The Occasional Joke

Nurse: Patient's name?

Centurion: Marcus Licinius Crassus

Nurse: And his date of birth?

Centurion: 115 BC.

Nurse: All right. And what is he here for?

Centurion: Cataphract surgery.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Voted most likely ...

... to be overlooked in the great scheme of historical commemoration, 2012 (coming right up, here -- a matter of a few hours) begins the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. For a good summary of this clumsy little sideshow of the Napoleonic wars, see John Elting's Amateurs to Arms!. For an even more abbreviated and less readable summary, look it up in Wikipedia. And for a completely abbreviated list of 1812's main events, see below.

DateEventApprox LocationNotes
6/18/1812Declaration of War38 52 N 77 2 WPres. Madison was honked off about the Brits stopping our trade and hijacking seamen ("Hello, Sailor!")
7/12/1812US invades Ontario, from Detroit42 19 N 82 02 WAs noted below, this didn't work out all that well for us.
7/17/1812Surrender of Ft. Mackinac45 51 N 84 37 WThe Brits in Ontario got the memo about war first and staged a preemptive strike on Mackinac Island.
8/16/1812Surrender of Detroit42 19 N 82 02 WThe US invasion force in Ontario turned around, retreated to Detroit, and then surrendered. Most of the Northwest Territory -- certainly Michigan and the western Great Lakes -- were now back in British hands.
8/19/1812USS Constitution vs HMS Guerriere41 42 N 55 33 WThe first of a series of disheartening defeats suffered by the Royal Navy at the hands of US heavy frigates
10/13/1812Queenston Heights43 9 N 79 3 WAnother US attempt to invade Canada went very wrong, with a thorough defeat at Queenston Heights, near Niagara.
10/25/1812USS United States vs HMS Macedonian30 39 N 27 11 WAnother of our heavy frigates trounces a British ship of nominally (but not actually) equal force.
12/29/1812USS Constitution vs HMS Java13 21 S 31 21 WJust barely in 1812, a third British Frigate is administered a whuppin' by the fledgling US Navy. The Constitution, of course, is the famous Old Ironsides (42 22 N 71 3 W).

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