Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Knitting Together a Historical Narrative

Conventional wisdom holds that Americans look at a map or pick up  works of history only during times of war. With many parts of the world and periods in history I’m better than that (partly an occupational hazard and partly because I’m a geek), but with the renewed hostilities in Crimea I’m in the same boat as everybody else, needing to get my geographic bearings and brush up on the history of the region.
Upon learning that British forces, led by Earl Cardigan and Baron Raglan were decimated at the Battle of Balaclava I was determined to knit together a better historical narrative:
Some wooly thinking on the front line led to a dropped cable from  Raglan, andCardigan gauged the situation badly. The charge felt wrong, but, as memorialized in poetry by Tennyson, “theirs was not to make reply/theirs was not to reason why/theirs was but to do and die.” The cavalry hit a snag and the whole thing came unravelled, leaving the command feeling pretty sheepish. Although there was initially a blanket of silence with the British government stringing the press along and batting the issues around amongst themselves while blocking the release of information, the whole knotty issue eventually came to light. Raglanwas killed in theater but Cardigan survived the war and returned to England, where he lived out the rest of his life as a cro(t)chety old man.
And now back to my regularly scheduled, non-knititng-related, medieval historical writing.
Some final notes: 1) With infinite time and resources I’d knit a miniature Light Brigade and include photos with this post. It’s not going to happen right now, though. 2) Many of these puns are mine, but, credit where credit’s due, equally many are the result of Twitter banter early this morning with @jshermanrobertsand @passeriform.

No comments:

Post a Comment