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"Chronicles of the Frigate Macedonian, 1809.1922" Topic


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Renaissance
18th Century
Napoleonic
19th Century

183 hits since 5 Jan 2019
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Tango0105 Jan 2019 9:31 p.m. PST

"HERE is a history that reads like a historical novel, at least in the style and the pungency of the writing. There are wars, pirate chases, gold hoards and dramatic turns of fortune. As for characters: Capt. Stephen Decatur, Commodore Matthew Perry, Pres idents and Cabinet officers, prime ministers and lords, shanghaied sailors and con-man diplomats; a bey and an emperor and Tammany Hall satraps pass by; even Lord Nelson has a walk-on role. And the hero of "Chronicles of the Frigate Macedonian, 1809-1922," by James Tertius de Kay, is a ship (some people say really two ships) that turned into another ship before it became, among other things, a hotel that burned down.

On Oct. 25, 1812, early in America's second war against Britain, the U.S.S. United States captured a Royal Navy frigate, H.M.S. Macedonian, and the world took notice. Stephen Decatur, the commander of the victorious American vessel, became a national hero; he and his crew collected $200,000 USD in prize money from Congress. For 40 years afterward the captured ship was the Navy's proudest trophy, and its mere appearance in any port was a reminder of America's newfound naval prowess.

The Macedonian was less than two years old when it was captured -- no sleek, elongated clipper, this, but a tough, 1,300-ton seagoing gun platform. It was classified as a 38-gun frigate, though it carried in fact more than 40 cannon, making it powerful enough to be sent off on solitary duty, one of more than 1,000 British vessels guarding the sea lanes and dominions of the empire…."
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