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Old June 22, 2009, 10:25 PM   #326
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Cheese. Civil War era

We melt it over our corn chips, we throw a slice on the burger, we top our pizza with the stuff. It comes in many colors, sizes, shapes and flavors. But do you know how to make it? Here's a fine recipe I found recently:

Quote:
Made a fine cheese of the cow's hoofs which is made as follows: the hoofs are boiled to a jelly and a little corn meal, pepper, and salt added to it and then poured into pans to cool.
Wow, that was easy. And you thought cheese was made from milk, didn't you?
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Old June 22, 2009, 10:38 PM   #327
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Not exactly about firearms, but with a war theme:

The airport tower controllers at Munich Airport are reportedly pretty arrogant and autocratic. One day a British Airways 707 landed, and on roll out was told by ground control what gate to go to, but no directions there were given. So the pilot stopped the rollout, came to rest on the runway and took a look at the airport map for a way to get there.

The tower says, "British Air, clear the runway."

The British pilot says, "You cleared me to a gate but offered no directions; when I can find it on my map, I'll be on my way."

The tower says, "Never been to Munich before, eh?"

The British pilot says, "Yes, I was here 3 times, in 1944, but it was dark and we didn't stop."
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Old June 24, 2009, 05:56 PM   #328
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Army clothing - some things don't change

I'm reading another regimental history, this time of the 49th Massacusetts.

Quote:
It is an amusing and perplexing business, that of fitting the boys. We give to each captain so many of each article of clothing, and he distributes them according to the men's sizes and the marks on the clothes. It not unfrequently happens that "ones" are marked "four," and fours "one." To exchange with the quartermaster is their fancied relief. Sometimes a little fellow will come with dress-coat too large for an overcoat for him, and with pantaloons so long one way as to render a vest unncessary, and the other way presenting a double thickness almost to his knees. Agrain, some giant clothed in Lilliputian raiment, willmake his appearance, the sleeves of his coat near his elbows, while his pantaloons look as if to defunct short-clothes of our fathers had had a ressurection. Motion with him is scarce possible, while the manual of arms or the "double-quick" would be sure to result in an extravagent expenditure of Uncle Sam's toggery. The dwarf and the giant exchange clothes to their mutual comfort and improvement."
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Old July 4, 2009, 10:45 PM   #329
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Black bakers v. White bakers!

First, an apology. I've read about four books about the Civil War, and only one of them had anything to offer for this column. It is posted above. Since then, I haven't been finding anything. Presently, I'm reading a book on the Austro-Prussian War.

Now, onto our topic of black bakers versus white bakers. First, this is not a race riot as one might think. Rather, it is between baking guilds, as explained in the snippet below:

Quote:
Königswalde, Neumark 1760

The third revolt, which resulted from the pride in their trade of the guilds, occurred in 1760 when the two corps under Prince Henry and Generallieutenantvon der Goltz combined in the Neumark. The Feldkriegscommissariat ordered that the bakeries of both corps be combined at Königswalde. The Silesian bakers of the von der Goltz corps, who were white bread bakers, refused to work with the Prussian bakers of Prince Henry`s corps, on the grounds that they were only black bread bakers, and were therefore beneath them. The Silesian bakers considered the order from the Feldkriegscommissariat so insulting to their pride as bakers, and the bitterness between the two groups was such, that the only solution was to keep the two groups separate, and there were duly two bakeries outside the town, on opposite sides of it.
I had decided to relax and go fishing for Seven Wars info. The link is Here
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Old July 17, 2009, 05:38 AM   #330
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Womanly compassion

Here's an amusing tidbit from Rutherford B. Hayes's diary. Hayes served in the Twenty-third Ohio Volunteer Infantry.

Quote:
The mother of our adjutant at Camp Chase seeing a boy waking up and down on his sentinel's beat took pity on him, and sent him a glass of wine and a piece of cake with a stool to sit on while he ate and drank. She told him not to keep walking so, to sit down and rest! She also advised him to resign!
Hayes later became president of Estados Unidos.
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Old July 20, 2009, 05:56 PM   #331
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In a Nov. 27, 1861 letter we learn that Lt. Col. Rutherford B. Hayes sends a neat gift home to one of his sons. It may have had a surprise inside and it's not a crackerjack toy either:

Quote:
Dearest: I sent you a rifle for Birch. If was loaded, as I learn. The lieutenant promised to take the load out. If he has forgotten it, have our neighbor of all work, corner of Longworth and Wood, take out the load before Birch plays with or handles it.
In a follow up letter dated Nov. 30, 1861, we learn more about the rifle:

Quote:
The bearer will bring (probably) besides this letter, the accoutrements which go with Birt's Mississippi rifle, and a couple of gold pieces, one for a present for you and one for Grandma Webb.
What a dad little Birch has! In case you don't recognize Col. Hayes, he was our president after Grant stepped out of office. I don't think little Birch survived childhood as three of Hayes's kids died early. I wonder where that rifle is?

Post edited to add some on-line research
. Click on this link. It may be the gun that is the subject of the above excerpts: Here. There are two M1841 rifles in the collection but one was captured in 1863 - far too late to be the one that is the subject of the above letters. I emailed the museum and will post their response.

Update: Here's their response

Quote:
According to all the old records, the Mississippi rifle (1914.8401) was
captured at Princeton, Virginia on May 1, 1862 by the 23rd O.V.I. So unless
our records are wrong, the years do not match up. I don't believe we have
the rifle you are referring to.

Thanks for inquiry. It's nice to know the public is actually using our
online resources - especially the objects catalog. When I started the
project of getting all the objects with photographs online, I wondered if I
was wasting my time. It was a 3 year endeavor and I must say I have been
happy with the results.
So, we don't know where Birch's rifle is. Maybe he traded it for something neat like an officer's sabre. Kids do those things.

I've gotten up to May 25, 1862 of his book (OK, so I read a couple of books by Russians on the Chechen Wars) and Hayes mentions "tomorrow a couple of men leave here for Camp Chase with a prisoner. I shall send a Mississippi rifle with them. This is the most formidable weapon used against us in this region by the Rebels (West Virginia); they will leave it either with you or at Platt's in Columbus."
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Old July 20, 2009, 09:49 PM   #332
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And now for something completely different

This is from an antebellum newspaper that I read. It was actually over 150 years old and not some micro-film copy. The paper must have been a cotton fiber paper and not a wood-pulp based paper. It wasn't crumbling and yellowed. I was asked to research something for an editor and this is what I dug out for him.

Quote:
The Golden Era, Nov. 14, 1855. Page 2.

__________________________

American Military Operations in California

__________________________

The Truth of History Vindicated

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The Annals of San Francisco containing a Summary of the History of the first discovery, Settlement, Progress and present condition of California, etc., etc., 8 vo., D. Appleton & Co., New York.


Number 4

When we closed the last number of our review this work, and of the historical account therein narrated of the military operations in this country, which led to the conquest by American arms, we intended to give a detailed statement of Mervine’s disaster before Cuidad de los Angeles; but as a fuller account can be given at some future day, and more appropriately, in a connected history of that time and its events, we will not enter into all the particulars of that affair now, but merely relate some of the prominent incidents to show the errors of the Annals.

Captain Mervine landed in force at San Pedro from the frigate Savannah at sunrise, on the morning of the 7th October, (1846) where, being joined by Capt. Gillespie and his riflemen, he found himself at the head of three hundred and ten men, well armed and equipped, sailors, marines and settler volunteers, as brave and valiant as ever were led to battle upon any field. The principal officers with Mervine were Lieutenants Robt. F. Pinkney, Rockendorf, J. Blakely Carter, and assistant Surgeon Whittle of the navy, Capt. Ward Marston, and Lieut. Queen of Marines.

The march was commenced from San Pedro at about 8 o’clock, Gillespie’s command taking the advance. When approaching and passing the hills at Paloverde, the enemy showed themselves, and fired their escoptas at the marching column. The riflemen under Lieut. Hensley, on the right flank in front, Lieut. Rhensan on the left, with Capt. Gillespie, and Lieut. Bell in the centre, kept the Californians at a respectful distance, although they continued to throw their huge escopeta balls among the Americans, from a very long range, however, without doing any injury. The march was very rapid, too much so for many men unaccustomed to walking any great distance; but luckily they were “flying light,” for they had a very small quantity of provisions, no extra ammunition, except with the volunteers, and nothing to seriously incommode them, save a blanket, and occasionally a tin pot.)Between one and two o’clock, P.M, the Americans arrived at the Rancho de los Domingoes, fourteen miles from San Pedro, both officers and men desirous for rest, and some of them very lame and almost disabled; consequently Capt. Mervine soon found it absolutely necessary to halt and encamp for the night, although he would have pushed on, had it not been almost certain he would leave many disabled men upon the road. The family of the Domingos had been obliged by the Californians to leave their rancho but they had removed nothing from the house except some valuables, and had left a good supply of several articles very useful to the Americans. There were a few head of fine beef cattle near the house, which the enemy endeavored to drive off, but Gillespie’s men secured two of them with their rifles, and afterwards drove the horsemen a good distance from the camp, wounding two or three of them. Nothing of much moment occurred during the night, unless we enumerate one continuous alarm of the commander; the unnecessary and numerous patrolling parties firing into each other, making the most miraculous escapes; the enemy’s dropping a six pound shot into the centre of the camp, amidst a crowd of sleeping men overcome by very unusual fatigue; Capt. Mervine’s calling to Capt. Gillespie, “You must catch that gun,” as it dashed away into the shade like a streak of lightning; the noise and disturbance made by a poor miserable Mexican idiot, an old man, who having strayed into camp on horseback during the evening, was threatened with being shot as a spy; and the particular desire to hang an Indian because he would not tell all he knew about the enemy.

At the daylight of the 8th, the camp was in motion, and just as the sun rose, the Americans marched towards Los Angeles, twelve miles distant, in much the same order as on the day previous, the volunteer riflemen, as skirmishers, in th evan, Lieutenants Hensley and Rhensan on the right and left, Capt. Gillespie in the centre with the reserve. The main body marched by the right flank of companies, Lieut Queen acting as Adjutant. The country is very level over which the Americans marched at this time; it is occasionally intersected by beds of streams then dry, and very densely covered with a thick weed, about two feet high, which being very wet with dew at that hour of the morning, was very unpleasant and fatiguing to march through. Almost imperceptibly the companies of sailors and marines crowded into the road, until they became a solid moving mass. The enemy, seventy-six strong - merely Flores’ advance - under Jose Antonio Carrillo, were posted upon a small stream that crossed the road, about three miles from Domingo Rancho. Some fifty horsemen at line at open order, with their right upon the water, and twenty or more immediately across the road as artillerists, and a support for the field-piece, which was planted in battery in the centre of the road, contested the farther progress of the Americans. As Mervine’s forces approached the stream, the enemy opened fire. The skirmishers under Hensley, taking advantage of every cover, - for which tactics Capt. Mervine ordered Capt. Gillespie and his men not to dodge - were enabled to get quite close upon the gun, and within rifle (Hawkin’s) range before they were discovered, and instantly killed one man close by it, capturing his escopeta soon after. At the same time, Rhensan, upon the left, caused the horsemen to vie way slowly, which they did with much order, firing their escopetas at random. Upon the first shot from the enemy’s field-piece, the Americans charged with a shout, the sailors and marines still moving by the right flank, and still in the road in a solid body. Lieut. Hensley, well in advance on the right, caused the Californians to retire with their gun, which they did very easily, for they were well mounted, and the six-pounder, unlimbered, was almost as light as a toy, and being drawn by a riata, it could be run off without the least trouble. They fired as they retired. The first shot from the field-piece went over the heads and over the centre of the sailors and marines; the second struck the bayonets in front, and broke off the ship boarding pikes in the rear; the third told upon the centre of the solid mass, raking the hips of the men as they marching, the column still moving by the flank in the road. Even after this, no order was given to change position in any manner, though every shot now told upon the unfortunate sailors. Every man who was struck was killed instantly, or wounded in the hip in the most shocking manner. - The marines returned the fire from the horsemen by an oblique aim to the left, whereby several of Rhensan’s platoon were wounded in the hands. Marshall came very near losing the opportunity and celebrity of having discovered the gold, by nearly having a shot through his head, a bullet having raked the knuckles of his right hand whilst pulling trigger. He quietly swore at the marines, and told them, “They had made him lose a fine shot, and would please not do that again.” The enemy now becoming alarmed by the boldness of the Americans, continued to retire, but in less order; and, finally, their field-pieces being closely pressed by Hensley and his men - they deserted the gun and left it standing in the road, when the riflemen were about two hundred yards distant. Hensley and his men now made greater efforts to take the piece. Rhensan’s platoon and Gillespie, with the reserve, all rushed forward, certain of gaining the day. Whilst dashing on, the bugle sounded a halt; the volunteers, now far in advance, wavered, and turned to look towards the rear for a second. However, the call not being repeated, Capt. Gillespie cried out, “Forward ” And the charge was continued; but the movements and partial halt had been instantly noticed by the enemy. Juan Yorba, of Lower Santa Anna, (below Los Angeles) with the greatest gallantry, charged won upon the gun at full speed, and from his seat in the saddle, seized the riata that was fastened to the limbers, then lying upon the ground, and dashed off with it, just as Lieut. Hensley was within fifty steps of the prize an victory. By this time Capt. Mervine’s voice was heard loudly calling for halt, and the order was passed to the front, at the moment the sailors and marines were about commencing a retreat, carrying the dead and wounded in blankets stretched upon pikes. The Americans soon reached the camp of the night before, where surgeons Gilchrist and Whittle ascertained that they could do nothing for the wounded sailors at that place, their hips being lacerated and torn in the most distressing manner.

A council being immediately held, it was decided that Capt. Gillespie (he having volunteered)should command the rear with Carter’s Riflemen, having Colt’s revolvers, and the volunteers, under Hensley and Rhensan, on the flanks, and himself and sixteen marines in the centre. To get the dead and wounded to the port, fourteen miles distant, now appeared the greatest difficulty. Gillespie saw an old California cart, without any bottom boards, near at hand. With the aid of Dr. Gilchrist it was brought up to the house, dry hides were put in for a bottom, a stout stick was run through the end of the pole for the sailors to hold it up, a riata was attached to the end, and one of the volunteers, who had been wounded in the ankle, mounted the horse the idiot had rode into camp the evening previous, fastened the riata to the saddle bow, and thus dragged the cart along, the sailors relieving each other at intervals. In this ambulance nine dead and wounded sailors were carried to San Pedro.

The march for the port was commenced about ten o’clock. The enemy followed after and fired grape - small copper shot - upon the Americans. One man only was killed, and the force was saved from a complete rout and slaughter by the steadiness of the march in the rear. The marines moved as if upon parade, never breaking their line or step. Lieut. Carter had to order his brave fellows many times to march on, when they desired to take a parting shot. Midshipman Duval, of Carter’s company, had threaten to shoot one of his men if he dared to turn back again for “another crack at the dagos (Diegos). The volunteers kept sullen silence, exasperated that they were upon the retreat when victory had been snatched from their grasp by a bugle call. Lieutenants Pinkney and Roekendorff were at the head of the column in the advance, and were every where upon the field during the retreat, preserving order. The unfortunate Americans arrived at San Pedro about dark, where they found that Lieut. Hitchcock and Purser Fauntleroy had mounted a small battery to cover the retreat in the event of pursuit, the disaster having been observed and watched from the mast-head of the frigate. Capt. Mervine ordered San Pedro to be deserted, notwithstanding Capt. Gillespie proposal to maintain himself and hold that point, if he could be supplied with water from the frigate. But Capt. Mervine declined.
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Old July 23, 2009, 06:32 PM   #333
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There is no stronger bond than the affection of love

The Tuesday, March 4, 1862 entry of Rutherford B. Hayes in his diary doesn't quite say that though. I'll let you judge for yourself.

Quote:
Today a German soldier, Hegelman, asks to marry a girl living near here. She comes in to see me on the same subject; a good-looking girl, French on her father's side, name, Elizabeth Ann de Quasie. A neighbor tells me she is a queer girl; has belonged to the Christian, Baptist, and Methodist church, that she now prefers the Big Church. She has doubtful reputation. When Charles Hegelman came in to get permission to go to Gauley to get married by the chaplain of the Twenty-eighth, I asked him why he was in a hurry to marry; if he knew much about her; and what was her name. He replied, "I like her looks"; and after confessing that he didn't know her name, that he thought it was Eliza Watson (!), he admitted that the thing was this: Eight hundred dollars had been left to him payable on his marriage, and he wanted the money out at interest!"
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Old August 23, 2009, 10:27 PM   #334
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Why men run from battle is explained.

Quote:
General James H. Wilson, who commanded a cavalry corps about the end of the war, tells of a story of his once approaching the head of his column, engaged in a noisy skirmish, when he met one of his men hurrying back to the rear, evidently demoralized. He called on him to halt, and commenced calling him hard names, among others, “coward.” The man protested he was not a coward, but insisted that he ‘had lost the confidence in his Colonel,” so at Shiloh, some men lost faith in their Colonels and naturally justified themselves by decrying their commanders.
This closes the book on one of the universe's mystery.
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Old September 13, 2009, 06:30 PM   #335
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Terry-Broderick Duel

After a meeting today to discuss the 2010 Annual West Coast Civil War Conference, a buddy and I went to Daly City to see the reenactment of the Terry Broderick Duel. It was hosted by the Historical Guild of Daly City which had reenactors in period attire.

Terry was a Kentuckian by birth who, at age six, moved with his family to Texas. Orphaned at thirteen, he later joined the Texas Rangers before leaving for California in 1849 to make his fortune in the Gold Rush. Once there, he found there was more money to be made as a lawyer in Stockton. Terry was picked for the California Supreme Court and served on it. As a southerner, Terry believed that slavery was a noble and benevolent institution.

The Kansas debate split the Democratic Party and Terry belonged to the faction of that party that believed that Kansas should be a slave state. His bid for reelection was not successful and Terry blamed his misfortune on David Broderick.

Son of a stonemason, David Broderick was born in Washington, D. C. and taught that trade by his father. He became adept at politics and moved out to San Francisco where he showed his political aptitude by fundraising. He minted $5 and $10 gold coins that had only $4 and $8 of gold in them respectively (and realized a 25% profit on every coin). He was elected to the Senate. Broderick was taking breakfast at the International Hotel (Jackson and Kearney Street back in the 1970s but it may have been elsewhere in 1859) when he read Terry's vitriolic speech that denounced him. Angered, he made a remark that reached Terry.

Terry, being a southerner, was quick to defend any perceived slight against his honor. Said to be quick tempered, Terry was an excellent shot with pistols. He challenged Broderick to a duel and the two agreed to meet. Broderick considered himself the best shot in California and readily agreed to the duel. They met, but were arrested for dueling. The charges were dropped as the parties had not dueled yet and no illegal act was committed.

They met again on Sept. 13, 1859. A coin was tossed and Terry won the right to select the set of pistols. Terry selected a set of Belgian made pistols that were known to have hair triggers. The pistols selected, the men stood back-to-back and paced off. They turned and were given the order to fire. Broderick, unaware of the hair trigger, discharged his gun while it was still pointed toward the ground. Terry deliberately raised his pistol, aimed and fire a shot which fell Broderick.

A doctor examined Broderick and declared that the wound was not lethal. The men parted and Broderick was taken in a bumpy carriage ride to a friend's home in Fort Mason where he died three days later. The house he is said to have died in is still occupied to this day and its occupant says that while it is haunted, it is not a malicious spirit. Broderick was buried in Laurel Hill Cemetery and was later removed to Colma.

Terry survived the war. In Stockton, California, he became angry at a US Supreme Court Justice and slapped him. An angered US Marshal rose up and said, "You can't do that," and at the same time, drew his pistol and shot Terry dead. Terry is buried in Stockton. His descendants still live in California.

It was a nifty show that had band music at the beginning and refreshments at the end.
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Old September 20, 2009, 02:06 PM   #336
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Firearms Safety

Ezekiel Baker, the man who built the rifle that was carried by the 5/60 (Royal Americans and later King's Royal Rifle Corps) and also the 95th (Rifle Brigade), cautioned his readers about the necessity of teaching youngsters firearms safety. He penned his words sixty years earlier that this article from the Oct. 19, 1873 edition of the New York Times:

Quote:
Our Young Sharp-Shooters.

Marksmanship is an accomplishment in which the youth of every free and manly nation ought to be proficient, and our columns will bear witness that we have not been backward in pressing its cultivation upon the young men of our own country. It is an exercise, too, which like riding and dancing, and indeed most other physical exercises, is best mastered in youth. There is such a thing, however, as beginning too early, and upon too practical a basis. Sharp-shooting, of course, presupposes warfare, and the eventual possibility of human targets being substituted for those of wood and earth. Yet, until the unpleasant contingency is realized, it is well to practice on inanimate butts, by which means all reasonable and necessary skill may be acquired quite as readily and wth less inconvenience than by perforating men instead of bulls-eyes.

This caution appears to be necessary, because, judging from some late occurrences, there is a growing tendency among our very young sharp-shooters to dispense with the formality of target practice, and to prosecute their studies upon the living model. Among these impatient marksmen are some little boys in the neighborhood of the Five Points. A night or two ago, they went into training for the next war by erecting an impromptu Creedmoor on a pile of boards upon one side of the street, and firing at it from the other. It was a trifle awkward for the neighbors until they got the exact range, but no patriot will grude a little discomfort in the interest of his country. But presently there fell a sense of monotony upon the small contestants, and just then a private watchman happening to come along, one of the young sharp-shooters selected him for a target, and made a most excellent shot. It was unfortunate, certainly, that this particular watchman should have had a wife and five children, who are now left destitute; but that does not detract from the skill of the marksmen. this shot carried off the prize of the tournament, which, we trust, will be a permanent residence in the Penitentiary at the expense of the State.

Not less expert was that other little boy of Iowa, also with a taste for sharp-shooting. Although but eleven years of age, he succeeded at his first trial in blowing off the head of his little sister with a fowling-piece, which his judicious parents had presented him for the cultivation of his peculiar talent. But the nicest and most promising of all the little boys and marksmen that have just turned up, are undoubtedly two whose young ideas were first taught to shoot in Reading, Penn. On last Saturday this guileless pair strolled forth into the suburbs to practice their favorite exercise. What ducks and geese fell victims to their fatal skills before they chanced on nobler game, is not revealed. It is known, however, that they had fired at, and, by some unaccountable mischance, barely missed, a little girl aged four, previous to achieving their crowning triumph. This arrived when they found two smaller obys perched on the top of a walnut-tree, gathering nuts. This was an irresistible temptation of superior skill, of which our Reading champions did not hesitate to avail themselves. Taking accurate aim, one of them brought down the younger of the nutgatherers as neatly and as tranquilly as though he had been a squirrel. With a modesty not seldom allied to unusual skill, they did not stay to receive the congratulations and awards which their triumph called for, but hastily departed, and have not since been heard of.

Now, all of this shows a gratifying progress in marksmanship, and a still more satisfying interest in the subject among our youthful population. Still, on the whole, we think it would be better if they practiced on wooden targets, and not on other little boys and girls, or even private watchmen. Not even the great importance to the country of training up a body of skilled sharp-shooters will compensate for the speedy depopulation that would ensure if this sort of live target practice were encouraged.
Firearms ownership carries with it responsibility. Unfortunately, none of these shooters had been schooled in it, in firearms safety and were unsupervised in their shooting activity.
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Old October 2, 2009, 06:31 PM   #337
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Here's something from The Onion and if you don't know about The Onion, shame on you!

Quote:
Civil War Enthusiasts Burn Atlanta To Ground

October 29, 1996 | Issue 30•12

ATLANTA—The city of Atlanta was destroyed and 230,000 were killed Sunday when a group of overzealous Civil War buffs marched through the Georgian capital, burning it to the ground.

Enlarge Image Civil War Enthusiasts Burn Atlanta To Ground

In an exciting historical reenactment, members of the Maryland Civil War Preservation Society destroyed all of downtown Atlanta Sunday.

"It was very exciting," said Bob Gerhardt, 43, president of the Maryland Civil War Preservation Society, the group responsible for the attack. "We rode in on horseback just after dawn, crossing the Chattahoochee and approaching the city from the west, just as General Sherman did in 1864. We even used the same kind of kerosene as the Union Army. No detail was spared."

The attack began just before 6 a.m., when guests at Atlanta's Peachtree Plaza hotel were awakened by the sound of a cast-iron cannonball blasting through the hotel lobby. Within an hour, the 71-story building was engulfed in flames. By noon, the flames had spread through the entire downtown area.

"First the Braves lose the World Series, and now my whole family is dead," said Atlanta resident Ben Halleran. "This has been quite a week."

While the attack caused some $2.1 billion in damage, it did have a positive side, as the city's 124,000 black residents were freed.

"Run, run free!" Preservation Society member Phil Spillner, a Baltimore-area dentist shouted to a group of black men near the CNN Building. "You have all been freed! God bless President Lincoln!"

Nearby, at the Georgia Dome, a battalion of Union soldiers stormed onto the field during the third quarter of the Atlanta Falcons' game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, emancipating a number of Falcons, including All-Pro linebacker Jessie Tuggle.

According to Gerhardt, the Maryland history buffs plan to continue their assault on the heart of Dixie, marching all the way to Savannah.

"We will drive the Rebels to the sea," said Phyllis Borelli, a Silver Spring, MD, legal secretary. "Ooh, this is so fascinating—I feel like I'm really there!"

The Atlanta attack is the most destructive historical reenactment since 1991, when a group of Cleveland-area World War II buffs dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
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Old October 3, 2009, 08:45 AM   #338
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One shot stopping power revisited

From Rutherford B. Hayes's Diary & Letters page 534 we have an interesting example of the failure of one shot stops

Quote:
One boy in the Twenty-third was shot in the face. The ball entered near his nose and passed over or through the cheekbone up towards the outer corner of the eye. The surgeon thought it was a small bullet and fearing it would injure his eye to probe for it, let it alone. He got along very well for three weeks, when they cut it out near his temple. They were astonished to find that it was an iron grape-shot over an inch in diameter - as large as one of your India-rubber balls! He is well and never did suffer much!
Lucky soldier.
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Old November 3, 2009, 09:17 AM   #339
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Too good not to share

OK, since I finished the book, I've started reading modern stuff like WW II aviation and sniping books again. Recently I attended the Annual West Coast Civil War Conference in Clovis, CA and one bookseller, Lee Meredith, had Alexander V. Pyl'cyn's book, Penalty Strike, for sale. It's the wartime experience of an officer in a Soviet Penal Battalion. Having done no wrong, he was selected to lead a platoon because of his outstanding qualifications. Here's an excerpt that is worthy of Rambling Anecdotes:

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The rest of the battalion had more time for other things, for jokes and tricks that were common in wartime. I mentioned that I could not understand what our Smersh officer Gluhov was doing, but in the spring of 1945 he started to pay more attention to hunting for German souvenirs. He confiscated German pistols from officers, or German decorations and cigarette boxes with fancy carving, and even round German chocolate bars. One time, when a small group of officers gathered for a smoke break, commandant platoon leader Senior Lieutenant Slava Kostik, noticed Gluhov walking in our direction. So Kostik took a round box out of his pocket and pretended tht he was eating something very tasty. Gluhov walked up to him, and with his usual manner of begging, asked what Kostik was eating. Lieutenant Kostik demonstratively hid the box behind his back, and answered that he had several unusual candies left and he would not share them with anyone. Of course, this only intensified Gluhov's interest, and he started to beg Kostik to share the sweets with him. Then Kostik, seemingly reluctantly, opened the box, which had several small objects wrapped in foil. Gluhov greedily grabbed one of them, unwrapped it, and put it in his mouth. You had to see how his face twisted as he started to chew that 'trophy of war!' He spat it out with obscene curses, and angrily asked, "What the hell was that?" Kostik calmly replied, with everyone else laughing out loud, "That was a German anti-haemorrhoid pill that you put in your ass, Herr Oberleutnant!" I don't know what sort of relations they had, as they were both permanently at the battalion HQ, and officially had similar functions. Maybe they were even friends, but after that cruel trick Gluhov never again asked anyone to share their German sweets, even if it was an open bar of German chocolate.
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Old November 25, 2009, 09:07 PM   #340
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Love at first sight (a modern story)

Forgive me for I am sinning. I'm still reading modern material. This is a story of youth and love at first sight. I'm sure everyone here will understand how the writer feels.

Quote:
The most exciting part of my training was the day I got my very own AK-47 assault rifle, after weeks of practice with a wooden dummy. It was love at first sight. I sat there on the ground stroking the barrel, the stock, the mechanism. I turned that marvelous weapon from side to side....Truly, a wave of passion rolled over my soul in that moment. What a feeling!

When I learned how to take the weapon apart, it was a flight into ectasy for me. I spread out a large cloth on the ground, then carefully laid each piece in orderly arrangement, gazing at it lovingly. "How beautiful!" I whispered to myself. A pleasant shiver ran down my spine. It was mine, all mine.

I cleaned every piece, even though the weapon was already clean. I rubbed the parts down with the soft cloth the weapons expert had provided, until they gleamed in the sun. I held them one at a time to my cheek, like a cat lover would hold up a kitten. Then I applied new lubrication to all the necessary parts before reassembling. What a gorgeous creation it became once again in my hands!

I assembled and disassembled this rifle numerous times, until I became one of the fastest in my unit. As time passed, I could do it even with my eyes closed. I knew every part instantly by its form. The weapon became almost a part of me, like the fingers of my hand, moving smoothly and instantly at my command.

With this exquisite partner I would pursue the dream of my life: to destroy Israel. I was totally unconcerned about getting home alive. That didn't matter to me. I only cared to press the mission for my people's victory.
OK, as you surmised, the writer is Palestinian. Later, he comes to America, finds Christ, becomes a Christian and abandons his terrorist ways. This is taken from his book, Once An Arafat Man by Saada.
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Old December 8, 2009, 09:30 PM   #341
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From John Coski's book, Capitol Navy: The James River Squadron, is a tale of a Confederate midshipman who was somewhat less than gentlemanly.

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"William F. Clayton, a young midshipman from Georgie who was in the Academy from 1861 to 1864, recalled his own participation in one of these "incidents." IN early January 1864, Clayton returned with his class to the school ship and enjoyed a reunion with an old friend, boatswain Jim Smith. To celebrate their reunion, Clayton and Smith planned a night on the town. After a few drinks, the men went to the theater, where they found themselves seated behind a gentleman wearing a fashionably tall beaver hat. The hat, Clayton recalled, "cut off Jim's view of the stage, and he politely asked the individual to please "douse the glim." To this request, Clayton wrote, the man, "replied that he would not take in his royals--that is remove his hat."

"Now Jim was a tolerably large-sized man," Clayton continued, "and had on him the hand about the size of an ordinary spade, and letting fall his hand on the top of this beaver, it went down, with the rim resting on the owner's shoulders. Immediately, a cry was raised, 'Put 'em out." The ludicrious attempt of the fellow to get his head out of that beaver would have made a saint laugh."

Transformed from spectators to fugitives, the two sailors made their escape from the theater. Several policemen gave chase, but, having been stationed there before, the sailors knew the streets and alleys of Richmond and found their way safely back to the American Hotel. "Of course," Clayton mused, "The Richmond Examiner gave an account headed: 'Some More Ruffianism from the Navy,' but we preferred to remain quiet and let Mr. Pollard soothe his wounded arm with any use he might care to make of printer's ink."
Coski's book is available from Savas (& Beatie) Publishing.
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Old December 30, 2009, 12:15 AM   #342
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I am assagaid! I am assagaid!

If you remember the movie Zulu! or Zulu Dawn, you remember the short thrusting spear of the Zulu. Here's one gallant Englishman's panicked response at a mistaken night attack. It's not the stuff of stoic Victorian era heroics that we are normally accustomed to reading.

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The Zulu's chief's peaceful protestations were merely a ruse to gain time in gathering upwards of 20,000 of his trained warriors at Ulundi for another such massacre as Isandhwwana. It might well have been another disaster had the Zulus attacked the night before the battle. As the British and their natives allies lay tense and tired listening to the chanting of weird war-songs, native guards mistook the shadow of a cloud in the moonlight for the advance of a Zulu impi. As they fired, their comrades, believing it was an attack, jumped up and ran back towards the British. The Europeans in turn, in their excited imagination, thought the 'naked devils' rushing among them were the enemy. They left their beds and sprinted for protection of the laager. In a frantic effort to get inside, some clambered over the wagons, while others crawled underneath. Behind the wagons, incompletely trained boys, many of whom had never fired a bullet before embarkation, huddled together and sobbed pitifully like children. Seasoned veterans, heeding their officers, stood their ground and vigorously thrust their bayonets into the whirlwind of howling humanity. Demon panic produced scenes that were ludicrously disgraceful. One high-ranking officer left his bed crying, 'Lord help us,' and stumbled into a bush. Pricked by a thorn, he cried, 'I am assagiad! I am assagiad!' It took some effort to hold him, and assure him that there was no danger and that he was uninjured."
This was taken from page 251 of Joseph Lehmann's book, The Model Major General: Biography of Field-Marshal Lord Wolseley. I'm still doing research in the black powder era and am enjoying this old (1964) but not ancient book.
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Old January 2, 2010, 06:39 PM   #343
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More from the same book.

Quote:
Rebel maruaders left a trail of destruction all about them and Woseley expected his advance to be contested, perhaps in the form of an ambush. If they entertained any such notion, the menacing-looking 6-pounder must have discouraged them. Less easily intimidated by this show of force was an enormous Bengal tiger. With no advance warning, the beast threw the entire column into confusion. The bullocks, ordinarily so phlegmatic, went wild with fear. The native drivers ran, and the wagons became tangled. Only the 6-pounder stood calm and dignified.

Wolseley ran up from the rear, expecting to find a sepoy barrier. Instead, he saw the silhouette of a tiger etched in silvery moonlight against the dark forest background. The beast made a springing attack on the transport animals, failed, and retired a safe distance to debate attacking such a large group a second time. The master gunner requested permission to try a canister shot. The men, intrigued by the possible results of such a novel experiment, heartily supported the petition. Wolseley was tempted, but he reasoned that he could afford neither time nor ammunition. He let the tiger remain master of the field. Anyway, it did not seem quite sporting, shooting tigers with a cannon.
Killjoy. I would have approved an unsporting shot like that. Imagine what the regimental emblem for the artillery unit would look like today if they had? It probably would have a tiger laying by the wheel of the cannon.
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Old January 7, 2010, 11:34 PM   #344
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Da-yam, just da-yam!

One thing researching the black-powder sharpshooter taught me was to overcome my prejudice about reading books written by non-combatants who wrote contemporaneous to the time of the conflict. For my research on Gettysburg, I read material written by a 15 year old girl (Tille Alleman Pierce) and by some boys who lived in Gettysburg. A veteran loaned me Merrill Mattes book, "Indians, Infants and Infantry: Andrew and Elizabeth Burt on the Frontier." Ranger Mattes annotated and edited Elizabeth Burt's diary. Elizabeth was married to Andrew Burt who was an infantry captain in the 18th U.S. Infantry in the Civil War. Post-war Burt and his command served on the frontier and fortunately for us, he took Elizabeth with him. She was witness to many incidents and her observations are well worth reading. I share one with you now. It concerns a Shoshone Indian Chief, Washakie who met Elizabeth Burt at Fort Bridger. They used his interpreter until Elizabeth mastered some Shoshone words along with Indian sign language.

Quote:
Washakie was about to start on a hunting trip, to be absent a certain number of days. Before parting from his wife, he told her he wanted the camp to be moved in his absence, to a place designated by him, and he would meet her on a certain day. At the appointed time he arrived at the place but no camp was to be seen. The mighty chief was very angry. Instead of a good supper and a smiling wife to greet him in a new, clean camp, he must continue to ride to the place he had left and upbraid his squaw for her unheard of disobedience. What excuses, he demanded, had she for the neglect of her orders? Her reply was her mother would not allow her to move camp. Such misconduct was unheard of in his family; and Washakie at once and ever after ended such rebellion by raising his gun and taking the life of his mother-in-law. Now it was easy to understand how Washakie ruled both family and tribe, literally with a rod of iron.
This incident may be found on pages 84-85 of the book.
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Old January 11, 2010, 02:08 PM   #345
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We'll eat your harse

It is well established that an Apache of the 19th Century can outlast a horse. While the horse will have a quicker start and run faster, given a longer period, the slower, jogging Apache will past up the exhausted horse. Well, here's something that Maj. Andrew Burt recalled:

Quote:
It is an established fact that once settled down to marching the infantryman can outlast the horse. Some cavalrymen will take issue with the assertion. As an instance. In Cook's campaign in 1876, against Sitting Bull, I recall a spirited dialogue between two soldiers. We of the Infantry, Chamber's command, were plodding along, literally puddling in the mud, for our trail lay over an alkalai country which means no vegetation whatever and a light soil, and the going was awful. Every step a man would pick up several pounds of mud. The infantry were in the lead, with a small cavalry detail in advance. It was well into the day when the main body of cavalry caught up with us and there was the usual good-natured exchange of chaff between the soldiers. One of the cavalrymen swung around in his saddle and addressed one of my men:

'Casey, old man, how are your corns? It is a fine walking? Don't you want to ride a horse?'

Casey, in the richest brogue you ever heard, replied: 'To hell wid your harse. Gwan now, we'll walk your harse off his legs and thin we'll eat him.'

This was a veritable phophecy...."
Taken from page 244.
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Old January 24, 2010, 02:37 PM   #346
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Nymph of the pave

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On my return from the Fortress [Monroe] to Norfolk, I was addressed while on the boat by a very interesting-looking young lady, in that familiar style, that at once showed me that she was a "Nymph of the pave." I amused myself with the acquaintance long enough to draw from her a portion of her history. There is, & has always been, a sort of interest in my mind, one in which I derive satisfaction - I cannot say pleasure, in sifting the history of those who have fallen. There are so many shades to the picture - some I have known who were dragged down by the wiles of the Seducer, others who have plunged into their degradation from the mere love of pleasure, & the gratification of passion. Failing to secure from me a promise to call on her, when the boat touched the wharf, she improved the first offer, and was quickly hurried into a hack by a man wearing shoulder straps and doubtless found in his arms, for that night, the satisfaction she craved.
In the hundreds of Civil War books I've read, this was the first time I've seen that term, nymph of the pave, used. This is from 85th Infantry Surgeon William B. Smith's diary, published as Swamp Doctor, pages 67-68. The good doctor doesn't tell us what caused this flower to fall.
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Old January 25, 2010, 09:09 PM   #347
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The captain [Allen] has some good qualities - he is open, warm & even generous-hearted to his friends and a brave man. But he frequently drinks too freely. Several times, I have known him to be so much intoxicated that he would have been utterly incompetent to command men in the hour of danger or of battle. And he is licentious-he seems not to restrain the indulgence of his passions for women-it is but yesterday that he came to me to be treated for venereal warts-sometimes called syphilitic vegetations. His disease is unmistakably the result of his connexions with abandoned women.
That Gawd that was a diary entry and not a personnel appraisal report.
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Old February 3, 2010, 06:50 PM   #348
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Take care of your captain and how to tame dogs

The following story involves a German rifleman of the British Army's King's German Legion who, like all worthy Napoleonic Era men of war, was adept at foraging. After all, when your army fails to provide for your fare, one must provide for himself as does this soldier. Our hero stands accused of theft and allows his accuser to air her grievances to his commanding officer.

Quote:
With one of my comrades who had learnt pharmacy I looked for provisions in a loft and found in a corner a packet with flies on, which I angrily threw away and observed that the people here must get very bored. But my comrade took the packet and kept it, then went with me into the local chemist, sold the packet with the flies and paid me four Spanish thaler; he kept an equal sum himself. We continued our investigation and in a wooden shed I found three casks of bacon; I set a piece in front of me and gave the rest to my comrade as a reward. Then we got the order to march again, so we packed up our things together with the bacon, drank a flask of wine with the fly money, heard the signal for departure, were assembled at the appointed place and marched towards Badajoz.

....we marched back over the hill, where the enemy set large dogs on us, which bit the legs of some of our people. Nevertheless we crowded into the wood under steady fire; there I found my brother the butcher, whom I had been very anxious for during the fighting. But he had known how to look after himself very well and had grasped one of the attacking dogs with an arm round its head and clasped it tightly with the other, alternatively giving it a thorough thrashing and coaxing it so that the dog, which he now held on a lead, soon became docile and got used to him.

We embraced here in heart-felt happiness over our deliverance since the French had already withdrawn and some of our people had died. 'Now we want to live once more in ordinary way, dear brother, I have a piece of bacon,' I said to him.

'And I have something to drink,' he replied.

Our captain and another officer, who also felt hungry, shared our meal so that we had nothing left. After the companies had been inspected it was found that we had lost some fifty men; then at around five o'clock in the evening we moved out of the wood and marched back to Olivenza, where we reached our former quarters very late.

Our host received us with a grumble and reproached us that his bacon had been stolen, as far as I could understand Portuguese, about which I had a guilty conscience. When I got up from my straw bed the next morning I went to my captain to clean his clothes; I complained to him that the peasant was so angry and spoke all the time about a stolen pig. He might well mean the bacon that I had taken out of the cask and on which we had eaten heartily yesterday after the skirmish. My captain advised me to appease the peasant and if he could not be pacified to bring him to him. With this comfort I went home and asked my peasant why he was so angry; he showed me the empty cask and again began to chide. I said to him that yesterday he had had Spanish and Portuguese quartered with him. If he meant that we were thieves he should accuse us in front of our officer. The man's wife took up my offer and went with me to our captain, who listened quietly for some time, but when the women began scolding him that the German riflemen were robbers my captain took hold of his sabre hanging on the wall, at which the woman rushed out of the room. My hosts were quiet now...
The above is taken from James Bogle and Andrew Uffindell's book, A Waterloo Hero: The Reminiscences of Friedrich Lindau. Students of the Napoleonic Wars are indebted to Bogle and Uffindell for releasing this book. Rifleman Lindau's memoirs was originally published in German in 1846 and this edition is the first time it has been translated and released in English. It is an extremely valuable addition for anyone studying the Peninsular War and since there are only two other works by private soldiers in the King's German Legion, to anyone interested in that highly regarded but short lived unit (1803-1817).

Born to a weaver, Lindau was apprenticed to a shoemaker and finding his master a hard taskmaster, fled to England where he enlisted in the 2nd Battalion of the King's German Legion. His unit becomes part of Wellington's army that returns to Portugal in 1811. Most of the book is an account of Lindau's foraging across the Peninsula. He does see his share of fighting including brawls involving the Portuguese natives who are unhappy about the "heretics" in their country. Fighting with distinction at Victoria and at Waterloo, Lindau is one of the few riflemen to be awarded the Geulphic Medal (which carried a pension). His account at the famous Belgian farmhouse at La Haye Sainte is vivid and is supplemented by two appendices written by KGL officers who also fought there.
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Old March 6, 2010, 11:54 AM   #349
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Stealing from Stonewall Jackson

We all know Sam Watkins of the First Tennessee. He penned his famous memoirs, Company Aytch, which gives a private's view of the Civil War. Lesser known is Marcus B. Toney of First Tennessee's Company B. Toney penned, "The Privations of a Private." Here's an excerpt.

Quote:
A detail of Company C was made to guard the medical stores of General Jackson, which were in wagons. The boys found in one of the wagons a cask of brandy. Getting hold of an auger, they notified the boys in camp to have some kettles ready. Going under the wagon, they bored through the body into the cask, and thus they filled their vessels. General Jackson relieved them from duty, but did not punish them. I presume he thought they were excusable under the weather conditions.
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Old March 21, 2010, 08:11 AM   #350
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Not a blackpowder era story

OK, blackpowder guns really stopped being used during World War I. The German Askaris in German East Afrika (Tanganika or modern day Tanzania) were armed with the blackpowder cartridge Model 71 Mauser bolt action rifle. After beating the British Indian Army, they were reequipped with the more modern smokeless SMLE. However, this story dates to World War I.

The American submarine H-3 grounded in Humboldt County, California (near Eureka on the northern coast of that sinful state). The Navy advertised for a salvager to help them get their beached sub back into the water. An old logger saw the ad and offered his services. When the Navy inquired as to his background, it learned that the old logger had never been to sea and never even saw a submarine in his life. Despite his assertion that to him it was just a bigger log, and tell that to a modern submarine skipper, the Navy's experts rejected him outright and decided to do it themselves.

The experts called in the cruiser Milwaukee. Fitted with a million dollars worth of towing lines and other salvage gear, the Milwaukee stood off in the ocean and attached the lines to the beached submarine. The result? Well, thanks to the tide, the Milwaukee beached herself as the stubborn sub was too well anchored in sand to be moved. Now there was a predicament! The navy had two ships that were now stranded.

The logger's techniques were now used to rescue H-3. However, his equipment couldn't handle the Milwaukee and no one could figure out how to rescue her. The end result is that the $7 million dollar cruiser remained beached as a total loss.
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