Sea History 174 - Spring 2021

Page 1

No. 174





Kalmar Nyckel

A New Identity at Sea Shipbuilder John Mashow The Hurricane of 1635 The Pastry War

The quarterly magazine devoted to traditional sailing vessels, sailors, and sail training! One year $25 * Two years $40 To subscribe, visit our website, call (978) 594-6510, or send a check to MARLINSPIKE 98 Washington Square #1, Salem MA 01970




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MARINE ARTISTS Our18th National Exhibition will be on display at the Burroughs Chapin Museum in Myrtle Beach, SC until April 17th, 2021 Visit the museum or our website to learn more. Painting by William G. Muller

No. 174




26 The Pastry War by John S. Sledge A brawl in a Mexican pastry shop was the seemingly unlikely cause of hostilities between France and the young Mexican Republic. The naval battle against the fortress of San Juan de Ulúa would show that the “Gibraltar of America” was no match for a well-equipped warship and a new generation of military technology. 30 Final Voyage of the Kalmar Nyckel: Epitaph for an Exceptional Ship by Sam Heed and Jordi Noort, Kalmar Nyckel Foundation The 1997 Kalmar Nyckel that sails out of Wilmington, Delaware, represents the history of a storied 17th-century Dutch warship. Until recently, the original ship’s ultimate fate was unknown. New research has revealed the ship’s final chapter. 36 True Colors, False Flags: At Sea, a Man Could Become Whatever He Claimed to Be by William Benemann A mystery encounter on the high seas alluded to in a whaler’s journal proves hard to flesh out in the historical record, especially when the characters’ names are changed to hide their identities.

william bradford gallery

20 John Mashow (1805–1893), From Slavery to Master Shipbuilder and Designer by Skip Finley Born to an enslaved mother in 1805, John Mashow was freed as a child and sent north where he learned the shipbuilding trade. He would build a legacy of more than 100 ships credited to his name, with the last of his vessels continuing to sail well into the 20th century.



réunion des musées nationaux

16 A Furious Sky—The Great Hurricane of 1635 by Eric Jay Dolin A fast-moving hurricane making its way up the coast has caught many a mariner off guard. In this excerpt from his recent book, Eric Jay Dolin surveys the devastating hurricane of 1635 by focusing on two vessels facing the deadly storm at sea.


11 American Society of Marine Artists Invitational Gallery Check out some of our favorite selections for the upcoming online exhibition and sale of new works by members of the American Society of Marine Artists in celebration and support of this year’s virtual National Maritime Awards.


Cover: Kalmar Nyckel Underway in Delaware Bay, 2019, photo by Jon Caspar (See pages 30-35 for more about the ship and the history she represents.)

DEPARTMENTS 4 Deck Log & Letters 8 NMHS: A Cause in Motion 44 Sea History for Kids

48 Ship Notes, Seaport & Museum News 56 Reviews 64 Patrons

Sea History and the National Maritime Historical Society Sea History e-mail:; NMHS e-mail:; Website: Ph: 914 737-7878; 800 221-NMHS MEMBERSHIP is invited. Afterguard $10,000; Benefactor $5,000; Plankowner $2,500; Sponsor $1,000; Donor $500; Patron $250; Friend $100; Regular $45. All members outside the USA please add $20 for postage. Sea History is sent to all members. Individual copies cost $4.95.

courtesy douglas tolles

40 The Life of the Schooner B. N. Hawkins—A Trove of Letters Reveals the History of a 19th-Century Packet by Douglas B. Tolles A family’s collection of hundreds of letters from the mid-19th century traces the business and trials of operating a packet schooner in the Age of Sail.


SEA HISTORY (issn 0146-9312) is published quarterly by the National Maritime Historical Society, 1000 North Division St., #4, Peek­skill NY 10566 USA. Periodicals postage paid at Peeks­kill NY 10566 and add’l mailing offices. COPYRIGHT © 2021 by the National Maritime Historical Society. Tel: 914  737-7878. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Sea History, PO Box 68, Peekskill NY 10566.


Deck Log


A New Headquarters and a Renewed Spirit

photo by wendy paggiotta, nmhs

n the fall of 1991, CBS News anchor and American icon Walter Cronkite came to Peekskill, New York, to inaugurate the new headquarters of the National Maritime Historical Society in the old Fleischmann Gin building on the banks of the Hudson River. Egged on by our then-president, Peter Stanford, he agreed to chair our educational initiative to promote the seafaring legacy of our county to more people, and particularly to students. photo by burchenal green We occupied that building for more than a quarter century. While we kept to our mission indoors, outside our windows we could catch sights of ship traffic on the river, eagles soaring over the water, storms and sunsets, and the hubbub of a busy waterfront. With our office space crammed with ship models, nautical prints, and maritime The view out the window of the former memorabilia, we were always reminded offices of the National Maritime Historical of the mission and inspired to pursue Society, on the Hudson River. it through good times and bad. Last year, our landlord announced his intention to repurpose the building, and we began our search for a new home—a task that is challenging on its own, but conducted in the middle of a pandemic, it was even more taxing. We were delighted to find available office space just a few miles away in a converted historic brick building. The Hat Factory was originally the 365-acre Sherwood Farm, which later became home to a relocated Yonkers hat factory that had been destroyed by fire. With the help of a government contract in World War I for military hats, the factory became one of the largest employers in the area. The business relocated in 1923 following a labor strike, and the property was abandoned. Over the years, the building fell into disrepair until a series of new owners rebuilt the structure and refurbished its interior for use as office space. After 27 years in one location, it was a herculean task to manage the move during COVID-19 reOur new headquarters is located at 1000 N. strictions, and we thank our Division Street, Peekskill, New York 10566. NMHS vice president, Wendy Paggiotta, who orchestrated the move and organized the layout of the new office space. I will miss my old office, where so many plans were hatched and meetings were conducted with our trustees, members, and guests, but I have discovered that being in a fresh new space has rejuvenated our spirits; I see it as a harbinger of better things to come. I look forward to a time when historic ships can set sail for ports across the horizon, when museums can fully re-open, and, most of all, when we can meet in person. I look forward to inviting our members to a glorious party to inaugurate our new headquarters once it is safe to do so, in the spirit of Walter Cronkite, Peter Stanford, Howard Slotnick, and all those who brought us from there to here. —Burchenal Green, NMHS President 4

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 MacFarlane, Deirdre O’Regan, Wendy Paggiotta, Nancy Schnaars; Treasurer, William H. White; Secretary, Jean Wort; Trustees: Charles B. Anderson; Walter R. Brown; Christopher J. Culver; William S. Dudley; David Fowler; William J. Green; Karen Helmerson; K. Denise Rucker Krepp; Guy E. C. Maitland; Capt. Jeffrey McAllister; CAPT Sally Chin McElwreath, USN (Ret.); 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; Trustees Elect: CAPT Patrick Burns, USN (Ret.); Salvatore Mercogliano; Michael Morrow; Chairmen Emeriti: Walter R. Brown, Alan G. Choate, Guy E. C. Maitland, Howard Slotnick (1930–2020) 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; Richard du Moulin; Alan D. Hutchison; Gary Jobson; Sir Robin Knox-Johnston; John Lehman; Capt. Brian McAllister; 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, Nancy H. Richardson SEA HISTORY EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD: Chairman, Timothy Runyan; Norman Brouwer, Robert Browning, William Dudley, Lisa Egeli, Daniel Finamore, Kevin Foster, Cathy Green, John Jensen, Frederick Leiner, Joseph Meany, Salvatore Mercogliano, Carla Rahn Phillips, Walter Rybka, Quentin Snediker, William H. White NMHS STAFF: Executive Director, Burchenal Green; Director of Development, Jessica MacFarlane; Accounting/Membership Associate, Andrea Ryan; Senior Staff Writer, Shelley Reid; Executive Assistant, Heather Purvis; Membership Coordinator, Nancy Schnaars SEA HISTORY: Editor, Deirdre E. O’Regan; Advertising Director, Wendy Paggiotta Sea History is printed by The Lane Press, South Burlington, Vermont, USA.



We Welcome Your Feedback!

Please email correspondence to

courtesy us lightship museum

us lighthouse service (uslhs)

Massive Lightship Anchors Regarding the “Ship Notes” feature on the Nantucket Lightship LV-112 (Sea History 173, Winter 2020–21, pages 40–41): There is an enormous bulbous mushroom-shaped thing sticking out of the leading edge of its bow above the waterline. What is that? Patrick M. Squire Louisville, Tennesee

A lightship mushroom anchor at a US Lighthouse Service Depot, c. 1915. From Robert M. Mannino, Jr., President of the US Lightship Museum: That enormous bulbous thing is a US lightship mushroom anchor. What makes this anchor special? Lightships were “floating lighthouses,” anchored in waters where it was not practical to build a permanent lighthouse. Just like lighthouses, they were equipped with flashing light beacons, loud foghorns, and radio beacons to help guide ships past dangerous waters. Between 1820 and 1983, 179 lightships were built in the United States and administered by the US Lighthouse Service, which merged with the US Coast Guard in 1939. The last US lightship was built by the US Coast Guard in 1952. Where were US lightships stationed? Lightships were stationed along the East and West coasts, the Gulf of Mexico and the Great Lakes. Anchored several miles off the coast, they often could not be seen from the mainland. In 1909, during the height of the United States Lightship Service, there were 56 lightships on station. Each lightship had an average crew size of 10 to 12 sailors, who lived on board for weeks at a time. Regardless of weather conditions, the duty of the crew was to keep the lightship operational and anchored on station, even during violent hurricanes and ferocious winter storms, helping to safely guide vessels to their ports of call.

The main and auxiliary anchors on Nantucket Lightship LV-112, stowed through separate hawsepipes at the ship’s bow. (inset) The Nantucket in rough seas. Why did lightships have two massive mushroom anchors? Lightships were equipped with two enormous anchors that look a lot like giant mushrooms. Only one anchor was deployed at a time to maintain the lightship’s position on station. If the anchor chain parted from the anchor and became separated from the lightship due

to adverse sea conditions, the auxiliary anchor was deployed. The main anchor weighed up to 7,800 lb, and the auxiliary anchor also was generally a mushroom anchor, except lighter, up to 6,500 lb. The weight of the anchors was determined by the size of the lightship. Most US lightships displaced approximately 600 tons. The

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

bays—if you appreciate the legacy of those who sail in deep water and their workaday craft, then you belong with us.

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Mail in the form below, phone 1 800 221-NMHS (6647), or visit us at: (e-mail:

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largest US lightship ever built (1936), Nantucket Lightship LV-112 (1,050 displacement tons), was anchored 100 miles off the US mainland in international waters and marked the entrance of the main shipping lanes into the US East Coast—the most treacherous and remote lightship station in the world—and was equipped with the heaviest anchors. Each mushroom anchor was attached to separate DiLok forged nickel-steel anchor chain, 1⅝ inches thick with swivels. Its proof load was 216,000 lb; breaking load was 325,000 lb. Each anchor chain weighed approximately 155 lb per fathom, so a chain 150 fathoms long would weigh a total of 23,250 lb. Even with this strength, during the extreme stress put on the chain by high seas during violent storms, it was not uncommon for the anchor chain to break and for lightships to become separated from their anchors and go adrift from their assigned station. The structure of a mushroom anchor is designed and intended to sink into the seabed to the point that it has displaced its own weight, thus greatly increasing its holding power. These anchors are only suitable for a silt, fine sand or mud bottom, as they rely upon suction and cohesion of the bottom material, which rocky or coarse sand bottoms lack. Mushroom anchors are available in a range of sizes, from about ten pounds up to several tons, and today are also widely used for pleasure-boat moorings. To learn more about lightships, visit one in person for a tour. There are nine lightship museums throughout the United States (listed on the US Lighthouse Society’s website,, under “History.”) While you are on the website, you can also check out a really good podcast featuring Mr. Mannino (click on “Education,” then “Light Hearted Podcast,” and scroll down for Episode 92: Podcasts produced and hosted by Jeremy D’Entremont.) Galley or Gallery? I am enjoying the winter issue of the magazine—thank you for putting together such a consistently interesting and attractive publication. I found a nit in the article about the HMS Ontario shipwreck and


have decided to pick it (what else is there to do?). In several places the article mentions the term “stern galleys” to describe a feature of the vessel, but this is a misnomer. The correct term for that feature is stern gallery, or quarter gallery depending on the exact location one is referring to. No mere glass-house-dwelling stone thrower—I have facts on my side. I checked the terms out in my copy of The Sailor’s Word Book, published in 1867 and written “By the late Admiral W. H. Smyth KFS, DCL &c.” and “Revised for the press by Vice-Admiral Sir E. Belcher KCB., &c. &c.” The admirals are unequivocal: “GALLEY. A low, flat-built vessel with one deck, and propelled by sails and oars...The galley or gally is also the name of the ship’s hearth or kitchen.” “GALLERY. A balcony projecting from the admiral’s or captain’s cabin; it is usually decorated with a balustrade, and extends from one side of the ship to the other.” I am sure that there were no glass windows lighting the kitchen of Ontario; only the captain would rate such a perk. I rest my case. As a final note, which makes a stretched-to-the-breaking-point link to the subject of the article, the publisher of the reprint of The Sailor’s Word Book is located in the province of Ontario. Ain’t that sumpin’? Jerry Bryant Amherst, Massachusetts From the editor: Oh, how I hate to be wrong. Thank you Mr. Bryant for the correction. I’ll take the blame on this one. I do appreciate the nautical literacy of our readership to correct the record. —DO’R USRC Dallas I read with great interest the piece in the Winter edition of Sea History about privateers becoming essentially pirates. When I was conducting my own research while writing books on the War of 1812, I learned that many people of the time thought there was little to distinguish properly “marqued” privateers from pirates, but that’s a story for another time. It kind of depended on whose “ox was being gored.” What caught my eye was the reference to the US Revenue Cutter Service vessel Dallas. Some years ago I came across the SEA HISTORY 174, SPRING 2021

photo courtesy william h. white

in 1821 for unknown reasons. Attached is a photo showing a bow-on view of my model, clearly showing her unique jibboom and bowsprit. William H. White Rumson, New Jersey Thank You Walter Rybka I would like to add my congratulations to Walter Rybka on his retirement from the Brig Niagara and Erie Maritime Museum and in recognition of his long and inspirational career in the maritime world. Here is a personal memory:

Capt. Walter Rybka

photo courtesy kurt voss

plans from which that ship was built and decided to build a proper scratch-built model of her. The model is built plank-on-frame and the deck is constructed of individual planks, laid with caulking between each. Most of the running rigging is authentic and actually works. About the ship itself: The Dallas was the only USRCS vessel with a unique bowsprit/jibboom construction, where the joint of the pair is sideways (see photo below). It may have been what attracted my attention in the first place. She was a unique ship, apparently very fast and nimble. I was unable to determine how she met her end, though my research did uncover her origins. She was built in 1815 in New York by William Doughty, who also designed her based on the famed Baltimore clippers, which were all rigged as tops’l schooners. She was named (most likely) for Captain Alexander Dallas, who is credited with firing the first shot in the War of 1812. The ship was sold out of the government service

In the fall of 1985, the barque Elissa was making plans to sail from Galveston to Corpus Christi, Texas, where I was living at the time. As part of the preparations, Captain Rybka was invited to give a talk to members of the local yacht club about the history of the ship. As the audience was mostly sailors, there was great interest not just in the history but in HOW to sail the ship. At the end of his slide show and talk, Walter got out his two models—one of the ship with masts, yards, and running rigging, and the other of one mast with yards and sails with their “gear.” For over an hour, Walter crawled along the floor with the two models demonstrating how to tack and wear ship, followed with the details of how to set and strike the square sails. Around him were the members of the yacht club, crawling along as they learned the intricacies of sailing a 19thcentury barque. Grown men and women were fascinated with this hands-on demonstration and with Walter’s enthusiasm and knowledge of an earlier sailing era. It was well after midnight when security kicked us out of the auditorium—new converts to the admirers and supporters of Elissa.

The enthusiasm carried over into gifts to help fund the cost of the voyage, and then into signing up for training to be part of the “crew” for the daysail scheduled during the visit to Corpus Christi. There was tremendous excitement when Elissa sailed into the bay and moored at the Art Museum—long lines of visitors stood along the dock waiting for a turn to board. The local “trainees,” drawn from that yacht club evening, assisted the ship’s crew, learned the proper way to go aloft, and immersed themselves in learning the pin rail and practicing setting and striking sails at the dock. For a week, they had the privilege of being a part of Elissa’s volunteer crew and the excitement built until the day of the sail. For one glorious day, they could understand the thrill of sailing a part of history, understand why so many had devoted so much time and money to the preservation not just of the ship but of the arcane skills necessary to maintain her and sail her. Thirty five years later, it is mostly new people who keep Elissa alive, but the same devotion and enthusiasm exists today as it did when I first watched Walter crawling around on that floor with his models, calling out the commands and hauling on his tiny braces and halyards, clews and bunts. I never forgot that evening and went on to become part of the crew for the voyage from Galveston to New York for the Statue of Liberty celebration in 1986, staying on for the return trip to Bermuda and back to Galveston. Walter was an inspiration throughout the voyage and we have been friends ever since. I continued to visit Galveston as guest crew for Elissa daysails for many years, and the pride of sailing on her has never faded. His knowledge and advice helped me frequently after I started Ocean Classroom Foundation, and I can think of many skilled leaders in the sail training and maritime preservation worlds who learned from him over the years. I am confident that even in retirement, Walter’s influence will continue to be felt and his legacy as a leader in both fields will continue to grow. Thank you Walter ! Alix Thorne Islesboro, Maine



A CAUSE IN MOTION National Maritime Awards Dinner Advocates for the Maritime Heritage Community


Former award recipient US Senator John W. Warner (at left) accepts the award for Senator Barbara Mikulski and has fun congratulating CNO ADM Jonathan W. Greenert, USN (Ret.) on his recognition at the 2015 gala at the National Press Club. 8

andrew snow photography

photo by vernon young jr.

photo by joe rudinec

or more than half a century, the National Maritime Historical Society has held a major gala awards event at the New York Yacht Club to honor those whose accomplishments in the maritime field were notable and would inspire others. Some were internationally famous, such as Walter Cronkite, Nathaniel Philbrick, Her Royal Highness Princess Anne, Ted Turner, Clive Cussler, and Dr. Bob Ballard, but others may have been recognized only within the maritime community, where they are giants in the field—Olin Stephens, Captain Arthur Kimberly, US Rep. Helen Delich Bentley, Nat Wilson, and Alan Villiers, to name a few. It was about a decade ago that the Society realized that it was important to do some serious advocacy for the maritime heritage community in the nation’s capital, to not only push for federal funding but also to recognize the thousands of maritime heritage projects developed across the country to preserve and promote our seafaring past. The National Maritime Awards Dinner Committee is an impressive assembly of leaders throughout And so, the National Maritime Awards the maritime field—and they know how to have a good time! Here, the 2018 dinner committee poses for a group photo at the Mayflower Hotel prior to the gala. Dinner was born. Here we would honor those doing exemplary work in the maritime field—not just in the heritage community but in the maritime industry at large—and fête them before the leaders in Washington who are in a position to support national funding. We established a large committee of directors and presidents of maritime museums, historians and authors, shipping executives, military personnel, and other leaders in the field. The awards events are fun, friendly, and welcoming, and have become increasingly popular after word has gotten out from attendees. Guests still recall how Honorable John Warner brought down the house when he accepted the award for Senator Mikulski, who could not attend. While you can imagine the thrill of hearing compelling speakers like the Honorable Helen Bentley, Governor Tom Ridge, and Pulitzer Prize winner Tom Friedman, you might not expect such a convivial atmosphere and informal interactions between guests, hosts, and honorees. Those who were at the 2019 event recall with delight the fun banter between Navy CNOs Admiral Jay Johnson, Admiral Jonathan Greenert and former Secretary of the Navy John Lehman as they were on stage together. This year, we are gathering our NMHS family, friends, and award recipients by Zoom and making it easy for you to join us. It’s free, (unless you will join as a sponsor, for which we will be most grateful) and you can wear your slippers and not worry about parking the Three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning New car. Next year we hope you will join us in Washington, take in the impressive view of the York Times columnist Thomas Friedman White House from the windows of the iconic National Press Club, visit museums and the speaks at the 2017 Washington dinner, National Mall, and enjoy the treasures of our capital city. For now, we are excited to be presenting the NMHS Distinguished Service able to present the awards show virtually in real time, when the spontaneity of the evening Award to Conservation International and is something we eagerly anticipate. I hope you join us; I’d like to introduce a few of those its chairman and founder Peter Seligmann. you will get to meet. Dinner chairs Denise Krepp and VADM Al Konetzni, USN (Ret.), will open the event and greet us all, and our founding dinner chair, Philip Webster, will be on hand as well. America’s Cup sailing great, Gary Jobson, will serve as our master of ceremonies. Denise Krepp is a local in Washington and has been a great resource for us and our guests. She’s active on Capitol Hill and her impressive resume includes service as a Coast Guard JAG officer, on the House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee, and as chief counsel for MARAD. Denise invites you to “Please join us for the 10th Annual National Maritime Awards on May 6th. We may be at home, but collectively we’ll raise


photo by joe rudinec

told him stories of keeping a lookout for U-boats while crossing the North Atlantic in World War I. Webster is a long-time overseer of the National Maritime Historical Society, and trustee of the Sultana Education Foundation, where he is also a past vice chairman. He has served on more than twentyfive not-for-profit boards; past efforts include his service on the USS Massachusetts Memorial Committee, which helped bring the Massachusetts to Battleship Cove in Fall River, MA; as president of the USS Sequoia Preservation Trust; and as governor of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. In addition to his dedication to preserving our nation’s maritime Gary Jobson at the podium and carrying the room during the 2019 National heritage, he is a passionate trustee of Scholarship America, Maritime Awards Dinner. While we will not be together in one room this which raises funds for student scholarships. spring, we can gather virtually in real time. If there was ever an MC who Gary Jobson is a world-class champion sailor, television knows how to work with digital media, it’s Gary, and we can all look commentator, and author of nineteen sailing books. He has forward to an entertaining and informative evening as he leads the way. made more than 2,500 presentations to promote the sport of yacht racing. He serves as the vice-president of the International Sailing Federation, is past president of US Sailing, serves on the Olympic Sailing Committee, is past chair of the National Sailing Center and Hall of Fame, and served as the former National Regatta chair of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s sailing program. Jobson is way too busy to serve as MC at our awards events, but he joins us every year in this role, with smiles and jokes and the ability to keep the evening on schedule. As we advocate for our maritime heritage and for more federal funds to support it, I think on that proverbial quote of Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” We hope you will join us. Please refer to page 10 for information on this year’s awardees and details on how you can participate. Updates will be posted on the NMHS website at as they become available. —Burchenal Green, president NMHS Overseer and founding Dinner Chair, Philip Webster (right), presents a clock to NMHS Trustee Timothy J. Runyan in appreciation of his service as a past chair of the event and for his leadership role advocating for federal funding for the maritime heritage community. The clock symbolizes his unstinting time working on behalf of the cause.

photo by joe rudinec

photo by joe rudinec

our glasses in honor of the US Naval Academy, the US Merchant Marine, and the Coast Guard Aviation Association. We’ll recognize their valuable service to our country for over two centuries.” Admiral Konetzni is a graduate of the US Naval Academy, the Naval Nuclear Power School, and Naval Nuclear Power Prototype Training. In 2019 he was honored with the formal dedication of the VADM Albert Konetzni Submarine Squadron Fifteen Headquarters Building at Polaris Point, Guam. He was known during his career as “Big Al, the Sailor’s Pal.” He is a member of the leadership of the Navy Museum Development Foundation, which was recently selected to lead the fundraising effort for the new museum. It is an honor to have his support to promote the preservation of naval and maritime history. Philip J. Webster comes from a family of mariners: his greatgrandfather was a clipper ship captain in the China trade in the 1850s, (l–r) Admiral Al Konetzni, NMHS Chair Ronald Oswald, his grandfather was a maritime author and photographer, and his father National Coast Guard Museum Association Chair Susan Curtin, the Honorable Tom Ridge, 21st Commandant of the Coast Guard Admiral James M. Loy, NMHS Trustee Denise Krepp, NMHS Trustee and 24th Commandant of the Coast Guard Admiral Robert Papp Jr., and NMHS Overseer Gary Jobson gather to honor Governor Ridge at the 2019 gala.


Please join us! 10th Annual National Maritime Awards

A Live Online Celebration · Thursday, 6 May 2021 at 6:30 pm et The National Maritime Historical Society and the National Coast Guard Museum Association, with the Naval Historical Foundation, will hold the 10th National Maritime Awards virtually on 6 May 2021. Dinner chairs Denise R. Krepp and Vice Admiral Al Konetzni, USN (Ret.), and founding dinner chairman Philip J. Webster, invite you to join us as we honor three iconic American maritime institutions that epitomize the maritime history of the United States of America and for generations have been in the forefront of supporting the nation’s maritime commerce, defense and security. The Society will honor the United States Merchant Marine with its NMHS Distinguished Service Award on the 246th anniversary of its founding during the American Revolution, for its indispensable and often unheralded contributions to our nation’s security and prosperity since 1775. The United States Naval Academy will be honored with the NMHS Distinguished Service Award on the 176th anniversary of its founding in 1845, for educating tens of thousands of Navy and Marine Corps officers whose leadership has helped defend the nation and the world for generations. Superintendent of the Academy VADM Sean Buck, USN and the Commander of the Brigade of Midshipmen will accept the award. Susan Curtin, chair of the National Coast Guard Museum Association, is pleased to announce its Alexander Hamilton Award will be presented to the Coast Guard Aviation Association on its 101st anniversary of the first Coast Guard Air Station. CAPT Michael D. Emerson, USCG (Ret.), president of the Coast Guard Aviation Association, will accept the award. ADM James M. Loy, USCG (Ret.), 21st Commandant of the Coast Guard, will make the presentation. Gary Jobson, America’s Cup winner and America’s “Ambassador of Sailing,” will serve as Master of Ceremonies. Recipients will be featured in videos produced by award-winning documentarian Richardo Lopes and Voyage Digital Media. The American Society of Marine Artists Invitational Gallery, hosted by world-acclaimed marine artist Patrick O’Brien, will showcase a variety of works on display and for sale. Entertainment will be provided by The Riveters from the US Naval Academy. This event is free to attend, although we hope you will support the work we do by sponsoring this very special occasion. For more information, sponsorship opportunities, and to register: contact Wendy Paggiotta at Ph. 914 737-7878 ext. 557, by email at, or online at We look forward to seeing you!


SEA HISTORY 174, SPRING 2021 Potomac River Reverie Washington, DC in 1890, by Patrick O’Brien.


American Society of Marine Artists Invitational Gallery

ack by popular demand, NMHS is honored to present the 2021 American Society of Marine Artists Invitational Gallery, hosted by acclaimed marine artist Patrick O’Brien. Thanks to his leadership, we are pleased to offer this exclusive opportunity to view original paintings from a featured group of ASMA artists, including selections from Patrick O’Brien along with Lana Ballot, Laura Cooper, Don Demers, Neal Hughes, Richard Loud, Leonard Mizerek, Charles Raskob Robinson, Sergio Roffo, and the new ASMA president, Nick Fox. These works are on sale online, right now through the National Maritime Awards, held virtually on 6 May 2021. We hope you will join us for the show and a chance to meet the artists, who will be joining us live! The late Peter Stanford, NMHS president emeritus, helped found the American Society of Marine Artists back in 1978 to “recognize, encourage, and promote marine art and maritime history.” These artists are an incredibly talented and knowledgeable resource, not just to those who appreciate and collect marine art but to those who value the study of maritime history. These artists bring to life seafaring scenes from every age and successfully capture the spirit and character of sailing and ships, large and small, power and sail, merchant, military, or leisure.

February 5th, 1812 by Nicolas Fox, 18 x 24 inches, oil on panel — $8,500

“This painting depicts the 1799 USS Chesapeake, America’s 38-gun heavy frigate under the command of Captain Samuel Evans, running down the British merchantman Earl Percy. The Percy was headed south to Brazil from Newfoundland carrying a valuable cargo of salt in her hold. Evans, depicted standing just below the spanker boom on the ship’s quarterdeck, could look forward to a short action and some prize money. The brig wasn’t fast enough to escape the Chesapeake; it was captured and taken to a US port to be sold at auction. The Chesapeake sailed for Boston to put in for some major repairs. Captain Evans, who’d suffered an eye injury during one of the frigate’s naval actions, requested and was granted leave upon his arrival back in Boston. He and his experienced crew dispersed, and James Lawrence, the recent victor of the Hornet-Peacock incident, took command with a new, untested crew. Once the Chesapeake’s refit was completed, its new captain and green crew sailed out of Boston Harbor, where she met the 38-gun HMS Shannon. It was a terrible day for USS Chesapeake and her captain, but Lawrence’s famous last words, “Don’t give up the ship” would live on for generations as a battle cry throughout the Navy. As one of the magnificent “Six Frigates,” the Chesapeake has been a perennial favorite of mine. This selection began as a study for a series of Boston paintings that I am currently working on.” —NF

The Edgartown Light in October by Charles Raskob Robinson 18 x 23 inches, oil on canvas — $3,500 “The contrast of soft autumn light and crisp colors of the water and ironwork of the lighthouse prompted this painting.” —CRR

If you see a painting here or on the NMHS website ( that you would like to purchase, contact the National Maritime Historical Society via email at or by calling NMHS headquarters at 914 737-7878, ext. 0. Twenty-five percent of the proceeds will benefit the National Maritime Historical Society and the National Coast Guard Museum Association, and is tax deductible. Enjoy this sneak preview and consider making one of them yours!


Henry Ford Passing Thacher Island, 1925 by Laura Cooper 15 x 25 inches, oil on linen $6,500

“The 1922 Gloucester fishing schooner Henry Ford is shown passing Thacher Island on a starboard tack, bound for the Grand Banks, one of the world’s richest fishing grounds. The Henry Ford was the fastest vessel in the Gloucester fleet and was selected to defend the International Fishermen’s Trophy during her first year.” —LC

Misty Rendezvous by Leonard Mizerek 24 x 30 inches, oil on canvas — $7,300

“During the mid-1800s, cod was the dominant catch as commercial fishing took hold in New England. The vessel that harvested these fish in deeper waters was the sleek and fast Gloucester fishing schooner. At its height, nearly 400 vessels fished out of Gloucester harbor, the first fishing capital of America. Along the New England coast, one could see schooners gathering offshore.” —LM

New York Sunset, 1895 by Patrick O’Brien 16 x 20 inches, oil on canvas $4,800

“The painting depicts busy river traffic on the Hudson River off lower Manhattan. Trinity Church can be seen on the left. In those pre-elevator days, New York was still a low-rise city and Trinity’s spire stood tall as a landmark for ships arriving from sea. In the center distance is the Statue of Liberty, completed about seven years earlier. At far right is the new Beaux Arts building on Ellis Island, ready to receive immigrants.” —PO’B 12


World’s End—Hingham, Massachusetts by Sergio Roffo, 10 x 20 inches, oil on mounted canvas — $5,500

Essex Idle by Neal Hughes 16 x 20 inches, oil on linen — $2,800

“This painting was completed during the Cape Ann Plein Air competition at the H. A. Burnham Boat Building & Design Co. in Essex, Massachusetts. I have done many paintings at this historic site, located next to the Essex Shipbuilding Museum. The Burnham family has been in Essex since the 1600s and the current boatbuilding shop has been in the Burnham family since the early 19th century. Harold Burnham, the current owner, is a master shipwright, designer, mariner, and a National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellow. It is a privilege to paint at this location, which has so much historical significance to our sailing heritage.” —NH

Friendship Sloop by Neal Hughes 11 x 14 inches, oil on linen — $1,400

“A Friendship sloop is a gaff-rigged working boat design that originated in Friendship, Maine, around the turn of the 18th century and has survived as a recreational sailboat with a devoted following. I came across this subject near Spruce Head Island in Maine while painting with some friends, and was taken by its classic lines.” —NH


US Revenue Cutter Eagle by Patrick O’Brien, 24 x 36 inches, oil on canvas — $14,000

“The US Revenue Cutter Service was established in 1790 to enforce tariff and trade laws and to prevent smuggling. In 1915 the USRCS merged with the Life-Saving Service to become the US Coast Guard. The cutter Eagle was a topsail schooner built in Connecticut in 1809, the third of seven Coast Guard cutters to bear that name. During the War of 1812 her primary mission was to apprehend British merchant ships as well as American vessels carrying illegal British cargoes, and to protect American shipping against marauding enemy privateers and British warships.” —PO’B

View from the Ferry 1927, Study by Richard Loud 16 x 27 inches, oil on linen — $7,800

“I wanted to capture the variety of activities taking place in Nantucket Harbor during the 1920s. Sailing into the anchorage, from left to right, are the coastal schooners Mary Langdon and Alice Wentworth. The Gloucester fishing fleet is at anchor. In the foreground is an S class sloop, the famous Rainbow Fleet, and the working catboat Forest Prince.” —RL



Crossing the Gulf Stream by Donald Demers 44 x 58 inches, oil on linen — $40,000

Dory in Sunlit Fog by Sergio Roffo 18 x 30 inches, oil on canvas — $12,500

Atlantic Symphony by Lana Ballot, 24 x 36 inches, pastel on board — $5,600

“My favorite place to watch the waves is the Smith Point Beach on Long Island. I love the days when I can hear the roaring sound of the ocean before I can see it, while walking across the parking lot and through the dunes. Each wave and gust of wind contributes to this beautiful symphony.” —LB


A Furious Sky—The Great Hurricane of 1635 by Eric Jay Dolin

A Furious Sky: The Five-Hundred-Year History of America’s Hurricanes (2020) is the history of the American hurricane or, more specifically, the hurricanes that have hit what is today the United States. Given that there have been hundreds, if not more than a thousand, such hurricanes in the past five centuries, A Furious Sky must understandably be selective, focusing mainly on storms that have, arguably, had the most impact on the nation’s long history. One such hurricane, and the first recorded by the colonists who settled in the Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay Colonies, is the Great Colonial Hurricane of 1635, which is the subject of the following excerpt.1 mal. According to William Bradford, governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, it “was such a mighty storm of wind and rain, as none living in these parts, either English or Indians, ever saw.” The hurricane’s story is best told through the tales of two vessels with very different fates. Four days earlier, on the morning of August 11, Anthony Thacher and his cousin, the minister Joseph Avery, were standing on the wharf in Ipswich, Massachusetts,

hurricane florence, courtesy the modis rapid response team at nasa gsfc


he Great Colonial Hurricane of 1635 struck the Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay Colonies with a mighty wallop on August 15, leveling hundreds of thousands of trees, turning numerous houses into kindling, driving ships from their anchors, and killing many people, including eight Indians on the edge of Narragansett Bay, who were drowned “flying from their wigwams” when the waters surged ashore 14 feet higher than nor-

Thacher Island


adaptation of a 1776 map, courtesy david rumsey map collection




where the pinnace Watch and Wait was preparing to depart. Ministers were not easy to find in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and the people of Marblehead, a small fishing village north of Boston, had persuaded Avery to be their pastor. They sent the Watch and Wait to pick him up, along with his cousin, who had also decided to move to Marblehead. While the master and his three crewmen readied the vessel for the trip, the passengers boarded. In addition to Avery and Thacher were both of their large families, two servants, and another gentleman. All told, there were twenty-three people. For the first three days, with various lengthy stops along the way, the trip went well, but on August 14 “the Lord suddenly turned” the group’s “cheerfulness into mourning and lamentations.” At about 10:00 in the evening, the wind rose to a gale force, splitting the sails. The sailors refused to replace them on account of the dark, and instead anchored for the night. The hurricane’s path in August 1635 as it crossed over eastern Massachusetts. SEA HISTORY 174, SPRING 2021

photo by tim piece via wikipedia commons, cc by sa 3.0


By dawn the gale had turned into a hurricane. The Watch and Wait began dragging its anchor; then the cable snapped, casting the vessel adrift in the turbulent seas. Thacher, Avery, and their families prayed and comforted one another as best they could, while expecting to be consigned to the deep at any moment. The Watch and Wait was then thrown onto a large rock, where it was wedged in place and pummeled by the waves. As the cabin flooded and the vessel started breaking apart, the ocean began to claim its victims, almost one by one. The master and the crewmen were the first to be swept overboard. Rather than despair, Thacher held on to his faith. While peering out of the cabin into the roiling seas, he saw treetops in the distance. This discovery raised his hopes, and he told his cousin, “It hath pleased God to cast us here . . . the shore not far from us” (one has to wonder, though, whether Thacher questioned why God had not simply set the vessel on the shore). But Avery pleaded with him to stay so that they and their families could “die together” and be delivered to heaven. No sooner had Thacher agreed to accept this fate than a thunderous wave surged into the cabin, washing him, his daughter, Avery, and Avery’s eldest son out onto the rock. Clambering higher up, the four called to those still in the cabin to join them. The others apparently had frozen with fear, and only Thacher’s wife responded. As she began crawling through a hatch to the quarterdeck, another wave smashed into the vessel, obliterating what was left of it and sending her and all the other occupants into the churning water. The force of the same wave also swept everyone from the rock, save Thacher, who managed

Tempest 1886 by Ivan Aivazovsky (1817–1900) depicts the horror of a shipwreck in a storm. tenaciously to cling to the rock face. Then, just as he was reaching out to grab a plank from the vessel, another wave dislodged him, and he, too, was pitched into the sea. In the end, only Thacher and his wife survived what would become one of the most dramatic and fabled shipwrecks in Massachusetts Bay Colony history. Bruised, battered, and nearly naked, they washed up on a small, uninhabited island about a mile from the mainland of Cape Ann. They covered themselves with clothing from the wreck and survived on food that had also floated ashore. Five days passed before a boat came within hailing distance and rescued them. The disaster quickly became the talk of New England, where many shared the deep sorrow felt by the Thachers. In September 1635 the Massachusetts legislature awarded Thacher “forty marks,” or about twenty-six British pounds, to help compensate him for “his great losses”; and a year later it gave him the island “upon

which he was preserved from shipwreck, as his proper inheritance.” Thacher named the island “Thacher’s Woe,” but it is known today as Thacher Island, which is part of the town of Rockport. At the same time that Thacher and company were succumbing to the hurricane’s wrath, the ship James was fighting its own battle against the elements while anchored off the Isle of Shoals, located about 6 miles from the point along the coast where Maine and New Hampshire meet. The ship was carrying a group of 100 Puritan settlers who were leaving England to escape religious persecution and thus were part of the great Puritan migration of the 1620s and 1630s that sent roughly 20,000 dissenters from the Church of England to New England’s shores. The James’s most prominent passenger was Puritan minister Richard Mather, who was traveling with his wife and four sons to the town of Dorchester, just south of Boston, where he planned to preach at First Church. The hurricane struck in the earlymorning hours on August 15. “The Lord sent forth a most terrible storm of rain and easterly wind,” Mather later recounted, “whereby we were in as much danger as I think ever people were.” The James’s three Thacher Island as it looks on a calm day. The small rocky island was the site of many shipwrecks during the heyday of sail. The twin lighthouses were built in 1771. Nearly half of the 52-acre island was designated as a National Wildlife Refuge in 1972.


large anchors were useless in the face of the mounting winds and waves. Two of the anchor chains parted, and the third was cut by “the seamen in extremity and distress, to save the ship and their own lives.” When that last cable was severed, the James was set adrift, perilously close to the nine rocky islands that make up the Isle of Shoals. The sails were also no match for the storm, being “rent asunder and split in pieces, as if they had been but rotten rags.” Mather and his fellow puritans “cried unto the Lord” to be saved, and, by their

telling, the Lord “was pleased to have compassion and pity upon us, for by his overruling providence and his own immediate good hand, he guided the ship past the rock[s], assuaged the violence of the sea, and the wind and rain, and gave us a little respite.” (They had undoubtedly entered the eye of the hurricane.) During the calm, the crew hung new sails. When winds rapidly picked up again, they pushed the James toward the increasingly calmer waters off Cape Ann. “It was a day much to be remembered,” Mather said, “because on that

day the Lord granted us as wonderful a deliverance as I think ever people had, out of as apparent [a] danger as I think people ever felt.” Mather and his family ultimately made it safely to Dorchester, where he quickly rose to become one of New England’s most prominent preachers. There is a strange asymmetry between these two accounts. Both involve men of the cloth who fervently believed that God had a plan for them and was at the controls. Yet, for one of them a hurricane brought death and misery, while the other walked away unscathed. This disparity certainly supports what people often say, that God works in mysterious ways. As it happens, by surviving, Mather had a profound impact on American history. Not only was he an esteemed and influential preacher, but his son, Increase Mather, and his grandson, Cotton Mather, played pivotal roles in the religious and political life of New England for the better part of a century. Eric Jay Dolin is the author of fourteen books, including Leviathan, Brilliant Beacons, and Black Flags, Blue Waters. He lives with his family in Marblehead, Massachusetts. About the book: A Furious Sky is much more than a litany of death and destruction. It also weaves together a great range of captivating themes. There is the intriguing history of meteorology. The influence of hurricanes on the course of empire and the outcomes of war adds to the story. Critical innovations in communication, aviation, computer, and satellite technology play an important part, as does the women’s movement and its role in the naming of hurricanes. In the end, the history of America’s hurricanes forces us to confront thorny questions of how we can learn to survive and adapt to the continued barrage that is sure to come from the greatest storms on Earth. A Furious Sky, a finalist for the Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction and a New York Times Editor’s Choice, is available at bookstores everywhere. Excerpted from A Furious Sky: The FiveHundred-Year History of America’s Hurricanes. © 2020 by Eric Jay Dolin. Printed with permission of the publisher, Liveright Publishing Corporation, a division of W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. 1

Richard Mather, as depicted in the frontispiece of John Foster’s The Life and Death of That Reverend Man of God, Mr. Richard, Mather, Teacher of the Church of Dorchester in New England, circa 1670. 18


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Volume I: The story behind the 1848 Grand Panorama of a Whaling Voyage ‘Round the World Volume II: The entire 1,275 ft. Panorama reproduced with narrative details 508-997-0046 ext. 127


John Mashow (1805–1893)


John Mashow as depicted in the New Bedford Evening Standard on 29 October 1904.

ocean. On 17 July 1830, he married Hope Amos of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, and they soon started a family. She bore him eight children.5 Literate and fairly well-educated, Mashow founded his own shipbuilding company in 1831 after earning his Master Carpenter’s Certificate, required by the Collector of Customs to certify ships.6 From the prism of his life’s work and accomplishments, while the apprenticeship gave his career its start, he was clearly gifted in myriad ways. With more than 100 ships credited to his designs, construction, or both, twenty built between 1833 and 1858 were whaling vessels.7 These averaged 275 tons and collectively embarked on more than 139 whaling voyages. They amassed revenues from the capture of about The Mashow-built whaling barque Tropic Bird at Tabor’s Wharf.

courtesy of the new bedford whaling museum

rather vividly recall seeing the linedrawn sketch of John Mashow in an old New Bedford newspaper article while researching my book, Whaling Captains of Color—Americas’ First Meritocracy. The newspaper clipping is located in the whaling scrapbook collection of the New Bedford Whaling Museum Library, and I was going through it to locate background information on some of the whaling captains I was including in the book. It is exceedingly rare to find portraits of persons of color from the era when Mashow was alive, before the Civil War. He was obviously a man of the moment to have had his portrait included with the newspaper article titled “Old Time Shipbuilding,” followed by the subtitle, “A Mashow Ship Considered One of the Very Best.”1 He wears a slight smile in the picture, a rare depiction for a portrait of a black man during this time period. There is substantive information in the article about Mr. Mashow’s prolific work as a shipbuilder and architect, but little on how he came by those skills. Born in 1805 to a slave mother and slaveowner father—a rice planter in Georgetown, South Carolina—John Mashow arrived in Massachusetts in 1815.2 He had been freed by his father of the same name, and thanks to the assistance of a member of South Carolina’s Thatcher family, young John was sent to Massachusetts in the care of a northern Thatcher family member.3 In about 1818, Mashow became apprenticed to shipbuilder Laban Thatcher in the bayside village of Padanaram, just a couple of miles south of New Bedford. The influential Thatchers had moved there from Cape Cod in the 1790s, built a wharf, shipyard, windmill, and a magnesia factory, and changed the area’s name from its native Wampanoag name “Ponogansett” to a biblical-based name (from PadanAram in ancient Mesopotamia).4 Over the years, Mashow pursued his craft in Padanaram along its wharves and shipyards on Apponagansett Bay, an inlet protected from the open Atlantic by the larger Buzzards Bay, easily accessed by its navigable deep-water approach from the

by Skip Finley

courtesy of the new bedford whaling museum


From Slavery to Master Shipbuilder and Designer


New Bedford


david rumsey map collection

2,795 whales that produced sperm oil, whale oil, and whalebone worth about $7,326,000—the equivalent of $181 million in 2019.8 In 1845 John Mashow joined forces with Alonzo Mathews, James Madison Babbitt, and Frederick Smally to found the Mathews, Mashow & Company shipyard at Padanaram. In 1851 John Mashow built Tropic Bird, which in the course of its 34-year whaling career would complete thirteen whaling voyages, bringing home more than nine million dollars’ worth of whale products as cargo. At 163 tons, it was the fourth smallest of Mashow’s whalers. He and his partners launched two more ships that year: Sea Queen (240 tons) and the A. R. Tucker (123 tons), the smallest of the Mashow whaling ships. The Sea Queen’s production totaled almost $12.5 million in revenue across a 37-year working life. A. R. Tucker, with eighteen whaling voyages in her working life and earning approximately $17 million from harvested whale products, was second only to Morning Star and Cape Horn Pigeon, which each embarked on nineteen whaling voyages. These Mashowbuilt ships had long working lives: A. R. Tucker’s 57 years of service was exceeded only by Morning Star with 62. Morning Star was the most productive of the Mashow ships, earning $28.5 million, with Cape Horn Pigeon ranking second with about $23.3 million.

(above) 1850 map of New Bedford and Buzzards Bay and approaches from sea. John Mashow’s shipyard was in Padanaram, a short sail from New Bedford.

(left) Letter dated 27 March 1876 from the “Office of William Lewis, Commission Merchant” spelling out the terms of Captain Owen Tilton’s contract to take command of the whaling ship Tropic Bird. “This is to certify that I Owen H. Tilton of Tisbury have this day agreed to go as Master of Bark Tropic Bird for a two year whaling voyage in the Atlantic Ocean for the one fourteenth Lay. Should I get one thousand barrels of Sperm Oil in thirty months then I am to have the one twelfth lay of the whole cargo and I agree to take one sixteenth or one eight [inserted] of said [at rates] as paid(r) I. H. Bartlett & Sons. [signed] William Lewis”


new bedford whaling museum photo by john tirrell, courtesy new bedford free public library

Among the Mathews, Mashow & Company designed merchant ships and whalers was the 319-ton Aurora, built in 1856 for $16,267.77.9 If we use the costs of building Aurora for a baseline, it could be imputed that these ships were built for approximately $51 per ton. The combined tonnage of the twenty Mathews, Mashow & Company whalers comes in at 5,507 tons. This figure multiplied by $51 per ton comes to $280,857. Adjusted for inflation over the period of time in which they were constructed and operated, the vessels built by this shipyard produced a total value of $7,257,345 (in 2019 dollars), or about $362,867 per ship. To offset some of the capital needed upfront to build and outfit a ship for a voyage, shipbuilders often retained a share of the vessels they built as partial payment.


Mashow held shares in seven ships. For thirty years, his ships had a reputation for putting them among the best on the water.10 Maritime life was a family tradition in the region, and several of the Mashow sons went to sea as crew aboard whalers out of New Bedford. At least one of his sons, Isaac H. Mashow, went to sea in a vessel his father designed and built. Isaac Mashow was signed on as a boat-steerer aboard the whaler Benjamin Cummings on its voyage to the Pacific from 1854–1859. The ship was owned by Tucker & Cummings when it left Dartmouth, Massachusetts, on 14 November 1854; it returned to Massachusetts nearly five years later with 1,624 barrels of sperm whale oil valued at over $2.7 million today.11 Isaac Mashow cleared $152 from the voyage, while Matthews, Mashow & Company, which owned 4/64 of the

new bedford whaling museum

Original builder’s half-hull model of the Matilda Sears. This vessel was built by John Mashow in about 1856 and sailed for twenty-six years. Her five whaling voyages brought in whale products valued at $10.9 million today.

The whaling ship Benjamin Cummings was the namesake of its owner, who owned an imposing Italianate-style home in 1854 at 411 County Street in New Bedford. The New Bedford Preservation Society includes it on its walking tour of historic homes. barque, made $2,199, according to final settlement accounts. The partnership also owned shares in the A. R. Tucker, Cape Horn Pigeon, Matilda Sears, and individually in other whalers.12 Like many of his contemporaries, Benjamin Cummings re-invested his profits in whaling and grew wealthy. The barque bearing his name was launched in 1846 with a full-length sculpture of its proud namesake as its figurehead. Across its twenty-one years of whaling, the Benjamin Cummings provided over $8.3 million of revenue for its owners.13 Whaling ships at the wharf in New Bedford, 1868. John Mashow’s career straddled the peak years of American whaling, when nearly two hundred whaling ships hailed from the port of New Bedford. SEA HISTORY 174, SPRING 2021

Alas, the Mathews-Mashow partnership would not last as an entity after 1858, but their ships lasted well into the 20th century. Morning Star’s final whaling voyage returned to port in 1914. One vessel (not a whaler), the schooner Thomas Borden, was not completed until 1861. A notable example of a Mashow-designed whaleship was the 341-ton whaler Nimrod. Built in 1841, it was constructed with “white oak, live oak, yellow pine, and locust with copper fastened through.”14 During the Civil War, three Mashow whalers—Nimrod, Benjamin Tucker, and Jireh Swift—along with more than sixty others were burned to the waterline by the Confederate raiders CSS Alabama and CSS Shenandoah. John Mashow built the 454-ton Jireh Swift in 1853. Its first whaling voyage took it to the northern Pacific and lasted nearly four years. The 122-foot ship collected 45

barrels of sperm oil, 2,719 barrels of whale oil, and 14,900 pounds of whalebone—together worth more than $3.5 million for the single trip. On 22 June 1865, Jireh Swift was destroyed after leading Shenandoah on a chase through the ice fields of the Bering Sea. It is likely that the last shots of the Civil War were fired that day, as Com-

mander James Waddell, Confederate States Navy, having been away from the continent for many months and lacking fresh news of the war, later claimed he was not aware of its conclusion weeks earlier.15 It is easy to see from the listing of Mashow Whale Ship Records how valuable the Jireh Swift was to its owners. After



Year Ship Returned

Cargo Value*

Largest Revenue Voyage Jireh Swift** 1857 $3,548,551 Largest Sperm Oil Voyage Sea Queen 1866 $ 108,426 Largest Whale Oil Voyage Jireh Swift 1865 $ 112,520 Largest Whalebone Voyage Jireh Swift 1857 $ 37,616 *in 2019 dollars **at 454 tons, Jireh Swift was Mashow’s largest whaling ship

new bedford whaling museum

The Mashow-built barque Morning Star had an incredible 62-year lifespan. Between 1853 and 1914, she completed 19 whaling voyages.


courtesy william bradford gallery

The 122-foot Jireh Swift was the largest of Mashow’s whalers and the most profitable. She was captured in June 1865 in the Arctic by the Confederate raider CSS Shenandoah and subsequently torched and burned to the waterline.

building the schooner J. W. Flanders, Mathews, Mashow & Company declared bankruptcy in 1858 as a result of the financial downturn of 1857. Two other ships, the William Gifford and the Thomas Borden, must have still been under construction, as they were completed in 1858 and 1861 respectively. When the Mathews-Mashow yard closed, John Mashow received a public testimonial as “a thorough, practical master shipbuilder and a most worthy and respected citizen.”16 The name of John Mashow deserves to be ranked, undoubtedly, with those of our best naval architects….John Mashow, a man of

color, who from humble origin like many other men of true genius has risen to the highest rank as a naval architect as well as shipbuilder. He was born in 1805 ... in Georgetown, South Carolina, the child of a white man, but born of a colored mother, the slave of the father. By a provision in the will of the father, John ... was sent North to learn the trade of a ship carpenter, which he states was in accordance with the wish he had frequently expressed to the father, always objecting to any other occupation proposed to him. —The Mercury, New Bedford

new bedford whaling museum

The barque William Gifford was not launched until a year after the Mathews-Mashow shipyard closed. In her 19-year working life, she brought home $5.3 million worth of whale products. In this painting by Charles Sidney Raleigh (1830–1925), the ship is shown with a white hull under full sail. She is flying four flags: the Union Jack, the American flag, and two with the initials “W. G.” She was named for William Gifford, who acted as agent for a number of local whaling ships, including the Charles Drew, Minerva, and William Gifford.



A group of prominent whaling ship owners and merchants presented him with a document that paid tribute to his work. It read: Mr. John Mashow of Dartmouth is highly esteemed in this District as a thorough, practical master shipbuilder and as a most worthy and respected citizen …As a Draughtsman, skillful Naval Architect and excellent builder, he has no superior in this section of the state.17 John Mashow pursued his career independently after the shipyard closed, including the 140-ton clipper/schooner that was built in 1861 in South Dartmouth for Benjamin Rodman, Esq. A Boston newspaper described it as a “large water boat.”18 In 1868 he built the New Bedford, a barque touted as “one of the best specimens of that

kind of mechanical work we have ever inspected.”19 A year later he built a small schooner, the 44-foot Juanita, for a Captain Richard Flanders from Martha’s Vineyard.20 There are a host of other newspaper articles referencing additional ships built and repaired by John Mashow until he was listed as a “ship carpenter” in New Bedford city directories upon his death in 1893.21 His obituary read:

Mashow’s long successful career would be an achievement for any man during this era, but it is all the more remarkable for a black man to have achieved most of this before the end of the Civil War. Sadly, after such proven and acknowledged success, little remains as a memorial to this man. To date, the sole vessel honoring him was the fishing schooner John Mashow, built in 1846 that was probably built, designed, and named by Mashow himself.

John Mashow, a well-known shipbuilder in the palmy days of New Bedford’s whaling interests, died at his home in Dartmouth today in his 88th year. He has built some of the finest and staunchest of the vessels which comprised the whaling fleet ... He was honorable and upright in his dealings, and commanded the respect of all who knew him.22

Skip Finley, a former radio broadcasting executive, who has attempted retirement since age fifty, keeps returning to communications and is currently in marketing at the Vineyard Gazette Media Group on Martha’s Vineyard. For five years Finley wrote the Vineyard Gazette’s weekly Oak Bluffs Town column and has contributed to several publications in the areas of whaling and history. His second book, Whaling Captains of Color: America’s First Meritocracy, was published in 2020.

NOTES New Bedford Whaling Museum Library, Scrapbooks (7/15/16), unnamed, undated newspaper article, “Old Time Shipbuilding” by William G. Kirschbaum 2 Sidney Kaplan, American Studies in Black and White: Selected Essays 1949–1989, University of Amherst Press, MA 1991, 234–236; Owen H. Tilton life at sea, 3 Spencer Jourdain, The Dream Dancers—An American Reflection Upon Past Present and Future: Volume One, New England Preservers of the Dream of the Dream 1620–1924, Shorefront, Evanston, IL, 2016, pgs. 24–26. 4 South Coast Today, “Padanaram’s Rich History Flavored by Ship Building, Salt” by Auditi Guha, 20 July 2014. www.southcoasttoday. com/article/20140720/news/407200321 5 Isaac H. Mashow was a boatsteerer onboard the whaler Benjamin Cummings, during a voyage from 1854 to 1859. 6 Patricia Carter Sluby, The Innovative Spirit of African Americans— Patented Ingenuity, Praeger Publishers, Westport, CT, 2004, pg. 11 [source: Portia James]. The Real McCoy: African American Invention and Innovation, 1619–1930. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1989, pgs. 33–35.] 7 Sidney Kaplan, American Studies in Black and White: Selected Essays 1949–1989, University of Amherst Press, MA 1991, page 235 8 Author’s Estimates: These estimates are based on a formula factoring for the generic size of whales (in barrels), gallons per barrel, prices by year and the inflation-based value of dollars in 2019. Sources include: Inflation Calculator, Year=2019&amount=1; Ship Data, Judith N. Lund (et al) American Offshore Whaling Vessels 1667–1927; Barrels per whale: Elmo Paul Hohman, The American Whaleman; Gallons per Barrel: F. D. Ommanney Lost Leviathan, Price per gallon/pound: Alexander Starbuck History of the American Whale Fishery, (to 1876); Price per gallon/ pound: Reginald B. Hegarty, Returns of Whaling Vessels Sailing from 1

American Ports, (1876–1928). For a host of reasons some of this data may be inaccurate and are best used for perspective. 9 Spencer Jourdain, The Dream Dancers, pgs. 24–26. 10 New Bedford Whaling Museum Library, (7/15/16), unsourced, undated newspaper article, “Old Time Shipbuilding” by William G. Kirschbaum 11 Alexander Starbuck, History of the American Whale Fishery, Waltham, MA, 1878, 12 Mr. Tashtego—Native American Whalemen in Antebellum New England, Nancy Shoemaker; Project Muse, University of Connecticut, see National Archives Project, Ship Registers of New Bedford, Massachusetts, (3 volumes, Boston, 1940). 13 Author’s estimate 14 Spencer Jourdain, The Dream Dancers, pgs. 24–26 15 The ex-slave, the doomed barque and the American President, www. 16 New Bedford Whaling Museum Library, Scrapbooks (7/15/16), unsourced, undated newspaper article, “Old Time Shipbuilding” by William G. Kirschbaum; Commercial Fishers: Whaling. 17 Footsteps: African American History, Vol 1 Issue 3, May 1999 c1999Page 47. John Mashow, Master Shipbuilder. Wiscat #-STWI-492841; 18 Boston Commercial Bulletin, 7/13/1861; New York Herald, 11/6/1861 19 New Bedford Evening Standard, 7/28/1868 20 New Bedford Mercury, 4/9/1869 21 Long Island Historical Journal Vol. 2, No. 1, pages 41–52; “African American Whalers: Images and Reality” by Floris Barnett Cash, pg. 48 22 Sidney Kaplan, American Studies in Black and White: Selected Essays 1949–1989, University of Amherst Press, MA 1991, page 236


hey called it the Pastry War. But instead of a charming pâtisserie as the setting, delighted children and bemused adults as the participants, and flying chouquettes, croissants, éclairs, and macrons as the projectiles, it featured a gray harbor fort, serious military men, steam warships, and exploding artillery shells. It took place at Veracruz, Mexico, in 1838 and, though little known today, is significant for auguring a new era of naval warfare. Ten years in the making, the conflict stemmed from a Mexico City street riot between rival political factions. Mexico had achieved independence in 1821 but suffered continual political intrigue and frequent leadership changes in the years afterwards. During one such power scuffle, unruly soldiers thronged a French-owned pâtisserie, gobbled up 800 pesos’ worth of treats without paying, and generally wrecked the premises before leaving. The shop’s owner, one Monsieur Remontel, did not take kindly to this outrage and claimed 60 thousand pesos in damages. This was an astronomical sum at the time, and the Mexican government haughtily rejected his claim. Not easily deterred, Remontel pressed his case for years, and by 1838 he had taken it to the French government. Rather than dismiss it as a trivial distraction, King Louis-Phillipe saw it as an op-

by John S. Sledge

réunion des musées nationaux


The Pastry War

Prise de Saint-Jean d’Ulloa en 1838 lors de l’expedition Baudin by Théodore Gudin (1802–1880). The Pastry War was a deadly serious affair despite its seemingly comic moniker. The sulfurous fury of the French bombardment is readily apparent in this canvas painted shortly afterwards. Mount Orizaba’s snowy summit looms in the right background. portunity to call in Mexican debts, as well as to recoup the losses of other French citizens in the unrest, all to the tune of 600 thousand pesos. Unsurprisingly, the sitting Mexican president, Anastasio Bustamante, refused, leading Louis-Phillipe to send his navy to Veracruz to coerce payment. Veracruz is located roughly halfway down Mexico’s long, gracefully curving Gulf Coast with the snowy summit of Mount Orizaba providing a dramatic background. During the early nineteenth century, it was a city of considerable impor-


tance, with flourishing trade contacts throughout the Atlantic basin. Founded by Hernán Cortés in 1519, by the early nineteenth century it boasted a population of roughly 10,000 souls. It was a vibrant city but had a fearsome reputation for northers (strong wintertime fronts that regularly scattered shipping) and disease, particularly yellow fever, graphically referred to locally as el vomito. Nonetheless, visitors were generally impressed. Seven years before the Pastry War, a British barrister named Henry Tudor described the city’s appearance from the water as “remarkably pretty; exhibiting a showy aspect of churches, with their various spires and towers—of white-washed houses with their terraced roofs—and surrounded entirely with fortified walls.” History had demonstrated the efficacy of those walls more than once, including against sixteenth-century pirate attacks and an 1825 Spanish siege. Even more important than the wall was the brooding harbor fortress of San Juan de Ulúa, situated on an emergent coral reef half a mile offshore and facing northeast, or seaward. It was originally constructed in 1535 and improved throughout the eighteenth century. By the mid1830s, it consisted of a rectangular parade ground surrounded by fifteen-foot-thick coral curtain walls and sharply angled Veracruz was, and is, a major Mexican port on the Gulf of Mexico.



corner bastions with a brick lighthouse, a cavalier (an interior fortress raised to fire over the main parapet), and a demilune on the seaward side with flanking redoubts and moats. The armament included 187 guns and the garrison, 1,200 men. Contemporaries considered it well-nigh impregnable, the “Gibraltar of America.” While that had been true theretofore, troubling disadvantages were evident to knowledgeable observers. The coral block walls were not likely to stand up to a sustained pounding by modern shell guns, there were almost no interior casemates to provide lateral protection to the gun crews, the artillery was small caliber and badly mounted, the gunpowder was inferior, and the men were poorly trained conscripts. The French fleet arrived in March, and the King’s Minister to Mexico, Baron Antoine-Louis Deffaudis, formally presented a list of demands to Bustamante that included payment of the debt by 15 April, the release of any French citizens held in Mexican jails, and the removal of “certain offending officials.” Bustamante labeled the demands “un verdadero libelo” (a true libel) and put his trust in el vomito and strong northers to drive away the enemy. In response, the French suspended diplomatic relations and blockaded Veracruz. Just as Bustamante had hoped, disease and storm afflicted the fleet, but it did not withdraw, and the standoff remained unresolved into the fall. Eager to force a conclusion, Louis-Phillipe sent more ships under Rear Admiral Charles Baudin. By October, two

Positions of French naval ships during the bombardment of the fort on 27 November 1838. This map was printed in an 1888 book on Admiral Baudin by Edmond Jurien de La Gravière, director of charts for the French navy and a prolific author on French naval history. dozen French vessels were holding station offshore, including transports loaded with 4,000 troops; three frigates armed with fearsome Paixhans shell guns; two bomb ketches; a sloop-of-war; two steamers, the Phaeton and the Météor, each boasting 160 horsepower engines; and a handsome twenty-four-gun corvette named La Créole under the command of the King’s son, twenty-year-old François d’Orléans, Prince of Joinville. Since the Mexicans were determined not to fire first, Baudin took the opportunity to dispatch crews in longboats to take soundings right up to the walls of San Juan de Ulúa. On hand to protect American interests was USS Erie, a trim sloop-of-war commanded by Captain David Glasgow Farragut. Before the hostilities started, the young American officer took the opportunity to visit the French admiral’s 52-gun flagship Néréide. He was impressed by Rear Admiral Charles Baudin (1784–1854) led the French assault on Veracruz.

Baudin, a balding, 53-year-old, one-armed fighter who had seen service in the Napoleonic Wars. Baudin, a master seaman and strategist, openly shared his plans. After an hour in his company, Farragut opined that he would have been a “rara avis in any navy.” He admired the admiral’s battleready decks, everything shipshape and squared away. He took particular interest in the 32-pounder guns equipped with new percussion locks, “no spring, no machinery, in fact, nothing that can become deranged” and expected the coming contest to be one-sided and short. The French had set 27 November as their new deadline, after which “war or peace would immediately follow.” Guessing that diplomacy had run its course, Farragut had his blue jackets embark all US citizens and their valuables. As expected, Bustamante was in no mood to concede anything to Baudin. On the appointed day Farragut anchored safely off to one side and watched as the Phaeton and Météor towed the frigates into the most advantageous positions.


Steam technology was yet young, but, applied to naval warfare, it provided even better evidence than the new percussion locks that the old ways were doomed. “Everything was done by them,” Farragut wrote of the steamers. “The day was calm, or nearly so, and the ships had no sails to manage. As soon as the anchor was let go, they were ready for action.” Slim, bearded, and eager to “share in the fun,” the Prince of Joinville begged Baudin permission for La Créole to join the frigates. This was a brash request, as the corvette’s guns were, in Joinville’s own words, “mere children’s toys.” Permission was denied, and he was ordered to simply observe. Still refusing to open hostilities, the Mexicans waited behind their coral walls. “At precisely 2:30pm,” Farragut wrote, “the Admiral’s ship fired the first gun, and immediately the firing became general.” Bright tongues of flame leapt from gun muzzles, and heavy smoke enveloped the ships. To his great joy, Joinville was granted permission to join the bombardment; he immediately got underway, gliding alongside the thundering frigates and taking position in a line at their head. Despite his small battery, Joinville relished being San Juan de Ulúa as it looks today. The fort was designated a National Historic Monument by the Mexican government in 1962. 28

in the thick of the action. Farragut wrote that the “Prince had the hottest berth, but stood his ground like a man, occasionally wearing ship to bring a fresh broadside to bear.” The fort’s shots were ragged, but Joinville could see the frigate Iphigénie taking hits. “Every minute or two I saw splinters of wood flying into the air, cut out by the shot striking her,” he wrote. Fortunately, Iphigénie’s damage was slight because of the Mexicans’ bad powder and small guns. By contrast, the fort suffered terribly. Farragut was astonished to see the French shells punch holes a foot deep into the coral walls and then explode, “tearing out great masses of stone, and in some instances rending the wall from base to top.”

photo by nazary diaz, cc by sa 3.0 via

p.d., courtesy palace of versailles research center

Prise du fort Saint-Jean-d’Ulloa, 27 Novembre 1838 by Horace Vernet (1789–1863) depicts twenty-year-old François d’Orléans, Prince of Joinville, on the aft deck of the French corvette Créole during the action on 27 November 1838.

Inside the fort, gun carriages were upended, men were hit by humming fragments, the powder magazine exploded, and the square tower and its defenders were blasted to smithereens. According to an account later published in the New Orleans Bee, the magazine blew “with so much violence, that the decks of several of the French vessels at the distance of more than a mile, were strewed with their fragments.” It was more than soft coral, human flesh, or weak will could withstand. By sunset, the fort was a smoking ruin, and the Mexican garrison capitulated. Joinville toured the scene the next day and wrote, “A horrible smell rose from the numerous corpses buried everywhere under the rubbish.” Over 200 Mexicans were dead. The surviving members of the garrison tied weights to their deceased comrades and sank them in the harbor. Unfortunately, they did a sloppy job, and in a ghastly coda to the whole affair, Farragut wrote that the deceased “were seen floating about in all directions.” French losses were trivial by contrast. Baudin cursed “the folly” of his brave opponents’ leaders for putting them in such an impossible position. The French occupied the shattered fort and allowed the defenders to withdraw, their honor intact. The overall Mexican commander at Veracruz then decided to parlay with Baudin, hoping to avoid a bloody siege. He readily accepted conditions that included letting the French provision from the city and sending all but 1,000 of his soldiers at least ten miles out of town. Predictably, this news riled the capital. The central government under Bustamante made a formal declaration of


war and funneled more troops toward the coast. It was at this turbulent moment that General Antonio Lopéz de Santa Anna reinserted himself into national affairs, promising to defend the city. If ever there was a genius at exploiting the main chance, it was Santa Anna. He was 44 years old, tall, darkly handsome, and brave—though a flawed military strategist. Ever since his crushing defeat two years earlier by Sam Houston at San Jacinto, he had been keeping a low profile at his nearby villa. The Pastry War provided him the ideal opportunity to rescue his beloved nation from humiliation and defeat. He thus obtained the government’s blessing and appeared in Veracruz’s plaza announcing the declaration of war and his intention of throwing the French into the sea. Farragut and several of his officers paid the General a visit on 29 November and were cordially received. Santa Anna assured them that American citizens would be respected. He also appealed to their shared geographic interests, asking them to tell President Martin Van Buren “that we are

Adm. David G. Farragut (1801–1870)

Antonio López de Santa Anna (1794–1876) lost a leg in the Pastry War, but used the sacrifice of his limb as a public relations tool to resurrect his political standing in Mexico. all one family, and must be united against Europeans obtaining a foothold on this continent.” This unusual play on hemispheric solidarity was vintage Santa Anna, as were his parting comments that the recent surrender was an outrage and he would “die rather than yield one point for which they had contended.” Exasperated by this development, Baudin declared that he would not wage war on innocent civilians because of their government’s stupidity. To avoid a messy siege, he concocted a plan to gut Santa Anna’s preparations before they went any further. On the foggy morning of 5 December, three French infantry divisions landed on the city’s wide waterfront—one to the south, one at the center, and one to the north. Among the troops in the center column was Joinville, in direct command of sixty men. French sappers laid black powder charges under the gates and blew them open. “Forward! God save the King!” shouted Joinville as the French surged into the city and made for Santa Anna’s headquarters. “There wasn’t a cat in the streets,” Joinville later testified. But the Mexicans were waiting for them, hidden in houses and perched among the rooftops. French soldiers began falling as resistance mounted. Ignoring the “musketry fire crackling from every window like a great set piece of fireworks,” Joinville directed his men through the alleyways towards the governor’s house. Once there, they “hurled into a room full of smoke and Mexican soldiers.”

Joinville captured a general, but Santa Anna escaped “in his shirt and trousers.” The French forces continued to push inland, and their losses increased. Alarmed by his casualties and not interested in capturing the city, Baudin ordered a withdrawal. True to form, Santa Anna seized the moment when French retreat was certain to sally forth with several hundred men, parading in front of them on a prancing white charger. To all appearances he intended to harry the enemy to the water’s edge and apprehend Baudin himself. The French responded by hauling up a small field piece, “loaded to the muzzle with grape and canister” according to Farragut, that raked the Mexican line. Santa Anna was among the wounded, hit in the left leg, which had to be amputated shortly thereafter. Santa Anna was nothing if not resourceful, however, and in inimitable style he parlayed his misfortune into advantage. He was now viewed as the savior of Veracruz, one who had given a leg in its defense, and he once again ascended to the presidency. The war ended when the British, impatient with the blockade’s disruptions, sent a small fleet to help broker a treaty. Santa Anna’s loud pronunciamentos to the contrary, the Mexicans paid the French every peso owed. The Pastry War was over, with Veracruz once again open to commerce. Santa Anna was a hero of Mexico, and young Capt. Farragut sailed away mulling the lessons he had learned watching steamships and shell guns pummel an old harbor fort—lessons that in the fullness of time he would apply at New Orleans and Mobile Bay. This article was adapted from John S. Sledge’s latest book, The Gulf of Mexico: A Maritime History, published by the University of South Carolina Press. Sledge is senior architectural historian for the Mobile Historic Development Commission and a member of the National Book Critics Circle. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history and Spanish from Auburn University and a master’s in historic preservation from Middle Tennessee State University. Sledge is the author of six previous books, including Southern Bound: A Gulf Coast Journalist on Books, Writers, and Literary Pilgrimages of the Heart, The Mobile River, and These Rugged Days: Alabama in the Civil War.


Final Voyage of the

Epitaph for an Exceptional Ship by Sam Heed and Jordi Noort, Kalmar Nyckel Foundation

omewhere in the North Sea off the east coast of Scotland, near Buchan Ness, lie the unmarked remains of the original Kalmar Nyckel, one of the great ships of the 17th century. In the service of the Dutch after a long and legendary career under the Swedish flag, she was sunk by an English fleet on 22 July 1652 in the opening engagement of what would be called the First Anglo-Dutch War. Flying Dutch colors as the Kalmar Sleutel, she had come full circle. A workhorse of a ship since being launched in Amsterdam in 1627, she would end her career with the people who had built her twenty-five years earlier. After decades of guesswork and speculation, new research in the archives in the Netherlands and Sweden has revealed more details and allows us to complete the missing last chapter in the career of this remarkable ship, the final year when the Kalmar Nyckel left Swedish service until her ultimate demise fighting for the Dutch off Scotland in 1652. Today’s replica Kalmar Nyckel, the official Tall Ship of Delaware, was launched in Wilmington, Delaware, in 1997. Built, owned, and operated by the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation, the ship serves as a floating classroom and inspirational platform for a broad array of sea- and land-based educational programs that reach 30,000 people a year.


courtesy sjöfartsmuseet akvariet

photo by andrew hanna, courtesy kalmar nyckel foundation


Kalmar Nyckel


Unlocking “The Key” After twenty-two years of distinguished service to the Swedish Realm, Kalmar Nyckel (“Key of Kalmar”) was decommissioned on 19 June 1651 by order of Queen Christina and sold to a private merchant. A Swedish Admiralty inspection determined that she would not be sound enough to cross the Atlantic for a fifth time as a colonial ship for New Sweden. The buyer was Cornelis Roelofsen, a Dutch merchant living in Stockholm and known to members

of the Swedish governing elite. This much we have always known, and Roelofsen is named in the decommissioning document. We don’t know exactly what Roelofsen did with the ship immediately after he took possession of her, but we can be confident that he took note of the larger drama unfolding along the Dutch coast, some 900 miles southwest of Stockholm. Dutch maritime might had been irritating English pride across the Channel, and the wealth produced by Dutch trade and fishing

proved an irresistible target for English predators. The dispute over control of the sea lanes around the British Isles increasingly led to warlike preparations among the English and Dutch forces. As English Admiral George Monck put it at the time, “The Dutch have too much trade, and we intend to take it from them.” We do know that Roelofsen had Kalmar Nyckel outfitted for war; he upped her armament to twenty “pieces” and had her in Amsterdam available for hire by 11 April

courtesy rijksmuseum

Turbulent Sea with Ships by Ludolf Bakhuysen, 1697, oil on canvas, 12.5 x 15 inches. The original Kalmar Nyckel was built in Amsterdam in 1627 as an ordinary Dutch “Pinas” (pinnace) of about 300 tons and 100 feet on deck, just one of a couple thousand similar vessels built by the Dutch in this period. She was purchased in 1629 by the Swedish Skeppskompaniet (Ship Company) with tax revenue from the strategic harbor town of Kalmar, on Sweden’s southeast coast, and renamed Kalmar Nyckel. She made a record eight crossings (four round trips) of the Atlantic for the New Sweden Company between 1637 and 1644. The first of these voyages launched the colony of New Sweden in 1638 under the command of Peter Minuit, who established Fort Christina at “The Rocks,” in present-day Wilmington, Delaware—the first permanent European settlement in the Delaware Valley. When not sailing on colonial voyages for the New Sweden Company, she served the Swedish Navy as an auxiliary warship until 1651. She was part of Gustav II Adolf ’s famous invasion fleet at Peenemünde on the German coast of Pomerania in 1630, which marked Sweden’s entry into the Thirty Years’ War (1618–48). Swedish Admiralty records from 1634 list her as carrying a crew of 55 men and 12 six-pounder cannon, probably typical of her wartime strength. Toward the end of her career, she saw bloody action in Torstenson’s War against the Danes in 1645 and transported Swedish diplomats across the Baltic during the negotiations that led to the Peace of Westphalia in 1648.


courtesy rijksmuseum

The Dutch Herring Fleet, 1697, by Pieter Vogelaer (1670-1700), pen and ink on panel, 33 x 45 inches. The value of the 17th-century Dutch herring fleet cannot be overstated, to both the economy and the culture in the Netherlands. In addition to providing nutrient-rich sustenance for its population, the fishery produced a valuable commodity for international trade. Its value can also be deduced from the number of works of art that were made during this period by the Dutch masters.

courtesy rijksmuseum

Fishing Boats in Choppy Waters, ca. 1630, by Jan Porcellis (1580/84–1632), oil on panel, 10 x 14 inches.



Last Captain and Crew of the Kalmar Nyckel On 26 April, the Admiralty Board of Rotterdam appointed Dirck Vijgh as captain of the Kalmar Sleutel. The son of a nobleman, Captain Vijgh had been decorated for bravery in action against Dunkirk pirates and served well as Admiral Maarten Tromp’s flag captain on Brederode, named for a castle in the Netherlands. At the time of Captain Vijgh’s appointment, Kalmar Sleutel was still in Amsterdam taking on provisions and undergoing additional modifications. The States General had specified that all ships recently acquired for patrol and escort were to be refit so that they could carry at least 22 guns and fighting crews of 90. The refit was soon completed, and by 11 May a skeleton crew had brought the ship by way of Texel to her new homeport of Rotterdam. That these upgrades would be needed became clear soon enough. Escalating tensions between the Dutch and English fleets erupted into open warfare with running gun battles in the Channel on the 22nd and 29th of May. The conflict would be made official with declarations of war on the 10th of July and later given the title First AngloDutch War of 1652–54.

Shetland Islands Stockholm

Fair Isle

Baltic Sea



(Buchan Ness) North Sea


Amsterdam Den Briel

Rotterdam esri base map

1652—just when deputies of the Dutch States General came looking for ships to reinforce their navies. The States General had ordered the five Dutch Admiralties “to find, hire, renovate, and equip 150 ships” for patrol and escort duty. On that 11th of April, two deputies from the Admiralty Board of Rotterdam began to examine the ships moored in Amsterdam harbor. They reported back on 22 April that they had hired five ships, one of which was Kalmar Sleutel (“sleutel” is Dutch for “nyckel;” both mean “key” in English), with Cornelis Roelofsen listed as the owner. As part of the lease arrangement with the Rotterdam Admiralty, businessman Roelofsen drew up an extensive inventory of the ship: “Kalmar Sleutel, [about 20 years old], long over the bow 103 feet, wide 25 feet, its hold 11 feet, there above 6 feet, with a new pine hull.” Dated 22 April 1652, Roelofsen’s inventory provides the most complete list of the ship’s equipment we have from her long career.

Kalmar Nyckel’s geographical theater during her last year of operation. On 23 May, Dirck Vijgh assumed command. He would serve as the ship’s last captain. On 31 May, the crew came aboard and were brought under oath. There were ninety of them, and they were each given one month’s wages in advance. “Buss Patrol” ­— Last Voyage of the Kalmar Nyckel (14 June–22 July 1652) The following day, Kalmar Sleutel was ordered to join the escort squadron protecting the Dutch herring fleet, which was out sailing off the Shetland Islands, north of Scotland. The herring fleet—“the Great Fishery”—was the first to develop industrialized fishing. Its influence on the Dutch economy in the 17th century was comparable to the more famous Dutch trading fleets, the East India Company (VOC) and the West India Company (WIC). The scale of the Great Fishery was enormous, with 2,000 fishing boats at work in the North Sea and 150,000 tons of fish exported from the Netherlands for profit in 1614 alone. One-fifth of the Dutch population was employed in the fishing business, and Dutch capitalism contributed many innovations to the industry, including the development of drift nets to catch shoals of herring, which are still used today. The fishing vessels, called busses, were an innovation all their own, sturdy ships with

flat bottoms that could be beached for quick and convenient offloading. About seventy feet in length and manned by fifteen crew, busses were often worked by whole families, women and children included, making them a kind of floating cottage industry. For the next two weeks Captain Vijgh and crew undertook a flurry of final preparations, taking on 1,000 pounds of gunpowder and four more guns, for a total of 26. On 7 June, Kalmar Sleutel moved to Den Briel, a staging harbor located at the mouth of the Maas River, where Captain Vijgh took on more gunpowder and awaited the command to sail. A week later, with the winds of war upon them, Captain Vijgh and his crew set sail for the Shetlands on what would be the Kalmar Sleutel’s last voyage. They were joined by the Sphera Mundi, which would serve with them as part of the “buss patrol.” It was likely the early part of July by the time they met up with the fishing fleet. They joined the escorts under Admiral Dirck Claesz van Dongen in the Sint Paulus Bekeering and began to shepherd the 600 herring busses. All was well as the fishermen went about their business, setting drift nets and hauling back vast shoals of herring, the “silver of the seas.” The fishers knew to be wary of the English, but probably did not know that war had


been declared on 10 July 1652. They sailed undisturbed as they headed south of Fair Isle, reaching toward the Scottish coast. They were somewhere near Buchan Ness on Thursday morning, 22 July 1652, when 66 English ships were spotted hull-down on the southern horizon. Battle of Buchan Ness ­— 22 July 1652 The scene off Buchan Ness that third week in July, with stiff breezes and bright Scottish skies, could have come straight from the pen of Robert Louis Stevenson: the romance of ships under sail, the anticipation of a “battle of encounter,” and the smell

of adventure in the salty air. But from the decks of the Dutch escort squadron, the view that morning must have been terrifying. As the English fleet of 66 capital ships bore down on the sixteen Dutch escorts protecting the 600 boats of the herring fleet, Dutch Vice-Admiral Reinout Veenhuysen of the Sphera Mundi opened fire prematurely, and then abruptly fled the scene. Leading eight frigates of the English vanguard, Captain John Taylor of the Laurel was the first to answer with a broadside of 24 guns, and the battle was begun. Veenhuysen’s cowardice was made up for by

some of the other Dutch warships that fought back. The Battle of Buchan Ness turned into a bloody three-hour affair, a seagoing slaughterhouse with both sides taking heavy casualties and many English ships put out of action. Kalmar Sleutel was at the center of the action. Captain Vijgh and his crew were among the most heavily engaged, fighting desperately against overwhelming English firepower. The smaller Dutch escorts, mostly armed merchant vessels, were no match for the English frigates, new purpose-built warships that each carried 36 guns or more and doubled the weight of the Dutch broadsides. Skilled Dutch seamanship could not for long overcome such a discrepancy in firepower. In three hours of fighting the English seized twelve of the Dutch escorts and scattered the fishing fleet, taking thirty of the busses. Six of the captured Dutch warships were taken into the English fleet; three others were sent to the city of Inverness carrying the English wounded; and three were so badly shot to pieces that they could not be salvaged and were sunk by the English after being seized. Kalmar Sleutel was one of the three “so much shattered” that she couldn’t stay above the waterline. Many contemporaneous sources, both Dutch and English—including the testimony of Captain Vijgh, who survived and was taken prisoner—as well as detailed reports from victorious Admiral Blake bear this out.1

photo by andrew hanna, courtesy kalmar nyckel foundation

Aftermath Having scattered the herring fleet and disposed of the twelve captured Dutch warships, Admiral Blake headed southward looking for Admiral Tromp’s main Dutch fleet. Twelve hundred Dutch survivors were taken prisoner by the English. Over 300 Dutch wounded were sent home directly aboard thirty captured herring busses. Captain Dirck Vijgh and 900 Dutch seamen were taken to Newcastle-upon-Tyne, then The replica ship Kalmar Nyckel underway. She flies the flags of the four countries her history represents: the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, and the United States. The Delaware state flag flies from the sprit topmast. Admiral Blake reported that he had seized twelve ships: six were taken into the fleet, three were sent to Inverness, and three were sunk. Kalmar Sleutel was repeatedly noted in Dutch documents to have been “shot to the bottom,” making her one of the three to have been sunk by the English. (The National Archives of the Netherlands, in The Hague, 1.01.46 inv. 147 dd 1 October, 30 October 1652, and 20 January 1653; and NA 1.01.46 inv. 5551 dd 20 December 1652). 1



have the claim examined. At the same time, the surviving crew of the Kalmar Sleutel claimed reimbursement for their lost possessions on the sunken ship and four months of lost wages. These claims were denied by the Admiralty Board. On 13 December, after additional hearings, the Admiralty of Rotterdam finally authorized settlement to Roelofsen. He was paid for two months’ lost rent and an additional 15,700 guilders for the loss of his ship, based on the value of the inventory prepared and signed by Roelofsen dated 11 April 1652. We think Roelofsen was eventually paid the full amount; after a final demand to the Admiralty Board through an agent on 20 January 1653, neither he nor his case is ever again mentioned in the documents. After that, the name Kalmar Sleutel slips back into the mist of history. Epilogue The last voyage of the Kalmar Nyckel came to an end on 22 July 1652 after she was sunk in a sea battle in the North Sea just off the Scottish coast. Ordinary in stature

and design, Kalmar Nyckel set extraordinary records for versatility and transAtlantic endurance. Her exceptional 17th-century career serving so many so well in such different roles—colonial ship, gun-armed merchantman, and warship—still inspire the people who sail her replica today. Sam Heed is the Senior Historian & Director of Education at the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation in Wilmington, Delaware. His recent work for the Foundation includes writing and producing a feature-length documentary film, KALMAR NYCKEL: The Forgotten Journey, which was nominated for a Mid-Atlantic Emmy and was a huge hit on Swedish television. Jordi Noort is a recent graduate of the Maastricht School for Translation and Interpretation in the Netherlands. He completed a nineteen-week International Internship with the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation as part of his degree program. Kalmar Nyckel’s home berth is at the Tatiana & Gerret Copeland Maritime Center on the Christina River, in Wilmington, Delaware. (

photo by andrew hanna, courtesy kalmar nyckel foundation

paroled and sent to walk home by way of English ports along the Channel. When they arrived back in the Dutch Republic in late September, Admiral Dirck Claesz van Dongen, commander of the escorts, was arrested for the failure of his objective. Captain Vijgh had his own court of inquiry with the Admiralty Board. Things got messy when Vice-Admiral Veenhuysen, in trying to clear his own cowardly reputation, sued Captain Vijgh for being drunk while leading his men into battle, causing the Kalmar Sleutel to sink. Vijgh obtained declarations from his officers and crew that he was in fact sober, and the case was dismissed. Vijgh was reinstated as a captain and given another ship, the Overijssel. In October, Cornelis Roelofsen submitted demands to the Admiralty Board of Rotterdam for the loss of his ship. Listed in the records as a “merchant living in Stockholm in Sweden” and as “owner and renter of the Kalmar Sleutel, formerly commanded by Captain Dirck Vijgh, sunk by the English on 22 July 1652,” Roelofsen requested payment for the sum of 20,100 guilders. The Board noted that it would


True Colors, False Flags:


At Sea, a Man Could Become Whatever He Claimed To Be

courtesy the new bedford whaling museum

lias Willard Trotter was lonely and bored. He had been at sea on the whaler Illinois for nearly four months (on a voyage that would eventually last over two years), and the routine of extreme idleness punctuated with manic periods of activity was beginning to wear on him. “I am getting tired of the sea,” he wrote in his journal, with a blunt pencil but with excellent penmanship, “& who would not—Confined to this narrow compass with nothing new or interesting is enough to make the heart grow sick within itself. At times we have hard work & even that is a relief from the ennui of a sea voyage.” But life was about to get very interesting for Elias Trotter.

by William Benemann In a profession that required its men to be underway for several years at a time, with long periods entirely at sea, a widely practiced social ritual evolved known as the “gam.” Whenever two (or more) whaling vessels encountered each other during a voyage, it was customary to heave to so that the captains and crew could exchange information and hospitality. Advice on where whales were or were not to be found, ports to be avoided because of infection or civil unrest, sightings of pirates or enemy ships—all were common topics of conversation at a gam. If one of the vessels was homeward bound, particularly if it was returning to the home port of the other

The Gam, 1926 oil on canvas by Clifford W. Ashley. 36

ship, its captain might agree to carry progress reports to ship owners and personal mail to loved ones. Elias Trotter was shaking the reef out of the main topsail when he spotted a ship hull-down on the horizon. Two hours later, the whaler Neptune out of Sag Harbor, New York, under the command of Captain William Pierson, was alongside Illinois. The captain gammed with her & now I have to record the most singular incident in the whole voyage—Captain Pierson with his boat crew boarded us & as is usual we immediately took the for’ard hands down our forecastle & commenced gamming. There was one fellow amongst them who drew my attention, on account of his manly beauty, activity & intelligence—Conversing with him he said he was from Albany, knew me and knew all the first families there & all the principal men—His name he gave me as Charles Wheeler—Getting more interested with him, he took me aside & told me who he really was—He was Sylvanus Spencer the youngest son of old Ambrose Spencer whom everybody knows to have been the much honored Chief Justice of the State of New York—He told me his history which is one I will never forget but cannot write here on account of the little room I have to give it. But imagine if you can, if you will, the emotions with which I met here on the Eastern Coast of New Holland [Australia], one born in my native city & one who had roamed amid the same scenes and walked with the same friends that I had. Why to speak from the heart, I was overpowered with joy & so was he & the four hours we were together, were hours of enjoyment, singularity & pleasure the sailor rarely meets with—We had to part & he is now sailing in sight, astern of us—But in all probability we will never meet again. Sic transit voluptas mundi— SEA HISTORY 174, SPRING 2021

It has been announced in several of the papers that Mr. Ambrose Spencer, Jr., of Ohio, son of the Secretary of War, has been arrested at Albany on a charge of forgery. Respect for the feelings of the distinguished relatives of the unhappy young man has hitherto prevented our noting the fact; but

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its publication has now been so extensive, that longer silence would be useless. We are, however, enabled to state that the conduct of the young man has been such, for some time past, as to induce his friends to suppose that his waywardness has been superinduced by partial insanity.

p.d. image via

For Elias Trotter it did seem like all the pleasures of the world were merely transitory. Languorous with boredom before Neptune was sighted, he found his world suddenly upended by a strange sailor whose “manly beauty” and intelligent discourse held him spellbound for the entire four hours of the gam. Now he was sitting glumly in the stern of his vessel, pencil stub in hand, watching as his new friend’s ship grew faint in the distance. It is a poignant scene, but who was the man who introduced himself first as Charles Wheeler, but then confessed to being Sylvanus Spencer, of Albany, New York? Were either of those his correct identity? Ambrose Spencer was extremely well known at the time, and if Elias Trotter grew up in Albany, he certainly was familiar with the name. Ambrose Spencer served as the mayor of Albany, Chief Justice of the New York Supreme Court, and the US House of Representatives. He raised six children there, two daughters and four sons—none was named Sylvanus. One of his sons was John Canfield Spencer, who had a son named Ambrose, who would have been the right age to encounter Elias Trotter off the coast of Australia in 1845. If this was the Spencer that Trotter met at sea, his life was certainly colorful enough to fill up those four hours of gamming with a tale that Trotter felt he could not include in his journal. John Canfield Spencer served as secretary of war under President John Tyler, and son Ambrose studied law and practiced in the state of Ohio. But the younger Ambrose was evidently not a success as an attorney. He returned home to Albany, New York, where he attempted to improve his finances by forging his father’s signature. In February 1842 under the headline “An Unhappy Case,” the New-York Spector ran the following brief notice:

In Philadelphia the Pennsylvania Inquirer and National Gazette echoed the concern about Spencer’s erratic behavior: “From this strange, inconsistent, and foolish conduct, his afflicted family are confident that he must be laboring under an alienation of mind. It is a sad, distressing affair.” The newspapers give no greater details of the younger Ambrose’s activities or of his mental state, no specifics about other objectionable behavior, no explanation of why forgery should be an indicator of insanity, but the label stuck. When a few weeks later Spencer appeared in New Orleans, claiming to carry diplomatic dispatches intended for Sam Houston, President of the Republic of Texas, the Cleveland Daily Herald titled its article, “The ‘Insane’ Special Minister!” The Ohio Statesman in turn told its readers, “We happen to know that the unfortunate young man referred to has not been sent to Texas upon any such errand, and that he has not been furnished with any such instructions or documents as those described in the [New Orleans] Bee. The conduct of this young man has been very strange, for some time past,—so

The Spencers were an extremely prominent family in New York State at this time. In 1845, Ambrose Spencer Sr. (left) was a retired member of the US House of Representatives, a former mayor of Albany, and a former New York State attorney general. His son, John Canfield Spencer (above), would have just recently stepped down as the US Secretary of the Treasury. Previous posts included serving as the US Secretary of War (both under President John Tyler) and a previous stint as New York Secretary of State. unaccountable, indeed, that his afflicted relatives have imputed partial insanity to him.” In Columbus, Ohio, young Ambrose Spencer had gone into partnership with another forger named William B. Lloyd. The details of their personal relationship are obscure, but it is possible that the newspapers of the period hinted at a sexual liaison they were reluctant to openly discuss. Nineteenth-century American newspapers abound with announcements of sodomy arrests and prosecutions, but they rarely discuss such affairs beyond their criminal register column. The Ohio Statesman refers to William B. Lloyd as Ambrose Spencer’s “peculiar friend”—placing that term in quotation marks to give it heightened significance for their readers. The newspaper adds, “For a long time we heard nothing of this Ambrose Spencer Jr., nor of his friend and partner William B. Lloyd, but supposed they were reposing in each other’s fond embrace, singing ‘Tippecanoe and Tyler too’ guzzling hard cider, and pursu-


p.d. image, chinese artist mid-nineteenth century, via wikipedia


blows, and the skull was absolutely driven in on the brain. The captain died the next [day], and his body was placed in a hogshead of spirits to be preserved.” The doctor argued that they should return to Rio as soon as possible, considering that the murderer was obviously still on board the ship somewhere, but Spencer insisted that they continue their course towards the Cape of Good Hope. An argument ensued, and Dr. Brolasky finally pulled out a gun and threatened to shoot if the ship was not turned around immediately, which it then did. Brolasky suspected that Spencer was the culprit. Frazier and Spencer had had a bitter argument the night before, with the captain disparaging his first mate’s seamanship skills, sneering that he was “neither an officer nor a sailor.” A search of Spencer’s cabin uncovered a heavy marlinspike, which exactly matched a new gash in the woodwork just above the captain’s pillow.

Clipper ship Sea Witch

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Sylvanus Spencer in the headlines in the New York Daily Times, 21 December 1855 and again on 28 January 1857.

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ing the old trade of the firm, for which they seemed so peculiarly fitted, both by their principles and practice!” This is the type of arch circumlocution used by newspapers of the period to make socially acceptable references to homosexual matters they did not wish to address openly in print. The wayward Ambrose Spencer never reached Texas, but was last seen in New Orleans boarding a steamship for New York in April 1842. Was this Ambrose the sailor of “manly beauty” who, signing on under a false name, joined the crew of the whaler Neptune in 1843 when it sailed from Sag Harbor, New York? Did he encounter Elias Willard Trotter in November 1845, introducing himself first as Charles Wheeler, and then as Sylvanus Spencer, son of the Chief Justice of New York, with an amazing tale that lasted through a four-hour gam? Or was the stranger’s name not Ambrose, but actually Sylvanus Spencer? A Sylvanus Spencer crewing aboard a clipper ship emerges in the headlines late in 1855. On 21 December 1855, the New York Times ran a story titled “Murder On the High Seas,” and the suspect was a sailor named Sylvanus M. Spencer. Spencer was the first mate on the clipper Sea Witch, sailing from New York to Hong Kong via the Cape of Good Hope. Shortly after leaving Rio de Janeiro, Spencer awakened the ship’s doctor after midnight, informing him that someone had murdered the captain. Dr. Brolasky hurried to Captain George Frazier’s cabin. “On the examination of the captain’s wounds, it was discovered that his skull had been fractured by three distinct

When the ship reached Rio de Janeiro, the doctor informed the authorities that he believed Sylvanus Spencer to be the murderer, and after an interview with the American Consul, Spencer was told he was under arrest. He asked to return to his cabin “to dress himself,” but while alone he tried to commit suicide by stabbing himself in the chest. The attempt failed, and he was brought to New York in irons to face trial on a murder charge. Several of the sailors from Sea Witch testified at the trial, and a somewhat different picture emerged. According to the crew, the captain had been at odds with several of the men of the crew during the voyage: he had beaten one sailor with a belaying pin and had savagely whipped two of the boys with a riding crop. There was clearly more than one person aboard who bore the captain a grudge and who was not unhappy to see him dead. A marlinspike was a common tool aboard a sailing ship, and anyone might have yielded one. There was not enough evidence to prove blame, and a jury found Sylvanus Spencer not guilty. Spencer faded from public view briefly, but then reemerged in a spectacular way thanks to his association with Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt. In 1856, the shipping magnate was locked in a dispute with William Walker, the eccentric American adventurer, who was attempting to conquer a part of either Mexico or Central America to create an English-speaking colony— with himself as president. The Nicaraguan government had granted Vanderbilt exclusive control of the lucrative inter-oceanic SEA HISTORY 174, SPRING 2021

Sylvanus has a history already. In the Thirteenth Ward of this City he has a good many acquaintances. What town or State has the honor of his birthplace we are unable to say. The Muse of History skipped that page of his life. The impression is, however, that he was born in New-York—first drew breath in the late Alderman Brigg’s Ward. It is

an established fact that he had parents, but who they were we don’t know. A family named Jenkins brought him up, and in the family, as well as out of it, he was known by the pet name of “Banty Jenkins.” Like the author of Leaves of Grass, but in a different sense, he was “one of the roughs” and a “Kosmos” in the Ward. His boyhood is presumed to have been a hard one—at least he came out if it a very hard boy. The public school system had him in hand for a long time but was not able to make much impression upon him. Indeed, to the great gratification of the old ladies of his vicinity, and quiet people generally, he utterly vanished from public gaze for the space of ten years, when he suddenly turned up at Rio [de] Janeiro, on the charge of murdering Capt. Frazier, of the clipper ship Sea Witch, of which vessel Spencer himself had been the mate. We know Banty was not Ambrose Spencer, grandson of the nationally known politician, but was he “Charles Wheeler,” who gammed with Elias Trotter on the whaler Illinois in 1845? During the ten-year period when Banty/Sylvanus “utterly vanished from public gaze,” did he enchant Trotter by spinning a sailor’s yarn, perhaps elaborating on a childhood fantasy that he, Sylvanus Spencer, growing up poor and abandoned on New York’s Lower East Side, was actually related to the wealthy and prominent Spencers of Albany, perhaps the love child of a Spencer scion and a fallen Jenkins daughter? And might that not have been the truth? Or was “Charles Wheeler” in fact Ambrose Spencer, the Chief Justice’s “insane” grandson, giving a second false name and telling Elias Trotter an embellished version of his picturesque life, buttressed by enough intimate knowledge of Albany’s prominent families to make his story believable? We know that Sylvanus M. Spencer successfully recovered Cornelius Vanderbilt’s stolen steamboats, and that Ambrose Spencer Jr. was killed in Linn, Missouri, in 1876 by a jealous husband (who shot him in the street with the explanation that

museo histórico cultural juan santamaría

route that linked the Atlantic and the Pacific by means of the San Juan River, Lake Nicaragua, and overland stagecoach. This was, of course, just after the California Gold Rush and before the Panama Canal, and transportation across Central America was busy and profitable. When Walker and his mercenaries seized Vanderbilt’s steamboats to use in their fight to gain control of the country, an enraged Commodore sought someone to attack the filibusters and recapture his lost vessels. Sylvanus Spencer proved to be his man. After his trial for the murder of Captain Frazier, Spencer found that few captains were willing to hire him, despite his acquittal. He drifted to Greytown, Nicaragua, where he first worked as a stevedore on the docks, but then he was made a mate aboard one of the river steamboats. After four months he returned to New York and presented himself to Cornelius Vanderbilt as someone thoroughly familiar with the Nicaraguan steamboat business, someone unafraid to head a military-style assault. “He was physically tough,” notes historian T. J. Styles, “accustomed to command, and, most important, intimately familiar with the terrain, the fortifications, and the steamboat operations. Vanderbilt placed all his hopes—the fate of millions of dollars, of a critical channel of commerce to California, of a war involving six nations—in the hands of an acquitted murderer.” New York was agog with the exploits of the daring filibuster, William Walker, and with his unprecedented affront to the powerful Vanderbilt; and they were amazed at the sudden reemergence of the sailor who had been accused of bludgeoning Captain George Frazier with a marlinspike. At the height of the public buzz, the New York Times ran a story with the apt headline: “Who is Sylvanus M. Spencer?”

Sylvanus Spencer (1819–1862) Spencer had stolen the man’s wife and son). It is unlikely that Elias Willard Trotter ever again saw the handsome stranger who— whatever his true identity—so entranced him during an offshore gam. The Wheeler/Spencer/Jenkins story illustrates an important point about maritime life in the nineteenth century—the fluid nature of identity among the men who went to sea. Aboard ship and away from land, a man could become anyone he chose to be, limited only by whatever maritime skills he was able to muster, his imagination, and his ability to stick to a story. With captains always suffering under a labor shortage, they were willing to sign on plenty of landsmen with limited or no seagoing experience. Few questions were asked. Sailors usually signed on for a single voyage, with a crew dispersing at the end of that period, so a man might easily rotate among several identities. Ships flew false flags to ward off enemies, to attract prey, and to avoid tariffs, and what was relatively easy for a ship was even more effortless for a man. For someone who wanted to escape, to experiment, or simply to disappear, the sea offered an unparalleled opportunity for reinvention. William Benemann is Archivist Emeritus for the School of Law, University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of Unruly Desires: American Sailors and Homosexualities in the Age of Sail.


The Life of the Schooner B. N. Hawkins A trove of letters reveals the history of a 19th-century packet


all images courtesy of the author

n 16 September 1853, the David T. Bayles Shipyard in Stony Brook, Long Island, launched its latest construction project, the schooner B. N. Hawkins. She was towed to New York City, outfitted with rigging and sails, and entered into service in October 1853 as a packet ship transporting cargo along the east coast of the United States and beyond. It was the third sailing vessel belonging to Benjamin Newton Hawkins, my great-great-grandfather, and his partners. Benjamin Hawkins lived in Southport, Connecticut, where he owned a large onion farm. Southport Globe Onions were then renowned, and are still a variety grown today. Benjamin Hawkins owned threeeighths of the schooner named for him and his nephew George M. Hawkins owned one-eighth. The captains owned one-eighth shares during their time onboard, with the remaining three-eighths owned by various


by Douglas B. Tolles family members, including two nephews, David Bayles (the ship’s builder) and Scudder Smith Wells, both of Setauket, Long Island. The history of the Hawkins is revealed in a trove of 425 letters that were mailed to Benjamin Hawkins as the primary owner during the years 1847–1873. Primarily written by the ship’s captains and coowners, these letters detail the voyages, proceeds, costs, construction, and challenges that faced the captain and crew operating the ship. Passed down within our family for four generations, these letters portray the life and history of the schooner, and more broadly the economic times in which she operated and glimpses of life underway in the mid-nineteenth century. The Captains For a majority of her nearly twenty-five-year lifespan, the Hawkins had two primary captains. Benjamin Tuthill Griffin served

as her first captain and original part-owner from 1853–1860. He previously commanded the schooner Matilda E. Wells, another ship owned by B. N. Hawkins and partners. In 1860, Griffin sold his oneeighth share for $17,000 and left the maritime trade. Griffin’s share was purchased by John Parker Wyatt, who had been master of the schooner N. W. Smith. Wyatt served as master of the Hawkins during the years 1860–1877. These two ship masters are the authors of the majority of the letters, and this story of the Hawkins is primarily constructed from their accounts. The B. N. Hawkins must have been a beautiful sight. Originally launched at 369 tons and measuring 109 feet, (described by Lloyd’s Register as measured “from forward side of stem to after side of stern post, on deck”), 27 feet on the beam, and a depth of hold at 12 feet 3 inches. Her first captain, Benjamin Griffin, writes from New York on 5 October 1853: “Our vessel is very much admired here.” The schooner plied her trade carrying cargo mainly on the East Coast during the years 1853–1878. Frequent ports of call included Boston, New York, Baltimore, Charleston, Savannah, and Wilmington (North Carolina). It also made voyages to Cuba, France, and Belize when shipping on the Eastern Seaboard was in decline. In 1858, the Hawkins sailed to La Rochelle, France, to bring back a load of brandies. Captain Wyatt wrote: “That is a big voyage for the little schooner.” Many different types of cargo were transported including ice, coal, lumber, rice, cotton, guano, coconuts, skins, wheat, flour, rice flour, raisins, hams, phosphates, turpentine, brandies, bread, and occasionally passengers. A letter from Charleston contains an original newspaper clipping that reads: “The The author and his family are stewards of a collection of hundreds of letters pertaining to the work and life of the schooner named for his great-great-grandfather Benjamin Hawkins. SEA HISTORY 174, SPRING 2021

Line schooner B. N. Hawkins, Capt. B Griffing [sic], was cleared yesterday by Mr. Henry Missroon for New York, with the following cargo, which we believe is the largest ever shipped in a fore-and-aft schooner from this port: 198 ½ casks of rice, 1099 bales of upland cotton, 230 hides and skins; 77 barrels of ground nuts; and 99 packages sundries.”

In 1861 the owners decided to add capacity by cutting the hull in half and lengthening it from the mid-section to a new length of 128 feet and breadth of 29 feet. Its new capacity was 396 tons. The cost of work with 45 days labor was $786.86. Ship Portraits Along with the letters and invoices in our family’s possession are two ship portraits in oil, each with a story of its own. One painting was handed down through our family. It is attributed to Joseph B. Smith, an artist whose shop in 1855–56 was at 10 Front Street in New York City. In a 23 January 1855 letter, Captain Griffin wrote: Today I have sent the painting of the Sch B. N. Hawkins on board of Sloop Fairfield The Capt said that he knew you very well and would take good care of it and deliver to you I also send the bill I hope that the painting will meet your wishes. I think that it is a perfect picture. …If there is any chance I should like to hear from you in Charleston to see how you like the picture and whether you got the money I sent.

Schooner Benjamin N. Hawkins, painted by Joseph B. Smith of New York City, for $19 in 1854. (below) Same vessel, same artist, and a clever representation of the schooner’s port and starboard sides passing each other on two whistles. The second painting I acquired after a twenty-year hunt. It has since been cleaned and the overpainting was removed. It, too, is attributed to Joseph B. Smith. The history of that painting has been traced back several generations through one family in Suffern, New York. An interesting note on the second painting is

that the sails are reefed—not common in ship portraits. The rainbow over the ship is likely not as distinguishable as it originally was. Curiously, the ship at the left in that painting is also the B. N. Hawkins, showing both port and starboard sides, creating an effect that the ship is passing itself.

While we do not have the letter that Benjamin Hawkins sent in response, Griffin wrote on 11 February 1855, “I recd yours of the 29th and was glad to hear that you were pleased with the picture.” Another correspondence details that the painting cost $19. SEA HISTORY 174, SPRING 2021 41

The Civil War In the years leading up to the Civil War, the schooner B. N. Hawkins carried goods to southern ports, most frequently Wilmington, North Carolina; Charleston, South Carolina; and Savannah, Georgia. On her return, southern products, mainly cotton and rice, would be carried to northern ports, usually New York City or Boston. The business at times was quite lucrative. Dividend checks representing the owners’ share of the profits regularly arrived bearing reports of cargo carried and the price per commodity. One interesting cargo was reported by the Delaware Gazette on 7 December 1860: “four pieces of ordinance, from the schooner B. N. Hawkins, and 84 packages of ammunition, from the schooner N. W. Smith have been landed at Fort Moultrie.” Fort Moultrie was one of the batteries that protected the entrance to Charleston Harbor. The Union garrison there relocated to Fort Sumter on 26 December 1860, after spiking its larger guns and taking the smaller cannons with them. The outbreak of the Civil War ended the trade with the southern ports, leaving the Hawkins with little to carry and nowhere to go. Letters from the captain report that they began trips to Cuba and the Caribbean to keep the Hawkins operating. Starting in 1862, with few other options, the Hawkins chartered out to the US government. One route was loading supplies for the Union forces at Port Royal and transporting to Stono Inlet, southwest of Charleston. Union forces established bases there as part of their effort to capture the port. In a letter dated 13 September 1863, Captain T. Davis, writing from Stono Inlet, describes what he saw: We pass in plain sight of Fort Sumter The south east face is a map of ruins and the iron clads was continuously firing as we passed The rebels sent 8 torpedoes down the river the other One exploded by striking the Pawnee’s launch tearing it all to pieces And two others exploded on the beach after drifting ashore We can hear a constant roar of cannon sound fort Sumter being only 8 miles from Charleston. 42

Another frequent run for the Hawkins during the war was to supply Fort Munro, a Union-held fort located in Hampton, Virginia. In a letter written 26 July 1862 from James Town, Georgia, Captain Wyatt unhappily describes his experience with how the Union resupply works: I shall endeavor to get down the river as soon as possible. I do not like this way to tow the vessel up a long river and leave us to get down the best way we can. If they paid us until we was back to where we agreed to go, it would allow her care. Besides, all this time is great risk as the Enemy occupy two sides of the river. The Hawkins’s charter to the US government lasted through 1865. In addition to the risks of navigating southern waters during wartime, Wyatt complains that the government is slow to pay, explaining the set-up as once unloaded, the Hawkins had to leave Stono Inlet and sail back to Port Royal. There, the captain needed to get his bill of lading signed by the chief quartermaster. After that, there was a delay in months waiting to be paid. This process proved a burden on the Hawkins, as crew and maintenance expenses continued while the payments were delayed. At times, Wyatt paid the expenses out of his pocket. Other times, he wrote Benjamin Hawkins for funds. Post-Civil War For an East Coast packet, the postwar period was worse. Wyatt wrote that, with no business to be had anywhere, he chartered the Hawkins back into the service of the US government at the rate of $52.80 per day, ending 17 July 1865. That wasn’t a reliable situation either. Wyatt wrote that the federal government was still slow to pay, often taking more than four months. On 2 June 1865, Wyatt noted that the federal government owed him $4,700 and that he needed to borrow money to continue operating the ship. The years 1866 to 1868 saw some small freights. Volumes of goods to be shipped were small, and the rates paid per ton were low. Dividends, the net profit paid to the owners, were small and infrequent.

Wyatt wrote that he would go anywhere there was business. The Hawkins sailed to Cuba, Belize, and France. 1869 was particularly bad for business. Mid-year, Wyatt had the ship re-coppered and purchased a new mainsail. With increasing expenses and after months of running freight at a loss, the owners discussed selling the vessel. It is unclear what each owner did, but the letters reveal that Benjamin Hawkins kept his share for several more years. The amount under discussion was $12,000 for the entire ship, which compares unfavorably to the $17,000 Griffin got nine years earlier for just his oneeighth share of the schooner. Such was the sad state of affairs for the East Coast shipping industry. The letters for 1870–73 continue the theme of little business and high expenses for the aging schooner. Misfortunes The Hawkins must have been solidly constructed. Letters detail how the vessel sailed through major gales where other ships in the same storms sank. The Hawkins was not accident-free, however. In January 1859, she ran aground near Governor’s Island, New York. The Charleston Daily Courier on 11 January 1859 reported “the schooner B. N. Hawkins, Griffin, at New York on the 7th inst. From Savannah, reports having had stormy passage, lost jib booms, head gear, etc. Same afternoon she towed ashore on Governor’s Island, in a dense fog. She does not leak and it was thought she would come off at high water.” Captain Griffin offered more details in his letter: I drop you a few lines to inform you that the SCH B N Hawkins has been ashore on Governor’s Island (N York harbor) Wee were towed on there Friday Noon in a fog trying to get up to the dock out of the ice It has been necessary to lighten a portion of her cargo about 150 tons of cotton & rice I succeeded in getting her off yesterday at high waters I expect that the expense will amount to about $500 of which the cargo has got to pay its proportion Cargo valued at from 20 to 25 thousand dolls and the SEA HISTORY 174, SPRING 2021

vessel at 18 thousand Cargo would have to pay about 3/5 of the expence The schooner I presume is not injured in the least for the bottom was very muddy and she did not heel at low water….She does not leak any now but leaked very bad the whole passage home …. we have one of the worst passages that I most ever had We had 3 gales of wind from NE to NW and have to for 2 days We lost the jib boom and some of the rigging on the passage. Collision at Sea On 7 July 1870, the B. N. Hawkins collided with the schooner Charles P. Stickney outside of Holmes Hole, Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts (now Vineyard Haven Harbor). The Stickney was bound for Boston from Philadelphia; the B. N. Hawkins was bound for Woods Hole, Massachusetts, from Charleston carrying phosphates, the only cargo Captain Wyatt could find to carry. According to the 12 July report in the Bangor Daily Whig and Courier, the Stickney “had jibboom, cat-heads and head gear carried away, split jib, and received other damage. The B N H had port main rail [c]arried away and mainsail badly torn.” The Charleston Daily News on 14 July 1870, reported similarly, yet differed by writing “The Hawkins had port mainsail carried away and mainsail badly torn.” The newspapers underreported the damage. Captain Wyatt, writing from Woods Hole to Benjamin Hawkins wrote: Dear Sir We arrived here in the night of the 7th and in coming to an anchor cam in column with a schooner doing grate deal of damage to or hul and sails. It makes me feel very bad after going so long without any we will have to pay all of the damages our self under the circumstances Please drop me a line to N York I have not heard from you and we will much oblige yours Truly, John P Wyatt Hope you and your family are well. A letter from Captain Wyatt dated 1 August 1870 reports that David Bayles’s shipyard crew repaired the damage for half the cost

of what other yards were charging. One note estimated the cost at $1,000. Epilogue Captain Griffin left the maritime trade after the death of his son Edward from measles in 1860 (age 10 months 12 days). The disease sickened his entire family. In response, Griffin sent his brother and the mate out to run the schooner, while he stayed home with his family. Griffin died in 1899 at age 75, after becoming a successful farmer in eastern Long Island. Alongside his name on his tombstone reads the words “THE FARMERS FRIEND.” John Parker Wyatt died in 1908 at age 81. He left the service of the B. N. Hawkins in 1877. His obituary stated he was at sea for 59 years, “sailing round the globe many times.” It noted his service: “During the Civil War he took stores to the South for the Union army.” Benjamin Newton Hawkins died on 4 December 1886. He is buried in the Oak Lawn Cemetery, Fairfield, Connecticut, in a large family plot he purchased.

The schooner B. N. Hawkins: On 6 January 1878, sailing from Charleston to New York City with a cargo of lumber, the ship ran aground on Brigantine Shoals off the South Jersey coast during a violent gale that wrecked numerous ships along the Eastern Seaboard. After four days of being hard aground and battered by waves, she was condemned. On 12 January, six days after running aground, she finally broke off the shoals and came onto the beach, where she broke into pieces. Her crew of ten survived the wreck. The ship’s value was recorded at $20,000 and her cargo of lumber was valued at $3,000. A total loss, the schooner B. N. Hawkins came to her end in the waters in which she had sailed for nearly twenty-five years. Douglas Tolles is the transcriber, researcher, and organizer of the letters of Benjamin Newton Hawkins. He and Fran Sculley, chief researcher, investigated the people, places, and events detailed in the letters. Ben, Gerry, and Grace Tolles assisted with additional external research.


SEA HISTORY for kids Animals in Sea History


ilbert C. Klingel grew up around the Chesapeake Bay, dreaming of becoming a naturalist adventurer. His first scientific expedition took him to Haiti in 1928 to find Basilisk and study rare lizards, the results of which he shared with the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. The museum, along with the Natural History Society of Maryland, then funded the building of a wooden replica of the Spray, the boat in which Joshua Slocum had been the first to sail alone around the world. Klingel and a friend were to sail to the Caribbean to explore the natural world of its tropical waters and islands. The pair set off in the new boat, named Basilisk (after the lizard that can skitter over the surface of the water), but they didn’t get far. They shipwrecked in rough weather on the reef off Great Inagua at the southern end of the Bahamas. Undaunted, they set up camp and recorded all they could, both on the island and underwater Basilisk was built in Oxford, Maryaround its reefs. Klingel went back to Great Inagua several years later to further study land, by Alonzo Conley, a wellknown shipwright in the region. A the natural history of the island, and in 1940 he published his first book, Inagua. 37-foot yawl, it was a copy of Joshua Inagua, or The Ocean Island, is a treasure for its history of marine biology, espe- Slocum’s Spray. Klingel oversaw cially with the chapter titled “In Defense of the Octopuses.” Diving and underwater its construction and assisted with photography were still in their infancy at the time, yet Klingel was eager some of the work. Under his guidto explore underwater. Using a diving helmet, he was ance, the interior was expressly fitwalking one day on the seafloor just off Great ted for a scientific expedition. Inagua, and he walked up an underwater ravine. Klingel was about to put his hand on what he thought was a yellow rock, but then, by chance, he noticed eye slits in the “rock.” He watched it ooze slowly away, like hot wax. Though the octopus’s head, Klingel explained, was about as big as a football, it slithered down into a crack in the reef that was no more than four inches wide. As the octopus slithered away, it changed color from pebbly yellow to red, then to white.

klingel collection, courtesy marcy benouameur

by Richard King

Octopus briareus a.k.a. the Caribbean Reef Octopus.


klingel collection, courtesy marcy benouameur

Klingel went on to spend many days underwater observing the octopuses of the reef, including the large one that he first mistook for a rock. There are some 300 species of octopus that live in a range of marine habitats all over the world, including the few that live in the reefs around the Bahamas. Klingel’s octopus that day might have been a large individual of the Caribbean Reef Octopus (Octopus briareus), local to this part of the world. He estimated its total arm span as five feet from tip to tip. In his “Defense of the Octopuses,” Klingel wrote of their extraordinary ability to camouflage, in which they not only can change color, but even their shape and skin texture. Klingel watched the octopuses’ clever strategies to capture crabs, and he observed how they stored uneaten shellfish just outside their dens within the reef. At one point, when Klingel was observing the large octopus, he decided to see what would happen if he gave it a little poke with a stick, to see how the skin color might change in response. All at once, the octopus grabbed the stick with its arms and let it go, sending the stick floating to the surface, while at the same time squirting ink into the water before it jet-propelled itself away. Klingel smelled a “fishy musk” that seeped into his dive helmet. He was surprised to see the color of the ink was not black, but more a dark purple that faded into a “somber shade of azure.” Despite the inking, Klingel wrote that these animals, thanks to stories of monstrous giant octopuses and squids attacking fishermen written by the likes of Victor Hugo and Jules Verne, have “been the unknowing victims of a large and very unfair amount of propaganda, and have long suffered under the stigma of being considered horrible and exceedingly repulsive.” He thought instead that they were “among the most wonderful of all earth’s creatures.” In this way, Gilbert Klingel was far ahead of his time regarding his deep respect for these animals; “In Defense of the Octopuses” was written several decades before the bestselling book Soul of an Octopus (2015) by Sy Montgomery, the recent documentary My Octopus Teacher (2019, produced by Craig Foster), and the poem “Octopus Kingdom” (2019) by Marilyn Nelson. Klingel, too, marveled at the intelligence of octopuses, which are “only” invertebrates, yet these advanced cephalopods use tools, appear to play, exhibit intense curiosity, and have the ability to learn in ways equivalent to mammals, maybe even at the level of some of the primates. Klingel wrote: “There is a reason to believe that they are the most keen-witted creatures in the ocean.” Gilbert Klingel’s own curiosities were too far-ranging, however, to devote his career entirely to octopus public relations. He went on to teach himself marine engineering and welding, and he invented an early submersible—called the “Aquascope”—that lowered to the bottom of the Chesapeake Bay, in which his thirteen-year-old daughter Marcy got a chance to dive. Klingel later became a craftsman of custom steel sailboats, built to, well…survive a crash into a reef.


For more “Animals in Sea History,” go to or To learn more about Gilbert Klingel and his work in the Chesapeake Bay region, visit the Mathews Maritime Foundation at

Gilbert Klingel on Inagua Island, with probably his fish-knife, in front of their field station in 1931.


Diving A Look Below the Surface maritime archaeologist dr. kelly gleason, french frigate shoals, papahānaumokuākea marine national monument, noaa photo by greg mcfall/onms

“For weeks I had stood on shore and looked at the place where the color of the ocean changed abruptly from light green to dark blue marking the sheer drop of 1200 fathoms...Finally I could resist the temptation no longer; I had to see what the edge of that submarine cliff was like.” —Gilbert Klingel 1


hen Gilbert Klingel observed the octopus swimming along the reef in the Bahamas, as you read about on the previous pages, scuba diving as we know it today had not been invented yet. He was able to stay underwater for a period of time by using a diving helmet and loading himself up with nearly 80 pounds of lead weight to keep him from floating to the surface. Diving helmets took on various forms as technology evolved; the kind that Gilbert Klingel was using was made of bronze and glass and was hooked up to a long hose that was attached to an air pump in the boat floating at the surface above him. People have been diving beneath the waves for more than two millennia. Early divers simply held their breath and swam down to collect shellfish, pearls, and sponges or to salvage what they could from shipwrecks. Freediving has its limitations, of course—namely, the amount of time you can spend underwater. The kind of diving people typically do today is called SCUBA; the name is an acronym for Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus. Its invention is credited to Émile Gagnan and Jacques Cousteau, who patented the first modern demand regulator, called the Aqua-Lung, in 1943. Between the early freedivers and the modern scuba diver, all kinds of variations and inventions were developed to allow humans to stay underwater for longer periods of time. It was only after the Aqua-Lung was invented and then improved upon that diving became a popular sport for the general public. It is estimated that more than two million people in the United States are certified in scuba today. Most are recreational divers who do it just for fun, while scientific divers and commercial divers do it as part of their jobs. courtesy bodleian libraries, university of oxford Anyone in good health can get The ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle wrote of Alexander certified in scuba. For full Open WaIII of Macedon (356–323 BC)—a.k.a. Alexander the ter Diver certification, you have to be Great—descending from a boat in a diving bell made of glass. at least 15 years old and pass a class This story was retold and re-imagined many times, but the offered by one of the official scuba concept of the diving bell evolved from there. Some of the great certification agencies. Kids as young thinkers in history put a lot of thought into how spending time as 10 can get their Junior Open Water underwater could be achieved. The image above was printed Diver certification, which allows them in a 14th-century manuscript, the Romance of Alexander, to dive in shallow water with a certiand depicts Alexander the Great being lowered from a boat fied professional or certified parent. inside a barrel made of glass. Around the year 1500, LeonYou can find out about where you can ardo da Vinci (of Mona Lisa fame) made sketches of a diving get scuba training by going online to suit and breathing apparatus designed for underwater warfare. one of the certification agencies’ webThe first successful diving bell (at right) was developed by the sites: PADI, SSI, and NAUI are just great astronomer Edmond Halley in 1691; it enabled a a few of the more popular ones (www. couple of men to submerge in an inverted open-ended barrel and stay on the bottom for up to,, www. four hours. Their oxygen was replenished by air trapped and submerged in weighted barrels.


1Glibert C. Klingel, “The Edge of the Edge of the World,” Natural History, The Magazine of the American Museum of Natural History, Vol. 45, no. 2, (1940): 69.


Who’s At the Helm? Spray, a Well-Balanced Boat, and the Advent of Self-Steering

photo by jean-louis carli/alea,

frontispiece, sailing alone around the world by joshua slocum (1900), via project gutenberg

klingel collection, courtesy marcy benouameur


hen planning his sailing expedition to study the natural phenomena of the Caribbean, naturalist Gilbert Klingel chose to build a replica of the Spray, the 37-foot boat made famous by Joshua Slocum, the first person to sail solo around the world. The original Spray was an old derelict oyster sloop that had been given to Slocum for free when he was between jobs as a captain of oceangoing square-rigged cargo ships. One of the things that attracted Klingel to this particular boat was that it was famous for being capable of steering itself. People marveled at Slocum’s feat of sailing 2,700 miles across the Pacific Ocean and his claim that, in all that time, he barely touched the helm. Klingel wasn’t alone in his admiration of Slocum’s boat. WoodenBoat magazine estimates that more than 5,000 boats have been built on Spray’s lines, with numerous modifications on the details. While Slocum managed to find the perfect balance between the trim of his sails and the angle of the rudder that allowed him to lash the helm and leave it unattended, today’s Gilbert Klingel’s Basilisk was a replica of Spray, the first sailors instead rely on an electronic autopilot when they want to take a break vessel to complete a solo circumnavigation. or do other tasks onboard. Of course, the Spray was sailing along at a leisurely pace—it took Slocum more than three years to complete his circumnavigation—and he could catch some sleep without worrying too much about a collision on the open ocean or a change in conditions so sudden that he would be in imminent danger. Compare that to the experience of today’s Vendée Globe competitors, whose boats race along at an average of 30 knots throughout the entire route across the world’s oceans, with the top finishers completing the race in just over 80 days. (left) When Joshua Slocum first saw the Spray, it was propped up in a field in Fairhaven, Massachusetts. Locals scoffed at the idea of the Spray ever sailing again and were quick to tell him that, even rebuilt, it would only “crawl.” Undeterred, he took on the project, and after 13 months relaunched a completely rebuilt vessel. (above) Slocum’s diagram of Spray’s steering gear. The dotted lines mark the placement of ropes used to lash the wheel when conditions were favorable for self-steering. The Vendée Globe is a solo around-the-world yacht race made in high-tech boats designed just for this competition. One of the key pieces of equipment its skippers rely on is the autopilot, which, among other things, allows the sailor to get some sleep while the boat continues sailing at high speeds. This critical instrument doesn’t just keep the boat on a specific compass course, it calculates and adjusts for the complex motions of the vessel as it moves through the waves. According to B & G, the company that designed this year’s Vendée Globe autopilots, the typical Vendée Globe boat is steered by an autopilot more than 95% of the time. Joshua Slocum was very proud of Spray’s sailing qualities and wrote extensively about them. Imagine what he would say if you showed him a modern autopilot and told him that people can now sail around the world—alone—in eighty days? Didac Costa of Spain preparing for the 2020/21 Vendée Globe race, while the autopilot steers.

“Sea History for Kids” is sponsored by the Henry L. & Grace Doherty Charitable Foundation


Interlake Holding Company announced at the end of December its purchase of the Pere Marquette Shipping Company and Lake Michigan Car Ferry Company along with their assets SS Badger, SS Spartan, and the tug-barge Undaunted/ Pere Marquette 41. “This is an exciting day for us and we are thrilled to be welcoming new employees into our Interlake family, new vessel lines into our Great Lakes operations, and new customers and cargoes into our portfolio of business,” said Interlake Holding president Mark W. Barker. A new business entity, Interlake Maritime

Bolder & Welding Works for the US Navy auxiliary fleet, and her designation was changed to ATA-199 Undaunted after her decommissioning in 1948. But she was not put back into service until 1963, the beginning of a 30-year career as a training vessel at US Merchant Marine Academy under the name Kings Pointer. She was renamed Krystal K. upon her sale in 1993 to Basic Marine, but in 1998 the name Undaunted was restored, under the ownership of Pere Marquette Shipping. The car ferry City of Midland, built in Manitowoc in 1940, carried rail cars and automobiles across Lake

interlake holding company

custom house maritime museum

SS Badger

An entry from February 1846 and (below) the primer provided by the museum to help volunteers decipher the handwriting. Services, will manage the new businesses along with The Interlake Steamship Company and its fleet of nine freighters. According to Barker, they plan for the vessels to continue serving as they have done: “Interlake is fully committed to [Badger] continuing its operation as the largest crosslake passenger service on the Great Lakes, a key part of Highway US-10 and a vital link across Lake Michigan.” SS Badger, built in 1952 by the Christy Corporation of Sturgeon Bay, was commissioned by the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad to transport railroad freight cars and passengers between Ludington, Michigan, and the Wisconsin ports of Manitowoc, Kewaunee, and Milwaukee. At 410 feet, Badger and her sister ship, Spartan, launched in 1953, were both the largest and last coal-fired steam engine car ferries built in the United States. They changed ownership in 1980 as demand for rail ferries dwindled, and in 1990 Badger was converted to a car ferry, while Spartan remained in her slip in Ludington. Badger continues to run on coal, but—since a 2014 agreement with the EPA—the ash is no longer dumped into Lake Michigan, but stored on board, to be disposed of in landfills or used in cement production. The tug ATA-199 was built in 1943 by Gulfport


Michigan for the Pere Marquette and later the Chesapeake & Ohio railroad companies until 1985, when lake-crossing services were discontinued. The Midland was retired, and in 1998 she was converted to an opendeck barge in Muskegon, Michigan, with a notch and rack system for a tow vessel constructed on her stern, and the new name Pere Marquette 41. Undaunted was fitted with a tower for improved visibility and gear to better maneuver the barge. Together, the articulated tug and barge typically haul stone, pig iron, and scrap. (The Interlake Steamship Company, 7300 Engle Road, Middleburg Heights, OH 44130; Ph: 440 260-6900; … Ask, and ye shall receive… In January, the New London Maritime Society’s Custom House Maritime Museum put out a call via the Society’s regular email blast, asking for volunteers to transcribe a 154-page whaler’s journal that had been donated to the museum last fall. In a matter of days, 35 citizen scriveners stepped up and began transcribing pages written by an anonymous crewmember from the Merrimac. Word spread in the local press and online, and the task was eventually completed by a total of 78 individuals, taking on between one and six

pages apiece. The New London whaling ship departed on 17 July 1844 and returned three years later in May 1847 carrying 25 barrels of sperm oil, 2,975 barrels of whale oil, and 5,000 pounds of whalebone. The transcribed journal can be found at the website of the Frank L. McGuire Maritime Library of the New London Maritime Society, at https://mcguirelibrary1998.omeka. net. (150 Bank Street, New London, CT; … The ship’s bell of the naval destroyer USS Dunlap (DD-384) has made its way to the US Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) after a remarkable journey. After a relative passed away, Dana Mace of California came into possession of the bell, which his late uncle-in-law had purchased at a yard sale years before in Soledad, California. Mr. Mace tried to SEA HISTORY 174, SPRING 2021

Historic Maritime Rings of the Finest Quality

USS Dunlap (DD-384)


by Mike Carroll

undergraduate cadets, K-12 STEM programming, and community outreach within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and beyond. These three pillars will ensure the ship’s legacy as a vital educational asset. “The Ernestina-Morrissey will deliver valuable lessons for MMA cadets, students of all ages, and people in our communities who want to understand more about our seafaring culture,” said Rear Admiral Francis X. McDonald, USMS, Massachusetts Maritime Academy president. The vessel has been based out of

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     EXPERIENCE HISTORY ABOARD OUR NATIONAL LANDMARK SCHOONERS


courtesy bristol marine and sema

locate the living descendants of the ship’s namesake, Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Robert H. Dunlap, but after several months of searching provided no leads, he donated the 80-pound bell to the NHHC, inspired by the story of another ship’s bell he’d seen on the History Channel series American Pickers. Mace presented the bell to the Public Affairs Office for Naval Air Facility El Centro, which crated and shipped the artifact to the NHHC. Built by United Dry Docks in Staten Island and commissioned in 1937, USS Dunlap served in the Pacific during WWII, participating in carrier raids on Japanese positions, the Battle of Vela Gulf, and the Leyte Islands. Her deck was the site of the formal surrender of Japanese forces in the Bonin Islands. She was decommissioned at the end of 1945 and sold for scrapping in December 1947. Her bell was sent on loan to Brown University; it is unclear how the bell found its way to a yard sale in California. General Dunlap, who served in the Spanish-American War and the Boxer Rebellion, as well as other conflicts, died attempting to rescue a woman caught under a collapsed wall in a landslide in France. ( … Massachusetts Maritime Academy is preparing for two new additions to its fleet, including the historic 1894 schooner Ernestina-Morrissey. The vessel is currently in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, where she has been undergoing a full restoration since 2015 by the shipwrights at Bristol Marine Shipyard. The restoration is on track for an autumn 2021 completion, when she will make her way to the Massachusetts Maritime Academy (MMA) in Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts, to start the next chapter in her long and storied life. As the new official steward of the ErnestinaMorrissey, MMA will focus its use of the historic schooner in three areas, including sail training and leadership training for

Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey’s foc’s’ le bunks and settees beginning to take shape. nearby New Bedford since she was repatriated in 1982, a gift from the people of the Republic of Cape Verde. By the terms of legislation signed by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker in July 2020, control of the ship transferred from the state’s Department of Conservation and Recreation to MMA, with provisions to maintain a presence in New Bedford at no cost for (continued on page 51)



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Fiddler’s Green James Marinus Schoonmaker II (1933–2021)

courtesy alessandro lopes

One of America’s sailing heroes, Ding Schoonmaker, died on 19 January 2021 at home in Naples, Florida. Ding was a Star Class World Champion and served for sixteen years as a vice president of World Sailing, the international governing body of the sport. He was honored by the National Maritime Historical Society in 2018 for his lifetime achievements in the sport of sailing. James Marinus Schoonmaker II was born on 9 July 1933 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His first race was in 1944 at the age of eleven off Watch Hill, Rhode Island. From an early age he spent his summers in Watch Hill, and later in life he spent winters in Florida. He placed second in the Olympic Trials in the Star class when he was nineteen and was named the team’s alternate in Helsinki. He earned that honor again in 1964 at the Games in Tokyo. Over the years, Schoonmaker won World, North American, South American, Western Hemisphere, and European Championships. Ding learned the value of service and how it translated into improving his sport. He served on the board of the International Yacht Racing Union for fourteen years. For his distinguished service and extraordinary dedication, he was awarded the NMHS Overseer Gary Jobson (right) presented Ding SchoonNathanael Greene Herreshoff Award—US Sailing’s highest maker with the NMHS Distinguished Service Award in 2018. honor—in 1988 and the Beppe Croce Award—World Sailing’s highest honor—in 2011. Among his philanthropic work was creating the US Sailing Center in Miami in 1987, establishing the World Youth Sailing Trust to help aspiring sailors in emerging countries, and the US Sailing Foundation in 1990. Ding Schoonmaker has been an important counselor to the leaders of the sport both in the United States and throughout the world for decades. He will be missed, while his lifelong work will serve as an enduring legacy for sailors in the USA and around the world. —Gary Jobson

J. Phillip “Jack” London (1937–2021)

photo by vernon young jr.

J. Phillip London, renowned business executive, dedicated supporter of American naval history, and a recipient of the Naval Historical Foundation’s Distinguished Service Award at the NMHS 2017 National Maritime Awards Dinner in Washington, died on 18 January. He was also recognized with the NMHS Rodney N. Houghton Award in 2013 for the best feature article in Sea History for his article, “Before ‘Old Ironsides’—the Origins of USS Constitution and Her First Captain, Samuel Nicholson.” He was executive chairman and chairman of the board of CACI, which he helped grow into an IT giant. He joined the Arlington, Virginia, company in 1972 and served as its president and CEO from 1984 to 2007. Since then he served as executive and board chairman. CACI paid a tribute to Dr. London on its website, exclaiming that he was an exceptional business leader of great and enduring vision, and an extraordinary individual in every way. He served as a role model, mentor, and friend. A graduate of the US Naval Academy, he served twelve years on active duty during the Cold War, initially as a naval aviator and helicopter pilot on numerous aircraft carrier deployments. He graduated from the Naval Postgraduate School with a Master of Science degree and later obtained a doctorate in business at George Washington University. He subsequently transferred to the Navy Reserve and retired as a captain in 1983. Dr. London was a generous supporter of the Naval Academy and numerous Navy and other defense organizations. He was one of the founders of the Navy Memorial in Washington and recipient of its 2019 Lone Sailor award. Deeply interested in naval J. Phillip London history, Dr. London was a longtime board member of Naval Historical Foundation (NHF). He dedicated himself to many causes in support of the Naval Academy, Wounded Warriors, POWs and organizations centered around naval history. The Naval Historical Foundation has established a Dr. J. Phillip “Jack” London Leadership Fund; information to participate can be found on the NHF’s website —CAPT Jim Noone, USN (Ret.)



(continued from page 49) courtesy philly shipyard, inc.

Call for Papers Announcement: World History Connected

residents and schoolchildren when the vessel is not being used for training or official programs. The Ernestina-Morrissey’s rich history includes fishing for cod in the North Atlantic, traveling within 600 miles of the Arctic Circle as a scientific expedition ship, operating as a Cape Verde packet ship, and working as an educational platform and goodwill ambassador out of New Bedford, Massachusetts. MMA is planning for another new addition to its fleet to arrive in 2023; construction is underway for a new National Security Multi-Mission Vessel (NSMV) at Philly Shipyard in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The shipyard held a steelcutting ceremony on 15 December for the first of four planned state-of-the-art training vessels for American maritime academies, including MMA. The new NSMV will have a full training bridge and can accommodate up to 600 cadets for maritime training at sea. The US Maritime Administration (MARAD) awarded TOTE Services the contract to be the Vessel Construction Manager for the NSMV program in May 2019. A year later, TOTE Services awarded Philly Shipyard, Inc., the contract to construct up to five NSMVs. (Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Association, www.; MMA,; Philly Shipyard, … The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded a $4.9 million grant to Brown University’s Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice (CSSJ) funding a partnership with Mystic Seaport Museum and Williams College that will use maritime history as a basis for studying historical injustices and generating new insights on the relationship between European colonization in North America, the dispossession of Native American land, and racial slavery in New England. The grant was part of the Foundation’s Just Futures Initiative, a competition inviting 38 colleges and universities to submit

World History Connected, an e-journal affiliated with the World History Association, is seeking papers for its upcoming forum “‘Something Rich and Strange’—Maritime Law in World History,” which will be guest edited by historian and author Lincoln Paine (The Sea and Civilization: A Maritime History of the World). Forums comprise topically related articles devoted to innovative research and the scholarship of teaching in the interdisciplinary field of world history. Submissions for this forum should be received by 15 July 2021, for possible publication in February 2022. The subject of maritime law in world history is one with enormous potential for comparative analysis across both time and space. We find matters of admiralty—concerning navigation and relations between crews, passengers, masters, and owners—in the earliest extant bodies of law, including the Code of Hammurabi and the Arthasastra, as well as in medieval Jewish, Christian, and Muslim law. Debates over questions of maritime law—from the use of rivers and the intertidal zone to the free sea doctrine and exclusive economic zones—also have ancient roots. Of particular interest today is the renewed assertion of indigenous rights over specific bodies of water, which has enormous implications for culture, the environment, and governance. Equally compelling are laws regarding naval warfare, privateering, and piracy. Submissions should be sent to Lincoln Paine at Submissions must follow the style guide as outlined on the journal’s web page and include a short biography (250 words) similar to those found at the end of published WHC articles, as well as a mailing address and phone number. Articles should be greater than 3,000 words, with the upper limit as appropriate (usually not more than 10,000 words). World History Connected is published online by the University of Illinois Press. (;

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project proposals to address the “long-existing fault lines” of racism, inequality, and injustice that challenge ideas of democracy and civil society. The project, “Reimagining New England Histories: Historical Injustice, Sovereignty and Freedom,” will have four major components: a new research cluster at the CSSJ, an online “decolonial archive,” a major exhibition at Mystic Seaport Museum, and expanded courses on historical injustice in early America for students at Williams, Brown, and Mystic Seaport. “Mystic Seaport Museum is proud to collaborate with our esteemed partners in implementing an institution-wide reframing of the traditional narratives around

the American maritime experience as it relates to African, African-American, and Indigenous peoples. As America’s leading maritime museum, we are uniquely positioned to be the venue for a monumental exhibition in 2023, which marks an imperative, transformative, and inclusive reflection on how America’s activities on the world’s oceans have and continue to play a part in our country’s society from the position of race and slavery,” said Christina Connett Brophy, senior director of museum galleries and senior vice president of curatorial affairs. The planned exhibition at Mystic Seaport Museum will run from autumn 2023 to summer 2024 and will

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juxtapose traditional narratives about early New England with engaging artifacts that interpret a different story about the past. The new research cluster, housed at the CSSJ, will focus on how societies founded on historical forms of injustice can become more inclusive and just. To create an online “decolonial archive,” the three partners will work with leaders in New England’s Black and Indigenous communities, Brown University’s Native American and Indigenous Studies Initiative, the John Carter Brown Library, and staff at the John Hay Library to gather oral histories of New Englanders who have experienced the effects of centuries of institutional racism and dispossession. Part of the archive will consist of recorded community conversations organized by Brown and Williams, which will help ensure stories are gathered and shared in ways that reflect community desires, rather than in an exploitative, extractive manner. Over the next three years, the three partners will also offer a wide variety of learning opportunities for students of all ages. Brown and Williams will develop several cross-disciplinary courses focused on colonialism and historical injustices. Mystic Seaport will develop a new curriculum for its Munson Institute and conduct a summer Museum Studies internship for upper-level undergraduates and graduate students with an emphasis on issues of race and inequality in the museum profession. “This is just the beginning of what we hope will become a sustained conversation about the inequities of the nation’s founding,” said Brophy. “It is only by facing the past with an honest and truthful understanding of the forces that shaped the development of our nation that we can hope to become a truly just society.” (Brown University, 75 Waterman St., Providence, RI; Mystic Seaport Museum, 75 Greenmanville Avenue, Mystic, CT; www.mysticseaport. org. Williams College, … On 14 January the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor (ECNHC) announced the recipients of its 2021 grants, in the amount of $108,787. Ranging from $1,500 to $12,000 and leveraging an additional $146,630 in private and public project support, the grants have been awarded to 13 non-profit organizations and SEA HISTORY 174, SPRING 2021; Maryland Dove,; Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, … The COVID-necessitated social isolation that has persisted since last year will be remembered for sourdough baking, sweatpants, Zoom meetings, and… sea shanties? Perhaps the most unanticipated hot pop-culture trend ever was the emergence of traditional maritime music on social media this winter. Scottish musician Nathan Evans’s rendition of the 19thcentury New Zealand whaling song “Soon May the Wellerman Come,” released in late December, took the social media plat-

form TikTok by storm, driven in popularity by users layering in their own harmonies and accompaniments via TikTok’s collaborative “duet” feature and re-posting the result. Traditional folk bands like The Longest Johns and the Fisherman’s Friends are enjoying increased popularity as well, as listeners hooked by “Wellerman” seek out related music. As a side benefit, more Americans are not only becoming aware of maritime traditional music, but also of the maritime culture that the music reflects. While there is no doubt that many of the current enthusiasts will “take [their] leave and go,” moving on to the next big

courtesy traditional rigging company; inset courtesy historic st. mary’s city

municipalities and will advance work to “preserve and showcase canal heritage, educate youth, and welcome people to explore the canal in their local communities.” Bob Radliff, ECNHC executive director, remarked, “As the pandemic continues to present abnormal challenges it is especially gratifying to support diverse canal-inspired innovations. We are so pleased to make these timely investments and contribute to the resilience of our canal communities.” The ECNHC has awarded 96 such grants since 2008. They are made possible through funding support provided by the National Park Service and the New York State Canal Corporation. Grant projects range from the installation of an ADA-accessible kayak launch in the Village of Medina, New York, to improved signage and trail interpretation, to invasive-species management. ( … The sail loft at Traditional Rigging Company in Appleton, Maine, recently completed a suit of sails for the new iteration of the Maryland Dove, currently under construction at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum for Historic St. Mary’s City. The new vessel will be the second replica of the English ship Dove, the vessel that carried the first European settlers to Maryland in 1634. When the new Dove sets sail in 2021, it will have a traditional Dutch “boyer” rig: a lateen mizzen, main sprits’l, main square tops’l, course, stays’l, and jib. This sail plan is a shift from Maryland Dove’s ocean rig to that of a coastwise trading vessel of the early Colonial period and makes use of both a bonnet and reefs—yet there are no grommets anywhere in the sails. The new suit is made from Oceanus, a synthetic sail cloth that has the look and feel of natural fiber cloth and was designed specifically to be worked in the same manner. Much of the handwork details are taken directly from the sails preserved from the Vasa wreck at the Vasa Museum in Stockholm, the only surviving example of early 17thcentury sails we have. The first replica of the Dove was built in 1978 and has been one of Historic St. Mary’s City’s most popular dockside exhibits. It is owned by the state of Maryland and operated and maintained by the Historic St. Mary’s City Commission. (Traditional Rigging Co.,

Maryland Dove’s new main sprits’ l showing its unique reef and tack. Built by sailmaker Dayle Tognoni Ward, Traditional Rigging Company, Appleton, Maine. (inset) Schematic of the new ship by naval architect Iver C. Franzen.



to carry supplies and equipment across the tundra; the flag appears in many of the photographs of the expedition. Shackleton and his crew came within about 100 miles of the South Pole in 1909 but were forced to turn back due to depleted rations; Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen would lead the first successful team to reach the pole two years later. (;; … Sea Education Association is offering two new programs for fall 2021, expanding on its traditional SEA Semester program for undergraduates. The new programs are designed for young people taking a gap year before college, or for those starting college in the spring semester. The Pacific-based Ocean Exploration program is for college credit and will sail from San Diego to Hawai’i; Atlantic Odyssey is an experiential educational program (noncredit bearing) and will sail from Woods Hole, Massachusetts, to St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands. Both programs begin with a shore component at the S.E.A. campus in Woods Hole. Ocean Exploration

Shackleton’s sled

The Mariners’ Museum Civil War Lecture Series The long-running Civil War Lecture Series produced by The Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, Virginia, has moved online via Zoom for spring 2021. With the museum galleries still closed due to the ongoing global pandemic, the popular lecture series presented by John V. Quarstein, director emeritus of the USS Monitor Center, will be held virtually on select Fridays at noon (EST). A favorite among American history enthusiasts, the Civil War lectures explore the ships, personalities, technologies, and battles that would shape our nation for the next 150 years. • 4 April: “Burnside’s Roanoke Island Expedition”

• 21 May: “Ben Butler and the Contrabands”

• 23 April: “Civil War in Coastal North Carolina”

• 28 May: “Founding of Decoration Day”

• 7 May: “Battle of Memphis”

• 11 June: “CSS Stonewall”

All virtual lectures are free; advance registration is required. ( 54

SSV Corwith Cramer

sea education association

thing, many will also continue to seek out maritime music and a deeper understanding of the culture from which it developed. … Two important artifacts from Ernest Shackleton’s Nimrod expedition to the South Pole will remain in the UK, thanks to a £204,700 grant (approximately US $277,592) from the National Heritage Memorial Fund. An 11-foot sled and a flag were donated by Lt. Col. Eric Marshall, the expedition’s surgeon/surveyor/cartographer/photographer, to his childhood school, Monkton Combe. The school, in turn, put the items up for auction in 2018. When the winning bid came from an overseas buyer, the British government issued a temporary export ban on them because of their historic significance. When the National Heritage Memorial Fund came up with the lion’s share of the £227,500 needed to meet their purchase price, the items could remain in the UK. The sled was donated to the National Maritime Museum (UK) and the flag will go to the Scott Polar Research Institute. The sledge was one of four used by Shackleton’s crew

begins on 23 August in Woods Hole, where students take classes for four weeks to prepare for their research voyage. Students will then fly from New England to San Diego, where they will join the crew of SSV Robert C. Seamans and spend the next seven weeks at sea managing shipboard operations, navigating by the stars, and analyzing oceanographic samples. Atlantic Odyssey is designed specifically for gap-year students interested in developing lifelong leadership and teamwork skills, while completing a major ocean passage. The voyage will take them from the temperate shore of New England to the tropical islands of the Caribbean aboard SSV Corwith Cramer. Underway, participants serve as active crewmembers of a tall ship while studying and conducting research on marine environmental topics: the ecosystems of the Sargasso Sea and coral reefs, marine debris, and oceanic conservation efforts in the Caribbean. The program begins on 13 September on the SEA campus in Woods Hole. Participants will transfer to the ship on 9 October and fly home on 10 November 2021. The Sea Education Association was founded 50 years ago by a small group led by Corwith “Cory” Cramer Jr. and Edward MacArthur. It was Cramer’s idea to create a program that would give undergraduates the opportunity to study the ocean from a multitude of academic perspectives, and to do it from the platform of a traditional sailing vessel. Since that time, more than 10,000 students have participated in S.E.A. SEA HISTORY 174, SPRING 2021

programs on one of their three sailing research vessels: Westward, Corwith Cramer, and Robert C. Seamans. ( … In October the USS Constitution Museum announced the acquisition of a collection of significant correspondence related to the early career of “Old Ironsides.” Comprising over 150 individual documents, the collection, which had been in private hands for over 225 years, covers topics such as the construction of the first six frigates of the US Navy, strategic plans in the Caribbean, and secret signals used between the US Navy and friendly British ships. “I have been looking for collections for this museum for over 30 years and have never seen anything like it,” said museum president Anne Grimes Rand. “The USS Constitution Museum is actively pursuing its mission in tough times by acquiring these documents that shed light on previously unknown aspects of the construction, outfitting, and first movements of USS Constitution.” The collection, which was unveiled at the virtual celebration of the ship’s 223rd birthday on 21 October, had belonged to Capt. James Sever, first commander of USS Congress, another frigate constructed in the 1790s for the fledgling US Navy. Included are correspondence and documents from notable figures such as: Henry Knox, George Washington’s secretary of war, who oversaw appropriations for Constitution and the other frigates; Timothy Pickering, Knox’s successor; Benjamin Stoddert, secretary of the navy during the Quasi War; Toussaint Louverture, the formerly enslaved leader of the early Haitian revolution; Dr. Edward Stevens, US consul-general in St. Domingue; Captains Edward Preble, Silas Talbot, and Thomas Truxtun. The USS Constitution Museum plans to share documents from the collection via its email newsletter and social media, as well as including them in its digital collection and on its website. The museum temporarily closed in December until further notice because of the pandemic, but its staff is actively creating content via its social media channels and through its website. Online content includes programs, activities, videos, and blog posts. (USS Constitution Museum, Boston, MA; Ph. 617 426-1812; https://ussconsti

A Threatened Gift from the Sea

Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina North of historic Charleston Harbor in South Carolina lies Sullivan’s Island, a barrier island and a town with a problem that most barrier island communities would love to have. Thanks to harbor jetties that impede the southern flow of sand along the coastline, Sullivan’s Island is accreting land instead of eroding. The problem—to the 8% of residents who own beachfront property on the island—is that their ocean view is threatened. The current 190 acres of accreted land supports a thriving maritime ecosystem of dune grasses, flowers, shrubs, wetlands, and a maritime forest. This incredible gift from the sea is much loved by many island residents and visitors for its beauty and its wealth of birds and wildlife that includes nesting sea turtles and coastal martens. The great diversity of maritime habitats and vegetation makes this an ideal stopover for Monarch butterflies and for many thousands of migrating birds to rest and renourish as they make their round-trip journey between their seasonal northern homes and the tropics. The Sullivan’s Island Bird Banding and Research Station logs and reports the numerous species passing through. Boardwalks and established pathways through this vibrant and scenic landscape provide ready access to the beach. In 1991, not long after Hurricane Hugo, the Town of Sullivan’s Island put the accreting land into a public trust, to be preserved in its natural state for the benefit and enjoyment of current and future generations of islanders and South Carolinians. This accreted land and its successional maritime forest also provide critical protection from the primary threat to Sullivan’s Island and its residents—hurricane storm surge and rising sea levels. It is a source of incomparable resilience in the face of climate change. Now this land is under threat. In September 2020, the Sullivan’s Island Town Council voted, by the narrowest of margins, to settle a lawsuit brought by beachfront property owners to mandate cutting down thousands of trees and shrubs to preserve their ocean views. This settlement heavily favors the beachfront few against the wishes of the many. It will destroy the vibrant maritime ecosystem and will significantly degrade the island’s hurricane storm surge protection. Sullivan’s Island residents have organized to contest this planned deforestation. Your signature on the “STOP THE CHOP” petition at will help. This petition is directed to the Chief of the South Carolina State agencies that must provide permits for this action. To learn more about this issue visit the Sullivan’s Island For All Facebook page: SI4All. We are committed to preserving Sullivan’s Island for the benefit of all to enjoy, for our wildlife partners, and our public safety. Please join us by helping to “STOP THE CHOP”! —Susan Middaugh



Preserving Maritime America: A Cultural History of the Nation’s Great Maritime Museums by James M. Lindgren (University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst, 2019, 342pp, illus, notes, index, isbn 978-1-62534-463-2; $28.95pb) From the outset, Preserving Maritime America: A Cultural History of the Nation’s Great Maritime Museums makes clear that it is not a comprehensive analysis of America’s maritime landscape. It is, in fact, a case study of how several prominent maritime organizations have sought to preserve this sometimes awkward and often underappreciated aspect of our nation’s shared historical framework. These institutions, the Marine Society of Salem (Peabody Essex Museum), the New Bedford Whaling Museum, Mystic Seaport Museum, The Mariners’ Museum, San Francisco Maritime Museum (San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park), and South Street Seaport Museum have demonstrated an incredible commitment to preserving an often invisible, but arguably integral thread of our nation’s character. Apparently, this obligation has not been without considerable maneuvering, intrigue, and drastically different approaches on how to remain not only solvent but relevant decades after their founding. Mr. Lindgren’s profoundly researched account of these museums’ machinations incorporates accounts from the institu-

tional archives and weaves in personal interviews and media interpretations to provide an eye-opening explanation for why each of these organizations is where it is today—for better or for worse. It is well

lenges (crises) dominate the timelines of these museums. One can’t help but think what distress or opportunity the latest global crisis will unleash on these, and all maritime museums. Careful readers will absorb the lessons presented here when developing our courses forward. Catherine M. Green Manitowoc, Wisconsin A Furious Sky: The Five-Hundred-Year History of America’s Hurricanes by Eric Jay Dolin (Liveright Publishing Corp., a Division of W. W. Norton & Co., New York, 2020, 392pp, illus, notes, biblio, index, isbn 978-1-63149-527-4; $29.95hc) There is nothing so likely to appeal to a mariner than a well-told tale. In Eric Jay Dolin’s engaging A Furious Sky, we have a compelling series of stories with the added appeal that each of them is about something that seafarers obsess about—a powerful tempest. His cast of characters: Sandy, Camille, Andrew, Katrina, and many others, from centuries past to the 21st century.

written, thoughtfully presented, and absolutely worth consideration if your career or passion intersects with maritime museums in any way. While perseverance and reinvention underlie all six of these stories, so do precariousness and uncertainty. Big personalities, big funders, and even bigger chal-

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Dolin’s approach, however, is more ambitious than to recount a litany of spectacular storms. A Furious Sky tells both the stories of how those storms and many others have affected the history of the United States and the Caribbean, and how the science of predicting them developed from the locals’ grasp of signs they gleaned from SEA HISTORY 174, SPRING 2021

the skies and waters to today’s satellite and supercomputers’ ability to predict a storm’s likely track days in advance. Dolin’s history begins with the observations and the impacts hurricanes had on European mariners and settlers who arrived in the New World to explore, settle and, of course, plunder. Every one of those endeavors was shaped by the stunning arrival of storms far more powerful than Europeans had ever experienced—or could even imagine. Dolin recounts—often in the words of those who lived through nature’s fury—how the map of the world we know today was shaped by the winds and waters that, seemingly at random, sent treasure ships to the bottom, destroyed one armada while sparing another, and wiped settlements from the map. As his story progresses into modern times, Dolin chronicles the work and insights of meteorologists who attempt to predict where such storms will strike and how to mitigate the damage they cause. He weaves into the narrative how science, like any other human endeavor, can both drive genius and be derailed by ambition and arrogance. Dolin’s ambition is to weave half a millennium of turbulent seas and powerful winds into a clear story that is, at turns, cautionary and inspiring. He has, in this clear and well-written tome, succeeded. Richard P. O’Regan Toronto, Ontario Twilight of the Gods: War in the Western Pacific, 1944–1945 by Ian W. Toll (W. W. Norton & Co., New York, 2020, 944pp, illus, maps, notes, biblio, index, isbn 978-0-393-08065-0; $40hc) Ian Toll exploded onto the [maritime history] scene in 2006 with the publication of Six Frigates. This work examined the creation of the United States Navy through the construction of the warships authorized under the Naval Act of 1794—Constellation, Congress, Chesapeake, President, United States, and the indomitable Constitution. The impact of this work was recently noted by outgoing Secretary of the Navy Kenneth Braithwaite when he decided to name the newest frigates in the US Navy fleet the Constellation-class. Toll planned to follow up on this work with a volume on the

aspects of Toll’s narrative is the amount of detail and research he put into this critical period. Right from the start, he introduces new material on the conference between President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his two chief commanders in the Pacific, Admiral Chester Nimitz and General Douglas MacArthur. Thanks to Toll’s access to the diary of General Robert C. Richardson, who hosted the conference in Hawaii, he can describe the weight of the decision made by FDR to decide on the invasion of the Philippines over Formosa (Taiwan).

The Glencannon Press 4 col. inches (2.25 x 4.5 inches) Preferduring rightthe hand page, bottom right. US Navy in the Pacific Second World War. What was one book became a trilogy—Pacific Crucible (2011), The Conquering Tide (2015), and now Twilight of the Gods (2020). Focused on the US Pacific Fleet, from the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 to the surrender of the Japanese Empire on board the deck of the battleship Missouri in 1945, Toll provides a sweeping narrative of the oceanic struggle faced by America. In a vein similar to Rick Atkinson’s Liberation Trilogy—An Army at Dawn (2002), The Day of Battle (2007), and Guns at Last Light (2013), following the US Army in the European Theater of Operations in the Second World War—Toll aims to perform a similar goal for the Navy in the Pacific. Pacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941–1942 covers the first six months of the war, from Pearl Harbor to the American victory at Midway. The Conquering Tide: War in the Pacific Islands, 1942–1944 takes the reader from the campaign for Guadalcanal and the Solomon Islands to the Central Pacific drive from the Gilberts to the Marianas. This latest work, Twilight of the Gods: War in the Western Pacific, 1944–1945, starts off with the war at a critical decision point. Twilight of the Gods covers the last year of the war. This period has not been afforded as much discussion in general histories as the earlier parts of the war. One of the most surprising and refreshing



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From then on, the book follows the spearhead of the American forces as they move through the Philippines and ever closer to the Japanese home islands. Toll’s writing style and use of first-hand experiences cover both the historical and human aspects of this last year of the Pacific War. Interwoven throughout the book are vignettes that give context to the events transpiring on the front lines. These are not brief standalone descriptions, but substantial contributions and are essential to understanding the nature of the conflict, such as the discussion about training naval aviators. While many histories discuss the number of aircraft produced by the US during the war, without the requisite pilots and support

crews, they were useless. He includes discussions and exposition on other key research points, such as military-press relations, Allied radio and leaflet propaganda, and the lives of evacuated Japanese school children. This turns Twilight of the Gods into much more than simply another World War Two military history book. The Pacific War Trilogy is a magnificent contribution to the literature on the subject. For myself, after recovering from eye surgery due to cataract over the summer, which prevented me from reading anything, my first choice was not to just read Twilight of the Gods, but to reread the previous two volumes and then Toll’s new book. Understand, this is not a definitive history, much


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like Atkinson’s Liberation Trilogy. In Toll’s work you will not get much about the New Guinea campaign, Southeast Asia, China, or India. If that is what you desire, you might turn to Richard Frank’s new trilogy on the History of the Asia-Pacific War, the first volume of which, Tower of Skulls, was released in 2020. I cannot but recommend Ian Toll’s newest series too strongly and I look forward to his next achievement. Salvatore R. Mercogliano, PhD Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina Glasgow Museums, The Ship Models: A History and Complete Illustrated Catalogue by Emily Malcolm and Michael Harrison (Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD, 2019, 220pp, illus, notes, index, isbn 978-1-52675-752-4; $64.95hc) One of the greatest ship model collections in the world is in Glasgow, Scotland, once called “the shipbuilder for the world.” A big part of that heritage survives due to pride in the ships that were built along the Clyde River that flows through its heart. This new book by the Glasgow Museum is a lavish presentation about ship models in general, and specifically about the museum’s magnificent collection. Due to the size of the model collection, it has not been displayed in its entirety for nearly a century. In this book, every single model or group is represented. This is an ideal ship model catalog and deserves a wide audience and a place in many public and private libraries. It is thoughtful, comprehensive, colorful, well presented, useful, and beautiful. I enjoyed reading it and then going back to particular models to examine their photos more carefully. Its cost is reasonable—such a bargain! The Ship Models is a large book, printed in color on 374 pages, with hundreds of lush color photographs of the 676 models and model groups in the Glasgow Museums. The heavy-coated paper pages should survive long use and provide protection from model makers’ accidental drool spills as they peruse the pictures. The illustrations have complete, concise descriptions. The dust jacket cover is a gripping detail photo of a half hull model of the 1883 steamer Caridad. The book has a red placeholder ribbon bound into the text block so the SEA HISTORY 174, SPRING 2021

reader need not leave old envelopes, receipts, or scraps to mark progress. Its opening chapter describes how models were and are used in shipbuilding. Starting with half-hull design models, shipbuilders worked out the shapes of the hull to offer contracts to ship owners. If the model was approved, it was used by the shipbuilders to guide construction. Shipwrights used the hull shapes from the model to shape the full-size structural pieces. Later, with iron and steel construction, each metal plate was drawn on a model to measure every hull skin plate to be cut and formed exactly for the full-size ship. Starting in the 1790s, naval architects developed ideas about how ships moved

through the water by using full hull models in towing tanks and observing their movement; the Scottish engineers were among the first. Later models used in hydrodynamic testing are also found in the Glasgow collection. Many ship design models were later used for display purposes by both shipbuilders and ship owners. Model making as a specialty trade within shipyards is examined next. As models became more elaborate and specialized, master carpenters, joiners, pattern makers, and cabinetmakers took on many of the modelmaking duties from shipbuilders. Larger, busier yards set up model making departments. Other yards contracted out to commercial model makers. By 1898 that transition was complete, when three bronze medals were awarded at a foreign exhibition not just to shipyards but also specifically to three foremen model makers in different Clyde shipyards.

As uses of models expanded beyond the shipyard, model construction became more decorative and detailed. Ship owners often included a provision of finished models in their contracts along with the ships themselves. In the later 1800s, shipbuilding design moved from half hull models to architectural plans on linen and paper. Shipyard models took on a role in industrial exhibitions, being built more elaborately and more finely finished. The models illustrating this second chapter are lovely, with finished interiors, elaborate veneered and upholstered finishes. By the 1930s most traditional shipyard modeling was being outsourced to commercial firms. The authors reprint a large illustration from commercial model making firm Kelso’s Ltd. 1891 catalog. It shows all sorts of fittings for use on models; capstans, binnacles, pumps, and engine-room telegraphs fill the page. Photographs of Kelso’s workshop show workers at benches sitting on tall stools, in shirtsleeves with vests, ties, and white aprons under a large skylight and at windows. A manager in a suit stands in the center of the room. The collection includes many examples built by amateur model makers. Many were built by sailors, both at sea and ashore. They were just one example of sailors’ crafts, alongside scrimshaw, embroidery, and models in bottles. Elaborate bone and ivory models created by prisoners of war grew out of the idle time while imprisoned abroad. Large working sailboat models for sailing on local waterways came to be known as pond models and could be seen all over the world. Best-selling books and magazines on model shipbuilding popularized the hobby as a thing to do, not just as a route to having a finished artifact. Model maker and author Harold Underhill is particularly featured for his widespread influence on the craft. It is unusual to see color photos of his models, as his own books and articles were always illustrated in black and white. Industrial exhibitions grew in popularity among shipbuilders. Victorians loved vast exhibitions of new technology. Shipbuilders depended on fine models to exhibit their products, resulting in elaborate ship models, taking many thousands of hours to build. These models were

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121,503 Vessels Online @ This list is mostly compiled from the “List of Merchant Vessels of the United States” for the years 1867 to 1885+ and several other annuals. Other sources have been used to expand the number of vessels listed and data. This list not only includes American vessels, but also many foreign ones, whether sail, steam, unrigged or not documented. Comments appreciated!

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exhibited in great exhibitions throughout Europe. Glasgow, as a shipbuilding center, excelled at producing these masterpieces of model building art. Fascinating exhibition models depicted here include elaborate sectional models of ocean liners. The Glasgow model ship collection was assembled to represent the range of ships built and associated with the River Clyde. A range of maritime businesses, institutions, and interests donated and lent models and helped the collection grow and thrive. In 1846 a successful exhibition attracted more than 100,000 visitors and left a funding surplus. Community support and involvement increased over time. The collection moved about, allies added their support, a distinguished professional staff was hired, and the collection continued to grow and be meticulously maintained. By 1965 the collection had grown to 502 models, which increasingly came to be viewed more as artifacts themselves rather than substitutes for the ships they represented. In 1978 the ship models were moved to the new Museum of Transport, where a new gallery—the Clyde Room— allowed 150 models to be exhibited and interpreted better than before in large, well-lit cases. The Museum of Transport moved in 1988–89, and the new space allowed bigger exhibit areas, helping make the museum one of the most influential local authority museums in Scotland. In turn, a new museum was built to house the transport, technology, and travel collections on the Clyde riverbank. The ship model collection is one of the main attractions of the new Riverside Museum despite the majority of ship models in the collection being in storage. In recognition of that, this magnificent catalog provides basic information on every single model collected from the region from more than two centuries. The second half of Ship Models is the catalogue of the collection and includes specifications and provenance for each model in addition to its place in historical context. Descriptions include the particular vessel or type, its use and propulsion type, tonnage, year of build, shipbuilder and location of shipyard, the working life of the vessel, and its fate. These are the SEA HISTORY 174, SPRING 2021

things that every ship biography should include—as the authors have done here. This formula condenses a tremendous amount of information into a short summary paragraph. Glasgow Museums, The Ship Models is the culmination of the good works of many people over many years. The text is written by Emily Malcolm, curator of the Glasgow Museums ship model collection, and Michael R. Harrison, historian, curator, and the Obed Macy Research Chair for the Nantucket Historical Association. Of note is Jim Dunn’s outstanding photography. This beautiful and important book is a testimonial to the “depth of care and feeling that ships and boats have inspired over generations,” as the foreword by John R. Hume notes. If you share that feeling for ship models, this book is for you. Kevin J. Foster Hyattsville, Maryland Warship Builders: An Industrial History of US Naval Shipbuilding, 1922– 1945 by Thomas Heinrich (Naval Institute

Press, Annapolis, MD, 2020, 360pp, illus, charts, notes, biblio, index, isbn 978-168247-537-9; $39.95hc) One of the most significant factors that led to Allied success in the Second

World War was absolute command of the seas. In his newest work, Warship Builders: An Industrial History of US Naval Shipbuilding, 1922–1945, Thomas Heinrich explores the growth and development of this key sector. He does not merely examine American warship construction, but also compares it to programs in the United Kingdom, Germany, and Japan. The book delves into the composition of shipyards within the major combatants and the varied use of technology to explain how the United States was able to deliver a massive fleet that played a pivotal role in Allied success. Heinrich’s narrative is focused on five key elements. In the first section, he examines the decline and recovery of interwar shipbuilding. In the United States, overproduction in World War One and the Great Depression both served to diminish the tonnage produced in American shipyards. The net result was the disappearance of many small and medium-size shipyards, but the Big 3—New York Ship, Bethlehem Steel Fore River, and Newport News—


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were able to remain afloat due to diversification and cartelization, and some welltimed Navy contracts. Next, Heinrich delves into warship design and ship construction techniques developed in between the world wars. Tonnage limits imposed due to the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 forced contractors to seek out weight-saving techniques, such as electric welding. This encouraged the shift from building ships solely in slipways, 6/5/12 10:47:40 AM but into more of a prefabrication and assembly mode, a technique used by the US Shipping Board during World War One at its Hog Island facility. The third section introduces the figure of Admiral Samuel Robinson, the first chief of the US Navy’s Bureau of Ships. An overlooked flag officer in most histories of the Second World War, he oversaw the tripling in size of the American fleet. Unfortunately, we do not get enough about him, but we appreciate that the key metrics for success were his excellence in management and advancement in building techniques. The last two parts delve into Navyand public-operated shipyards. Government-owned yards delivered one-seventh of the total tonnage, but were instrumental in the repair and overhaul of warships. The use of public shipyards differed from the experience in Britain and Germany. In America, Navy yards still relied on public firms to support their efforts, largely through subcontractors. The public yards, as showcased through the construction of Cleveland-class light cruisers and Independence-class light carriers, provided the bulk of the American vessels. The hard times of the interwar years required massive government investment and assistance in technology and equipment to meet their needs. Thomas Heinrich’s Warship Builders is a comprehensive and technical study of warship construction, largely focused on the United States Navy. The discussion on how the different combatants built their fleets is essential in understanding their performance during the war. Heinrich fills the gap between the authorization of America’s Two-Ocean Navy and its actual arrival on the world’s ocean in time to defeat the Axis. Salvatore R. Mercogliano, PhD Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina SEA HISTORY 174, SPRING 2021

New & Noted Bridging the Seas: The Rise of Naval Architecture in the Industrial Age, 1800– 2000 by Larrie D. Ferreiro (MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 2020, 386pp, illus, notes, biblio, index, isbn 978-0-262538-077-408; $50pb) Defending the Arteries of Rebellion: Confederate Naval Operations in the Mississippi River Valley, 1861–1865 by Neil P. Chatelain (Savas Beatie, El Dorado Hills, CA, illus, gloss, biblio, index, notes, isbn 978-1-61121-510-6; $32.95hc) Engineering America: The Life and Times of John A. Roebling by Richard Haw (Oxford University Press, New York, 2020, 648pp, illus, notes, index, isbn 978-019066-390-2; $34.95hc) Geographical Change and the Law of the Sea by Kate Purcell (Oxford Monographs in International Law, New York, 2020, 336pp, biblio, notes, isbn 9780-19874-364-4; $99hc) The Gun, the Ship, and the Pen: Warfare, Constitutions, and the Making of the Modern World by Linda Colley (Liveright, imprint of W. W. Norton, New York, 2021, 512pp, isbn 978-0-87140-316-2; $35hc) Ireland, Literature, and the Coast: Seatangled by Nicholas Allen (Oxford University Press, New York, 2020, 320pp, isbn 978-0-19885-787-7; $90hc) Japan’s Spy at Pearl Harbor: Memoir of an Imperial Navy Secret Agent by Takeo Yoshikawa, translated by Andrew Mitchell (McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2020, 308pp, illus, isbn 978-1-4766-7699-9; $35pb) Journal of a Voyage around the World: A Year on the Ship Helena (1841–1842) by Thomas Worthington King, edited by Steven E. Kagle (Ohio State University Press, Columbus, 2021, 288pp, isbn 9780-8142-0911-0; $62.95hc)

The Last Turtlemen of the Caribbean: Waterscapes of Labor, Conservation, and Boundary Making by Sharika D. Crawford (University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 2020, 216pp, illus, maps, notes, biblio, index, isbn 978-146966-020-2; $95hc) The Lost Boys of Montauk: The True Story of the Wind Blown, Four Men Who Vanished at Sea, and the Survivors They Left Behind by Amanda M. Fairbanks (Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, New York, May 2021, isbn 9781-98210-323-1; $28hc) Sailor Talk: Labor, Utterance, and Meaning in the Works of Melville, Conrad, and London by Mary K. Bercaw Edwards (Liverpool University Press, UK, April 2021, 272pp, isbn 978-1-80085-9654; $130hc) Shipwrecked: Coastal Disasters and the Making of the American Beach by Jamin Wells (University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 2020, 264pp, illus, maps, notes, biblio, index, isbn 9781-46966-090-5; $29.95pb) Tales of the Sea Cloud: Luxury Yacht, Integrated Naval Vessel, Legendary Ship by Ken W. Sayers (Texas A & M Press, College Station, 2021, 256pp, illus, biblio, index, isbn 978-162349-934-1; $35hc) Two Centuries of Maine Shipbuilding: A Visual History by Nathan Lipfert (Down East Books, Lanham, Maryland; co-published with Maine Maritime Museum, Bath, Maine, July 2021, 368pp, isbn 9781-60893-681-6; $60hc) U-Boat Commander Oskar Kusch: Anatomy of a Nazi-Era Betrayal and Judicial Murder by Eric Rust (Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD, 2020, 384pp, isbn 9781-68247-514-0; $45hc)

All past reviews published in Sea History can be found online via SEA HISTORY 174, SPRING 2021 63

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