SEA HISTORY No. 168
NATIONAL MARITIME HISTORICAL SOCIETY
THE ART, LITERATURE, ADVENTURE, LORE & LEARNING OF THE SEA
Dorade Returns to the Podium Taming the Maritime Frontier Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, USN New York’s Towering Inferno, 1853
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Greeting reads “Wishing you fair winds for the holidays and calm seas for the New Year.” Set of 10: $14.95. Add $4.50 s/h for one set, and $1.75 for each additional set. Please indicate your choice of holiday or blank note cards. Please call for shipping charges for international orders. Visit our website www.seahistory.org—for other selections choose “Store,” then “Gifts.” Winter in the Yard—Boston, 1844 by Paul Garnett
10 NMHS 2019 Annual Awards Dinner NMHS will once again fill the New York Yacht Club with maritime community fellowship this October, as we celebrate four exceptional individuals and their considerable contributions to preserve and promote our maritime heritage.
18 Captains Cooper and Roys: Long Island Whalers Known ’Round the World, by Bill Bleyer In this excerpt from his new book, author Bill Bleyer shares the remarkable stories of two Long Island whalers whose exploits and achievements were legendary in their time, from venturing into forbidden Japanese waters to inventing the rocket harpoon, which indelibly changed the industry.
14 Revenue Cutter C. W. Lawrence —Taming America’s Maritime Frontier, by William H. Thiesen The Revenue Cutter C. W. Lawrence and her crew were dispatched to the western territories of the United States to enforce the peace in 1848, but by the time they reached the West Coast after rounding Cape Horn and stopping in Hawaii, the California Gold Rush had taken hold, and the maritime frontier had become a wild and, at times, lawless place.
24 “Amazing Grace” Hopper, the Woman Who Brought the Navy into the Digital Age, by Kathleen Broome Williams When Grace Hopper volunteered for the war effort in 1943 as part of the Naval Reserve, she was assigned to work on the Mark I computer. That assignment changed her life and ultimately all of ours. She was a key figure in the development of the first computers and computer programming languages, and in bringing the US Navy into the digital age.
34 Art in the Family—Creating a Marine Art Gallery in Newport, by Patrick O’Brien Mourning the loss of his mother and seeking to ease the pain of his grief-stricken father, Andre Arguimbau set out to transform a 250-year-old former ship’s chandlery into a world-class marine art gallery, where his father’s paintings could be on display and artists could exhibit their work and be embraced by a community with a love of fine art, maritime history, sailing, and the sea.
28 A Matter of Perspective—White Squall vs. the Great Bakery Fire of 1853, by Gary E. Eddey Late in 1853, fire struck a lower Manhattan bakery and caused untold destruction, burning down to the waterline the greatest clipper ship ever built. The residents across the river in Brooklyn, however, remembered the incident from a markedly different perspective.
museum of fine arts, boston
Cover: Dorade in the 2015 Fastnet Race. Photo by Kurt Arrigo/ROLEX. (See pages 10–11.)
DEPARTMENTS 4 Deck Log 5 Letters 8 NMHS: A Cause in Motion 40 Marine Art News 42 Sea History for Kids
46 Maritime History on the Internet 47 Ship Notes, Seaport & Museum News 57 Calendar 59 Reviews 64 Patrons
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28 SEA HISTORY (issn 0146-9312) is published quarterly by the National Maritime Historical Society, 5 John Walsh Blvd., POB 68, Peekskill NY 10566 USA. Periodicals postage paid at Peekskill NY 10566 and add’l mailing offices. COPYRIGHT © 2019 by the National Maritime Historical Society. Tel: 914 737-7878. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Sea History, PO Box 68, Peekskill NY 10566.
NATIONAL MARITIME HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Leaning Into Life
courtesy tall ships america
courtesy ocean classroom fdn.
n the process of going through some of our archived files recently, we uncovered correspondence from Alix Thorne, founder and president of Ocean Classroom Foundation, which for decades provided education under sail aboard the schooners Harvey Gamage, Spirit of Massachusetts, and Westward. Alix is a pioneer in the sail training community, a woman whose dedication to the values of hands-on maritime education has made a difference in the lives of countless young people. For her dedication and contributions to For nearly 20 years, Ocean Classroom the maritime heritage community, she Foundation took kids to sea for extended was awarded the NMHS Walter voyages, from high school semesters to shortCronkite Award for Excellence in er, coastal programs. (l–r: Schooners HarMaritime Education in 1998. As we vey Gamage and Spirit of Massachusetts) prepare for the NMHS Annual Awards Dinner this fall (see pages 10–13), Alix’s note reminds me of the great footsteps in which this year’s recipients follow and in which Alix Thorne the rest of us aspire to do so. Ding Schoonmaker, an international champion yachtsman and past Olympian, has developed and supported programs to help young people learn to sail and race, giving them opportunities they would never have otherwise. Pam Levy Rorke and Matt Brooks restored one of the great ocean-racing yachts of all time—Olin and Rod Stephens’s Dorade—to race again, an inspiration to sailors and preservationists everywhere. NMHS’s own Capt. Jean Wort, another pioneer, brought the 1917 excursion vessel Commander to the Hudson River and for many years brought countless groups of students down to the water to teach them about the history and ecology of the Hudson Highlands. All of these leaders share our mission to preserve our relationship to ships and the sea, which NMHS does through special projects, events, educational programs, and, as Alix Thorne points out, through our quarterly journal. Sea History is much more than a collection of articles for maritime aficionados. It is an endorsement of a philosophy of life, a belief of each new generation. We cannot afford to lose the image of a young boy or girl aloft, wrestling a topsail into submission, and ‘leaning forward into life,’ as Irving Johnson so aptly put it, and that is the way of life that Sea History encourages. I am humbled that Alix, one of my role models, sees that Sea History espouses a philosophy that encourages leaning into life. This is a philosophy readily epitomized by Alix Thorne, by Ding Schoonmaker, by Pam Rorke Levy and Matt Brooks, and by Jean Wort through their struggles and successes. That NMHS is able to honor them and feature their work in Sea History is a key part of our mission, of bringing our readers aboard so we can all lean into life. —Burchenal Green, president
NATIONAL MARITIME HISTORICAL SOCIETY PUBLISHER’S CIRCLE: Peter Aron, Guy E. C. Maitland, Ronald L. Oswald OFFICERS & TRUSTEES: Chairman, Ronald L. Oswald; Vice Chairman, Richardo R. Lopes; President, Burchenal Green; Vice Presidents: Jessica MacFarland, Deirdre O’Regan, Wendy Paggiotta, Nancy Schnaars; Treasurer, Howard Slotnick; Secretary, Jean Wort; Trustees: Charles B. Anderson; Walter R. Brown; Christopher J. Culver; William S. Dudley; David S. Fowler; William Jackson Green; Karen Helmerson; Denise Krepp; Richard M. Larrabee; Guy E. C. Maitland; Capt. Brian McAllister; CAPT Sally Chin McElwreath, USN (Ret.); Michael W. Morrow; CAPT James A. Noone, USN (Ret.); Richard Patrick O’Leary; ADM Robert J. Papp Jr., USCG (Ret.); Timothy J. Runyan; Richard Scarano; Philip J. Shapiro; Capt. Cesare Sorio; William H. White; Chairmen Emeriti: Walter R. Brown, Alan G. Choate, Guy E. C. Maitland, Howard Slotnick FOUNDER: Karl Kortum (1917–1996) PRESIDENT EMERITUS: Peter Stanford (1927–2016) OVERSEERS: Chairman, RADM David C. Brown, USMS (Ret.); RADM Joseph F. Callo, USN (Ret.); George W. Carmany III; Clive Cussler; Richard du Moulin; Alan D. Hutchison; Gary Jobson; Sir Robin Knox-Johnston; John Lehman; Capt. James J. McNamara; H. C. Bowen Smith; John Stobart; Philip J. Webster; Roberta Weisbrod NMHS ADVISORS: George Bass, Francis Duffy, John Ewald, Timothy Foote, Steven A. Hyman, J. Russell Jinishian, Gunnar Lundeberg, Conrad Milster, William G. Muller, Stuart Parnes, Nancy Hughes Richardson, Joyce Huber SEA HISTORY EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD: Chairman, Timothy Runyan; Norman Brouwer, Robert Browning, William Dudley, Daniel Finamore, Kevin Foster, John Jensen, Joseph Meany, Carla Rahn Phillips, Walter Rybka, Quentin Snediker, William H. White NMHS STAFF: Executive Director, Burchenal Green; Director of Development, Jessica MacFarlane; Membership Director, Jean Marie Trick; Membership Coordinator, Nancy Schnaars; Comptroller, Anjoeline Osuyah; Staff Writers: Shelley Reid, Julia Church; Executive Assistant, Heather Purvis; Marketing Director, Steve Lovass-Nagy; Membership Assistant, Irene Eisenfeld SEA HISTORY: Editor, Deirdre E. O’Regan; Advertising Director, Wendy Paggiotta Sea History is printed by The Lane Press, South Burlington, Vermont, USA.
SEA HISTORY 168, AUTUMN 2019
Your comments in the last issue’s Deck Log (“Saving Our History While We Still Can”) and appeal for millionaires and billionaires to come forward is directly on target and timely. If anyone doubts that, read up on the case of the submarine USS Ling in Hackensack, New Jersey, near my home. Multiple news stories from last year are available online through a simple Google search. This once proud vessel was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. After the sub was decommissioned, it became part of the New Jersey Naval Museum in Hackensack. Today it is a rusting hulk, sunken into the river mud with no hope of salvation. When it came to pass that the sub had to be moved because the riverside site was being sold, the money to even maintain the boat where it was, let alone move it, had long before run out. When the gangway was destroyed in 2012 during Hurricane Sandy, the museum closed altogether. The Navy took back its artifacts, and the submarine was left closed, abandoned, and unsupervised with no security. In August 2018, vandals boarded the boat and opened the hatches, flooding the sub. The sub will have to be
Please email correspondence to: firstname.lastname@example.org
photo by bob leafe
Lessons from Notre Dame Fire I, too, watched in horror as the Cathedral of Notre Dame burned. I sent a small contribution toward its restoration, as well as a contribution to restore the churches that were set afire by vandals in our own South. I lived in Philadelphia for many years, and often drove by the ocean liner SS United States. What a magnificent vessel, sitting and rusting away. I also follow the saga of the Falls of Clyde on Facebook, and have made donations to that effort as well. But I know that my modest contributions are almost meaningless to these efforts. I hope that those who do have the resources to make a difference will step up to save these, and other, historic vessels. Nearer to home, I am a proud supporter of the Pride of Baltimore II, our own tall ship. Fair sailing to her on this summer’s voyage to and around the Great Lakes as part of the Tall Ships Challenge race series. I love Sea History magazine, and do try to support it in a meaningful way. Keep up the good work! Randy Nichols Baltimore, Maryland
We Welcome Your Letters!
USS Ling in the Hackensack River, October 2018, after vandals flooded the sub. either dismantled in place or left to disintegrate into the river. While this is largely a local tragedy (there are other WWII subs left), one can easily imagine such a scenario involving the Olympia or other vunerable museum ships, while we wait hoping for some future funding to restore and secure them. I give what I can as a member of many different nautical and museum ship societies, but I’m one person living on a pension. If I was a millionaire, plenty of my money would go to the ships. Please, everyone who has been blessed with the means, step forward and help! At some point, it WILL be too late! Pete Partridge Hawthorne, New Jersey If there is any silver lining to the damage to Notre Dame from the devastating fire last April, it is that repairing it will not only
restore the structure but the effort will restore the stone-carving skills to a new generation of artisans. I heard a report on NPR recently that visited a high school in Paris (Lycée Professionnel Hector Guimard) that turns out professionally licensed stonemasons, with specialty training in stone carving for historic monuments. The school wasn’t started just to rebuild Norte Dame. It was founded just after World War II to restore many of France’s monuments that were damaged in the war. The damage to Notre Dame just made it more newsworthy. Likewise, I know that saving historic ships requires training new generations in traditional boatbuilding, rigging, sailmaking, and sail handling, not just in saving the physical structures. Is this happening in the maritime heritage community? Jim Swales Spartanburg, South Carolina
Join Us for a Voyage into History Our seafaring heritage comes alive in the pages of Sea History, from the ancient mariners of Greece to Portuguese navigators opening up the ocean world to the heroic efforts of sailors in modern-day conflicts. Each issue brings new insights and discoveries. If you love the sea, rivers, lakes, and
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SEA HISTORY 168, AUTUMN 2019 5
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From the editor: Tall Ships America member vessels train both their crews and their students in regular maintenance, especially since many of them do their own work in shipyard and on an ongoing basis (www.tallshipsamerica.org). The Picton Castle offers a course called the Bosun School in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia (www. picton-castle.com). Maritime museums that own historic and replica vessels often have volunteer training to maintain their ships; some even operate their own shipyards. Check out the Maritime Museum of San Diego (www.sdmaritime.org), the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (www.cbmm. org), and Mystic Seaport Museum (www.
mysticseaport.org), among others. There is also the International Yacht Restoration School of Technology & Trades in Newport, Rhode Island, that offers four programs relevant to historic ship preservation and marine trades: Boatbuilding & Restoration, Composites Technology, Digital Modeling & Fabrication, and Marine Systems. (www.iyrs.edu). Then there is the old-fashioned way of learning by doingâ€” there are still professional maritime artisans out there who do this type of work every day. From wooden boatbuilders to riggers, steam engineers, and sailing ship captains, there are still viable careers out there for the few who go that route.
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courtesy tom ward
A New England Tradition For 60 Years
Tom Ward of Traditional Rigging Co. in Appleton, Maine, makes his living rigging classic and traditionally rigged sailing vessels. This summer, Tom spliced up new wire rope standing rigging for Maine Maritime Academyâ€™s schooner Bowdoin. The finished shrouds were properly tarred, wormed, parceled, and served. (www.traditionalrigging.com) SEA HISTORY 168, AUTUMN 2019
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SEA HISTORY 168, AUTUMN 2019 7
A CAUSE IN MOTION Ernestina–Morrissey: Navigating American History Since 1894
photos courtesy sema
by Burchenal Green, NMHS President
photo by robert mitchell
he historic schooner Ernestina–Morrissey (ex–Effie M. Morrissey / ex–Ernestina) was launched from the tiny shipbuilding hamlet of Essex, Massachusetts, in 1894. During her long life, she has engaged in several working careers, which, collectively, capture the American story. From her launch through the mid-1920s, she fished the Grand Banks for both American and Canadian owners. In 1926, Captain Bob Bartlett of Newfoundland took the schooner, then Effie M. Morrissey, on an exploring expedition to the Arctic and continued making these types of voyages until 1942, when his ship was needed for the war effort. Between 1942 and 1946, Bartlett shared command with Commander Alexander Forbes (USN), conducting hydrographic work and supplying Arctic naval and air bases. Bartlett died in 1946, and his “little Morrissey” was sold. After a failed attempt to sail her to the Pacific to engage in inter-island trade and a subsequent fire that severely damaged her interior, the schooner was sold to a Cape Verdean sea captain who renamed the ship after his daughter, Ernestina. He returned the vessel to a seaworthy condition and set sail for the Cape Verde Islands, where he used his new schooner in the packet trade and for inter-island commerce. Ernestina–Morrissey is the last of the Cape Verdean transAtlantic packet ships, having brought immigrants to the US under sail well into the 1960s. In her fifth career, as a sail training and educational vessel, she has taken people of all ages to sea and visited her old homeports in New England, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland, reviving those connections and sharing the story of our seafaring heritage. In her wake, the Ernestina–Morrissey has left an indelible mark on America’s history. Right now, the storied schooner is in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, undergoing a complete restoration of her hull; the goal is to qualify for a new US Coast Guard Certificate of Inspection (COI), which will allow her to get underway with passengers and students. As of this writing, all but $1 million of the projected $6.3 million to complete the restoration has been pledged by a public/private partnership, with the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Association (SEMA) committed to raising the remaining funds. In March 2019, a Memorandum of Un- With the first phase of her restoration derstanding was signed between the Schooner nearing completion, it was time to carve Ernestina Commission, formed by the state of her name back into her rebuilt stern. Massachusetts within the Department of Conservation and Recreation for oversight of the historic schooner, and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy (MMA). The agreement calls for the academy to accept stewardship of the historic schooner once she is fully restored and USCG certified, in which case the Schooner Ernestina–Morrissey Commission will become an official advisor to the president of MMA and give the academy full authority for the vessel, dockage in New Bedford, and ongoing financial support for maintenance. The state has also identified several areas of potential usage: adult education, corporate ventures and professional development, community outreach and volunteer partnerships, youth programming, and the two primary components of her mission: providing undergraduate programming, and preserving and interpreting the ship’s Cape Verde heritage.
photo by david short
(l–r) Effie M. Morrissey, 1928 in the Arctic; as Ernestina, 1982; renamed to capture her full history, Ernestina–Morrissey.
Caulking the rebuilt transom in Boothbay, Maine. SEA HISTORY 168, AUTUMN 2019
Rick Lopes: The series and the Ernestina–Morrissey are a connection to our history and to the people who were a part of that history. It’s this series of connections that allows you to find yourself within the story, weaving your own experience into the context of history—from fishing heritage to Arctic exploration, from service in World War II to immigration and transAtlantic commerce, to a revival in restoring the skills, traditions, and ships that defined American history. Through it all, you find all of these people who are a part of Ernestina–Morrissey’s life—shipwrights, riggers, sailmakers, and dorymen; explorers, immigrants, historians, and Alessandro and Rick Lopes setting up a poets; master mariners, educators, and youth—each with a story that reveals the life and shot at Boothbay Harbor Shipyard, where Ernestina-Morrissey is being restored. times of this vessel and the eras in which she sailed. Seafarers have long played a vital role in maintaining connections between émigrés and communities in their home countries. During the Depression, for example, fishing families in New England regularly sent clothing and supplies packed in barrels by ship to their relatives in the Canadian Maritime provinces to help them get through. The same type of assistance was sent throughout the packet trade era, and Ernestina served as a vital link to the Cape Verdean community during this time. Cape Verdeans who had emigrated and established themselves in the US collected clothing, goods, money, supplies, letters from family members and friends and packed them into barrels and loaded them onboard vessels returning to Cape Verde—ships like the Ernestina. These transAtlantic crossings maintained the connection between those who had emigrated and those who remained. The Ernestina–Morrissey and the eras in which she worked maintain a connective line throughout our history, whether it’s in the Arctic or Cape Verde Islands, whether it’s in the fisheries or giving young people life-changing experiences in at-sea educational programs. It’s been an interesting and special opportunity to meet these people and to record their stories. I only regret the fact that we weren’t able to get more of their stories before some of them passed on. That’s just the nature of making documentaries about relatively recent history; the clock is always ticking while we scramble to identify funding and try to get them, as the saying goes in Cape Verde, “before the libraries burn down,” or before the passing of these people who have firsthand knowledge. That’s what this storyline is: reaching out, capturing these experiences, and bringing it to people. We will revive the story of our country’s maritime history, fishing industry, Arctic exploration, transAtlantic packet trade and seafaring life as a whole, and bring it to a new generation.
p9 photos courtesy voyage media productions
NMHS is honored to be producing the multi-part documentary series, Sails Over Ice and Seas—The Life and Times of the Schooner Ernestina–Morrissey, with award-winning documentarian and NMHS vice chairman, Richardo Lopes, and lead cameraman and editor, Alessandro Lopes of Voyage Media Productions, supported by a generous grant from the H. F. Lenfest Fund of the Philadelphia Foundation. Not only does the series tell the story of this remarkable schooner, it also uses the vessel as a catalyst to examine a multitude of themes of our maritime past. This is a past that reaches back to ancient voyaging, exploration and immigration, and includes how North American shipbuilding, fishing, and maritime resources spurred on our nation’s economic and independent development. Through a look at Ernestina–Morrissey’s rich and varied seafaring careers, the series tackles current topics in environmental sustainability and studies in marine sciences. In many ways, Ernestina–Morrissey’s story is the story of America itself. I caught up with Rick Lopes as he was setting up for a shoot, and he took some time to discuss why the documentary is so important:
(above left) Tom Corminelli and Bill Edmonds portraying Howard Blackburn and his dorymate searching for their schooner (left) Alessandro Lopes filming Matthew Finio portraying Frederick William Wallace in a diner scene shot at the Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles in PA. Wallace joined the crew of the Morrissey in 1912 for a wild passage across the Gulf of Maine, which he immortalized in the epic poem Log of the Record Run (also known in song as “The Mary L. McKay”). SEA HISTORY 168, AUTUMN 2019 9
National Maritime Historical Society 2019 Annual Awards Dinner
24 October • New York Yacht Club • New York City
photo by allison lucas
inner chairman Christopher J. Culver, honorary chairman George W. Carmany III, and NMHS chairman Ronald Oswald invite you to the gala National Maritime Historical Society 2019 Annual Awards Dinner at the New York Yacht Club on 24 October, as we celebrate four distinguished individuals of the maritime community: Pam Rorke Levy and Matt Brooks, Ding Schoonmaker, and Capt. Jean Wort. It is with great pleasure that the Society brings together those who love and serve the sea—to recognize those individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the community on this auspicious occasion. The NMHS Annual Awards Dinner takes place in the fabulous Model Room at the New York Yacht Club.
The 2019 NMHS Honorees: Husband and wife team Matt Brooks and Pam Rorke Levy will receive the 2019 NMHS Distinguished Service Award for their restoration of the historic yacht Dorade, the famous ocean-racing yawl designed by Olin Stephens and regarded as one of the greatest yachts ever produced by Sparkman & Stephens. Purchasing Dorade in 2010, Brooks and Levy restored the historic yacht to not just a seaworthy condition, but racing condition, before kicking off their “Return to Blue Water” campaign. Built in 1930 at the Minneford Yacht Yard in City Island, New York, Dorade claimed victories that decade in the Newport–Bermuda, Fastnet, TransAtlantic, and Transpac races. As part of her 21st-century campaign, Dorade has repeated each of these races in the last seven years, reaching the podium in every race, and winning the Transpac overall—77 years after her first victory there. In 2015, the campaign wrapped up by placing second in class in a 2,800-mile TransAtlantic Race, followed by second in class in the Rolex Fastnet Race, where Dorade finished 7th overall out of 356 boats. In the 2017 Rolex Sydney-to-Hobart Race, she finished second in class and was the oldest boat to ever complete the race. Beginning in May 2020, Dorade will compete in the 3,570-mile Transpac Tahiti Dorade Race, which sails from Los Angeles to Tahiti. In addition to their efforts to restore Dorade, 1931 Levy and Brooks will also be recognized for restoring the Feadship Serena, a beautiful 74foot motor cruiser designed by Carlo Riva and built in 1964 in the Netherlands by the De Vries Brothers, the fourth boat of the Caravelle series. Serena now serves as the support vessel to the Dorade racing team. Matt Brooks learned to sail in Monterey Bay as a boy and went on to race on San Francisco Bay on his first yacht, Quarter Pounder. Brooks serves as chair and president of the New York Yacht Club Foundation and as a commissioner for San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum. He is a member of the Board of Pilot Commissioners for the Bays of San Francisco, San Pablo, and Suisun. With partner Pam Rorke Levy, he works to support the St. Francis Sailing Foundation based in San Francisco. Brooks is also an accomplished mountain climber and pilot.
courtesy st. francis yacht club
Matt Brooks and Pam Rorke Levy
SEA HISTORY 168, AUTUMN 2019
photo by sharon green, ultimatesailing.com
Pam Rorke Levy is an Emmy-winning television producer and creative director and now serves as board chair of the San Francisco Art Institute. She has produced documentary series and projects for PBS, National Geographic, The Discovery Channel, A&E, and The History Channel. An avid sailor and lover of classic wooden boats, Levy regards these vessels as an art form in their own right. Richard T. du Moulin, master of ceremonies and NMHS overseer, will join Christopher J. Culver in presenting the award.
Dorade competing in the 2013 Transpac Race. Ding Schoonmaker will receive the 2019 NMHS Distinguished Service Award for his contribution in introducing youth and individuals from emerging countries to sailing and sail racing. A champion sailor himself—having won gold medals in the Star World Championships, the Star North American Championship, European Championships, South American Championships, Western Hemisphere Championships and the Bacardi Cups—Schoonmaker has used his success and recognition to foster participation in the sport and support young sailors in accomplishing their dreams. As an active member and officer in the International Yacht Racing Union and International Sailing Federation (now World Sailing), Schoonmaker helped establish Installing Dorade’s new rudder. the US Sailing Center in Miami, a volunteer based, not-for-profit organization that provides public access to Miami’s waterfront, along with team training and community outreach. The Schoonmaker Center is a US Olympic Committee-sanctioned training site and the only one dedicated to sailing in the United States. It has hosted an internationally renowned Olympic Class regatta for more than twenty-five years, and welcomes sailors from around the world to South Florida to come train, practice, and compete. In 1990, he and fellow ISAF members formed the World Youth Sailing Trust, which for the past twenty years has underwritten sailors from less experienced sailing nations and provided them with coaching at the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships. Schoonmaker’s sailing career is a many-storied one: As a youth at age eleven, he competed in his first race off Watch Hill, Rhode Island, in 1944. At sixteen he crewed for Olympian Jack Price in a Star-class one-design and fell in love with the boat. In 1951 he won his first Bacardi Cup in Havana crewing for the legendary Durward Knowles. Then at nineteen, he placed second in the Star US Olympic Yachting Trials and was named the team’s alternate in 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki and repeated the role in Tokyo in 1954. In 1975 in Chicago he won the Star World Championship in a fleet of seventy-three boats. Schoonmaker is a twelve-time Star Continental Champion and the 1971 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year. Ding Schoonmaker in Biscayne Bay, Florida, in the 1964 Finn Midwinter Championship
courtesy ding schoonmaker
SEA HISTORY 168, AUTUMN 2019 11
courtesy ding schoonmaker
Schoonmaker received the National Sailing Hall of Fame’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018. He also received the Nathanael Greene Herreshoff Award in 1988, US Sailing’s highest honor; and the Beppe Croce Award in 2011, World Sailing’s highest honor. NMHS overseer Gary Jobson, America’s Cup champion and the pre-eminent ambassador for the sport of sailing in the United States, will present the award to Ding Schoonmaker in absentia. The presentation will be shared via a special video created by Richardo R. Lopes, award-winning documentarian and NMHS vice chairman.
Capt. Jean Wort
courtesy jean wort
Capt. Jean Wort will receive the 2019 NMHS David A. O’Neil Sheet Anchor Award in recognition of her many outstanding contributions of the National Maritime Historical Society, serving 25 years as a trustee and six years as secretary, effectively advancing its mission and broadening its outreach. Capt.Wort established a formal yearly program through the NMHS Seminar Series (formerly the Charles Point CounDing and Treecie Schoonmaker aboard Dixie, in Naples, FL. cil), regional maritime excursions, and other outreach events for the Society to maximize its effectiveness. She has worked nationally and internationally to promote the organization and has represented the Society at conferences and maritime events around the world. She is an integral member of the executive committee and her vision, effort, and generosity have been critical to the Society’s success. A native of England, Wort became fascinated by ships and boats growing up along the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal. Her family moved to Brazil when she was eleven years old and emigrated aboard the Royal Mail Lines Highland Princess. During the next ten years, she made several Atlantic crossings by ship between South American and Europe. Jean went on to work in Hamburg for the Turkish State Shipping Company; and in England she edited travel guides for Thompson Press. Later, in Lisbon, where she managed a tourism and land development company, she married John Wort, a retired US naval officer working for CPC International. With a move to the Hudson Highlands in New York State in 1980, Capt. Wort became inspired by the beauty of the Hudson River and wanted to encourage people to enjoy it and learn about its history and heritage. In 1982, she led a local group of supporters to bring the historic 1917 passenger vessel Commander up the river and form Hudson Highlands Cruises & Tours to provide excursions, parties, and a floating classroom for school children. MV Commander was listed on the National Register of Historical Places in 1984. Wort also worked with the City of Peekskill to provide docking and river access from the
MV Commander on the Hudson River SEA HISTORY 168, AUTUMN 2019
courtesy ding schoonmaker
Ding Schoonmaker (rear) in a Star boat on Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans, racing in the 1958 Jaenke Series, with crewmember Jim Hill.
photo by allison lucas
Riverfront Green Park and Charles Point Pier. She has been a pioneer in providing access to the river and classes on its history and ecology. Governor George Pataki appointed Wort to serve as commissioner for Orange County for the 2009 Hudson Fulton Champlain Quadricentennial. In November 2016, the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater organization recognized her generosity, leadership, and commitment to the river with its Spirit of the Hudson Award. Capt. Wort continues her work to promote Hudson River history and access for all; she is active on the Scenic Hudson Mine Dock Park and kayak launch Friends Board, working with the Town of Highlands, New York. She also serves on the advisory council for the Orange County Land Trust and the SS Columbia Project. She has served on the Town of Highlands Planning Board; and as a trustee of the Hudson Highlands Land Trust, the Nature Museum of the Hudson Highlands, the Orange County Citizens Foundation, and the Fort Montgomery Battle Site; and is involved in preservation efforts with the Constitution Island Association and Quassaick Creek Coalition. NMHS Trustee and 24th Commandant of the US Coast Guard, Admiral Robert J. Papp Jr., USCG (Ret.), will present Jean Wort with the award.
photo by jim nordmann
Capt. Jean Wort Video introductions of the honorees, produced by NMHS Vice Chairman Richardo R. Lopes and Voyage Digital Media, are a highlight of the awards dinners. Richard du Moulin, shipping industry executive, will serve as the master of ceremonies. Entertainment will be provided by the US Coast Guard Academy Cadet Chorale, under the direction of Dr. Robert G. Newton. Dinner chairman Chris Culver would like to thank Fleet Sponsor Howard Slotnick for his generosity. Jean Wort gets assistance from Meriem and Leila Hamdoun picking raffle winners at the NMHS Seminar Series.
We invite you to join us for this celebration and gala event on 24 October 2019 New York Yacht Club, 37 W 44th Street, New York, NY 10036 Reception begins at 6:00pm, with Dinner at 7:00pm Black Tie Optional â€˘ Military: Dinner Dress Blue. For information, to learn more about the dinner, auction or sponsorship or to buy tickets, Please check out our website at www.SeaHistory.org or please contact Wendy Paggiotta, NMHS Vice President: firstname.lastname@example.org â€˘ 914-737-7878, ext. 235 SEA HISTORY 168, AUTUMN 2019 13
Revenue Cutter C. W. Lawrence—Taming America’s Maritime Frontier by William Thiesen, Historian, US Coast Guard Atlantic Area When it is remembered that you have been in a harbor where from five to six hundred vessels were riding at anchor—in the midst of a great excitement—with crews insubordinate & lawless—without the aide of civil authorities or civil process & when day & night you have been called upon to render assistance & to aid masters of vessels in suppressing mutiny & violence, surely it becomes me to bear willing testimony to the necessity of your presence & your promptness in the discharge of your onerous duties. —Customs Collector James Collier to Capt. Alexander Fraser (RCS), San Francisco, 1850
any believe that it was the frontier towns of the American West of the 1800s that embodied the famous and legendary “Wild West.” However wild the American West may have been, it was no worse than the violence and lawlessness experienced aboard the ships that sailed to the West Coast during the same time period. The laws of this maritime frontier had only one enforcer, the US Revenue Cutter Service,1 and the C. W. Lawrence was the first cutter sent to the West Coast to enforce laws on the high seas and inland waterways of the American frontier.
Capt. Alexander V. Fraser, US Revenue Marine (1804–1868)
nautical heritage society
(left) The topsail schooner Californian, the official tall ship of the state of California, was built in 1984 in San Diego based on a design by naval architect Melbourne Smith. Her owners sought to have their vessel represent the US Revenue Cutter C. W. Lawrence, whose career on the California coast was an important part of both state and national history. The original Lawrence was, according to Coast Guard records, brig-rigged, and the replica vessel’s design is closer to another USRC named the Joe Lane, a topsail schooner built in Virginia in 1849. The Californian is owned by the Maritime Museum of San Diego and is a fully operational excursion and sail training vessel.
4 August 1790, Congress authorized Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton to create a maritime service to enforce customs laws. Alternately known as the “system of cutters,” Revenue Cutter Service, and Revenue-Marine, this service was placed under the control of the Treasury Dept. It later was merged with five other federal agencies, including the US Life-Saving Service, to become the United States Coast Guard.
SEA HISTORY 168, AUTUMN 2019
courtesy of the artist
The US Revenue Cutter C. W. Lawrence, by Christopher Blossom, 12 x 10 inches. Note the rig on this depiction is an artist’s interpretation. Similar to the replica vessel Californian, (shown on page 14), this rendition shows the ship with a topsail schooner rig, not a brig rig as records indicate. This image is available as a limited-edition canvas print through www.greenwichworkshop.com. C. W. Lawrence was built as one of seven replacements for cutters that had been lost during the Mexican War. She was named for the collector of customs at the Port of New York, Cornelius Lawrence, who had previously served as a member of Congress and subsequently as mayor of New York. The new cutter named for him was a 96-foot brig-rigged Baltimore clipper, carrying a spread of canvas on raked masts. For armament, she carried two 32-pounders, one long 18-pounder, and two 6-pounders, and smaller weapons such as carbines, percussion pistols, Colt revolvers, boarding pikes, and cutlasses. C. W. Lawrence was launched on 20 August 1848 at William Easby’s shipyard at Foggy Bottom in Washington, DC. She spent the next several weeks fitting out before the Revenue Cutter Service accepted her for service on 11 October. Lawrence’s first commanding officer, who had also overseen her construction, was Captain Alexander Fraser. Fraser had under his command fortythree men, which included an executive officer, two second lieu-
tenants, two third lieutenants, a surgeon, and thirty-five enlisted men. On 1 November 1848, Lawrence headed out on her maiden voyage to the Pacific Ocean by way of treacherous Cape Horn. During her nearly year-long odyssey getting from the Atlantic to the Pacific, Lawrence’s captain and crew suffered many hardships. Fraser and his crew had barely left the Chesapeake Bay when they encountered foul weather as soon as the cutter crossed into the Gulf Stream. The consequent damage to the brand new vessel proved so severe it took nearly two months in Rio de Janiero to repair her hull, spars, and rigging. After Rio, Lawrence spent five weeks pounding into raging seas, howling headwinds, and fierce storms as her crew battled to double Cape Horn. When she finally entered the Pacific in June 1849, she became the first of numerous revenue cutters to serve in that ocean. En route to her new homeport in San Francisco, she swung by Hawaii and signed on seventeen Hawaiians to round out her crew. These men were the first Pacific Islanders to serve in the Coast Guard. After
SEA HISTORY 168, AUTUMN 2019 15
library of congress
Sailing card for the clipper California, 1850 Fraser was a dedicated servant and did his best to enforce US laws during a chaotic time. Smuggling illicit goods into San Francisco reached a level in 1850 that was not seen again until Prohibition in the 1920s. Even without the manpower required to sail the mother ship, Lawrence’s reduced crew was enough to man the cutter’s launch, which they used to patrol for smugglers after hours in the harbor. Fraser and his men also quashed a number of mutinies aboard newly arriving merchant vessels whose crews were champing at the bit to get ashore and head to the hills looking for gold. After her first few months in port, Lawrence held so many mutineers in irons that she was little more than a prison
library of congress
an arduous voyage of more than eleven months, including over a month just to get around Cape Horn, the C. W. Lawrence sailed through the Golden Gate on 31 October 1849. After the Lawrence had departed for the West Coast, gold was discovered in the foothills of California, putting the vessel and her crew in an entirely different situation than they had anticipated when they left. Difficulties soon visited the ship in San Francisco when the crew learned of the fortunes that were being made by the gold prospectors. One after another, his officers resigned their commissions and his enlisted men deserted in droves; Captain Fraser soon found himself without a crew. The local customs collector chartered a small schooner, Argus, and purchased another, Catherine, to carry out law enforcement patrols because they could be operated with smaller crews. For much of the next year, the Lawrence remained anchored in the harbor without a crew. Described as a “forest of masts,” the anchorage off San Francisco during these early years of the Gold Rush held derelict ships in various states of disrepair, many with fouled anchors and cables. In 1850 alone, Lawrence was struck five times by drifting ships, causing significant damage to the cutter’s hull and rig. With his few remaining men, Fraser did his best to enforce the law, assist ships in trouble, and perform the duties of the Revenue Cutter Service. When the boilers burst in the steamer Sagamore as she was pulling away from the dock in October 1850, cutter Lawrence deployed her boats to rescue survivors from the water and deliver them to the hospital.
“A forest of masts,” San Francisco Harbor ca. 1850–1851. 16
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(above) Clipper Challenge by Samuel Walters (1811–1882) (below) Captain Douglas Ottinger Quells a Mutiny, aboard the Challenge in San Francisco Harbor, October 1851.
painting by james sharpe, courtesy uscg
ship. In time, the number of prisoners exceeded the capacity of Lawrence’s brig, so mutineers had to be placed in irons on board other vessels. In late 1850, after the cutter Polk arrived to take over patrolling San Francisco Bay, a crew was rounded up and the Lawrence was fitted-out for a cruise down the coast to chart the new territory’s inlets, bays, and waterways. Lawrence cleared the Golden Gate on the night of 26 December and headed south along the coast. She arrived in San Diego on 19 January 1851, and then sailed for the Hawaiian Islands, arriving at Hilo on 7 March. After visiting Honolulu, she returned to San Francisco, returning there in early May, having completed the first federal survey of the California coast. Having been in command of the Lawrence from the day her keel was laid down through the long and arduous voyage to the West Coast, and then serving a year in San Francisco’s lawless waters, Captain Fraser finally requested a leave of absence. His request was granted and the Revenue Cutter Service sent Captain Douglas Ottinger to relieve him, which he did on 7 June 1851. Like Fraser, Ottinger continued carrying out the cutter’s missions of law enforcement, interdicting smugglers, and quelling mutinies. In October, Ottinger and his crew participated in the infamous Challenge affair. The extreme clipper ship had sailed into the harbor flying a distress flag, and soon word got out that there had been an attempted mutiny over the brutality of the mate and captain. Ottinger and his crew aboard the Lawrence made for the ship in the anchorage. They found themselves in the middle of an angry mob of San Franciscans threatening to lynch the captain and the mate, the captain trying to have the mutineers arrested, and the crew accusing the mate of murder. Ottinger and local authorities Capt. Douglas Ottinger, USRC Service eventually brought the situation under control. During this time, Ottinger was also dealing with several vessels in port rumored to have weapons and filibusters on board and were preparing to depart San Francisco for Hawaii to overthrow the monarchy. Somehow, Ottinger and his men averted an armed conflict with these vessels and kept them from carrying out their plan. Lawrence’s career was over not long after this event. In the dark of night on 25 November 1851, battling heavy seas and visibility too poor to determine his location or judge the tide, Captain Ottinger ran the cutter aground south of the Golden Gate near the approaches to San Francisco Bay. The ship could not be
saved. None of the crew was lost, however, and the cutter’s ordnance and equipment were successfully salvaged. The local customs collector sold the beached hull and damaged equipment to salvors. Meanwhile, the cutter’s crew, armament, and equipment were transferred to another cutter. Ottinger was absolved of fault surrounding the loss of the vessel and went on to serve a lengthy career in the Revenue Cutter Service. C. W. Lawrence served a career of fewer than four years, but during that time she saw more action than cutters several times her age. Having been sent to California for seemingly normal law enforcement activity and having arrived at the height of the Gold Rush, Lawrence’s mission increased in intensity and importance. In her first months on the West Coast, she put down mutinies, interdicted smugglers, rescued vessels in distress, charted the California coast, and tamed America’s maritime frontier. William H. Thiesen, PhD, is the Atlantic Area Historian for the US Coast Guard. A regular contributor to Sea History, Dr. Thiesen was awarded the 2017 Rodney N. Houghton Award for the best feature article in Sea History. His articles appear weekly in the online history series “The Long Blue Line,” featured on the Coast Guard Compass website. For more information on USCG history, visit www. uscg.mil/history.
SEA HISTORY 168, AUTUMN 2019 17
Captains Cooper and Roys:
Long Island Whalers Known ’Round the World by Bill Bleyer
Whaling was indeed a gruesome industry, but in the nineteenth century its reputation was just the opposite. The fishery produced great wealth and a particular way of life in whaling communities; provided the American public back ashore with oil to light their lamps, whalebone to craft their corsets and umbrellas, and other commodities in everyday life; and left a lasting legacy in folk art, music, and traditions. Perhaps the most famous whaling captain was one of fiction, Herman Melville’s notorious Ahab, but others have been brought to light over the years, including the unlucky Captain Pollard of the whaleship Essex fame. Of the thousands of men who set out on long-distance whaling voyages, there were plenty of other captains who made lasting contributions and whose names were recognized in ports across the world. Beyond New England, where whaling is usually identified, the whalemen of Long Island, New York, manned a fleet of ships and made their own mark in the industry and in history. Here, in an excerpt from Bill Bleyer’s new book, Long Island and the Sea, we learn about two notable Long Island whaling captains, whose names were known far and wide during their lifetimes but have since faded with time. —Deirdre O’Regan, Editor, Sea History
Captain Mercator Cooper
southampton historical museum
ercator Cooper was Long Island’s most famous whaling captain during his career at sea, and perhaps one of the most famous whaling captains in the world. Many could boast of great adventures, but it would be hard to top Cooper. The Southampton mariner took the whaleship Manhattan from Sag Harbor to the South Pacific in 1845. When he set out, he was not looking for a reason to visit Japan, a closed society that did not tolerate most foreigners. Eight years earlier, the last American ship to attempt to visit
the feudal nation had been driven away by cannonballs. Some shipwrecked foreign sailors who washed up on Japanese beaches were killed. But when Cooper glimpsed an opportunity to visit Japan, he didn’t hesitate. The Manhattan sailed from Sag Harbor on 9 November 1843. More than two years later Cooper stopped at St. Peter’s Island off the coast of Japan to look for water and firewood. His logbook entry for 15 March 1845 details that he came across something else: “We found 11 Japanese men that have been cast away” or shipwrecked. “We took them on board.” The following day “we fell in with a Japanese junk with her stern stove in and 11 men on board.” Cooper rescued them as well. Upon reaching the Japanese coast, he put three or four of the Japanese sailors aboard local craft to tell the shogun of Jeddo—the name of Tokyo at the time—that he planned to sail into the bay to hand over the rest of the rescued sailors. On 18 April a barge carrying an emissary from the emperor arrived to inform the captain that he could enter the bay. Cooper’s log noted that “about three hundred Japanese boats with about 15 men in each took the ship in tow.” Once the ManCaptain Mercator Cooper hattan was anchored in the bay,
“they formed their boats around the ship with a guard of about three thousand men. They took all of our arms out to keep till we left. There were several of the nobility came on board to see the ship. They appeared very friendly.” But there were limits to the local hospitality. An interpreter made it clear that any American leaving the ship would be killed, emphasizing the point by drawing his sword across his throat. The Japanese visitors were fascinated by every aspect of the Manhattan, especially the presence of Pyrrhus Concer, a Southhampton sailor who was the only black man on board, and a Shinnecock Indian named Eleazar. Having never seen dark-skinned people before, the Japanese wanted to touch the men’s skin. Cooper’s 20 April logbook entry details provisions provided by the Japanese, who would accept no payment, including water, twenty sacks of rice, two sacks of wheat, a box of flour, eleven sacks of sweet potatoes, fifty fowl, two cords of wood, radishes, and ten pounds of tea. Cooper added that the Emperor’s emissaries “thanked us for fetching them here. The Emperor sends his complements to me and thanks me for picking up their men and sends me word that I must not come again.” Cooper departed the next day. “We hove up our anchor and about 300 boats took us in tow,” he wrote. They only released the Manhattan when it was twenty miles offshore. The captain retained a large nautical chart showing the waters around Japan; he would later give it to the US Navy. SEA HISTORY 168, AUTUMN 2019
and the Manhattan was erected in Southampton Cemetery across the street from the captain’s house. Cooper’s black crewman, Pyrrhus Concer, was born an indentured servant in Southampton in 1814 and sold into slavery at age five. Named after a Greek king, he had been owned by the Pelletreau family and worked as a farmhand until he began shipping out on whalers at age eighteen. He was freed when he turned twenty-one. He worked his way up to the key position of boatsteerer. With the whaling industry petering out, Concer joined the 1849 gold rush in California before returning to Southampton a year later to be married. After Southampton became a summer colony following the Civil War, he ran a sailboat ferry across Lake Agawam, collecting a nickel from each passenger. He died on 23 August 1897, at age 84. A monument was erected on Pine Lane across the street from his house and an obelisk was placed over the grave he shares with his wife, Rachel, at the old North End Cemetery in the village. Its inscription reads: “Though born a slave he possessed those virtues, without which, kings are but slaves.”
david rumsey map collection
new bedford whaling museum
The Manhattan resumed whaling along the east coast of Russia, and the following year Cooper sold the cargo in Amsterdam. The ship docked in Sag Harbor on 14 October 1846, after a voyage of two years, eleven months, and five days. Cooper wasn’t done with his adventures. In August 1851, he left Sag Harbor as captain of the Levant, heading south in the Atlantic on a voyage in search of both whales and seals. On 26 January 1853, he sighted land in eastern Antarctica. The next morning he sailed the ship closer to an ice shelf and ordered a small boat lowered. Cooper and his crew landed on the ice shelf and saw penguins but no seals to kill. Cooper is credited with being the first American to set foot on the continent. Today, Mercator Cooper’s imposing white house at 81 Windmill Lane is owned by the Rogers Memorial Library. A monument to the accomplishments of the captain
Whaler Lucy Ann: painted by crewman John Martin during his whaling voyage, 1841–45. This ship was typical of the those used during Capt. Cooper’s whaling career. Concer’s house did not fare as well as Cooper’s. A Brooklyn couple bought the house, which had been altered, for $2.75 million in 2013. Historians and AfricanAmerican leaders fought to preserve the structure, but it was demolished the next year and the owners put the property on the market for $5 million. In 2015, the town of Southampton bought the site for $4.3 million. The Southampton African American Museum and Pyrrhus Concer Action Committee are hoping to build a replica of the ferryman’s home using materials salvaged before the demolition. It would be used as an education center devoted to Concer and Long Island’s overlooked African-American history. Capt. Cooper sailed his ship into Tokyo Bay, then known as Yedo or Jeddo, to deliver the Japanese mariners he had rescued. This 1835 chart identifies the port as Yedo.
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Captain Thomas Welcome Roys, who sailed from Sag Harbor and Cold Spring Harbor, achieved several important firsts in the whaling industry. Born upstate near Lake Ontario about 1816, he began his whaling career in 1833 aboard the Hudson of Sag Harbor. On his third voyage aboard her, he was promoted to boatsteerer. Then he joined the Gem, also out of Sag Harbor, in that position before moving up the ranks on that vessel before being made captain on the Crescent, another Sag Harbor ship. In 1843, he married Ann Eliza Green, the Hudson captain’s daughter, who would die in 1847 soon after giving birth to their son Philander. That same year he was hired as captain of the Sag Harbor whaler Josephine. It was on this voyage that he learned from other whaling ship captains and a Russian naval officer of a large untapped population of a likely new species of whales in the northern Pacific and in the Arctic Ocean. The latter was north of the treacherous Bering Strait—a physical and psychological hurdle no whaling captain had ever dared traverse. Roys was undaunted. He got his opportunity to look for the “new fangled monsters” after he was named captain of the Sag Harbor whaler Superior in 1847. Having failed to convince other captains to join him and disobeying the instructions of the vessel’s owners and overruling the objections of his mates and crew, Roys sailed the Superior through the strait on 23 July of the next year. There, he quickly
found and personally harpooned one of the surprisingly docile “polar whales.” Because of the whales’ extra-thick blubber, his stillfearful crew was able to fill all of the 1,800 barrels in the hold of the relatively small vessel in just thirty-five days, a feat that would usually take at least two years. The huge population of slow-moving bowhead whales—named by whalers because of their large bow-like mouths—discovered by Roys made whaling profitable for two more decades. One subspecies was named in his honor. Fifty whaleships, forty-six of them American, sailed to the Arctic Ocean the following year. The large number of American whalers in the Arctic Ocean spurred the purchase of Alaska by the United States in 1867. Roys was impatient to return to the Arctic and do it on a larger vessel. His chance arrived in 1849, when he was recruited by Walter Restored Jones and his partners to take command of the huge Cold Spring Harbor whaleship Sheffield, which had previously served as a record-breaking transAtlantic packet. He returned to the Arctic, assisted the search for the missing British explorer Sir John Franklin, and again quickly filled the barrels onboard. It was the Cold Spring Harbor fleet’s most successful voyage. Sheffield returned—five years later—having brought aboard a spectacular total of 8,600 barrels of oil and 115,000 pounds of bone. During the voyage, Roys wrote a natural history, “Description of Whales.”
national air and space museum
Captain Thomas Roys
Thomas Welcome Roys, the first captain to hunt whales in the Arctic Ocean, spent years developing a rocket harpoon gun. One experiment resulted in an explosion that led to the amputation of his left hand. The 29-page manuscript has been described as the first written description of whale species. It included drawings of about eighteen species and detailed descriptions, natural history data, distribution patterns and feeding habits for sixteen of them. Roys generated scientific interest in the orca, or
library of congress
Lithograph of the Bering Strait and Arctic whaling “ in all its varieties,” date unknown. Two of the examples depicted show bowhead whales: towards the left side is “Bow Head Whales Pursued” and being hoisted aboard the ship 2nd from the right is “Taking in the Head with Whale Bone.” Finally, in the foreground towards the right is a scene labelled “Lancing a Bow Head.”
SEA HISTORY 168, AUTUMN 2019
The manuscript was stolen from the Mariners Museum in Virginia by an archivist working there sometime between 2000 and 2006. It turned up in an auction in 2018, was purchased by the Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum. After it was recognized as stolen, the manuscript was returned to Virginia after remaining on loan in Cold Spring Harbor for a year.
photo by bill bleye r
killer whale, which was little known then by Americans and had only been written about in some European scholarly journals.1 Roys’s next command, in 1855, was Hannibal, based out of New London, Connecticut. About that time he began working on an invention for which he would become even more widely known. Roys— at great personal cost—would spend years developing a shoulder-fired rocket harpoon, similar to a modern bazooka, that would make the hunt much more deadly for the whales and lead to the development of factory ships and a huge increase in the harvesting of whales. On a Hannibal voyage to Hudson Bay in Canada, Roys killed a blue whale, the largest of all the leviathans. That gave him the idea that a larger harpoon gun might be used to hunt rorquals, the largest whales such as finbacks, which had previously not been hunted because of their size. But the owners of Hannibal were conservative and thought him insane when he informed them that he had ordered “two rifles in pairs for killing [rorqual] whales” while in France. One of the owners boarded the next packet for that country and, upon arriving in Lorient, fired Roys on the spot. But Lorient would also provide something in way of compensation. It was there that Roys met Marie Salliord, a woman half his age he would marry in 1860 before bringing her back to the hamlet of Peconic in Southold Town to set up housekeeping among other whaling families on “Blubber Row.” She became a piano teacher and later ran off with their three children sometime after 1870, supposedly with one of his former shipmates, during one of his long voyages. Unfazed, Roys, with the help of several friends, bought the relatively small 87-foot Sag Harbor brig William F. Safford in 1856. The captain outfitted her with special harpoon guns of his own design and then traveled to both the Arctic Ocean and Antarctica in search of rorqual whales.
Page from Thomas Roys’s whaling manuscript. In 1856, he was testing his whaling guns on the Safford in the Bay of Biscay off the western coast of France when he paid a terrible price for his experimentation. He wrote: I took up one of my guns to try the explosion underwater … I fired the fuse, ignited the powder in the shell and it exploded, blowing up the gun and sent me backward about eight feet.… I then saw lying upon the deck a finger with a ring upon it which I knew, and looking I saw my left hand was gone to the wrist, but for the moment it had given no pain, only a sensation of numbness. Walking into the cabin, I sat down and had it amputated [by the first mate] as well as we could with razors. Roys sailed to Oporto, Portugal, where the rest of his lower arm had to be amputated. That did not stop him from continuing to work on his rocket harpoon concept in the following years. In 1857 the innovative captain received his first patent, in
Great Britain, for explosive shells. His first American patent followed in 1861 for improvements in harpoon guns. That same year he entered into a partnership with Gustavus A. Lilliedahl, a wealthy New York City pyrotechnics manufacturer. They worked together for half a dozen years trying to perfect rocket harpooning of whales. In 1865 Roys established the first shore-based whaling station, in Iceland, where he developed a method to process whales with bone grinders, presses, and steam kettles, which was more efficient than the old method of cutting the blubber and boiling it in great kettles, or trypots, aboard ships. Nothing was wasted, not even the entrails. His method is still followed today by nations that hunt whales. In the following years, Roys continued his experiments on several ships. And then in 1871 he took command of the whaling brig Byzantium out of Victoria, British Columbia. His bad luck continued. In May, Byzantium struck rocks in British Columbia and the crew had to abandon ship and spend a freezing night huddled on the
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california digital newspaper collection, center for bibliographic studies and research, university of california, riverside
Newspaper clipping showing one of Roys’s rocket harpoons in use. Published in the Pacific Rural Press, 19 April 1879. beach. It was a financial disaster that marked Roys’s last whaling venture as an entrepreneur. The next year he turned up in San Francisco where he worked on manufacturing and improving his harpoons. Although they were very sophisticated for their time, Roys never perfected his design. Over the winter of 1876–77, he surfaced in San Diego, where he joined a ship a few months later. He contracted yellow fever and was put ashore in Mazatlan,
Mexico, where he died—broke and delirious—on 29 January of a stroke. The local United States consul and resident Americans contributed $60 for a proper funeral. From 1857 until even two years after his death, Roys was granted sixteen patents in five countries. Most were for improved rocket harpoons. But one was for a “whaleraiser,” a device to retrieve sunken whale carcasses from the seafloor. While he was known to every whale ship captain in the 1850s and 1860s, today Roys is only re-
membered by whaling historians, even though he was one of the first to apply methods of the machine age to the whaling industry. Bill Bleyer, a retired award-winning Newsday reporter, is the author of four books on Long Island history and is a regular contributor to Sea History and other nautical magazines. His latest book, Long Island and the Sea: A Maritime History, was published by The History Press in April 2019.
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“Amazing Grace” Hopper The Woman Who Brought the Navy into the Digital Age by Kathleen Broome Williams
Rear Admiral Grace M. Hopper, USN
p.24 photos courtesy naval history and heritage command (nhhc), usn
n 1983 Grace Murray Hopper, then seventy-six years old, was made an admiral in the US Navy by special presidential appointment. Four years later, the Navy named its new computer center in San Diego for her, and in 1996, four years after her death, it christened its newest Arleigh Burke class destroyer USS Hopper (DDG 70). The recipient of numerous medals, awards, and honorary degrees, Grace Hopper was esteemed both for her giant intellect and for her unceasing energy. As befits a leader instrumental in creating a whole new discipline, her message to everyone was, above all, to innovate and
never to be tied to the old or customary way of doing things. Although she never went to sea during her decades of service to the Navy, her computer expertise and managerial skills made her a pivotal figure in the Navy’s path to the computer age. Although you may not be aware of it, every time you turn on your computer you owe a huge debt to Grace Hopper. In the 1940s and 50s, she and her fellow pioneers, with support from the US Navy, created the new field of computing that is so ubiquitous today. A Yale-trained mathematician, Hopper joined the Navy in December 1943, keen on serving the war effort directly. At thirty-seven, she already had a successful teaching career at Vassar College, but at that time women were only permitted to join the Reserves. Nevertheless, in June 1944, as a newly commissioned lieutenant (junior grade), Hopper was sent to Harvard University’s Computation Project—then operating under the Bureau of Ships—to work on the Mark I computer. Even as a very young child, Hopper was inquisitive and fearless. She was especially driven to find out how things worked, even if this meant taking apart all the alarm
clocks in her home and other antics that her patient parents chose to indulge and gently guide her towards more productive endeavors. Thus, both by temperament and by life experience, Grace Hopper was uniquely suited to seize the opportunities for innovative work that would so suddenly be presented to her. During World War II, the vast expansion of the US Navy and the accompanying upsurge in data management needs accelerated the development of modern digital computers, although most were not operational until after the conflict ended. Harvard’s Mark I computer—a.k.a. the Harvard Calculator—was an exception. Developed by doctoral student Howard Aiken, the Mark I was the first functional, large-scale, automatically sequenced, general purpose, digital computer to be produced in America, making it one of the few computers ready early enough to play a significant role in the war. Desperate for gunnery and ballistics calculations, the Navy leased the Mark I for the duration of the war. It was the Mark I that introduced Hopper to the emerging world of computing. It was at Harvard that the newly commissioned Lt. Grace Hopper was assigned to the US Navy Bureau of Ships Computation Project to work on the Mark I in 1944, introducing her to the emerging world of computing and sparking a fascination that was to absorb the rest of her life. With the war raging, there was no time for training; Hopper learned on the job how to write the codes that put the Mark I to work, becoming one of the first-ever computer programmers. Operating around the clock, the Mark I churned out essential data for all sorts of ordnance projects, making complex calculations for naval guns, acoustic and magnetic mines, self-propelled Capt. Grace M. Hopper takes the oath of office from Secretary of the Navy John Lehman, during White House ceremonies promoting her from the rank of Captain to Commodore, 15 December 1983. President Ronald Reagan looks on. SEA HISTORY 168, AUTUMN 2019
hagley museum and library
Grace Hopper teaching a COBOL class, 1961 rockets, and even the atomic bomb. In addition to being one of only three programmers for the Mark I and writing its first manual of operations, Hopper was also instrumental in the development of its successors, the Mark II and the Mark III, which were used by the Navy after the war. Reflecting on the significance of military sponsorship of science, Hopper often maintained that there would not have been a computer industry at all without that early Navy support. Entering the computing field on the ground floor, Hopper influenced the US Navy’s ability to wage a modern, mathdependent war. With this head start in the discipline, she continued to make invaluable contributions to computer development for the next forty-four years. In the earliest days of computing, there was no distinction between a computer’s hardware and its software—between the machine itself and what it was instructed to do. Indeed, these terms had not even been coined. Yet from the beginning, Hopper had been relatively uninterested in hardware, focusing instead on methods to speed the writing of coding instructions for individual programs. It was in this field—in what became known as programming— that she made her major contributions, both to the Navy and to commercial computing.
When World War II ended, Hopper wanted to transfer to the regular Navy, but at age thirty-eight, she was over the cutoff age and had to satisfy herself with staying in the Naval Reserve. Still, the new field in which the Navy had trained her opened exciting postwar opportunities in the civilian sector, as computing steadily became an accepted academic discipline and also began to be adopted by commercial ventures such as banks and insurance companies. Relatively few men had the same training and experience as Hopper; later, she loved to point out that, in the 1940s, all the computer people in the country could fit into one small room. Initially, Hopper remained at Harvard working with Aiken in his computation lab, but in 1949 she joined the firm responsible for creating one of the first successful commercial computers, the UNIVAC. Hopper remained with the UNIVAC division through its various acquisitions and mergers that eventually created Sperry Rand, later to become UNYSIS. It was during these years that she produced her most innovative work. She retired from the company in 1971. At UNIVAC in 1952, Hopper developed the first compiler—the A-0, a library of subroutines that the computer itself could assemble into a program. Quick to grasp
that computers did not have to be instructed only by mathematical symbols, as conventional wisdom dictated, in 1957 Hopper completed FLOWMATIC, the first English language compiler. By 1960, FLOWMATIC became one of the main ingredients in the collaborative creation of COBOL, soon to be widely adopted as a universal computer language. This work was so significant that in 1969 the Data Processing Management Association named Hopper its first Computer Sciences Man of the Year (!) for her contribution to the development of COBOL. In the meantime, during the eighteen years she spent as a civilian in industry, Hopper maintained her Naval Reserve status, assigned to the Fourth Naval District in the Philadelphia Navy Yard. She worked as a consultant on many classified projects, each requiring her to learn new fields of application such as flutter and fuselage analysis, electronics and radar, accounting systems, and logistical problems, including those involving explosives. Finally, however, time caught up with her. By her own account, late in 1966 she received a letter from the Chief of Naval Personnel telling her that she had served twenty-three years, which was over twenty. “I knew that,” she loved to tell interviewers. The letter also informed her that she was about to turn sixty. “I knew that too,” said Hopper. The final paragraph of the letter asked her to apply for retirement, which she reluctantly did, effective 31 December 1966. Her final fitness report stated simply that Commander Hopper was “an outstanding officer in all respects and a wonderful person.” “It was the saddest day of my life,” recalled Hopper.1 Only seven months later, the Navy repented its bureaucratic efficiency and reversed the decision to let Hopper go. With the naval expansion in response to the Vietnam War and the consequent increasing demand for computerized systems, Hopper’s skills were once again recognized as invaluable. On 1 August 1967, Grace Hopper was recalled to active duty with a temporary appointment for six months. She stayed nineteen years. Her first project was to develop a Tactical Data System for atomic submarines, but her most important work was in the standardization of Navy
SEA HISTORY 168, AUTUMN 2019 25
photo by lynn gilbert
computer languages. She implemented a comprehensive program to standardize COBOL in the US Navy, replacing the numerous and incompatible versions of the language then in use, revolutionizing the Navy’s management information systems. From 1977 until her final retirement in 1986, Hopper was at the Naval Data Automation Command Headquarters (NAVDAC, now NAVCOMTEL-COM) in Washington, DC. In those last years,
she became the Navy’s foremost propagandist for its computer program as NAVDAC’s representative to learned societies, industry associations, and technical symposia. She was particularly keen to speak at schools and colleges, where she encouraged young people to take up careers in computing. Often referred to as Amazing Grace and Grandma COBOL by an admiring press, Hopper gave hundreds of speeches annually, becoming a nationally recognized advocate for Navy computing and for the computer sciences she had helped to establish. She also addressed top Navy brass, whom she enjoyed chastising for their ignorance about computing. John F. Lehman, who served as secretary of the navy for six years (1981 to 1987), worked with Hopper “from time to time,” and was largely responsible for pushing her promotion to admiral in 1983. She was already seventy-four years old and still working when he first met her. According to Lehman, Grace Hopper was not the least bit intimidated by what he called “the natural resistance to change and inertia of every big bureaucracy.” “She had a tremendously forceful and creative personality, as well as a sense of humor.” He recalled that she was “very, very bright,” and that she “drove the Navy into the computer age with whips and scourges.”2
nhhc, us navy
The computers of Grace Hopper’s early years in the Navy were massive machines: the Mark I was 51 feet long by 8 feet high by 2 feet deep. (above) Grace Hopper demostrates a UNIVAC computer. (right) In the late 1960s, she used bundles of wire “nanoseconds” to demonstrate how designing smaller components would produce faster computers. Grace Hopper retired as a rear admiral in 1986. Then seventy-nine, she was the oldest active duty officer in the US Navy and the recipient of numerous honors, including the Legion of Merit (1973), the Navy Meritorious Service Medal (1980), and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers Computer Pioneer Medal (1983). Yet these impressive-sounding accomplishments tend to obscure her most important contribution, which was “above all,” in the words of a former colleague, “to make computers a part of ordinary life for ordinary people.” In that pursuit she was supremely successful.3 Inevitably, Hopper was also the subject of several myths, not the least that she had invented the term “bug” to explain mysterious computer failures. While it is true that she found an actual moth in the Mark II, which was then pasted into the computer’s logbook where it can still be seen today labeled “first actual bug found”—this greatly amused her colleagues because the term had already been in regular use for some time. There were also other tales that were widely disseminated in the press, such as that Hopper had created the computer language COBOL (it was created by committee), or that she was the first woman to achieve the rank of rear admiral (she was not). Hopper
Capt. Grace M. Hopper in her Washington, DC, office, 1978. SEA HISTORY 168, AUTUMN 2019
did not start these stories, but neither does she seem to have discouraged them. On 1 January 1992, Grace Murray Hopper died peacefully in her sleep at her home in Washington, DC. She was buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery. Eight years later, in a review of a book on early modern European warfare, Steven Ross of the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, wrote: “military organizations not only by their very existence but also by their effectiveness in battle act as engines of social and political change.”4 An engine of change—a perfect metaphor for Grace Hopper. Kathleen Broome Williams is a naval historian with four books on naval history and one on Marine Corps history. Her interests center on 20th-century naval science and technology. Dr. Williams recently completed an appointment as Class of 1957 Distinguished Chair in Naval Heritage at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Her most recent book, Painting War: George Plante’s Combat Art in World War II, was published by the Naval Institute Press in May.
Exp E r iE
E n c E th
photo by mc specialist 1st class charles e. white, usn
USS Hopper (DDG 70)
NOTES 1 Grace Hopper interview by Charles Evans, 1976, p. 1, OHI81, Charles Babbage Institute, University of Minnesota, MN; Grace Murray Hopper Officer Fitness Report, 26 February 1967, Official Military Personnel File, National Personnel Records Center, NARA, St. Louis, MO; Charlene W. Billings, Grace Hopper: Navy Admiral and Computer Pioneer (Hillside, NJ: Enslow Publishers, Inc.,
f loAt A r ii A o r ld W W f o Actio n
rt e libe h t d a boa r
1989), 87. 2 Author’s telephone interview with John F. Lehman, 26 June 1998. 3 Ken Olsen, president and founder of Digital Equipment Corporation, quoted in Williams, Grace Hopper: Admiral of the Cyber Sea, (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2004), 187. 4 2.25x4.5_HNSA_FleetCOL#1085.pdf The Journal of Military History, Vol. 64,6/5/12 No.1, January 2000, 186.
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SEA HISTORY 168, AUTUMN 2019 27
A Matter of Perspective— White Squall vs. the Great Bakery Fire of 1853
peabody essex museum
museum of fine arts, boston
n mid-December of 1853 the Great Republic, a massive four-masted clipper, departed Boston under great fanfare to New York Harbor after a successful launch from Donald McKay’s East Boston shipyard. When the ship was launched two months prior, schools and businesses were closed and an estimated one third of the population of the city of Boston—approximately 50,000 people— witnessed the event. Imagine a third of the population of a large city witnessing any event today. By this time Donald McKay was well established as a master builder, having built more than thirty-five ships, including the world-renowned extreme clippers Flying Cloud and Sovereign of the Seas. The Great Republic was the largest ship to come out of his East Boston shipyard to date, and reportedly he considered it his masterpiece. After her launch, the ship was towed across the harbor to the Boston Navy Yard, where she was fitted out with sails and rigging under the direction of his younger brother who would command the vessel, Capt. Lauchlan McKay. A number of McKay’s Boston-built ships were sent to New York to prepare for their first commercial voyages, depending
by Gary E. Eddey
McKay’s Shipyard, East Boston, about 1855. on their owners and investors. Great Republic was financed entirely by McKay himself, and he was confident she would pay for her construction and then some in her first years. During her short time in New York, the clipper’s holds were filled with cargo and her crew rounded out, and
by the 26th of December she was ready for her maiden voyage, first to Liverpool, then on to Australia. But disaster struck on the 27th. Fire broke out on Front Street, which destroyed South Street’s residential and commercial neighborhoods, as well as McKay’s brand new ship. Scores of clippers in various states of readiness crowded the bulkheads along the waterfront, their bowsprits extending over Water Street. As the neighborhood burned, so did most of the ships berthed on the nearby East River wharves. News of the fire spread around the globe; ever since, journalists and historians have referred to the inferno as the Great Bakery Fire of 1853. Although the name designates the source of the fire, the notoriety of the event came from the loss of the Great Republic and to a lesser extent the complete destruction of another clipper ship, White Squall. One block west of the East River, Front Street was home to numerous commercial buildings, including one that housed the Great Republic by James E. Buttersworth SEA HISTORY 168, AUTUMN 2019
Donald McKay, ca. 1850–55
courtesy john stobart
New York, Lower South Street, ca. 1885 by John Stobart Called the “Street of Ships,” New York’s waterfront during the Age of Sail.
the metropolitan museum
Novelty Bakery. Just after midnight on that frigid night, a fire started in the bakery, and it soon whipped up into a blazing firestorm, courtesy of the winter wind. Properties were destroyed in every direction. Directly across the East River, residents of Brooklyn—and especially Greenpoint— would have a different perspective on the fire, and they gave it a different name. Same fire, same devastation, same river, and yet two names for the same event? Why? Back in Manhattan along Front Street, the flames jumped from one building to the next. The wind blew sparks and embers eastward to the wharves, setting the sails and rigging of the ships crowded together along the waterfront ablaze. Fire fell from aloft and set the decks on fire, in time igniting the cargo below. The ships had no chance. Despite the best efforts of the fire companies and the harbor ferries that pulled a number of the vessels off the docks, the Great Republic was fully engulfed and ultimately burned to the waterline. The clipper White Squall and the Black Star Line’s packet Joseph Walker were totally destroyed. The clippers Red Rover and Whirlwind were towed safely off the dock while their rigging was in flames. The Liverpool packet De Witt Clinton was seriously damaged but escaped total destruction by being blown by the wind across the river to Wallabout Bay, where she ran aground. Many other vessels that hung over Water Street, mostly schooners and sloops, lost their rigs to the flames but were saved by being set adrift or being towed away from the wharves. To this day, little credit is given to the captains of the Fulton Ferry boats who franticly pulled vessels out into the river, some on fire as they were doing it, saving most of them. Remarkably, and fortunately, not one life was lost. New York Times reporters provided firsthand reports of the fire. It may come as a surprise to modern-day readers—but is not an exaggeration—that during the Age of Sail, not only were the logs of clippers and packet ships summarized in major newspapers, but the information was read on a daily basis by most everyone. Clipper ships were readily recognized by
SEA HISTORY 168, AUTUMN 2019 29
Great Republic Volumes have been written about the Great Republic, in that it dwarfed all other clippers of its time. Christened after a poem of the same name by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Great Republic remains to this day the greatest wooden clipper ever built. The massive ship had four decks and was designed to carry 45,000 square feet of canvas on fifty sails, set on four masts. The fore, main, and mizzen masts were approximately forty-four inches in diameter and 130 feet long. Her size was daunting, especially compared to what the maritime world had been accustomed, and she required an enormous amount of manpower to operate. “She was a perfect wonder in naval architecture, being the largest merchant vessel ever constructed in this or any other country.”1 No wonder her loss was considered a “national calamity” as many headlines proclaimed. The ship had berthed on a wharf at the foot of Dover Street, just south of where the Brooklyn Bridge would eventually be built. In the third week of December, she was opened to the public for viewing. For one week, New Yorkers could pay 12.5 cents to come on board and get an up-close view. Approximately 40,000 people took advantage of the opportunity. The Great Republic was to put to sea with the largest cargo ever carried across the oceans. Literally adding fuel to the fire, once pieces of the tarred rig began to drop 30
library of congress
sight, and many were destined to be household names. Such was the era of the midnineteenth century in a port town. The fire had started in the rear of a building at 244 Front Street, which was occupied by Mr. Treadwell and Sons. The bakery was incinerated, as was a ship supply building and other businesses nearby. In total, nine buildings were destroyed and many more damaged. Yet it was the destruction of the ships on the waterfront that gripped the nation, and for which it mourned. The fire would have long been forgotten, perhaps never making it into history books, but for the loss of two ships in particular, McKay’s pride and joy and Jacob Bell’s White Squall. To say the loss of the Great Republic was mourned nationwide is not an exaggeration. The country grieved, despite the fact that there was no loss of life.
Clipper Ship Great Republic docked at the Wall Street Ferry terminal, Brooklyn, New York City, ca. 1860, after she had been rebuilt and put back into service. to the deck, the cargo below—cedar wood, wheat, corn, flour, cotton, beef, lard, teas, rosin, tobacco, and argols—was just as flammable and fed the inferno. “Owing to the immense height of her masts, it was impossible for the engines to play upon the flames,” read a New York Herald report the next day. As the ship was fully loaded, the cargo provided one benefit in that the hull was sitting low in the water. Even today the inferno would have been difficult to extinguish and the outcome the same: all cargo lost and the 335-foot-long ship burned to the water line. Despite the gallant efforts of the fire crews, the flames could not be extinguished and the decision to scuttle the ship came late in the morning of the 27th. Its maiden voyage would have to be postponed. Postponed? The ship was sent to be rebuilt at the Sneeden and Whitlock shipyard in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and two years later, she successfully completed her maiden voyage, departing New York Har-
bor on 25 February 1855. She was relaunched under the same name. Although she had lost one of her decks, the gunwale was rebuilt to exact specifications, keeping her lines almost intact. As testament to how well the ship was originally constructed, the rebuilt ship had a long and productive life, and reached speeds that were the envy of many. On one occasion, she was reported to have overtaken McKay’s other masterpiece, Flying Cloud. White Squall I return to the story that inspired this article. Brooklyn—not yet then part of New York City—had a long tradition of separating itself from the Isle of Manhattan. Across the river from the conflagration that winter night, its residents had a front row seat to the tragedy and would refer to the calamity by another name. Then as today, life is a matter of perspective, and the perspective of Brooklynites in the early morning hours of 27 December was decidedly different SEA HISTORY 168, AUTUMN 2019
oregon historical society
from that of their brethren across the river. Their experience and how it differed from those in lower Manhattan was not covered in the big papers in New York and across the country. In 1853 wharves for clippers and packet ships in the East River extended from the Battery up to 14th Street. Today the surviving piers are located near the South Street Seaport Museum area. The clipper ship White Squall was just over three years old and had been built close by at Jacob Bell’s East River shipyard at the foot of Houston Street. It was his third clipper, and the first of several near-identical extreme clippers to come out of his shipyard. Up to 30,000 people were estimated to have watched her launch in 1850. Although considerably smaller than the Great Republic, she was said to have been Bell’s pride and joy. When White Squall returned to New York from California that December, she berthed adjacent to McKay’s ship at Pier 27. White Squall was a commercial success from the get-go. She cost $90,000 to build, but she paid back her owners, William Platt and Co. of Philadelphia, more than $132,000 on her maiden voyage: New York
to San Francisco, and then on to China, London, and back to New York. These figures do not reflect the cost of losing her masts in an Atlantic Ocean gale three days into that first voyage. The loss of these two ships also brings to light the relationship between Bell and McKay, as well as a window to the plight of a Canadian immigrant during this time period. As a teenager, Donald McKay apprenticed at Bell’s shipyard before he set out on his own. According to his grandson, Richard McKay, and others, Bell saw a lot in his young apprentice. His mentorship led to McKay’s eventual hiring as the foreman at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where he was responsible for managing more than a thousand workers. The Canadian-born McKay was ultimately driven from that post because of aggressive anti-immigrant sentiment at the shipyard. Bell suggested he relocate to Massachusetts, where his Nova Scotian roots would not be viewed as a detriment. McKay eventually started his own East Boston shipyard, where he continued to build his reputation, along with dozens of spectacular vessels. Neither depictions nor plans of the White Squall have survived. She was de-
scribed as a beautiful ship under full sail, resembling several of her sister ships built at Bell’s yard, of which drawings do exist. White Squall had arrived in New York a week before the fire after a particularly fast ninety-seven-day run from San Francisco, not counting a two-day layover en route. In the week since her arrival, the ship had been unloaded and most of her ballast had been removed. A new cargo had not yet been brought onboard, and White Squall was sitting high in the water. This situation would contribute to her demise once the fire reached the wharf. Unlike Great Republic, which was fully loaded, the White Squall could not be scuttled. The New York Times reported that the White Squall was the third ship to catch fire, but the firemen and seamen were unable to handle the burning ship. Were they spending an inordinate amount of time trying to save the Great Republic? Bell’s clipper could not be scuttled, which would have allowed it to burn to the waterline but stop there, in which case the lower portion of the hull might have been preserved. To save the other ships along the waterfront, it was decided the White Squall had to be cut adrift and let the wind and current seal her fate. To solve the problem—send it to Brooklyn! Few across the river could keep their eyes off the inferno as it drifted towards them with the current and wind, much like a fireship used in Age of Fighting Sail naval tactics. When a ferry captain towed the ship off the dock around 2:15am, the tide was on the flood and the current carried the burning ship northwards. With a westerly wind and a northbound current, it couldn’t be predicted exactly where the ship would land, but it was certain to end up on the Brooklyn side of the river. For almost an hour “she flew up the river in one astonishing blaze,” wrote one journalist, her sails, spars, and decks all on fire. Anxious Brooklynites waited helplessly for landfall. It was a sight no one had ever seen, and a sight never to be forgotten by those who witnessed the White Squall inferno being blown towards them. No images of W hite Squall have survived but she was said to be very similar to another Jacob Bell clipper ship, Trade Wind, which he built in 1851.
SEA HISTORY 168, AUTUMN 2019 31
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the sight was an homage to the beauty of their town. Across the river there was no vantage point from which to see the rainbow, nor enough time or distance from the devastation to appreciate it anyway. Brooklynites recalled the sight of White Squall engulfed in flames and bearing down on them, and were reminded that Manhattan once again tried to solve its problems by sending them to Brooklyn. All of this was etched into the minds of Brooklyn residents when they began to refer to the Great Bakery Fire of 1853 as the White Squall Fire.3 No need to attach a year. Gary E. Eddey is author of The Weather House, a novel of the love between two sisters, one of whom is disabled, set on Block Island and the East River in 1916. The sequel, Annie-Rose, will be published in 2020. (www.eddey.com) NOTES 1
The New York Herald, 28 Dec. 1853, p.1. Ibid, p.1 3 Reminiscences of the Old Fire Laddie and Volunteer Fire Depts. of NY; p. 702, Frank Kernan.
new york herald
Finally, at 3:30am it came to rest on the wooden dock of the Brooklyn Gas Company at the foot of Hudson Avenue. Of all places, the docks of a gas company! Many Brooklyn firefighters had already been ferried across the river to help with the blaze. Company employees tied up what remained of White Squall’s hull and, with the help of the few firefighters that remained on the Brooklyn side, extinguished the flames by daybreak, a little over three hours after reaching Brooklyn. Unbelievably, no damage occurred to the gas company. All that remained of the White Squall was a smoldering hull. “The heat was so intense that her coppers were crumpled up like brown paper, and the water evaporating from her hold made a spray which extended halfway across the river, and upon which the reflection of the clear sun formed a perfect rainbow, which presented a very extraordinary sight.”2 Those in Greenpoint who were awake at dawn witnessed the unusual smoke- and vapor-induced rainbow, inspiring some of the residents to remark to a reporter that
The fire made headlines around the country in the days that followed. The morning edition of the New York Herald reported on 28 December: “Total Destruction of the Monster Ship Great Republic, Clipper Ship White Squall, and Packet Ship Joseph Walker. Over a Million Dollars in Property Destroyed....Magnificent Pyrotechnic Display.”
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SEA HISTORY 168, AUTUMN 2019
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Art in the Family —
Creating a Marine Art Gallery in Newport
photo courtesy of andre arguimbau
ndre Arguimbau got out his reciprocating saw and cut a hole in the dilapidated ceiling. Poking his head through the opening, a headlamp on his forehead, he looked around. There above him was the old post-and-beam construction—massive 250-year-old beams. This was it. He knew this 1772 building in Newport, Rhode Island, was the place he and his father had been looking for. In the narrow beam of his headlamp, Andre could see that the decrepit old building was sound, with its Colonial-era carpentry intact beneath the accumulated layers of wood and plaster, paint and grime. They put in an offer and were soon the proud owners of 267 Spring Street. His father, artist Peter Arguimbau, would purchase the property and Andre would transform the building, originally built as a ship
by Patrick O’Brien
chandlery, into the Mariner Gallery, one of today’s premier maritime art galleries.
After his mother passed away in 2013 when he was twenty-three years old, Andre pitched the idea of creating a marine art gallery in Newport, something that his artist father had long wanted to do. This, Andre explained, could provide a new chapter in their lives and also serve as a second home in the heart of an active maritime community. He was well prepared for the task ahead. Andre had grown up learning basic carpentry from his father; at age fourteen he built a wooden rowboat, and a few years later he led the construction of a post-andbeam cabin. “Without both of those experiences, I would never have had the confidence to take on a project of this complexity and scale.” Sailing had also been an integral part of Andre’s childhood. He grew up sailing all along the eastern seaboard, earning his captain’s license (USCG Operator’s License, or “six-pack”) by nineteen, developing a deep affinity for the sea. (left) Peter Arguimbau and son, Andre, enjoy a sail out of Newport Harbor. (top) The basement at 267 Spring Street after Andre and a small crew dug it out by hand and before the massive oak timbers were brought in. SEA HISTORY 168, AUTUMN 2019
But he also grew up surrounded by art. Peter Arguimbau is a professional artist with a vast output, specializing in oldmaster techniques. “Even though I grew up in an artist’s home,” Andre says, “I wasn’t interested in creating art myself. But as a child, I would go with my Dad to art museums and, while he set up his easel and learned by copying from the great masters, I just wandered the museum. I was always drawn to the paintings depicting action. I was fascinated by the way that fleeting actions were kept alive for centuries by the artist.” Under his father’s influence, the art world became a passion. With his background in sailing, construction, and art, the creation of a new marine art gallery seemed like the perfect fit. Newport, a seaside town considered by many to be the sailing capital of the world, was the only location he considered. Once he found the ideal historic building, the herculean task of transforming it could begin. Andre and a small crew gutted the inside of the building, removing about six tons of old and shabby building materials, taking the building down to its original timbers. “This building used to sway in a twenty-knot wind, but when we built the metal staircase and installed some metal fittings, the structure was stabilized.” Andre cut through the ground floor with a chainsaw to access the basement, and, in perhaps the most grueling task, they dug out the basement to a depth of nine feet, using only shovels and buckets. What followed was the most remarkable and unique part of the project. Andre built out the basement room to look like the lower deck of an eighteenth-century frigate. Using the sawmill on his father’s property in Greenwich, Connecticut, Andre milled large oak trunks into massive posts and beams, some weighing a ton each. He then transported these timbers to New-
port, and passed them into the building through tiny basement windows just barely big enough for the purpose. After leaving the oak to season in place for a few months, he assembled the room with curved walls to replicate a ship’s tumblehome with a beamed overhead. He did all this using a chain saw and sledgehammer, building jacks and lever bars, and blood, toil, and sweat. The result is a beautiful basement gallery that gives a convincing impression of having always been there, venerable and dignified, while also new and pristine. The space was specifically designed to evoke the below-deck look of USS Constellation, the US Navy frigate built in 1797. Andre has been interested in this vessel since reading Ian Toll’s book, Six Frigates, as a teenager. He was fascinated by the account of the builder sending teams of men down to Georgia to find and collect giant live oak trees and transport them up
north for construction. In this century, Andre revived the spirit of this process by collecting salvaged urban and suburban trees and carting the timber to his sawmill at great effort. “Some of the trees weigh 10,000 pounds. That’s almost like moving a boat.” Despite his amateur background in sail, art, and woodworking, these pursuits are unrelated to his day job. He works full time as an executive recruiter in New York City, so pulling off this kind of passion project requires a lot of drive, ambition, and energy. “I never say ‘no’ to anything. I tend to overcommit, but then I’m rigid in following through on my commitments. I drive myself hard until it’s done and accept the punishment that I’ve dealt myself, even if sometimes other parts of my life might suffer.” He has some advice for busy people who are multi-tasking: “Be quick, but don’t hurry.”
(above, right) Andre cut oak timbers on his father’s outdoor sawmill in Connecticut. (right) Threading the needle. After trailering the timbers to Newport, Andre and his crew got them into the basement through a small window, the only means to get something that large, straight, and inflexible into the basement space. SEA HISTORY 168, AUTUMN 2019 35
street—that’s the church where JFK and Jackie got married—came over while we were painting the outside and thanked me. He said he was tired of looking at that eyesore all these years and appreciated the new color, a deep traditional Newport blue.”
Father and son take a breather in the basement, mid-construction. Like any major construction project, by while we were working,” Andre said. especially one being done in one’s spare “Popped their heads into the open doors time, there were times when the project and told us how much they appreciate what seemed like too much. It was at these times we’re doing to save this old building, which that the support of the local community is on a pretty prominent corner in the town. revived his spirits. “So many people stopped In fact, a priest from the church across the
Originally built in 1772 as a chandlery, the restored building at 267 Spring Street is home to the new Mariner Gallery.
In addition to exhibiting contemporary works of fine art, the Constellation Room will serve as home to the Mariners’ League of the Arts, to promote artists, artisans, and the performing arts, while also serving as a gathering place for those who embrace Newport’s sailing history. 36
SEA HISTORY 168, AUTUMN 2019
courtesy of the artist
met Andre at his father’s sprawling property in Greenwich. A tall young man with an affable manner, he was accompanied by the ever-present Kiko, his friendly yellow Labrador. I had come to deliver a few of my paintings for display in the new gallery and to begin an artist relationship with Mariner Gallery. Peter emerged from the house. He seems to have been born into the wrong century. I suspect he might have been more comfortable living a couple of hundred years ago. With his long greying locks and dashing Van Dyke beard, he reminds me of sepia-toned photos of Buffalo Bill Cody. A big old barn serves as Peter’s studio, packed to the rafters with scores of paintings, art supplies, frames, lumber, a workshop, and even an old buggy. His paintings harken back to the old Dutch masters, and to the Hudson River School of painting. Peter is not satisfied with art materials available in stores today—so he makes his own. In his studio he has shelves of colorful powdered pigments that he mixes with oils and solvents to create his paint. He has exhaustively studied the techniques of Rembrandt and Michelangelo, and the wooden walls of his cavernous studio are lined with his old-master-style paintings: portraits, nudes, landscapes, and marine paintings.
We walked down the hill and around the back of the house to see the sawmill. Piles of huge logs line the way, many of them from trees that have fallen in storms around the area. The sawmill is open-air, consisting of a couple of pieces of machinery that render large logs into planks and beams. Andre’s millwork for the Mariner Gallery has inspired him to establish another business: “I’m going to make furniture from large-diameter urban salvage timber.” “So now let’s see what you’ve brought for us,” Peter said to me. We trudged back up the hill, past the chicken coop and the large pond. In the barn, I unwrapped the paintings I had brought. The largest was a 30-x-40-inch oil on canvas depicting the
battle between USS Constellation and the French frigate L’Insurgente, which took place in 1799. Considering that it was heading to the Mariner Gallery’s Constellation Room, I selected this piece knowing that the subject would be especially appropriate. “The painting’s got a great sense of action and drama,” Peter observed. Another painting depicted an aerial view of Manhattan in 1900, when the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge were the tallest structures in the city. Peter then showed me an antique painting destined for the gallery, a classic nineteenth-century marine painting by James Buttersworth. It was in poor condition, awaiting a restorer’s touch to bring it back to life.
Empire City: New York in 1900 by Patrick O’Brien 24 x 36 inches oil on canvas
courtesy of the artist
USS Constellation vs. L’Insurgente, 1799 by Patrick O’Brien, 30 x 40 inches, oil on canvas
SEA HISTORY 168, AUTUMN 2019 37
courtesy of the artist
couple of months later, I sit with father and son, Peter and Andre, in the Constellation Room of Mariner Gallery. With us are some of the other artists whose works are showing in the gallery. We are chatting, processing the evening’s “Meet the Artists” event that has just ended. “We’ve got big plans for this room,” Andre says. “We hope to start the Mariner’s League of the Arts. The mission will be to promote artists and artisans, and performing artists, and it will also be a gathering place for people who embrace the sailing history of Newport.” Sitting in that basement, surrounded by artists and art, I am confident that Andre can pull this off. He has succeeded brilliantly so far. He’s Eleonora off Castle Hill, Newport by Peter Layne Arguimbau 24 x 36 inches, oil on canvas
courtesy of the artist
created a beautiful space, in the heart of the sailing capital of the country, both to display his father’s art and to deal in classic and contemporary marine paintings. It’s clearly a labor of love for Andre. Although not an artist himself, he has carved out his part in the art world. He can thank his father for that. “If I hadn’t grown up with my artist dad, art would not have been a part of my life. No doubt about it.”
Racing Cats—Iris, Harbinger, and Almira—Boston Harbor 1890 by Richard Loud, 23 x 40 inches, oil
Patrick O’Brien is an award-winning marine artist whose paintings capture the glory and grandeur of the Age of Sail. His works are frequently seen in Sea History, including several front cover images. In 2010 his works were featured in a solo exhibition at the US Naval Academy Museum. In 2012 he was honored with the NMHS Distinguished Service Award. Mariner Gallery is open Wednesday through Sunday. Featured works by Peter Arguimbau, Patrick O’Brien, Sergio Roffo, Richard Loud, Laura Cooper, and David Monteiro are on exhibit, along with classic works from Peter Arguimbau’s collection, such as Edward Moran (1829–1901), Joseph B. Smith (1798– 1876), and Reynolds Beal (1867–1951). Special events planned for this fall and winter include a speakers’ series, a holiday party, and “Cocktail Wars.” Visit www.marinergallery.com for more information or to inquire about arranging a private event.
SEA HISTORY 168, AUTUMN 2019
You can own these spectacular scenes of Olin Stephens’s famous racing yacht Dorade by award-winning artist Russ Kramer—and support NMHS at the same time. On to Bermuda— Dorade, 1932 image size: 11 x 14 inches sheet size: 15 x 18 inches
SEA G OF THE
RNIN E & LEA URE, LOR
URE , LITERAT THE ART Cup
The America’sBay Ghost Fleet y Mallows Sub H. L. Hunle Confederate
Russ Kramer, a past president of the American Society of Marine Artists, is widely regarded to be among America’s leading marine artists, specializing in historic yachting scenes. He was the featured cover artist for Sea History 158 (Spring 2017) and author of “The America’s Cup: Personalities, Passion, and Privilege” in that same issue. You can view that issue online at www.seahistory.org/magazine/.
Prints are $150 each. To order call
1-800-221-NMHS, ext. 0 or visit our website at www.seahistory.org. NYS residents add applicable sales tax. S/H add $20 within the USA. For international orders, contact Wendy Paggiotta at email@example.com.
image size: 11 x 14 inches • sheet size: 15 x 18 inches
SEA HISTORY 168, AUTUMN 2019 39
Marine Art News
courtesy of the artist
Robert J. Simone’s plein air painting of the 1877 barque Elissa in Galveston, Texas, has won Best in Show at Plein Air Southwest 2019. “As an artist, I am attracted to historic ships and commercial fishing vessels. I didn’t know much about Elissa before I got there, but it’s hard to resist the opportunity to paint a ship like that from life.” Simone arrived in Galveston with rain forecast for the upcoming event. “I thought a gray ship on a gray day might make for an interesting painting, but it also meant I needed a place to set up out of the rain. I found a good view from a sheltered seawall at Fisherman’s Wharf by cutting through the back deck of a closed restaurant. I was a little nervous about trespassing, but when the restaurant opened, a waitress started bringing me coffee. So all was good. The clouds came and the rain settled in. The atmosphere was perfect and hospitality of the restaurant staff made for a pleasant time. I ended up with a painting I liked, and what a blessing to receive Best in Show! But Elissa was the real star of that show. The fact that she is not a replica but the real deal made the experience all the more special. She’s a fabulous ship!” Robert J. Simone is a Signature Member of both the American Society of Marine Artists and the Outdoor Painters Society. (www.robertjsimone. com; Barque Elissa: www.galveston.com/texasseaportmuseum/)
courtesy of the artist
Tall Ship Elissa by Robert J. Simone, oil, 16 x 16 inches Artist Richard Boyer’s oil painting Departure from Manhattan has been awarded Best in Show at the Coos Art Museum’s 26th Annual Maritime Art Exhibition. During a visit to New York, Boyer was walking along the East River when the subject presented itself: “The noon-day light was out and blinding me as I went along. Then I saw the barge and tug and loved the way the light danced across the water. I knew it was a painting.” Not strictly a marine artist, Boyer paints cityscapes, landscapes, and figures as well. You can view Mr. Boyer’s winning entry along with the other works in the Coos Art Museum exhibition through 28 September. (CAM, 235 Anderson, Coos Bay, OR; Ph. 541 267-3901; www.coosart. org. Richard Boyer’s website: www.richardboyerart.net)
Departure from Manhattan by Richard Boyer, oil, 24 x 36 inches
© tate, london 2018
This fall, Mystic Seaport Museum is hosting a special art exhibition from Tate Britain’s Turner Collection. J. M. W. Turner: Watercolors from Tate brings together 92 watercolors, four oil paintings, and one of the artist’s last sketchbooks. Turner sought to secure his place in history by bequeathing the contents of his studio to the British nation. His vision of having his oil paintings hang in rotation in a dedicated gallery inside the National Gallery at Trafalgar Square would not come to pass, however. In 1856, four years after the artist’s death, the Chancery Court overruled his wishes and ordered that the entire contents of his studio be saved, including more than 30,000 watercolors and sketches stashed haphazardly in cupboards, crammed in drawers, and rolled between canvases. “Here we see not the public Turner, whose large oil paintings hung prominently in the Royal Academy, but the private artist who continually tested compositions, color, and tactile effect,” said David Blayney Brown, Tate’s curator of the exhibition. Mystic Seaport Museum is the only North American venue to host the exhibition, which will be on display from 5 October through 23 February. (75 Greenmanville Avenue, Mystic, CT; Ph. 860 572-5388; www.mysticseaport.org) Whitby, c. 1824, by J. M. W. Turner (1775–1851) 40
SEA HISTORY 168, AUTUMN 2019
Maine Treasures Art Prints Fine color lithograph prints of watercolors by Consuelo Eames Hanks
Through the Islands by Consuelo Eames Hanks
Fine color Giclée prints of watercolors by Ian A. Hanks Stonington, Maine by Ian A. Hanks
Also welcoming commissions: firstname.lastname@example.org • (207) 648-4550
Enjoy this spectacular limited-edition* print of Sergio Roffo’s Cats at Rest, and support NMHS at the same time!
Cats at Rest
by Sergio Roffo 20 x 33.25 inches $650 “This scene was painted at a cove on Martha’s Vineyard off the coast of Massachusetts. The serene calm against a glowing sunset and outgoing tide created some wonderful reflections in the water.”
* only 100 prints were made and
once they’re gone...they’re gone!
To order call 1-800-221-NMHS (6647), ext. 0; or visit our website at www.seahistory.org. Add $20 s/h. Shipping within the USA only. NYS residents please add applicable sales tax. SEA HISTORY 168, AUTUMN 2019 41
SEA HISTORY for kids
Marine Biologist • Lab Owner • Aquaculturist Darcie Couture
photos courtesy darcie couture
rom mudflats, to coastal islands, to offshore waters, Darcie Couture’s work environment changes on a day-to-day basis—sometimes on an hour-to-hour basis. Darcie is a marine scientist and owner of a research lab that monitors marine environments. She grew up in Maine, about an hour’s drive from the coast, and knew she wanted to be a marine biologist since childhood. “I was attracted to the idea of working with marine mammals… to train dolphins and stuff.” But in college she learned more about the field: “I realized that those jobs are pretty hard to get, and you’re actually more likely to end up cutting up fish to feed the dolphins instead of training them.” She shifted her focus to the local marine environment in the Northeast, and all the things she could study there. After college Darcie held a series of jobs related to marine science and the sea, from working in a lab to crewing on sail training ships for semesters-at-sea and other experiential at-sea programs. After a few years having a great time sailing the waters between New England and the Caribbean, Darcie and her husband settled down and had a couple of kids. She worked along the way to help pay the bills, but soon she felt drawn back to marine science and enrolled in graduate school. As a mom with two little kids, she got two masters degrees at the same time at the University of Maine: one in marine biology and another in marine policy. The Maine Department of Marine Resources hired her right out of school to monitor biotoxins in the marine environment, and soon she became an expert on marine biotoxins that affect the shellfishing industry and commercial fisheries. But Darcie has an independent streak and a need for some adventure, so she quit the government job and opened her own lab. Now she’s her own boss; she can choose the projects she takes on and turn down offers that don’t appeal to her. Right now, she is simultaneously a marine scientist and a small business owner, and she even works for a commercial lobster boat on occasion … just because she likes to.
(left) Darcie’s quahog reseeding project with local shellfish harvesters. (middle) Darcie’s son, Lane, helps out in the lab. When your Mom runs her own business, you sometimes have to help out, even if it has nothing to do with what you are studying in college (Lane is an architecture student). (right) Surf clams harvested on Georges Bank to be sent to the lab and tested for red tide.
I do a wide range of work. Some of my major ongoing projects include lab testing for red tide* in clams, testing ocean sediment beneath salmon pens to check for damage to the environment, conducting field surveys to assess wild shellfish populations, and collecting phytoplankton samples at sea to assist larger projects run by other groups. I have recently become interested in aquaculture— specifically oyster farming. I have done several projects helping people set up oyster farms and just recently I set up my own. Darcie spends time out on the water and in the intertidal zone, but as a business owner and someone who works in the highly regulated shellfisheries, she spends plenty of time in her office doing paperwork and helping oyster farmers complete their lease permits. She has a crew in the lab, who also work in the field with her. I am responsible for their employment and safety as well, which I take very seriously. Some people can be perfectly happy working at the same job every day. I realized early on that I get bored doing the same thing all the time, and I knew that I needed to find a way to make my job different and interesting for me. When you have a real passion for what you’re doing, then you get excited to go to work every day. I get to spend a lot of time out on the water, see all kinds of amazing places, and work with lots of different people. I’m so happy to work for myself and make my own choices every day, that I wouldn’t have it any other way.
*Red tide is caused by algae blooms that produce a toxin ingested by shellfish. While harmless to bivalves like clams, mussels and oysters, high levels of these toxins can cause people who eat them to become sick or even die. Illnesses in humans are commonly referred to as paralytic shellfish poisoning, or PSP.
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The Beaufort Scale “It was blowing great guns from the Northwest... One reef after another, we took in the topsails, and before we could get them hoisted up, we heard a sound like a short, quick rattling of thunder, and the jib was blown to atoms....” —Richard Henry Dana Jr., Two Years Before the Mast (1840)
currier & ives – library of congress
At the turn of the 18th century, a hydrographer with the British Royal Navy sought to standardize this process so that weather observations could be interpreted consistently from one ship to the next, and from one observer to the next. By the time Francis Beaufort was 19 years old, he had been serving in the Royal Navy for six years. In addition to learning all the ways of how to live aboard, sail, and navigate a square-rigged sailing ship, he took a particular interest in observing and learning about the weather. In 1805, he developed a guide to help sailors rank wind conditions, starting at a Force 0 (a flat calm with no wind at all), increasing to a Force 8 (gale) and all the way up to a Force 12 (hurricane). Originally, the Beaufort Scale was created to specify how much sail a fullrigged ship should carry in various wind speeds. In 1838, the British Admiralty made it mandatory for all Navy ships to record weather observations Sir Francis Beaufort (1774–1857) in the ship’s log using the Beaufort Scale. The formula has been adjusted over time, especially once engine-powered vessels replaced the sailing ship. It later was modified to include conditions ashore, such as describing the motions of trees in the wind, for example.
force 0 and 1 photos courtesy deirdre o’regan
royal museums greenwich, p.d.
Blowing great guns!? We get the idea, but what does that mean in real terms? Was it blowing 20 knots? 50 knots? Was it a full-blown hurricane? Before technology provided mariners with instruments to measure the wind with any degree of accuracy, people recording weather observations had to guess how fast the wind was blowing.
(left) Force 0: Not a ripple on the water. (middle) Force 1: What most people would describe as “no wind.” There are ripples on the water, but not enough of a breeze to fill the sails. (right) Force 11: Violent storm with exceptionally high waves (37–52 feet), with foam and spray covering the sea surface. This photo was taken from a USCG helicopter, which was sent out to check on the crew of a 32-foot sailboat during the “Perfect Storm.” The heroic and tragic stories from this 1991 storm were dramatized in a bestselling book and a movie of the same name.
You can learn more about the specific characteristics for each Beaufort Scale Force designation at the National Weather Service website, www.weather.gov/tbw/beaufort.
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by Richard King
ugenie Clark was a pioneer of marine biology, especially in the study of reef fish and sharks in their natural habitats. The daughter of a Japanese mother and an American father, Clark grew up in New York City in the 1920s and ’30s, fascinated from the earliest age by fish in aquaria. When she grew older, Clark learned how to spearfish out at sea, as well as to throw traditional fishing nets, and to collect and observe fish around coral reefs. In the 1940s, personal scuba technology was still being developed; she conducted her field studies by doing what was then called “underwater goggling.” When Clark first began her field research in southern California, then in Paulau and other islands in the southwestern Pacific, she focused on identification and analysis of poisonous fish, such as pufferfish. Clark was soon featured regularly in Natural History and National Geographic magazines. Her first book, Lady with a Spear, was the first popular memoir by a female marine biologist when it came out in 1951. It went on to become an international bestseller. One of her most compelling early adventures occurred one day in 1950 when she was spearfishing in the Red Sea as part of a year-long study of reef fish, workEugenie Clark with her spear, ing out of a marine lab in Egypt. Clark was snorkeling at the surface in Sharks’ Bay preparing for a dive in the Red Sea. when she saw a large, flat, motionless fish at the bottom. Using the weight of her heavy spear like an anchor, she swam down toward what she hoped, she wrote later, was “one of the poisonous sting rays I was particularly seeking.” Then, “just as I was about to thrust my spear in the fish’s back, I recognized the species. It was a ray all right—an electric ray! My spear would have been a fine conductor if the fish and I had connected.” Clark nearly zapped herself with an electric ray. Biologists have identified at least 52 species of electric ray around the world, classified in four different families with lovely common and scientific names: the numbfishes (Narcinidae), the sleeper rays (Narkidae), the coffin fishes (Hypnidae), and the torpedo rays (Torpedinidae). Clark didn’t tell her reader which species she nearly stabbed that day, but one of the more commonly found electric rays in the Red Sea is the leopard electric ray, first identified by the Western scientific community in the 1830s. Electric rays have been observed in the Middle East and the Mediterranean for thousands of years, described in accounts by Pliny and Aristotle. Claudian, a Roman poet from the 4th century, wrote (in modern translation): “But nature has armed its flanks with a numbing poison and mingled with its marrow chill to freeze all living creatures, hiding as it were its own winter in its heart…all [fish] that have touched it lie benumbed.” Electric rays, often called torpedoes, appear on ancient pottery and in mosaics. In early Greece, patients with headaches were prescribed live electric rays to touch, and cooked electric rays were served to relieve patients with other
american museum of natural history
Animals in Sea History
SEAHISTORY HISTORY168, 168,AUTUMN AUTUMN2019 2019 SEA
naples national archaeological museum kora 27
– wikipedia commons
A torpedo electric ray on a mosaic of finfish, sharks, and cephalopods in Pompeii, ca. 1000 BCE.
maladies, such as arthritis. Beginning in the 1700s, naturalists began using these rays, along with electric eels and electric catfish, to study the foundations of electricity. In more recent decades, electrified muscles in fish have helped with the understanding of the tiny electric pulses in human bodies, those that travel through our nerves. The name of the modern underwater missile, the torpedo, is derived from this fish, which got its name from the Latin word “torpor,” meaning paralyzing or numbing. Electric rays range in size, some species growing as large as six feet long. They tend to be more sluggish and more drably colored than other rays, spending their “energy” on concealment, rather than speed. In the wild, electric rays use their charged muscles to deter their predators and stun their prey—even from a short distance away—hunting bottom fish and invertebrates. Different species of electric rays have different amounts of voltage, which they pulse in
Leopard electric ray, swimming over a reef.
short bursts from specialized kidney-shaped muscles. Some of the larger types send out a pop that’s enough voltage to light a couple of lamps: they can shock fishers into dropping their lines or nets. If Clark had connected with that electric ray with her metal spear, the shock might’ve knocked her backwards or even have been enough to make her drop her gear. After her (almost) shocking adventure in the Red Sea and her successful book, Eugenie Clark became most famous for her study of sharks around the world. She became a master scuba diver and a professor at the University of Maryland. She also founded and directed the Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida. At the age of 92, she returned to the Red Sea for a final dive after many years of research visits and conservation activism in the region. She didn’t bring her spear this time. Eugenie Clark died only a few months later in 2015. For more “Animals in Sea History” go to www.seahistory.org or educators.mysticseaport.org.
“Sea History for K ids” is sponsored by the Henry L. & Grace Doherty Charitable Foundation
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MARITIME HISTORY ON THE INTERNET
by Peter McCracken
Online Resources for Adaptive Sailing
n 1992 on a trip to Thailand, I learned that author and sailor Tristan Jones (1929–1995) lived not far from where I was traveling, and, even better, that he was open to receiving visitors. My traveling partner and I went to meet him. By this point in his life, Jones had lost both of his legs to accidents and disease, but he was still sailing, now in a modified vessel called Little Legend, sometimes with and sometimes without an intentional extra space in the name, to become Little Leg End. Through this experience, Jones ended up making sailing accessible to many disabled youth and adults in Thailand. As Jones expected, sailing certainly presents additional challenges for people with disabilities, but “adaptive sailing,” as it is often called, offers people more and more ways of getting past those challenges every day. Just recently I saw a question raised on a local human services discussion list, asking if anyone knew of a nearby dock or marina with a wheelchair lift so someone local could get a friend in a wheelchair onto the person’s boat. Many groups focus on creating effective solutions for getting people sailing, regardless of ability. Challenged Sailors San Diego, at www.challengedsailors.org, manages a fleet of Martin 16s that have been designed for adaptive sailing. A bit north, the Bay Area Association of Disabled Sailors (www.baads.org) manages a fleet of specially rigged sailboats in the San Francisco Bay area. In the Great Lakes, the Sailing Education Association of Sheboygan (www.seasheboygan.org) offers adaptive boating on Lake Michigan, while the Erie Adaptive Sailing Experience (www.bayfrontcenter.org/education/erie-adaptive-sailing-program-ease/) has been operating from the Bayfront Maritime Center in Erie, Pennsylvania, for nearly two decades. In Australia, Sailors with disABILITIES (www.sailorswithdisabilities.com) manages larger yachts that have been customized for those with specific needs, and has been racing in the Sydney-to-Hobart race most years since 1995 with a crew made up primarily or completely of disabled sailors. In the UK and Europe, the Disabled Sailors Association (www.disabledsailing.org) offers links to various charter boats that can be managed by those with a range of abilities, and includes a broad collection of content about sailing with disabilities and tools that one can use to make it possible. The Jubilee Sailing Trust (www.jst.org.uk), a UK-based organization, operates two tall ships, Lord Nelson and Tenacious, both of which are designed to carry people with a wide range of abilities; these vessels also allow as many as possible to participate as members of the sailing crew and help maintain the ships, despite physical limitations. Also in the UK, the Miss Isle School of Sip & Puff Sailing (www.missisle.org.uk/) uses an Artemis 20, a racing boat designed specifically for both able and disabled sailors. For Miss Isle, the keelboat is outfitted with a special gimbaled seat, which provides a platform from which those who cannot use their hands or legs can still control the yacht. Sailing was a Paralympic sport in the 1996 through 2016 Paralympic Games, but in 2015 it was dropped from plans for the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo. While sailing will not be part of the next Paralympics, adaptive sailing continues in other forms. The 2019 Para World Sailing Championships took place in Spain in July, and international competitions continue throughout the year. In Canada, the AbleSail Network (www. ablesailnetwork.com) runs the Mobility Cup (www.mobilitycup.org), Canada’s 25-year-old annual regatta for sailors with disabilities. US Sailing manages a similar program for adaptive sailing across the country, at www.ussailing.org/education/adult/ adaptive-sailing/. The international Sailing.org supports a central site for Para World Sailing at www.sailing.org/events/paraworldsailing/index.php. At the end of World War I, the US military began a program to assist disabled sailors and soldiers. The Disability History Museum (www.disabilitymuseum.org) has images of the covers of Carry On, a magazine that focused on this work (www. disabilitymuseum.org/dhm/lib/catcard.html?id=3005), along with a few other maritime-related resources. The full run of Carry On is available through Archive.org, at https://archive.org/details/carryonmagazineo01unse. Suggestions for other sites worth mentioning are welcome at email@example.com. See www.shipindex.org for a free compilation of over 150,000 ship names from indexes to dozens of books and journals. 46
SEA HISTORY 168, AUTUMN 2019
Mayflower II emerging from her shelter at the shipyard at Mystic Seaport, July 2019. anniversary celebrations commemorating the Pilgrims’ historic voyage in 1620. Mayflower II is owned by the living history museum Plimoth Plantation, which displays the vessel in Plymouth Harbor, Massachusetts. The original Mayflower sailed back to England in April of 1621, where it was later sold in ruins and most likely broken up. Mayflower II was designed by MITtrained naval architect William Avery Baker for Plimoth Plantation. The ship is a full-scale reproduction of the original Mayflower and was built in 1955–57 in Brixham, England. The details of the ship, from the solid oak timbers and tarred hemp rigging, to the wood and horn lanterns and hand-colored maps, were carefully re-created to give visitors a sense of what the original 17th-century vessel was like. The ship was a gift to the American people from the people of Great Britain in honor of the friendships formed during World War II. Since its arrival in 1957, Mayflower II has been an educational exhibit at the museum in Plymouth. The launch ceremony at Mystic Seaport will be held in the shipyard at 2pm and will be open to museum visitors. Historian and author Nathaniel Philbrick will deliver a keynote address and the British Consul General in Boston, Harriet Cross, will christen the ship. The process will be very similar to the launch of the 1841 whaleship Charles W. Morgan in 2013.
Mayflower II will be rolled out onto a platform on the yard’s shiplift. At a designated signal, the platform will slowly lower the ship into the water until she floats in the Mystic River. In July, Mayflower Sails 2020 announced the ship would come to Boston for a free maritime festival in the Charlestown Navy Yard, 14–19 May 2020. Mayflower II will return to its berth in historic Plymouth Harbor after the event. From her launch in September until her departure from Mystic Seaport next the spring, ship restoration work will continue and the rigging will be installed. Leading up to the ship’s homecoming, several major events are planned celebrating Mayflower II’s restoration; the public is encouraged to attend. Visit www.sailingmayflower.org and follow along with @officialmayflower on social media to view restoration videos and stay up-to-date on progress and plans. (Mystic Seaport Museum, 75 Greenmanville Ave., Mystic, CT; www.mysticseaport.org. Plimoth Plantation, 137 Warren Avenue, Plymouth, MA 02360;Ph. 508 746-1622; www.plimoth.org) … This summer, the Sparkman & Stephens tug Kit Jones made her final voyage—overland—to her new home in Darien, Georgia. Sea History reported on the historic tug in spring 2016 (Historic Ships on a Lee Shore: “Kit Jones is Waiting for You, Sea History 154, p. 34–46). The 60-foot vessel was built on the privately owned Sapelo Island in
Kit Jones, 1939
kit jones photos courtesy friends of the kit jones
photo by andy price, mystic seaport
After nearly three years out of the water for a multi-million dollar restoration, the 62-year-old Mayflower II will be relaunched from the Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard at Mystic Seaport Museum in a public ceremony on Saturday, 7 September. The ship will remain at Mystic until spring 2020, when she will depart in time to participate in the 400th
nearly sank the tug, the University of Mississippi had her hauled and stored at a Biloxi boatyard. There she stayed, deteriorating, until a group of concerned citizens recognized her historic value and started the grassroots effort to save her. Happily, things are now looking up for Kit Jones. In late June she made the 544-mile highway drive from Biloxi to Darien, Georgia. The road trip required a great deal of preparation: the cabin and pilot house were removed to
Kit Jones, on the road in 2019
Georgia for tycoon R. J. Reynolds in 1938– 39 to ferry guests and supplies to the island. During World War II, the tug was commissioned as a US Coast Guard fireboat. She returned to her former service ferrying back and forth to Sapelo Island but was later adapted as a research vessel for what would be more than a fifty-year career supporting a variety of marine research projects for the University of Georgia Marine Institute and University of Mississippi. After Hurricane Katrina, which capsized and
stay within vehicle-height requirements, and the engine, generators, hydraulics, and tanks—none of which were original to the boat—were removed to reduce the weight of the hull. The cabin was loaded onto a separate truck for transport to Darien. Maxine Woolsey, coordinator of Mississippi operations for the Friends of the Kit Jones group, followed the Russell Marine Transport team the entire way from Biloxi (continued on page 50
SEA HISTORY 168, AUTUMN 2019 47
The Search for the Slaveship Clotilda
photos and sonar image courtesy search, inc.
n late May, the Alabama Historical Commission (AHC) announced the results of a detailed scientific, archaeological survey that we at SEARCH, Inc., conducted with the AHC, the National Geographic Society, the Slave Wrecks Project, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture through much of 2018 and the first months of 2019. The project was undertaken after a January 2018 breaking news story that a shipwreck exposed on the banks of the Mobile River might be that of the nineteenth-century schooner Clotilda. This was the last known slaveship to carry captives from Africa to the United States, more than fifty years after it became illegal to import slaves into the country. Clotilda’s captain, William Foster, departed Alabama in March 1860
and set a course for the coast of West Africa, where he hoped to procure a cargo of slaves. By July, he had completed his round trip voyage, having sailed to the known slave port of Ouidah (present day Benin), purchased 110 Africans from slave traders, and sailed back to Mobile. Under the cover of darkness, Foster and his crew successfully evaded the law and transferred Clotilda’s human cargo to a river steamboat and “sent them up into the canebrake to hide them until further disposal. [He] then burned [his] ship to the water’s edge and sunk her” in an effort to cover up the illegal operation. Not long after his arrival, local lore circulated that the waters surrounding Twelvemile Island in the Mobile River is where Foster burned and scuttled Clotilda’s remains.
by James Delgado, SEARCH, Inc.
James Delgado with Alabama State Archaeologist Stacye Hathorn examining the original enrollment for the Clotilda at the National Archives Branch in Atlanta. Working with our partners, our team began with an in-the-field assessment of that wreck that had been reported in the news, which quickly proved to not be Clotilda, but rather a yet-unidentified vessel built of Douglas Fir, which we believe may be one of a number of Pacific-built schooners that worked out of Mobile during and after the First World War. We then shifted to a comprehensive look at that section of the river, which older navigation charts showed had never been dredged, but which also showed a number of wrecks that “disappeared” on modern charts. The project included extensive and original archival research, a detailed archaeological survey of the river with a range of instruments to look through the murky water and the thick mud to what lay exposed and buried, and then a number of dives in challenging conditions to assess a number of wrecks. In addition to the first wreck, we documented steel barges of early 20th century origin, two cut-down iron or steel hulls that appear to be sailing vessels, one of which may be the lower hull of the famous Tusitala, scrapped in the area in 1947, two Civil War Confederate ironclads, and a smaller wooden wreck that became the focus of our work by the end of 2018. The work that followed included excavation in murky to completely obscured water, with alligators and water moccasins nearby, at times in flood stage conditions The sonar with the projected dimensions of the hull’s buried sections. SEA HISTORY HISTORY 168, 168, AUTUMN AUTUMN 2019 2019 SEA
and in winter cold (a deterrent to the reptiles) and extensive sampling and documentation. By this spring, we had found a consistent number of features that matched Clotilda, including the dimensions, the wood used in its construction, pure iron blacksmithed fasteners, a centerboard, evidence of copper sheathing, evidence of a shipboard fire, and in particular, a location and depth that made sense with what Captain Foster had publicly said about scuttling his schooner. Detailed historical analysis also played a role. The 120-ton admeasurement of Clotilda reflected a hull “full-formed” and deep as noted in registration documents and the 1855 account of her launch. The wreck was also full formed, and by applying the old formulas, we came up with a close tie to 120 tons.
historic sketches of the south (knickerbocker press, 19140
Archaeologists Deborah Marx, Alexander DeCaro, and Kyle Lent measure a hull plank at the wreck site.
Archaeology of the more recent past often merges physical evidence with archival sources. We examined more than 1,500 original registries of schooners registered in the Gulf of Mexico from 1818 to 1893, including New Orleans and Mobile. Less than half were regionally or locally built; the others came from the Lakes or the Atlantic seaboard. Of the regionally built, we ultimately found that only eight were registered at greater than 100 tons, and only one—Clotilda, was what lies in the mud of the Mobile River. As scientists, we say in our report that this is likely Clotilda. After international peer review, colleagues agreed. News of the find reached a global audience and continues to attract attention. The next steps remain to be defined beyond protection and public consultation. As one of the team, I’m proud to have worked with and led an effort that focuses on not only the identity of a wreck, but also a profound human story with powerful implications and consequences that resonate today, 159 years later. One important legacy is Africatown, a community founded by the formerly enslaved people brought to Alabama in Clotilda. The Africatown community, the descendants of those resilient elders, remind us that history is neither remote nor disconnected. Maritime history is a story of linkages, connections, and consequences, and the story of the
Abaché (left) and Cudjoe Kazoola Lewis, two survivors of the illegal Clotilda slave run, in Africatown, ca. 1914. Clotilda is one that speaks to this, and the power of an artifact—in this case a wreck— to connect physically to that past and learn from it. Maritime archaeologist James P. Delgado, PhD, RPA, is Senior Vice President for SEARCH, Inc., and a frequent contributor to Sea History.
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expeditions to cross the Northwest Passage, the first expedition to the South Pole, and the first expedition proven to have reached the North Pole. The ship’s maiden season includes cruises along the Norwegian coast and to Greenland, before becoming the first hybrid electric–powered expedition ship to attempt a transit of the Northwest Passage. MS Roald Amundsen will head to the extreme south for the 2019–20 season in the Antarctic. The Amundsen is the first of three hybrid ships planned for the Hurtigruten fleet of cruise ships, which conducts voyages to Norway, Greenland, Spitsbergen, Iceland, Europe, Africa, South America, Central America, Arctic Canada, and Antarctica. (us.expeditions@hurti gruten.com; www.hurtigruten.com) …
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department announced on 28 June that it would be limiting visitation to the battleship Texas, as the ship is prepared for a muchneeded haulout to address its leaking hull. Before the Texas’s trip to the drydock, Battleship Texas battleship texas
MS Roald Amundsen
(continued from page 47) to Darien, and remarked, “Driving up behind the Kit Jones along the highway on this journey was an awesome sight.” Now that Kit Jones is safely in Darien in a secure enclosure, the Friends of the Kit Jones are celebrating the completion of this complex overland transport and preparing for the next steps in the process of restoring her. They have secured insurance for the restoration process and the plan is for the eventual display of the tug as a land-based museum vessel in a prominent site near the Darien River, in the heart of the town. Contributions towards the restoration of the vessel are welcome. (Friends of the Kit Jones, PO Box 1968, Darien, GA 31305; Ph. 770 335-6592; www.savethekitjones. com; firstname.lastname@example.org) … MS Roald Amundsen, the first hybrid cruise ship, set sail along the Norwegian coast on her maiden voyage on 2 July. The ship operates primarily on liquefied natural gas, but can switch to battery power for up to 60 minutes, allowing for quiet cruising and reducing the ship’s emissions. The ship is named after polar explorer Roald Amundsen, who led the first
the Battleship Texas State Historic Site staff wants to catalogue and store the vessel’s many artifacts on board, including a flag that flew on D-Day, a silver presentation to the battleship from the citizens of Texas, crewmember scrapbooks from World War I and World War II, and objects of daily life, such as barber chairs and bunks. To allow staff access to these items, the ship will be closed to the public during the week but will be open for visitors on weekends. The visual experience of the tour will be different from those in the past, as items
SEA HISTORY 168, AUTUMN 2019
process carries a price tag of £45,000 (approx. $56,000). Some of the funds have been raised but the group is looking at crowdsourcing to fully fund the project. Unicorn was built in the Royal Dockyard at Chatham and launched in 1824, but by HMS Unicorn mariusz matuszewski, wikipedia
are removed from exhibit and stored. The Battleship Texas Foundation had announced in May that, once the restoration work is completed, the ship will be moved to a new location, which has yet to be determined, as admission receipts to the museum ship in its current setting have not been enough to fund her operations. (Battleship Texas State Historic Site, 3523 Independence Parkway, South LaPorte, TX; Ph. 281 479-2431; https://tpwd.texas.gov/ state-parks/battleship-texas; https://battle shiptexas.org) … The Unicorn Preservation Society (UPS) is seeking funding to create a digitally generated model of HMS Unicorn to guide plans for restoring the ship. The ship has already been scanned digitally, but the group still needs to transfer the scans to a digital wire model to gather information about the ship’s current condition before a repair plan can be made. The long-term goal is to haul the ship and relocate it to a drydock display in East Graving Dock, not far from its current berth. UPS would like to accomplish the move by the warship’s 200th anniversary in 2024. The digital-modeling stage of the
the time of her completion was not required by the Royal Navy and was put into reserve, receiving a roof over her hull instead of rigging. A 5th Rate frigate, she has 46 guns, and is 151 feet long. She was taken to Dundee, Scotland, in 1873 for use as a reserve training ship, and she carried out this function for nearly 100 years, while serving as headquarters for the Senior Naval Officer in Dundee during both World Wars. (Unicorn Preservation Society, 14
City Quay, Dundee, United Kingdom DD1 3JA; www.frigateunicorn.org; email@example.com) … On 1 July the Detroit Historical Society broke ground on Phase I of a $4.9 million outdoor enhancement project at the Dossin Great Lakes Museum. The museum had its start in 1949 aboard the 147-foot three-masted schooner J. T. Wing, but by 1956 the wooden ship was deteriorating to the point that it was deemed unsafe and condemned. The museum moved to its current facility in 1960. The new project will transform the entire museum property for historical interpretation and recreation. Phase I will upgrade visitor amenities, addressing lighting, outdoor artifact displays, bike racks, a riverfront event patio, benches, a kayak launch and river walk, among other improvements. Future phases envision a riverfront connector trail, a historic landscape reflecting pre-development Belle Isle, and improved access to the museum from surrounding lots. Features of the Dossin Museum’s collection include the bow anchor from SS Edmund Fitzgerald, the restored smoking lounge of SS City of Detroit III,
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SAVE THE DATE!
New York City Pickle Night Dinner 8 November 2019
This year marks the 214th anniversary of the historic Battle of Trafalgar and the 15th New York City Pickle Night Dinner. Those interested in the significance of the battle and the remarkable life of Admiral Lord Nelson are invited to attend this special occasion. The event is named for Her Majesty’s Schooner Pickle, the smallest British vessel at the Battle of Trafalgar. It was HMS Pickle that brought the important news back to LonHMS Pickle don of the British victory and Nelson’s death. This gala event is a perennial success, with guests coming from across the United States and overseas. Antony Phillipson, Her Majesty’s Consul General, British Consulate General New York serves as this year’s honorary I Have Urgent Dispatches by Gordon Frickers dinner chairman. Major General Matthew J. Holmes, CBE DSO, Commandant General Royal Marines will be the speaker. Major General Holmes was commissioned in 1988 and appointed commanding officer of 42 Commando in April 2006, deployed to Afghanistan. He also served as Head of Futures and Maritime in 2013, chief of staff of the operational headquarters at Permanent Joint Headquarters in 2016, and director of the Resolute Support Mission Ministerial Advisory Group in 2018. This past June, he was appointed Commandant General Royal Marines. During Major General Holmes’s brilliant career, his unit was awarded the Distinguished Service Order, a Conspicuous Gallantry Cross, seven Military Crosses and seven Mentions in Dispatches during a fiercely contested tour. Holmes was advanced to Major General in May 2018. He was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s 2019 Birthday Honors List for his outstanding contribution to the Royal Marines and to the United Kingdom’s defence and security interests. Space is limited. For reservations: contact Sally McElwreath Callo, Ph. 917 536-1077, email SallyMC79@verizon.net7. Ticket price is $350 per person. Dress is black tie or military equivalent. The American Friends of the National Museum of the Royal Navy, event sponsor, is recognized as a tax-exempt organization. The National Maritime Historical Society, the Nelson Society, and the 1805 Club also support this event. 52
and the pilot house of the Great Lakes freighter William Clay Ford. The Detroit Historical Society reports that the Dossin has more than doubled attendance in the past five years. (100 Strand Drive, Belle Isle, Detroit, MI; Ph. 313 833-1805; https:// detroithistorical.org/dossin-great-lakesmuseum) … The caretakers of USS The Sullivans is sounding the alert: the ship is leaking and sorely in need of repair. Christened in 1943, the Fletcher-class destroyer was named for the Sullivan brothers—Joseph, Francis, Albert, Madison, and George—who were lost at the Battle of Guadalcanal on 13 November 1942 when their ship, USS Juneau (CL-52), was sunk with the loss of 687 men. Their story was told the following year in the film The Fighting Sullivans. USS The Sullivans (DD-537) was built by the Bethlehem Steel Corporation in San Francisco, California. The ship served in World War II, taking part in combat in the Marshall Islands, the Caroline Islands, the Mariana Islands, and the Philippines; it rescued survivors from downed planes and damaged ships, and earned nine battle stars. It then served in the Korean War and the Cuban Blockade, and participated in efforts to rescue the nuclear submarine USS Thresher. It was decommissioned in 1965 and became part of the collection of the Buffalo Naval Park in 1977. A second destroyer (DDG-68) was named for the Sullivan brothers at Bath Iron Works in Maine and launched in 1995. Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park, One Naval Park Cove, Buffalo, NY; Ph. 716 847-1773; www.buffalonavalpark. org) … On 8 July the 1883 pilot schooner No. 5 Elbe (ex-Wander Bird) collided with the Cyprus-flagged cargo ship Astrosprinter on the River Elbe near Hamburg. Thankfully, emergency responders from the German Life Saving Association (DLRG) and local firefighters were already in the area and came to the aid of the 43 passengers and crew aboard at the time; eight were brought to nearby hospitals, including one individual who was transported by helicopter. As of press time, all of the injured had been released and were either recovered or recovering at home. Just over a week before the accident, the pilot schooner had emerged from an extensive $1.7 million restoration project. SEA HISTORY 168, AUTUMN 2019
No. 5 Elbe was towed out of the busy channel to a wharf, where she then submerged. A salvage team was able to refloat her using a harness and inflatable bags; the hull was patched and she was taken to the Peters Shipyard in Wewelsfleth for a thorough assessment of damages. According to Hamburg Maritime Foundation board member Joachim Kaiser, “the schooner’s new keel and a series of shrouds and planks in the Elbe No. 5
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hull below the waterline have been broken. The damage above the waterline is also significant: the port bulwark and midships are severely damaged and the mast is broken into three parts. The secondary damage caused by sinking has not yet been fully evaluated. Everything possible has been removed, including the three diesel engines. Next, the lead ballast has to be removed to clear the bilge of silt.” Kaiser reports that the interior can be saved and that the museum is drawing up an itemization of repairs so that the job can be put out for bid. Designed by Gustav Junge and built in the H. C. Stulcken Shipyard, No. 5 Elbe was launched 9 August 1883. She served 41 years as a pilot boat on the Elbe River, serving the shipping community out of Hamburg. By the mid-1920s, she had changed hands and been re-named Wandervogel, but her condition deteriorated during these years. In 1928 she was discovered by journalist Warwick Tompkins and
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restoring her; she served a non-profit organization in Seattle for a time but was ultimately sent back to Hamburg in 2002, when the Stiftung Hamburg Maritim (Hamburg Maritime Foundation) purchased and restored her. She is supported by the Friends of the Pilot Schooner No. 5 Elbe ( www.lotsenschoner.de; SHM: www. stiftung-hamburg-maritim.de) … On 8 July the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the state of Maryland, and Charles County announced the designation of a new National Marine Sanctuary at Mallows Bay in the Potomac River, protecting the remains of more than 100 abandoned vessels built for use in World War I. It is
photo by don shomette
his wife, Gwen. The couple purchased the schooner for $1,500 and changed her name to its English translation, Wander Bird. They would go on to make thirteen transAtlantic crossings in the schooner, taking on young people as paying crew. It was aboard a Wander Bird cruise that a young Irving Johnson met his future bride, Electa (Exy) Search. The Johnsons would also go on to train a generation of sailors in the same spirit aboard two vessels, both named Yankee. After expensive storm damage in 1941, Wander Bird’s masts were cut down and she was converted to a house boat for Gwen Tompkins in Sausalito, California. In 1968 Harold and Annalise Sommer purchased Wander Bird and spent ten years
the first new National Marine Sanctuary designated since the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Underwater Preserve was established in 2000. Mallows Bay–Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary is approximately forty miles south of the nation’s capital, encompassing an eighteen-square-mile stretch of Potomac River bank in Charles County, Maryland. In addition to the WWI wrecks, ship remains dating back to the Civil War and archaeological artifacts almost 12,000 years old are also located within the sanctuary boundaries. These represent the diverse influences of Native American communities, the Potomac River fishing industry, and the American Civil War in the area. Maryland’s Senator Ben Cardin describes the site as “a unique blend of historical, recreational, and habitat resources with strong public support for its protection.” Its most famous historical asset is the “Ghost Fleet”—partially submerged remains of over 100 wooden steamships built for the first World War. The ships, constructed at more than 40 shipyards in seventeen states, were brought to their current location to be salvaged for scrap metal and were abandoned there. “The designation of Mallows Bay as a National Marine Sanctuary is an exciting milestone for NOAA and an opportunity for the public to celebrate and help protect this piece of our nation’s SEA HISTORY 168, AUTUMN 2019
friends of the governor stone
kind. She is on the National Register of Historic Places and a designated National Historic Landmark. Built in 1877 in Pascagoula, Mississippi, as a lighter ship for Charles Grenier and his lumber company, the 39-foot Governor Stone went on to serve in many capacities, under many names, and in the course of her long life, she has been resilient in the face of many hardships. In 1906, she sank in a hurricane that destroyed an entire schooner fleet and killed 21 men. She sank again in 1939 and was salvaged by Isaac Rhea, who converted her into a daysailer for his luxury resort, Inn by the Sea, in Pass Christian, Mississippi. In 2018 the Governor Stone sank once again at her berth when Hurricane Michael came ashore in Panama City. On 10 November 2018, exactly thirty days after the storm, the remains of the Governor Stone were hauled out of the water at St. Andrews Marina. Volunteers of the Friends of the Governor Stone spent weeks salvaging
Governor Stone, 2019
friends of the governor stone
pieces of the wreckage. Volunteer divers recovered the ships wheel, her original Edison steering mechanism, and other valuable pieces and components. Today, the Friends of the Governor Stone are working with state and federal agencies, as well as
private donors, to secure funding to facilitate the complete restoration of the vessel. Hurricane Michael caused catastrophic damage to this historic vessel, and plans are underway to restore the schooner to her former glory. (Donations of any amount can be made to the Friends of the Governor Stone by mail to: Friends of the Governor Stone, PO Box 15968, Panama City, FL 32405; or PayPal via the website at www. governorstone.org or Facebook at www. facebook.com/GovernorStone/. For further information, please direct inquiries to FOGS president Amanda Kilbourn, Ph. 850 933-5058 or 850 621-0011; email at email@example.com.) … The replica sloop Providence arrived in her new homeport of Alexandria, Virginia, late on 2 July. The vessel was launched on 2 October 1976 for the American Bicentennial celebration and served as Rhode Island’s sailing ambassador for thirty years, Sloop Providence
sloop providence fdn
rich maritime history,” said Neil Jacobs, acting NOAA administrator. “We look forward to working with the state of Maryland, Charles County, and other local partners to foster education and research partnerships as well as support and enhance local recreation and tourism along this historic stretch of the Potomac River.” (www.sanctuaries.noaa.gov/mallows-po tomac/) … “Buddy, can you spare a dime?” The Friends of the Governor Stone have embarked on a campaign to save the historic schooner after it capsized and suffered significant damage in Hurricane Michael. The volunteers are willing, able, and enthusiastic, and the costs to rebuild the schooner are within reach if many people can contribute a modest amount. SV Governor Stone is a 141-yearold Gulf Coast schooner, the last of her
participating in tall ship events, conducting charter and sail training trips, and interpreting the history of the Continental Navy. Her programs and finances were sometimes healthy and sometimes not. Eventually, the sloop was put into drydock when funding
SEA HISTORY 168, AUTUMN 2019 55
courtesy jamie white
privateer, and whaler. Katy was purchased for the Continental Navy in 1775, refitted and renamed Providence. John Paul Jones commanded her from May to November of 1776, later describing that period as his favorite command. In her four-plus years of naval service, Providence took more than forty prizes. She was burned in 1779 to avoid capture by the British. (Tall Ship Providence Fdn., 106 N. Lee Street, Suite 200, Alexandria, VA, 22314; www.tallship providence.org) … A Jubilee Sailing Trust (JST) appeal for £1 million (approximately $1.25 million) in donations in a single week met with a response of £1,065,000 in donations, ensuring that the non-profit will continue operations. The organization launched its campaign on 28 July, warning that it would be confronted with a decision to cease all activities if it did not achieve its fundraising goal of £1 million by Friday, 5 July. The organization cited costly mechanical work on its two ships, as well as lower-than-projected income and the deferment of some partner projects. The JST was founded with a grant from the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Fund in 1978 to expand opportunities in sail
dried up. Providence was sold to Captain Thorpe Leeson in 2011 for charter sailing, and during this period the sloop was featured in the Pirates of the Caribbean sequel films Dead Man’s Chest and At World’s End, as well as the 2014 film Freedom. She was severely damaged in a winter storm in January 2015 when she toppled off her supports while she was out of the water at Newport Shipyard. With a broken mast and punctures in the heavy-gauge fiberglass hull, Leeson sought a motivated buyer who would be able to marshal the resources to restore her to sailing form. The Tall Ship Providence Foundation was subsequently founded to purchase the sloop, carry out the restoration, and to bring her to Virginia for a new career as a feature of the Alexandria waterfront. Visitors can take 30-minute tours of the ship dockside, and she is available for evening cruises and private charters. The group plans to create a visitors center at the marina next year, which will build on the ship-tour experience and feature interactive exhibits on the birth of the US Navy. The original Providence was launched as the Katy in the late 1760s and was put into service as a merchant ship,
Lord Nelson astern, and Tenacious training for the disabled and to reduce social barriers through sail training experiences of mixed-ability crews. The organization built the Lord Nelson, and then Tenacious, to be accessible, including wheelchair lifts and wide decks, a speaking compass, power-assisted steering and a joystick, ascender systems that lift wheelchair users aloft, and signage in braille and other tactile guidance features to navigate around the ship. Over the years, the mission has expanded to extend the experience of sail training to groups of mixed ability and circumstances. The JST’s royal patron is HRH The Duke of York K.G. (Jubilee Sailing Trust, 12 Hazel Road, Southampton SO19 7GA; https://jst.org.uk)
The 1938 topsail schooner Swift of Ipswich is back at the Los Angeles Maritime Institute (LAMI) for her final phase of a several million-dollar restoration. When completed, the ship and LAMI will reinstate her sailing programs in the Pacific with at-risk and disadvantaged youths of the greater San Pedro–Wilmington, California area. Swift of Ipswich is a classic topsail schooner of 46 tons, with a length of 70½ feet. She is modeled and named after an American privateer captured by the British Royal Navy during the Revolutionary War. Howard I. Chapelle designed the replica vessel, and she was built in William Robinson’s Boatyard in Ipswich, Massachusetts. She was built for Robinson’s personal use but was sold a year after her launch to actor James Cagney (1899–1986), star of such films as The Public Enemy (1931), Angels with Dirty Faces (1938) and Yankee Doodle Dandy (1941). Cagney brought her to Newport Beach, California, where she served as his private luxury yacht and appeared in many Hollywood films. The current restoration project involved replacing several hull planks, about 100 black locust trunnels, and rebuilding the accommodations below, to name but a few specifics. The element of her restoration that engages me is her rigging and spar renewals. We plan on renewing all the wire rope above deck with a four-strand regular laid Master rigger Jamie White, with Swift of Ipswich Aramid fiber, called VETS 128. hauled out behind him in San Pedro, California. The weight reduction is to ensure that the vessel will be able to carry her fore-topsail, as the youth sailing program is called “Topsail Youth Program.” The goal is to have the vessel in the water early next year. The ship survives certainly, and she remains a training ground for a steady stream of youths and adults who turn up to be inspired by her rakish profile, lofty spars, and salty bow. Please visit us any Tuesday through Saturday at Berth 73, San Pedro, California 90731, and lend a hand in this noble enterprise. (LAMI, Ph. 310 883-6055; info@lamitopsail. org; www.lamitopsail.org) —Jamie White, Master Rigger (www.thesquarerigger.com)
SEA HISTORY 168, AUTUMN 2019
CALENDAR Festivals, Events, Lectures, Etc. •Lake Union Boats Af loat Show, 12–15 September in Seattle, WA. (South Lake Union, 901 Fairview Ave. North; www. boatsaf loatshow.com) •Boatyard Beach Bash, 14 September at the Annapolis Maritime Museum. (723 Second Street, Annapolis, MD; www. amaritime.org) •Haydn Voyages: Music at the Maritime, 15 September and 10 November aboard the 1898 steam ferryboat Berkeley at the San Diego Maritime Museum. (1492 N. Harbor Dr., San Diego, CA; Ph. 619 2349153; www.sdmaritime.org) •30th Annual East End Maritime Festival, 21–22 September, in Greenport, NY. (www.eastendmaritimefestival.org) •Songs of the Sea: Live Music with Jim Mageean, Pat Sheridan and Miscellania, 25 September at Maine Maritime Museum in Bath. (43 Washington St., Bath, ME; Ph. 207 443-1316; www.mainemaritime museum.org) •Portsmouth Maritime Folk Festival, 28–29 September, in Portsmouth, NH. (http://pmffest.org) •Lake Union Wooden Boat Festival, 28–29 September at Lake Union Park in Seattle, WA. Hosted by the Center for Wooden Boats. (www.cwb.org) •Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival, 4–5 October at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum; also at the museum is OysterFest on 26 October. (213 North Talbot Street, St. Michaels, MD; www.cbmm.org) •USS Constellation Cup Regatta & Deck Party, 12 October, organized by Historic Ships in Baltimore. (301 East Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD; Ph. 410 539-1797; www. historicships.org) •Santa Barbara Harbor & Seafood Festival, 12 October along the Santa Barbara waterfront. (113 Harbor Way, Santa Barbara, CA; www.harborfestival.org) •The 30th Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race, 15–20 October from Baltimore, MD, to Portsmouth, VA. “Salute to Schooners” is Tuesday morning, 15 October, followed by dockside tours in Baltimore; Baltimore parade of sail is on 16 October; the race down the Bay is 17–19 October; select vessel tours in Norfolk on 19 October. (www.gcbsr.org)
•Wellfleet OysterFest, 19–20 October in Wellfleet, MA, on Cape Cod. (www.well fleetoysterfest.org) •Going to Pieces over Conservation: Treatment of USS Monitor’s Gun Carriages, a presentation by Elsa Sangouard, Senior Conservator, USS Monitor Center, 2 November at the Mariners’ Museum in Virginia. (100 Museum Dr., Newport News, VA; www.marinersmuseum.org) •Southport Wooden Boat Show, 2 November at the Old Yacht Basin, Southport, NC. (Ph. 910 477-2787; www.southport woodenboatshow.com) E xhibits •26th Annual Maritime Art Exhibit, at the Coos Art Museum in Oregon, ends 28 September. Featured artist is Calvin Liang. (235 Anderson Ave., Coos Bay, OR; Ph. 541 267-3901; www.coosart.org) •Rum Runners, Sailors, and Prohibition, through October 2019 at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum. Also at the museum, History of Oil in the Santa Barbara Channel. (113 Harbor Way, Santa Barbara, CA; Ph. 805 962-8404; www. sbmm.org) •De Wind is Op! Climate, Culture and Innovation in Dutch Maritime Painting, open now with a companion symposium being held at the New Bedford Whaling Museum on 18–19 October. Also at the museum is George Gale: A Sea-Nurtured Artist, through mid-January. (18 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford, MA; Ph. 508 997-0046; www.whalingmuseum.org) •Shipwrecks & Salvage, through 3 November at the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath. (43 Washington St., Bath, ME; Ph. 207 443-1316; www.mainemaritime museum.org) •Seth Casteel: Underwater Dogs, through 5 January at the Minnesota Marine Art Museum. (800 Riverview Dr., Winona, MN; Ph. 507 474-6626; www.mmam.org) •J. M. W. Turner: Watercolors from Tate, 5 October through 23 February at Mystic Seaport. See p. 40 for more information. (75 Greenmanville Ave., Mystic, CT; Ph. 860 572-0711; www.mysticseaport.org) •A Lasting Memento: John Thomson’s Photographs Along the River Min, until 17 May at the Peabody Essex Museum in
Salem, MA. (161 Essex St., Salem, MA; Ph. 978-745-9500; www.pem.org) •Lighter, Stronger, Faster: The Herreshoff Legacy, through April 2021 at the MIT Museum in Cambridge, MA. (265 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA; Ph. 617 253-5927; www.mitmuseum.mit.edu) Conferences & Symposiums •2019 Historic Naval Ships Association Annual Conference, 17–20 September in Manitowoc, WI, hosted by the Wisconsin Maritime Museum. (www.hnsa.org; www. wisconsinmaritime.org) •American Historical Association, 134th Annual Meeting, 3–6 January in New York City. (www.historians.org) •Society for Historical Archaeology Conference, 8–11 January in Boston, MA. Theme: “Revolution” (www.sha.org) •2020 National Council on Public History Annual Meeting, 18–21 March in Atlanta, GA. Call for Posters deadline is 7 October. (www.ncph.org) •PCA/ACA National Conference (Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association), 15–18 April in Philadelphia. “Sea Literature, History, & Culture” will be one of the subject areas presented. Call for Papers deadline is 1 November. (www. pcaaca.org) •Council of American Maritime Museums Annual Conference, 27–29 April at the Vancouver Maritime Museum. Call for Papers notice will be posted this fall on the CAMM website. (www.councilofameri canmaritimemuseums.org) •“Port Cities in the Atlantic World,” Conference organized by the Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World Program (CLAW) at the College of Charleston 14–16 May 2020 in Charleston, SC, to mark the 350th anniversary of the settlement of Charles Towne, the 250th anniversary of the establishment of the College of Charleston, and the 25th anniversary of CLAW. (www.claw.cofc.edu) •International Maritime History Association (IMHA) 8th International Congress of Maritime History, 30 June– 3 July in Porto, Portugal. Theme: “Old and New Uses of the Oceans.” Call for Papers deadline is 30 September. (www.imha2020. com)
SEAHISTORY HISTORY168, 168,AUTUMN AUTUMN2019 57 2019 57 SEA
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Kids site with resources for National History Day, a year-long LATEST NEWS educational competition in which over half a million middle- and high-school students prepare a history project on a designated theme. Explore this year’s theme, Breaking Barriers in History, and discover students’ past winning projects at seahistory.org/NHD.
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Combat at Close Quarters: An Illustrated History of the US Navy in the Vietnam War edited by Edward J. Marolda (Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, 2018, 360pp, illus, index, isbn 978-1-68247-195-1; $39.95hc) Edward Marolda, a former senior historian at the Naval History and Heritage Command, has brought together four authors to detail the US Navy’s major combat operations in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam conflict. With more than 200 illustrations and maps to complement the text, this work is ideal for both the professional and general audiences. Combat at Close Quarters commemorates the 50th anniversary of American involvement in Vietnam. Four sections encompass conflict in the air, along the coasts, on the rivers, and ashore for the US Navy. Each features several vignettes with a focus on leaders, weapons systems, and specific operations. The sources come from a nine-volume series of monographs initiated in 2003, also edited by Marolda, and produced for the US Navy, following a similar series done for the Navy covering the Korean War. The first essay, “Naval Air War: The Rolling Thunder Campaign,” examines the progressive aerial assault against North Vietnam. Marolda and veteran naval historian Norman Polmar detail the action with emphasis on the carriers assigned to Dixie Station in the south and Yankee Station in the north. Several of the standouts in this chapter are attributed to the role of Admiral Ulysses Simpson Grant Sharp, Pacific Commander. In that position, he not only oversaw General William Westmoreland and his Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV), but also the ships assigned to Task Force 77. His concern over the strategy advocated by President Lyndon Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara comes to the forefront. Added to this are details of operations not as commonly known, such as the role of Commander Homer Smith and the introduction of precision-guided munitions or the use of the nuclear-powered cruiser Long Beach, armed with Talos missiles, against North Vietnamese MIGs. R. Black Dunnavent joins Marolda for an analysis of river combat in “Green Hell: Warfare on the Rivers and Canals of Viet-
nam,” in which they dispel the common perception of riverine combat, as personified in Apocalypse Now. Starting with French and Vietnamese efforts immediately after the end of the Second World War to the arrival of the first American
surface gunfire support—in blunting the 1972 Easter Offensive, along with operations in the Gulf of Tonkin. The second is the successful mining campaign of Haiphong harbor that shut out North Vietnam from outside assistance. The final essay, “Knowing the Enemy: Naval Intelligence in Southeast Asia,” by Richard A. Mobley and Marolda, delves into the world of maritime surveillance and interpretation. The Vietnam War is unique in that the initial incident between the United States and the North Vietnamese resulted from an intelligence gathering operation, the famed Gulf of Tonkin Incident. The first casualties suffered by the Navy was when an RF-8A reconnaissance The Glencannon PressCrusader was shot down over Laos. While these events are well known, others, such 4 col. inches (2.25 x 4.5 inches) as the formation of the Ghost Squadron to Prefer right hand page,monitor bottom theright. Ho Chi Minh Trail, or USS advisors, the US Navy adopted a compre- Oxford and Jamestown sailing off Vietnam hensive riverine and littoral strategy in in a similar role as USS Pueblo and Liberty, Vietnam. Operations such as Game War- receive the attention they deserve. They den, SEALORDs, and the Mobile Riverine even highlight the role of the nuclear subForce represented a unique form of warfare marine USS Sculpin in interdicting supplies that harken back to the days of small boat heading to South Vietnam. actions in the American Civil War. New technologies and concepts such as Jacuzzi THE GLENCANNON drive Patrol Boat Rivers, heavily armed PRESS Huey gunships of the Seawolves, and Navy SEALs, along with mobile bases and mothMaritime Books erships such as USS Harnett County, add a multifaceted dimension to the war in Southeast Asia. One of the major results of these efforts was the rise of a unique naval NEW! leader, Elmo R. Zumwalt Jr. The hisTory of The AssociALesser-known stages of naval operaTion of MArylAnd PiloTs tions in the Vietnam War are revealed in by Capt. Brian Hope the third section by John Darrell Sherwood: “Nixon’s Trident: Naval Power in Southeast Asia, 1968–1972,” which covers the period A veteran pilot of more than 40 post-Rolling Thunder. Air operations over years experience guiding ships North Vietnam diminished in scope and through Chesapeake Bay, scale but continued with targeted strikes. Capt. Hope chronicles the fasNorth Vietnam countered with additional cinating history of this organiair and surface-to-air countermeasures, and the US Navy needed to adapt to the new zation from before the Revolulevel of threats. One of the key players was tionary War to the present. the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, a naval aviaFREE Catalog 1-510-455-9027 tor who understood the threat. Sherwood Online at highlights two events that do not get the www.glencannon.com attention elsewhere that they deserve. The first is the Navy’s role—both aircraft and
SEA HISTORY 168, AUTUMN 2019 59
by Kurt D. Voss All proceeds from this pictorial history benefit the ELISSA preservation fund.
Published by Arcadia Publishing and Galveston Historical Foundation $21.99. 128 pages, 200 photographs Autographed copies available at (409) 763-1877, or online at:
w w w. t s m - e l i s s a . o r g Anne T. Converse Photography
Neith, 1996, Cover photograph
Wood, Wind and Water
A Story of the Opera House Cup Race of Nantucket Photographs by Anne T. Converse Text by Carolyn M. Ford Live vicariously through the pictures and tales of classic wooden yacht owners who lovingly restore and race these gems of the sea. “An outstanding presentation deserves ongoing recommendation for both art and nautical collections.” 10”x12” Hardbound book; 132 pages, 85 full page color photographs; Price $45.00 For more information contact: Anne T. Converse Phone: 508-728-6210 email@example.com www.annetconverse.com
While not an overall history of the US Navy in the Vietnam War, Combat at Close Quarters is an excellent source on the role of the Navy in many facets of that conflict. Hopefully the Naval Institute will follow up this excellent work with the five other monographs in the series and provide a two-volume series that aptly illustrates and discusses the role of the US Navy. Salvatore R. Mercogliano Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina Men at Sea, a graphic novel by Riff Reb’s, translated by Joe Johnson (Dead Reckoning Press an imprint of Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, 2019, 116pp, illus, isbn 978-1-68247-387-0; $24.95pb) Men at Sea is an anthology of short stories presented in a graphic novel style by French comics artist Riff Reb’s. (No, that’s not a typo — the artist’s last name is spelled Reb’s, with the apostrophe.) The artist’s vivid illustrations give us a compelling visual interpretation of maritime tales by classic writers of the nineteenth century. Some of these writers, such as Edgar Allen Poe, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Joseph Conrad, are readily familiar, while others are more obscure—at least to American audiences. The graphic novel genre is much more respected in Europe than it is here in the United States. Americans tend to feel that comics are for kids. But many artists recognize that comics can be a vehicle for telling sophisticated stories for adults, and can be well produced with thoughtful writing and excellent artwork. Although there are such comics in America, it is a fringe genre enjoyed by a relatively small number of devotees. The stories that Reb’s has chosen all have a similar dark and foreboding tone. In grasping for adjectives to describe this group of stories, I came up with: macabre, gruesome, lurid, and sensational. One or two stories relieve this grimness with another mood—somber. In most of the stories, the main characters are dead by the end, often victims of the mighty forces of nature. Adapting short stories into a comic is much like adapting a book into a movie. Reb’s had to pick and choose which elements of the story to include and which to
leave out, and recognize which parts are best shown visually. As in movies, the visual aspect of illustrations can create a large amount of context, detail, and characterization, and can take the place of pages of description. It is a perfect example of the adage “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Reb’s adapts “A Descent Into the Maelstrom” from a story by Edgar Allen Poe. The original story is full of description
and detail, with long and convoluted explanations that can be difficult for the modern reader to wade through. The need for most of this description is eliminated by the meticulously detailed and expressive illustrations by Reb’s. Conversely, the original story by Robert Louis Stevenson, “The Sinking Ship,” is very short, very spare—only 611 words. Stevenson gives no indication of the era in which the story takes place, of what kind of ship is involved, or any sort of description of the characters. Reb’s has enhanced the original tale by giving us context, characterization, and visual interest in his illustrations. Reb’s has done his nautical research. His many drawings of vessels—the deck fittings, the rigging and sails—are all precisely and accurately drawn. However, the people in his drawings are more stylized, especially the faces. This makes the characters more expressive and interesting. I have only two quibbles. First, Reb’s doesn’t seem to draw women’s faces well. Perhaps he realizes this weakness, because there are only two women in the book; they have very small roles without any dialogue, and often their faces are obscured. Second, although the translation into English is mostly fine, there are a couple of awkward SEA HISTORY 168, AUTUMN 2019
passages. This sentence is about a man in a whaleboat being pulled by a harpooned whale: “Predisposed, he now underwent that of an astounding reality, a voluptuousness no longer funereal but light, with the awareness that there was nothing of importance other than this minute in which he was harnessing to his life the most legendary creature in the universe.” This sentence begins with a jumble of awkward words, and then almost untangles itself near the end to make some kind of sense. For anyone who can get past the idea that comics are only for kids, this volume provides satisfying tales of the dangers and excitement of a life at sea. Patrick O’Brien Baltimore, Maryland American Sea Power in the Old World: The United States Navy in European and Near Eastern Waters, 1865–1917 by William N. Still Jr. (Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, 2018, 304pp, illus, biblio, notes, index, isbn 978-1-59114-618-6; $24.95pb) The Naval Institute Press has reprinted an important naval history invaluable to understanding how the US relationship to Europe and the Middle East evolved. Dr. Still covers the Navy’s transition from a minor power at the end of the Civil War to a world power at sea as World War I loomed. He begins post-Civil War, when five scattered wooden ships flew the US flag and asserted American interests, through the expansion that created the New Steel Navy, to the brink of World War I with a navy prepared for active combat. Throughout the book, Still details the prominent sailors, politicians, and diplomats who effected change, in pithy vignettes and well-chosen quotations. He narrates the give-and-take between Washington and commanding officers abroad. As American foreign trade flourished, America opinion grew in favor of a modern navy. The New Steel Navy, built in the 1880s and 1890s, both supported and was driven by commercial expansion. Wooden holdovers from a previous era were retired, and more modern warships became ever more frequent visitors to European waters. Recurring themes include: protecting merchants, missionaries, and favored groups; the growing economic importance
of the European and Middle East markets and cooperation with other navies; shortages of ships and resources; and the importance of representing American interests in times of crisis, sometimes threatening or even blowing up locals who mistreated Americans or individuals who supported the United States. An unexpected influence drove much of the action—American Christian church and missionary societies came to influence naval movements and actions in the Mediterranean. Dr. Still returns to this driving action in several chapters, developing the story. American churches acted in concert to carry their evangelizing message abroad, sending hundreds of missionaries to the Near East, particularly Ottoman Turkey and the Levant. Those missionaries wrote frequently to their sponsors, detailing the difficulties they faced, sometimes including stories of real or imagined atrocities. Church leaders responded by demanding naval intervention in favor of their interests. The American belief that they had a right to interfere in internal affairs of Ottoman and other Muslim nations was based on international agreements related to extraterritoriality, the idea that non-Muslims and their employees were outside the law and that they should administer their own laws to their own citizens. Over time, extraterritoriality was stretched and abused. When missionaries wrote that their native Christian flocks and native Jews were under pressure or attack, it was considered that they had a right to extraterritorial naval protection. Dr. Still explains how that laid the groundwork for humanitarian relief efforts around the Mediterranean when riots, massacres, and pogroms erupted. Shipboard guns and Marine Corps landings saved lives when anti-Christian rioting in Egypt forced multiple European warships to provide shelter to refugees afloat. Again in the 1890s, a widespread Armenian revolutionary movement sparked repeated and increasing murder of Armenian Christians and destruction of churches all over Ottoman Turkey. US warships shuttled about working with, and sometimes against, US diplomats to save lives and ease tensions. The Turkish crisis might have led to war, but did not.
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The Spanish-American War and continued naval expansion brought the US into fourth place as a world naval power by 1900, and second only to Great Britain by 1907. After the Spanish-American War, European powers recognized that the United States had become a naval power and became sensitive to what the Navy was doing. A gradual alignment with Britain and France and tension with Russia and Germany developed. Port visits were seen as reflecting favor and respect. Prior to US entry into World War I, the US remained neutral, but increasingly favored the Allies.
A further huge naval expansion greatly strengthened the fleet. The US Navy had arrived on the world stage. Professor Still followed the original release of this book with two more that tell the history of the US Navy in Europe and the Near East: Crisis at Sea—The United States Navy in European Waters in World War I; and Victory Without Peace: The United States Navy in European Waters, 1919–1924. Recognizing their unique value, the United States Naval Institute has reprinted all three in an attractive matching trilogy.
s r u o T & g Sailin
B O S T O N , M A · K E Y W E S T, F L · N E W P O R T, R I · N Y C , N Y
W W W.C L A S S I C H A R B O R L I N E .C O M W W W. S C A R A N O B O AT B U I L D I N G .C O M
Naval history can be looked at from many angles. Studies of squadrons and fleets assigned to various geographical areas are an interesting and useful way of looking at naval history. Earlier books of this type are by Alfred Thayer Mahan, The Gulf and Inland Waters, and James Russell Soley, The Blockade and the Cruisers. This book in turn is part of an unending succession of mentors and students, starting with Dr. Robert Erwin Johnson, Dr. Still’s doctoral advisor, who wrote two: Thence Round Cape Horn: The Study of United States Naval Forces on Pacific Station, 1818–1923; and Far China Station: The US Navy in Asian Waters, 1800–1898. After the aforementioned trio and several Civil War studies, Dr. Still in turn served as doctoral advisor to Dr. Robert Browning, who in turn wrote three more: From Cape Charles to Cape Fear: The North Atlantic Blockading Squadron During the Civil War; Success Was All That Was Expected: The South Atlantic Blockading Squadron During The Civil War; and Lincoln’s Trident: The West Gulf Blockading Squadron During the Civil War. Kevin J. Foster Hyattsville, Maryland Moby-Dick: A Pop-Up Book by Gérard Lo Monaco and Joëlle Jolivet, (Chronicle Books, New York, 2019, 24pp, illus, isbn 978-1-45217-384-9; $40hc) This year marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Herman Melville. The success of his literary masterpiece, MobyDick—sadly, only recognized as a masterpiece after his death—solidified his place as one of the great American writers and made his characters (including the great white whale) infamous in American culture. Over the past century, the novel has been adapted in a variety of media, including film and cartoons, to reach a wide and varied audience. The latest manifestation is by paper engineer Gérard Lo Monaco and illustrator Joëlle Jolivet, who offer a pop-up version of the maritime classic. The pop-up book presents select pieces of text from ten chapters of Moby Dick. These selections are presented in authentic nineteenth-century prose. Captions are attached to Melville’s narrative that set the scene for each of the selections and provide background on the author. These flashSEA HISTORY 168, AUTUMN 2019
New & Noted points are meant to give the reader a taste of Moby Dick. Ten shadow boxes accompany the text. These three-dimensional images depict famous scenes from Moby Dick. They include a rendering of the Pequod and the alabaster leviathan’s victory over Captain Ahab. The graphics are dark and gothic. They evoke a sense of foreboding that mirrors the classic tale’s descent into the pitfalls of human greed. This pop-up version is clearly meant for an adult audience of Melville enthusiasts. It will quickly remind veteran readers of some of the highlights of the original story. The captions provide useful context. And older fans will smile as they see scenes from the book recreated in the form of shadow boxes. Nevertheless, several factors will limit the pop-up book’s appeal to a general audience. Faithful readers of Moby-Dick will not find the whole story here, and perhaps they are not looking for it in this type of rendition. There are just ten pages in this volume, and those ten pages incorporate only snippets from the book. The question remains: How many adult readers will purchase and treasure a pop-up book? Surely, this genre is meant for young readers, but novices will not be able to grasp the Victorian-era language that has not been modernized for a new generation of bookworms. Nor will they appreciate the shadow boxes, which don’t pop up as much as they simply open. The boxes simply lack the surprise feature that makes pop-up books appealing to early readers. You turn a page, and there is a box. There are no tabs that make images move. Images do not jump out at you. A lot of craftsmanship went into constructing the boxes. They are very detailed, but it is doubtful that youngsters will appreciate any of that. Moreover, the color palette is very dark. There are no bright flashes of color to attract the youthful eye. If you really love Moby-Dick and you are having a cocktail party, then this book will serve as a nice conversation piece among your like-minded friends. But you should probably pass on considering the pop-up book as a gateway to hook your new reader on a classic. Like Ahab, you will struggle in vain and lose in the end. Chris Magra Knoxville, Tennessee
The Boundless Sea: A Human History of the Oceans by David Abulafia (Oxford University Press, New York, October 2019, 912pp, illus, notes, biblio, index, isbn 9780-19993-498-0; $39.95hc)
The Jamestown Brides: The Story of England’s “Maids for Virginia” by Jennifer Potter (Oxford University Press, New York, 384pp, illus, biblio, notes, index, isbn 9780-1909-4263-2; $29.95hc)
A Brief Guide to Maritime Strategy by James R. Holmes (Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, November 2019, 192pp, illus, notes, index; isbn 978-1-682-47381-8; $24.95pb)
Long Island and the Sea: A Maritime History by Bill Bleyer (The History Press, Charleston, SC, 2019, 160pp, illus, notes, biblio, index, isbn 978-1-4671-3862-8; $21.99pb)
Breaking the Gas Ceiling: Women in the Offshore Oil and Gas Industry by Rebecca Ponton (Modern History Press, 2019, 271pp, illus, notes, biblio, index; isbn 9781-61599-443-4; $21.95pb)
Painting War: George Plante’s Combat Art in World War II by Kathleen Broome Williams (Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, 2019, 312pp, illus, notes, index; isbn 978-1-68247-426-6; $29.95hc) Pirates: From Vikings to Somali Raiders: A New Global History with Lessons for Today by Peter Lehr (Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 2019, 261pp, illus, maps, notes, gloss, biblio, index, isbn 978-0-30028074-9; $30hc) Sailing School: Navigation Science and Skill, 1550–1800, by Margaret E. Schotte (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2019, 320pp, illus, isbn 978-1-4214-2953-3; $59.95hc) Sand & Steel: The D-Day Invasion and the Liberation of France by Peter CaddickAdams (Oxford University Press, New York, 1025pp, illus, biblio, notes, index, isbn 9780-19060-189-8; $34.95hc)
The Connecticut River from the Air: An Intimate Perspective of New England’s Historic Waterway by Jerry Roberts, photography by Tom Walsh (Globe Pequot: an imprint of Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, Inc., Guilford, CT, 2018, 237pp, illus, isbn 978-1-4930-2772-9; $50hc) The Gulf of Mexico: A Maritime History by John S. Sledge (University of South Carolina Press, 2019, 264pp, illus, biblio, index, isbn 978-1-64336-014-0; $29.99hc) I Was Chaplain on the Franklin by Father Joseph T. O’Callahan (Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, 2019, 160pp, illus, notes, index; isbn 978-1-682-47477-8; $24.95pb)
Scapa 1919: The Archaeology of a Scuttled Fleet by Innes McCartney (Osprey Publishing, New York, 2019, 336pp, illus, appen, biblio, index, isbn 978-1-4728-28903; $40hc) Stories from the Wreckage: A Great Lakes Maritime History Inspired by Shipwrecks by John O. Jensen (Wisconsin Historical Society Press, Madison, 2019, 288pp, isbn 978-0-87020-902-4; $29.95pb) War at Sea: A Shipwrecked History from Antiquity to the Twentieth Century by James P. Delgado (Oxford University Press, New York, coming out in August 2019, 432pp, maps, illus, biblio, index, isbn 9780-19088-801-5; $34.95hc)
SEA HISTORY 168, AUTUMN 2019 63
NATIONAL MARITIME HISTORICAL SOCIETY
AFTERGUARD J. Aron Charitable Foundation, Inc. The Artina Group Donald T. “Boysie” Bollinger CACI International, Inc. Caddell Dry Dock & Repair Co. George W. Carmany III In Memory of James J. Coleman Jr. James O. Coleman Crawford Taylor Foundation Christopher J. Culver Brian D’Isernia & Eastern Shipbuilding Group Henry L. & Grace Doherty Charitable Fdn. Dominion Energy Exelon In Memory of Ignatius Galgan C. Duff Hughes & The Vane Brothers Company Arthur M. Kimberly Trust In Memory of H. F. Lenfest Richardo R. Lopes Guy E. C. Maitland McAllister Towing & Transportation Co., Inc. Ronald L. Oswald Estate of Walter J. Pettit, Sr. In Memory of Capt. Joseph Ramsey, USMM Charles A. Robertson Marjorie B. Shorrock Howard Slotnick Capt. Cesare Sorio John Stobart Andrew C. Taylor Charles H. Townsend Weeks Marine, Inc. William H. White Jean Wort Wynn Resorts BENEFACTORS Chesapeake Bay Foundation VADM Dirk Debbink, USN (Ret.) Richard T. du Moulin Elite Island Resorts EMR Southern Recycling David S. Fowler Green Family in Honor of Burchie Green Kristen Greenaway Don & Kathy Hardy Ann Hand Huntington Ingalls Industries J. D. Power Family Robert F. Kamm VADM Al Konetzni Jr., USN (Ret.) Hon. John Lehman and J. F. Lehman & Co. Mercury CAPT James A.Noone, USN (Ret.) Erik & Kathy Olstein ADM Robert J. Papp Jr., USCG (Ret.) Russell S. Reynolds Jr. David & Susan Rockefeller Mr. & Mrs. Thomas Rutherford Jr. Scarano Boat Building, Inc. Treecie and Ding Schoonmaker Sea Education Association Philip J. Shapiro H. C. Bowen Smith Norma Stanford In Memory of Peter Stanford US Naval Institute Philip & Irmy Webster PLANKOWNERS Alban Cat Power Systems RADM Joseph F. Callo, USN (Ret.) Cincinnati Financial Corp. CAPT Charles Todd Creekman Jr., USN (Ret.) General Dynamics Capt. Howard R. Hill Jr. Royal Holly Ruth R. Hoyt/Anne H. Jolley Foundation, Inc. H. Kirke Lathrop Thomas & Deborah Lawrence Robert Leary National Geographic National Marine Sanctuary Foundation Stephen B. Phillips Miles Pincus Pritzker Military Foundation Dr. Timothy J. Runyan Peter A. Seligmann Sidney Stern Memorial Trust Star Clipper Cruises US Navy Memorial Foundation Chris Walker Adam Wronowski SPONSORS Paul M. Aldrich American Bureau of Shipping American Maritime Congress ARS Investment Partners CMDR Everett Alvarez Jr., USN (Ret.) James R. Barker CAPT Donald Bates, USN (Ret.) The Philip & Patricia Bilden Family Charitable Fund Jim & Christine Bruns Stephen & Carol Burke Byers Foundation C. Hamilton Sloan Foundation Dr. John & Rachel Cahill Douglas Campbell Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum Conservation International C. W. Craycroft Crowley Maritime Corp. Andres Duarte Vivas Dr. William S. & Donna Dudley The Edgar & Geraldine Feder Foundation, Inc. Mrs. D. L. Fleischmann D. Harry W. Garschagen Burchenal Green William J. Green ADM Jonathan Greenert, USN (Ret.) John Gummere Robert S. Hagge Jr. Marius Halvorsen CAPT Roger P. Hartgen, USCG (Ret.) Hershey Foods Corp. Charles Hinnant Hornbeck Offshore Todd Hornbeck Independence Seaport Museum Neil E. Jones RDML Eric C. Jones, USCG William Kahane Benjamin Katzenstein Cyrus C. Lauriat Norman Liss Panaghis Lykiardopulo The MacPherson Fund, Inc. Maine Maritime Museum Marine Society of the City of New York Ann Peters Marvin David J. & Carolyn D. McBride McCarter & English, LLC Peter McCracken CAPT Sally Chin McElwreath, USN (Ret.) Dr. Joseph F. Meany Jr. Robert E. Morris Jr. William G. Muller Mystic Seaport Museum Navy League of the US New York Yacht Club Oceaneering International The Olde Stones Foundation The Betty Sue and Art Peabody Fund Pennsylvania State University Hon. S. Jay Plager John Rich George Schluderberg Shipbuilders Council of America CDR William H. Skidmore Skuld North America Inc. Philip Stephenson Foundation Daniel R. 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Donald A. Garand Capt. Dwight Gertz Mary Lee Giblon-Sheahan James R. Gifford Arthur Graham Edwin H. Grant Jr. Catharine Guiher Ray Guinta J. Callender Heminway T. Morris Hackney Dr. David Hayes Nathan L. & Helen Hazen William L. Henry Joseph C. Hoopes Steven A. Hyman Marius Ilario Timothy A. Ingraham Andrew MacAoidh Jergens Gary Jobson Jane Sundelof Jones Richard Julian Ken Keeler The Kelton Foundation Robert Kenyon James L. Kerr James & Barbara Kerr Mr. & Mrs. Chester W. Kitchings Jr. R. Joyce Kodis John L. Langill Chris Lautz F. W. Lee Robert Lindmark James L. Long Com. Chip Loomis III Babcock MacLean Lawrence Manson Maritime Heritage Prints Mr. & Mrs. Alan McKie Dr. Arthur M. Mellor April Merrell Richard S. Merrell Christopher W. Metcalf Glenn L. Metzger Richard A. & Lois Meyer Vincent Miles Charles H. Miller Robert Miorelli Michael G. Moore Thomas A. Moran Michael Morris CAPT Vance H. Morrison, USN (Ret.) Michael Moss & Ellen Chapman Rev. Bart Muller John Mulvihill James A. 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SEA HISTORY 168, AUTUMN 2019
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SEA HISTORY 168, AUTUMN 2019 65
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SEA HISTORY 168, AUTUMN 2019
10 NMHS 2019 Annual Awards Dinner • 14 Revenue Cutter C. W. Lawrence—Taming America’s Maritime Frontier, by William H. Thiesen • 18 Capt...
Published on Aug 28, 2019
10 NMHS 2019 Annual Awards Dinner • 14 Revenue Cutter C. W. Lawrence—Taming America’s Maritime Frontier, by William H. Thiesen • 18 Capt...