Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Today In History: Potpourri.

On this date in...

...1798, a small force of colonists, marines, armed slaves, armed commercial boats, and Royal Naval vessels thwarted the Spanish Empire's attempt to invade Belize at the Battle of St. George's Caye.

...1813, Oliver Hazard Perry shot up the British fleet on Lake Erie, capturing everything that didn't burn or drown.

...1939, the Royal Navy suffered its first loss of the Second World War when, only a couple days into the conflict, the skipper of HMS Triton got trigger happy off the coast of Norway and mistook her sister, HMS Oxley, for the boche. He put a few fish into her midships and she promptly sank.

...1945, an unnamed barnyard fowl was magically transformed into Mike the Headless Chicken, using only an ordinary hatchet.

8 comments:

karrde said...

The Battle of Lake Erie...

Am I right in remembering that it is the only Naval battle that ever occurred on the Great Lakes?

OrangeNeckInNY said...

Heheh...he wouldn't let his chicken choke.

staghounds said...

Oh no, LOTS of naval battles on the lakes, in the Revolution and 1812-14.

At 4500 1947 dollars a month, I'd have had a veterinarian with Mike at all times.

Maybe he had Mike insured?

My family chicken beheading story:

Back when Cleveland was President and Victoria Queen, my great aunt Augusta was a little girl. Her father's city house in Wilmington, was like the other big places there- the front was display, out back there was a yard surrounded by a high board fence. In the yard were the wash house, privy for the staff, and those sorts of things.

And the chickens.

Aunt Augusta's older brother made the mistake of naming them, and one was yclept for his baby sister.

The day came, and Jerusalem the cook went out back to do the deed. Unfortunately Brother- yes, that's what they called him- saw, and out he went to obstruct dinner.

"No, Jerusalem! Don't kill Augusta! Please don't kill Augusta! Put down that axe! No, No!"

"Mas' Brother, Augusta's time is come! You get back in that house and be quiet, or I'll take this hatchet to you when I've finished with her!"

Unknown to either of them, some one was passing near the back fence, heard the exchange, and ran off to summon a policeman.

Jerusalem completed the task, and hung the bird to drain. Then she went back toward the pump...

The policeman ran back, burst in the gate, and saw a large Black woman approaching him with bloody hands and hatchet...

Fortunately it was 1895 and not 1995, so everyone had time to explain!

Somerled said...

If brain-stem-intact members of PETA march on Fruita, CO, during the third weekend of May 2009, we'll know the Fifth Column monitors Tam's blogs.

Brandon said...

The Straight Dope's article is comedic gold, particularly the Kant reference.

JPG said...

Regarding the Battle of St. George's Caye -- One notes that the question of British colonists/woodcutters in Belize was addressed in 1796 by a Spanish official, el Visitador Juan O'Sullivan. Then, in the 1798 conflict, the Spanish fleet was commanded by the Governor of Yucat√°n, Don Arturo O'Neill Tirone. Ah, the Irish - - turn your back on ‘em for a generation or two, and their Wild Geese are breedin’ with your enemies . . . .

Despite this Gaelic leadership of the Spanish forces, the British, with zero combatants slain, vanquished them handily.
JPG

JAFO said...

I'm a bit confused how the Brits got a fleet INTO Lake Eerie in the first place...

I assume they either had to build or commandeer what what already there. I can't imagine them portaging a large vessel, and can't imagine the tributaries and rivers that fed from the Lake to the sea (presumably) would have enough depth to pass a man-o-war's draft.

This said, I'm decidedly NOT an expert on things naval of that era.

Anyone??

markm said...

Jafo: Yes, both fleets of gunboats - with emphasis on boats - were built on the shores of Lake Erie.