Whaling: Oil & “Bone” – Making A Profit

In the last few weeks, I’ve vaguely referred to whale oil and the profits made through a successful 19th Century whaling voyage. Now it’s time to get a little more specific. After-all, a two year voyage, all that hard work of whale hunting, and the trip home should have been worth something.

It was. In fact, the industry was so profitable that the hunting continued endlessly, in an attempt to supply the market with the raw materials.

Today, we’re going to talk a little about the numbers and monetary value of the whaling industry. It’s not an attempt to justify over-hunting or glorify the pain and suffering; rather, it’s an attempt to understand why this was acceptable in the past. Continue reading

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1862: “The ‘Most Desperate Fight And Greatest Naval Achievement On Record’ “

New Orleans, April 27, 1862

We arrived here two days ago, after what was the ‘most desperate fight and greatest naval achievement on record,’ so every one says…

[Describes running the ships through the fire of river forts]

All this time, night and day, firerafts and ships loaded with burning cotton had been coming down the river and surrounded us everywhere. Besides these, the bombardment was continuous and perfectly awful. I do not believe there ever was anything like it before, and I never expect to see such a sight again. The river and shore were one blaze, and the sounds and explosions were terrific. Nothing I could say would give you any idea of these last twenty-four hours. Continue reading

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8 Things You Should Know About American Soldiers In World War I

In the last couple weeks, we’ve talked about America’s entry into World War I and the American pilots who’d been fighting and flying in France long before 1917. Today, we’ll focus on a few-facts about U.S. Soldiers in the conflict; it’s just an overview. There are volumes and volumes written with more details, but Gazette665 likes go for the quick facts that you can use to impress your friends.

You know, you really should ask your friends if they know what’s significant about this year and month? (America entered World War I in April 1917 – 100 years ago). They tell’em a few facts. World War I is one of the “forgotten” conflicts in American history, but we can start to change that by questions and friendly discussions.

And now – without further jabbering from yours truly – here are 8 things you should know about American soldiers in World War I: Continue reading

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Whaling: Hunters & Hunted

We can’t talk about historical whaling without talking about the the hunt. A whale ship and crew often made a lengthy voyage, searching for whale pods. What happened when they sighted their prey and their fortune?

Today, we’ll explore the chase, battle, and aftermath of whale hunting from a historical, mid-19th Century perspective. We’ll also discover that the whales weren’t always the victims; sometimes, the hunted became the hunter. Continue reading

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1862: “Hereby Authorized To Call Out And Place In The Military Service…”

April 16, 1862

An Act to further provide for the public defence [defense]

In view of the exigencies of the country, and the absolute necessity of keeping in the service our gallant army, and of placing in the field a large additional force to meet the advancing columns of the enemy now invading our soil: Therefore Continue reading

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10 Things You Should Know About America’s First Combat Pilots

On the Fourth of July 1917, American troops marched through Paris, cheered by the French who enthusiastically welcomed a new ally. After years on the sidelines, the United States joined World War I and sent its volunteers toward the trenches on the Western Front.

However, the U.S. soldiers with General Pershing who marched through Paris weren’t the first Americans to fight in World War I. Long before the United States entered the conflict, American citizens volunteered to fight alongside the French and British; many lived in Europe and took an interest in the conflict, others journeyed across the Atlantic from their neutral country to enlist with the Allies.

Some of the most famous Americans to volunteer with the French were pilots – dare-devil stuntmen who wanted adventure and were friendly toward the allied cause. Since America was neutral, many joined the French Foreign Legion. Some future pilots served as infantrymen in the trenches before transferring to “flight training.” Eventually, a number of American pilots were allowed to fly together and form their own squadron – technically a French air-squadron, but flown by Americans. They become known as the Lafayette Escadrille.

American pilots during World War I were the first combat pilots in U.S. history. Many began their flying adventures long before the U.S. entered the war. Today’s blog post explores some fascinating details about the Lafayette Escadrille and their role in aviation history.

Here are 10 facts you should know about this unique unit: Continue reading

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