Thursday, August 21, 2008
The Break Out
For four days the Austrian Squadron inched it way down the Italian Peninsula with the British Inshore Squadron on its heels. Admiral Hopstadt was a man in agony. How could he carry out the Empress’s Orders under such scrutiny? How could any man? However, in his despair, he saw salvation in the storm brewing on the horizon. He knew, as prudent seamen, the British would be reefing their sails and making ready for foul weather. Although Admiral Hopstadt was also a prudent seaman, he was a man on a mission. He would face the storm and not give an inch. There was concern, yes fear, on the faces of many, but none dared say a word. As the British faded from sight, Admiral Hopstadt ordered his squadron to turn due south into the vast Mediterranean. Throughout the storm and the moonless night, the admiral maintained his vigil on deck for all to see. At first light, both the storm and British were gone. There was a new confidence and pride on the faces of the exhausted sailors. Their admiral had risked all and had delivered them from the storm and the British. Now he would strike below to sleep the sleep of a man who knew his destiny!