Quarantine & War

Random History thought.

Quarantine and interesting intersections in history that we rarely think about.

In January, 1805, the USS Nautilus (not the submarine, but her ancestor), had just fought major battles with Barbary pirates along with the USS Intrepid and USS Enterprise (not the aircraft carriers of course) on orders from President Jefferson.

They had to lay up for repairs; the Nautilus sailed to Messina in search of timber for ship repair. There she found the USS Matilda, who had an American author aboard.

Washington Irving was decades away from “Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle”…the young man was on a European adventure. He really wanted to meet the now famous officers and crew of the Nautilus.

But Yellow Fever was raging through the area, which meant that the Matilda…and Irving, were under a 21 day quarantine. It was not that unusual in those days.

Irving was bored out of his mind, and eluded authorities to row a boat around the harbor and converse with the Nautilus sailors.

Eventually he was released. But now one of the officers had been accused of murder (eventually found innocent).

When the Nautilus set sail on a mission in the still hot Barbary War, they were awed to come across the Royal Navy fleet commanded by Admiral Horatio Nelson…only a few months away from the historic victory at Trafalgar which would take Nelson’s life.

So much history packed into such a small time!

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