This one is for all of you fans of oddball sports!

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While researching George Vancouver I ran across a very interesting watercolor in the collection that obviously documents a very specific event but the computer didn’t contain any information on what it might be. Whenever that happens I usually hit the Internet because 9 times out of 10 someone out there has already written or researched the event and there’s no point reinventing the wheel if I don’t have to!

The watercolor shows the HMS Modeste frozen in the Columbia River on January 26, 1847. There are people on the ice all around the ship, some are just walking and others look like they are fencing, skating or just having fun, but there is one particular group of individuals that seems to be doing something pretty specific—something important enough that the artist felt the need to document the event and the date it occurred.   Read more

Coming this weekend. . .

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The next lecture in our Civil War Lecture series will be this Saturday November 4th at 2:30pm. Elsa and I will be stepping away from history a bit and discussing the science behind the materials and analytical techniques used by conservators. If you should find yourself in the Hampton Roads region this weekend you should come by The Mariners’ Museum and Park to check it out.

Happy Halloween!

Anniversary of the 1775 Battle of Hampton

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Today marks the anniversary of the Battle of Hampton, the first battle of the Revolutionary War to occur south of Massachusetts. The battle occurred thanks to a hurricane on September 2, 1775 which led to a squabble between Captain Matthew Squire of the HMS Otter and the residents of Hampton.

As the story goes the HMS Otter’s tender, named Liberty, was driven aground during the hurricane and the next day local inhabitants boarded the vessel, removed the guns, stores and parts of the vessel and then burned it. Apparently sailors from the Otter had been making a nuisance of themselves and this was how the residents of made their displeasure known.   Read more