Preservation, Education, and Commemoration of Naval History
On 23 March 1815, U.S. Sloop of War Hornet captured the British brig-sloop Penguin in a battle lasting just over 20 minutes in the south Atlantic. Neither crew was aware that the War of 1812 had ended a month earlier.This painting by Carlton T. Chapman shows Hornet at left with Penguin heavily damaged. NHHC image 1857.
BOOK REVIEW – CSS Alabama vs USS Kearsarge: Cherbourg 1864
By Mark Lardas, Osprey Publishing, (2011)
Reviewed by Thomas P. Ostrom
The author, Mark Lardas, brings a degree in naval architecture and marine engineering to his analysis of this epic American Civil War naval battle; as well as experience in writing as a military historian, and ship modeler. The book is enhanced with magnificent illustrations by ship modeler and war gamer Peter Dennis.
On 9 March 1862, during the American Civil War, the first naval battle between ironclads occurred. In the Battle of Hampton Roads (Virginia), USS Monitor and CSS Virginia exchanged fire until Virginia withdrew as night approached.
This painting, “The Ironclads” by Raymond Bayless, depicts CSS Virginia (foreground) and USS Monitor (at right). USS Minnesota is also shown, in the left middle distance. Courtesy of the U.S. Navy Art Collection, Washington, D.C. Donation of Raymond Bayless, 1975. NHHC image NH 84512-KN.
Spilling the Secret – Captain Morton T. Seligman, U.S. Navy (Retired), U.S. Naval Academy Class of 1919
Six months into the Second World War, a 46 year old aviator commander had just earned his second Navy Cross for heroic service as executive officer of the largest aircraft carrier in the fleet during the first battle between opposing carrier forces. USS Lexington (CV 2) was sunk at the battle of Coral Sea on 8 May 1942, but when her XO, Commander Morton T. Seligman, U. S. Navy, disembarked at San Diego from USS Barnett (AP 11) on 2 June 1942, his career would be in shambles. Seligman was most fortunate that he was not court martialed for treason or unlawful disclosure of classified material.
BOOK REVIEW – The Battle of Midway
By Craig L. Symonds, Oxford University Press, Oxford & New York (2011).
Reviewed by Rear Admiral William J. Holland Jr. U.S. Navy (Retired)
Though titled after the single battle, the book’s narrative begins at the planning of the attack on Pearl Harbor, covers the activities and planning of both sides leading to the decisions to attack Midway and culminates in the ensuing battle. In relating these events, the emphasis is more about people than events. All the principle actors are described in such detail that everyone who has served at sea or on a naval staff can relate to and appreciate their motivations, understandings and interactions. These descriptions and analyses of the actions of individuals are what make this book not just a factual dissection of events but preeminently a personality driven study of why things happened as they did.
On 20 February 1815, United States Frigate Constitution, under command of Captain Charles Stewart, single-handedly captured British ships HMS Cyane and sloop-of-war Levant. This lithograph is by James Queen, after a painting by Thomas Birch, published circa the mid-19th Century by P.S. Duval. It shows Constitution (center) engaging Levant (left) and Cyane (right). U.S. Navy Art collection.
BOOK REVIEW – Among Heroes: A Marine Corps Rifle Company on Peleliu
By First Sergeant Jack R. Ainsworth, USMC, Edited by Ambassador Laurence Pope (Retired), U.S. Marine Corps History Division, Quantico, VA (2011)
Reviewed by Colonel Curt Marsh, USMCR Retired
This small book Among Heroes, published by the U.S. Marine Corps History Division, is a fairly quick read and well worth the effort. The book is actually a compilation of notes taken by First Sergeant Jack Ainsworth of Company C, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines during the battle on Peleliu. It covers the period from their landing on D-Day September 15, 1944 until they were pulled from the front lines on September 20th. 1stSgt Ainsworth apparently went over his written notes and typed them up shortly after the battle probably during R&R at Pavuvu. Ambassador Pope’s father, then Captain Everett P. Pope, was the Company Commander of Company C and received the Medal of Honor for his actions during this period. The interesting twist is that these typewritten notes were found by Pope when he was going through his father’s papers only a few months before his death in 2009.