Famous is a relative term. Someone who is famous in his hometown might be unknown in the next state. Choosing just five blockade runners to discuss today was a challenge. Some lists of “famous” blockade runners are lengthy, leaving me wondering what qualified as “famous.”
In the end, I decided to just choose five ships that illustrate interesting details about blockade running during the Civil War. If you’d nominate other runners, leave me a comment with the story!
Today we’ll delve into five fascinating facts about blockade runners during the American Civil War. Facts beyond the basics. (Check out last week’s infograph for the introduction!)
Did steam or wind propeller these 19th Century vessels? What were their favorite Southern ports? Where did they sail? What if they were captured? Who owned the blockade runners?
Read on and discover the answers: Continue reading
I’m no scientist, but I do know whales are mammals. However, it’s not uncommon to find them called “fish” in 19th Century writings. What’s going on?
Today’s blog post explores some of the origins of 19th Century names for whales, briefly discusses the catalog of whales found in Moby Dick, and reviews the differences between toothed and baleen whales. Continue reading
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
We’re launching into our blog feature on American whaling during the 19th Century. (Catch the introduction here, if you missed it!) And it seems the best place to begin is at the beginning of a voyage.
Whale hunting was an industry – a business – in 19th Century America. Ship owners intended to make a profit on the whale oil brought home. However, sending a whale ship to sea was a risky venture. Unlike a merchant ship that would sail quietly along, ideally weathering the storms, and (hopefully) return with a profitable cargo and no lives lost, a whale ship was like a battleship.
Sending a whaling ship to sea was almost a game of chance or like betting on a gladiatorial combat. The captain, crew, and sometimes the ship itself would fight the largest known animals on the planet. It would be a struggle for life and death between two foes – one, massive and powerful, the other, armed with small, deadly metal implements and long, long ropes.
Today’s blog post focuses on getting a whale ship to sea and its voyage to the hunting grounds. Though I’m certainly thankful that whaling isn’t a common practice anymore, it was a fascinating chapter in American maritime and business. Continue reading
We’re transitioning into the next three month subject in our series on 19th Century American Maritime. Whaling.
Realizing this can be a debatable subject, I thought it might be good to clarify why I’m choosing to write about it, explain my views, and detail the types of blog posts you’ll see in the coming weeks. I hope you find the history fascinating while, at the same time, realizing that it was harmful and dangerous maritime industry which is no longer practiced in modern America. Continue reading