Monday, August 28, 2017

This Weekend: Before the Siege

If you're in the mid-Atlantic United States this weekend, come visit me at Before the Siege: The British Army in Yorktown. I'll be turning out as boatswain of the Charon's crew. We'll be constructing shore batteries and interpreting the dress, material culture, and daily life of sailors in the Royal Navy.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Going Off-Watch

Things will be a bit quiet around here for a short while.

Detail from The Sailor's Farewell, Charles Mosley, date unknown,
National Maritime Museum

In the first, I am working to better include the voice of the common sailor. In the more than three years I have been running this blog, the actual words of common sailors have been shamefully absent. If I intend to explore their lives, I must use their accounts. This means I must plow through all the eighteenth century memoirs of common sailors that I can get my hands on. If you would like to do the same, or have suggestions, visit the new page on this blog: Sailor's Memoirs.

In the second, I am also engaged in exploring slave voyages to a particular Chesapeake seaport. Slave ships, as with many transatlantic voyages, are hard to track. I will be buried in archives and databases for some time. If you are interested in exploring the slave trade for yourself, visit

You can still expect occasional updates, but not quite so frequent as they had been in the Spring and Summer. Be sure to follow me on Facebook, where I will post a little more frequently, though not nearly so in depth as I do here.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Tile, 1757-1771

Tile, John Sadler, 1757-1761, Winterthur Collection.

I have featured a couple of Sadler's tiles on this blog before. This is different from those in that it is a fable. Based on Aesop's 'The One-Eyed Doe.'

The tale goes that a one eyed doe was grazing along the shore, with her one good eye turned inland. Her disability blinded her to the archer who shot her from a boat. The moral being that one cannot predict fate.

Sadler updated the story with sailors (presumably from the sloop or ship offshore) who shoot the doe with a  musket, rather than a bow.

The sailors wear single breasted jackets with drop down collars. The oarsman is wearing open mariner's cuffs. All three wear loose hair cropped to the shoulders and round hats with the brim turned up.

Sadler was clearly no sailor. The oarsman rows facing the bow, and the ship and sloop are rather crude.