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General Robert E Lee’s surrender to the the Union army at Appomattox court house on the morning of April 9 1865, brought the four year Civil War to a close.
In the Diary of September 22 I asked whether the ‘gallant and humane’ Captain John Wilson of the The Minnie Schiffer, who miraculously snatched from certain death 591 passengers and crew from the burning PS Connaught, ever received the ‘elegant service of plate’ especially commissioned for him from the prestigious Tiffany and Co of Broadway, New York. The plate was paid for by the merchants of New York and Boston ‘in appreciation of his gallant conduct at sea’ on that fateful evening October 8 1860.
The American Civil War (1861-1865) offered rich pickings to qualified seamen and shipowners looking for quick profits. The Union blockade of southern ports was beginning to have an effect on Confederate trade. But any ship which steamed safely through the blockade could command high prices for its cargo. On the homeward journey, if you were lucky, large profits could be made on a cargo of cotton which was in big demand in Britain.
There can be no greater horror for passengers and crew than facing death on a burning ship in a heavy sea, that was sinking by its bow. Which death would you choose? Stay on board and be burnt? Or chance your luck in the waves?
THE DUSTBOWL Revival could be called an American roots orchestra, fusing the sounds of bluegrass, swing, hot jazz, pre-war blues, southern soul, and New Orleans funk.
SAUL WILLIAMS has been called "the data-age Gil Scott-Heron" and "a radiant creative force" by Allmusic.com, as well as "a poet at heart" who "resists easy categorization", by Pitchfork.
THEY MAY hail from Dublin but Stomptown Brass's musical roots are firmly in the New Orleans tradition of street-stomping horn players, as can be seen when they play the Galway International Arts Festival next month.
THE GALWAY Gospel Choir will perform Dixieland gospel classics in the Nuns Island Theatre on Wednesday June 8 at 8pm.
Theatre and dance
THE HOT 8 Brass Band, the phenomenal New Orleans jazz-funk-hip hop band have brought the house down on numerous occasions when playing Galway in the past and will do so again this weekend.