Escape From Libby Prison (Part II)

As February 10, 1864 dawned at Libby Prison, the remaining inmates awaited the inevitable hurricane of outrage and disbelief that they knew was coming.  All through the night, men had made their way through Col. Thomas Rose’s tunnel and out of Rat Hell to the dark streets of Richmond.  Now they would have to face the music once the morning count was conducted. 

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Escape From Libby Prison (Part I)

The greatest prison camp escape in American history took place at Libby Prison in Richmond, Virginia, in February 1864.  On a cold winter night, 109 Union officers crawled through a suffocating, claustrophobic tunnel from a Confederate hell-hole to an empty lot near the building, and from there tried to make their way through hostile country to Union lines more than fifty miles away.  Many of them won their freedom, but many were recaptured and sent right back to prison. 

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The Mysterious Death Of Lord Kitchener

By 1916, the year of his death, Lord Horatio Kitchener had for years been a venerated and legendary figure throughout the British Empire.  The campaigns in Gallipoli and Mesopotamia had dimmed some of his luster, but his name remained a revered one.  The official announcement of his death thus came as a deep shock; and even today, after more than a hundred years, the nebulous circumstances of his death continue to invite speculation as to whether some element of foul play was involved. 

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The Weird Tale Of Jenkins’s Ear

Governments looking for a pretext to justify a predetermined course of action will undoubtedly find one.  Some outrage can be seized upon, some barbarity can be dangled before the public, or some looming danger can be created to whip up support for a policy.  It is an ancient stratagem, and an effective one.  A convincing casus belli needs only the correct manner of its deployment. 

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Epic Journey: Lord Roberts Marches From Kabul To Kandahar

The late 19th century saw an intense competition between the British and Russian empires for influence in central Asia.  Once act of this “Great Game” was the Second Afghan War, which was fought between 1878 and 1880.  Britain’s goals were two-fold:  to keep tsarist forces out of Afghanistan, and to create a friendly buffer state between the British Raj and Russian territory. 

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A Fire Destroys H.M.S. “Bombay”

Fire both fascinates and terrifies man.  It has nurtured man’s ascent from savagery to civilization by cooking his food, keeping him warm, and smelting his metals for war and agriculture; and yet nothing else so triggers his instincts of panic and terror when trapped in its presence.  Fires in large buildings and aboard ships at sea are especially terrible because the victims of these fires often have nowhere to flee.

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Carry All By The Sword: Stephen Decatur Burns The “Philadelphia”

We have noted elsewhere that the young United States went to war against the Barbary principalities of northern Africa in 1801.  President Jefferson found the continued payment of tribute to these piratical opportunists to be obnoxious, and resolved to punish the corsairs militarily.  Tripoli returned the favor by declaring war on the Americans.  Sword and bullet would now settle the matter. 

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Stephen Decatur Personally Fights And Kills An Enemy Captain

Stephen Decatur ranks as one of the greatest of America’s early naval commanders.  His only equal in bravery and fighting prowess was John Paul Jones.  He was the kind of man who could not sit by the sidelines and watch a fight play out; he had to be in the thick of the action, issuing commands, and inhaling the sulphurous smoke of battle.  Yet he was no rash hothead; his decisions, while bold and daring, were always based on a sound consideration of military realities. 

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Memory Of The Fallen: The Work Of Fabian Ware

Continental Europe is dotted with serene and beautiful cemeteries from the First and Second World Wars.  They are also found in the Dardanelles, holding the fallen of the Gallipoli campaign.  They are ordered, serene, well-kept, and dignified with the solemnity that supreme sacrifice confers.  Tourists now visit them frequently, strolling among the chiseled headstones that sprout like white flowers amid seas of green.  

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A Chivalric Duel Transcending Death: The “Constitution” Clashes With The “Java”

William Bainbridge ranks among the very greatest of the early American naval commanders.  Born in Princeton, New Jersey in 1774 to a father who was a prominent physician, he was apprenticed to the sea at the ripe age of fifteen.  Even as a teenager, his actions and deportment marked him as fated for great things. 

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