Historical Tidbits

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Some think of elephants as merely totems of free people in America. But historically, there is a different story.

Hannibal lost most of his war elephants crossing the alps. However, Pyrrhus of Epirus had 20 elephants in his campaign against the Romans. They were decisive at Heraclea, and helped win Asculum. At his final battle against them, at Malventum/Beneventum, they were trapped in low ground and killed or captured by the enemy.

note: Pyrrhus’s 20 elephants were provided by Ptolemy the Thunderbolt to expedite the former’s departure from the Balkan peninsula. The elephants and the 5,000 Macedonian phalangites loaned by Keraunos to Pyrrhus may very well have been veterans of Lysimachus’ defeated army from Corupedion.

One can only wonder what Alexander’s Greeks thought when the arrived in India and found that the locals were using armored war elephants with fighting platforms on their backs.


CSS Shenandoah

She was one of the most feared commerce destroyers in the Confederate navy. First launched as the Sea King on AUG 17 1863, she was renamed the Shenandoah a year later.

Under the command of James Waddell, she managed to destroy 28 yankee whaling ships.

Even though the war had ended on May 26 1865, with the surrender by Edmund Kirby Smith of the Trans-Mississippi forces, the Shenandoah was unaware of this. Her last capture of 10 Whaling ships was in late July 1865, just south of the Arctic Circle.

CSS Shenandoah

Aug 3 1865, Waddell learned from a British ship that the Confederate states of America was no longer viable. The Union considered him to be a pirate (not merely a rebel), and had ordered the ship to be taken and her officers hung. Wadell lowered his flag dismounted his guns and then made a non-stop 17,000 Nautical mile run via Cape Horn to Liverpool, England.

Despite frantic efforts by the Union Navy to find and sink her, or take her a prize, he made it to Liverpool on Nov 6, where he raised his flag one last time. The British would not recognize and give asylum to vessel (and crew) that was not flying its colors.

The C S S Shenandoah was the only Confederate vessel to circumnavigate the Globe. Waddell visited all the oceans’ except the Antarctic and sailed close to 60,000 miles. in 1866 the U S government took possession of the CSS Shenandoah and sailed her back to Boston harbor, and subsequently sold her to the Sultan of Zanzibar. On April 15, 1872, a hurricane hit the coast of Zanzibar, causing extensive damage to the Shenandoah. In 1872 as part of the’ Alabama Claims, the British Government paid $1.4 million (about $100 million in todays money) to the U S Government for the destruction of 21 whaling ships during the war by the C S S Shenandoah. She had resupplied and had been supported by the British in her voyages.

But it is the day before Halloween…

10 thoughts on “Historical Tidbits

    1. They’d likely vandalize it, causing you (or the vicious wonder dog) to kill the vandal and get into trouble.

      LSP’s blue dog attacked a UPS driver for being a suspected Biden voter and it caused all sorts of drama there at the compound.

  1. Elephants. My late father served in the CBI during WWII. At one point he was running native crews loading airplanes flying over the hump. Elephants were used in limited numbers to help load planes (55 gal drums) and he became familiar with them. He also had a knack for working with all animals.

    Around 1952 my parents took me to see a circus (outdoors, Big Top) and the circus elephants were lined up on the way to the entrance. My Dad walked right up to them and was soon rubbing the face of one while the handler looked on. The elephant was completely at ease and enjoying the attention.

    1. The elephants which were trained to kill were a lot like horses (stallions mainly) that were trained for war. They were not to be trifled with.

      My understanding of elephants is that they are generally disposed to be gentle and even kind.

      All honor to your father for his service.

  2. I do like an opening infographic with lots of .303s! Regardless of… provenance.

    Then there’s the CSS Shenandoah. New to me and thanks for the account.

    Of course the story riled me up. Thanks a lot, HMGOV, for betraying your southern allies for cotton/greed.

    That history upset me many years ago in a classroom. I hacked at a 17th C desk in righteous anger. With a knife.

  3. I can’t imagine facing an elephant with a spear or bow and arrow… Disheartening, to put it mildly! And I saw more than a few ‘Biden’ voters down in Dallas today… sigh

    1. The lefties think that a corrupt, senile, fool is just the thing. Primarily because the heard it on CNN

  4. “One can only wonder what Alexander’s Greeks thought when the arrived in India and found that the locals were using armored war elephants with fighting platforms on their backs.”

    I suspect it was a variant of the ancient lament common to all soldiers – Oh, what the fuck now?


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