Is this where the misconception about rockets and fun really came from


Nov 30, 2000
397
3
171
Was it really Butler Aispinall's sarcastic comment to Second Officer Herbert Stone of the Californian which went "You knew they were not being sent up for fun?" that germinated the misconception that Stone explained that he and Apprentice Gibson thought the rockets they saw were part of some celebration?
Perhaps, but I have come upon the following tidbits from Stone's testimony that could also be the reason why this misconception got spawned (the relevant sentences have stars parked at eithier end of them) :

7895. Are you sure of that? You, see you have got this vessel under observation; she has shown five, you have communicated with the Captain, he has asked you to give him more information and to send Gibson down; there is Gibson, and up go the three rockets: did not you say something to Gibson about the rockets, or Gibson say something to you? -*He remarked to me once that he did not think they were being sent up for fun, and I quite agreed with him.*

7896. *That was my phrase, but at any rate you agreed with him.* Now, just tell us
a little more in detail what passed between you about this. Did either you suggest to Gibson or did Gibson suggest to you that that ship over there is probably in trouble and wants assistance? - No.

In my opinion, it could also perhaps be because of Stone saying "He remarked to me once that he did not think they were being sent up for fun, and I quite agreed with him." was what really led to this misconception, though Aispinall's Richard Delafield esque* bit of sarcasm certainly still played a part in it because he replied right on the heels of Stone's comment "That was my phrase, but at any rate you agreed with him."
However, when it comes to misconceptions in history, the SKY IS THE LIMIT as to how they can start. So eithier Aispinall's comment or Stone's comment could have led to the rockets and "fun" myth.
Just some thoughts on a tidbit from the Californian controversey.

Richard K.

* Major Richard Delafield, a West Point professor in the 1840's, was so fond of sarcasm that he was nicknamed "Dicky the punster." R.K.
 

Similar threads

Similar threads