User talk:TCav

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Go ahead. Let me have it.[edit]

Minden - flag of truce vessel[edit]

On a sabbatical, so will have to look into this deeper when I get back. Meanwhile just looking at Google Books I came up with this. Typing up "Skinner and Key 1812 Minden" in Google Books, I seem to get several references to the ship Minden.

The book 1812: the war that forged a nation By Walter R. Borneman you can view as it has a limited view. It says "Aboard the Minden were a Georgetown lawyer named Francis Scott Key and Baltimore lawyer John S. Skinner, the latter an agent of the American government ..."
The book 1812, the war nobody won on page 133 says "Madison agreed with the plan and allowed Key to use the Minden as a flag-of-truce ...
The book How you played the game: the life of Grantland Rice By William Arthur Harper says on page 532 "Skinner, a government agent during the War of 1812, was with Francis Scott Key during the night of September 13-14, 1814, pacing the decks of the American cartel ship, the Minden, when flashing British rockets and bursting bombs shelled Fort McHenry and incited Key to compose the "Star Spangled Banner." This is followed up with references to Skinner's journal dated September 1829.
The book Maine library bulletin, Volumes 8-13 By Maine Library Commission (1899-1921), Maine State Library. Section of Library Extension says on page 11 "To secure his release, Francis Scott Key and John Skinner set out from Baltimore on the snip Minden flying a flag of truce."

There are about a dozen or so books that seem to follow this theme. Looking at other websites I come up with these, that seem to say something to the effect "...Francis Scott Key and John S. Skinner, an American prisoner-exchange agent, set sail from Baltimore aboard the ship HMS Minden flying a flag of truce on a mission approved by U.S. President James Madison."

Also there is a letter at the Library of Congress from Curtis Noyes to Abraham Lincoln dated January 3, 1863 that seems to confirm this also:,gottscho,detr,nfor,wpa,aap,cwar,bbpix,cowellbib,calbkbib,consrvbib,bdsbib,dag,fsaall,gmd,pan,vv,presp,varstg,suffrg,nawbib,horyd,wtc,toddbib,mgw,ncr,ngp,musdibib,hlaw,papr,lhbumbib,rbpebib,lbcoll,alad,hh,aaodyssey,magbell,bbc,dcm,raelbib,runyon,dukesm,lomaxbib,mtj,gottlieb,aep,qlt,coolbib,fpnas,aasm,denn,relpet,amss,aaeo,mff,afc911bib,mjm,mnwp,rbcmillerbib,molden,ww2map,mfdipbib,afcnyebib,klpmap,hawp,omhbib,rbaapcbib,mal,ncpsbib,ncpm,lhbprbib,ftvbib,afcreed,aipn,cwband,flwpabib,wpapos,cmns,psbib,pin,coplandbib,cola,tccc,curt,mharendt,lhbcbbib,eaa,haybib,mesnbib,fine,cwnyhs,svybib,mmorse,afcwwgbib,mymhiwebib,uncall,afcwip,mtaft,manz,llstbib,fawbib,berl,fmuever,cdn,upboverbib,mussm,cic,afcpearl,awh,awhbib,sgp,wright,lhbtnbib,afcesnbib,hurstonbib,mreynoldsbib,spaldingbib,sgproto,scsmbib,afccalbib Apparently a piece of a timber from the Minden was sent to the President, because of the ship's importance (see also page 4 of letter for date of timber shipment). The letter reads

Perhaps I am not reading correctly your question. Could you expand further, based then after seeing these references as a "flag of truce" of the vessel Minden.--Doug Coldwell talk 20:04, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

If the above long link breaks, then type "Noyes Lincoln 1863" in the Search box of The Library of Congress America Memory images at this address . The letter itself is the very first one.--Doug Coldwell talk 13:56, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
Thank you for those, but here's something I just stumbled upon from the Royal Naval Museum. Reference number 1999.21/1 is described as:
I've asked the Royal Naval Museum to confirm that the letters were indeed written by someone aboard the HMS Minden while it was in the East Indies from May to September 1814. If they are, then if Francis Scott Key was aboard the HMS Minden at the time, I doubt he'd have seen "the rockets' red glare" over Fort McHenry.
But there are other reasons why I suspect that the works that you quote from are all simply repeating the same myth:
The HMS Minden was a Third Rate Ship of the Line, with 74 guns on two gun decks. It was the equal of Admiral Cockburn's flag ship, the HMS Albion. Why would the Royal Navy commit such a valuable asset to languish in Baltimore harbor for the occasional transport of the US Prisoner Exchange Agent?
Thomas Barclay served as HM Prisoner Exchange Agent in Bladensburg, outside Washington . If there had been a Royal Navy Ship of the Line in Baltimore, located there specifically to attend to the needs of Col. Skinner, the US Prisoner Exchange Agent, why wouldn't Barclay have performed his duties in Baltimore, if not actually aboard that vessel?
In every account of the rendezvous of the flag-of-truce vessel by the Royal Navy, the flag-of-truce vessel is described as a sloop (a small, single-masted vessel), not even a Sloop-of-War (a three-masted vessel with up to 18 guns on a single gun deck.) What's more, its name is never given. Wouldn't the officers and men of the Royal Navy be able to tell the difference between a sloop and one of their own Third Rate Ships of the Line?
In any event, the entire issue may soon be resolved with an e-mail response from the Royal Naval Museum.TCav (talk) 15:42, 27 December 2009 (UTC)

And the letter to Abraham Lincoln above when he was sent a cane? It says Key was ...compelled to witness the attempted destruction of that City.--Doug Coldwell talk 00:49, 28 December 2009 (UTC)

So if Key witnessed the bombardment of Fort McHenry, and the HMS Minden was in the East Indies at the time, then Key wasn't onboard the HMS Minden. I have no doubt that Key saw the flag flying over Fort McHenry. What I doubt is that he was onboard the HMS Minden. For the reasons I described above, it just doesn't make sense. I have no doubt that, however the myth originated, however long ago, however many times it is repeated, and by whom, it is just that: A Myth.TCav (talk) 02:13, 28 December 2009 (UTC)
I just have to go by what these many reference books say from these various authors. Also the Abraham Lincoln letter from the Library of Congress I believe is strong evidence also. Your points I am not convince on and don't understand, so what I would suggest is that you submit what you propose to the Wikipedia Reference Desk. Also as an additional backup I suggest you submit your question and your theory to the Internet Public Library. I'm sure they could get you a couple of dozen references to prove what I am saying and finding, which is apparently contrary to your theory. As a third back-up I suggest you contact the Library of Congress. Without you doing these steps I feel you have not done the proper research to prove your point. Meanwhile please send me a Forward of the e-mail you sent to the Royal Naval Museum. Thanks.--Doug Coldwell talk 12:14, 28 December 2009 (UTC)

Been there; done that.

These all say that the vessel was a sloop. Not a Sloop-of-War, not a Thrid Rate Ship of the Line, a lowly sloop. A response in the affirmative from the Royal Naval Museum will prove, at the very least, that it wasn't the HMS Minden.

This is an important and colorful episode in the history of the United States. Myths are to be expected. Another popular myth on the subject is that Key drafted the "Defence of Fort McHenry" on the back of an envelop. In 1814, paper was costly, and was not to be wasted on such trifling things as envelopes. Key wrote the "Defence of Fort McHenry" on the back of a letter, which at some point was probably sealed closed, which was customary at the time. TCav (talk) 20:33, 28 December 2009 (UTC)

Another suggestion is that you contact some experts at Wikipedia:WikiProject Ships.--Doug Coldwell talk 13:05, 28 December 2009 (UTC)
Didn't get that Forward of the e-mail you sent to the Royal Naval Museum. Could you send it to me again. Thanks!--Doug Coldwell talk 16:55, 28 December 2009 (UTC)
I sent it a second time, with delivery and read receipts requested, but haven't received them yet. Perhaps you could send another e-mail that I could reply to.TCav (talk) 20:33, 28 December 2009 (UTC)
Try Doug at idea4u dot com and that second e-mail address should work for sure as I have had it for over 10 years working.--Doug Coldwell talk 20:42, 28 December 2009 (UTC)
That was so predicable. I knew you were going to have trouble Forwarding that message to me. Like shooting fish in a barrell. Until you can Forward your message sent to the Royal Naval Museum and their Response then you are dead in the water (which I believe is a nautical term). Your theory is all wet (mmm, another nautical term). Have not had any trouble with either of these e-mail addresses for years. Wikipedia even sent me a copy of the e-mail I sent to you:
I've communicated with several Wikipedians with this above address of Wikipedia for years with no trouble.
So until I get those e-mail requests above, you can take a dive. Happy sailing....--Doug Coldwell talk 22:14, 28 December 2009 (UTC)

I'm going to presume that your last remarks were not feeble attempts at snide remarks, and simply fulfill your request by including the body of the message I sent to the Royal Naval Museum:

> -----Original Message-----
> From: TCav [1]
> Sent: Friday, December 25, 2009 2:57 PM
> To: 'Library'
> Subject: RE: HMS Minden and the Battle of Baltimore
> Sirs,
> Thank you for your past efforts with my inquiries. I have obtained a
> copy of The Lion & The Union by Kate Caffrey and have found it most useful.
> In my continuing effort to definitively resolve the issue of whether
> or not Francis Scott Key was aboard the HMS Minden when he wrote what
> was to become our national anthem, I came upon another piece of
> information that I hope you can help me with. The UK's Official
> Archives [ ] lead me to information
> that I was able to use to search your own archives, where I found:
> http://www.s15226363.onlinehome-
> i=Ds
> erve.ini&dsqApp=Archive&dsqDb=Catalog&dsqCmd=Show.tcl&dsqSearch=(RefNo
> =='1
> 999.21/1')
> The description of this archive is as follows:
> " A series of 7 letters written by Commander Herbert Clifford as
> Lieutenant on HMS Minden to his friend Robert Duke, May - September 1814.
> Written from Java, Sumatra, Malacca and Madras with detailed comments
> on the places visited."
> This would place the HMS Minden in the East Indies during the British
> invasion of Washington and the Battle of Baltimore, and so if Francis
> Scott Key were aboard, he probably would not have been able to see
> "the rocket's red glare" over Ft. McHenry.
> Can you please confirm that the letters were written during the period
> May
> - September 1814 and described his travels aboard HMS Minden through
> the East Indies?
> Thank you for your consideration.
> TCav
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Library [2]
> > Sent: Thursday, September 25, 2008 9:53 AM
> > To: TCav
> > Subject: HMS Minden and the Battle of Baltimore
> >
> > Our ref: 08/09/027
> >
> > Thank you for your recent enquiry.
> >
> > I'm afraid I can't supply you details of where HMS Minden was
> > deployed during the the Battle of Baltimore, because we don't have
> > access to that sort of detail in the documents in our collections;
> > to determine this, you would need to consult the ship's logbook or
> > other Admiralty papers, which would be held by the National Archives
> > [
> > <>
> > ].
> >
> > That said, I can't find any reference to HMS Minden being present at
> > the battle in any of the volumes we have that cover the subject. You
> > mention a role being played in the writing of the song that became
> > known as "The Star-Spangled Banner"; I shall paraphrase below the
> > order of events one such text describes:
> >
> > * Tuesday 6th September, soon after 1pm, an unnamed American sloop
> > sailed down the river and approached HMS Royal Oak flying a flag of
> > truce. Aboard were John Skinner and Francis Scott Key, who had come
> > to see Admiral Malcolm to negotiate for the release of Dr W Beanes.
> >
> > * After hearing their request, Malcolm explained that he was not C-in-
> > C of the British fleet, Cochrane was, and he forwarded their request
> > in writing to Cochrane by fast dispatch boat, sending the American
> > sloop along behind, accompanied by HM frigate Hebrus.
> >
> > * Wednesday 7th September, around noon, HMS Tonnant came into view as
> > she moved up the Chesapeake. Hebrus communicated with her, and the
> > two Americans went aboard, where Cochrane and others invited them to dinner.
> > Cochrane agreed to the release of Beanes, but wanted to wait for a
> > more advantageous moment, so he suggested that the two Americans
> > transfer to HM frigate Surprise as the whole fleet moved to meet
> > Gordon's detachment.
> >
> > * Thursday September 8th, with HMS Surprise towing the American sloop,
> > they entered the Potomac, covering twenty miles by dawn on the
> > Friday, at which point they observed Gordon's ships, safely beyond
> > the reach of the American guns. The fleet now turned and sailed back
> > down the Chesapeake and northwards from there, anchoring at the
> > mouth of the Patuxent.
> >
> > * On Sunday morning Cochrane started his attack, having transferred
> > Skinner, Key and Beanes to their own vessel under strict orders to
> > stay with the British ships. Cochrane's fleet landed British
> > soldiers at North Point, then sailed up the Patapsco to start
> > bombarding the fort.
> >
> > That much is common knowledge; what is most pertinent to your
> > enquiry is that the account next mentions explicitly that Key was
> > stood on the deck of the American sloop when he spied the Baltimore
> > flag in the early hours of the Tuesday, and immediately began
> > writing the song on the back of a letter he had to hand.
> >
> > This account is found in the following book:
> >
> > CAFFREY, Kate - The Lion & The Union; the Anglo-American War 1812-15
> > London: Andre Deutsche, 1978: ISBN 0233969292
> >
> > Due to our remit of covering the entire body of the Royal Navy's
> > history, we do not have any documents that report closely on the
> > Battle Of Baltimore, nor any book that goes into more detail on it
> > than Caffrey's volume; it may be that there are more detailed
> > accounts (which might list the ships of the British fleet) in other
> > books, but if so they are not among our collections. That said,
> > Caffrey's account is pretty detailed, and mentions the names of all
> > the British vessels with which Key and Skinner came into direct
> > contact on their truce mission, and none of them is HMS Minden.
> > Unless the sources that place HMS Minden on the scene have better
> > references, I think it safe to assume you can debunk their claims.
> > But, as mentioned above, the ultimate refutal would be to obtain
> > evidence of HMS Minden's posting at the time of the Battle, and I'm
> > afraid we don't have the resources to hand that would allow us to do so.
> >
> > I hope this information is of some use to you, and I'm sorry we
> > couldn't be of more direct assistance. I wish you luck with your
> > ongoing research.
> >
> > Royal Naval Museum
> > Registered Charity 266563
> > T: 02392727563
> > <file://> The
> > Museum’s Mission is “To make accessible to all the story of the
> > Royal Navy and its people from earliest times to the present”
> >
> > Our special exhibition Sea Your History - the C20th Royal Navy is
> > now open and runs throughout 2008/09. See also the related website
> > at <file://>
> >
> > Confidentiality: This e-mail and its attachments are intended for
> > the above named only and may be confidential. If they have come to
> > you in error you must take no action based on them, nor must you
> > copy or show them to anyone; please reply to this e-mail and highlight the error.
> >
> > Security Warning: Please note that this e-mail has been created in
> > the knowledge that Internet e-mail is not a 100% secure
> > communications medium. We advise that you understand and observe
> > this lack of security when e- mailing us.
> >
> > Viruses: Although we have taken steps to ensure that this e-mail and
> > attachments are free from any virus, we advise that in keeping with
> > good computing practice the recipient should take steps to confirm
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> >
> > > -----Original Message-----
> > > From: TCav [3]
> > > Sent: Sunday, September 07, 2008 6:43 PM
> > > To: ''
> > > Subject: HMS Minden
> > >
> > > Sirs,
> > >
> > > There is considerable controversy concerning the role HMS Minden
> > > might have played in the writing of the American National Anthem.
> > > Many people seem to believe that the HMS Minden was a
> > > flag-of-truce vessel in Baltimore harbor, that our Col. John S.
> > > Skinner used on his excursions to negotiate prisoner exchanges in
> > > the Chesapeake Campaign during our War of 1812. I think it is
> > > highly unlikely that such a prominent Royal Navy Ship would have
> > > been dedicated to such a mundane task. In fact, my reference
> > > material (which is limited, to say the
> > > least) doesn't even place HMS Minden at the Battle of Baltimore.
> > >
> > > Do you have any information as to the position the HMS Minden
> > > might have had during our War of 1812?
> > >
> > > Thank you for your consideration,
> > > TCav

The only changes I've made to the original text are to remove my name, e-mail address and phone number. If this isn't sufficient for your purposes, please let me know.TCav (talk) 22:46, 28 December 2009 (UTC)

Now how hard would that have been to just Forward that to me in the first place.--Doug Coldwell talk 23:09, 28 December 2009 (UTC)
I sent it to you twice! Short of posting your e-mail address here, I don't know how to convince you otherwise. Perhaps your e-mail service provider balked at the lenght of the message body or the links.TCav (talk) 23:43, 28 December 2009 (UTC)
I put the most weight on

> > * On Sunday morning Cochrane started his attack, having transferred
> > Skinner, Key and Beanes to their own vessel under strict orders to
> > stay with the British ships. Cochrane's fleet landed British
> > soldiers at North Point, then sailed up the Patapsco to start
> > bombarding the fort.
> >

AND the Abraham Lincoln letter. I believe you still have much research to do to prove your theory. Attached is the answer I got back from the Library of Congress:
Library Question - Answer [Question #5121549]Wednesday, December 16, 2009 1:31 PM

Abraham Lincoln cane Here is article on William Curtis Noyes. Based on what the article says of this lawyer, I cann't see how he would have got it wrong of ...The frigate "Minden" of the British Navy was engaged in the Bombardment of Baltimore during the last war with England. I put a lot more weight on this than a book written in 1976. Also the importance of making a cane from this particular ship for Abraham Lincoln says much - to me that Keys wrote the National Anthem on the Minden. I put all my chips on the Lincoln letter and none on CAFFREY, Kate - The Lion & The Union; the Anglo-American War 1812-15, London: Andre Deutsche, 1978: ISBN 0233969292 .
Type "Noyes Lincoln 1863" in search box American Memory. Lincoln letter is the first item.
My guess is that the cane itself is under the cover of the last image telling about its shipment to Abraham Lincoln. Cane was built from a wood timber of the Minden.
Let me know when you find better proof.--Doug Coldwell talk 23:09, 28 December 2009 (UTC)

Of all your material, that's the one you think is the most reliable? Neither William C. Noyes nor Henry Dwight Williams, Esq, had any first hand knowledge of the Battle of Baltimore. If I can come up with either a first hand or a second hand account of either the vessel Key and Skinner were on, or that the HMS Minden was elsewhere at the time, all you've got to counter with is the account of one person that wasn't there, and you think that's enough? You don't think it's possible that, since the War of 1812 happened while they were both children, that they just might be acting on a myth they beleive to be true? TCav (talk) 01:22, 29 December 2009 (UTC)

The answer to your question

  • Of all your material, that's the one you think is the most reliable?
The answer is bingo! You're smarter than you look. That's correct, Neither William C. Noyes nor Henry Dwight Williams, Esq, had any first hand knowledge of the Battle of Baltimore. I do believe you're catching on.

The answer to your question

  • If I can come up with either a first hand or a second hand account of either the vessel Key and Skinner were on, or that the HMS Minden was elsewhere at the time, all you've got to counter with is the account of one person that wasn't there, and you think that's enough?
The answer is yes, plenty. The reason being even if you can come up with a first hand account of either the vessel Key and Skinner were on being different than the Minden, or that the HMS Minden was elsewhere at the time, it can not be used for a reference. That would be considered a Primary Source. Only Secondary sources can be used as a reference. They are second-hand accounts, at least one step removed from an event. Your theory would be considered Original Research which is not allowed because it serves to advance a position of original thought. Articles may not contain any new analysis or synthesis.
The Lincoln letter is published, as I found it at the Library of Congress (a reliable publisher). I have pointed out where you can find it. William Curtis Noyes is a reliable source that can be shown by the Wikipedia article. It looks like he is one step away from the event as the time lapsed is about 50 years and as you pointed out the War of 1812 happened while he was a child. Obviously he obtained this information from someplace. Being a lawyer and writing a letter to President Abraham Lincoln I'm sure he verified this information before sending off the letter and a very important cane. His material was obtained either from the logs of the Minden or from a reliable source that got the information from those logs. I doubt anyone is going to challenge this letter (other than you).

The answer to your question

  • You don't think it's possible that ... they just might be acting on a myth they beleive to be true?
Doesn't matter. References have to be based on Secondary sources and Tertiary sources. Tertiary sources are publications such as encyclopedias or other compendia that mainly summarize secondary sources. Examples of these being the list of references and books that I gave you at the very top from Google Books. There are at least a dozen Secondary sources and Tertiary sources here. These are the ones that should be used for sources in articles. Your first hand accounts can not be used for references, even IF you found them - which I doubt very much. Try!

So bottomline is what I recommended at the top lines:
Typing up "Skinner and Key 1812 Minden" in Google Books (without the quote marks).
I think I answered all your points. Any other questions?--Doug Coldwell talk 09:59, 29 December 2009 (UTC)

Been there; done that. I've been at this for a while. My own website on the invasion of Washington and the writing of the Star Spangled Banner was the first in Yahoo's War of 1812 Category, and the first on the internet to mention Dr. William Beanes. I live in upper Marlboro. All those landmarks in the Beanes article are in my neighborhood.
What about this:'1999.21/1')
There are as many reference works in the US that say they were on the Minden as that they were not. And many of them are just 'copy and paste' results from some single, unnamed source. But in the UK the references almost always refer to the vessel as an unnamed American sloop. TCav (talk) 17:20, 29 December 2009 (UTC)

I don't know about all that, however my understanding on how Wikipedia works is that you must have a Secondary source for reference. All the Google Books at the top I have mentioned looks like to me as Secondary sources. Your theory to me looks like Original Research, even IF you could prove it from some Primary Source - that so far I have not seen. Truths and myths I don't think are an issue for a reference, IF I understand the idea behind what providing a reference is. Now I see why you feel so strongly about the issue IF Key was on the Minden when he wrote the Star Spangled Banner - to protect your website. Apparently you need for him not to be on the Minden. I can provide to you a dozen Secondary sources that say he was on the Minden, plus the Lincoln letter. Can you provide to me even one Secondary source from a reliable source (i.e. printed published book with an ISBN) that definitely says Key was not on the Minden OR that the Minden was at a different location in the month of September of 1814? Remember, you can not speculate as to what something might imply. My understanding of references is that one can not use a Primary source as a reference, unless it is backed up with a Secondary source.
While you theorize that it is all a myth and not the truth, it doesn't make any difference even IF you could prove it. You could not use it as a reference, as you know since you have been at this for awhile. Now I see why you don't want to use services like the Internet Public Library since what they would come up with is at least 2 dozen Secondary sources that say Key was on the Minden when he wrote the Ode. Apparently that would really wipe out your website. Ask them to provide references for your theory. When you get that list, then why don't you attach it in the Talk page of William Beanes. Meanwhile while you are trying to get that list together, here is what I would call an excellent Secondary reference. I'll keep a Watch on the article, so will notice when you come up with such a list for your theory. After a year I'll not watch the article anymore, starting 1/1/2011. I want to be sure I am fair and give you plenty of time to come up with such a list like what I am able to provide you with at the top here. BTW, the above references sure don't look like 'cut and past' to me. They all appear to be different wording, that say basically the same thing - that Key was aboard the Minden when he wrote his poem. So until I see this list, I'll no longer respond to this nonsense. I'm off to crack the Code........--Doug Coldwell talk 20:55, 29 December 2009 (UTC)

Thank you for your kind assistance with this matter. TCav (talk) 01:15, 30 December 2009 (UTC)