It’s time for another episode of Second Decade! I was really looking forward to doing this subject, and in fact the nautical adventures of Charles Barnard was one of the reasons I decided to do Second Decade. It’s the perfect adventure story, guaranteed to thrill and entertain, but it’s also completely true, backed up by historical sources and involves a lot of context from the times–making it a perfect subject for podcast treatment. So, take a listen to Episode 5, “Cast Away.”
Second Decade is on iTunes, here; it’s on TuneIn, here; you can access it directly on the Libsyn page for it, here; or, perhaps the easiest way, click this link for an embedded player that will open in your browser.
Episode 5: Cast Away is the true story of Charles H. Barnard, a New York City sea captain, who in the spring of 1812 sailed with his hand-picked crew (including his father) to the distant Falkland Islands in the far South Atlantic on a commercial expedition to hunt seals. The catch: he left port in his ship, the Nanina, just before the United States declared war on Great Britain (the War of 1812). In the Falklands, the Nanina came across the survivors of a wrecked British ship and Barnard decided, war or no war, that he’d rescue them. They didn’t even know that war had been declared, but when they found out, a surly British commander among them decided that Barnard was the enemy and proceeded to maroon him on an uninhabited island. Barnard’s incredible story, reminiscent of Robinson Crusoe, is an epic tale of adventure and survival, and I’m amazed it’s not more well-known.
While I honestly can’t remember when and where I first heard of Charles Barnard, but what made his story doable as a podcast was the discovery that Barnard’s memoirs, published in 1836, were free and available on Google Books. The book turned out to be a bit infuriating–Barnard wasn’t much of a writer–but the story itself is still pretty cool, and it illustrates a distinct advantage of covering historical material this far back in the past: nearly all the sources are in the public domain. Hopefully you’ll enjoy Barnard’s story, and this latest installment of the podcast.
Thanks to everyone who has downloaded and listened to the show. Its audience continues to grow week by week.