“Maritime Heritage of Massachusetts”

April 18, 2018

This site is one of the wonderful “itineraries” constructed by the National Park Service. It is engagingly presented and features scores of sites with well-informed descriptions/histories. Maps, additional links, and bibliographies accompany this presentation. One can lose oneself in this site; I recommend that you do.

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A Recent Interview With Julian Stockwin

April 11, 2018

I have thoroughly enjoyed the Kydd series over the years. This interview with the author coincides with the release of the 20th novel in the series. BTW, if you do not subscribe to Quarterdeck, you are really missing out on news, reviews, and interviews.

Portraits of British Admirals

April 3, 2018

The National Portrait Gallery holds well over 200,000 portraits of numerous people from all walks of life. I have narrowed its collection to a specific sub-group labelled Admirals. Here you will find in alphabetical order all portraits identified with the heading of “admiral”. This includes a small of number of non-English admirals but the vast majority are those English admirals both familiar and not so familiar, ranging from the 16th to the 20th centuries. Portrayed in various mediums – oil paintings, busts, engravings, pen and ink drawings, mezzotints – these representations are accompanied by quite a bit of information such as clicking “extended catalogue entry” embedded in many of the portraits or by activating a “database” link that is present in some of these portraits. Another added feature is a listing of historical events that occurred at the time of the creation of the portrait; for example, a 1581 watercolor of Sir Francis Drake has appended to it “events of 1581”. In addition, numerous links are provided for each portrait allowing deeper dives into this rich collection. Of course, you can search for other worthies as well; I just limited it to a more manageable selection. One can easily get lost in this veritable treasure trove of likenesses.

Free Scholarly Books on Maritime Affairs

March 19, 2018

From the Dutch East India Company to Arctic explorations to the French naval presence in the Pacific, hundreds of scholarly monographs on maritime affairs are freely available. While some books are tangential to things nautical, there are enough ones of interest at this site to satisfy one’s curiosity. The ease of navigation and use of many filters aids in your search.

The USS Lexington Has Been Found After 76 Years

March 6, 2018

The “Lady Lex” took part in the Battle of the Coral Sea, was seriously damaged, and finally sunk by US torpedoes. For more information, read about this battle in a 1943 Combat Narrative. You can read excerpts from the Lexington’s logbook here; you can view photographs and read the captain’s after action report as well.

A brief video shows the remarkably good condition of this ship after all these years.

 

“Ice Pilots”

February 26, 2018

This article explains the above job – navigating a US Coast Guard cutter through the ice floes.

French Naval Policy, 1852-1914

January 30, 2018

While this site has centered itself on primarily American and British topics, every once in awhile, another area catches my attention. In this case, there is a very informative article on the development of the French navy and its failure to counter the British navy’s policies and structure. This is a subject overlooked in English-language literature, so this introduction proves a boon. I am referring to “From a Prestige Fleet to the Jeune Ecole,” in the Naval War College Review, 71(#1 Winter 2018): 93-118.

Birth of the British Navy

January 11, 2018

The only monarch labeled “the Great”, Alfred was instrumental in having constructed some of the largest oared vessels of his day. Please read the entry for the year 897 in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles. John Asser’s contemporary biography of Alfred bears testimony to Alfred’s use of ships in his various battles with the Danes.

“Christmas at Sea” by Robert Louis Stevenson

December 22, 2017

“The sheets were frozen hard, and they cut the naked hand;
The decks were like a slide, where a seamen scarce could stand;
The wind was a nor’wester, blowing squally off the sea;
And cliffs and spouting breakers were the only things a-lee.”

The rest is here. To see his tangential connection with the sea, please read this.

How Samuel Pepys Spent Christmas

December 19, 2017

He can be called by many names and guises: one of the great diarists whose eyewitness accounts of the Great Plague and the London Fire of 1666 are still gripping today; the father of the modern British navy; avid collector of books and manuscripts, among his other accomplishments. Dip into his diary to see how he celebrated/observed Christmas