If You're Going to Be Impressed, It Should Be By Captain Dacres

I am still plowing through Walter R. Borneman's 1812: The War That Forged a Nation, and while I'm not digesting all the names and dates, I do get the big picture: warfare was a different thing two hundred years ago, a gentleman's pursuit; after an epic sea-battle between the USS Constitution and the British HMS Guerriere, Captain Hull boarded the ruined British ship and said, "Captain Hull presents his compliments, sir, and wishes to know if you have struck your flag?" and Dacres said yes, he would like to surrender, but he no longer had any masts upon which to strike the flag, and Hull then refused to take Dacres sword because he fought so valiantly-- and later in the day, when the British ship was searched and the crew and prisoners transferred, Hull found ten impressed American soldiers aboard, which was "a graphic example of one of the war's causes" but . . . and I find this a really nice gesture: Dacres "graciously permitted the Americans to go belowdecks rather than to fight against their countrymen."

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