Sea History 075 - Autumn 1995

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No. 75

NATIONAL MARITIME HISTORICAL SOCIETY

AUTUMN 1995

SEA HISTORY. THE ART, LITERATURE, ADVENTURE, LORE & LEARNING OF THE SEA

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Co{{ector 'Eiition

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AMERICAN SHIPS BY LIVERPOOL ARTISTS Rediscovery of the US Brig Somers The Cape Hom Road A Captain from Cape Cod

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ISSN 0146-9312

No. 75

SEA HISTORY

SEA HISTORY is published quarterly by the National Maritime Hi storical Society, 5 John Walsh Boulevard, PO Box 68 , Peekskill NY I0566. Secood class postage paid at Peekskill NY I 0566 and additional mailing offices. COPYRIGHT © 1995 by the National Maritime Hi storica l Society. Tel : 914 737-7878 .

FEATURES 6 World War II Is Over -What Did Victor y Mean ? by Peter Stanford 8 A Captain from Cape Cod by Louis A. Norton

POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Sea History, 5 John Walsh Bou levard , PO Box 68 , Peekskill NY 10566.

12 T he Cape Horn Road, Part V: Confro nting the Wild Atlantic by Peter Stanford

MEMBERSH IP is invited. Afterguard $ I0,000; Benefactor $5,000; Plankowner $2,500; Sponsor $ 1,000; Donor $500; Patron $250; Friend $ I 00; Contributor $50; Family $40; Regular $30; Student or Retired $ 15. All members outside the USA please add$ JO fo r postage. SEA HISTORY is sent to all members. Individual copi es cost $3.75 . OFFICERS & TRUSTEES: Chairman, Alan G . Choate; Vice Chairmen , Richardo Lopes, Richard W. Scheuing, Edward G. Ze linsky; Preside111, Peter Stanford ; Vice President, Norma Stanford; Treasurer, Bradford Smith; Secretary , Donald Derr; Trustees, Wa lter R. Brown, W. Grove Conrad, Geo rge Lowe ry, Jean mari e Maher, Warren Marr, II , Brian A. McA lli ster, James J. Moore, Douglas Muster, Nancy Pouch, Craig A. C. Rey nolds, Marshall Streibert , David B. Vietor, Raymond E. Wall ace, Jean Wort ; Chairman Emeritus, Karl Kortum OVERSEERS: C ha rl es F. Ada m s, Walt e r Cronk ite, Townsend Hornor, George Lamb, John Lehman, Schu yler M. Meyer, Jr. , J . William Middendorf, II , Graham H. Phi llips, John Stobart, William G. Wintere r ADVISORS: Co-Chairmen, Frank 0 . Braynard , Melbourne Smith ; D.K. Abbass, Raymond Aker, George F. Bass, Francis E. Bowker, Oswa ld L. Brett, David Brink , orrnan J. Brouwer, William M. Doerflinger, Francis). Duffy,John S. Ewa ld, Joseph L. Fa rr, Tim oth y G. Foote , Wi ll iam Gilkerson, Thomas Gillmer, Wa lter J . Hande lman , Charles E. He rde nd orf, Steven A. Hyma n, Hajo Knuttel , Conrad Mil ster, William G. Muller, David E. Perkins, Richard Rath , Nancy Hughes Richardson, Timothy J . Run ya n, George Salley, Ralph L. Snow, John Stobart , Albert Swanson, Sha nn on J . Wa ll , Thomas We ll s AMERJCAN SHIP TRUST: International Chairman, Karl Kortum ; Chairman, Peter Stanford; Trustees, F. Briggs Dalzell, William G. Mu ller, Richard Rath , Melbourne Smith, Edward G. Zel insky SEA HISTORY STAFF: Editor, Peter Stanford; Executive Editor, Norma Stanford ; Associate Editor, Justine Ahl strom ; Contributing Editor, Kev in Haydon; Accounting, Joseph Cacciola; Membership Development, Burchenal Green; Membership Secretary, Patricia Anstett; Membership Assistant , Erika Kurtenbach ; Advertising Assistant, Carrnen McCallum; Secretary to the President, Karen Ritell

AUTUMN 1995

16 T he 1995 International Tall Ships Races by Captain Morin Scott 22 Across the Western Ocean : American Ships by Liverpool Artists by Daniel Finamore 31 T he Rediscovery of the US Brig Somers by James P. Delgado 45 Christmas at Antofagasta by Captain Fred Klebingat

DEPARTMENTS 2 4 5 19 20

Deck Log & Letters NMHS News Museum Profile Historic Ship Profile Modelma ker 's Corner

21 Marine Art News 33 Shipnotes, Seaport & M useum News 38 Reviews 48 Patrons

COVER: The packet ship Castilian makes her entrance to the great port of Liverpool, Eng land, in heavy weather, guided by a tug. This painting by Duncan McFarlane is part of the exhibit "American Ships by Liverpool Artists ," sponsored by the Peabody Essex Museum . (See story pages 22-29)

JoinUsforaV oyageintoHistory Our seafari ng heritage comes alive in the pages of Sea History, fro m the ancient mariners of Greece, and Portug uese navigators opening up the ocean world, to the heroic efforts of seamen in World War II. Each issue brings new insights and new discoveries.

If you Jove the sea and the legacy of those who sail in deep waters, if you love the rivers, lakes and bay s and the ir workaday craft, then you belong with us. Stay in touchjoin us today! Mail in the form below or phone

1-800-221-NMHS Yes, I want to join the Society and receive Sea History quarterl y. My contribution* is enclosed. (*$ 15 of each contribution is for Sea History; any amount above that is tax-deductible.) D $30 Regular Member D $40 Fami ly Member D $ JOO Friend Mr./Ms. _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __

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LETTERS

DECK LOG What joy it is to publish the Peabody Essex Museum's account of their exhibition "Across the Western Ocean"! Tum to pages 22-29 of this Sea History and smell the salt air of the wind off the sea in the River Mersey. And watch the stout Western Ocean packets as they come in or prepare to depart on their regular passages across the boisterous North Atlantic-all this painted with such elan that your editor found himself singing the lines of a chantey one surely would have heard echoing across the water roiled by so many keels: "It was in a Black Baller I first served my time- to me way, hay, blow the man down ... " Well, it may be just as well that you are spared my singing-but if you find yourself humming" ... and across the Western Ocean we must wander," be assured we'll understand that response to these aged but glowing oils. On a quieter note, Dan Finamore's exegesis of the paintings is authoritative, and marvelously apropos, telling us just the kind of thing one wants to know about these largely self-taught artists who earned their livings through ship portraiture in one of the world's most active seaports, in the days when tall ships leaning on the wind bound England to America with a stream of emigrants, and America to England via printed books, iron rails and the serialized novel s of Charles Dickens-to say nothing of such inimitable imports as the glorious Swedish singer Jenny Lind. The Devil may whisper "Is it art?" to his heart 's content (or more likely discontent) but these works fulfill my definition roundly. Art, I suggest, transcends mere words and pictures conveying information; art conveys value and meaning in ways that challenge and refresh the human spirit-let the Devil whisper what he wants behind the trees.

The Art of Living in History Our Advisory Council member Walter Handelman stopped by the other day to review recent work. He was pleased with membersh ip gai ns and plans for major advances in com ing months and years. We talked of hi story, whose cause we serve, not as dead and gone, but as a vital continuum in which each person in hi s life should think abo ut the role he's playing, and search out things that matter. " It 's fulfilling to find and serve those things," said Walter, "not just satisfying. Everybody chases satisfaction. But fulfillment is the true goal." PETER STANFORD

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New York's Governor Celebrates Waterways Libby and I are delighted to send warm regards to all who participated in the Celebrate New York ' s Waterways Festival in Peekskill on Saturday, 19 August. The festival, riverside park, refurbished and renamed China Pier, as well as the continuing commitment of the National Maritime Historical Society to our city's waterfront, are all cause for great optimism about the future of Peekskill and the Hudson Valley. History is clearly being made on this occasion. With the help of private enterprise and nonprofit friends, there isn't a better place for this message to be heard, loud and clear, than in Peekskill. River and riverfront heritage, river and riverfront recreation are all key to our future well-being and the essential message of our Hudson River Greenway programs. Let me salute you, Mayor Frances Gibbs, and all involved in these efforts to make our waterways once again a shining asset and a frontier for recreation, education and economic opportunity. HON. GEORGE E. PATAKI Governor, New York State

"They Will Run Forever!" I have enjoyed the last year's issues of Sea History very much. However, a subject I have not seen explored is the WWII ships still serving in the US Coast Guard. As a consultant on rotating electrical equipment, I have a special interest in diesel-electric drive systems in marine applications. One of my clients has been the Coast Guard. I have consulted on the ships stationed at Kodiak, Alaska. All are in good to excellent condition and all four were commissioned during WWII. They are the USCG Cutters Storis, Yocona, Ironwood and Firebush. One admiral stated, "Keep them [electric motors and generators] dry and clean and they will run forever!" LEONARD W. FINNELL

Pittsburgh, Pennsy lvania In My Dreams I'm on the Mississippi I was "taking up my pen" to send you a letter regarding Way's Packet Directory, listing passenger steamboats of the Mississippi, when the postman arrived with the Summer edition of Sea History. You can imagine my delight in finding major articles relating to the steamboats. What a happy coincidence! Of course I immediately started checking the boats against Way's Packet Directory.

It is interesting to note that incidents in the careers of the snagboats which Mr. Custer records are supplementary toothers published by Way. And under "Submarine" there is much information about the snag boats designed by Henry Shreve. Oddly enough, I picked up a copy of DennisWelland'slifeandTimesofMark Twain (1991) today, so in my dreams I am back on the Mississippi! CDRBRIANW AINWRTGHT,RN (RET.)

Chalfont St. Peter, England

Ships That Pass in the Night Ships that pass in the night all too often have a difficult time recognizing each other and sending forth traditional nautical courtesies and greetings. By day it is quite a different picture, indeed. How many members remember the passage of the great Fall River Liners Commonwealth and Priscilla as these majestic ladies pounded up the East River and Long Island Sound? How the nightly steam whistles pealed out salutes-three long blasts and a flourish-from the whistles of Richard Peck, Americana, Waukeeta, Mayflower and Belle Island. Tugs and other vessels joined in as passengers and crew exchanged waves across the churned-up waters. We don't see or hear these vessels anymore, but they are all remembered in Sea History and by NMHS members. And we really have our own distinguished maritime salutes to render and record. When you have that NMHS pin in your lapel or the decal on the window of your car, you will be astonished at the number of shipmates who will greet you and new recruits you will attract. JAMES J. MOORE

Hampton Bays, New York

We Control Their Destiny I have just read your letter to the Society's members dated July 1995 and the Spring issue of Sea History, both of which feature the Liberty sh ip Jeremiah O'Brien. I have a great love for the Liberty ships. I remember, as a youngster, seeing them standing out on Long Island Sound and, later, as an estimator for Todd Shipyards, I estimated the cost to return them to service in the early 1950s. For the past several years I have seen the Jeremiah 0' Brien extolled in the press as a noble and gallant ship. I could not agree more with this assessmentshe certain ly deserves those accolades. However, another, more sen ior Liberty ship also survives and flourishes. SEA HISTORY 75, AUTUMN 1995


The John W. Brown, based in Baltimore, Maryland, has hundreds of faithful volunteers giving of themselves and their money to raise the funds needed to repair her shell plating. With additional funds to make her seaworthy, the John W. Brown could have joined the 0' Brien for D-Day celebrations in Normandy. Both these ships are so deserving that honors and just recognition should be given to each vessel and their respective supporters with eagerness, sincerity, honor and heartfelt emotion. But time is running out for both ships. Both need more support. If help doesn 't come soon, we may have the distinction ofletting history pass through our hands. We control the destiny of these two remaining great vessels. If they sink, remember, there are no more. JOHN SCHMIDT East Granby, Connecticut

knots. These ships were called "Victorys." HMS Flamborough Head/HMCS Cape Breton is a Canadian Victory, but her American equivalent is a Liberty. ARTHUR B. HARRIS Troy, Michigan Hunting U-Boats I would like to remind readers who would prefer not to don scuba gear to view the U-1105 Shipwreck Preserve (SH 74) that U-505 is permanently displayed at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, Illinois. She was boarded and captured off Cape Blanco, West Africa, on 4 June 1944 by a "hunter-killer" task group of five destroyer escorts led by the escort carrier Guadalcanal. U-505 was the first enemy man-of-war captured by the US Navy in battle on the high seas si nce 1815. JOHNW. HART Shiremanstown, Pennsylvania

Canadian Victory=US Liberty I was overjoyed to see "Saving the Cape Breton-a Canadian Equivalent to a Victory" in the Winter issue of Sea History, but to pick a nit, Cape Breton is not a US Victory equivalent. To briefly retrace the history: in September 1940 a UK team came to the US to place orders for 60 merchant ships, deadweight about 10,000 tons , single screw driven by a triple expansion steam engine with coal-burning boilers. These ships were all named with "Ocean" prefixes; when the US entered the war the design was further simplified with oilfired water tube boilers substituted for the coal-fired "Oceans," and the greatlyexpanded program was called the "Liberty Ship Program." In Canada, the UK team ordered Ocean-type ships from east and west coast yards. These ships had "Fort" and "Park" names. Engine production was closely coordinated with the US Liberty yards, with benefits to both nations. Canadian yards developed two design variations: an oil-fired, water tube boiler plant (like the Liberty), called the Victory, and a design which could burn either oil or coal, called the Canadian. Both used the same 2500ihp triple expansion engi ne. In the US, as war production increased, geared steam turbines became more avai lable, so six of the 18 yards building Libertys switched to an "improved Liberty" with either a 6000 or an 8500shp turbine engine-raising the speed from the 11 knot Liberty to 16 or 17 .5 SEA HISTORY 75, AUTUMN 1995

Setting History Straight Many thanks for your Sea History 73 comments on the final phase of WWII and the bomb. I was a combat aircrewman in a Privateer (PB4 Y-2) plane crew about to be deployed to the Far East when the war was so decisively brought to a close and the homeland invasion averted. This subject surely deserves to be set straight for the next generations. CDR ROBERT A. NICHOLS USNR (RET.) Dana Point, California ERRATA I am writing to clarify a point made in the article about the model of the Sea Cloud in the Spring '95 issue of Sea History. The vessel was not a wedding present. Marjorie Post and E. F. Hutton were married in 1920. Sea Cloud was built in 1931. It makes a nice story, and I have no idea what E. F. 's present to Marjorie was, but I am sure it wasn't Sea Cloud. The model, by the way, looks great. ED CASSIDY Naples, Florida Captain Cassidy, USCG (Ret.), has served as longtime skipper ofSea Cloud. Thank you for the copies of Sea Histmy 73 containing the story of Picton Castle. They will go out to my shareholders, supporters and prospective partners along with membership information. However, the photo of the bunk room in Joe Stanford's excellent article got mislabeled as being on the Picton Castle.

It is, of course, on the Wavertree. I used the Wavertree forecastle to make a mockup for planning purposes for my ship. DAN MORELAND New York, New York Reports in Sea History 73 inadvertently did a disservice to two historic US Coast Guard Cutters, as pointed out to us by Capt. Neale 0. Westfall, USCG (Ret.) of Portsmouth VA and John S. Stamford, Chief Quartermaster, USCG (Ret.) of Baldwin NY . In our list of surviving Pacific War Veteran Vessels in museums, USCGC Ingham's lifetime of service was shortened from 1936-1988 to 1936-1937. And our note about efforts to save the tug Hoga referred to the tug as the only remaining vessel to survive Pearl Harbor, when USCGC Taney was also there. Both these cutters were of the Secretary or Treasury class, served in Atlantic and Pacific theaters in WWII, carried out weather patrol, law enforcement and search and rescue operations, served in Vietnam and were retired in the 1980s. Taney is located at the Baltimore Maritime Museum and Ingham can be visited at Patriots Point, Mount Pleasant SC. Marc J. Cohen of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, pointed out that, in Sea History 74 Shipnotes, we incorrectly identified the battleship North Carolina as BB 25, when she is actually BB 55. Some of our members have noticed the statistical gaffe on the pink slip included with our recent Report to the Membership-a misplaced decimal brought the amount of $100 donations to $325,000 when the actual amount is $32,500. Now, here's a refreshing (and valid) statistic: as of31 August we received $17,235.42 from 494 members as a result of the Report to the Members mailing.-Eo.

•••••••••••••••••••• Each month we receive many inquiries about historic vessels, maritime history and marine antiques. We are unable to print the majority of the requests for information and, as a nonprofit organization, we do not give appraisals or facilitate the sale of items. However, we do invite you to place your request in the "Classified" section to reach our thousands of readers--a most knowledgeable collection of people with strong interests in the maritime field. Entries cost $1.60/word. Send in your ad with payment or call Carmen McCallum at 800-221-NMHS.)

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NMHSNEWS Celebrate New York's Waterways: The Charles Point Park Dedication Festival On 19 August, the City of Peekskill and the National Maritime Historical Society hosted a splendid day-long celebration that brought together NMHS members, local residents and businesses and a variety of government agencies concerned with the economic and cultural development of the Hudson Valley. The multifaceted celebration was a welcome home to Schuyler M. Meyer, Jr. , Chairman of the State Council on Waterways, and his crew, at the conclusion of their 5000-mile voyage through the waterways of America in their small boats, the Dr. Robt. Semo and the Nawat. They ventured as far south as Knoxville, Tennessee, and as far north as Montreal , Quebec, to celebrate the 170th Anniversary of the Erie Canal , promoting its rich history and potential as an educational, recreational and commercial resource. It was also the dedication of a newly formed park on Charles Point, overlooking one of the most beautiful and serene vistas the Hudson River has to offer. A wonderful deepwater pier on the tip of Charles Point was built by the Fleischmann Company in the earl y 1900s to receive shipments of raw materials from the West Indies and from as far away as China. It replaced piers that had existed there for hundreds of years. With some rebuilding, it was the perfect place to welcome the Dr. Robt. Semo and to berth other visiting vessels. An extensive and committed cast of characters created the Celebrate New York's Waterways Festival. George Pataki, New York State's Governor, was the Honorary Chairman. Bernadette Castro, Commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, served as Chairman, with Co-Chairmen Frances Gibbs, Mayor of Peeksk ill , and Peter Stanford, President of NMHS. Charles Point is a dramatic example of land use that encompasses the disparate needs of industry , manufacturing, wholesale and retail , recreation and tourism. The people who do business there care about the area and its heritage . They supported the park dedication ceremony , enth usiastically joining NMHS and the City of Peekskill to make the day memorable. Bernadette Castro cited the space as a successful cooperative effort of public, private and nonprofit sectors, saying, "I would love to use this project as a role model for the state." The August 19th celebration was also the initial step towards rai si ng funds for a walkway from the historic pier, to run south along the river to NMHS headquarters nearby. We are looking forward to using the pier-renamed China Pier to reflect Peekskill's ties to the wider world-and the walkway to provide public access to the Hudson and a dock for historic vessels to visit. In the future , we hope to develop the pier as a homeport for a vessel representing the Hudson River's vital role in ournation 's history. JUSTINE A HLSTROM Good beginnings toward this end BASIL HARRISON were made here on 19 August as hundreds of people streamed into the park to enjoy the entertainment, learn from the displays set-up by many Hudson River organizations, and experience our waterborne heritage firsthand. -BURCHENAL GREEN

NMHS Travels NMHS members are stepping up efforts to heighten NMHS visibility at maritime festiva ls, boat shows and conferences. To that end, our traveling display has been to local events along the Hudson River and to major festivals such as the Newport International Boat Show, held

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Volunteer leader Harry Vinall chats up an interested visitor at the NMHS table in the History Tent (organized byNMHS with other participants) at last year's Newport Boat Show. Harry and Carol Vinall co-chair the Charles Point Council, which meets monthly at NMHS headquarters in Peekskill.

14-17 September in Newport RI. On these occasions the booth has been staffed by volunteers who met many fellow members and attracted new recruits and had a grand time doing it! We plan to extend these efforts further afield using small displays that can be mailed to various locations with kits containing Sea History magazines, membership forms and other resources. So far, our mail-out display has met with success in Texas , St. Louis and Boston. If you know of a venue that would attract maritime- and history-minded people and are willing to staff the display or coordinate volunteers, give Burchie Green a call at 1-800-221-NMHS. -JUSTINE AHLSTROM

NMHSAnnuaf Awards Dinner Friday, 10 November 1995 atthe

New York Yacht Club Above, hundreds of people cruised on the historic excursion boat M/V Commander and South Street Seaport' s tugboat W.O. Decker. Below, local dignitaries joined (fi"ont row.from left) Mayor Frances Gibbs, Hon. Bernadette Castro and Peter Stanford at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

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Reception at 5:30, Dinner at 7:00 Cost per person: $125

Call 1-800-221-NMHS to make your reservation.

SEA HISTORY 75, AUTUMN 1995


MUSEUM PROFILE

The American Merchant Marine Museum by Captain Charles M. Renick, Executive Director he American Merchant Marine Museum is devoted to telling the story of American ships, officers and seamen in the growth of our nation. All aspects of our maritime history are covered in fourteen galleries , from inland waterways and the Great Lakes, to coastal and deepwater shipping. While most maritime museums feature the age of sai l, the majority of our exhibits deal with the age of steam. Among the 54 ship models on display is an 18-foot model of the passenger liner SS Washington. The models are enhanced by paintings by such notable artists as John Stobart, Hunter Wood , Arthur Beaumont and Antonio Jacobsen, which bring vanished ships and scenes back to li fe. And our collection of old and rare navigational instruments is one of the best in the nation. One gallery is devoted to "Gallant Ships," those vessels whose crews performed acts of bravery at sea, while another tells the story of the tugboat industry. There is a gallery dedicated to the wartime merchant marine, which will soon be extended to include a World War II merchant ship's radio room. Our new annex features the engine from the famous square sai l and steam training ship Emery Rice (ex-Nantucket and ex-USS Ranger). The 60-ton engine, more than a century old, has been restored to working condition and is a National Historic Engineering Landmark. The Museum maintains an active, year-round schedule of special exhibits, and we urge all readers to visit us . Easily reached , just 18 miles from Manhattan, the Museum is open Saturdays and Sundays from I to 4:30PM and on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from I OAM to 3PM. For more information call 516-773-55 I 5.

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Above, Boy Scouts admire the 18-foot model of the SS Washington. At right , the "Ships Made America" exhibit. Photos and line drawing courtesy American Merchant Marine Mu seum.

This unique engine from the Emery Rice is an artifacr of the age of transition from sail to steam. The 1873 warship , a sailing vessel with a complete power plant , was relegated to the role of a /raining ship for the merchant marine as steel and steam replaced the wooden sailing navy. When the vessel could serve no longer in rhat capacity and was being scrapped in 1958, Karl Kortum , dean of ship savers and founder of NMHS , arranged to have the 60-ton engine saved and shipped to rh e then-San Francisco Maritime Museum. Admiral Tom Patterson.famous for leading the Jeremiah O'Brien restoration , prevailed upon Kortum to yield rhe engine up and brought it back to the US Merchant Marine Academy, where it opened this year as an operaring exhibit.

The home of William S. Barstow now houses rhe American Merchant Marine Museum.

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World War II Is Over-

What Did Victory Mean?

widespread suffer in g, No one but a madman the inanity of s uch a would wish to repeat the comment is clear- it is ex perience of war which s imply divorced from has stained our bombed, the historic al reality of burnt and blood-drenched the times. century. But that is no As in all reexaminareason not to learn from tions of history, some useit-quite the contrary! ful question s were raised. So on the 50th anniThe most important was versary of the end of whether or not the JapaWorld War II this year, nese were actively seekAmericans were surely ing SUITender with the sole right to ask whether it was proviso that they keep necessary to fight the war and whether we did so Th e war is over' Many of" these their emperor. Unfortuwith worthy objectives young people, celehrating in Paris, nately, thi s widely circuand as much humanity as would have heen sent to the Pacific lated idea is a non-fact. The facts are : first , that can ever be brought to for the invasion ol Japan. Now they' II he going home. the Americans continuIife-and-death strugg le. o usly so ug ht Japanese It is an unhappy fact that we did not seem to come together surrender through neutral mediators; and, very well in answers to these questions, second, it is now known beyond doubt and in the end the President of the United that Japanese negotiation s were directed States decided to omit the concept of at securin g the support of the Soviet victory from the observances in the Pa- Union, in order very specifica ll y to recific of V-J Day. The initial s stand, of tain their armed forces, command struccourse, for v ictory over Japan-and I ture and at least some of the conq uests personally believe it is of the utmost made in their war of expansion. The importance that that victory be recog- Soviets, known by both the Japanese and Americans to be sw inging around tonized, acknowledged and learned from. History is there for us not as a handy ward a confrontation with America, had dumping ground for our prejudices or a sufficient grasp of the realities to deideological preconce ption s or, perhaps cide to join a victorious war against worst, for political convenience, but as a Japan, rather than make an alliance with source of refreshment and learning. We a beaten nation . should have learned from Stalin and The facts cited above are beyond reaHitler that history so treated becomes an sonable dispute. Any navi gator using instrument not of enlightenment but of the statistical principles employed by contro l and oppression. Czech Presi- the Smithsonian in estimatin g casua lties dent Vaclav Havel has said thatthe libera- would wreck hi s ship before getting out tion of his country from occupation by a of the harbor. Any pe rson denying the realities of the Japanese negoti ation s is foreign army and alien rule stemmed from the Czech awareness of hi story, the un- in a state of denial comparable to an rul y and often politi call y inco nve ni en t advocate of the flat earth theory. Allied victory in WWII was uncondirecord of human experi e nce. The failure of the American people to tional. Germany and Japan were e ntirely come togethe r to commemorate the fifti- occupied by armed force , and the ir civic eth anniversary of victory in hi sto ry's and soc ial structures were administered most terrible war may be traced directly by Allied military governments until to the response of severa l impo rtant genuine free e lec tion s could be held . American institution s. Our national mu- Those elections were eventua ll y held seum , the Smithsonian Institution , used (two to three years late r) in good order, skewed numbers to gross ly misrepre- the social, civic and eco nomic structures sent the ex pected casua lties of an inva- of the defeated nation s were rebui It with sion of Japan . Th ey did this in order to the cheerful and welcome help of the strengthen the case aga inst use of the victorious powers, notably the United atomic bomb to e nd the war quickly . A States. In judging the Allied leade rs, a majortelev is ion netwo rk put on a wide ly g reat deal of confusion and suspi c ion advertised spec ial feat ure on the same could be clea red away simply by looking question , in which the anchorman fatu- at the so lid fulfillment of every sing le ously asked " What was the hurry?" to promise made during the war and at its PS end the war. In a war where there is victorious conclusion . SEA HISTORY 75 , AUTUMN 1995


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SEA HISTORY 75, AUTUMN 1995

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A Captain from Cape Cod by Louis A. Norton ollowing the War of 1812, mari- devoted to his wife and, when not at sea, gious man ; a member of the aristocracy time commerce in the eastern looked forward to spending time with of ship masters. Unfortunately, being a United States was divided into four her. He tended his fruit orchard in member of the aristocracy did not mean distinct act1v1ttes: first was domestic Shrewsbury and was an active deacon in one was financially secure. He had beintracoastal trade, including the danger- his small country church. come part owner of the Walpole, but that In January 1847, Captain Richardson ship, under the command of his succesous "round the Hom" trade with California and other West Coast destinations; took command of the packet Walpole , sor, foundered at the mouth of the Cosecond, trade with miscellaneous Euro- which carried wheat from New York to lumbia River. This cost him the thenpean, South American and Caribbean Liverpool, and freight ;,md passengers substantial sum of $10,000. The profits ports; third, a routine British Isles/Liver- for the return trip. The North Atlantic from freight and transportation of immipool packet trade; and, finally, Far East- run in midwinter was a tough, unforgiv- grants in these labor-intensive vessels em trade, largely with India and China. ing training ground in seamanship for barely met expenses. Still, in a letter to This commerce was carried by sail- the young master of the packet ship hiswifein1849hephilosophicallywrote, ing vessels commanded by an unusual trade. The packets were seaworthy, able " it is best to live comfortable, if we die poor." 2 Fate would soon lend breed of men. Theysaileddurhim riches and fame, but call in ing the infancy of accurate navigation in fast and ever this loan in all too short a time. more sophisticated ships. A The rise of the clipper ship era, beginning in the midgood chronometer was a major investment; the octant was w~ 1840s, ushered in the decline largely replaced by the sex-~ of the small wooden packet. With the increased trade to tant; Bowditch tables were in ~ China and India, plus the distheir early years of revision,~ covery of gold in California in and charts were not depend- ;:i able, particularly in newly ~ 1848, and a little later in Australia, there was a major impeopened trade routes and har- ~ tus toward improvement in the bors. The North Atlantic and ~ style of shipbuilding and mariCape Hom, in particular, were violent with gales, and politi- ~ time architecture on both sides cal instability, outbreaks of in- ~ of the Atlantic. Foremost fectious disease, crop failures, ~ among the American marine recession, and reckless finan- 8 architects was Donald McKay cial speculation combined to Charles Robert Patterson's portrait of the Stag Hound. In 1861 , the of East Boston who designed make maritime trade a pre- StagH_o~nd'slastcargo,ashipmentofN_ewcastlecoalbou.ndforSan and built the pioneer extreme Francisco, spontaneously combusted offthe coast ofBrau!. Cap tam clipper Stag Hound in 1850 . carious calling. . b f and crew safely reached the shore, but the vessel was lost. She was expressly built for the A n outstandmg mem er o this hearty breed of shipmasters who ships, built to travel fast under a press of "round the Horn" run from the East engaged in all four aspects of American canvas. But as the volume of trade grew, Coast to San Francisco then on to China deep sea commerce, was Josiah Rich- they became increasingly difficult to and back. The local Boston lines had a ardson. The captain fit Samuel Eliot man. Where in the early days of the cadre of some of the most able American Morison 's definition of a Yankee in his American republic, respectable young skippers. The Cape Cod natives who 1921 Maritime History of Massachu- men signed on in the fo'c's les of the commanded packets were selected to be setts: "A tough but nervous, tenacious Western Ocean packets-and while the earliest masters of the newly debut restless race; materially ambitious, some still did so for the experience- signed extreme clipper ships. Captain yet prone to introspection, and subject to toward mid-century crews had to be Josiah Richardson was given the opporwaves of religious emotion .... A race scraped up from the tough crowds on the tunity to move from the 719-ton packet whose typical member is eternally tom growing city waterfronts. Near-mutinies Townsend to the 1535-ton clipper Stag between a passion for righteousness and and knife fights among these crews were Hound. No higher compliment could be all too common. The docks in Liverpool paid to a young captain than to be invited a desire to get on in the world." 1 Born at Centerville on Cape Cod in were crowded with Iri sh emigrants hop- to command thi s nautical thoroughbred, 1809 as one of many sons of a Harvard- ing for a better life in America and, for and Captain Richardson was about to educated school teacher, he went to sea these passengers, the crossing to Boston make maritime hi story. as a cabin boy at the age of 11. By in a packet was like a six-week sentence Stag Hound was the first extreme Richardson 's twenty-first birthday he to a dungeon during a perpetual earth- clipper to be designed and built by was master of the schooner Hetty Thom quake. Being placed in command of such out of Duxbury, Massachusetts. He en- a ship, crew, and passengers was a chal- 1Samuel Eliot Morison, Th e Maritime History gaged in coastal trade between the north lenge, indeed. of Massachusetts (Boston: Houghton Mifflin In 1849 Captain Richardson was given & Co., 1921), 22. and south and ran the triangle to such foreign ports as Marseilles, Le Havre, the notable packet Townsend. He had 2Henry C. Kittredge, Shipmasters of Cape Cod and occasionally Cuba. He was extremely gained a reputation as a gentle and reli- (Boston: Houghton Mifflin & Co., 1935), I 05.

F

g

8

SEA HISTORY 75, AUTUMN 1995


L~-

uFur

Lines of the Stag Houndji¡om Hall' s 1884 Ship-Building Industry of the United States.

her forefoot , almost forgett ing to name her. He was heard to shout "Stag Hound, your name is Stag Hound," as she slid halfway down the ways in a wha le oil cloud. The occasion was marked by shouts from the crowd and the mellow peal of church bells from both shores of Boston harbor. Stag Hound was, indeed, a grand and unusual ship. The following are excerpts from a contemporary description of her: "This magnificent ship has been the wonder of all who have seen her. Not on ly is she largest in her cl ass afloat, but

hound , represented panting in chase, and carved work around the hawse-holes and on the ends ofhercatheads, comprise her McKay. Her design, being unconvenornamental work about the bow. tional, received criticism and her captain "In taking a parting survey of the Stag was questioned about accepting its comHound we can not speak too highly of mand. Her entrance and clearance lines her builder, and all who have particiwere said by some who thought thempated in her construction and equipment. selves knowledgeable to resemble those ... She is ... perfect in her proportions . .. ofa steam boat.Walter R. Jones, a prom idesigned for speed, and it is the opinion nent Boston marine underwriter, reof competent judges, that the vessel has marked to Captain Richardson, "I should yet to be built that will pass her. " 4 think you wou ld be somewhat nervous in The Stag Hound sailed on her maiden going on so long a voyage in so sharp a voyage on I February 1851 , with a crew ship, so heavily sparred."The of36 able-bodied seamen, six good captain was said to have ordinary seamen and six boys replied : "No, Mr. Jones. I for the 16,000 mile run from In spite of the delays, Stag Hound would not go in the ship at all, Boston round Cape Horn to if I thought for a moment that San Francisco. Herfreightfee reached Valparaiso, Chile, under a juryshe would be my coffin."3 for hold space on this passage Builtin IOOdaysfromthe was an unprecedented $I a rig in sixty-six days, missing the existing keel laying, she was launched cubic foot. Records indicate at noon on 7 December 1850 that her freight list revenue speed record by only one day. and delivered to the merexceeded $70,000 for this first chants George B. Upton and leg to California. In contrast, Sampson & Tappan, both during his Liverpool packet Boston firms. Although ship launchings her model may be said to be the original days Captain Richardson complained in in those days were not well attended of a new idea in naval architecture. She a letter to his wife about a total freight events, Stag Hound drew an estimated is longer and sharper than any other charge of only $3,000 for a transatlantic throng of twelve to fifteen hundred on vessel of the merchant service in the voyage. that cold December day. Because of the world , while her breadth of beam and Stag Hound encountered a heavy gale low temperature, the tallow froze on the depth of hold are designed with special on the sixth day out of Boston. She lost ways. The men had to pour boiling whale reference to stability. Every element in her main topsail and three topgallant oil onto the wooden rails. Thus at the her has been made subservient to speed; masts . Repairs were made at sea, and command to knock away the dog shores, she is therefore her builder's beau ideal soon after Captain Richardson and his the vessel very rapidly entered the ice- of swiftness; for in designing her, he was crew rescued the crew of a Russian merstrewn harbor in a vaporous scrim of not interfered with by her owners; He chant sh ip off the coast of Brazi I. smoking whale oil. alone, therefore is responsible for her Richardson 's log entry of 2 March 1851 In the mid-nineteenth century , cus- sa iling qualities. was brief: "At 6 A. M . discovered ahead tom gave the job of ship chri stening to "She is uncommonly sharp forward, small boat with nine men in it. Came up the yard foreman of the builder. Thus yet her bow bears no resemblance to that Stag Hound was christened by McKay 's of a steamer: it seems to have grown 30 ctavius T. Howe and Frederick C. Mathews, foreman with a dark bottle of Medford naturally from the fullness of her model American Clipper Ships, 1833-1853 , 2 vol. rum . It was reported at the time that he to a point, but so beautifully propor- (Salem: Marine Research Soc., 1926), II: was so excited by the event and the tioned that the eye lingers on it with 615. From the Boston Atlas, 26 August 1850. crowd that he smashed the bottle across delight. ... A carved and guilded stag 4 Boston Atlas, 21 December 1850. Captain Josiah Richardson

SEA HISTORY 75, AUTUMN 1995

9


to it and they made a signal of distress. "hands across the sea" theme and proved ship captain beats the fleet round the Took them on board. They were the to foretell the future of the ship. She was Hom to California and spends what time Captain and crew of Russian brig said to be very commodious and fast he can spare from the ship's business in Sylphide, loaded at Rio with coffee, although Richardson did not consider port, to bringthe Word of God to Sunday School children. What, one wonders, has bound for Helsingfors. Was upset in a her quite so fast as Stag Hound. Mr. Train was a good and competi- become of the mythical swashbuck ler of squall four days previous: One man , carpenter, drowned." 5 He subsequently tive business man . A ship of this consid- the quarter-deck, whose word was an received a personal letter of thanks from erable size with a very large hold, was oath, and whose pastime was caving in the Russian Ambassador to the United designed to be very profitable in the skulls of sailors with iron belaying pins?" 10 The remainder of this voyage was States through the then-Secretary of round-the-world trade as well as the luState, Daniel Webster. In spite of the crative California freight run. Train re- notable in that he took Staffordshire from delays, Stag Hound reached Valparaiso, cruited the famed Captain Richardson to San Francisco to Singapore, then on to Chile, under a jury-rig in sixty-six days, this challenge. The Captain accepted and Calcutta and finally back to Boston where missing the existing speed record by sailed from Boston bound for San Fran- he completed the final leg in a mere 83 only one day. This feat was credited to cisco on 3 May 1852. He had 120 pas- days. This latter record has only been exceeded four times. More rethe new design and, in no small markable is a newspaper account measure, to the seamanship of of the voyage. It shows Captain her master. She went on to comIn an almost story-bookfashion Richardson as a skillful , caring, plete the passage to San Francisco Capt. Richardson used his but cautious shipmaster who did in a record 107 days at sea. Richnot sail with his eye on the all ardson wrote to the owners: "The newly acquired prominence by important record book. It says that ship is yet to be built to beat the during the last few days of this run Stag Hound . ... I am in love with electing to address a children's the weather (cloud cover and fog) the ship."6 Yet he commanded was too thick to make an observaher for just one voyage. Sunday School meeting. tion. Although his estimation of After receiving great acclaim in California, Stag Hound sai led his position by dead reckoning for China to take on a load of tea. proved to be correct, he elected to She returned to New York in ninety-four sengers on board and a freight list that stand off shore an extra day rather than days, a fast passage in the stormy winter measured thirteen feet in length. The risk hi s vessel on the shoals near Boston season. While on this voyage he wrote passengers found him so ingratiating harbor. his wife from Whampoa: "My cares are and accommodating, they presented him The Gold Rush of 1849 had subsided full as much as when in a small ship, but with a silver pitcher "as a slight token of by 1853. Train asked Richardson to use hope to get through with them all and respect for the many kind attentions re- Staffordshire as a packet and return to deliver up my commission honorably to ceived at your hands and the high con- the Liverpool run with the objective of myself and satisfactory to my owners." sideration we entertain for the able man- selling her if he could get a good price. Ten months and 23 days after sailing ner in which you conducted us through a She set sail for Liverpool, but a suitable from New York, Stag Hound completed long and perilous voyage. " 8 This was buyer could not be found. Thus the ship her maiden voyage. She had paid for her one of many tokens of appreciation given left Liverpool's River Mersey on 9 Debuilding costs and earned the sizable to the master by passengers and admir- cember 1853 to return to Boston with profit of $80,000. 7 ers. The voyage was completed in 102 214 passengers and crew and freight for With this success, Captain Richardson days, four days ahead of a fellow Cape an early winter trip. The letters that Capresigned his command of Stag Hound to Codder, Captain Judah P. Baker, com- tain Richardson penned to his beloved be with his family. This respite would manding the Medford-built clipper wife in November and early December only last three months. A man with his Shooting Star. Clippers, particularly of that year seemed to be a premonition skill and reputation cou ld not be allowed those from the same port, frequently of impending disaster. He wrote: "I shall to rest ashore for long. Donald McKay engaged in long distance races for the do all I can to sell her. . . . Your husband was completing the building of the huge glory of becoming "the fastest ship on 1817-ton, 240-foot packet ship Stafford- the seas."9 This particular competition 5 Kittredge, 109. shire. She was launched in East Boston received a great deal of press coverage at 6 Helen and Jacques LaGrange, Clipper Ships on 17 June 1851, two months after the the time. of America and Great Britain, 1833-1869 (G. famous McKay clipper Flying Cloud, The record passage in such an impos- P. Putnam's Sons, New York NY, 1936), 82. 7 which sai led under the command of the ing vessel made Captain Richardson the ln February 1858, the Stag Hound comcompetitive Josiah P. Cressy. Both were center of attention on the San Francisco pleted the passage from Boston Light to the built for the same very successful own- waterfront, a position that would have equator in thirteen days while under the comers, Enoch Train and Company of Bos- tested most masters. In an almost story- mand of a subsequent skipper. No other clipton. The Staffordshire had a scene of book fashion he used his newly acquired per came within three days of this record. She English Staffordshire pottery manufac- prominence by electing to address a also holds the second best time of eight days, twenty hours from San Francisco to Honoturing on one side of her stem and a children's Sunday School meeting. The lulu. similar scene of the Enoch Train busi- following commentary about this epi8 Kittredge, 112-113. ness offices on Lewis Street in Boston sode appears in a sketch about the cap9!bid., 111. on the other. This was to represent a tain: "Here is an anomaly ... . A clipper- 10/bid. , 114. 10

SEA HISTORY 75, AUTUMN 1995


ORIGINAL will not go in her (again) at any price .. . . Wish I was with you and did not have to make the western passage . ... Life is uncertain and all the property I possess I wish my dear wife and children to have and enjoy." 11 And indeed, the Staffo rdshire was lost on Blonde Rock, four miles off Sable Island, Cape Sable, in the early hours of 29 December 1853 on her voyage to Boston. According to the detailed account from Chief Mate Joseph Alden, a gale struck late in the evening of 23 December that heavily damaged the ship 's rudder. The Staffordshire encountered another tremendous gale on the 28th that carried away the bowsprit up to the knight heads and stripped away much of the rigging from the foremast. Captain Richardson, in the face of danger, insisted on assess ing the damage first-hand. He went aloft to see if a temporary foreyard could be rigged. Upon his descent he slipped and fell to the deck about thirty-five fee t below. The ship 's surgeon determined that he sustained multiple serious injuries including a fractured spine and ankle. Although confined to his berth , he directed Alden in the necessary repairs and gave navigational directions. Staffordshire sailed on to the westward under a double-reefed main topsail. At 11 in the evening the lookout sighted the di stant lights of Seal Island and Mr. Alden was summoned on deck. Because of her damaged rudder as well as her compromised and fo uled gear, the Staffordshire was unresponsive and slow to come around . She struck a rock, remained stopped upon it for about fi ve minutes, then slipped off to rapidly sink bow first. The deck was covered in ice and a violent snow squall had descended upon the scene. In that interval as many boats as possible were lowered to save passengers and crew. Captain Richardson refu sed to be moved from his position in his cabin. Mr. Alden, who jumped over the stem to swim to a small boat, said that the Captain ' s last words were, "If I am lost, God 's will be done." 12 Captain Josiah Richardson perished with 169 others on that cold stormy December night. According to the Boston Journal, 17 January 1854, 44 lives were saved 11

/bid., 11 6

8 oston Journal, 17 January 1854.

12

13Morison,

349. /bid. , 359. 15 /bid., 370-37 1. 14

16

0 /d Testament, Psalms 107 :23 .

SEA HISTORY 75 , AUTUMN 1995

including fo ur mates and a woman who had kindly washed the men's clothing in the galley during the trip. Morison wrote that "in fini sh the clipper ships surpassed anything previously attempted in marine art," 13 and likened Donald McKay "to a cathedral builder of the thirteenth century,... [given] visions transcending human experience, with the power to transmute them into reality." 14 The vessels themselves were the glorious pinnacle of America ' s maritime achievement. "Never, in these United States, has the brain of man conceived, or the hand of man fas hioned, so perfect a thing as the clipper ship. In her, the long-suppressed artistic impulse of a practical, hard-worked race burst into fl ower. The Flying Cloud was our Rheims, the Sovereign of the Seas our Parthenon, the Lightning our Amiens; but they were monuments carved from snow. For a brief moment of time they fl ashed their splendor around the world, then disappeared with the sudden completeness of the wild pigeon." 15 Even these, the apotheoses of sailing ships, were only machines that served the skills of man, only useful until other, fas ter, more certain transport were built. Stag Hound and Staffordshire were great McKay clipper ships commanded by a man with strength of character and proficiency in seamanship. Josiah Richardson went "down to the sea in his ship," in accord with the Biblicalquotation. 16 With Captain Richardson ' s passing the nation lost a good and gentle man ; a kind and .t true captain courageous.

Louis Arthur Norton, a native of the seaport of Gloucester, Massachusetts, is a prof essor at the University of Connecticut Health Center at Farmington. He received his education at Bowdoin College and Harvard University. WREC~ERS '

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11


THE CAPE HORN ROAD,

p ART V:

Confronting the Wild Atlantic by Peter Stanford " D e r Wind, der Wind, das himmlische Kind," sings a German mother to her child. Indeed my Americanbom mother, Anglo-Irish by extraction, but enraptured by the German language and German music, sang this song to me and my brothers when we were very young. Much of the wisdom of the race-I mean the human race in all its glorious and tormented variety-is buried in nursery rhymes and songs, and to me there seems a deep truth buried in that idea of calling the wind "heaven's child." It can tug at you, sporting about like a puppy, or whisper cajolingly, full.of half-remembered joys and the promise of things to come--or it can roar like a lion, summoning undreamt-of powers, when, in the memorable phrase of the psalmist, "deep calls unto deep." And it powered the sailing ships by which mankind ultimately contrived to master the roundness of the globe and open our planet to human discov ery and interchange. Harnessing it to that purpose was no casual enterprise. It can play very rough. Go to the merest pond, like the pond behind our house, when the wind is getting up for a blow, and watch the darkening sky cast a leaden hue on the water, and how the hastening ripples scurry before the wind. That pond is the surrounding reality of our planet-not the solid earth around it! The astronauts, first to see Earth hanging in space like an ornament on a Christmas tree, rather than the embattled planet it is, were awed by its heavenly blue color, marbled with clouds and continents. That blue is compounded of our eggshell-thin atmosphere (the heaven that bears the wind) and the all-embracing sea. These are the elements mankind dealt with to open up our world. I saw a curved yellow oak leaf, once, launched from the sky into our pond in an autumn gale, and I followed its brief trip across the water-a brave voyage, with the oak-leaf vessel lifting to the pursuing seas and taking not a drop of water aboard. If she'd had a crew aboard they could have jumped ashore dry-shod on the far side. The Norsemen , or Vikings, who first opened sustained long-distance voyaging in the North Atlantic, came upon Ireland, Iceland, Greenland and Labradoron the North American continent this way-running before overpowering gales which their graceful curved oaken ships could make no way against. But, dodging in this fashion when they had to, they succeeded in building an oceanic network, from about 750AD onward, which tied their scattered settlements together, and contributed mightily to the opening of this wild arena of the ocean world. Others had been before them in braving the rigors of the Western Ocean-as people in the British Isles and Northern Europe called this stormy sea that crashed against their shores from who knows where. Just before 300BC the Greek Pythias evaded the Phoenician blockade in the western Mediterranean and sailed from his home port of Marseille out into the Atlantic, to sail around Britain and perhaps as far north as Iceland. But he and other early navigators appear to have clung to the Atlantic coastline, striv ing to cope with whatever came at them from the unknown, and to them unknowable, expanse of ocean to the west. The Phoenicians had broken out of the Mediterranean as early as 1000BC and soon progressed southward as far as the Canary Islands. There they established colonies, as they did wherever they voyaged, to open continu12

ing trade relations and to provide a food supply for the large crews needed for ships that depended primarily on oar power rather than sail, as theirs did. They also set up an early trade in tin from mines in Cornwall on Britain 's south coast. This was probably conducted through middlemen on the Atlantic coast of Spain, where the Phoenicians, following their usual practice, had set up a trading outpost at Cadiz, just outside the entrance to the Mediterranean. Archaeological studies have recently uncovered traces of an early trade in wine from Rome to Britain, long antedating the arrival of the Romans in Britain in 55BC-and with them, the beginning of recorded British history. The wine was carried on the French rivers: the Narbonne to the Garonne, then via ships creeping along the Atlantic (Bay of Biscay) coast to the Vilaine in Brittany, and thence via the Rance to the risky hop across the English Channel to the Avon on Britain 's south coast, and so on up to Salisbury and other inland settlements. But the light open boats suitable for this riverine trade would not have served to bring a cargo of tin down the French coast and along the north coast of Spain-which makes a terrible lee shore even for a modem, well-found yacht able to claw her way offshore-and then southward to deliver their cargo to the Phoenician entrepot of Cadiz. One might well assume, therefore, that some seafari ng northern race had the ships to make this difficult passage, at a time when northern peoples had generally been thought to have only the most primitive navigation. And like a searchlight singling out a long-sought object, Julius Caesar's Gallic War, a tautly written operational narrative of the Roman general's conquest of ancient Gaul (today's France) and subsequent invasion of Britain, reveals the existence of such a people and tells us about their formidable ships. The Veneti, on Brittany 's south coast, in the district known as theMorbihan, were evidently an advanced maritime branch of the Celtic people who had overrun Western Europe and much of Britain a few hundred years before Caesar launched his Gallic campaigns. When Caesar arrived on the scene he found them, in his words, "dominant in the whole maritime district" around the Breton peninsula-a vital link in the sea route from the Mediterranean to Britain. The Veneti charged levies against all who passed through their waters. They accepted Caesar's overlordship peacefully at first, perhaps reasoning that the advanced Roman civilization could only do good for their maritime trade. But when one of Caesar's lieutenants, encamped in winter quarters along the coast to the southward, levied a grain tax to feed his troops, the Veneti went into revolt. Caesar launched an immediate campaign to occupy their seaport cities. He made little progress until he was joined by the fleet of galleys he had ordered built on the Loire, specifically to fight the Veneti fleet. The Veneti gathered 220 ships to oppose Caesar's galleys. And what ships they were! Caesar describes them: "Their timbers were all oak, to withstand the roughest violence." He cites foot-thick "cross-timbers," fastened with iron bolts as thick as a man' s thumb, and he observes that their anchor cables were chain, not rope. He noted that the bows and stems of these "massive ships," as he called them, rose high out of the sea, "against high waves and winds"-an interesting proviso showing that these were no add-on castles, such as medieval ships were to carry a thousand years later, but SEA HISTORY 75 , AUTUMN 1995


rather an integral part of the ship 's design. And he said they had sai ls: leather sai ls, which he supposed were better able to drive the heavy hull s through their boisterous native waters than sai ls of flax would have been. And we learn that these were real sai ling ships, not driven by oar power, becau se of the way the Romans defeated these dreadnoughts of their day. Impervious to conventional ramming attack, the ships were rendered helpless by cutting away their halyards with long scythes so that their yards and sails fell to the deck, leaving the ships unable to move. Then, two or three Roman galleys (Caesar, not I, cites those odds!) would surround the Yeneti ship, and Roman soldiers "swarmed aboard in a rush." Luckily for the Romans, a flat calm came on the scene, leaving even the undamaged Veneti powerless to evade the sw ift Roman galleys, and very few escaped as night fell.

A Very Different Navigation

_,.

the wind gets up. Putting out into the Channel from Cowes in April 1951, in the first-class ocean racing yawl Bloodhound, we found after a brutal night's sailing that we were twelve miles behind the Needles, where we ' d first put our nose out! Others have more sinister tales to tell of the tide-wracked , gale-lashed Channel, and Caesar himself at one point found hi s army marooned , out of supply on the English shore because an overnight gale had wrecked the fleet he had built to take him across from France and To prove that the Promised Land reached in support his legions once ashore. St . Brendan's Navigatio over a thousand years ago could have been America, Tim Severin built an ox-hide curragh named Brendan, shown here at her launch in January 1976, and sailed her across the Atlantic in 1976-7. As she set forth , an onlooker remarked: "Sure they' II make it-but they' II need a miracle."

The Yeneti are consistentl y described as Celts, and the Celts swept into Gaul only a few hundred years before Caesar's arrival; so the Veneti could not have been the seafaring race who handled the long-haul Phoenician trade, going back some ten centuries before this encounter. But they may well have learned to sai l from a predecessor group. And what remarkable things the encounter reveals! Here are a people in high-topsided, heavi ly built sailing ships, a good five hundred years or more before any other northern people we know of consistently traverses the sea under sail. The waves of Germanic and later Danish invaders who assaulted Britain as the Roman power ebbed from Britai n in the400sADcrossed from the mai nl and in clumsy open rowing boats, vessels built without keels or much developed internal structure, lacking even the "cross-beams"¡ 'hich Caesar observed in the Yeneti boats-beams which l 'ecame a crucial element in the oceanic sailing ship hundreds of years after the Yeneti sai led and awed Caesar with their ships. It 's worth pausing a moment to reflect on some other observations of our astute Roman actor and observer on thi s scene. Almost everything Caesar wrote in hi s account checks out against later, painstakingly developed information from other sources (w ith the exception of mythical animals natives told him dwelt in remote German forests-but he did accurately describe the massive, buffalo-like aurochs, disbelieved by later ages because the animal had by then become extinct!). There is, first, Caesar's forthright observation that "navigation on the vast, open ocean was very different from that in a landlocked sea." He learned this seei ng the tough Veneti ships survive and flourish in conditions his light-built Roman galleys could not cope with. But to remove any fa lse impression that thi s stem, effective soldier was omniscient, one reads that he ordered the galleys built for the invasion of England to have lower topsides than was normal in the Mediterranean, since he had observed "that the waves were smaller because of the frequent ebb and flow of the tides ." As anyone who has sai led the English Channel can tell you, SEA HISTORY 75, AUTUMN 1995

precisely the opposite is true! The strong

,...-.,._.=~~::-o-t 1-1r...~'11"iilllii.,;;;;;....-r1 tidal currents breed steep, vicious seas as

The Matter of Britain

The Roman occupation of Britain, which began with Caesar's invasion, had consequences important in world history a thousand and more years down the road. If one has the patience---0r perhaps the moral fortitude-to let the deep sea of historic experience bear him up, as Conrad has the ambiguous Stein advise Lord Jim , then it is perhaps well to consider the matter of King Arthur, for the sake of things that rolled in on a very long ground swell, long after Arthur's time. Roman power faded away in Britain in the early 400s AD as the sti ll unconquered, practically invincible legions were called away to defend Gaul's frontiers against growing German pressure, or to play their role in the divisive power politics afflicting Rome itself. Toward 500AD, Arthur appears on the scene leading a cavalry force which, apparently acti ng as a kind of strategic reserve in support of local forces, succeeds in beating back the waves of Germanic peoples crowding into Britain. The Germanic peoples crossed the North Sea and the Channel in the big, open rowing boats I've mentioned as typical of thi s era, of which some remains have been found in our own day. In previous centuries, during the Roman occupation, this Germanic surge had been restrained by active fleets of Roman galleys. The galleys must have had a much easier time smashing these primitive German boats than they had , a few hundred years earlier, with the heavy oaken sailing ships of the Yeneti. Thi s sea defense of fast, oared galleys was backed by fortifications built along the south shore of England, which was designated "the Saxon [or German] Shore." Arthur's victorious campaigns arrested the Germanic invasions and re-establi shed Celtic (or Romanized British) authority in much of Britain. Then, in the late 500s AD, the Germanic invasions resumed in a chaotic scene in which, according to the contemporary chronicler Gildas, a British king invited the invaders in to help defend his turf against the Picts and Scots to the north. Germanic peoples proceeded to overrun the land we now cal I England, named for one of their tribes, the Angles. Historians of the hard "scientific" school (they actually used to call themselves that!) have had problems with thi s whole business of Arthur, due to the absence of documentary 13


records of hi s reign. Recent historiography has done better by vessel," as described in the Navigatio, " ribbed and sided with Arthur, however, recogni zing the reality of abundant overlap- wood but ... covered with oak-tanned ox-hides and caulked ping legends (which thri ved and lived on in much of Europe with ox-tallow," a precise description of the curraghs still as we ll as the British Isles), and the wide ly recorded fact that rowed or paddled in Ireland and Wales-latterly with tarred the Germanic invaders were decisively defeated around 5 l 5AD, canvas covering rather than the traditional tallowed ox-hide. after which some Germanic tribes returned to the main land. The adventurous Tim Severin insisted on ox-hide and tallow Gradually a pretty clear pictu re of who Arthur was, what he for his curragh St. Brendan, which he sailed from Ireland to did and how he did it, has emerged. North America not too Jong ago, demonstrating that the Arthur's victory resulted in an enforced pause of about a "Promised Land" Brendan came upon could have been in the generation in the Germanic conquest of Britain, whereas the Americas. So it could, but Morison , finding no confirming evidence European provinces were overru n as soon as the Roman legions left. This prolonged "pause" seems to have had an ameliorating for this, believes that Brendan sailed to the Faroes and effect on relations between Celt and German, setting a pattern Iceland, and possibly the Azores, but no further westward of compromise and accommodation, which becomes an under- than that. The Gulf Stream would seem to make the Azores, lying theme of future British history. The Germanic conquest far to the south, more difficult to reach in a small sailing craft was thoroughgoing, however. Little of the native Celtic than Greenland or Labrador, which can be reached by precarilanguage survives in modern English, which is basically a ous long-distance island-hopping on a far northern route, Germanic language. But British Christianity, a legacy of the avoiding head winds and current. The Navigatio's account of ice-filled seas and fogbound skies, in a climate in which such Roman Empire, survived-and so did the legend of Arthur. El sewhere in the British Isles, in the "Celtic fringe" coun- a hardy northern fruit as an apple is greeted with rapture, certainly gives a northerly feel tries-W ales, Scotland and " . . . the Gokstad ship sits low in the water; Ireland-Christianity and the to the voyage. But ifBrendan " book learning" of the Rodid reach America, then his she is double-ended; she is built in the same return via the Gulf Stream man Empire survived. In Ireclinker fa shion; and the same style lashings are land particularly these vital in the latitudes of prevailing used to secure the planking .... But she is a roots put forth new growth in west winds makes perfect sailing ship and no longer a rowing boat." a remarkable flo wering. Unsense. One can picture the conquered by Romans and abstemious monks (their Germans, the Irish kings sup ported monasteries and other fasting is often mentioned) surviving what would be a fairly centers of Christian literacy and learn ing, and actually pro- swift passage, even in theirtiny vessel with the limited provisions vided scholars fo r Charlemagne's court when in 800AD that she could carry. he ir of the French kings set up a new Holy Roman Empire The important thing about the voyage, however, is not the based in France, Germany and Italy. technicalities but the reason for making it. Clearly it was to Saint Brendan's Voyage explore the wonders of God's creation in the world. Brendan As Arthur was winning his battles for the brief revival of undertook the voyage toward the end of a very full life, aged Romano-Celtic rule in Britain in the 500s AD, the Irish monk 70-plus. If it is true that the Greek voyager Odysseus set sai l later canonized as St. Brendan set fort h with fo urteen com- to the westward at the end of his life, then Brendan would not panions on a bold voyage into the broad Atlantic, a voyage have been the first to cap a life of achievement with the great recorded with many fa ntastic later embe lli shments in a book adventure of the search for a land where there is peace and enjoying enormous popul ari ty in the Midd le Ages, the plenty and men find rest and undying life. To exp lain the Navigatio Sancti Brendani Abbatis. power of this quest, Morison goes back to the Greek It is notable that among many wonders, ranging from a whale Hesiod, writing in the 700s BC, to cite his description of the on whose back Brendan and his companions camped (the whale, Islands of the Blest, found at the ends of the earth, "bounded a friendly beast, laterreturned the pot they'd left behind after their by deep-swirling Ocean," where men "live untouched by toi l cookout on his back), to hosts of birds who sang choruses to the or sorrow." As Morison notes, these "Insulae Fortunatae, or hymns of the holy men, they encountered other holy men living Happy Isles, which are also called the Hesperides, the Elysian among the islands they came upon-suggesting that Brendan' s Fields, and other names in every European vernacu lar" exvoyage was not unique, but one of a series carrying religious erted a deep hold on the European imagination. They fitted seekers to remote Atlantic outposts. And indeed, other accounts readily into the medieval Christian picture of the universe. of deep-sea voyages survive in early Irish literature. And Hesiod, who presumably knew of the Atlantic from the 'There is something very special about these northern Phoenician voyagers of his day (from whom he also got the voyages," says Samue l Eliot Morison, the great historian of alphabet he wrote in) located his blessed isles in "deep-swirling Atlantic exploration, in the preface to his European Discov- Ocean," by which he meant the seemingly boundless Atlantic. ery of America; the Northern Voyages. Properly averse to The Norse Stretch Their Wings overblown cl aims and fa ntasy masq uerading as fact, Morison In the mid-700s, two centuries after Brendan sailed, a formiaccepts Brendan 's voyage as hi storic fact: "Brendan was a dable force was loosed upon the Atlantic world as the Norse real person, and in my opinion hi s Navigatio is based on a real finally developed a remarkably swift, seaworthy sailing vesvoyage or voyages, enhanced by Celtic imagination." He adds sel from the rowing galleys they had used for war and that " whale islands and talking birds are stock stories of commerce along their sea-penetrated coast. In these new, earlier Irish im rama"-the imram being a traditional Irish fast-traveling and far-ranging vessels, which we call Viking ships, after the Norse word for raider, they burst upon the Irish voyage story. The ship for Brendan's voyagi ng was "a very tight little settlers in the Farnes and Iceland. They sacked the English 14

SEA HISTORY 75, AUTUMN 1995


'

monastery on the Isle of Lindisfame, off the Yorkshire coast, in 793. They reached Ireland soon after that, and then the seacoast of Aquitaine, south along the Atlantic shore of France. Lindisfarne particularly shook up the medieval world. The religious settlement had been built on an island for safety from attack. Soon it was rebuilt ashore. "It was not thought," a contemporary observed, "that such an inroad could be made." What was the sea-chariot that gave the Viking Norse the ability to move everywhere there was water enough to float their light, shoal-draft vessels? We have learned a lot about the basic type from ships recovered from burial mounds and harbor bottoms. The earliest Viking ship recovered (and earliest Northern European sa ilingship) is the Oseberg ship of around 800. Commenting on the Gokstad ship of about 850, G. V. Scammell, a small craft sailor himself, gives us the essentials of the Viking ship in terms that make sense . In his grand survey of the ri se of the modem sea-based empires, The World Encompassed, he compares the Gokstad ship with her oar-propelled predecessors: "Apart from her raised bow and stem the Gokstad ship sits low in the water; she is double-ended; she is built in the same clinker fas hion; and the same style lashings are used to secure the planking-though on ly below the waterline-to the frames . But she is a saili ng ship and no longer a row ing boat." He goes on to point out that she lacks rowing benches, has at least a partial deck, is broaderthan the rowing boat (to help her stand on her feet under sail) and has a keel to bear the thrust of the mast. The keel , the essential spine of the modem sailing ship, was well developed in Greek sailing ships of a thousand years earlier and more, but it was new to northern seafaring. It is of more than passing interest that the fastenings of the lower hull are identical to those of her rowing boat predecessor; above this are new , strong cross members or deck beams, like those Caesar noticed in the Veneti ships (though not so heavy), form ing a strong lower hull above which rise the upper planks of her topsides, firmly fastened to oak knees forming a needed girder to combat the wracking effects of sai ling in the open ocean. In ships of this basic type the Vikings sailed on from Iceland to Greenland , and to Labrador and farther on, at least to Newfoundl and, and quite likely past that to Maine or even farther. Their deeds were recorded in the sagas written down in the advanced Norse society that arose in Iceland, a colony that exceeded its homeland in literary production, a century or more after the great days of the Viking forays were over. Norse adventurers fared east as well , up the Baltic and down the river systems of Russia to Constantinople, where their young men formed the famed Varangian guard, protecting the Byzantine emperor of the eastern half of the col lapsed Roman emp ire of yore. Vikings went down the Volga to the Caspian Sea and on to Samarkand and other trading centers on the old silk road from China, where Arab merchants found them interesting and traded with them willingly, though one at least recorded his distaste for their table manners. Others raided the coasts of Charlemagne's empire, burning most of Paris (but fai ling to take the fortified Ile de la Cite). A French king then invited Rollo, a Norse invader, to settle around the mouth of the Seine, and block the river that brought the Vikings in their ships to Paris. This was in 91 1. In

the ensuing century this rivermouth settlement g rew into the strong Duchy of Normandy, named for its Norse masters . From this powerful base William the Conqueror successfully invaded England in October I 066. The English King Harold had defeated a Norse invasion led by Harold Hardrada (one of those remarkable Vikings who had been everywhere and done everything) just weeks before hurryi ng south to be defeated by William's army on the coast of the Engli sh Channel at Hastings . The Normans, French-speaking by this time and highly organized, brought sweeping change to the traditional English life that had reached a kind of stabi lity under King Alfred two hundred years earlier. Alfred had built a navy to arrest the Danish invasions that fol lowed hot on the Germanic invasions of Britain, and he penned the Danes into prescribed areas, which were then gradually amalgamated into his kingdom. The Norman Conquest brought in the new European concepts of centralized government and the subjection of the peasantry under an interlocking skein of feudal authority culminating in the king, who ruled under God. But the Conquest did not wipe out the independence of the yeomen farmers, who continued to practice archery in the village commons as a matter of right (whereas European serfs were forbidden to bear arms of any sort), nor the slow , case by case evolution of Eng li sh Common Law, nor the sturdy Germanic base of the evolving English language, which continued as the speech of the common people. These survivals were to have a considerable role to play in coming centuries.

The Norse Achievement Norman rule in England enriched society with new concepts and the language with new words. It was Norman hi storians who sought out and pub Iished the stories of King Arthur and made them the "Matter of Britain," as the song of Charlemagne 's heroic knight Roland had become the "Matter of France" in the lays the minstrels sang throughout Europe. And another group of Normans establi shed another successful kingdom, destined to endure fo r centuries, the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies in the Mediterranean . Beyond this, the Norse established great tracling cities, from Dublin in Ireland to Kiev on Russia's Dnieper River. The silver their traders brought back from the rich city of Constantinople contributed to the growth of the economy of the High Middle Ages. And they opened the rugged, trackless seaways of the wild Atlantic Ocean as no people had before, in ships sailed only as the Norse cou ld sai l them . .t

Sketchfrom Tom Gi//mer's Working Watercraft of the Western World. ::___.-----

SEA HISTORY 75, AUTUMN 1995

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16

ore than seventy vessels from European ports gathe red in Leith , Scotland , for the 1995 Tall Ships Races . The fir st leg to Bremerhave n, Ge1many, began on 18 July and covered 400 miles while the second started on 3 August and ran 440 miles from Frederikshav n, Denm ark, to Amsterdam. Your correspondent was sailing as mate aboard the 800-ton bark Alexander von Humboldt, instantly recognizable by her green sails- a present fro m Beck ' s beer. (I understand she is now appearing in the ir telev ision ads.) She carries a crew of 60 of whom 12 are unpaid profess ionals: Captain, Sailing Mas ter, 3 mates, I Bosun , 2 cooks, 2 Engineers, I radio offi cer and a doctor; the remaining 48 are yo ung people, aged 15-24 . Thu s, the vessel easil y complies with the 50% trainees required by the race ru les. There were I 0 C lass A entri es headed by the mi ghty Kru zenshtern and Sedov and four entri es in Class All for the small square ri ggers; Class B had 12 large schooners and C lass C, 51 yac hts, making a fl eet of 77. Li ght southwesterl y winds gave a quartering wind ac ross the starting line and out of the Firth of Forth with Classes A, All and B starting on one gun. Alexander von Humboldt pl anned to cross the line on an easterl y course cl ose to HMS Chatham, the starting vessel with Her Royal Hi ghness Princess Anne on board . But we were foul ed by the topsaiI schooner Malcolm Mill er and the bri gantine l ean de la l une, both running downwind on the port tack and causing us to go full astern twice to avoid collisions as each passed across our bows. (Sail Trai ning Association racing rules permit the use of engine to avoid collision but it must be entered in the race decl aration.) The three yacht classes started late r and some of the quicker ones overhau led us as darkness fe ll. Quite remarkably-and most unusuall y-A lexander von Humboldt seemed to get into a racing mood. She lifted up her skirts and fa irl y flew, overtaking e ight othe r competitors before midnight-an unheard-of occurrence ! Built as a lightship in 1906, she is hardl y equipped with all the latest "go-fast" gear. Once clear of the Firth of Forth it was a straight course of about 125° true and a variable southerl y wind to the fini shing SEA HISTORY 75 , AUTUMN 1995


International Tall Ships Races by Morin Scott

line south of the island of Helgoland . With one exception the whole fleet finished the course during Friday, July 21 without having to tack, although some of us had to screw-up hard c lose-hauled with the ya rd s brace d aga in st the backstays when the wind failed to veer to the southwest as predicted by all the weather pundits. It was an unusual pleasure to have a number of vessels in sight every day . For us in Alexander von Humboldt- normally at the back of the fleet and sometimes even outside VHF range-it was particularly pleasurable to find ourselves crossing the fini shing line with most of Classes A and AU and half of Class B within ten miles of us, although the sight of this phenomenon was obscured by fog! The Kruzenshtern finished some two hours ahead of us but with a favorable handicap she managed to win Class A and be 6th overall with ourselves a proud 5th in class and 23rd overall. T. S. Royalist, the British Sea Cadet brig (which I commanded on several previous races) won Class AII and was 2nd overall with her Captain, Paul Hailwood , winning the Vicki Scott Memorial Captain 's Prize. The Dani sh 3-masted gaff schooner Den Store Bjorn won Class B but was

only 18th overall , and the three yacht classes were won respectively by Jens Krogh (Denmark), Peter von Danzig (Germany), and the Italian Navy 's Stella Po/are with Jens Krogh being the overall winner. In elapsed times, it is interesting to note that all the square riggers except one fini shed within 14 hours of Stella Polare, the first boat to finish . It was sad to find nine square riggers participating in the festivities in Bremerhaven without having taken part in the race. Nine more starters in the square rigger class would have made a magnificent spectacle and a better race as well as making a bigger fleet of large vessels than Nelson commanded at the Battle of Trafalgar! It was also sad to find only one Norwegian and one French entry and, yet again, none from the US.

Commander Scott is a f ounding member and leading light of the Sail Training Association, a worldwide organization headquartered in Great Britain. The Cutty Sark Tall Ships Race, second of the races, bega n in Frederikshavn, Denmark. At left is Ireland's Asgard II, winner in Class All. Below are the Sedov from Latvia (winner ofClass A), Pogoria from Poland, and Scottish Jean de la Lune (second in Class All). Photographs by Thad Koza.

SEA HISTORY 75, AUTUMN 1995

The results of the second race, run from Frederikshavn, Denmark, to Amsterdam in light winds, predomi nantly fair. Positions in classes follow with overall positions in parentheses: CLASS A (9 starters) I. Sedov, Russia (9) 2. Swan fan Makkum , The Netherlands (16) 3. Alexander von Humboldt , Germany (18) CLASS All (3 starters) 1. Asgard II, Ireland (2) 2. Jean de la Lune, Scotland (3) 3. Henryk Rutkowski, Poland (4) CLASS B (8 starters, I retired) 1. Den Store Bjorn , Denmark (8) 2. Oosterschelde, The Netherlands (13) 3. Zeelandia, The Netherlands (14) CLASS CI (10 starters) I. Golden Vanity, England (1) 2. Astrid Finne, Norway (5) 3. Skibladner JI , Norway (6) CLASS CU (16 starters) l. Helena Christina, Finland (20) 2. Orion, Germany (22) 3. Balder,The Netherlands (28) CLASS CIII ( 19 starters, 3 retired) 1. St. Iv, Sweden (23) 2. British Steel, England (25) 3. Sarie Marais of Plymouth, England (31) Winner of the Cutty Sark Trophy for International Goodwill: HNMS Urania (Sail training vessel from the Netherlands Naval Officers Academy in Den Helder)

17


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HISTORIC SHIP PROFILE MN

COMMANDER by Captain Jean Wort

he Hudson River first cast its spell upon me in 1973, when I rode aboard the Dayliner from New York City to Bear Mountain with my husband John, two children, and my William G. Mull er's husband 's parents. After a hiatus painting of MIV Comin foreign waters, the Wort fam- mander northbound ily was returning to a tradition of through th e Hudson Hudson Riveroutings which had Hi g hlands , passing under the Bear Mounstarted at the tum of the century. tain Bridge. During the ride, the grandparents regaled us with stories of the glory They provided a village-to-village netdays of the steamboats, when many dif- work, supplementing the larger, less freferent lines plied the river. quent day and night steamers. By the time I came to live in Fort The MN Commander is one of a few Montgomery on the west bank of the surviving period excursion boats and Hudson in 1980, the Dayliner was the may be the only one of its type in cononly boat making excursions up to tinuous operation. Built in 1917 by the Poughkeepsie, and there was talk that it Beele Wallace Company of Morehead might abandon its regular schedule. This City, North Carolina, she was commissaddened me, for as a British expatriate sioned by the Sheepshead Bay Boatlines and a world-traveled river rat, I had been of Brooklyn and Rockaway, New York, looking forward to many trips on this for service along the Rockaways. Upon famous waterway. its arrival in New York, however, the Working as a West Point tour guide to Commander was recruited by the US learn the history of the Revolutionary Navy for service in New York Harbor in War from an American viewpoint, I the outfitting of submarine chasers. The found that many vi sitors were nostalgic boat was also used to tow barrage balfor the older boats that had formerly loons forthe protection of the Rockaway brought them to the Academy. I was Air Station. looking for something to do that would Decommissioned on 5 February 1919, involve me in my new home and, having she was then placed in service ferrying previously worked for a shipping com- passengers between Sheepshead Bay and pany in Germany and in tourism in Por- Far Rockaway, which continued for the tugal , I decided to try to find a boat that next sixty-two years. This record is bewould enable visitors and local residents lieved to be the longest uninterrupted to leisurely enjoy the pleasures of the service by an excursion boat in the US . Hudson in the Highlands. Upon completing the last run of the With friend s from the Town of High- line in October 1981 , Commander was lands Hi storical Society, my husband purchased by Hudson Highlands Cruises John and I started Hudson Highlands and was taken to Muller's Boat Works in Cruises & Tours, Inc. in December 1981 Mill Basin, Brooklyn, for inspection and and purchased the motor vessel Com- hull restoration. She then made the jourmander from the Rockaway Boat Lines. ney up the Hudson to Haverstraw where We chose the Commander because she was outfitted for her new life as an she exemplifies the classic small Eastern excursion and dinner cruise boat in the day excursion boats familiar to New Hudson Highlands. Yorkers at the beginning of the century. Since 1982 the Commander has operMost Hudson River towns were served ated on the Hudson River from May by one or more boats like the Com- through October, carrying passengers mander, powered by steam or diesel from Haverstraw to West Point and from engines. These vessels were an impor- West Point north to Bannerman 's Island tant link in the water-based transporta- in Newburgh Bay on weekdays. Evetion system of the region. While many of nings and weekends see the boat used for the passengers rode for recreational pur- private parties and outings by local orgaposes, excursion boats were often the nizations from Peekskill as well as most effective or the only form of travel. Haverstraw Marina, WestPoint and other

T

SEA HISTORY 75 , AUTUMN 1995

landi ngs. As a floating classroom, the Commander provides school children with an opportunity to get out on the Hudson and learn about the role of the river throughout history, and to explore what role it might play in the future. To bring about a consciousness of the beauty, history and ecology of the Hudson River is the goal of the "Commander Floating Classroom" as well as the narrated excursion cruises. The owners of the Commander believe we are succeeding in our goal, and were in the forefront of the revival of interest in boating on the Hudson and New York Bay. Several major events in the early days helped launch our efforts. The actress Helen Hayes of Nyack, New York, held her 82nd birthday party in October 1982 aboard the Commander and it was written up in the New York Daily News as one of the ten best parties oftheyear.InMay 1983theCommander led the Brooklyn Bridge Centennial Parade of Boats, chartered by Abraham & Straus, first founded in Brooklyn, and the next day was chartered by the descendents of the Roehling family who built the bridge. These and other events helped spread the word that a boat cou ld be a romantic and enjoyable venue for a party. The Commander appeals not only to the rich and famous, but also to local residents and visitors of all ages and economic backgrounds who want an t. outing on the river.

Born inDerbyshire, England, Capt. Wort has lived along waterways as diverse as the Manchester Ship Canal, Lisbon' s Tagus River and the (()re Sund between Denmark and Sweden. For more information, write or call Hudson Highlands Cruises & Tours, Inc., PO Box265, Highland Falls NY 10928; 914 446-71 71. 19


MODELMAKER'S CORNER

The Art of the Ship Modeler at The Mariners' Museum n exhibition of scale ship models hand-crafted by some of the finest amateur and professional ship modelers in the world, opened Saturday, 17 June, at The Mariners ' Museum. The 1995 Scale Ship Model Competition and Exhibition was sponsored by the Museum to recognize and encourage excellence in the art of scale ship modeling and attracted 87 entries from 18 states and Japan. Of the 50 models in the exhibit, 30 won medals in three divi sions: scratchbuilt, semi-scratch built and kit. The winners of seven special awards are also on view. The exhibit will close 28 October. An elegant model of White Wings, an American cruising ketch, won retired boatbuilder Roland D. Kalayjian two awards: the gold medal in the scratchbuilt small craft category and the August F. Crabtree Award for Best in Show. The other gold medals in the scratchbuilt division went to Peter C. Baker's schooner Sultana in the sailing ship category and John W. Higgins's USS Abercrombie (DE-343) in the powered ship category. The Abercrombie also took two special awards, the United States Navy Award and the Steamship Historical Society of America Award . The semi-scratchbuilt division is also divided into three categories. No gold or

A

Visitors view the Chesapeake Bay bateau or skipjack Helen T. , winner of the Novice Award and the bronze medal in the Scratchbuilt Small Craft Division, built by retired New Jersey surgeon Edward Thie/er Ill. Photographs courtesy of The Mariners' Museum.

silver medals were awarded for sailing ships or small craft, but John T. Leyland received the gold medal for his diorama, "The First Trap," in the powered ships category. The scene portrays the first shipboard landing and takeoff of an airplane, using a temporary flight deck aboard the US battleship Pennsylvania. The gold medal in the kit-built models division went to Earl S. McLaughlin for Preble's Gunboat. Judges for the competition were: Dana Wegner, curator of ship models for the Sea Systems Command, United States Navy; Rob Napier, editor of Nautical Research Journal, and consultant fo r ship models in the Museum of Fine Arts, Bos-

ton, and the Forbes Collection; and William D. Wilkinson, director emeritus of The Mariners' Museum, formercuratorof the Marine Museum of the City of New York. All are accomplished modelmakers. Entries were judged on their general impression, research and historical accuracy, level of diffic ulty, scale fidelity , and craftsmanship. A wards will be presented to the winners in October at the Conference of the Nautical Research JA Guild in Hampton, Virginia. For more information, contact The Mariners' Museum , JOOMuseum Drive,Newport News VA 23606-3759; 804 5962222.

White Wings by Roland Kalayjian.

"The First Trap, " by John T. Leyland.

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SEA HISTORY 75, AUTUMN 1995


MARINE ART NEWS A Place for Pierhead Painters

c

Pierhead art, a class of commissioned and quickly-executed ship portraits by port painters in the 1800s, is enjoying a new wave of interest. The Peabody Essex Museum exhibit, "Across the Western Ocean" (see pages 22-29 in this issue), illustrates this point. For those who seek to understand how this art style fits into the history of marine art, let me direct you to the Maine Maritime Museum 's current exhibit, "The Evolution of Marine Painting," which details the changing function of marine painting in seafaring society between 1800 and 1925. It is Curator Robert Webb's thesis that pierhead painters were at their strongest from the 1850s on, when the ship portrait became increasingly documentary. Later, as photography became more available, pierhead painters went out of business. After a short period of decline, a resurgence of interest in marine painting, especially early ships of exploration and the fabled fast clippers, began an artistic renaissance in the 1920s. Considered at first as archival material with little artistic value, pierhead art has move d over the years into the hands of collectors and private owners. "They may have had modest origins," says author and appraiser A.J. Pelu so, "but thi s does n ' t dimini sh the feelings they evoke-feelings that may not have been intended in their creation." "The Evolution of Marine Painting" will be at the Maine Maritime Museum 's Riverfront Gallery unti I 14 January 1996. James Buttersworth , Antonio Jacobsen, John Hughes, Antonio De Simone and Charles Robert Patterson are featured. (MMM, 243 Washington St., Bath ME 04530; 207 443-1316)

Marine artist John Stobart has often paid tribute to the "classic instruction" afforded him as a young painter, including his instruction at Derby College of Art, one of London's Royal Academy Schools that were the forcing bed of Constable, Turner and others. "Ever since," says Stobart, " I've been conscious of the plight of the aspiring art student." This interest has now led to the Stobart Studio, a 1200-square-foot annex to the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts in Old Lyme, Connecticut. Concerned that art education should offer students instruction in the basics of drawing and painting, Stobart's foundation has provided ann ual scholarships to students to attend what he calls the " mere handfu I of institutions dedicated to classical instruction. " When Stobart learned that the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts offers the same rigorous instruction as Royal Academy Schools, his foundation stepped in to contribute to the school's expansion. The San Diego Maritime Museum is hosting an exhibit on the " Images of the Lumber Trade at Sea" aboard the bark Star ofIndia of 1863. By good fortune, a remarkable record of the West Coast lumber trade, in the form of 1,350 photographic negatives by William Hester

were discovered in 1947. Some of the photographs are on loan from the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park and are presented with oil paintings by David Thimgan, ship models, and pieces of the lumber schooner Forester to tell the story of a vital trade that provided jobs for settlers and building materials for the burgeoning cities of the American West. The Star of India herself is a survivor of the lumber trade, and, with the recent demi se of the Maria Asumpta of 1858, may be the oldest square-rigged merchant ship still sailing. (SDMM, 1306 North Harbor Dr., San Diego CA 92101) The new Nautilus Marine Art Gallery at Chandler's Cove in Seattle is in walking distance of the Puget Sound Maritime Museum exhibit, the steamship Virginia V, the Center for Wooden Boats and Northeast Seaport. The gallery opened in May with a group show of marine artists and photographers from across the Northwest, including work by acclaimed artist Thomas Wells. Original art, limited edition fine art prints and quality posters will be available, with most artwork priced under $500. (NMAG, 901 Fairview Avenue North, Cl50, Seattle WA 98109; 206 624-3350) KEVIN HA YOON

Art Notes Get ready for what promises to be the exhibit nonpareil on the life and works of Winslow Homer (1836-1910) at the Nafional Gallery of Art in Washington DC, opening in October. The most comprehensive exhibition of Homer's art in more than twenty years, it features over 250 works, including a number of marines. Few artists have had their marine paintings capture the popular imagination as successfully as Homer, as his ubiquitous oil of catboat sailing, "Breezing Up," attests. The exhibition includes paintings of fi sherfolk, sailing vessels, wrecks, lighthouses and beach scenes. "Winslow Homer" runs from 15 October to 28 January 1996. (NGA, 4th St. at Constitution Ave., NW, Washington DC 20566) SEA HISTORY 75 , AUTUMN 1995

A Match Race between "Xara" and "Babboon" in 1888 In a limited edition of350 Image Size 22" x 14"

RICHARD K. LOUD A.S.M.A. Highly acclaimed maritime artist Richard Loud has earned numerous awards and special mentions for his dramatic paintings. For additional information, a c~lor brochure, or the name of a dealer in your area, please contact: Maritime Heritage Prints • Townhouse 23 •Union Wharf Boston, MA 02109 (617) 227-0112 Fax (617) 227-3899 21


Across the Western Ocean: by Daniel Finamore

L

iverpool , the preeminent British port for 19th-century transatlantic commerce, hosted some of the most renowned American ships of that century. These proud ships are the focus of a new exhibition which opened at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, on 15 September 1995. Entitled "Across the Western Ocean: American Ships by Liverpoo l Artists," the exhibition features 39 paintings, executed between 1800 and 1890, of American vessels by ten of the most important Liverpool artists. The Port Famous for such traits as a progressive hull design , comfortable quarters, or outright profitability for their owners, these vessels were engaged in a regular pattern of high-volume trade that consistently produced considerable profits for their owners. Liverpoo l had been a regular port of call for merchant vessels long

22

before the 19th century, but as the former colonies became a ready market for British goods and a supplier of raw materials for British manufac tories following the War of 1812, the town became the primary locus of Britain's westward-flowing trade. Though it had a mi serable entry and no harbor to speak of, Liverpool made a significantly shorter passage from America than London. To help alleviate the problem, a complex system of signal beacons, pilotage thro ugh the difficult channel, and massive enclosed docks were constructed and period ically upgraded. For their part, the merchant shipowners of Boston and New York were quick to capitalize on the ex panding market. In 1817 , the Black Ball Line offered regularly scheduled service from New York, and a number of com peti ng lines followed shortly thereafter. By the middle of the century , enormous full-ri gged ships were making the circuit in winter and

summer, carrying bulk raw commodities such as cotton, grain, meat, lumber and tobacco to Liverpool from the southern American ports to feed a demand from the industrial British midlands, while textiles and other finished goods were transported back to New York and Boston for transshipment via canal, rai Iroad or coasting vessel throughout America. Liverpool also served as a major port of embarkation fo r emigrants traveling to the New World. The number of ships regularly calling at and departing from this port meant that Liverpool was always burgeoning with mariners, travelers, and emigrants. The captains and merchants who bought and sold large volumes of cargoes there and the people who were departing fora new life in America viewed their passage through Liverpool as a critical juncture in their lives. As a result, a speciali zed school of skilled marine painters emerged who

SEA HISTORY 75, AUTUMN 1995


Aillerican Ships by Liverpool Artists r

found a market for their works among the tran sient population. A typical portrait of the Liverpool marine school is a large format oil-on-canvas presentation of a vessel in broadside perspective, with another smaller bow or stem view of the same ship set off to one side in the di stance. Viewed usually from leeward, obscuring much of the rigging that would be painstaking for the artist to include, the images are otherwise some of the most highly detailed and accurate ship portraits ever created. In general, specia l emphasis was pl aced on fi gureheads or other carvings, signals and house flags, nameboards, and other signatures of indi viduality and ownership. Backgrounds portray identi fiable landmarks along the treacherous passage from open ocean toward an anchorage in the River Mersey. Today, these paintings of the largest packets and clippers to ply the Atlantic constitute some of the finest examples of marine portraiture of their period.

The young American republic led the way in the tough North Atlantic tradethe world's most vital avenue of ocean commerce. Hustwick' s painting of Liverpool (see cente1fold) at first showed an English ship at anchor here. It was later overpainted to fly the Stars and Stripes. As an added touch of drama, the anchor cable was painted out to show her under way.

The Artists Any port cou ld support only a limited number of marine painters-a simple factor of suppl y and demand in a market where goods were produced on commission. Factors included the profitability of the port's trade and the number of ships engaged in it, but also the ability of the arti sts to produce portraits within the limited time frame of a vessel's ca ll there. Since these paintings were produced largely for foreign mariners, relatively few have actually remained in the

At left, "Packet John Ell iot Thayer arriving off Prince's Dock, Liverpool, l 857," by Duncan McFarlane is a variation on the traditional ship-in-three-views format . This painting actually portrays three differen t vessels, each identified by a different set of code flags. All three ships were part ofEnoch Train ' s White Diamond Line of packets. Framing the John ElliotThayerare the Danie l Webstera/ the bow,andthe Parliament astern . The artist Duncan McFarlane (18181865) was a Scot who moved to Liverpool, where he painted portraits for a primarily American c/ientele. His works range from inexpensive watercolors to large oil paintings such as this one, with highly detailed backgrounds of the Liverpool s/...ryline and fores hore. Oil on canvas, 30" x45" ,private collection.

SEA HISTORY 75 , AUTUMN 1995

23


In a scene alive with the comings and goings of ships one hundred and fifty years ago, Liverpool can forget its origins as a swampy hole-in-the-wall. The port has become a great city on the North Atlantic trade. 24

SEA HISTORY 75 , AUTUMN 1995


"Liverpool Harbor, after 1845 ," attributed to C. Hustwick (fl. 1840s), shows a variety of local and oceangoing craft portrayed against a background of Liverpool's extensive wate1front in this imposing canvas. Just to the right of center is the dome of the customhouse and warehouses of the Albert Dock, which help to date the painting to after 1845 . Un like most Liverpool paintings, this canvas does not bear the images ofidentifiable ships. lnfact, recent conservation has uncovered several layers of overpaint on the Marryat signals, housef!ags and

SEA HISTORY 75, AUTUMN 1995

ensigns of the two largest vessels revealing an attempt to change their identities sometime between the time the work was painted and when it was acquired by the Peabody Essex Museum in 1926. The reverse of the canvas bears the curious name C. Hurstwick. Although no residential artist of this name has been located to date, a C. T. Hustwick was listed as a painter in the 1857 city directory, and both an F. and C. Hustwick, painters of ships, portraits and scenes, lived in the city of Hull . Oil on canvas, 45" x 84 ", Peabody Essex Museum Collection .

25


"Robert Puls ford arriving in the Mersey , 1831 ," by Miles Walters ( 1773 -1855) and son. Th e Robert Puls ford was built in 1829 and traded between Charleston and Liverpool. Th e ship is depicted here in two views with th e smokestacks of Liverpool's industrial north end and Everton Hill in the background . In the main view

"Th e Kineo preparing to weigh anchor in th e Mersey, 1864. " Th e ship is depicted here by th e elder Yorke, flying the Blue Peter, her Marryat Code fla gs, name fla g , and the US ensign. With a fa vorable southerly wind, the crew ha ve prepared f or departure by setting and backing the inner jib and lower main topsail, and pre-

26

on th e left , the yards are hauled round despite th e stern wind , indicating an imminent change of course . In this view, hands are aloji stowing the topgallant sails , while in th e stern view , they are stowing the upper topsails. Oil on canvas, 27" x46" , private collection.

pared the fore and main upper topsails for hoisting. On the forede ck, men work the capstan to pull the ship up to the anchor so that , once the anchor is tripped, Kineo will fall off before the wind to make for the river mouth and the open sea to the right. Oil on canvas, 27" x 38" , Peabody Essex Museum Collection.

city of Liverpool , and those artists who painted exclusively for foreign clientele were better known abroad than they were at home. Many plied other trades, including those of house painter, plumber and tobacconist. Those who were engaged in professions such as shipwright, picture framer or draftsman may have drummed up business for their artistic endeavors through this route. Only a select few gained sufficient international reputations within the wider sphere of fine art that allowed them to survive on the proceeds of their artistic productions. One of the first Liverpool-based marine artists to gain international recognition was Robert Salmon (1775-c.1845) , whose image of the Maine-built ship Aristides, dated 1806, is the earliest painting in the exhibit. Salmon had moved from Whitehaven, undoubtedly to attract business from the growing transatlantic mercantile trade in Liverpool.' Salmon ' s success in Liverpool inspired him to advance his career by painting larger seascapes and eventually to move to Boston where he filled a niche there for a time as resident marine artist. Although Salrrnon 's technique was developed long be!fore he crossed the Atlantic, his strong imfluence on American art is SEA HISTrORY 75 , AUTUMN 1995


"Packet ship United States, 1817," by Robert Salmon( 1775-ca.1845 ). This vessel, named for the US frigate launched in Philadelphia in 1797, is identified on her nameboard and the lower foretopsail, constituting one of the relatively f ew instances in which Salmon so clearly identifies a specific vessel. The ship is shown in three views,

undeniable, and he is often embraced as a progenitor of the American marine art tradition. Unlike Salmon, other Liverpool artists in the exhibition never traveled to America. Their perceptions of American maritime commerce are presented exclusively through these depictions of ships entering and departing Liverpool harbor. Nonetheless, artists such as Samuel Walters influenced mid-to-late I 9th-century American marine art through the importation of their works. Samuel Walters was a professional painter whose early works were in collaboration with his father Miles. Gradually, the skills of the son exceeded those of the father, and Samuel became the most acclaimed and prolific painter in the port. Duncan Mcfarlane moved from Scotland and gained some fame among foreign ship owners, particularly those of Enoch Train 's White Diamond Line out of Boston. His pictures are regularly signed and dated prominently in a comer in boldface print, a sign that he wanted viewers to remember his name. The Yorke family, William G. and his son William H., emigrated from St. John, New Brunswick, to Liverpool in the 1850s to take advantage of the booming business SEA HISTORY 75 , AUTUMN 1995

with sail being progressively reduced from left to right in preparation for anchoring. Salmon moved frequently during his productive life; his decisions to move between Scotland, Liverpool and Boston were based to some extent upon the market for his pictures. Oil on canvas, 21" x 35", Peabody Essex Museum Collection.

for marine painters. The father left for New York in 1871 and the son continued the business in Liverpool for many years. It has really only been in the last decade that William G. and William H. Yorke, stylistically similar but with noticeable distinctions, have been widely recognized as having been two separate artists. Although Walters, Salmon and Mcfarlane are well known in the maritime art world, others have fallen into deep but undeserved obscurity. Some Liverpool artists sold their paintings through a dealer who would affix his labels to the backs of the works. This has led many unsigned paintings to be attributed to an individual named de Silva, who himself may not even have been an artist. Works by the little-known artists John Hughes ( 1806-1878) and William McMinn (1820-1898) display a finish and balance of composition that can only be the product of utter comfort with their subject matter. These artists traditionally have been lumped together as "style of Walters," and many as "attributed to Walters"-Walters' name being used to represent the entire school more than anything else. Though little is known about their lives, names on the occasionally signed works are just now being

The splendid performance of the big American packets is caught in the pride and authority reflected in their portraits.

27


"Ship Casti lian, Capt . Alexander Graves entering Liverpool during a heavy gale, February 26, 1860," by Duncan McFarlane ( 1818-1865). Oil on canvas, 24" x 36" , Newburyport Custom House Maritime Museum Collection. Most artists made a practice of suspending reality when it came to presenting the effects of a transatlantic crossing on a ship. Vessels were shown freshly painted and under a press ofclean white canvas. Occasionally, though, a painting was commissioned that memorialized a particular incident. McFarlane' s painting documents the troubles that arose amid the sandbanks in Liverpool Bay when the Castilian arrived at low tide in rough water--the breaking rollers and spray obscured the buoys that marked the hazards, and the onshore wind prevented the ship from heading back out to sea to await higher water. In the end, the Castilian and several other ships convoyed in.following each other behind one pilot boat, since the water was too rough to put a pilot aboard the ships. A letter written by the Captain's wife describes what it was like aboard: You asked how I fe lt at the time when death seemed looking us in the face on our last entrance into Liverpool. It was a very trying time I can assure you and now I can never thi nk of it without trembling, but during all that time of suspense and anxiety my hope of safety did not desert me. I could not bring my mind to fee l that we should be lost, though Alex thought we should be.

Sailing in all seasons, even the big, well-found packets could be roughly handled in winter gales-with landfall and harbor entry the time of greatest danger. 28

associated with specific stylistic elements, an early step in the process of a large-scale reassessment of our knowledge of Liverpool maritime art. The Exhibition "Across the Western Ocean: American Ships by Liverpool Artists"features paintings from the Peabody Essex Museum ' s extensive collection of marine paintings, the largest in America, with selected additions from seven other museum and ten private collections. Since all selections were made with primary regard for the finest representation of each artist's work within the geme, the exhibit is a stunning presentation of the finest ship portraits and narrative marine scenes of the 19th century. " Across the Western Ocean" will run at the Peabody Essex Museum through 3 1 December 1995. During 1996, the exhibit will travel to New York City 's South Street Seaport Museum and the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia. The full-color catalogue of the exhibition is the product of decades of research in both Britain and North America undert:aken by Liverpudlian Dr. A. S. SEA HISTORY 75 , AUTUMN 1995


"Jenny Lind departing Liverpool aboard the Collins Liner Atlantic, 1850 ," by Samuel Walters (/8ll-1882). Since Liverpool artists generally were commissioned to produce specific scenes , paintings occasionally document historical incidents ofbroader cultural interest. Unlike the more common storm , battle or disaster image , this work depicts the departure of the singer Jenny Lind, the "Swedish

Davidson, whose lifetime of scholarship pertaining to Liverpool 's marine artists is well-known. 2 The catalogue focuses on the imagery and symbolism of these paintings and the stylistic characteristics of each artist, providing insights for identifying and attributing unsigned Liverpool-school works. Full-color illustrations highlight the importance of these works as records of American trade and the evolution of Liverpool as a maritime entrepot. t

Nightingale," from Liverpool on Wednesday, 2 1 August 1850. Most likely commissioned by the line's owner, Edward Knight Collins , the painting shows the singer standing atop the starboard paddlebox to wave farewell to well-wishers as she departed for her famous tour of America sponsored by P. T. Barnum. Oil on canvas, 36" x 59", Peabody Essex Museum Collection.

Jenny Lind bids England farewell aboard one of the giant new steamers which soon replaced the sailing packets.

Mr. Finamore is the Russell W. Knight Curator of Maritime Art and History at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. W ilmerding,John ,RobertSa/mon: Painter of Ship and Shore. Peabody Museum of Salem and Boston Public Library, 1971 , p. 89. 2 See Davidson , A. S., Marine Art & Liverpool: Painters, Places & Flag Codes, 17601960, Waine Research Publications, 1986; and Samuel Walters-Marine Artist: Fifty Years of Sea, Sail, & Steam, Jones-Sands Publishing, 1993. 1

SEA HISTORY 75, AUTUMN 1995

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"A great sea saga, disturbing and provocative! The discovery of the Somers shipwreck brings to life the 19th century incident that was a major influence on the founding of the U.S. Naval Academy." -

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'Ifie 2?g_discove'!J

of tfze 'llS 'Brig Somers by James P. Delgado

he wreck of the United States Brig Somers ( 1842-1846) was discovered off the coast of Vera Cruz, Mexico, in 1986. The brig foundered while blockading Vera Cruz during the United States' war with Mexico ( 18461848). A vessel with a controversial career, Somers is best known as the setting of an 1842 " mutiny" that led to the execution of the ringleaders, one of whom was the son of the Secretary of War. The events aboard Somers inspired Herman Melville 's Billy Budd. They also led the US Navy to abandon sail training and instead establish a school ashore-the United States Naval Academy. Somers was designed by Samuel Humphreys, and was laid down at the New York Navy Yard in Brooklyn. Launched on 16 April 1842, the clipper

T

This Currier & Ives lithograph of 1843 shows the Somers with two executed men hanging from the main yard.

brig was sharp and heavily sparred. Somers was 100 feet long between perpendiculars, with a 25-foot beam, and displaced 259 tons. She carried ten 32pounder carronades and two medium 32-pounders on her deck. Somers made one training voyage without incident under the command of Captain Alexander Slidell Mackenzie. Her second voyage, again under Mackenzie, involved running from New York to Africa, and thence back to the United States by way of the Caribbean, bearing dispatches for the Navy 's African Squadron, engaged in suppressing the slave trade. The small vessel was crowded with a crew of 120, 74ofwhom were young trainees. One of these youths was 19-year-old Philip Spencer, scapegrace son of Secretary of War John Left: George Belcher with encrusted ceramic vessel on US Brig Somers shipwreck. Below: Jim Delgado and Dr. Pilar Luna examine a porcelain dinner plate from the Somers. Could Lt. Commander Semmes have eaten from the plate the night before the Somers capsized?

SEA HISTORY 75, AUTUMN 1995

Canfield Spencer. Philip had a short but notorious naval career of drunken behavior and brawls and was not welcomed aboard Somers by either the captain or hi s officers. Nonetheless, Spencer remained aboard despite Mackenzie 's protests and sailed aboard Somers from New York on 13 September 1842. Throughout the voyage Spencer made a show of mocking the captain's authority and regulations and spoke of piracy and mutiny to the crew. Spencer reportedly told another sailor of a plan to seize Somers for a piratical cruise. The crew member informed the ship's lieutenant. On November 26, Spencer was arrested and put in irons. Two others, bosun 's mate Samuel Cromwell and seaman Elisha Small, were also arrested. Other crew members were implicated. For several days, tension reigned on boardseveral possible rebellions were quickly di spersed by the officers, four other seamen were arrested and the guards feared crew action to free the prisoners. Finally, on November 30, Mackenzie, unsure of anyone 's loyalty and unable to guard additional prisoners with the available

31


Left: Illustration that first appeared in the 23 January 1847 London Illustrated News showing the capsized Somers. Below: Joel Belcher looking at one of the two Somers anchors.

MARTY SNYDERMAN

crew, asked the officers for their counsel. The court martial lasted through the night with 13 witnesses questioned , although the pri soners themselves were not called to testify. Early on December 1 the officers convicted Spencer, Cromwell and Small. At 2: 15 that afternoon the three men were duly executed from the main yardarm, with the entire crew in attendance. Upon Somers's return to New York, news of the incident spread. Mackenzie was first acclaimed, but questions soon arose over the expediency of the executions, as well as their necessity. Spencer had avowed it was all a joke. A damning letter in the Washington Madisonian of 20 December 1842, probably penned by 32

an angry and anguished John Canfield Spencer, summed it thus: The young Spencer's actions were "the mere romance of a heedless boy, amusing himself, it is true, in a dangerous manner, but still devoid of such murderous designs as are imputed," while the executions were " the result of unmanly fear, or of a despotic temper, and wholly unnecessary at the time." Although cleared by a court martial, Mackenzie was vilified by many. His disciplinary methods had led some to accuse him of cruelty even before the Somers incident. Historian Samuel Eliot Morison, however, maintained that crew testimony of good usage and Mackenzie's use of the colt, or rope's end, for most punishments as opposed to the murderous cat refuted that reputation. Many prominent citizens and naval personnel rallied to the cause of a ship 's captain doing everything in his power to maintain the safety of his vessel and crew. Richard Henry Dana, author, seaman and a spokesman for the men of the forecastle, supported his actions. Others, notably James Fenimore Cooper, railed at Mackenzie as a tyrant and murderer. The Navy's court martial had acquitted him of all charges, but the court of public opinion condemned both Mackenzie and the system he served. Somers made no more training voyages and became an unwelcome subject of conversation among naval officers. With the outbreak of war with Mexico in 1846, Somers was assigned to the Gulf of Mexico under the command of Lt. Raphael Semmes. Somers's war career was brief. On 8 December 1846, Semmes

spotted a vessel trying to run the naval blockade off Vera Cruz and crammed on sail in pursuit. Caught in a squall , Somers sank in minutes, drowning 32 of her crew of 76. The wreck of Somers was rediscovered in 1986 by explorer George Belcher of San Francisco as part of a project to locate materials for the new state museum in Jalapa, Mexico. Anxious to secure protection for the site and insure scientific study of Somers, Belcher contacted various archaeologists and government agencies in the US and Mexico. As a res ult of his efforts, the US Navy, the Department of State, and the National Park Service, which is the only federal agency with a working field team of maritime archaeologists, worked cooperatively with the Mexican Navy and the Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Hi storia to survey and study the wreck. American and Mexican archaeologists worked together in 1990 to create a detailed map of Somers's remains, which lie in 110 feet of dark, murky water. The project, filmed by Belcher, is now the subject of a documentary fi lm , which captures the hi story of the infamous brig. The fi lm is being used to raise money for further research and documentation of the Somers, and for recovery and preservation of artifacts from the site. ,!,

Mr. Delgado is currently executive director of the Vancouver Maritime Museum. He was previously maritime historian of the National Park Service and has authored several books, including A National Trust Guide: Great American Ships with co-author]. Candace Clifford. SEA HISTORY 75, AUTUMN 1995


SHIPNOTES, SEAPORT & MUSEUM NEWS Confederate Sub Find Creates Controversy On the night of 17 February 1864, the Confederate submarine H. L. Hunley, with a crew of nine, rammed the stem of the 23-gun, 1800-ton corvette USS H ousatonic in Charleston Bay. Having implanted a spar torpedo packed with l 00 pounds of powder, the Hunley backed away, triggered the charge with a rope and became the first submarine to sink a warship. The Hunley, however, was never seen again . Not, that is, until May of this year, when the 40-foot, 6-foot-wide iron sub was found buried under three feet of si lt at a depth of 20 feet in Charleston Bay. The discovery of Hunley ended many years of searching for archaeologist and best-selling author Clive Cuss ler. For 14 years, Cussler had organized searches in Charleston Harbor and in the ocean off Sullivan's Island . Cussler's team from NUMA (National Underwater and Marine Agency in Austin, Texas) reported that the submarine appears to be so well preserved that she can be raised intact. That may not happen until the question of who owns the subm arine is settled . The Confederate Naval Hi storical Society reports that the US government, the State of South Carolina, Hunley 's descendents and Clive Cussler are searching records and legal precedents to discover who can legally claim the submarine. According to CNHS, Federal law is c lear: Confederate property became US property as spoils of war. With the Hunley, however, the line between naval operations and privateering is blurred; Horace L. Hunley was a private investor who underwrote work on submarines, and the Hunley's predecessor, Pioneer, was clearly defined as a privateer. The discovery of the Hunley opens several avenues for claims of ownership and/orthe ri ght to salvage, preserve, and display the vessel. (CNHS, 7100cran Road , White Stone VA 22578; 804435-0014) KH W.A.

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Naval Academy Anniversary The US Naval Academy, founded in the wake of the Somers mutiny discussed on pages 31-32 of this issue, celebrates its l50th anniversary this year- 1845- 1995. Naval History, the adm irable magazine published by the US Naval Institute, has an extensive feat ure on this in its September/October issue. It includes interviews with graduates reflecting the changing goals and mores of the Academy, where officers prepare for Navy careers with college-level studies and (thanks to the efforts of the American Sail Training Association) an active sai l training program. (Naval Hist01 y, USNI, 2062 Generals Highway,AnnapolisMD2140l) Spun Yarn The watercraft collection of the Michigan Maritime Museum has recently been expanded by the arrivals of an authentic replica of a Mackinaw , built in 1974, and the fi shtug Shark of 1940 (MMM, PO Box 534, South Haven MI 49090; 6 16 63 7 -8078) .. . The home of the John A. Noble Collection at Staten Island 's Snug Harbor Cu ltural Center is undergoing a $ 1 million capital renovaSEA HISTORY 75, AUTUMN 1995

tion (JANC, 1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island NY 1030 l ; 718 44 7-6490) ... The Explorers Club of New York is organizing a cooperative venture to salvage and restore Amundsen 's research vessel Maud of 1917, now lying in Cambridge Bay, Victoria Island, British Columbia (John Loret, The Explorers Club, 46 East 70th Street, New York NY l 0021) . .. The newly formed SS Canadiana Preservation Society hopes to restore the 1910 passenger vessel to operating condition and has begun fund-raising to qualify for a $400,000 ISTEA matching grant (Floyd Baker, SSCPS, 17 Delray Drive, Cheektowaga NY 14225-1619) ... Florida State Archaeologist Dr. Roger Smith is investigating the wreck of what appears to be a large, mid-16th-century Spanish galleon- possibly part of the 1559 fleet that carried settlers, soldiers and supplies to the ill-fated colony located near Pensacola (Division of Hi storical Resources, R.A . Gray Building, 500 South Bronough Street, Tallahassee FL 32399-0250) . . . The Pensacola Maritime Preservation Society, currently engaged in raising fund s to support Dr. Smith's research, also plans to

Marine Paintings & Prints

Shamrock V Racing off Marblehead-1993 22 x 36

Oil

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SHIPNOTES, SEAPORT & MUSEUM NEWS Sea Festivals Abroad-Bristol '96 and Beyond! If you yearn to be surrounded by hundreds of traditional vessels, to cheer on the men and women participating in sailing and rowing races and maritime arts competitions, and to join in singing sea chanteys, the place for you is the International Festival of the Sea-Bristol '96 in England, 24-27 May . The Festival , entitled "A Voyage from the Past into the Future," celebrates the comi ng 500th anni versary of John Cabot ' s 1497 di scovery of Newfoundland. Centerpiece of the event is a replica of Cabot's Matthew, launched thi s fall in Bristol. Organizers expect 1000 craft-sailing ships, workboats, yachts and fi shing vessels-to converge on the port. Sixty acres of the harbor and two miles of quayside berths will provide plenty of room for St. Augustine' s Bridge in 1885. the expected one million visitors. When thi s festiva l ends, don ' t go home yet! Follow the fleet to maritime festival s in Bantry Bay and the Port of Castletownbere in Ireland, thence to the ancient port of La Rochelle, France, fo llowed by a return to Penzance in time for the West Cornwall Maritime Festival and the British Feeder Race to Brest '96the traditional boat festival sponsored by the French publication Le ChasseMaree. (Charles Payton , Festival Director, The International Festival of the Sea, 59 Prince Street, Bristol BS I 4QH, Eng land; 44 1179 22 I 996, fax: 44 1179 22 1497; Peter Workman , Director General, I 997 Bristol Cabot 500 Celebrations, Somerset House, 18 Canynge Road, Clifton, Bristol BS8 3JX, England; 44 272 237237, fax: 44 272 739463; Brest '96, BP I 996, 29269 Brest Cedex, France) J A . establish a resource fornorthwest Florida maritime hi story and is asking for nautical books, artifacts and photographs associated with the area (W. Ted Brown, PMPS , 1700 Osceola Blvd., Pensacola FL 32503) . . . The Center for Wooden Boats, known for its participatory, handson approach to museum programming, has announced that Founder and Executive Director Dick Wagner will move to the pos ition of Found in g Director (CWB,1010 Valley Street, Seattle WA 98109; 206 382-BOAT) . .. William O ' Brien has been appointed the Executi ve Director of the Great Lakes His, torical Society (GLHS , PO Box 435 , Verm ilion OH 44089-1099) ... The Mariners ' Museum has named Mita Vail as Vice President for Development and has a nnounced the e lect ion of Brenton S. Hal sey as Chairman of the Board of Trustees (TMM, I 00 Museum Dri ve, Newport News VA 23606; 804 595-0368) . . . The Boston National Historical Park has publi shed the 8-page brochure "Ships Built By the C harlestown Navy Yard, 1814-1957,'' avai lable for no charge while supplies last (Di vision of Planning & Development, BNHP, Charlestown Navy Yard, Boston MA 021 29) . .. the Oregon Maritime Center & Museum , in the wake of

financial difficulties partially due to the costs of a new mooring for their sternwheel towboat Portland, has sent out an urgent appeal for funds and confirms that the museum has discussed a merger with the Columbia River Maritime Museum (OMC&M, 11 3 S.W. Front Aven ue, Portland OR 97204; 503 224-7724) ... Call for Papers: 8th International Symposium on Boat and Ship Archaeo logy in Gdansk, Poland, 24-27 September I 997 (For further information contact Dr. Jerzy Litwin, Secretariat ISBSA 8, Centralne M uzeum Morskie, ul. Szeroka 67/68 , 80-835 Gdansk POLAND) SEAHISTORYGAZETTE: "Shipnotes" has been repeating in short form the contents of our iII ustrated 6-page monthly Sea History Gazette. In a change in policy, "Shipnotes" will run special short features with a running survey and calendar, as above. For the authoritative word on ship and museum news, ships' voyaging, ships saved or lost, grants made, personnel changes, new ventures in the fie ld, etc. , sign up for the Gazette-$25 fo r a year' s subscription ($ 18.75 fo r NMHS members) , or ask us for a c1omplim entary sam pl e copy. (NMHS ,, PO Box 68, Peekskill NY 10566; 8300 221-NMHS) SEA I-HISTORY 75 , AUTUMN 1995


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Festivals & Events • 11 November, 8th Annual John A. Noble Art Auction (JAN Collection, I 000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island NY 10301; 718 447-6490) • 16-18 November, Pacific Fishing '95: The Show on the Water, Pier48 (Odyssey Contemporary Maritime Museum , 318 First A venue South, Suite 305, Seattle WA 98104-2546; 206 623-2120) • 18-19 November, 6th Annual "Race of the White Wings," (Biloxi Museum of Seafood & Industry; PO Box 1907, Biloxi MS 39533; 601 435-6320)

Conferences • 23-24 November, Great Lakes Small Craft Symposium at Ann Arbor MI (Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, 601 Pavonia Avenue, Jersey City NJ 07306; 20 I 798-4800) • 2-7 January, 1996 Society for Historical Archaeology Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology in Cincinnati OH. (Marcy Gray, Conference Chair, Gray and Pape, Inc., 1318 Main Street, Cincinnati OH 4521 O; 513 665-6707) • 5-8June 1996,2ndlnternationa1Con-

gress for Maritime History (David M. Williams, IMEHA Organizer, Dept. of Economic and Social History, U. of Leicester, Leicester LEI 7RH , UK; 116252-2582; FAX : 116-252-5081 )

Exhibitions • current, Through Their Eyes: The Battleship Crew Remembers WWII (Battleship North Carolina, PO Box 480, Wilmington NC 28402; 910 251-5797) • 26 August-February 1996, "Elissa, The Second Century: Oils and Watercolors by Anthony Blackman 1984-1985" (Galveston Historical Fndtn., 2016 Strand, Galveston Island TX 77550) • 16 September-5 November, Mystic Maritime Gallery 16th Annual International (Mystic Seaport Museum Stores, Mystic CT; 203 572-5388) • 24 September-28 February, Carriers, Codes, and Silent Ships: WWII and the New Navy (The Mariners ' Museum , see address above) • 26 September-Winter 1996, "Making Waves": 20th Century Fisheries on Cape Ann (Cape Ann Historical Society, 27 Pleasant Street, Gloucester MA 01930; 508 283-0455)

How Gunnar Lundeberg Got His Name, by Gunnar Hexum It was because of some tough times on the waterfront that Harry Lundeberg of the Sailors ' Union of the Pacific named his son Gunnar-who heads the Union now . It was all baseball bats in those days, but I proposed we ' d fight with our hands- "Norwegian steam." Things came to a head when we went through the picket line at Pier 42-or maybe Pier44. The Union had several shore gangsMatson , APL, Pacific Far East, Luckenbach. A ll of them good jobs; the men went for it. Put in a day 's work, the ship sails, next day stay home. I was bosun on the Matson gang. This was way before the war-maybe 1937. We kept our contract with the compa- GunnarHexuminagentlermomentwith nies. The Scalers, a group determined to work Jeanie Land/es Kortum , 1954. the piers regardless of our contract, threw a picket line of 50 men or more across the pier-a rough bunch. It was said that there were 15 "wanted men" among them . We had to break their line and get into the pier and make contact with our shore gang working the ships. Harry Lundeberg was with us. I took one side of Harry and a man called Poherence took the other. There were 25 or 30 of us. It was quite a battle. A head-on assault. It got to be turmoil. One of the Scalers broke through our defenses-a boxer who knew how to hit. He got to Harry, who was fighting with his fists like the rest of us. We got through . But we were in trouble. There were a lot more of them than there were of us. Harry went into the pier office and called the Union. I was stirring up the boys to fight our way out. " No, you 're not going to fight your way out! There have been two stabbings already ," said Harry, coming out of the office. SC> the police came and ended it. Harry had his jaw broken in the fight. He remennbered who stood with him . After Harry 's death the man who married his widow' introduced me to Harry 's son, .:t Gunnar. He said: "This is the man you're named ;after-Gunnar Hexum. " SEA HISTORY 75, AUTUMN 1995

....I


INVENI PORT AM Burl Ives (1909-1995) From the beginning he was a wanderer, or as he styled himself in his autobiography, a "Wayfarin ' Stranger." Singer, actor, sailor and songwriter, he was in all things a commanding presence, who had a remarkable gentleness of manner when he chose. He brought depth and authenticity to the American folk song movement-for many of us in the 1930s and 40s, he was the movement, he gave it its identity as it grew up around him. He discovered the young museum on New York City's South Street waterfront in the late 1960s. I remember him singing his sea songs gratis to crowds of Burl Ives aboard the Lettie G. Howard in schoo lkids. He made a record of these New York ' s South Street Seaport in 1970. songs for us. One day I received a letter from an elderly man in the Bronx who, unable to get out to see South Street and its ships, wrote that, through Burl Ives, the museum came to him. "We're bound to the south'ard, so steady she goes" was the chorus of one of these songs. I can hear it as I write, Burl- "steady she goes." PS

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marine anc hor at 6 o'c loc k, Russian wo rds 11 Red October"'" & "Made in USSR" on face. Each clock

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A crackerjack sailorman devoted to the cause of youth education at sea, raconteur sans pareil , and enjoyer of a wide range of challenging ventures at which he generally excelled, Peter left a wide circle of friends behind when he departed this life in September this year, a few months short of his 54th birthday. Over a hundred of them gathered for his memorial service at St. Peter's Church in Philadelphia, at which the 1928 Book of Common Prayer was used, because Peter had said he would haunt the service if the new version was used. As the Rev. Wendel W. Meyer explained, while he looked forward to seeing Peter again, he did not look forward to seeing him in that format! Peter and I met first in connection with his successful rebuilding and sailing of the brigantine Young America with young people in crew-and then and thereafter talked many a night away (how I wish there had been more) on subjects like sex, politics and religion. On the existence and nature of God, his wife Helen and clerical friend Tad Meyer say that Peter had come to a new acceptance and understanding, which Tad characterizes as "oceanic." I am glad. For Peter had a divine spark in him which all his friends could see, and it is good to know he recognized that PS immanent presence, at last, at the end of his day's run.

Charles S. Morgan (1915-1994) Charles S. Morgan of Concord, Massachusetts, passed away on 5 August 1994 at the age of 79. Coasting schooners were his lifelong passion and he was well known among the aficionados of this once prolific type of vessel as well as among those who sailed them and survived into his own time. He was closely associated with the Brick Store Museum in Kennebunk, Maine, and with the ANDREW J. NESDALL Maine Maritime Museum in Bath.

Peter Wiles, Sr. (1928-1995) Peter Wiles , founder of the Mid-Lakes Navigation Co., Ltd. , died on July 5, at his home in Skaneateles, New York. His work revitalizing New York's waterways began in 1968 with the rescue of the Skaneateles Lake mail boat. Since then , his company has expanded to provide cruises on Onondaga Lake and New York 's canals, and more than 135,000 children have participated in his educational program about the canals. Among his many civic commitments, he JA served until recently as president of the State Council on Waterways. SEA HISTORY 75, AUTUMN 1995

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Facing West: Americans and the jockeying for position in the Northwest Opening of the Pacific, by John Curtis was not primarily for land, observing Send for free caLalogues Perry (Praeger, Westport CT & London that " the ocean with its perceptible trade UK, 1994, 367pp, illus, notes, biblio, index, routes was deemed much more imporWe are also eager to purchase old books tant than the still largely unknown conISBN 0-275-94920-6; $65hc, $19.95pb) of all kinds, especially maritime. Professor Perry spreads a broad canvas tinental spaces of North America. " Please call or write. He shows how the theme of reaching to paint his picture of the emergence of the Pacific world from an obscurity in the Orient more expeditiously than via t en pound island book company which the very actors on the scene did not the rough passage around the Cape of 76 Langsford Street., Gloucester, MA 01930 (508) 283-5299 know its full extent, to its present standing Good Hope or the still rougher passage as a focus of international attention and around Cape Hom at the tip of South concern. As he observes at the outset of America was the dominant and consisColumbia Trading C_ompany the story, " the American reach for the tent note sounded in advocacy for what Orient becomes part of a far greater was known as "the Pacific railroad. " NAUTICAL BOOKS New, Used l~I Free Ca talog And he notes the ironic facts that drama, the reemergence of East Asia & Out-of¡Prmt ISi Subscription 352 labor imported from China (often under into world prominence"--the prominence >AX (508) 362~~RB} -ag~~r Credit Cards .504 Rte. 6A , Wesl Bamstah le, Cape Cod, MA 02668 it enjoyed, that is, when the Chinese civi- horrible conditions) helped bui ld the rai llization was the world 's most advanced, road that brought China closer to the and a source of wonder to the people who main commercial and industrial centers eagerly seized on Marco Polo 's account of the US , and that sailing ships, taking of his travels and dealings in what the four months or more to reach San Frani cisco from the iron foundries of PennsylChinese called "The Middle Kingdom ." He also notes that that " American vania, carried the rails that would bring reach ," while it plays a critically impor- cargoes and people across the country in tant role in the development of the Pa- about as many days as the sailing ship cific world, was not planned. "The United took months-thus, within a generation, Route 9, Oceanville , States," he observes , " had no policy for spelling the end for American sai ling NJ 08231 j --- bridging the Pacific," and as result events ships in the Cape Hom trade. Visit our 3,000 , --? , 41 So in the end " the railroad drew the seemed to unfold almost at random. But sq. ft . store or ~ " by focusing in on key trains of events North Atlantic closer to the North Pasend $3 0.-2 and the people who led in bringing them cific," and American involvement in the for brochure about, Perry succeeds-and I believe suc- Pacific world thereafter grew apace, in 609-652-9491 ceeds brilliantly-in following the action war and peace, reaching the unprecon this grand stage and bringing it to life. edented heights we see today in headThe advantages of the broad-brush, lines and in trade statistics. It is good to report that Perry keeps a big-picture approach are evident in Perry 's appreciation of the fact that the sure grasp on the realities of the age he is year 1869 marked the opening of both dealing with as he unfolds his story. He the Suez Canal and the transcontinental does not commit the crime against hurailway across the United States, both manity al l too often found among histoengineering feats designed to facilitate rians today, of speaking from above the steam transportation. It's widely under- battle and beyond reach of the human stood that the Suez opened the Orient to experience of an earlier age-which Captain Joshua Slocum Centennial direct connection with steamships from makes up, after all, the true reality of any Ca le ndar for 1996! England on a far more efficient basis age. So he writes e loquently and accuCelebrate the lOOth Ann iversa ry of th e first solo voyage around the wo rl d. A grea t holiday g ift for than the long and often stormy passage rately of the rigors of the Cape Hom ever sa ilor. $11.95 + $2 S& H 1-800-461-6599 via the Cape of Good Hope at the tip of passage in sailing ship days, and conAfrica-but to thi s reader, at least, it 's cludes hi s observations on this subject indeed news that a faster passage to the with a marvelous bit of outreach in space T he epic '94 voyage of the Orient was a principal motive behind the and time, quoting the Soviet astronaut J eremiah O'Brien "Exci1ing lnie-life adventure story." unprecedented effort that went into build- who from his space craft said he found (SH Summer 1995 review) the Hom "gloomy and forbidding- it ing a railroad across the United States. 590 pp , 230 photos . $32 He demonstrates this point by showing gave me a sense of danger. " A full bibliography adds value to this how , from the first American voyages to Bot h O'Urien books: $55 the Pacific Coast, the impetus was not so book , encouraging further exploration The histo ry of the 0 'Brien much to open and settle the coast, but to in this field to which Professor Perry 1943-1993 . "171is splendid press on to the Far East, specifically in provides , in this work, so engaging and work.. . " (SH Spring 1994) PS the trade in seal and sea otter skins from masterful an introduction. 490 pp , 110 photos. $30 the Pacific Northwest to a Chinese marThe G lcncannon Press ket not at all interested by other Ameri- Terr~a Cognita: The Mental Discover y PO Box 341 Palo Alto CA can products. His narrative reveals that of ALmerica , by Eviatar Zerubavel 94302. Checks/Visa/MC the British, Spanish, Russ ian and US (Rutggers University Press, New Bruns-

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wick NJ, 1992, 164pp, 25 maps, ISBN 0-81351897-0; $35hc, $ 13.95pb) The bulk of published material that glutted the 1992 Columbus Quincentennial was, alas, marred by much benighted multiculturalism. Collectively, it shed little new light on the 1492 world, but drew instead a sad composite portrait of the 1992 hi storian. No Quincentennial book, however, evolved out of so frail a premise as Eviatar Zerubavel's Terra Cognita. It is based on his urge to perform a play on the words "discover" and "America" in order to prove that Columbus did not discover America. And he does so by parsing and critiquing unto its death the simple expression: "Columbus discovered America." Along the way he suggests that October 12, 1492, was not a day of discovery, because: I) America had been visited by Europeans before (oh , really?); 2) Columbus believed that he was somewhere else (oh, really?); and, 3) none of this matters anyway because the land Columbus did not discover, but which later became America, was not America at the time of its nondiscovery ! After redefining the two words endlessly, Zerubavel concludes: "The European ' Discovery' of the New World was not a single event that occurred on a single day but rather a long process that lasted almost three hundred years ... . In fact, [1492] marked the beginning of a long mental voyage." America, according to Zerubavel, is less a geographical than a "mental" phenomenon : Ergo, its "discovery" didn ' t need those three ships. And, as America is still evolving, yet to be entirely di scovered, Co lumbus's work amounts to a mere flicker of a 500-year candle. If all this seems disingenuous and circular, it is. The rubric of the book ' s subtitle , "The Mental Di scovery of America" (italics added), enables the authortoevade the overtly concrete in favor of the loosely deconstructive. The lack of solid historic perspective here suggests that a college professorof sociology faced with the ever-present specter of a "publish-or-perish" syndrome might give serious thought to that other alternative. JACK SOMER l

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The Insatiable Earl: A Life of John Montagu, Fourth Earl of Sandwich, 1718-1792, by N.A.M. Rodger (Harper Collins, London UK, 1993, 425pp, illus, notes, biblio, index, 0-00-215784-5; £20hc) It would take a brave man to underSEA HISTORY 75 , AUTUMN 1995

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REVIEWS take a salvage operation on the Earl of Sandwich, mainly known for his alleged invention of the sandwich as the fastfood item of hi s day. Those who know him better generally connect him with the corrupt politics and dissolute life styles of London in the bad old days of George III. But Sandwich, it appears from this authoritative and engrossing biography, has found the person to champion hi s cause in Nicholas Rodger, best known for his book The Wooden World, a fascinating and authentic study of life in the Royal Navy of the 1700s. Sandwich, as First Lord of the Admiralty, actually shows a distinguished record in service. He early recognized that the American Revolution offered an opportunity for the French and Spanish to recoup their losses in the Seven Years' War of a generation earlier, a war in which England establ ished its dominant position in North America and indeed around the world wherever there was water enough to float a 74-gun ship of the line. King George's Prime Mini ster Lord North , "so often more perceptive and less resolute than hi s colleagues," as Rodgernotes in one of his telling characterizations of actors on the scene, real ized after Bourgoyne ' s surrender at Saratoga in 1777, " that war was inevitable, and that he was not equipped to direct it. " The "war" Rodger refers to is, of course, the general European war that threatened the loss of much more than the rebellious colonies, which a good many Engli shmen had come to realize were goi ng to go their way regardless of what military force was brought against them . The buildup of the fleet which Sandwich had been urging began only in I 778, too late to prevent superior French forces from appearing in the English Channel that summer and in following years, bringing abo ut a time of maximum peril for England and Englishmen ' s liberties unparalleled since the Spanish Armada of 1588-as Rodger points out. Sandwich dealt successfully, if just barely, with the problem of an insubordinate and marginally competent Admiral Keppel, and the Navy he built up went on to win decisive victories in the Battle of the Sai ntes in 1782 and in the relief of Gibraltar, under French and Spani sh siege. By then , Sandwich was out of office. But the corner had been turned, and Rodger points out that despite loss of the American colonies, "what seemed like a disastrous defeat had cost the country

very little but money and prestige, and preserved for it the means of future power and greatness." He does not note that following the surrender of Cornwallis 's army at Yorktown in the fa ll of I 78 I , a new and very interesting viewpoint began to weigh in , in British policy in the peace negotiations: the British began working for more generous borders for the new American republic than the republic's French and Spanish allies were willing to accept! It was the reassertion of British naval dominance in the broad and narrow seas that compelled an ending to the war which included acceptance of a United States whose borders reached to the Great Lakes and the Mississippi-far beyond the effectively occup ied territory of the coasta l colonies. Rodger 's book is not a comprehensive history of the period, nor even of naval policy during this era. It is the story of a public servant who lived a remarkably full life, if one scarred by personal tragedy in the insanity of his wife, subsequent murder of hi s mistress by a madman, and early death of hi s only son-a life marked by a sensitive taste and adventurous pursuits. As a yo ung man he explored widely in the virtually unknown country of Turkey, bringing home with him a taste in Turkish costume. He loved the theater and appeared on stage. And as Rodger remarks in an affectionate farewell, hi s most enduring enthusiasm was for music; he led a Handel Commemoration that continues to this day. Sandwich is fortunate to have this spirited, deeply informed and lively appreciation of his life-and so are we. PS Way's Packet Directory, 1848-1994, Passenger Steamboats of the Mississippi River System Since the Advent of Photography in Mid-Continent America, by Frederick Way, Jr. (Ohio University Press, Athens OH, orig I 983 , reprint 1995 , 643pp, illus, index , ISBN 0-8214-1106-3 ; $34.95pb) From A . B. Chambers of 1855 to Zouave of I 863 , this marvelous resource of the inland waterways contains nearly 6,000 alphabetical entries describing the "packets" -the name borrowed from the East Coast to refer to combination passenger/freight vessels. The author broadened the term to embrace all types of stea m-propelled stern wheelers and sidewh(eelers plying the Mississippi system. Altthough the first packet appeared in 181 I , Wmy ' s start date reflects hi s collection, SSEA HISTORY 75 , AUTUMN 1995

..l


begun in childhood with the first daguerreotypes that led to a lifetime of research and writing about river craft. He was a steamboat pilot himself for a time. Towboats, showboats and most modem-day excursion boats have been omitted from the list. Steam ferries and several Civil War gunboats, however, do find their way into the accounts. At minimum, each entry indicates the steamer's shipyard, rig and class, dimensions, and engine and boiler specification. Much more than just a register of steamboats ' details , however, the book gives what is known of their employment and careers, and of the men who owned and manned them. One discovers that: the first vessel listed had Sam Clemens (Mark Twain) as pilot and he served in a dozen others; that casualties among the boats from fires, boiler explosions, collisions, ice and sinking by snags were very high and so was the loss of life, human and animal , in Civil War engagements; and that cargoes varied tremendously--<:otton, iron ore, crude oil from the early wells, iron and steel, grain, livestock, and motor cars. And there are hundreds of stories from the kaleidoscope of American steamboating history. One only wishes there were a map of the navigation to help one follow the text. BRIAN WAINWRIGHT

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SEA HISTORY 75 , AUTUMN 1995

The Classic Windjammer Vocation SCHOONER MARY DAY O/lfstanding Sailing Good Friends. Grear Food S1111g fl arbors Every Night Wild Islands. Whales . Eagles Cape. Steve & Chris Cobb

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Circles of Hell: The War in Italy, 19431945, by Eric Morris (Crown, New York NY & Random House, London, England, 1993 , 498pp, illus, appen , index, ISBN 0-517-57810-7; $25 hc) Carefully documented, with plentiful photographs, maps, tables and appendices, this work gives a close-in, accurate account of the painful and costly campaign of the Allied armies to fight their way up the long, rugged Italian peninsula in World War IL A full picture is given offront-line conditions for American, British, Polish, French, North African and other Allied troops, as well as the determined and very able German troops who occupied the country, making the Allies pay dearly for every mile they gained. Incisi.ve portraits are provided of the Allied leaders Eisenhower and Alexander as well as their subordinates in operational command, the coldly egotistical English Montgomery and wildly flamboyant American Mark Clark. The decision to invade Italy is examined by Morris with the careful documentation of arguments for and against the campaign. The author's anger at mis-

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ORDER FORM Please send me _ _ copies of Homecoming at $25 each. Total amount enclosed: Name:, _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ Address: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ City/SI/zip: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ Relurn lhis ad wilh check or money order to: Communication Directions, RR5 Box 608, Gorham, ME 04038, (207) 642·341 7. Christmas orders must be received by t2115.

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Armored Ships, by Ian Marshall. Beautiful accurate watercolors accompany a spirited account of the world's most renowned armored cruisers and battleships. SC $28.95 + $3 .75 s/h. Ironclads and Paddlers, by Ian Marshall. Watercolors and pencil sketches help trace the evolution of ironclads. HC $34.95 + $3 .75 s/h.

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'Wfio Love the Sea! National Maritime Historical Society Announces a New Edition of a Classic of Deepwater Sail:

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CLASSIFIED ADS Ship Paintings Restored. Museum quality restoration of old pai ntings. Peter Williams, 30 Ipswich St., Bosto n MA 02215. By appointment: 6 17-536-4092 Historical Fiction from the age of fighting sail plus 20th Century naval actions. New and used books. Free catalog. Tall Ships Books, Box 8027SH, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 524D8. Compass and Binnacle restoration, repairs and adjusting. J. K. & E. Enterprises, Inc., 7075 121 Way North, Seminole FL 34642. 813-398-5132. In Peace and War. Please review our ad in Sea History , Summer 1994-Spring 1995. Our fine tribute can still be ordered as advertised-while they last! Send $2.00 for color photo and larger print of our Merchant Marine Tribute art. Nine Points Co., 105 South St. , Hingham MA 02043. 617-749-5115. Nautical Publications: (U.S. and British, in print) Nautical Dictionaries. Ship Photographs. Maritime History. Maritime Art. Lighthouses. Sailing Ships. Shipping Companies History. Salvage & Wrecks. Send $2.00 for complete listing to ; Mariner's International, 2720 Maplecrest Way, Sevierville, TN 37876 USA Phone/Fax 423- 429-1792. Limited Edition Print. By Mort Kunstler, Constitution vs. Guerriere, August 19, 181 2, "Shall I Board Her, Sir?" $55. Inquiries: CSC Foundation, PO Box 122,Quantico VA22134. (703) 640-6835 Ships-in-Bottles, Etc. catalog-Quality ships, objects and scenes-in-bottles built to order. For free catalog write: Ships-in-Bottles, Etc., 22040 Holiday Dr., Smithsburg MD 21783.

REVIEWS takes made by high commanders sometimes warps his judgment, however. His horror at the carnage leads to such unbalanced statements as his finding that the "rage" ofltalian civilians at Allied bombing would take generations to assuage. As one who has traveled to heavily bombed sites like Genoa, this reviewer can attest to finding no examples of that alleged "rage"--0nly sorrow at the terrible costs of war. And one really must argue with the author's contention that the whole massive effort was "to no great purpose." The campaign, starting with the invasion of Sicily in mid-1943, pulled vital German armored divisions off the Russian front at the height of the greatest armored encounter of the war, and soon more than half the German air force was similarly diverted from the massive struggle in the east, contributing to the Russian advance of 1943-44. And, as even opponents of the Italian campaign mostly came to realize, the Allied landings in France in June 1944, which ushered in the final overthrow of German power, would simply not have been feasible without the diversion of German forces to Italy , and the continuing attrition oflimited German resources involved in the Allied invasion ofltaly. PS

A History of Finnish Shipping, Yrjo Kaukiainen (Routledge, London & New To place your classified ad at $1.60/word, York, 1993, 231 pp, appen, notes, biblio, phone Carmen at 914-737-7878. Or mail your message and payment to Sea History, index, ISBN 0-415-00158-7; $45hc) In the Middle Ages, the German Hanse PO Box 68, Peekskill NY 10566. carried Finland's commerce, as they did just about everyone ' s in the Baltic and North Seas. As the Hanse power dissolved toward 1600, the rising power of 400 Years Of Southeastern Boats, Sweden took over the dominant position Boatmen And The Waters They Sailed in the Baltic carrying trades. As this "Th e most current, accurate and docuvaluable study shows, Finland, "a pemented research on Southeastern hi storic ripheral , undeveloped country," lacked small craft ava il ab le. Absolutely a mu st for any maritime library!" the skills to compete. By the 1800s, -/J1w1() C. Bnid¡, Chainnan, Public Affairs however, this peripheral position became 1 ational J\ \aririme All iance an advantage, as low wages combined A fascinating account of the region 's with an abundant natural resource in small craft heritage and forest enabled Finns to build their own waterborne ships and sail them to good advantage in lifesty le. Hardtrade with more advanced economies. cover, 350 pages The Finnish lumber trade to East Coast with over 150 maps. photos British ports, for instance, was carried a nd dra'vvings . on in wooden sailing ships up to the Send $47.50 midpoint of this century. And the great Plus $2.50 S& 1-1 to steel square riggers built a hundred years \VBC J\ \a1ine Press Post Oflice Box 178. ago for British, French and German Tybee Island, GA 31328 owners gravitated to Finnish owners, 1-800-567-3403, I Oamnotabl y, of course, the great Gustav 6pm Monday-F1iday Erikson of Finland 's Swedish-speaking

TIDECRAFT

44

Aland Islands. In the sweep of time covered in this brief, fact-filled book, we learn things important to regional European historyand, one feels, important to understanding how shipping affects the flow of history, as seen in the experience of a people PS determined not to be counted out. "Guide to the Records of Merseyside Maritime Museum," Research in Maritime History No. 8, compiled by Gordon Read and Michael Stammers (Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John ' s, Newfoundland, Canada, 1995, 153pp, ISBN 0-9695885-7-7; $15pb) One of the best resources for studying America's c lose ties to the port of Liverpool is the Merseyside Maritime Museum , a resource which this valuable finding guide makes accessible to all readers. Chapters describing records deposited under the Public Records Act of 1958 and the papers of official organizations, shipping and trade associations, and shipowners include brief historical introductions, a listing of the main items, the archival code, and dates and quantity of records. A second volume will list a wide variety of smaller collections, such as slavery, ships' plans, maps and seafarers' records. JA Securing Command of the Sea: NATO Naval Planning, 1948-1954, by Sean M. Maloney (Naval Institute Press, Annapolis MD, 1995, 292pp, illus, gloss, notes, ISBN 1-55750-562-4; $38.95hc) An in-depth study of evolving naval command structures and strategies, this work chronicles the background and significance of the NATO alliance as it determined naval operations from its inception during WWII through the crysBG tallizing of the cold war. S tatement filed I 0/2/95 required by 1he Act of Aug. 12. 1970. Sec. 3685 . Tit le 39, US Code: Sea History is published quarterl y at 5 John Wal sh Bl vd .. Peekskill NY 10566; minimum subscription pri ce is $ 15. Publi sher and editor is Peter Sranford: man aging edi1or is Ju stine Ah lstrom: ow ner is Nat io nal Maritime Histori cal Soc iety, a no n-profit corporation: all are located at 5 John Wal sh Bl vd._ Peeks kill NY I 0566. During the 12 months preceding October 1995 th e average number o f (A) copies printed each iss ue was 35,463 (B) paid and/or requested ci rc ulat io n was ( I) sold throu gh

dea lers, carriers and co unter sales 2.033: (2) mail subsc rip ti ons 12,680: (C) total paid and/or req uested circulation was 14.7 12: ( D) free di s tributi on. sa mpl es. complimen ta ry co pies we re 20.247: ( E) to tal di stribution was 34.959; (F) copies not di stribut ed ( I ) offi ce use 170: (2) rel urn from news

agents 335: (G) to tal ~ 35.463. The ac tu al numbers for the sing le iss ue precedin g Octobe r 1995 are (A) total num be r printed 30.367: ( B) paid c ircul ation was ( I) sales throu gh dealers. carriers and counter sales 2.100: (2) mail subscription s 13.094; (C) to tal paid and/or requested c irculati on 15. 195; ( D) free di s tributi o n. sampl es . co mplimentary copies were 14.944; (E) total di stributi on was 30. 135 (F) copies not di stributed 1Were ( I) o ffice use 150: (2) re turn from news agent s 82: (G) total = 30.367. I ce rtify that the above statement s are c orrec t and compl ete. (s igned ) Peter Sianford. Pres., Nat io n a l Ma ritime Hi sto ri cal Society.

SEA HISTORY 75 , AUTUMN 1995

1


¡c

Christmas at A.ntofa9asta by Fred Klebingat

hristmas is comin' soon," said begin to be di scharged aga in and great had in the boat last Sunday," sa id the Captain Koester, sk ipper of the clouds of coa l dust would enve lope the Captain . " A thing like that can be a four-masted ba rk Anna, ex- ship. So, tem poraril y free of dust, Cap- turning point, a serious matter for a Otterburn once belonging to Shankland- tain Koester enjoyed hi s morning walk vessel' s di sc ipline. I-you-could find on the ship 's poop. He was a man of that our authority begin s to slip ." Burns, but now sai ling from Breme n. "Yes," said Gau, the Mate or Steueraverage hei ght, corpulent, and in hi s I was one of the men who pulled the mann, " this wi ll be the second Christmas fifties . Hi s face was adorned with great boat that day and so I knew all about it. away from home." whiskers. Hi s deportment commanded The starboard wa,tch began to fi ght among "A nd God only knows where we'l l be respect. Gau , the mate, was a few inches themselves while coming off from shore, the Christmas after that," the Captain shorter, well built, a man with a walrus and pretty soon they didn't know who replied in a reflective mood. moustache. He had a ki nd disposition for was hitting whom. They put up a grand It was December 1907. The Anna was a mate and was about ten years younger scrap for all those on the different ships to see, and it was a wonder they did not anchored at Antofagasta, a port in Chi le than the Captain . just south of the tropics. She had come "I wonder what the men have up their caps ize the boat. Some of the ships' from Newcastle, New South Wales, with sleeves this Christmas, Steuermann?" said crews thought that would happen, so a fu ll cargo of coal, and after a somewhat the Captain to Gau. He slow ly stroked they jumped into their boats to resc ue us, boi sterous voyage of forty-five days, she his whiskers and said, "It was certa inly a if that should be necessary . Drunk as had anchored at thi s roadstead in the lee great Christmas they thought up las t year they were, the Anna crew fin ally came to of the barren foot hill s of the the conclusion that the boat was Andes. A large white anchor not the place for a fi ght and In this [area], we set the treepostponed it until they came painted on the mountainside had g iven us the location of the po11. aboard. I did not see the last our tannenbaum memory of About forty ships, square rigpart of it, as I was detailed to a forested land in another hemisphere secure the g ig. gers and a few schooners, too, The Captain re lit hi s pipe were anchored here in four tiers, a continent and an ocean away. and carried on. " It 's that damn the ir bows headed westward ' Pisco,' Steuermann. That is toward the open Pacific, anchored and sec ured fore and aft. They put whe n we were ' running the easting the cause of it. Whe n they get drunk on me in mind ofan array of curtseying c ircus down, ' somewhe res south of the Cape of it , it sets them nuts but does not lay them out. " horses, as their bows rose and fe ll in Good Hope. " uni son to the tremendous westerly swells The Mate watched a pass ing empty "This bunch never does things by halves ," said Gau. lighter for a minute or two .... "Our men that never seemed to end. "I recall that Eq uator-crossing celebra- have gained a reputation ," he said. "They Most of these vessels had come here with coa l from Europe or Australia, but tion about a year and a half ago," said are supposed to be the toughest birds that there were quite a few ships loaded with Captain Koester. "That was something." ever manned a ship." Gau lit hi s pipe and walked to the rail lumber from the Pacific Northwest. Af" Not onl y at thi s port," replied Capter discharg ing, some of these wou ld and threw the match overboard , then tain Koester, " but also at Caleta Coloso load nitrate for home , but others were replied , " At times, I' ve wished they were and Mejillones. And even Stevenson, condem ned to a never-ending run be- less belligerent and not so hilarious , es- the stevedore, has asked me how I manage tween Australia and Chi le. pecially when they ' re as hore and return to handle a bunch of gallows birds .. . I tell everyone that if they leave the 'Pisco' There was the Whitlieburn astern of on board. " us loading nitrate, and she wo uld have I happened to hear all this as "Chips," alone, they're the best crew I ever had ." There reall y is not much to go as hore the last sack on board before Christmas the carpen ter, had detailed me to put in a and be bound for Europe. On the other grav ing piece in the deck before I'd be for at these so-ca lled harbors situated quarter was the Tarpenbek unloading sent in the ho ld to shovel coal. between Valparai so and Call ao on the "You are talking abo ut the fight they west coast of South America .. . . Thi s is lum ber, and she also wou ld leave before the Atacama Desert, a the holidays and go to California fora load of parched coastline where wheat and then sail to even a cactus would have Falmouth, Eng land, a hard time to survive. And harbors? These are for orders. There was a scaronly indentations in the coastline, all are open to city of I ighters this morning, although the crew sti11 was standing by ready to discharge The German bark Anna, exOtterburn , on wh ich th is coal and the steam was episode recalled by Fred up in the ship ' s donKlebingat took place, is key. It was only a matseen here at Co111111enceter of time before a 111e111 Bay near Ta coma , li g hte r wou ld come Washington, somerime beand the cargo would tween J893 and J895 . SEA HISTORY 75, AUTUMN 1995

45


"Some of them brought their musical instruments-accordians, some fiddles, and homemade drums . ... " the westward . It is here that the settlements are situated. Some, such as Iquique and Antofagasta, are quite large. But most are small. All of them have these in common- unpaved and dusty streets, wooden houses in want of paint, pine boards that form their wall s curled up in a merciless sun . A few structures are in better shape, such as some of the stores and the homes of those store owners. There are a few cantinas and fa ndango houses, too, where drinks and ladies of easy virtue may be had by men who have the price. It is cool during the ni ght, but during the day a pitiless sun blazes down on these ports of sin , sweat, and stink. Water is expensive and hard to get. It is supplied by vendors who sell it by the gallon from a barrel mounted on a muledrawn cart. Small as some of these towns are, they all have a so-called "pl aza," where a few trees are planted and watered by that ex pensive fluid , reminding the res idents that there are places on earth where one can grow trees and fl owers and grass. I spent few hours ashore in these harsh ports. I may have been a poor judge, after months at sea, but on those brief vi sits I was amazed to find numbers of truly gorgeous and beautiful women.

46

Sailors had to provide their own music, mostly with small instruments like pennywhistles , concertinas, tamborines and the occasional fiddle. The fe llow on the left has made a drum out of half a keg , while another holds a simple triangle. This photo was taken about 1900 on an unidentified British sailing vessel. Courtesy, San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park.

They were well-groomed, vivacious, sparkling eyed, each with a tasteful hairdo accenting a beautiful complexion. I wondered how so much feminine beauty could flourish in such a dismal situation.

* * * * * "I fo und a Christmas tree," said Willie, my watch partner. He was a member of the crew of the Captain 's gig and did not have to shovel coa l. "We put the Captain on board a Kosmos Liner and I fo und this tree floating alongside. It is quite dried up and without needles, so the crew of the steamer thought that it was of no further use and threw it overboard . But it is a Christmas tree!" "Let's make a real Christmas," said Paul, the big shot in the port fo 'c's le, "a Christmas that will be remembered in this port long after we have gone." He looked approvingly at Willie's find . There was a store in Antofagasta that so ld Chri stmas tree orn aments and tinse l and candles, too . I borro wed tools from Chips and made a base fo r th e tree. We managed to get some green paint and some turpe ntine to thin it out, and painted th e dried-up tree. An awning had been stretched above the fo 'c'slehead to keep off the hot sun , but a chill wind would come up from the

sea in the afternoon, so we rigged side curtains of canvas to keep it out. In this apartment, we set the tree-our tannenbaum memory of a fo rested land in another he mi sphere a continent and an ocean away. We added tufts of cotton for imitation snow and draped the tree with ornaments and tinsel and fas tened the candles in place on the ends of the brittle boughs. We thought it the prettiest tree we ever saw, although it had no needles at all .

* * * * * When Christmas Eve came the crew of the Anna was well prepared fo r it. They had bought cases and cases of Chilean beer. They wanted to make sure that they and their sai lor guests would not thirst on this Christmas holiday. And the Old Man also anticipated hav ing visitors, so to make sure that they would not starve, he had ordered a quarter of beef and an abundance of fruit and vegetables. It was before noon on Chri stmas Eve when Gau said to me, "Take this Union Jack, Fred, and tie it to the gall ant backstay as high up as you can go. It wi ll tell the Captain ' s friends at Caleta Coloso that ithey are invited on board." It w1as quite a distance to Caleta Coloso .. The tops of the masts on the ships amc hored there were just visible SEA H ISTORY 75, AUTUMN 1995


'

from our deck. But the boats belonging to the ships there had been rigged with sail, and before dark we saw several of them heeling over to the strong sea breeze. They rounded to smartly at our gangway, one after the other, and the captains stepped on board followed by their boat crews. We did not know where they all came from . They came from all ships in the harbor and were of all seafaring nations. There were Gennans and Dutch and Nordics, too-Norse and Swedes, Finns and Dansks. And there were Scots and Irish and English. Some were French and they would not feel lonesome as we had some fine linguists to keep them entertained. There were no native Americanos; they were rarely seen in the ship fo'c'sles those days. So our visitors from the American ships were "Whitewashed" and "Baltic" Yanks-men who first saw light of day on the shores of northern Europe. They were the men who now manned the Yankee windships. But did it matter? It was Merry Christmas for all of us , this miniature League of Nations. ... And they were all welcome and we were there to receive them. The decks had been washed and all was shipshape. There were many more than a hundred guests. Some of them brought their musical instruments-accordians, some fiddles, and homemade drums---enough to fonn two musical bands. After dark we lit the Christmas tree and it was admired by all. We hung lanterns on the main deck. The bands started to play Christmas carols and waltzes for those who wanted to dance. Sailors danced with each other; it was an old sea custom. The other ships were dark , except for an anchor li ght. A moon, part full, rose slowly over the mountains, filling the bay with silvery gleams. It dimmed the anchor lights of o ur neighbors. A tour invitation Captain Koester and hi s guests came forward to admire our Christmas tree. They were delighted, and one of them said, "Captain , I compliment you , you have a fine crew. I am jealous, I must say. With men like these I could surely crack on when bound westward off Cape Stiff." And Captain Koester said, " Merry Christmas to you all, the treat is on me. Send one of the boys aft for some 'cheer.'" "All this is just fine and dandy," I said to Paul. "Where do you get that stuff?" he answered in a somber tone . "You call SEA HISTORY 75, AUTUMN 1995

Fred Klebingat photographed aboard the S.N. Castle between 1909 and 1915, on the Pacific Coast. Photo courresy the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park.

this dancing; where are the lady partners? " He seemed to be lost in thought. "No hope for lady company in a dump like this ," he said. Paul did not know it then , but a Christmas deity must have heard his sigh. It was near midnight. The hull of a steamer passed by close astern. It rounded to on the port side of us. There were some bells , an order, down went the hook; some more bells, the ship dropped astern, the rattling of chain and clank, c-lank, clank as the cable left the hawsepipe and then down went the stem mooring. He hove in again and the hull was near abreast of us. There was a call, a chain-locker voice, "S hip ahoy! My passengers have seen your Christmas tree and wish to come on board." Our Captain answered, "We are waiting for you. Please come on board." We heard the screeching and chirping of blocks, then a splash-a boat had been lowe red on the steamer. A short time later it appeared at our gangway. Nearly all the passenger in the boat were ladies! Unbelieving, we helped them aboard. Most of them were young, some not quite so youthful, and all were pretty to our eyes. The boat made several trips with guests and it brought also a couple of musicians with their guitars. Later on it returned with some refreshments and eats. Our guests made themselves at home and admired our Christmas tree. "You had your Christmas wish," I said to Paul. "These are the prettiest ladies I ever saw." There was no scarcity of lady pa1tners to dance with. And they danced for us their fandangoes to the beat of castanets. The Captain's g uests joined us on the main

deck to share dances with our lady friends. Scotty escorted a girl to a seat on a spar near the rail and came towards me. He cupped his hand near my ear. "Talk about Christmas!" he said. "I have been sailing on board of British ships for thiry-five years, but never a Christmas anything like this! " Christmas would not be real without singing "S ilent Night." Pete from the Emmanuel, and our Paul saw to its presentation. No one ever heard a grander symphony than this orchestra and choir of seafarers-an orchestra where accordians predominated (there were some mouth organs, too) , and this choir of seamen of all nations , many fine voices among them . Our visitors from the steamer seemingly did not know this carol, but after the first verse they caught on and their guitars added accent to our seagoing instruments. Female voices blended with our male chorus. "S ilent Night" had been sung at Antofagasta many times before the Anna dropped anchor, but I am sure that at no time was an orchestra and choir of this magnitude assembled to send this great Christmas song over the waters. "S ilent night- ho-o-ly night-All is calm . . . . " The sea breeze had died down, and it was calm. Even the steamers were dark; they had shut down their dynamos for the night. The moon silvered the masts and yards of the sailing ships. The foothills of the Andes astern of us stood out in light gray, the stars sparkled, and it appeared to me that those darkened hulls around us also seemed imbued with the message of this song. Of course, I knew it was not so, but to me it seemed that the ships rose and fell and their spars swayed to the rhythm of the old Christmas song. It was near morning when our guests left with "Adios amigos ... FelizNavidad." But our sailor friends from the other ships went to sleep wherever they could find a place. The sail locker was about the best that we could offer them. 1Born.near Kiel , Germany, in 1889 , Capt. Klebin.gat sailed in the Cape Horn trade in his teens. He rose to command lumber schooners in. the Pacific and then Liberty ships in WW If, ajier which he went in.to the coasting trade on America' s West Coast. Hediedage 95 in Coos Bay, Oregon. This story is extra cted Ji-om his Christmas at Sea, published in 1974 by the Bernice P. Bishop Museum, Honolulu.

47


NATIONAL MARITIME HISTORICAL SOCIETY SPONSORS TH E A CORN F ou OATI ON

CH ARLES F. A DA M S

C OMMO. H ENRY H. A

TH E VI NCENT A STOR F ou DATION R. B ARNETT WI LLI AMS . B ARRACK, JR. J AMES H. BRoussARD W A LTER R. BROWN ALAN G . CHOATE M A RC S . C OHN JOHN H . D EANE

H ENRY

P ETER J. G OU LAN DRI S

L. &

GR ACE D OHERTY CH ARITA BL E F ou 'DATI ON

TH E GR ACE F ou DATI ON

ADRI AN S . H OO PER

THOM AS H ALE

ELI ZABETH S. H OO PER FO UND AT ION

DERSO ' JR.

H OPE P. A N A

MRS. F. H ENRY B ERLI N M ELv1 A. C o ANT JOHN

J AMES E A

M ORRIS

W A LTER J . H A DELMA MR.

&

L.

J. A RO

F EDER

R OBERT E . G AM BEE

C APT . P A UL R . H E RY

MR S. A. D. H ULI NGS

C HA RI TABLE F ou DATIO

A LLEN G. B ERRI E B OAT! G ON THE H UDSON C. C oucH W ALTER C RONK ITE P o CET D A v i s , J R. THOMAS G ocHBERG

D R. CHAR LES E . H ERDENDORF

I TE RNAT IONA L L o

GSHOREMEN's A SSOCI AT ION

LCoR R OBERT I RVI NG USN (R ET.) MRs . R . C. J EFFERSON T RUDA CLEEVES J EWETT MRs . I RVI NG M. JoH so STEPHEN J O HNSON L TCoL W ALTER E. JORGE SEN TH E J .M. K APLAN FUND K ARTA C ONTA INER & R ECYCLING H A RR IS K EMPNER, E sQ. CHRI STOS N . K RITIKOS ART K uDNER G ERHARD E . K URZ H . R. L OGAN J AMES A . M AC DONALD FOUNDATION J AM ES P. M A RENAKOS M ARI N T UG & B A RGE M AR INE S OCIET Y OF N EW Y ORK G EORGE R. L AMB A NTHON Y D. M ARSHA LL D ON ALD C. M CGR AW, JR . SCHUYLER M. M EYER, JR. MR. & MRS. J . WILLIA M MIDDEN DORF, II D AV ID M. MILTON TR UST MOBIL OIL C ORPOR ATION H ON. J A MES J .M OORE M ORMAC M AR INE TRANSPORT, I NC. R ICHARD I. M ORRI S, JR. M R. & MRS. SPENCER L. M URFEY, J R. D OUG LAS M USTER TH E N AV Y L EAGUE, N EW Y ORK COUNCIL N Y P OWER AUTHORITY NORTON LI LLY I NTERNATIONA L BR YAN OLIPHANT P AC KER M AR INE W ALTER H . P AGE WILLI AM A . P ALM MRS. A. T. POUCH , JR. M R. & M RS. ALB ERT PRATT JoHN P UREMA L ES LI E C. Q UICK , JR. WILLI A M RICH , Ill L AU RANCE S . R OCKEFELLER EDM UNDS . R UMOWICZ MAR Y A .H . R UMSEY F OUNDATION M R. & MRS. J OI-IN R UPLEY JOHN F. S A LI SBURY MRS. ARTH UR J . S ANTR Y, JR. S . H . & H ELEN R . SCHEUER F AMILY F o u DATION R 1c 1-1ARD W . SCHEUING D ER S cuTT M101AEL D. SHEA R OBERT A . S 1NCERB EAUX B AILEY AN D Posy SM ITH COMMO. FRANK S NYDER NORM A & P ETER STAN FORD STATE COUNCIL ON W ATERWAYS JOHN STO BA RT H OWA RD SLOTNICK

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BRI AN D. W AKE

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SHA NON W A LL

H ENRY P E

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W ESTCHESTER R ESCO

EDWA RD G . Z ELI NSKY

DONORS G EORGE R . A TTERBURY ALEXANDRA B A LLEZA- K NEELAND M . R HODES B LISH, JR. F RAN K 0. BRAY A RD WILLI A M J. C ANAVA D ONALD B. & C AROL J . D ERR BR ENT F OLLWEILER FR EE WI ND PRESS H A RRY W. G ARSCH AGEN D R & MRS. D AV ID H AYES C ARL W. H EXAMER, lJ H OWAR D E . H IGHT R OBERT W. JACKSON J AC K fol·INSON, I NC. WILLI A M J . Jo ES H OWA RD JOYNT P ETER M ANIGAULT CR A IG A . C. R EYNOLDS H AVEN C. R OOSEVELT L ESTER R OSE BLATT

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&

MRS. P ETER W ARBURTON

PATRONS J AMES D . ABEL ES

WI LLIAM K . AB ELES

C A PT. J ESSE M . BONTECOU NORMAN CAR ATHA NASIS ALI CE D A DOURIAN

STAN D AS HEW

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& MRS. NED CH ALKER D AV ID D . CHOMEAU G EORGE F. C LEME TS, JR. A. D ELAURENTI S, MD H ENRY F. D EVENS M A LCOLM DICK D o A LO DILLO H OWARD H . EDDY MR. & MRS. STUA RT EHRE REICH EKLOF M A RI E C ORPORATION JoHN F1RNSTAHL M RS. D. L. FLEISCHMANN J . E . FRICKER, JR. PATRI CK H . F ULMER

G EORGE W. C A RMA NY

FR AN K DARDEN

R EYNOLDS D u PONT, JR.

PETER A. ARON

CAPT. J . H OLLI S B OWER ,

MR.

D OMINIC

D. B AXTER

CR AIG B URT , J R. K AREN CRANSTON B ER ARD D ON ELLY MICHAE L K. E MERY

CoR. L ELAN D F. E STES J AM ES P . F ARLEY G E1s N1ssAN, I c W1 LL1 AM & K1 RSTEN G1LK ERSO THOMA S GILLMER LCoR B. A. GILMORE, USN ( RET) BR AD GLAZER B RUCE G ODL EY R OLA o G RIMM J ERRY G um R OBERTS. H AGGE, JR. C APT. WILLI AM H . H AM ILTON PHILIP M. H AMPTON FREDERI C H . H A RWOOD B ENJAM I C. H AVEMAN C APT. F RAN K T. H AYDE H . D ALE H EMM ERDI NGER JOSEPH F. H ENS EL R OBERT J . H EWITT J OHN B. HIGHTOWER H OWARD E. HIG !ff M R. & M RS . CHA RLES HI LL PHILIP T. & C AROLYN M. H OFFMAN R ALPH W . H OOPER T OWNSEND H ORNOR H UDSON V ALLEY B A K WI L LIAM H. H ULICK, (JI J ACK E . H u GER I TR EPID M usEu M FOUNDATI ON G EORGE M . l v EY, J R. CoL. GEORGE M. JAM ES (RET) CAPT. PAUL J . J ARVI S P. J AYSON MRS. B ER ICE B. Jm 1NSON NEILE. JONES WI LLI AM D. K ENNER, MD D R. W ALTER K LEINDIENST P ETER K NIFFIN ELIOT S. K NOWLES CAPT. P ETER L AHTI MR. & MRS. T . E . L EO A RD W . P . L1 No ARTH URS. Li ss R1 CH A RDO LOPES L EO A. L o u BERE M. D . M AC PH ER SON JEAN MARIE M A HER CLIFFORD D. M A LLORY H A RRY W. M A RSHA LL RI CHARD M AU RER

J AM ES W. M AY

B RI AN A. M c ALLISTER

R OBERT W . M c C ULLOUGH

M R.

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MRS. ELu c E M c DON A LD,

JR.

W1 LL1 AM H. M c G EE

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Co.

R1 CHARD D. M c N1 sH R OBERT E . M ORRI S, JR. ANG us C. M ORRISON C APT. G . M. M us1c K JoYcE & H A RR Y N ELSON, J R. R OBERT B. O ' BR IEN, J R. D AV ID O ESTREICH JoHN O ' H AN LON D AV ID O ' NEILL RICHARD K . P AGE P ARCEL T ANKERS SERVICES M RS. G ODWIN J . PEL! SSERO C A PT. D . E. P ERKINS C A PT. CLAU DE D . PHILLIPS H UGH M . PI ERCE A URA- L EE E. PITTENGER, PH D TH EODORE PRATT ERNESTA G. P ROCOPE M ARCOS JOf!N P SARROS R AY REMI CK CAPT. JosE R 1vE RA M A RVIN A . R osE BERG R1CHARD M . S A LTZMAN SA NDY H ooK P1 L0 Ts, NY/NJ G EORGE E . SHAW , JR. DR. JoEL S 1-1uGAR L ELAN F . S1 L L1 N KIM BALL SMITH MR. & MRS. EDWA RD W. S NOWDO CoR VI CTOR B. STEVEN, JR. R O BERT G . STONE, JR. D AN IEL R. S u K1 s BRUCE SwEDIEN JOHN B . TH OMSO C A RL W. TiM PSO , JR. ALFRED TYL ER. II C HARLI E J. V A DA LA H ARRY E. V1 ALL , Ill H ERBERT VON KLUGE R A YM OND E. W ALLACE MRS. T ERR Y W A LTO F . C ARRI NGTON W EEMS LoRD WHITE OF H ULL, KBE CoR. E . A NDREWS WILDE, JR. C APT . RI CHARD G . WI LEY THOM AS H. W YS M UL LER

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