, by the Governor, Samuel Valdivieso, who demanded that the arms and ammunition be offloaded, rather than shipped to Valparaiso as intended. Fearing retribution and possible Chilean Navy involvement, Valdivieso reached out to the British Consul (who was also the German Consul at the time), Rudolfo Steubenrauch, to request protection by the Royal Navy, as it would be impossible to request Chilean soldiers to come to the city, as they could not afford to pay them, and did not want a repeat of the Chilean Mutiny of 1877 while already in the midst of a civil war.

At the end of the day, this proved to be a moot point, as the Chilean Navy was already committed to fighting in the north, and simply couldn't spare the personnel.

Strangely, this was not the only arms transport that was prevented from making its delivery at its consigned destination.

There was also the Itata incident, where a Chilean weapons transport ship was detained in San Diego, but managed to slip away to the Chilean port of Iquique, although it was intercepted by a combination of US, German, and British warships before she was able to dock and offload her cargo (which was to be delivered to rebel forces). Ironically the cargo was completely unnecessary to the rebel war effort, as another vessel, the Maipo, was able to successfully offload a shipment of German rifles and munitions less than a month later. This incident turned out to be a catastrophe diplomatically, leading to the Baltimore Crisis, and one of the reasons why Benjamin Harrison was a single-term president, but that's a whole other story more in-line with a political blog than this one.

One of the reasons that this, to me, is such an interesting event is because of the what-if factor I mentioned in the beginning of this post. What would have happened if the Chilean navy had attempted to liberate the weapons? Would the Magallanes colony survived a second bloody battle so soon after the 1877 Mutiny? What if the ships loyal to Balmacena had blockaded the straits of Magellan to prevent German and Spanish weapons and munitions from being delivered to rebel forces (keeping in mind that this was before the opening of the Panama Canal, and thus the Straits were the primary shipping route from Europe to the eastern Pacific). The Chilean civil war, like so much of history, was skirting on the edge of complete catastrophe, flirting with international diplomatic breakdown on several occasions. With everything else going on in the world at the time (especially the Anglo-German naval arms race that hadn't *officially* started, but Germany had begun grumbling about British naval superiority) it's easy to kind of put yourself into the global mindset, and see how close the world came to having its first global war 23 years early.

LINKS for Knowledge!

Letter from Governor Valdvieso to British Vice-Consul Rudolfo Steubenrauch requesting British aid: http://www.patbrit.org/eng/events/paunrest.htm

Chilean Civil War of 1891: http://encyclopedia.jrank.org/CHA_CHR/CHILEAN_CIVIL_WAR_1891_.html

The Itata Incident: https://openlibrary.org/books/OL7102312M/The_Itata_incident

The Baltimore Crisis (called the Baltimore Affair in this article, which is originally from Harper's Weekly, 14 November 1891): http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/baltimore-affair.htm

Also of interest, some random data regarding the Magallanes colony: http://www.jstor.org/stable/199631?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

Randi

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Re: History Gone By the Board
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2015, 01:19:57 pm »
 ;D

Bob

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Re: History Gone By the Board
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2015, 10:50:47 pm »
USS Jamestown
October 15, 1849
Alexandria, Egypt


From Meridian to 4.   Passd. Midspn. E Y McCauley reported for a passage to the squadron.

http://oldweather.s3.amazonaws.com/ow3/final/USS%20Jamestown/vol005of067/vol005of067_033_1.jpg


This would have been Edward Yorke McCauley, the Consul General's son, who went on to become a Rear Admiral in the U.S. Navy. He grew up in the Mediterranean area as his father moved around to different posts, and spoke French, Italian, Arabic and Turkish. His career included service on Commodore Perry's flagship for the 1852 expedition to Japan and blockade duty during the Civil War, after which he worked his way up the command ladder, finishing with command of the Pacific Station. His diaries from the Perry expeditions were later published in book form, and he wrote a dictionary of the Egyptian language.

His father, David Smith McCauley, was the first American diplomatic envoy to Egypt and arrived with his family, and a new baby, on the USS Constitution earlier in 1849, as mentioned in a previous forum post by Craig (see link below). The Philosophical Society Proceedings said of this:

"[...] the frigate Constitution conveying him and his family with their effects to his new post. On the day of the arrival of the frigate at Alexandria a boy was born to the Consul General, who, esteeming it a happy omen that a son of his should first see the light on a vessel so identified with the naval history of the family, named the child 'Constitution Stewart McCauley'."

Edward had just started his career with a posting to the Constitution. His great-uncle, Rear Admiral Charles Stewart, commanded the Constitution from 1813-1815, which included an action in February, 1815, where he captured two British warships; technically after the war of 1812 had ended, but word hadn't got to the combatants yet.


Craig's post mentioning the McCauley family's passage to Egypt on the Constitution:
http://forum.oldweather.org/index.php?topic=3513.msg71216#msg71216

Edward McCauley, In Memorium Bio, American Philosophical Society Proceedings, 1895:
https://books.google.com/books?id=KsIAAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA369&lpg=PA369&dq=mccauley+egypt+1849&source=bl&ots=l9_k18oY2r&sig=TD23l5RAQMhjx7TjBzZRiw8jyBE&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CEMQ6AEwCDgKahUKEwjln96u_7XHAhXDcz4KHXuWCeU#v=onepage&q=mccauley%20egypt%201849&f=false

Charles Stewart Article:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Stewart_%281778%E2%80%931869%29
« Last Edit: August 20, 2015, 01:54:39 am by kimma001 »

HatterJack

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Re: History Gone By the Board
« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2015, 09:58:34 am »
Inspired by Caro's World War I Centenary post from yesterday, 21 August, regarding HMS Endymion.

21 August 1915

HMS Endymion, Suvla Bay, 2.30pm: Opened fire at 2 of enemy's batteries preparatory to infantry attack http://www.naval-history.net/OWShips-WW1-05-HMS_Endymion2.htm

This short post, and rather minimal log entry regards one of the pivotal moments in global politics, and I feel it deserves a bit of attention.

This salvo was fired at the batteries in range of Scimitar Hill and Hill 60 during the final push of the August Offensive during the Gallipoli Campaign. Endymion's shelling was well aimed, and the batteries destroyed, but the Anzac forces were unable to take the hills, despite intense fighting. After the failure to capture the two strategic hills, General Sir Ian Hamilton began diverting troops from the area to France and Greece, which left too few Anzac forces to hold the region.

Ottoman successes began to sway public opinion in the UK, leading to Hamilton's dismissal, and the eventual evacuation of all Allied forces from the region.

I'll try to keep the rest of the Gallipoli Campaign brief, but it did last for eight and a half months, and we're all aware that I can tend to be a bit long winded (as evidenced by the length of this sentence).

The campaign was launched in April 1915, in an attempt by British and French forces to capture Constantinople (now Istanbul, but that's nobody's business but the Turks ;) ) and secure the Dardanelles to ensure that shipping routes into Russia were kept open. Unfortunately, the naval attack to secure the Dardanelles was repelled, and after 8 months, the ground forces were so decimated that the assault was entirely abandoned, and the invasion force was withdrawn to Egypt.

In Turkey, it's seen as a defining moment in its history; as a final desperate defense of the motherland, even as the Ottoman Empire came crumbling down around them. One of the more distinguished commanders among the Turks was Mustafa Kemal, who would, only eight years later, rise to power as the newly established nation of Turkey's first president.

In Australia and New Zealand, the campaign is sometimes referenced as the dawning of national consciousness, and the date of the landing, 25th April, is now a national holiday known as Anzac Day. It is the single most significant commemoration of veterans and military casualties in those two countries, surpassing even Remembrance Day (formerly Armistice Day). While Australia and New Zealand were both self-governing at the time of the landing, but were not considered sovereign nations until 1942 and 1947 (respectively) when they adopted the Statute of Westminster, and this is directly related (although by no means in its entirety) to the failure and catastrophic loss of life that was the Gallipoli Campaign.

Combining both sides, an estimated half million men died during the eight months of fighting. To put that into perspective, that's 62,500 dead per month, 2,083 per day, 87 per hour, or 1.45 per minute. While this is hardly a staggering number when compared to other battles in the war (particularly the Somme and Verdun) it is still difficult to properly ken the horror that these men endured.

The brutality of the campaign, whose end was effectively sealed when Anzac forces were unable to capture Scimitar Hill and Hill 60 after HMS Endymion's shelling is all but impossible to fully appreciate by those of us who are removed by generations from the fighting there. However, when we look around us, and see our allies, whose countries were born of the ashes of the Allied failure there, we can begin to understand how an eleven word sentence fragment in Endymion's log, while understated, can give historians pause to reflect; to respect the men who sacrificed their lives for goals that were never accomplished, but whose blood fostered the birth of nations.

Side note: Remembrance Day is observed on 11 November, which coincides with other veterans memorial holidays in other nations (notably Veterans Day in the United States) but is not actually related to those holidays, generally speaking.  Veterans Day, in particular, while celebrated on the same day, was originally celebrated as Armistice Day, but became a day to respect all U.S. military veterans shortly after World War II. The nearest thing to Remembrance Day that is celebrated in the United States is Memorial Day (formerly Decoration Day, which we see in many of the logs we transcribe here), which is celebrated on the last Monday in May, and was, rather ironically, originally a Confederate holiday, rather than a Union holiday (as it began prior to the end of the American Civil War), although the name wasn't officially co-opted until 1966 when President Johnson (who had an interesting way of purchasing pants, but it isn't really appropriate storytelling for this forum) signed a proclamation declaring Waterloo, New York the birthplace of the holiday (although this is historically unlikely, and still debated among historians in the United States).

Janet Jaguar

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Re: History Gone By the Board
« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2015, 11:16:32 am »
Thank you for this, I was not aware of how pivotal this was to the Gallipoli conflict.

On your side comment, Decoration Day (remembering the US Civil War dead by decorating the graves with flowers) was spontaneously started on various dates in at least two dozen places North and South, and happened at many battle cemeteries as they were created, probably beginning at battlegrounds in the South.  4% of our male population died in that war, and decorating the graves of the war dead is a very ancient practice.  The first community-wide publicized Decoration Day that included a community picnic after decorating the graves was, I believe, by the black community of Charleston, SC, honoring the Union soldiers who died there while prisoners of war, May Day 1865. 

We do know that WW1 was the event that extended our awareness to have that day cover all our war dead, and had North and South willing to celebrate it on the same date.