The Voyage of the Catalpa: A Perilous Journey and Six Irish Rebels' Escape to Freedom

  • Publish Date: 2002-03-12
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Author: Peter F. Stevens
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  • $25.78
  • Regular price $60.66

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The whaling ship Catalpa set out from New Bedford, Massachusetts, on the morning of April 29, 1875, to undertake a daring yearlong mission of international rescue. American captain George Anthony risked his career as a whalerand his lifeto rescue a group of British-soldiers-turned-Irish-rebels known as The Fremantle Six from their prison in Australia. With the help of the prison chaplain, the six men escaped to the coast where Anthony was waiting with a small whaleboat that would take them to the Catalpa. The resistance they overcame, both from armed British vessels and a furious sea storm, made their escape the stuff of legend. In what Britain considered a near act of war, the Catalpa outran the Royal Navy and deposited its politically dangerous cargo in New York Harbor in August 1876. Fast-paced, compelling, and meticulously researched, this saga of American, Irish, British, and Australian history is the first full telling of the Catalpas voyage. The expedition was embraced by Irish and Irish-Americans as the very symbol of defiance against Great Britain and would loom large in the revolutionary rhetoric of Michael Collins. Though Captain Anthony would never again sail into international waters for fear of arrest by the British government, his rescue voyage, made mostly without the use of a functioning chronometer, is one of the greatest feats of seamanship in nautical annals and one of the most daring deeds performed by an American in the name of Irish independence. Included are eight pages of black-and-white photographs.