Friday, April 4, 2014

Answer: What's the connection?

Thanks to everyone who solved this Challenge.  It wasn't that hard, but it's good to mix things up every so often.  I promise that next week will be a bit more... challenging!    

The challenge for this week was to make some sense out of a scribbled note I found in my stuff: 

1.  What's the connection between "sea fencibles" and the US National Anthem? 

To start with, I didn't know what "sea fencibles" were (are?), so I did the obvious search: 

     [sea fencibles] 

which led to the obvious Wikipedia page about the Sea Fencibles.  

There I learned that the "Fencibles" began with in the United Kingdom as an "organized sea defence by local fisherman to prevent invasion." That is, a kind of locals irregular coast guard.  The idea was carried over to the US and became a more-or-less official unit of the military. 

There I also learned that during the War of 1812 there were sea fencibles set up in Baltimore. "At Baltimore, two companies were raised under the command of Captains Matthew S. Bunbury and William H. Addison." They were attached to the War Department. 

As Jon, the Unknown, pointed out: The word “fencibles” were defined as corps raised for limited service, exercised in the use of musketry and sea-board defense fixed fortifications and the maneuvering of gunboats. Though seamen in general they were under the U.S. War Department and issued muskets and accoutrements. However, they (except for the officers who wore the standard U.S. Infantry uniform) wore no standard uniform, only the clothing of their trade.

This reminded me of when I wrote the note: Clearly I was in Baltimore, and the last time I was there I visited Fort McHenry.  That's a big clue. At this point, I understood the connection.  

But I really liked Ramón's search path: 

     [USA Sea Fencibles around(3) USA National Anthem] 

in Web Search and in Google Books.

In this query, Ramón is using the AROUND operator to look for "fencibles" within 3 words of "USA National Anthem" -- a good idea.  There are many hits here, all of which point out the same thing.  

As pointed out in the post, MARYLAND IN THE WAR OF 1812   "On September 13-14, 1814, in the third year of the War of 1812, this 34 year old Virginia born artillery officer ordered an American flag raised over the ramparts of Fort McHenry in Baltimore harbor following a 25-hour British naval bombardment. The flag itself inspired a Maryland lawyer to write a song that would become the U.S. national anthem on March 3, 1931."

The British attacked the Baltimore port which was defended by Fort McHenry.  At the fort, as part of the local defenses, were the Sea Fencibles.  During the attack, Francis Scott Key wrote a poem beginning with “Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light.."

And then, 1931, Congress made the "Star-SpangledBanner" the national anthem of the United States. 

An excellent history of the flag, the battle, and the song can all be found at the Smithsonian Institution's web site.  Since they actually HAVE the flag (and getting history right is their job), I trust their version of the story.  

Regular Readers might remember that we visited the National Anthem topic before when we discussed the connection between the phrase, “The Myrtle of Venus with Bacchus's Vine” and the development of the US practice of  "defense by reason of insanity."  You never know what you'll learn in SearchResearch!  

Here, in all its verses, is the entire anthem.  As an elementary schoolchild, I had to learn the first and last verses.  I wonder how many people know all FOUR verses.  

The Star-Spangled Banner

O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight
O’er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there,
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream,
’Tis the star-spangled banner - O long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto - “In God is our trust,” 
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Nice job, everyone.  

Search on! 


1 comment:

  1. Ramón thanks for that reminder to use AROUND. As well Jon I really like the idea of TALK. It adds a dimension to Wiki that gives it more credibility. I usually don't give too much credit to Wiki articles but I will read TALK page more often because of your comments.

    Dr. Russell I hope you had a nice vacation.