About 0200, 26 February 1852, the iron hulled paddle wheel steamer HMS Birkenhead, carrying soldiers and their families to South Africa for the Xhosa War, struck a rock off Cape Town and sank. The women and children were put in the three remaining lifeboats, while the men, under command of Lieutenant Colonel Seton of the 74th Regiment of Foot, assembled in ranks on the deck. Fearing that hundreds of men leaving the sinking ship would endanger the women and children in the lifeboats, Seton set his men to doing close order drill while the ship sank beneath them. Obama probably never heard of HMS Birkenhead, and such courage and gallantry would have only made him sneer, but he is attempting his own version of the Birkenhead Drill, ordering the Democrats to stand firm while the ship sinks beneath them.
In the darkness off a rocky shore
Obama’s ship has struck
Taking all aboard her down
If we have any luck
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