Not a happy anniversary

Posted by Tory Historian Thursday, June 12, 2008 ,

Today's anniversary is one of the least happy ones in English history. On this day in 1667, the Dutch fleet sailed up the Medway and raided Chatham.
The Dutch, under nominal command of Lieutenant-Admiral Michiel de Ruyter, bombarded and captured Sheerness, went up the River Thames to Gravesend, then up the River Medway to Chatham, where they burnt three capital ships and ten lesser naval vessels and towed away the Unity and the Royal Charles, pride and normal flagship of the English fleet. The raid led to a quick end to the war and a favourable peace for the Dutch.
There really is nothing better and clearer than Samuel Pepys's description both of the preceding shambles and of the raid and its effect. Now that one thinks of it, there is rarely anything better than old Sam Pepys's description of whatever happened to take place around him.

The Wikpedia entry also quotes Kipling's poem on the subject, maintaining that it is not entirely accurate. Well, it is not inaccurate either.

2 comments

  1. K Says:
  2. Think what a great blogger Pepys would have been.

     
  3. Indeed. Most diarists would have made great bloggers but Pepys above all. He wrote about everything - his work, his life, people he met, street scenes around him. Must find his description of the Great Fire.

     
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