Battle of Galveston

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Map of Galveston Battlefield, 1863. Courtesy of Battlefield Protection Program and National Park Service.

Major General John Bankhead Magruder arrived in Texas in late October 1862 and immediately sought to regain the laurels he had earned on the Virginia Peninsula. Galveston, Texas’s major port, had been conquered by Union naval forces earlier the same month. Consequently, Magruder decided to organize a land sea operation to break the Union grip on Galveston thereby reopening this port to Confederate blockade runners. Galveston would remain in Confederate hands until the war’s conclusion.

Welcome to Galveston    Read more

When Research pays off

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MS15-14558Kronprinzessin Cecilie-LightWell (1)

There is nothing quite so satisfying in my job then when I make an interesting discovery regarding objects in our collection.  A couple of weeks ago I was researching some of the North German Lloyd ships, Kaiser Wilhelm II and Kronprinz Wilhelm, when I came across a picture of the First Class Dining Room for Kronprinzessin Cecilie.  Now, I had seen this picture before (shown below), but hadn’t really taken a good look at it.

This time I noticed that the decorative piece in the center looked familiar so I zoomed in and sure enough, it is a piece in our collection!  The four cherubs around it (only three are visible in this picture) are also in our collection.   Read more

November Artifact of the Month – HMS Royal Sovereign Model, c. 1804

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HMS Royal Sovereign Model, courtesy of The Mariners' Museum.
HMS Royal Sovereign Model, courtesy of The Mariners’ Museum.

Hello faithful followers! This month’s artifact focuses on a model ship built for King George III of England. He was the British king under which the American colonies revolted and declared their independence from in the American Revolution of 1775. In 1804, the real HMS Royal Sovereign was built for King George III, however due to old age and a touch of mental illness; it was thought to be he didn’t use it following 1805. His illness led him to allow for a regency to rule in 1811, even though he was immensely popular. He ruled for a grand total of 59 years, the third longest ruling British monarch, behind his granddaughter Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II, the current Queen of England.

The Royal Sovereign was the last ship in which he sailed prior to his death in 1820. In reality, it was about 96 feet long and armed with eight guns, while the model measures 1/4 inch to the foot. The actual ship was used for about thirty years before being decommissioned and serving as a depot ship until it was broken up in 1850. The model maker was unknown, but it was thought to be built for George to either show him all of the beautiful benefits of the yacht, or for personal enjoyment and decoration. It has a removable top deck, which reveals beautiful interior details. There are furnishings, carpet, miniature paintings, and even people inside the model. It shows the galley, sitting room, dining room, King’s bedroom, and even circular ladders descending to a lower deck. The outside of the ship are decorated with medallions representing the Four Cardinal Virtues as women, while the stern is decorated with the figure of Neptune in his car. Over the windows there are figures of the four Quarters of the World, and all of these decorative aspects are represented on the model, as a complete replica of the actual ship.  It is an extremely detailed representation of the ship, and provides a fascinating look at what time spent on the ship would be like. Because the maker is unknown, there was not that much information to be gained about the creation of the ship. It was donated to The Mariners’ Museum in 1984, by the Kriegstein family. Roman Kriegstein, and his two sons Henry and Arnold, compiled a collection of about ten models of Admiralty Board ships ranging from the seventeenth century through the beginning of the nineteenth century. This model of the Royal Sovereign was a part of their collection.   Read more

Go Figure! (-King Neptune)

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Neptune Figurehead in gallery.
Neptune Figurehead in gallery.

Hey everyone! This week I decided that we should take a break from the all the female figureheads and look at one of our males. King Neptune, god of the sea according to Roman mythology. While the mythological god has a lot of background, we do not know the exact origin of our figurehead. For this post, I want to talk about Neptune in mythology and give you all some more information on our figurehead.

In Roman mythology, King Neptune was the god of fresh water, which is something that I found interesting. It was not until 400 B.C. when he started to become identified with King Poseidon of Greek mythology, thus taking on the role God of the Sea. Typically he is depicted holding a trident, a common weapon used by fishermen and sailors on the Mediterranean. His wife, Salacia, was the goddess of spring water and was also associated with Poseidon’s wife, Amphitrite. In regards to Roman mythology, Neptune played a relatively minor role in mythology (Poseidon had a much greater influence in Greek mythology). Legend states that Neptune and his brothers, Jupiter and Pluto (Zeus and Hades in Greek mythology) split up the heavens into three realms and ruled them separately. In the Greek myth it was said that their father, Cronus, had swallowed him after his birth and Jupiter (Zeus) rescued him. In addition to being god of the sea, Neptune was also worshiped as god of the horses and was also referred to as Neptune Equester. With this title he was the patron of horse racing, which I personally find odd since he is more commonly associated with water and the two do not really go hand-in-hand.   Read more