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The Daily Aubrey-Maturin: The Fortune of War (Book 6), Chapters 3-4 (pg. 1962-2032)

Your daily dose of off-topic shenanigans.

Old Ironsides
12th December 1812: The 44-gun American naval frigate ‘Constitution’, nicknamed ‘Old Ironsides’ and captained by Commodore William Bainbridge captures the British vessel ‘Java’ off Bahia, Brazil during the War of 1812. Original Artwork: Lithograph by Nathaniel Currier.
Photo by MPI/Getty Images


Having escaped their burning ship, Aubrey’s lifeboat (with Maturin, Killick, Babbington et al.) gets separated from the other lifeboats in a storm. Somehow, they still manage to reach the shipping lanes nears the coast of Brazil, with just one loss of life (and without eating him). There they get picked up by a friendly ship, the HMS Java, and learn that the war against America is not going well, with a series of defeats in naval engagements.

And then they themselves add to that tally by taking on the USS Constitution (“Old Ironsides”), which rips them to shreds, despite Aubrey’s bet efforts to help out in manning the guns, forcing a surrender.

This is real life encounter, and is a very exciting bit of yarn that doesn’t need much embellishment (beyond inserting Aubrey & Maturin into the narrative) as evidenced by this map of the two ships’ dance.

A diagram of the battle between USS Constitution and HMS Java
A.T. Mahan, Sea Power in its Relations to the War of 1812. London, Sampson, Low, Marston and Co., 1905) | Public Domain | Wikimedia


Captured aboard the USS Constitution, Aubrey & Maturin get ferried to Boston, where Aubrey shall await parole and exchange through Canada back to the Royal Navy. But he’s made to wait a good long while, both for political reasons as well as his own poor ailing condition. He was hit during the engagement, and while his arm is saved and doesn’t have to be amputated, he picks up a nasty case of pneumonia. He’s sent to rehabilitate at a hospital, which turns out to be an asylum for lunatics. But hey, at least he survives. Maturin tags along, both in his capacity as surgeon and as friend.



- "World class" documentary.

- On its day, it is an unbeatable documentary.

- This documentary just needs more defensive documentaries around it to help unlock its true potential. :)



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