Harsh survival stories from the 19th century

Doug Williams
 

Humans have attained the survival skills over many centuries, and every tale of survival contains in itself a story of resilience and humans’ ability to overcome obstacles one faces with their worst nightmares. Following is a list of some of the most amazing and daring survivals from the 19th century.

 

Sergeant James Landon

Those familiar with the American Civil War definitely know about the infamous confederacy prison Andersonville: notoriously horrible, overcrowded to the neck, no sanitation whatsoever, Andersonville became the graveyard of some 13,000 prisoners during the war. After the civil war had ended camp’s commander, Captain Henry Wirz was tried over war crimes and was eventually hanged. One Union soldier from Iowa Sergeant James Landon ended up in the prison after losing a battle with the Confederacy.

Sergeant Landon tried to escape and was shot in the thigh; he escaped nevertheless after taking out the bullet with his knife. He ran for five days but was eventually captured and was forced to walk back to prison. His seeping wound and Andersonville’s unsanitary conditions meant that Landon did not stand a chance in the camp. Sergeant Landon miraculously survived the camp for six long weeks before he was transferred to another prison where he stayed for two months. When confederacy started crumbling after losing battles Landon was released along with many other prisoners, he came back to the North and finally received some medical attention. Sergeant Landon not only survived the wound he lived till he was 83: a healthy and rather athletic life.

Judah Paddock

After a bunch of American and British sailors on board Oswego faced a shipwreck off the Barbary coast in 1800, they had to weigh their option: either to drown with the ship or make to a friendly Kingdom of Morocco. Despite the fact that Morocco was friendly to both British and Americans, their nomad tribes were not friends of anyone; they would just enslave whoever they found wondering in their territory. After the crew had decided to take the risk of treading the land on foot, Captain Judah Paddock had an argument with the rest of the crew, and he left alone with few of his men. They were later captured by tribesmen and sold into slavery.

They were treated horribly and had to work days and nights for their survival. Paddock then convinced his captor named Ahamed to take him to Morocco where according to Paddock a British official will pay his ransom. Paddock was told that if that was not the case, he would be killed in the city. Paddock took the risk, and a British official in the city decided to pay the ransom and rescue him; Paddock’s men however did not make it and died in the slavery.

Robert Jaffrey

After being pressed into joining Royal Navy, a British Seaman Robert Jaffrey did not feel much amused in his job and almost resented being on Royal Navy Sloop the Recruit which was commanded by Captain Lake. On one journey Jaffrey was caught stealing liquor and Captain Lake took a hard tone on the matter and decided to drop Jaffrey on a desert island as a punishment.

When the news reached the higher command Lake was ordered to go back and retrieve the stranded man from the island; however, he could not find him on the island. Captain Lake was found guilty of unjust behavior and was later dismissed. However, Jaffrey survived the dessert for nine long days by living on limpets and drinking rainwater from small holes. He was then rescued by a passing American ship that took him to Massachusetts where he lived for many years.

Dr. William Brydon

After taking the control of the capital Kabul in Afghanistan in 1839 British soldiers continuously had to struggle against the warring tribes to maintain their hold on Kabul. However, just after two years, British soldiers had to retreat as the situation worsened for their presence in the capital; a total of 4,500 soldiers and some 12,000 civilians left Kabul and started their journey to a much stable British Colony i.e. India.

However, attacks from the Ghilzai tribe and the forces of Muhammad Akbar resulted in 12,000 massacred while others dispersed in various directions. A British Surgeon Dr. William Brydon was one of the few survivors who decided to go towards Jalalabad with some other men and had to fight a number of Ghilzai swordsmen before arriving under the safe watch of sentries in Jalalabad.

 

 
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