Balladeer’s Blog’s reviews of my picks for The Top Five Harry Flashman Novels are still getting more than their share of attention. (Click HERE )
Before I move on to review the other Flashman novels I decided to instead speculate – in total fanboy mode – on what we readers missed out on with those Harry Flashman adventures referred to but not completed before author George MacDonald Fraser passed away in 2008.
Projected Title: FLASHMAN DOWN UNDER
Time Period: The early period of the Australian Gold Rush (1851-1852)
The Set-Up: The “Forty-Niner” section of Flashman and the Redskins ended in the Spring of 1850 with Harry and Kit Carson riding off into the sunset. Our antihero planned on at last completing his journey toward the California gold fields after all his misadventures along the way.
The Potential Story: Some members of the Australian outlaw gangs who would achieve large-scale fame during the Aussie Gold Rush got their start as failed prospectors turned criminals during the California Gold Rush. Once word got around about the Victoria finds many of the Australians abandoned California and sailed home hoping to strike it rich there.
After the thrilling Jornada del Muerto Desert finale to Flashman and the Redskins Harry was already in New Mexico so presumably he would have made it to California with at least half of 1850 still to go. Our protagonist’s usual boozing, gambling and whoring could easily have gotten him entangled in some way with a few of the shadier Aussies in the Golden State at the time.
Once word reached California about Australia’s very own Gold Rush, Harry could have boarded a ship for Down Under either along with some of the Cali Aussies OR trying to slip away from them for his usual reasons – having slept with some of their women, conning them out of money, etc.
Arriving in Australia, it’s safe to assume Flashman would still disdain the thought of actually working to strike it rich and would have settled in at first trying to con money from successful prospectors or winning it from them at the card-table. Continue reading
Balladeer’s Blog wishes a happy birthday to the USA! What happened in early July of 1776 certainly needs no rehashing so in keeping with my blog’s theme of addressing more out of the way subjects this post will examine various events that took place on other July 4ths throughout American history.
JULY 4TH, 1778 – George Rogers Clark led his rebel forces in taking the British stronghold of Kaskaskia, near the confluence of the Mississippi and Kaskaskia Rivers. Clark and his Rangers were on a mission for then-Virginia Governor Patrick Henry.
JULY 4TH, 1783 – The Massachusetts Supreme Court is finalizing its written decision holding that slavery has been illegal in the state since adoption of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights in 1780. Continue reading
With the 4th of July fast approaching here’s another seasonal post from Balladeer’s Blog. This action was also called the Battle of Groton Heights.
FORT GRISWOLD – Fort Griswold was an American fortess on Groton Heights in Connecticut overlooking the Thames River. On September 6th, 1781 the American traitor General Benedict Arnold and his British troops raided Groton and burned New London while battling the massively outnumbered Rebel troops in the fort.
Lieutenant General Sir Henry Clinton had sent General Arnold to raid and seize ships in Connecticut and to determine if the former colony was ripe for occupation by British forces. The spirited defense of Fort Griswold permitted multiple American ships to escape the attacking Red Coats and nipped in the bud Clinton’s plans for occupying Connecticut.
Benedict Arnold led at least 1,700 British regulars in the battle. Fort Griswold was defended by a mere 150 American Militiamen under the command of Lieutenant Colonel William Ledyard. Continue reading
Balladeer’s Blog’s 2017 post about Revolutionary War Privateer Captain Jonathan Haraden has proven to be a very popular item. Here’s another neglected American Privateer cut from the same cloth. And for the Haraden post click HERE
CAPTAIN SILAS TALBOT – Even if he had never gone on to a career in Privateering, Talbot would still have been a fascinating figure from Revolutionary War history. On June 28th, 1775 Silas was commissioned as a Captain in a Rhode Island regiment and served in the military operations which ended with the British surrender of Boston in March of 1776.
During the New York campaign Talbot and a picked crew sailed a Fire Ship into the 64-gun British ship Asia. Under heavy fire from the Asia and with his own craft already burning, Silas was the last man overboard, suffering severe burns which left him temporarily blinded. Talbot was promoted to Major upon recovering and rejoining his unit. Continue reading
With the 4th of July holiday fast approaching here’s a seasonal post: a look at New York’s 4 representatives at the Continental Congress who signed the Declaration of Independence. FOR ALL THE SIGNERS CLICK HERE
NEW YORK – 1. William Floyd – Prior to being sent to the 2nd Continental Congress in 1776 Floyd was a Militia General who, earlier in the year, had led New York troops in successfully driving off British forces in the Battle of Gardiner’s Bay on Long Island.
2. Francis Lewis – During the war his home was destroyed by the British who also dragged off his wife Elizabeth and imprisoned her. George Washington managed her release by having the wives of two wealthy Philadelphia Tories arrested, then exchanging them for Mrs Lewis. Continue reading
HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY! As always Balladeer’s Blog marks the event with a few looks at neglected conflicts from America’s past. The servicemen who fought in those actions are just as deserving of being memorialized as those who fought in more familiar wars.
KOREAN EXPEDITION OF 1871 – A Diplomatic Mission was sent to Korea that year, with the time period’s usual military escort of war ships on such ventures. The U.S. expedition was snubbed on the diplomatic side and then Korean shore batteries opened fire upon the military escort. The Americans launched reprisal raids for a few days then departed, leaving U.S. – Korean relations somewhat cold for years afterward. Medal of Honor Winners:
WILLIAM F LUKES
Navy Rank: Landsman
Citation: June 9th – 10th, 1871 – During the assault on the Han River Forts on Ganghwa Island, Lukes came to the assistance of injured Lieutenant Hugh McKee. The Landsman fought his way through heavy resistance to the fallen McKee’s location and refused to abandon his comrade.
Through swordplay, bayonet charges and hand-to-hand combat William received a severe sword cut to the head, a wound which would cause him to suffer convulsions for the rest of his life from the brain damage. When American reinforcements arrived they found the unconscious Lukes had suffered 18 bayonet wounds in the fighting.
JOHN ANDREWS Continue reading
Memorial Day is fast approaching! In keeping with my blog’s theme of addressing items that slip through the cultural cracks I’m showcasing a few of the Congressional Medal of Honor winners from the neglected war the U.S. fought in the Philippines from 1899 to 1902.
Arthur M Ferguson
ARTHUR M FERGUSON – Lieutenant Ferguson won the Medal for his actions on September 28th, 1899 near Porac on Luzon. Back in April of the same year Ferguson had won the Distinguished Service Cross for dangerous recon work he did against some Philippine forces at Calumpit. For the Medal of Honor Arthur had charged a body of the enemy, inflicting injuries and possible deaths all while capturing a Philippine Captain and returning with the prisoner to American lines.
WILLIS H DOWNS – Yet another member of Young’s Scouts, one of the most famous units of the Philippine War! Private Downs won the Medal for his actions on May 13th, 1899 at San Miguel de Mayumo on Luzon. Continue reading