Irish Cross Memorial New Orleans

Irish Cross Memorial New Orleans
The Celtic Cross Memorial in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo by Adrian McGrath. Click the image for the story about the cross.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

New Basin Canal of New Orleans

Irish Celtic Cross in New Orleans
New Basin Canal Monument
(Photo by Adrian McGrath)

New Basin Canal of New Orleans
By Adrian McGrath

A monument in the shape of a Celtic Cross, made from Irish marble, stands today on the West End of the city of New Orleans, Louisiana. On Pontchartrain Boulevard not far from Lake Pontchartrain on the median (what is called a “neutral ground” in New Orleans), the green grey cross reminds us of a sad story that happened long, long ago. It is a story of prejudice and poverty, struggle and suffering, hope for a better life in a new land, and death. But also remembrance. On this spot between 1832 and 1838, thousands of Irish immigrants, and some German immigrants too, died working under terrible conditions to dig a canal through disease infested swamps to connect Lake Pontchartrain to the commercial area of the city of New Orleans.

The canal was called the New Basin Canal, and it lasted just over 100 years until it was filled in and covered up partly with a modern boulevard. Modern transportation systems made the canal irrelevant and even a nuisance. All memory of the Irish immigrants was in effect lost except to folklore and a few history books until the Irish Cultural Society of New Orleans erected a monument to honor the workers who perished. The laborers, who often toiled in swamps under the burning  south Louisiana sun in severe humidity, died of various diseases like cholera and yellow fever carried by mosquitoes, injuries from working with pick and shovel and bare hands, and probably malnutrition and opportunistic diseases as their food and cooking resources were totally inadequate.
Irish Celtic Cross with rock entrance
(Photo by Adrian McGrath)

But ultimately they died from prejudice because Irish Catholic immigrants were blatantly discriminated against and could only do the most difficult and dangerous jobs no one else wanted.

With the mentality of “No Irish Need Apply” prevalent, thousands of Irish came from Ireland or elsewhere in America, especially from the Philadelphia area, to work, suffer, and die in the bayous and swamps of New Orleans.

New Basin Canal, New Orleans c. 1915
(Wikimedia, public domain)

Because of its location on the Mississippi River and its proximity to a lake to its immediate north -- which is really a bay with access to the Gulf of Mexico and the open sea -- New Orleans was one of the most important ports in America in the 19th century. In fact, it was only surpassed by New York City in importance to international shipping. New Orleans was the last large port coming from the river to the Gulf, and it controlled all the traffic on the Mississippi River and its tributaries seeking access to the sea.
Plaque on the Irish Cross Monument
(Photo by Adrian McGrath)

The city was originally French, beginning in 1718, then went to Spain, then back again to France, then to the United States in 1803. Creoles, the old established class of French and Spanish origins, already had a commercial waterway which connected the city -- which then ran along the river near the Vieux Carre or French Quarter -- to the lake to the north, which in turn had access to the open sea. Bayou St. John was a natural waterway which the Creoles could use together with a small canal which connected to the bayou. Small ships, boats, and barges could use this route as an alternative to the river which was mainly for very large transport ships.

As the city grew and the Americans arrived -- who did not necessarily get along with the Creoles -- American businessmen wanted their own canal which could connect their commercial part of New Orleans to the lake.  The Anglo-Americans mainly resided in the area of the city just upriver from the Creole French Quarter across another “neutral ground” which kept the two groups of mutually-distrusting people apart. So, a new canal was needed for the industrious Americans -- the New Basin Canal. To dig this canal, a difficult and dangerous job, it was decided the labor to be used was Irish immigrants. The Irish were desperate enough to accept such work and do the job.
New Basin Canal at Lake Pontchartrain c. 1948
(From Wikimedia Commons public domain)

Slavery existed at that time in Louisiana, in the South, and in some other parts of the USA; but businessmen and slave owners feared the loss of investment if a slave were injured or perished in the work. The loss of the life of an Irish immigrant, however, was of little or no concern to them. They could always hire another for a very low wage. So, because of prejudice and job discrimination, the Irish came to New Orleans to dig the canal.

When they arrived they discovered the company store which was their source of supply had inflated prices, food supplies were totally inadequate, and medical care was in effect not available. The combination of brutally hot and humid weather most of the year, swampy conditions filled with wild animals including snakes and alligators, and most deadly of all, disease carrying mosquitoes which spread yellow fever, plus difficult and dangerous physical labor without the aid of machines resulted in the deaths of thousands of the Irish over the years of construction.
Irish Cross, New Basin Canal
(Photo by Adrian McGrath)

There was a little ditty or song that was made about the digging of the canal which is quite revealing. Only a part of it, however, now appears in the history books. But the phrase goes as follows:

“Ten thousand Micks, they swung their picks,
To dig the New Canal.
But the choleray was stronger ‘n they.
An twice it killed them awl.”

The ditty probably is not right about the exact number who died or how they died. The number of deaths was likely in the thousands (no one knows for sure), but probably not as high as 20,000. But the poem is an indication that most likely something large-scale and very tragic did occur.

The canal existed until about 1950 but gave way to modernization. All visible memory of the canal today is gone except a very small waterway near the lake. The rest is now filled-in land and paved streets. But on November 4, 1990, the Irish Cultural Society of New Orleans dedicated a monument for the Irish who died. Written at the foot of the Celtic cross  -- which is made of marble from Kilkenny Ireland -- are the following words: “In memory of the Irish immigrants who dug the New Basin Canal 1832-1838.”

Thanks to the Irish Cultural Society of New Orleans, the tragic loss of these Irish will not be forgotten.

Sources and further reading: “The Irish and the New Basin Canal of New Orleans” by Adrian McGrath, Irish Eyes newspaper, Vol.1 No 6, July 1994; How the Irish Became White by Noel Ignatiev, Routledge, 1995, esp. see p. 109; The Irish in New Orleans 1800 -1860 by Fr. Earl F. Niehaus, LSU Press, 1965; Wikipedia article on the New Basin Canal at ; My earlier article on the topic at Old NOLA Journal ; The photo of the New Basin Canal is from 1915 from the Library of Congress and Wikimedia Commons and is in public domain.; The photo of New Basin Canal at Lake Pontchartrain is in public domain at Wikimedia Commons at

Monday, July 24, 2017

Traditional Irish Musical Instruments

Traditional Irish Musical Instruments
By Adrian McGrath

Celtic Irish Harp 
(All instrument photos for this article are by A. McGrath)

There are many instruments used today in Traditional Irish Music. Many have evolved over centuries; some are ancient, while some are much more modern. Ancient ones include some percussion items like the bones -- used for keeping time, they were originally, literally made from the bones of dead animals. More modern instruments include the piano and guitar. Some instruments are uniquely Irish, while others appear in other lands and in other musical settings. What determines whether an instrument is “traditional” or not is a subject for debate. But below are a few which certainly appear in most Irish or Celtic bands, whether in Ireland, the United States, or elsewhere. Whether a person is part of a band or is just a self-appointed “Irish musician” playing tunes for fun, learning any of the five instruments below is a great way to enjoy Traditional Irish Music. The five instruments we will explore are the bodhran, tin whistle, Irish wooden flute (or concert flute), concertina, and the Celtic harp. More information on Traditional Irish Music can be found online at the Irish Traditional Music Archive in Dublin, Ireland at Additionally, an organization which supports Traditional Irish Music worldwide is Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann, at (Association of Musicians of Ireland).
If you live in the United States, another way to learn more about Irish music is to contact a local Irish cultural society. If you do not have an Irish cultural society near you, why not just start one yourself with a few friends?


The top side of the bodhran and beater

The bodhran -- pronounced BOW rahn -- is a one-sided, hand-held drum made usually of goat skin and beech or ash wood. The goat skin is stretched and nailed over the wooden drum, and the instrument is played with a single wood stick called a “beater.” By moving the wrist rapidly in a down and up motion, the drum can be played producing beats and even drum rolls for various types of Irish tunes such as jigs, reels, hornpipes, marches, polkas, waltzes, slip jigs, and slides. Tunes that are very slow are difficult to play as are very fast tunes like some polkas. But the bodhran is perfect for most Irish tunes like jigs and reels, and even marches and waltzes.
The bottom side of the bodhran and beater

Modern bodhrans can be made from non-traditional materials; and some are even tune-able -- adjustable to different pitches or keys. But the traditional goat skin and wood drum is usually the best.

In Ireland the bodhran was used specifically on St. Stephen’s Day (the day after Christmas) for the “Wren Hunt.” This was a type of festival where roving musicians wearing funny costumes went around town playing musical instruments (often tin whistle, flute, and bodhran) or singing. Mummers, roving musicians, also use the bodhran which is seen on special holidays.

Tin Whistle

Tin Whistles
This instrument also has ancient origins and probably evolved by punching holes, to play notes, in the hollow bones of animals and attaching some form of “flipple” to produce sound when blown into.  In the Irish Gaelic language it is called “Feadog.” It is also called a Penny Whistle, no doubt because it was originally an inexpensive instrument. Modern day tin whistles can be made of a metal shaft with a plastic mouthpiece or even other materials like plastic or even wood. Some older types are rolled, conical shaped sheet metal with a wood block for a mouthpiece. Unlike a flute, it is not transverse, but played straight down. Tin whistles are set in a specific key such as Key of G, Key of C, etc. Most traditional Irish tunes are played in Key of D (or sometimes G), so a “D Whistle” is usually the best one to start with and have at all times. Key of D can also play many G tunes.

Irish Wooden Flute

Irish Wooden Flute
This flute is much different from the modern metal “silver” flute. The wood gives the instrument a softer, more earthy sound. Also, the instrument is set in a specific key, much like the tin whistle. Most, if not all, Irish Wood Flutes are in the Key of D. They are usually long, but break down into about three parts for easy storage and transport. They are played transverse or sideways, and it requires much more skill to develop the mouth muscles (an embouchure) than to play the tin whistle. But the fingering of notes is the same, in most cases, as the tin whistle. So, these two instruments are related in that sense. It is often that an Irish flute player will also be able to play the tin whistle, and probably started on the tin whistle first. Wood flutes usually cost much more than tin whistles, however -- the latter being fairly low cost. Most Irish wood flutes are made from Blackwood, but some are made from other woods or materials.
Irish Wood flute, disassembled

The Irish Wooden Flute (or Wooden Concert Flute) of today is known as the “Simple System” or the “Bach System.” It is different from the modern “Boehm System” metal flute (also called a “Silver Flute”) we often see in orchestras or marching bands.

Concertina, 30 button Anglo German
This instrument, usually made of wood and metal or today even plastic, was originally created in England and also Germany in the 1830’s. It is much like having a harmonica attached to a bellows -- although obviously more complicated. The bellows takes in and blows out air which passes through metal free reeds (like in a harmonica) and produces sounds, and thus music. The buttons when pressed enable certain reeds to be played.

There are mainly two types of concertinas -- which are similar but significantly different from accordions. The Anglo-German (also called Anglo) produces a different note on a push or pull of the bellows. The English type, however, produces the same note on push or pull. Concertinas are much more portable than most accordions, and we often associate them with seafaring and the days of sailing ships when they were popular.

The Celtic Harp
Celtic Irish Harp

This is an instrument of very ancient origins. The Harp is also the very symbol of Ireland itself, even more so than the Shamrock. Irish coins have an image of a harp on them, as an example of the harp's importance.

The famous American Army unit called The Irish Brigade from the American Civil War had a design of an Irish harp on its flag. And there are other cases where the harp was a clear symbol of the Irish, again much like the shamrock. Even the official seal of the President of Ireland has the image of an Irish Celtic harp on it. In many ways it is like the American Eagle in the USA, the symbol of America.

Flag of US Army's Irish Brigade,
69th New York, 1861
(Wikimedia Commons)

So, this beautiful instrument is very important in Irish culture because of its antiquity and its symbolism. It also sounds great and makes lovely -- heavenly -- music.  Much like a related ancient instrument called a lyre, the harp was originally very basic in design. Today the harp has developed into a complicated, concert instrument. But the Celtic harp is a simpler, smaller design made usually of wood, some metal parts, and strings of various materials.
Seal of the President of Ireland with Celtic harp 
(Wikimedia Commons)

With these five instruments anyone interested in Traditional Irish Music would have an excellent start. It is not necessary to learn all five, however. Just pick the one you like, and begin a great musical journey. Since it is the least expensive, and easiest to transport, and fairly easy to learn -- at least in the early stages -- the tin whistle would be the best place to begin in most cases.

Sources and Further Reading: Secrets of the Bodhran and How to Play It, by Sean D. Halpenny and Malachy Kearns, published by Roundstone Musical Instruments, Galway, Ireland;  A Handbook of the Concertina by Fred Quann, 1980; Timber: The Flute Tutor by Fintan Vallely, 1987; Irish Wooden Flutes Ltd. pamphlet by Tom Ganley of Castlerea, Roscommon, Ireland; The Anglo Concertina Demysrified by Bertram Levy, Front Hall Enterprises, 1985; Feadog: Original Irish Whistle, product catalogue pamphlet (contains information about the instrument and its origins), Dublin, Ireland; website for Irish Traditional Music Archive, Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann website at; Image of the seal of the President of Ireland is from Wikimedia Commons and in public domain at; All photos on this article are by Adrian McGrath unless otherwise stated. The image of the green flag for the Irish Brigade of the US Army is from Wikimedia Commons and in public domain, found at

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Corned Beef and Cabbage

Corned Beef, flat cut, and Cabbage
Photo by A. McGrath
(My sister cooked the corned beef,
and I cooked the cabbage.)

By Adrian McGrath

The most famous Irish American dish is certainly Corned Beef and Cabbage. It is the necessary dish for St. Patrick's Day feasts all across America. Other Irish dishes may be popular too -- such as Irish Stew, Shepard's Pie, and Irish Potato Soup -- but Corned Beef and Cabbage is THE essential Irish meal. It is to St. Patrick's Day what oven roasted turkey is to Thanksgiving.

The only problem is that Corned Beef and Cabbage is not really an Irish dish at all. The Irish dish -- from Ireland -- is Cabbage and Ham or Cabbage and Bacon. The Irish bacon is not what we think of in America. It is instead a cut of pork similar to what is called Canadian Bacon in the USA. So, in many way it is like Cabbage and Ham.

Cabbage and Ham (Photo by Adrian McGrath)

The story goes like this. In Ireland long ago, the Irish did produce much beef, and thus corned beef; but it was way too expensive for the Irish people to eat. It was for export only. What the Irish could afford was pork products from pigs. In this case bacon and ham. So, in Ireland people would eat ham or Irish bacon (which is like Canadian bacon) and inexpensive vegetables like cabbage and carrots. Potatoes, of course, have a special place and history all their own in Ireland. The potato originally came from South America and was brought to Europe, and Ireland, from transatlantic explorers. Potatoes eventually made up a key element of this dish -- cabbage, ham, carrots, and then potatoes.

Corned Beef, deli cut, and Cabbage
with boiled carrots and potatoes
(Photo by Adrian McGrath)

When Irish immigrants came to America, however, they discovered that beef was plentiful in major American port cities like New York, Boston, Philadelphia, New Orleans, etc. The red color and texture of corned beef made it a perfect substitute for the traditional Irish bacon or even ham. So, the dish Corned Beef and Cabbage evolved right here in America, though it was never really seen in Ireland.

Today people of all backgrounds, whether Irish or not, enjoy this great and fairly inexpensive meal which is also a rather balanced and healthy meal with protein meat, starch potatoes, and at least two vegetables, cabbage and carrots. Some people add other ingredients, and that's perfectly fine. Afterall, the dish itself was the result of substitution and evolution. Vegetables like turnips, onions, other root vegetables, and parsley can be added. (I like to add Cajun sausage, like Andouille, for a real Louisiana American flavor.)

With some Oatmeal bread and butter, or Irish Soda Bread, on the side and maybe a pint or two of something cold to drink, who could ask for a better comforting meal?

Because of its popularity, no doubt, the US Department of Agriculture composed a special, interesting article and poster on how Corned Beef and Cabbage became a staple American dish for St. Patrick's Day. Here is a public domain copy of the poster below which can be found at this website:

USDA poster, Corned Beef and Cabbage, see sources below.
So, when you are dining on a great "Irish" meal, just remember its history and maybe make a second dish of Cabbage and Ham too just for fun.

By the way Bord Bia, the Irish government's food board, has its article for Traditional Bacon and Cabbage at this site: http: //

But I will stay with good-ol'-American Corned Beef and Cabbage for St. Patrick's Day or any day I want a good, comforting meal.

Sources and Further Reading:
USDA website and poster image on corned beef and cabbage at;  Irish Government Food Board, Bord Bia website; Majestic Castles in Ireland website article called "Try These Delicious Irish Ham Recipes"; Irish Central article called "What's Ireland's Favorite Meal?" Wikipedia's article on Bacon and Cabbage at; Wikipedia's article on New England Boiled Dinner which has corned beef, cabbage, and other vegetables as ingredients at

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Bonhomme Richard

Sketch of Bonhomme Richard, National Archives

Bonhomme Richard
By Adrian McGrath
Benjamin Franklin was, arguably, the most important man for the cause of American independence during the Revolutionary War, except for George Washington himself. Dr. Franklin was a powerful advocate for independence during the Second Continental Congress. He helped edit Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence, injecting the famous phra se “pursuit of happiness” into America’s philosophy and giving future Americans a positive reason for existence. Most importantly, he worked quietly and cleverly as America’s ambassador to France to convince the French royalty to side with the United States -- especially after the American victory at Saratoga -- and to support the rebel cause with French troops, French warships, and French war supplies.

But he did one more thing. He made it possible for America to have a famous naval victory -- easily the most famous ship-to-ship naval victory in all of American history -- against the all-powerful British Royal Navy and helped create the legend of America’s first, and most famous, sea captain, John Paul Jones. Dr. Franklin did this by persuading the French royals to give to Jones a former East Indiaman merchant ship called the Duc de Duras. John Paul Jones, who became a close friend of Benjamin Franklin’s during his time in France, renamed the ship to honor Franklin’s famous publication, Poor Richard’s Almanac -- which in French was called Les Maximes du Bonhomme Richard.

With this new ship, John Paul Jones could attack British merchant ships on the high seas, raid British ports, and fight British warships.
But he also needed trained soldiers with muskets and small arms. These well armed men could provide general security for his ship and crew, attack enemy ships and crews when at close range, support his own landing parties, repel invaders trying to board his ship, and board enemy ships when grappled to them. In short, John Paul Jones needed Marines.

The French government could not afford to give Captain Jones French Marines (Corps-Royal d’Infanterie de Marine), which France needed for its own fleet. But the French government sent Jones a group of fighting men who, no doubt, were more than happy to have an opportunity to fight against the British. France gave John Paul Jones Irish exiles who were soldiers in the Brigade Irlandaise (Irish Brigade), specifically soldiers from the Regiment de Walsh-Serrant Brigade. This was one of three exiled Irish regiments in the French army. They were Irish soldiers who escaped from British-occupied Ireland and joined a special unit in the French army. (In Irish history Irish soldiers who left British-controlled Ireland and joined the military of foreign powers like France and Spain were called the Wild Geese.) These Irishmen became the American Marines for John Paul Jones’ Bonhomme Richard. Their Marine commander was Edward Stack, who was born in Country Kerry, Ireland. Soon they would go where glory awaited them in the famous sea battle against Her Majesty’s Ship HMS Serapis at the Battle of Flamborough Head.

In August of 1779, leaving a port in France, John Paul Jones was in command of the Bonhomme Richard and led a small but diverse group of seven ships, French and American, some of whom were privateers who would not necessarily follow Jones’ commands or even remain with the squadron. Jones wanted to attack enemy ships near the British coast and possibly raid British ports. Some of the seven ships, it turned out, either did not participate in or actually abandoned Jones’ plans.

Model of Bonhomme Richard, National Archives

Nevertheless, with the 42 gun Bonhomme Richard and a crew of 347, Jones felt confident that he could engage an enemy ship and defeat it especially if grappled with it -- come to close quarters -- and board the British ship with his Irish Marines. His Marines could also defend his own ship from possible enemy attack. (Some of Jones’ sailors and officers were also Irish, so he probably felt confident that his Irish Marines would remain loyal and do their duty.)

After sailing around the British Isles, Captain Jones encountered two British warships near Flamborough Head off the east coast of England protecting a fleet of merchant ships; and the famous battle ensued on September 23, 1779. The British warships, the Serapis and the Countess of Scarborough, made it possible for the 41 merchant ships they were protecting to escape enemy attack. Then ship to ship battles commenced.

After a great deal of maneuvering, in which some of Jones’ ships pursued their own interests or simply did not obey orders, the Bonhomme Richard and the Serapis, the main British warship with 44 guns and a crew of 280, fought the famous battle. Serapis had superior firepower and was faster -- having copper plate on her hull which prevented barnacles and other obstructions which would slow down a ship from attaching to the wooden hull. Bonhomme Richard had no copper plate on her hull. The two ships fired their guns and maneuvered, become fouled and unfouled (where the mast rigging of the ships became entangled and attached to each other) until Bonhomme Richard eventually grappled with Serapis. (Grappling was where lines with hooks were thrown on to the enemy ship locking the two ships together.) The advantage Paul Jones had in Marines now proved crucial. Bonhomme Richard had 140 Marines, while Serapis had only 45 British Marines.

At one point as the American flag accidentally fell down, the British captain, Richard Pearson, called out to Bonhomme Richard, “Are you striking?” This meant: Are you surrendering? John Paul Jones, knowing his Irish Marines probably outnumbered the enemy, gave his legendary reply: “I have not yet begun to fight!”

Edward Stack's Irish Marines vs Serapis

Jones sent some of his Irish Marines and some sailors up the main masts of his ship to platforms, called "fighting tops," where they could fire their muskets at the top deck of the Serapis. They could clear the enemy deck of gunners, sailors, and pave the way for the Americans to board the enemy ship. One American sailor carried a sack of grenades to a top mast. (A grenade back then was a primitive type of bomb in the shape a pomegranate with a lighted fuse -- hence the name.) He threw grenades onto the deck of Serapis with little effect until one accidentally fell through a hatch into a compartment where gunpowder was held. Suddenly there was a massive explosion on Serapis. At this point, Captain Richard Pearson saw that it was pointless to continue the fight merely to shed more blood. He had already achieved the main part of his mission by saving his escaping British merchant ships; so, he surrendered honorably.

John Paul Jones had just won a great battle, even though he would eventually have to abandon the badly damaged and sinking Bonhomme Richard and sail away with his English prisoners in the captured but also badly damaged Serapis. Bonhomme Richard sunk and was lost forever, but it went into legend for the United States thanks to a great Scottish sea captain named John Paul Jones -- with the help of some Irish sailors and Irish Marines.

Today the United States Navy has a modern warship called the Bonhomme Richard in honor of the legendary vessel. It is the LHD-6 USS Bonhomme Richard, an amphibious assault ship.
USS Stack, named for the Irish Marine Edward Stack

The US Navy also named another ship in honor of Edward Stack, the Irish born leader of Bonhomme Richard's Marines -- USS Stack DD-406 -- which saw serious action during World War II. More information on this can be found at the US Navy website . It is significant to note that John Paul Jones praised Edward Stack in his report on the battle and said Stack's bravery was a major factor in the American victory.

And one final note which is quite fascinating. The motto of the US Marine Corps is, of course, "Semper Fidelis" which means "Always Faithful." Marines often greet each other with the expression "Semper Fi." Oddly enough the motto for the old Irish Brigade, the Irish Marines on the Bonhomme Richard, was "Semper et Ubique Fidelis." This is Latin for "Always and Everywhere Faithful." Could this be the origin of the motto for the U.S. Marine Corps? It is unclear, but it is an interesting question for research.

Sources and further reading:

Wikipedia article on Irish Brigade (France); Wikipedia article on Bonhomme Richard ; Bonhomme Richard vs Serapis:Flamborough Head 1779 by Mark Lardas, 2012, Osprey Publishing Ltd; Pirates and Patriots of the Revolution: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Colonial Seamanship by C. Keith Wilbur, M.D.The Globe Pequot Press, Guilford, Connecticut, 1973; Ireland and Irishmen in the American War of Independence, by the Irish Association for Documentation and Information Services, the Academy Press, Dublin, Ireland (a booklet containing copies of original source material from colonial times).
Wikipedia article on Edward Stack at

The Wild Geese: Exploring the Heritage of the Irish World Wide by Joe Gannon, a website at Website for the city of Sligo, Ireland

Both the images above of Bonhomme Richard are from Wikimedia Commons and are from the National Archives and Records Administration. Both are in public domain. The image of Edward Stack's Irish Marines vs Serapis is in public domain from Wikimedia Commons. It is a photo of an original artwork also in public domain referred to at Wikimedia Commons as "Edward Stack's Marines Firin from the rigging of John Paul Jones' Bonnehomme Richard down on the English sailors of the Serapis" by Arman Tateos Manookian, an Armenian American artist, c. 1920's, Honolulu Academy of Arts.

The photo of the USS Stack is from Wikimedia Commons and in public domain as a work of the US Navy.