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Admiral Nelson Saves England but not Himself

Admiral Nelson lost an eye in battle and later his arm. He is in constant pain, and no one would blame him if he simply quit, but the Admiral is his own man and he NEVER, EVER QUITS. He goes out to meet the enemy off the Cape of Trafalgar. The enemy fleet is a combination of French and Spanish ships-of-the-line, under command of the French. Ships-of-the-line are designed to line up and fire their guns in a massive broadside. There are good reasons for fighting this way, but Nelson comes at them in two lines, perpendicular to the enemy broadsides. This minimizes the exposure of his ships to the guns and allows his ships local superiority. In other words, he can kick the snot out of three or four enemy ships at a time while the other ships are too far away to lend support. As each of Nelson's ships takes damage, it is soon replaced by a fresh ship just behind which continues the previous ship's pounding. 22 enemy ships are sent to the bottom and ALL of Nelson's ships survive. Unfortunately, as Nelson's ship, HMS Victory, makes its pass, a musket shot hits Admiral Nelson, passing through a lung and his spinal cord. He hangs on for three hours until it is reported he has won. His last words are "God and Country" and he passes into history. Nelson has won the greatest one-sided British naval victory of all time. His body is carried back to England in triumph and sorrow. They erect a monument in his memory in what is now called Trafalgar Square. [1] [2]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson has appeared in popular fiction in various forms. The Horatio Hornblower series is based on Admiral Nelson. I've read "Beat to Quarters." It is a fascinating technical study in the strategy of battles at sea. I loved it. I gave it a try was because of the science fiction books centered around Honor Harrington. It is Admiral Nelson as a woman... IN SPACE! (Yes. She loses an eye and an arm.) Like the Horatio Hornblower series, the Honor Harrington novels are a detailed study in weapons and tactics. She was supposed to die like Nelson defending her home system, but as the storyline reached that point, the author, David Weber, felt like he might get lynched if he killed off the main character. (He was right.) The story begins with "On Basilisk Station". No cliffhangers. It is free as an ebook at Amazon.com and Baen Books. [3] [4]

To the Shores of Tripoli

Tripoli has declared war on the United States. William Eaton is a career Army officer, appointed as a Navy Agent, and charged with finding the rightful sovereign of Tripoli, Hamet Caramanli, restoring him to his throne and thereafter establishing peace between the United States and Tripoli. Eaton knows the area and knows the deposed "Prince". First Lieutenant Presley O'Bannon of the United States Marines, a man of action, is commanding a detachment of 7 Marines and 2 Navy midshipmen. Eaton is going need them. They find the Prince, hire 400 mercenaries and march across the desert. (I'm leaving out a lot of stuff, but the trek does get exciting.) They reach the shores of Tripoli and meet with the Navy for resupply and to pay all of those exciting mercenaries. They must pass through the port city of Derne but the governor says "My head or yours!" It is going to be a fight. O'Bannon and his men fire into the port batteries while Eaton and his Arab mercenaries outflank the defenses. O'Bannon charges, takes the fortress, and raises the American flag for the first time on foreign soil in a time of war. Eaton turns the battery guns on the city and they surrender. Tripoli sends a force to retake the city, and in the midst of the struggle, word comes that Thomas Jefferson has signed a peace treaty with the other guy. Prince Hamet has lost his bid to retake his throne. Naturally, William Eaton is a little upset with the President right now. [5] [6]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
This was the battle that the Marine Corp Hymn refers to when it says "To the shores of Tripoli." As legend has it, Prince Hamet presented First Lieutenant Presley O'Bannon with a Mameluke sword (a curved sword) in recognition of his tenacity and courage. (He certainly had that and a lot more.) There is no documented evidence that this ever occurred, but it has become part of the American tradition as much as Betsy Ross sewing the Stars and Stripes has. I mean, we didn't hear about this story until much later, and we believe them. Why not? The heroes of the American Revolution still loomed large at that time, so Eaton and O'Bannon became heroes to a generation that needed a few of their own. Currently, Marine officers are presented with a Mameluke sword just as First Lieutenant O'Bannon was presented one on the shores of Tripoli. [7]

The Old Man of the Mountain

A survey team traveling through the mountains of New Hampshire notices a strangely shaped outcropping. It is the face of a man. This artifact from the Ice Age can be seen for miles and becomes an inspiration. In years to come, the Old Man of the Mountain will show up on stamps and coins, and as a symbol of the "The Granite State." Nathaniel Hawthorne will write a short story about "The Great Stone Face" and the New Hampshire native, Daniel Webster, will comment: [8] [9] [10] [11]

"Men hang out their signs indicative of their respective trades; shoe makers hang out a gigantic shoe; jewelers a monster watch, and the dentist hangs out a gold tooth; but up in the Mountains of New Hampshire, God Almighty has hung out a sign to show that there He makes men."
My Take by Alex Shrugged
It pains me to report that the rock formation called "Old Man of the Mountain" collapsed in 2003 due to erosion. In the early 20th century it was noticed that the natural freezing and melting cycle of the seasons was taking its toll. Efforts were made to repair the damage and to divert water away from it, but it finally succumbed to wind and weather. It's collapse so upset citizens that flowers were laid at the base of the cliff where its remnants lay. We can only experience the Old Man of the Mountain through pictures today. [12] [13]

In Other News

  • Hans Christian Anderson is born. He will author children's stories, such as "The Emperor's New Clothes", "The Little Mermaid", and "The Snow Queen" which will be adapted into the animated film, "Frozen". [14]
  • Joseph Smith is born. He will publish the "Book of Mormon" and found the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is going to be one heck of a ride. (Oh, yeah.) [15]
  • Alexis de Tocqueville is born. He will tour the United States, and publish the book "Democracy in America." It is a brilliant piece of work that is worth reading even today. (I re-read it last week. It is still good.) [16]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1805, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Mahan, Alfred Thayer. Life of Nelson: The Embodiment of the Sea Power of Great Britain, Volume 2, The. Little, Brown and Company. “It was half-past four o'clock, just three hours after the fatal wound was received. Not till an hour later did the last of the eighteen prizes strike, and firing cease altogether; but the substantial results were known to Nelson before consciousness left him. To quote the rugged words of the "Victory's" log, "Partial firing continued until 4.30, when a victory having been reported to the Right Honourable Lord Viscount Nelson, K.B., he died of his wound."” 
  2. Battle of Trafalgar - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 10 June 2016. “The plan had three principal advantages. First, the British fleet would close with the Franco-Spanish as quickly as possible, reducing the chance that they would be able to escape without fighting.[33] Second, it would quickly bring on a mêlée and frantic battle by breaking the Franco-Spanish line and inducing a series of individual ship-to-ship actions, in which the British were likely to prevail. Nelson knew that the superior seamanship, faster gunnery and better morale of his crews were great advantages.[34] Third, it would bring a decisive concentration on the rear of the Franco-Spanish fleet. The ships in the van of the enemy fleet would have to turn back to support the rear, which would take a long time.”
  3. Hornblower: Beat to Quarters (Hornblower Saga): C. S. Forester. amazon.com (2016). Retrieved on 10 June 2016.
  4. On Basilisk Station (Honor Harrington Book 1) eBook: David Weber: Kindle Store. amazon.com (2016). Retrieved on 10 June 2016. “The series' kickoff puts a giddy Commander Harrington at the helm of her first serious starship, the HMS Fearless. But her excitement quickly fades--political maneuvering by top brass in the Manticoran navy has left her light cruiser outfitted with a half-baked experimental weapons system. Against all odds (just the way Honor likes it), she still manages a clever coup in tactical war games, a feat that earns her accolades--and enemies. The politicians she's offended banish her to a galactic backwater, Basilisk Station. But that outpost soon proves to be a powder keg, and it's up to Harrington and the Fearless crew to thwart the aggressive plans of the Haven Republic. A perfect mix of military SF and high adventure--if you enjoy your tour, re-up with HH2, The Honor of the Queen. --Paul Hughes”
  5. Prentiss, Charles. The Life of the Late Gen. William Eaton. E. Merriam & Co. .... 
  6. Battle of Derne - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 10 June 2016. “Mutiny threatened the success of the expedition on several occasions. Between March 10 and March 18, several Arab camel drivers mutinied before reaching the sanctuary of the Massouah Castle. From March 22 to March 30, several Arab mercenaries under the command of Sheik el Tahib staged mutinies. By April 8, when he crossed the border into Libya Tripoli, Eaton had quelled the Arab mutinies. In late April, his army finally reached the port city of Bomba, some miles up the coast from Derne, where Argus, Nautilus and Hornet were waiting for him. Eaton received fresh supplies and the money to pay his mercenaries.”
  7. Symbols - Eagle Globe Anchor - Sword. Marines.com (2016). Retrieved on 10 June 2016. “Officers carry the Mameluke Sword, which was originally given to Lieutenant Presley O'Bannon in 1805 by a Mameluke chieftain in North Africa. Lt O'Bannon and his Marines marched across 600 miles of North African desert to rid the 'shores of Tripoli' of pirates and rescue the kidnapped crew of the USS Philadelphia. By 1825, all Marine Officers carried the Mameluke sword in recognition of this historic battle—the Marine Corps' first on foreign soil.”
  8. Franconia Notch - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 10 June 2016. “The notch was home to the Old Man of the Mountain, a rock formation whose profile is a symbol of the state of New Hampshire, until 2003, when the formation collapsed.”
  9. Old Man of the Mountain - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 10 June 2016. “17th millennium BC–6th millennium BC — New England undergoes the Wisconsin glaciation, the most recent ice age. Glaciers cover New England and post-glacial erosion creates the cliff which would subsequently erode into the Old Man of the Mountain at Franconia Notch.”
  10. The Great Stone Face (Hawthorne) - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 10 June 2016. “'The Great Stone Face' is a short story published by Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1850.”
  11. The Great Stone Face. Classic Reader (1850). Retrieved on 10 June 2016. “The Great Stone Face, then, was a work of Nature in her mood of majestic playfulness, formed on the perpendicular side of a mountain by some immense rocks, which had been thrown together in such a position as, when viewed at a proper distance, precisely to resemble the features of the human countenance. It seemed as if an enormous giant, or a Titan, had sculptured his own likeness on the precipice.”
  12. The New Hampshire Division of Parks and Recreation : Franconia Notch State Park (2016). Retrieved on 10 June 2016. “Franconia Notch was the home of the famous Old Man of the Mountain, the same 'Great Stone Face' immortalized by Nathaniel Hawthorne and Daniel Webster.”
  13. Alex Shrugged notes: I didn't want to place this comment in the body of the text because I find the rock outcropping inspirational, and as long as people don't take it too far, it is great. Nevertheless, I get a little nervous when folks go overboard and see pyramids on Mars or Mother Mary in a shadow on their sidewalk. OK? I didn't want to get into it because that is just silly. The Old Man of the Mountain was not silly.
  14. Hans Christian Andersen - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 10 June 2016. “His initial attempts at writing fairy tales were revisions of stories that he heard as a child. Andersen then brought this genre to a new level by writing a vast number of fairy tales that were both bold and original. Initially they were not met with recognition, due partly to the difficulty in translating them and capturing his genius for humor and dark pathos.”
  15. Joseph Smith - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 10 June 2016. “Joseph Smith, Jr. (December 23, 1805 – June 27, 1844) was an American religious leader and founder of Mormonism and the Latter Day Saint movement. When he was twenty-four, Smith published the Book of Mormon; by the time of his death fourteen years later, he had attracted tens of thousands of followers and founded a religious culture that continues to the present.”
  16. Alexis de Tocqueville - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 10 June 2016. “One purpose of writing Democracy in America, according to Joshua Kaplan, was to help the people of France get a better understanding of their position between a fading aristocratic order and an emerging democratic order, and to help them sort out the confusion.”

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