Archive for the ‘Naval History’ Category

“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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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.

 

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.

How Admiral Nelson Really Looked

December 13, 2017

Most depictions of Admiral Nelson reflect an idealistic image of Great Britain’s leading sailor; the toll that his wounds took on him are almost always glossed over. A newly restored portrait shows what the rigors of war wreaked upon his visage; it is a sobering realization.

Nautical Charts

December 6, 2017

Did you ever wonder what resources mariners could consult in the days of sail? The David Rumsey Historical Map Collection is a boon to researchers; it carries over 81,000 maps, charts, atlases many of which are available online. For example, limit yourself to the “nautical charts” category, and there are more than 1,000 examples available. But you can further limit your results to the granular level by selecting “where” (geographical location), “who”(cartographer), or “when” (by year). By this method you can find 38 charts or maps of the Caribbean dating from 1650 to 1846. So the next time Hornblower, or Kydd, or Aubrey sail to a certain part of the world, you can see what contemporary sources of the time revealed about it.

Search Thousands of Open Access Articles and Book Chapters on Matters Nautical

November 30, 2017

JSTOR is an aggregator of almost 2000 scholarly titles, containing back runs of major journals in fifty separate disciplines; it recently added thousands of books to its coverage as well. Marketed to libraries as a way to save space by having huge back runs of bound volumes replaced by online, digital equivalents, it is an expensive tool,  but one that has great value.

But JSTOR has an open content site that really needs to be explored by those interested in maritime studies. For example, entering the term “frigates” pulls up a vast array of literature, including a 1756 piece on sea currents; entering “James Cook” allows you to read his articles published in the Philosophical Transactions, works about him, and works that mention him in passing. Any term you can think of will probably yield some results; i.e., “whaling ships”, “navies”, “seas” all produce hits.

While not the most robust of search interfaces (after all, this is free), you can sort the results by relevance, oldest, or newest. In addition, you can limit your results to content type, publication date, or subject.

This tool is well worth an investigation; hundreds of thousands of articles, some dating back to the 17th century, await your perusal.

Writings of Admiral Samuel Hood

October 11, 2017

Admiral Hood had a long and distinguished career in the Royal Navy, but few of his writings are publicly available. His autobiography (including some correspondence) is contained on pages 1-37 of volume 17 of the Naval Chronicle, and there was an edition of his letters – Letters written by Sir Samuel Hood (Viscount Hood) in 1781-2-3, illustrated by extracts from logs and public records – published in 1895. In addition, scattered official letters from earlier times can be found in Letters to the ministry, from Governor Bernard, General Gage, and Commodore Hood (1769).

However, a new major project – Georgian Papers Online – has uncovered many more letters by this worthy. Identified as Letters from Rear-Adm. Sir Samuel (later Lord) Hood to General Jacob de Budé, including some copies of related correspondence to and from Hood, this source contains writings to and from Hood that have never been available before. While the documents themselves are in various hands, the full descriptions of each letter, as well as transcriptions in some cases, allow the reader to fully appreciate these missives.

 

History of the German Navy, 1848 to 2016

October 4, 2017

In the most recent issue of Naval War College Review, you will find German Navies from 1848 to 2016.