A Hero Lost

Today in History, March 22, 1820:

Stephen Decatur, Naval hero of the first and second Barbary Pirate wars, and of the War of 1812, hero and example to many of the U.S. Navy, is killed in a senseless duel.

In 1807 Commodore James Barron refused to defend his ship, Chesapeake, against British attack and was court-marshaled; Decatur, an old friend had to sit on the court-marshal board.

Suspended from the Navy for 5 years, Barron chose to wait until after the War of 1812 to be recommissioned. His cowardice was called, and he challenged Decatur, former comrade, to a duel.

Decatur, U. S. Navy hero, was mortally wounded. Such a shame. Decatur was a swashbuckler, a fierce fighter for his country.

Only 41-years-old, Decatur had untold potential remaining in his life. Such a waste.

The Whaleship Essex

Today in History, November 20, 1820:

Loss of the whaleship Essex. Since 1711, the whaling industry had been an important aspect of the American economy. This was the time before crude oil, and the oil, blubber and bone from whales brought good money. Hundred of ships from New England made a living sailing to the Pacific and back.

The Essex had sailed from Nantucket and was hunting 2,000 miles west of the South American coast when and angry whale struck the ship twice, capsizing her and setting her twenty man crew adrift in open long boats.

During the next 83 days three of the men would be marooned on a South Pacific island. Only five others would survive after being picked up by other ships near the South American coast.

The ordeal would inspire Herman Melville’s novel “Moby Dick.”

The Whaleship Essex

Today in History, November 20: 1820 –

Loss of the whaleship Essex. Since 1711, the whaling industry had been an important aspect of the American economy. This was the time before crude oil, and the oil, blubber and bone from whales brought good money. Hundred of ships from New England made a living sailing to the Pacific and back.

The Essex had sailed from Nantucket and was hunting 2,000 miles west of the South American coast when and angry whale struck the ship twice, capsizing her and setting her twenty man crew adrift in open long boats.

During the next 83 days three of the men would be marooned on a South Pacific island. Only five others would survive after being picked up by other ships near the South American coast.

The ordeal would inspire Herman Melville’s novel “Moby Dick.”