Monday, June 27

Call for Mail

We're coming down to the wire for submissions for the 2016 Jane Austen Festival Mail Packet project… but there's still time for you to get your letters in.

Need some ideas for what to write? Try one of these:

Letter from a friend or colleague back home. 
(But none from immediate 'family' if you please. Cousins, Aunts, Uncles, Nieces & Nephews are fine, but none from Mothers, Fathers, children.)
A bill or request for payment.
An overdue payment of debt.
A letter carrying news of the war(s)

Or, use the link below to see some other types of period letters:

The Complete Letter Writer...

Wondering what a period letter looks like? Here are some beautiful examples:

Contact me to find out where to send your finished letter… or questions, or for any other additional information.

Finshed letters will need to be in the mail to me by the first week of JULY of this present year so that they can find their way into the Mail Packet!

Start thinking about what you'd like to contribute, and HAVE FUN, but hurry, the next call for mail will be the LAST call!

Thursday, June 23

Voyages and Discoveries in the South Seas

Voyages and Discoveries in the South Seas 1792- 1832
by Edmund Fanning

A brief book review by Tony Gerard

Fanning was an American sailor who rose to captain several voyages to the South Pacific, China and the far southern oceans.  Typically he would set out from the U.S. to the far south in search of fur seals. Collecting a load of seal hides and sometimes oil he would then sell the cargo in China and return with a cargo of Chinese goods to sell in the U.S. He gives a good general overview of the seal hunting process , as well as the types of seals and the areas where they were hunted. Additionally he gives accounts of collection of Sandalwood and "Beach La Mer" (sea cucumbers) for the Chinese market.

Fanning also relates his difficulties dealing with the Chinese authorities, adventures among the islanders of the Pacific, his arrest and near execution in Chile and many other interesting events. While the book is not a fast paced "page turner" it is a very excellent and readable historic account of merchant shipping in the Pacific.

While the book is not a fast paced "page turner" it is a very excellent and readable historic account of merchant shipping in the Pacific.

Wednesday, June 22

Whatever Shall I Read?

In the event you haven't noticed, we research and write a LOT, there's always something new to discover on the Acasta website. You can find specific content by following the labels at the bottoms of each day's posts, or by clicking on the links below. Let us know what your favorite stuff is:

200th - Posts with this label are posts that have to do with the 200th anniversary of some event that took place during the War of 1812. Either with the Acasta herself, or the war in general. Want to know what was happening on a particular date? Here you go.

Apple - Posts with this label are either written BY or about Acasta ship's carpenter Mr. Jas. Apple.

Baptiste - Posts with this label are either written BY or about the Acasta Surgeon's Mate.

Book Review - These posts take a look at books written about Naval subjects of interest.

Capt Freymann - Posts with this label are either written BY or about Acasta ship's Captain Robert Freymann

Capt Hurlbut -  Posts with this label are either written BY or about Captain Tom Hurlbut, friend to the Acasta.

Capture - Information regarding historical captures made by the Acasta during her service.

CFNA- Posts related to the organization known as Crown Forces North America (CFNA).

Event Invite - These posts are invitations to the general public to attend specific historic events. A great way to figure out where the Acasta crew will be during the year!

History - Posts involving the REAL history of HMS Acasta or her crew

HMS Bounty - Articles or images concerning this particular vessel.

HMS Victory - Articles or images concerning this particular vessel.

Hollybrass - Posts with this label are either written BY or about Acasta crew member Samuel Hollybrass, a generally unpleasant sort of fellow.

Images - This label is given to any post that is picture heavy. Looking for lots of awesome War of 1812 or Royal Navy recreation pictures? Look no further! The Acasta has been gifted with some amazing photography over the years from a variety of sources.

In The News - Historical news articles that make mention of the Acasta or her crew.

Jane Austen Festival - Given to any post that has to do with the annual Jane Austen Festival that is held every July in Louisville, KY.

Letter Writing - Posts relating to writing letters that look to be from the period portrayed by HMS Acasta. Great help if you wish to participate in the Mail Packet project.

LIST This label is given to the series of reenactor list, Ways to improve, the best and worst things about the hobby, stupid questions asked by the public and so forth.

Lt Ramsey - Posts with this label are either written BY or about Acasta ship's Second Lieutenant Michael Ramsey.

Lt. Hamilton - Posts with this label are either written BY or about Acasta ship's First Lieutenant Jim Hamilton.

Lt. Tumbusch - Posts with this label are either written BY or about Acasta ship's Third Lieutenant Tom Tumbusch.

Master & Commander - Posts that have to do with the Aubrey-Maturin series of books by author Patrick O'Brian or the 2003 movie.

Mail Packet - This label will involve letters (real or digital) sent or received by Acasta crew. It also occasionally has to do with a call to readers for letters, a fun project for authors and historians alike!

Medical Journal - These posts have to do with entries in the Surgeon's log book. Some are transcriptions from log books of the period, some are fictional.

Miscellany - A grab bag of odds and ends posts that couldn't really be labeled anything else.

Mission 1 - All posts pertain to the Acasta's first play test of the "Spy Game", a first person activity played between teams at Mississinewa 1812.

Mission 2 - A writing exercise by members of the crew involving the 1813 chase of the US vessel, 'Young Teazer'

Mission 3 - These posts involve the Doctor's special assignment to take part in a mock Naval assault at Niagara on the Lake.

Mission 4 - The Acastas go ashore at the Fair at New Boston in an attempt to catch a spy, and the Doctor gets engaged!

Mission X - All posts related to the Doctor's covert mission to France.

Mississinewa 1812 - Given to any post that has to do with the annual Mississinewa 1812 event that is held every October in Marion, IN.

Music - Music or lyrics (or both) to old period songs.

New Boston - Given to any post that has to do with the annual Fair at New Boston event that is held every Labor Day Weekend near Springfield, Ohio.

Press Gang - Content and images from the Acasta's Press Ganging activities at events.

Real Crew - Posts with this label are either written by or about REAL historical members of the crew of the Acasta between 1797-1815.

Red Box - Content and images having to do with the "Red Box' game.

Signal Flags - These posts involve images and information having to do with this means of communication during the War of 1812. Sometimes they even involve fun messages to be decoded!

Tall Ship - Posts with this label contain information about or images of tall ships.

The Doctor - Posts with this label are either written BY or about Acasta ship's surgeon Albert Roberts

Toasts - information pertaining to the Daily Royal Naval Toasts given at dinner.

Vassermann - Posts with this label are either written BY or about the Surgeon's personal servant James Vassermann.

Video - Any post with a video or a link to a video in it can be found here.

Wedding - These image heavy posts are all about the Doctor's 1813 style wedding.

Tuesday, June 21

Cross-Sections Man-Of-War, a book review

Stephen Biesty’s
(Dorling Kindersley 1993)

A book review by A. Wyman

This is large-format, fully-illustrated, and (in theory) a children’s book.  However, it pulls no punches to describe and illustrate in full-color detail exactly what life was like aboard a Royal Navy Man-Of-War, in particular the HMS Victory.   

Don’t let the simple text and colorful illustrations fool you- this book is full of factual information. The historical consultant was Peter Goodwin who was Keeper and Curator of  HMS Victory for 20 years, as well as consultant on Master and Commander and the Hornblower series. 

The illustrations are fun. We see the ship in cross-section from bow to stern; the heads, hawseholes, ballast, bilges, the galley, cable tier, magazine, operating theatre, compaionways, cabins, quarter galleries. In addition, each section is divided further by theme- ‘Health at Sea’, ‘Battle Stations’, ‘The Officers’, etc.

Sailors are holystoning the deck, feeding pigs, raising the anchor, checking the sails, firing cannons, plugging holes, burying the dead, learning navigation. They are also gambling, getting flogged, spitting on deck, stealing from the stores; one is ‘fouling the hold with nastyness’.

The text is informative and engaging. There is a fun little illustrated mystery about finding a stowaway in the detailed drawings that adds a good story element for younger readers. There is even a passing reference to Jack Nastyface.

Give it a try. You can always pretend you bought it for a kid. A kid that likes grog and weevilly biscuits.

Monday, June 20

A Little More Inspiration

Here are some images of some of the excellent submissions for last year's Mail Packet… thinking about giving it a try? There's still time to write a few letters and get them sent in! Start your letter TODAY!

 When your letters are finished, email me and I'll let you know where to mail them to…

Friday, June 17

Images from Gunboat Weekend pt.2

More of Tony Gerard's images from the Crown Forces North America: Naval Establishment's 'Gunboat Weekend' event