Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 43

British fleet suffers defeat at Fort Mifflin, Pennsylvania on October 23, 1777

British fleet suffers defeat at Fort Mifflin, Pennsylvania on October 23, 1777

British fleet suffers defeat at Fort Mifflin, Pennsylvania: On this day in 1777, a British Royal Navy fleet of ships, trying to open up supply lines along the Delaware River and the occupying British army in Philadelphia, is bombarded by American cannon fire and artillery from Fort Mifflin, Pennsylvania.

Six British ships were severely damaged, including the 64-gun battleship HMS Augusta and the 20-gun sloop Merlin, which both suffered direct hits before they were run aground and subsequently destroyed. More than 60 British troops aboard the Augusta were killed, while the crewmembers aboard the Merlin abandoned ship, narrowly avoiding a similar fate.

Although the American forces defending Fort Mifflin were undoubtedly victorious on October 23, 1777, the battle continued throughout the month of October and into November. With much of the fort destroyed and under continuous artillery and cannon fire, the American forces abandoned Fort Mifflin on November 16, 1777.

The capture of Fort Mifflin gave the British Royal Navy near complete control of the Delaware River up to Red Bank, New Jersey. Fearing that the fall of Fort Mercer, located across the Delaware from Fort Mifflin, was imminent, Continental Army Colonel Christopher Greene ordered a full retreat off all Patriot troops from the fort and the burning of all buildings and ships to prevent their capture by the British. General Charles Cornwallis took over the evacuated fort, guaranteeing a safe winter for the British forces occupying Philadelphia, while their disheartened Continental counterparts froze at Valley Forge. History Channel / Wikipedia / Army.mil

Image: Hessian Map of the forts at Mud Island and Red Bank (September 26 – November 16, 1777 / Location: Fort Mifflin, Pennsylvania / Result: British victory)

• Paintings: Washington Crossing the Delaware, by Emanuel Leutz; Battle of the Chesapeake, French (left) and British (right) lines; Battle of Bunker Hill, The Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker Hill by John Trumbull; The Defeat of the Floating Batteries at Gibraltar, September 13, 1782, by John Singleton Copley; Washington and the Comte de Rochambeau at Yorktown, 1781; "The surrender at Saratoga" shows General Daniel Morgan in front of a French de Vallière 4-pounder; Surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown by (John Trumbull, 1797). Wikipedia

Understanding Military Terminology

Understanding Military Terminology - execute order

(DOD) Execute order:

1. An order issued by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at the direction of the Secretary of Defense, to implement a decision by the President to initiate military operations. Joint Operation Planning 5-0

2. An order to initiate military operations as directed. Also called EXORD. Joint Operation Planning 5-0

Navy pallbearers remove flags from the caskets of two sailors from the USS Monitor for interment at Arlington National Cemetery.(H. Darr Beiser, USA TODAY)

The Old Salt’s Corner

“Bury Me With Sailors”

“I've played a lot of roles in life;

I've met a lot of men.

I've done some things I'd like to think

I wouldn't do again.

And though I'm young, I'm old enough

to know some day I'll die,

and to think about what lies beyond,

Beside whom I would lie.

Perhaps it doesn't matter much;

Still if I had my choice,

I'd want a grave,mongst sailors when

At last death quells my voice.

I'm sick of the hypocrisy

of lectures of the wise.

I'll take the man, with all the flaws,

Who goes through scared, and dies.

They didn't want the war;

They fought because their Fathers and

Theirs Fathers had before.

They Cursed and killed and wept...

God Knows

They're easy to deride...

But bury me with men like these;

They faced the guns and died,

It’s funny when you think of it,

The way we got along.

We'd come from different worlds

To live in one where no one belongs.

I didn't even like them all;

I'm sure they'd all agree.

Yet I would give my life for them,

I know some did for me.

So bury me with Sailors, please,

Though much maligned they be.

Yes bury me with Sailors, for I miss their company.

We'll not soon see their likes again;

We've had our fill of war.

But bury me with men like them

Till someone else does more.” Author Unknown / (Photo USA Today)

“I’m Just Sayin’”

“I’m Just Sayin’”

I’m sorry I hurt your feelings when I called you stupid. I really thought you already knew.

“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“Life is not a race, but a journey to be savored each step of the way.”

~ Anonymous

“What I Have Learned”

“What I Have Learned”

Experience is what you have left when everything else is gone.

~ Anonymous

Bizarre News (we couldn’t make up stuff this good – real news story)

Bizarre News (we couldn’t make up stuff this good – real news story)

Ticket machine thief jailed after being caught on CCTV

Ticket machine thief jailed after being caught on CCTV

BRIERLEY Hill, England - The surveillance video in evidence in England’s Wolverton Crown Court in July captured the entire caper of two young men comically failing to open a parking lot’s automated cash machine five months earlier. Wearing hoods, they tried to batter the secure machine open, then tried to pull it away (but learned that it was rooted to an underground cable).

Plan C involved getting in their Peugeot and ramming the machine, which did knock loose the money-dispensing part--but also shredded part of the car’s body. The dispenser (with the equivalent of $1,500 in coins) fit in the front seat only after some exhaustive pushing and cramming, but finally the men drove off--with sparks flying as the weight of the coins made the crippled car scrape the pavement.

Police arrived on the scene, and a brief chase ended when the car crashed into a wall. Final score: car totaled, money recovered, and Wesley Bristow, 25, sentenced to two years in prison. Express & Star

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: Why is white meat white and dark meat dark?

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: Why is white meat white and dark meat dark?

White meat is white because of the chicken's chronic lack of exercise, something to think about next time you're about to curl up in front of the TV for another I Dream of Jeannie rerun.

Dark meat, which avian myologists (bird muscle scientists) refer to as "red muscle," is used for sustained activity — chiefly walking, in the case of a chicken. The dark color comes from a chemical compound in the muscle called myoglobin, which plays a key role in oxygen transport.

White muscle, in contrast, is suitable only for short, ineffectual bursts of activity such as, for chickens, flying. That's why the chicken's leg meat and thigh meat are dark and its breast meat (which makes up the primary flight muscles) is white.

Other birds more capable in the flight department, such as ducks and geese, have red muscle (and dark meat) throughout.

Where Did That Saying Come From? “More Than You Can Shake a Stick At”

Where Did That Saying Come From?

Red Herring:

Poachers and other unsavory characters would drag a herring across the ground where they had just walked to throw dogs off their scent. (Herrings were made red by the process of curing). Wikipedia

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang - U.S. Navy

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang

However: (Spoken “however comma”) An over-the-top method of expressing additional items. Often used by people who have been in the Navy too long (see “dig-it”).

HSC: (Heavy Shit Carrier) rate most commonly given to junior sailors, mostly comprised of firemen

Sea Stories: Often exaggerated or embellished tales from previous deployments or commands told by seniors to juniors. Sea Stories almost always involve alcohol. Good sea stories should always involve creative embellishment, in as much as you should tell it better than the guy you heard it from, with yourself (or an un-named “buddy”) as the new star. Add some contemporary details and those youngsters are mesmerized, as they should be.

Just for MARINES - U.S. Marines

Just for you MARINE

Click: An inexact distance derived from artillery sightings in which each click of site elevation would move the impact point depending on a number of diverse options. Usually taken to mean either a mile or a kilometer. Used mostly since Vietnam. Another legend has it that when the GP (jeep) vehicle was first introduced the odometer would click every one fifth of a mile and that soldiers soon learned to judge distance by the click so that they could pay attention to road hazards and enemy positions. Take your pick.

Close Air Support: A concept developed by Marines during the Banana Wars of the 1930s, copied by the Germans in World War II and perfected by the Marines ever since. Aircraft strafe enemy positions or formations only yards from the Marine front line. Marine aviators are most proficient at it but flying sailors also do an acceptable job. The Navy calls it, “Moving mud to help out the grunts.”.

Cluster F**k: (Vietnam) A mission, operation or activity gone bad. Confusion.

Military Acronyms

Navy Acronyms

CNO - Chief of Naval Operations

The highest ranking Officer in the U.S. Navy.

CO - Commanding Officer

A commissioned Navy Officer in charge of a designated Navy command.

CTI - Cryptologic Technicians Interpretive

Navy linguists tasked to gather highly classified intelligence information for the Navy’s top-level decision makers using foreign language skills.

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

VAW-117 - Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 117: “Wallbangers” NAS Point Mugu, California

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

Weapons That Failed Spectacularly

Weapons That Failed Spectacularly

During World War II, aircraft carriers were in short supply. So were steel and aluminum, the main materials needed to build the gargantuan ships. As the Allies scrounged to build vessels, they were also hunting for fresh ideas. So when Geoffrey Pyke, a plucky British inventor, proposed a scheme to build carriers out of ice, the British government jumped on board.

Pyke’s concept was to construct the vessels using pykrete—a stronger-than-ice mixture of 86 percent water and 14 percent wood pulp. But it wasn’t until construction began on a 1,000-ton model in Canada that engineers encountered the problem of “plastic flow”. In layman’s terms, the ship started to melt, which caused it to sag under its own weight unless kept at a crisp 3°F. The designers attempted to sidestep the issue by rigging the boat with a complex refrigeration system and reinforcements consisting of 10,000 tons of steel—the very resource they’d been trying to avoid using in the first place.

After almost a year of working and reworking the concept, Britain’s Royal Navy finally learned the same hard lesson most of us learned with our first popsicles and they ditched the project. The boat was allowed to sink to the bottom of Patricia Lake and do what ice does best: melt. Ignoble Experiment / World War IIWikipedia

Image: Churchill's Aircraft Carrier Icebergs (History and the Sock Merchant) / Geoffrey Pyke: The man behind the “iceberg aircraft carrier” (BBC) video


New York Yankees defeats Chicago Cubs to win the 1932 World Series by 4 games to 0. In Game 3, Babe Ruth hits his famous “called shot” home run, which is followed immediately by a Lou Gehrig solo home run.

Sports 1932 Wikipedia

World Series Champions: The New York Yankees defeat the Chicago Cubs 4 games to 0

In Game 3, Babe Ruth hits his famous “called shot” home run, which is followed immediately by a Lou Gehrig solo home run.

NFL Champions: Chicago Bears defeat the Portsmouth Spartans 9-0

Stanley Cup Champs: Toronto Maple Leafs defeat the New York Rangers 3 games to 0

U.S. Open Golf: Gene Sarazan

U.S. Open Tennis (Men/Ladies): Ellsworth Vines / Helen Jacobs

Wimbledon (Men/Women) (Men/Ladies): Jack Crawford / Helen Wills Moody

NCAA Football Champions: Michigan Wolverines shared with USC Trojans

Rose Bowl USC Trojans defeat Tulane Green Wave 21-12

Kentucky Derby: Burgoo King

Image: Babe Ruth Called Shot (Sports Illustrated)



● The state of Maine has 62 lighthouses. One of the most famous (and oldest) is Portland Head Light, which was commissioned by President George Washington.

● In the military world, EGADS is an acronym for Electronic Ground Automatic Destruct System.

● Studies of the Dead Sea Scrolls indicate that the passage in the Bible known as the Sermon on the Mount is actually an ancient Essene prayer dating to hundreds of years before the birth of Christ.

Answer to Last Week's Test

Which state in the U.S. raises more turkeys than any other?

Answer: California.

Joke of the Day

During the wedding rehearsal, the groom approached the pastor with an unusual offer:

“Look, I'll give you $100 if you'll change the wedding vows. When you get to the part where I'm supposed to promise to 'love, honor and obey' and 'be faithful to her forever,' I'd appreciate it if you'd just leave that out.”

He passed the minister a $100 bill and walked away satisfied.

On the day of the wedding, when it came time for the groom's vows, the pastor looked the young man in the eye and said: “Will you promise to prostrate yourself before her, obey her every command and wish, serve her breakfast in bed every morning of your life, and swear eternally before God and your lovely wife that you will not ever even look at another woman, as long as you both shall live?”

The groom gulped and looked around, and said in a tiny voice, “Yes”, then leaned toward the pastor and hissed: “I thought we had a deal.”

The pastor put a $100 bill into the groom's hand and whispered: “She made me a better offer.”