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Old March 29, 2010, 08:54 PM   #351
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Distinction between the Union army and the Confederate Army

There is a moral superiority that the Confederate Army enjoyed over the United States Army. They didn't have coffee-boilers who loafed about while their buddies were fighting. One Corn-fed explained:

Quote:
Now as to coffee-boilers. They were so called in the United States Army because they remained in the rear and boiled coffee while the other soldiers were at the front. In the Confederate Army we called such men stragglers. We could not call them coffee-boilers, because after 1863 we did not have any coffee.
Mind you, this superiority did not translate into a combat advantage that gave the Confederate Army an edge over their Union counterpart. If nothing else, the Union army may have been healthier because boiled water (for coffee) was safer to drink than water that was scooped up from a pond, gutter, roadside.
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Old April 7, 2010, 06:15 PM   #352
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Those thieves are not my men

Union soldiers marching through Willow Springs in Mississippi had looted one plantation and left virtually nothing. The indignant farmer rode up to Union General A. J. Smith to complain that his men had robbed him of everything he owned. The thieves, he said, belonged to the command of Brigadier General A. J. Smith's division of McClerland's XIII Corps. Smith listened to the man and then asked, "Whose mule is that you rode up on?" When told by the farmer that it was his own, Smith replied, "Well, those men didn't belong to my division at all, because if they were my men they wouldn't even have left you that mule."

The defense rests.
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Old April 26, 2010, 11:09 PM   #353
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Grave robbers

It's not really grave robbing, but a friendly rivalry between some Texas regiment and the 3rd Arkansas with whom they were brigaded with.

Quote:
While encamped near Guinea's Station, on the Richmond and Fredericksburg Railroad, during the winter of 1862, quite an amusing incident occurred between two of Gernal Hood's regiments, one from Arkansas and the other from Texas, which were encamped a short distance from us, near Massaponax Church. It appears that the Texas regiment was detailed to go on picket duty, just below Fredericksburg, to watch the enemy and prevent him from throwing a pontoon across the river. While engaged on this duty, the Arkansas regiment made a "raid" on the deserted camp, and captured nearly all the cooking utensils, (articles then very scarce and much in demand.) A short time afterwards the Arkansas regiment was called on to perform the same duty, and, while absent, the Texas boys paid its camp a a visit, recaptured their cooking utensils, and carried off almost everything they could lay their hands on. The Arkansas boys, seeing the state of affairs on their return, determined to watch their opportunity for revenge.

About ten days after this, one of the Texas regiment died, and a party of his comrades started out to prepare a grave. After having completed their sad task, they returned to camp for the body. In the meantime, a small party from the Arkansas regiment, came out to perform their solemn duty, bearing the remains of their dead comrade with them. Finding a grave already dug, they quietly buried the body and returned to camp.

The Texas party, upon their return to the grave, comprehended the situation at a glance, and ever after "yielded the palm" for stealing to the Arkansas boys.
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Old April 28, 2010, 07:55 PM   #354
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"I'm not dead yet!"

This is almost out of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Quote:
The burial of the dead on the battlefield had to be done so hurriedly many times that more than one poor fellow who perhaps had been stunned and left on the field had a "close call" to being buried alive. A case in mind was that of one at Cold Harbor who had been picked up as dead, and as the men dropped their burden by the open trench the shock resuscitated the man and he faintly asked: "What's going on, boys?"

The response was, "We were going to bury you, Shorty."

"Not if I know myself," he replied. "Get me a cup of coffee and I'll be all right; I won't be buried by that county clodhopper."

The "clodhopper" referred to was the sergeant in charge of the squad, who belonged to a company of our regiment that came from the central part of the state, while a man who had been so near the "dark valley" was a member of the New York City company."
This was taken from Drum Taps in Dixie: Memoirs of a Drummer Boy, 1861-1865, Delavan S. Miller. The unit is the 2nd New York Heavy Artillery.
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Old April 28, 2010, 08:19 PM   #355
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WWII Infantryman:

At some point during this period, Colonel Johnson, the Commander of the 117th, drove his shiny jeep past a filthy soldier who failed to Salute. Johnson backed up and told the man he’d either salute right now, or he’d find himself as the point man in Company A, 1st Battalion. The man simply replied “I am the point man in Company A…” Johnson saluted him and drove on.
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Old April 30, 2010, 11:09 PM   #356
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In Deadly Earnest

by Phil Gottschalk. It's about the Confederate Missouri Brigade in the Civil War. Taken from page 353:

Quote:
Alonzo H. Shelton, born in Kentucky, was farming in Platte County when he enlisted in August 1862 in the 3rd Missouri Infantry. He was captured in January 1863, exchanged and reported to "D" 3rd Missouri Infantry and later served in the consolidated 3rd-5th Missouri Infantry. He recalled a humorous incident when his regiment relieved a regiment of Georgia Militia manning the breastworks:

'[The enemy] had been having fun with the militia because their guns would not shoot far enough to hit them, and they did not know of the change of troops in the night, so a little after daylight they climbed out of their works and yelled out while they patted themselves behind 'here Johnny take a shot at me' and Johnny turned loose on them and turned several of them over before they could scramble back in their works, and from then until ten o'clock that was the hardest picket fight I was ever in, it was just a hard battle. I fired over forty shots, my gun got leaded and choked and my shoulder was black and bruised from the kicking of the gun. About ten a yank yelled out and wanted to know what troops we were, and little Johnny Williams, from Clinton county yelled back to him that we were 'War Democrats, come and take us' but the yanks were getting enough of us and called for a truce which we agreed to. The truce gave me a chance to clean my gun, but they came out of their pits and we met them halfway, talked and traded knives, coffee and tobacco, and finally had dinner together between the lines. After dinner we went back to our pits and shot at everything that wore blue coats just as vigorous as we did in the morning."
War Democrats was the element of the Democratic Party that supported the war, as opposed to the Copperhead Democrats who were anti-war and would have allowed the Confederacy to secede.
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Old May 2, 2010, 03:26 PM   #357
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This is from Gerald Earley's, I Belonged to the 116th: A Narrative of the 116th Ohio Volunteer Infantry During the Civil War, pages 31-32:

Quote:
"Soon after the 116th arrived in Romney, a party of twenty-five guerrillas made away with a shipment of mail bound for the railroad. Carelessness on the part of the cavalry escort was blamed for the loss. The men were no doubt outraged to think their personal letters to their wives and sweethearts were in the hands of the enemy. The mail at best was lost; at worst it would serve as an amusement to the guerrillas.

"A few days later a soldier, from Company I, presented himself to headquarters with a plan to solve the mail theft problem. The soldier asked to be allowed to act as a scout to gather information about the whereabouts of the guerrillas. With his help, he told the officers, the army would have advance information about the guerrilla movements and thus be able to avoid another guerrilla attack on the mail. This seemed like a very brave offer considering the danger and the risk involved in his plan. An officer asked if he could deceive the enemy about his true identity in the event of his capture. The soldier considered briefly and then replied, "I guess I can. I have deceived everyone I have ever had anything to do with so far in life." Headquarters was convinced, and the solider was sent off on his "scouting mission." A few days later, the "scout" was found in a house near the picket line where he had all the while been "sparking" a girl. According to Colonel Wildes, "His authority to scout was revoked but his ability to "deceive" remained unquestioned ever aftewards."
I picked up my copy at Petersburg National Battlefield Park last week.
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Old May 2, 2010, 04:03 PM   #358
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Final entry from Gerald Earley's book listed above.

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"On May 22, 1864, General Hunter issued General Order Number 29 through Assistant Adjutant General Halpine. The order exhorted the men to do their best to support General Grant's campaign and gave instructions for preparing the army for the march. Hunter ordered the army to subsist off the country but placed restrictions of foraging. Among other things the order called for the men to carry an additional pair of shoes and 100 rounds of ammunition. The problem was that many men were doing without shoes. In fact, Quartermaster Sergeant Ezra Walker reported that 175 pairs were needed for the 116th, and Walker was forced to look for knapsacks because the regiment had sent them back to Martinsburg on orders from Sigel. Captain Keys was sent to Martinsburg to retrieve the stored knapsacks and found that they had been lost or destroyed. While Keys ordered new knapsacks, Walker was able to gather about 200 knapsacks from other regiments so the 116th could carry all the extra ammunition. On the subsequent march an officer riding by the 116th asked, 'What troops are these?' The reply came from Jim Hall of Company A, 'Troops! This is Hunter's ammunition train.'"
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Old July 24, 2010, 12:26 AM   #359
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Here's something about the Mexican Revolution.

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"The Chinese proved apt scholars in this grim art of war and in a month they were ready to fight, as fighting goes in Mexico. So one fine day, when the Villista commisary was running low and there was a scarcity of the"dinero" of the realm they set out on a voyage to levy tribute, loot and kill, [...] the Orientals were elected to take the lead in going against the invaders. The Chinese are not given to wasting anything, not even ammunition. They permitted the Villa contingency, which outnumbered them about six to one, to come within easy range. Then they opened up, and just kept on pumping bullets into the Villistas until two-third of their number had been wiped out. [...] From that day on Pancho Villa has had a price on every Chinamen's head in Mexico."
Excellent fire discipline was displayed here.

Many Chinese in Mexico threw their lot in with General Pershing when he led a punitive expedition against Pancho Villa. They became the cooks, laundrymen and most importantly, the mule skinners who supported Pershing's columns. Knowing that they would be executed by Villa if left behind, he brought them with him when he recrossed the border back into the United States and had them housed on an army base until he could get a special law passed that granted them permanent residency (despite the Chinese Exclusion Act). They became known as Pershing's Chinese.

The Chinese who stayed behind (because they were not participants of Pershing's campaign) were executed, along with their Mexican wives and their children, by Villa and his men. It was genocide south of the border.

From Tang, Irwin A, Asian Texans: Our History and Our Lives, Austin: The It Works, 2007, p 114-115. The Chinese joined los Federales after 300 of their number were massacred in Torreon (May, 1911). The company involved was recruited in Chihuahua City, NW of Torreon. Adapted from "Planting the Celestial Republic in San Antonio," San Antonio Express, June 17, 1917.
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Old July 25, 2010, 06:33 PM   #360
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This excerpt is from the same book.

Quote:
The 1880 U.S. census shows 136 Chinese Texans, 72 of them living in Robertson County, in the farmlands around Calvert and Hearne. While some of the Chinese American men of Robertson County had wives and family in China, others married Texas women. Among those, some married white women, and most married African American women. Of the latter, there was a name named Bar Low, who expanded his name to Bar Low Williams. The name change did not represent a complete assimilation. When discussing the after-life with a Baptist preacher, Bar Low Williams declared, "I don't think I want to go to your heaven, so high, high, up there in the cold, cold sky. Your hells sounds better, warm and not so far away."
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Old July 30, 2010, 08:10 AM   #361
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Abe Lincoln told this story

Lincoln told this story after he heard that Hood's army was defeated at Nashville.

Quote:
"A certain rough, rude, and bullying man in our county had a bull-dog, which was as rude, rough, and bullying as his master. Dog and man were the terror of the neighborhood. Nobody dared to touch either for fear of the other. But a crafty neighbor laid a plan to dispose of the dog. Seeing Slocum and his dog plodding along the road one day, the dog a little ahead, this neighbor, who was prepared for the occasion, took from his pocket a junk of meat in which he had concealed a big charge of powder, to which was fastened a deadwood slow-match. This he lighted, and then threw into the road. The dog gave one gulp at it, and the whole thing disappeared down his throat. He trotted on a few steps, when there was a sort of smothered roar, and the dog blew up in fragments, a fore-quarter being lodged in a neighboring tree, a hind-quarter on the roof of a cabin, and the rest scattered along the dusty road. Slocum came up and viewed the remains. Then, more in sorrow than in anger, he said, 'Bill war a good dog; but as a dog, I reckon his usefulness is over.'"

Lincoln then added, "Hood's army was a good army. We have been very afraid of it. But, as an army, I reckon its usefulness is gone."
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Old August 2, 2010, 09:46 PM   #362
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Another Lincoln line

I've been reading Dr. John Sotos' book, The Physical Lincoln. Sotos' is a cardiologist trained at John Hopkins. His book raises the issue that Lincoln's misshapen body was not attributable to Marfan but to a rare form of cancer, MEN2B. The first chapters discusses the case for Marfan and why Lincoln didn't have Marfan. Other chapters examines each of Lincoln's physical attributes through eyewitness accounts, photographs, casts of Lincoln's hands, several life masks and his death mask.

Let's not get into a discussion whether Lincoln was the debbil incarnate or a sainted martyr. He's the dude on the penny and the five dollar bill. Good enough?

Well, here's something Lincoln said that Dr. Sotos quoted (on page 263):

Quote:
"If a white man wants to marry a negro woman, let him do it - if the negro woman can stand it."
Many states at the time had laws against miscegenation (mixed race marriages). These have long since been swept from our (law) books and into history's overflowing files of forgotten and unjust laws.
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Old August 3, 2010, 06:22 PM   #363
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Not a blackpowder tale

So, when I was in the Old Dominion State attending The Company of Military Historians Conference in April, we visited the Smithsonian Aviation Museum near Dulles Airport. They had Enola Gay, the B-29 that help light up Hiroshima displayed there. There were numerous WW II fighter aircraft including a Focke Wolfe 190 fighter. Anyhow, they also had a book signing event. The book was, "Hell Hawks! The Untold Story of the American Fliers Who Savaged Hitler's Wehrmacht" by Robert F. Door and Thomas D. Jones. It's about the three squadrons of the 365th Fighter Group of the Ninth Air Force. Unlike the Eighth, which was a strategic air force, the Ninth was a tactical air force that supported the ground operations. At Normandy, the plastered the German convoys rushing to reinforce Rommel. During Operation Cobra, the blasted a way for Patton's army to break out and encircle the Germans. They bombed and strafed the retreating columns as they sought to escape the Falaise Gap and provided support when the Allies chased the Wehrmacht out of France. I bought a copy and started reading it recently.

If you remember Operation Bodenplatte, that was the German Luftwaffe's early morning strike in Dec. 1944 to destroy the AAF on the ground. About 850 fighters took off near dawn and streaked westward with orders to strafe the American fighters before they could even warm up their engines. An airforce was destroyed, but it wasn't the AAF. The Luftwaffe suffered 40% loss in aircraft. Worse, 234 irreplaceable fighter pilots had been killed, wounded or captured. General der Jagdfleiger Adolph Galland lamented that it was the death of the German fighter arm.

One German fighter pilot who didn't return was Oberfeldwebel (Master Sergeant) Stefan Kohl. When captured, Kohl believed that they had struck a devastating blow against the Americans. His belief was not without basis as the airfield was littered with burning P-47s. Cocky and self-assured, he jerked his thumb towards the wreckage and asked his American captors of the 386 Squadron that he just struck, "What do you think of that?" Unable to deny the destruction, Maj. Bob Brooking stomped out angrily without saying a word.

What Kohl didn't know was at that time of the war, American factories were producing more planes than we had pilots for. From the depots around Paris, fresh Thunderbolts were rushed to the front to replace all the destroyed or damaged planes. A few days later, the 386 was operational again. Brookings then fetched Kohl from his jail cell and pointing to the airfield asked Kohl, "What do you think of that?"

Kohl was stunned with what he saw. Rows of shiny, brand new Thunderbolts lined the field. Energetic crews were working on them and preparing them for their mission. Realizing that industrial capacity of America could not be matched by Germany, a humbled Kohl replied, "That is what is beating us."

The book is a good read. Check it out.
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Old August 3, 2010, 07:28 PM   #364
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From Hell Hawks, page 186

Here's a funny little incident that followed the Luftwaffe's raid on the 386th Squadron's airfield.

Quote:
After the wounded were taken care of, Mac McWhorter watched Doc Smead vigorously digging a foxhole. Eventually Smead was down seven or eight feet, dirt still flying from his shovel. Coleonel Stecker noticed his work, and leaning over the hole yelled: "Doc, if you go down another foot I'm going to put you down as AWOL!"
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Old August 8, 2010, 05:42 PM   #365
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Not a funny story

But something useful when you're in the field and you've got a partridge or quail to cook.

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A little while later I got another partridge and was wondering what to do with it when I encountered a Russian woman who had a few birds of her own to prepare. The Russian women would snare the partridges. She told me to watch her and she would show me exactly what to do, and how to cook it as well.

I asked her if she wanted me to clean and pluck the bird while she prepared other things, and to my delight, she said no. Instead, she produced a small knife and quickly had the entrails out of my bird and hers too. She also cut the heads and feet off. Everything else, feathers and all, were still there and she started to mix some dirt and water to make mud. The birds were wrapped in this mud,, completely covered so the partridges looked like simple balls of mud. then the mud balls, each containing a partridge, were thrown into the fire that was burning outside her house. At that point she told me to go away for awhile and to come back in an hour or forty-five minutes.

My thoughts at this time were not exactly pleasant. I didn't like the idea of cooking birds which were still feathered. The thought of that mud was not the most pleasant either because dirt must be associated with dirty. This was not the meal I looked upon with the inviting senses I generall had, hungry or otherwise.

When I returned, the Russian woman said the birds should be ready, I was right on time. the balls of mud looked even worse than when I left. They looked like they were all burned, hard dry balls of charred earth. The woman used a stick and rolled them out of the fire, wearing a big smile all the time.

I wonder if I was being tricked. Russians were quite capable of doing dirty tricks. I would not have been too surprised to find out that this woman had destroyed her own partridges just to prevent me from enjoying my own. But those thought were wrong, she was teaching me a great thing.

She let the balls of mud cool for just a few moments and then she gave each mud ball a whack, just hitting it with her hand. That cracked the mud. Then she peeled the dried mud away and all the feathers and skin went with it. The only thing that was left was all that beautiful meat. She lifted the cook partridge out of the mud preparation and handed it to me.

By that time I knew she wouldn't try to poison me or play any dirty tricks so I tore a piece of meat from the bird and ate it. That was the very best fowl I ever ate, far better than chicken. It was so good! To say the least, I enjoyed that partridge far more than I expected to.
This was copied from H. Jung's book, But Not for the Fuehrer, pages 250-251. It is an account of a German soldier who, as an engineer, was assigned to the Seventh Panzer Division in Russia. It was Rommel's old unit that helped him earn fame in France. The author states that he also used this technique to cook chicken or pork that way.

BTW, I'm told that the mountain folk of West Virginia cook chicken this way too.
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Old September 11, 2010, 09:30 AM   #366
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From Mark Twain's 1869 travel book (so there's no copyright protection on it now), The Innocents Abroad. Twain caught a steamship to Europe with intent of visiting Egypt. He stops in Paris where he sees the emperor, Napoleon III, the nephew of the great conqueror, Napoleon Bonaparte.

Quote:
Presently there was a sound of distant music; in another minute a pillar of dust came moving slowly toward us; a moment more, and then, with colors flying and a grand crash of military music, a gallant array of cavalrymen emerged from the dust and came down a street on a gentle trot. After them came a long line of artillery; then ore cavalry, in splendid uniforms; and then their Imperial Majesties, Napoleon III. and Abdul Aziz. The vast concourse of the people swung their hats and shouted-the windows and housetops in the wide vicinity burst into a snow-storm of waving handkerchiefs, and the wavers of the same mingled their cheers with those of the masses below. It was a stirring spectacle.

But the two central figures that claimed all my attention. Was ever such a contrast set up before a multitude then? Napoleon, in military uniform - a long-bodied, short-legged man, fiercely mustached, old, wrinkled, with eyes half closed, and such a deep, crafty, scheming expression about them! Napoleon, bowing ever so gently to the loud plaudits, and watching everything and everybody with his cat-eyes from under his depressed hat brim, as if to discover any sign that those cheers were not heartfelt and cordial.

Abdul Aziz, absolute lord of the Ottoman Empire, - clad in dark green European clothes, almost without ornament or insignia of rank; a red Turkish fez on his head - a short, stout, dark man, black-bearded, black-eyed, stupid, unprepossessing-a man whose whole appearance somehow suggested that if he had only a cleaver in his hand and a white apron on, one would not be at all surprised to hear him say: "A mutton roast to-day, or will you have a nice porterhouse steak?"
(taken from pages 119-120).

I guess he was the original Abdul the Butcher. Anyway, Twain earlier stopped in Tangier.
Quote:
Murder is punished with death. A short time ago three murderers were taken beyond the city wall and shot. Moorish guns are not good, and neither are Moorish marksmen. In this instance, they set up the poor criminals at long range, like so many targets, and practised on them-kept them hopping about and dodging bullets for half an hour before they managed to drive the center.
Taken from page 73-74.

Thank you MalH for recommending this book. I got it out of the library and carried it with me to Egypt.
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Old September 12, 2010, 06:56 PM   #367
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Mark Twain sees an enchanting girl at the opera

The other book I carried on my recent trip was Twain's, A Tramp Abroad (c 1898). Tramp in those days meant to hike as in the Civil War song, Tramp! Tramp! Tramp! The boys are marching... Anyway, Twain decided to go to Germany to study art and he attends the Opera. This excerpt is from page 49:

Quote:
A gentle, old-maidish person and a sweet young girl of seventeen sat right in front of us that night at the Mannheim opera. These people talked between the acts, and I understood them, though I understood nothing that was uttered on the distant stage. At first they were guarded in their talks, but after they heard my agent and me conversing in English they dropped their reserve, and I picked up many of their little confidences; no, I mean many of her little confidences-meaning the elder party-for the young girl only listened, and gave assenting nods, but never said a word. How pretty she was, and how sweet she was! I wished she would speak. But evidently she was absorbed in her own thoughts, her own young girl dreams, and found a dearer pleasure in silence. But she was not dreaming sleepy dreams-no, she was wide awake, alive, alert; and she could not sit still for a moment. She was an enchanting study. Her gown was of a soft white silky stuff that clung to her round young figure like a fish's skin, and it was rippled over with the gracefullest little fringy films of lace; she had deep, tender eyes, with long, curved lashes; and she had peachy cheeks, and a dimpled chin, and such a dear little dewy rosebud of a mouth; and she was so dove-like, so pure, and so gracious, so sweet and bewitching. For long hours I did mightily wish she would speak. And at last she did; the red lips parted, and out leaped her thought, and with such a guileless and pretty enthusiasm too: 'Auntie, I just know I've got five hundred fleas on me!'
Mark Twain was certainly an accomplished writer.
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Old September 16, 2010, 06:39 PM   #368
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Mark Twain visits Pompeii and sees a Roman soldier

The fellow has been dead for several centuries of course. From page 41 of Vol. II, The Innocents Abroad, we have:

Quote:
But perhaps the most poetical thing Pompeii has yielded to modern research, was that grand figure of a Roman soldier, clad in complete armor; who, true to his duty, true to his proud name of a soldier of Rome, and full of the stern courage which had given to that name its glory, stood to his post by the city gates, erect and unflinching, till the hell that raged around him burned out the dauntless spirit it could not conquer.

We never read of Pompeii but we think of that soldier; we cannot write of Pompeii without the natural impulse to grant to him the mention he so well deserves. Let us remember that he was a soldier - not a policeman - and so, praise him. Being a soldier, he stayed - because the warrior instinct forbade him to fly. Had he been a policeman he would have stayed, also - because he would have been asleep.
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Old September 17, 2010, 06:18 PM   #369
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Curing night blindness

I'm currently reading Panzer Destroyer: Memoirs of a Red Army Tank Commander by Vasiliy Krysov. It is published by Pen & Sword (UK). We are fortunate that more Russian memoirs are appearing in the bookstores. Until recently, almost everything we got was from the German perspective. Panzer Destroyer is the memoir of a Red Army Officer who commanded a KV-1, then a SU-122 howitzer armed assault gun, a SU-85 (the anti-tank equivalent of the SU-122) and finally at T-34/85. He fought at Stalingrad before being transferred to fight at Kursk. I'm only 1/3 the way through, but it's an exciting read as he gives graphic accounts of his battle against German tanks, anti-tank and infantry. His assessment of various pieces of armor of both sides gives a fresh perspective to ponder. It's well worth reading and you can either buy it or see if your local library has a copy.

Here's an excerpt:

Quote:
Already at daybreak, walking past Levanov's machine, I saw that for some reason the commander himself was on watch. I decided not to saying anything. Then around noon the officers were summoned to headquarters for a meeting in regard to combat preparations. As I was on my way to the meeting, I watched as Levanov stumbled on the level ground and almost fell over - the commander was practically sleep walking.
'Ivan Petrovich, didn't you get any sleep last night?' I asked.
'No, I didn't.'
'Why not?'
'I was guarding the self-propelled gun.'
'Why? You have four men in your crew, why were you on duty?'
'They all say they have night-blindness.'
'Have they been to the medical unit?'
'They have, but there's nothing to treat it, not even brewer's yeast.'
'I'll cure them today! - and with that, I ended the conversation.
We went to the headquarters and attended the meeting. Once it became completely dark, I woke up Plaksin: 'Vasya, go and see Levanov's guys, tell the men quietly that they've delivered some seized German honey to our machine, so let them come around with mess tins.'
Plaskin left, and I took a glance at the luminous face of my watch - its hands were indicating that it was just after midnight. A warm drizzle was falling, the sky was heavily overcast, and it was so dark that it seemed that I'd been left alone in the whole world. A wave of grief for my fallen comrades came over me.
The rapidly approaching sound of cracking twigs and rattling mess tins snapped me out of my distressing thoughts - aha, they were coming at a run! In the inky darkness of the night, you couldn't see your fingers in front of your face, much less the tangled deadfalls lying in their path, but they were rushing head over heels, nimbly leaping over fallen trunks and snags in the path. They ran up to the assault gun and suddenly caught sight of me! They were taken aback and stopped in their tracks, disheartened.
'This is what you're going to get, instead of honey! I growled as I shook my fist at them. 'I'll show you honey and night-blindness. You'll be telling your grandchildren, so they'll never have it!'
They hung their heads. I added harshly: 'Get out of here and go do your duty.'
That's how I cured them of their night-blindness! With that, the incident was over. Later I spoke to Levanov privately about the extra ration of honey and he began to share it with his crew.
The author liked the SU-85 better than the SU-122. The higher velocity gun of the SU-85 gave him a better edge against German armor. He also like the SU-85 better than the T-34/85. The latter was taller and one ton heavier (so it was slower). To fight a Tiger, he either disabled (shoot the tracks) or shot between the mantlet and the turret, and finally, tried to get a flank shot. His battery once fired a four gun salvo at a single Panther at 800 meters. The crew bailed out, holding their ears (must have sounded like Quasi-modo in that Panther) and some men recovered the Panther and drove it back to the Russian side. They were disappointed to learn that despite four hits from their 85mm guns, all of them failed to penetrate the Panther's front glacis plate.
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Old September 25, 2010, 09:59 PM   #370
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Back on Civil War track

Recently an older Civil War buff passed away and I went to his son's home to pick up five boxes of his books. Most I'll share with members of the Civil War round tables that I belong too. One caught my attention though. It is Glenn W. Sunderland's Five Days to Glory. Based on the letters of 59th Illinois Pvt. Tighlman Jones, he joined at age 15 and fought at Pea Ridge, the Siege of Cornith, Perryville, Stone River (Murfreeboro), Knoxville, Atlanta and five days before his discharge, at Nashville where Hood's Army of Tennessee was crushed by Thomas. Jones unfortunately was wounded and did not survive his wound. A company commander in regiment recounts a tale of soldierly looting and avoidance of detection.

Quote:
We encamped on a large creek bottom and there was a good many Missouri possums (as the boys call the hogs here) running through the timber and some of the boys were rather hungry. They came to me and asked me for my pistol to go and kill some possums. I gave it to them making them promise to not let the Colonel or any one know that I knew that they were killing possum, so presently in they came with some fine skinned hams and ribs. But the General had heard the firing of the pistols as my company was not the only one engaged in the sport and they made rather much noise. He sent the Colonel to see what was up so the Colonel came along one of my company's fires and saw one of the boys picking a bone before the boy saw him, so the Colonel asked him what he was eating. He said hog. Then the Colonel inquired where he got it. He said he bought it from another soldier in another regiment. Then the Colonel went into a tent where they had a ham but the boys saw him coming and shoved the ham out under the tent so the Colonel saw nothing and he started around the tent and the boys saw him again and shoved it through into the tent again, so the Colonel had to go without making any discovery.
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Old October 29, 2010, 04:37 AM   #371
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He's no soldier

We all know of Boxer's call me senator. Here's a spoof at this Link.

There is an Abe Lincoln precedent (not president). Lincoln the attorney was representing an army officer who was accused of assaulting an old man. Lincoln was giving his opening statement when he was interrupted by his client.

Lincoln: "There is an indictment against a soldier for assaulting an old man."

Client: "I am no soldier. I am an officer."

Lincoln, unfazed, corrected himself. "I beg your pardon. Gentlemen of the jury, there is an indictment against an officer, who is no soldier, for assaulting an old man."
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Old October 29, 2010, 11:38 AM   #372
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Jacob the Goose

Noted Canadian military historian Rene Chartrand had his submission on Jacob the Goose published in The Fall 2010 issue of The Company of Military Historians. Page 231 has the story of Jacob the Goose. I'll summarize it here.

During the Canadian Rebellion (1837-38), the 2nd Coldstream Guards was sent to Quebec where it became part of the city's garrison. Sentries were posted around the city and Guardsman and ex-farmboy John Kemp stood his post on what would otherwise seem a typical boring day. As he paced, he noticed a fine white goose wandering about his post. Pacing back and forth as sentries do, Kemp kept an eye on the goose when he spied that a large, brown fox had stalked up close to the unwary goose. Kemp could not shoot (the fox, not the goose) as it would sound the alarm. Suddenly the goose noticed the fox and making panicked sounds, flapped its wings. It fled between Kemp's boots with the fox in hot pursuit. A quick thrust of Kemp's bayonet put an end to the fox. With that, the goose bonded with the guardsmen and always accompanied them on post. They, in turn, named it Jacob.

One day Kemp was on sentry duty again walking his post. Two knife armed would be assassins were sneaking on Kemp. Jacob spotted them when they rushed towards Kemp. Flapping his wings and squawking out an alarm, Jacob counter charged. Kemp spun on his heels, saw the assassins, raised his muskets and fired. His fellow sentries responded to his assistance and the assassins fled. Jacob was heralded as a hero by the regiment and the officers had a golden collar fitted around his neck. When the guards returned to London in 1842, Jacob accompanied them. He became a favorite of children and was said to be approached (not poached) even by the Duke of Wellington.

For anyone who is a member of The Company, my article on Pemberton's Sharpshooters begins on page 223.
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Old October 29, 2010, 12:32 PM   #373
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Correspondence between Lincoln and Secretary of War Stanton

Quote:
Dear Stanton: Appoint this man chaplain in the army. A. Lincoln.

Dear Mr. Lincoln: He is not a preacher. E. M. Stanton.

Dear Mr. Stanton: He is now. A. Lincoln.

Dear Mr. Lincoln: But there is no vacancy. E. M. Stanton.

Dear. Mr. Stanton: Appoint him Chaplain-at-large. A. Lincoln.

Dear. Mr. Lincoln: There is no warrant for that. E. M. Stanton.

Dear Stanton: Appoint him anyway. A. Lincoln.

Dear Mr. Lincoln: I will not. E. M. Stanton.
Can you imagine that happening today?
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Old October 29, 2010, 12:37 PM   #374
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So I've been reading Jennison's The Humorous Lincoln

Final Lincoln story.

General McClellan grew tired of Lincoln's intermeddling. Lincoln was growing wearing of McClellan's inactivity and was urging McClellan onward to attack the Confederates. To mock the president, McClellan sent trivia.

Quote:
President Abraham Lincoln, Washington, D.C.

We have just captured six cows. What shall we do with them?

George B. McClellan
Lincoln, being witty, responded:

Quote:
George B. McClellan, Army of the Potomac:

As to the six cows captured - milk them.

A. Lincoln
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Old October 31, 2010, 12:06 AM   #375
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My grandfather was born in 1870, in Genoa, Italy. being a stone mason, he found work building the fortifications in Alsace-Lorane. When they were digging the foundations for the house where my dad was born..1908, they came across blue wool cloth, brass buttons, and finally human bones with the blood still on them..this was from the 1870 Franco-Prussion war. My granparents ran a little resturant there, one day a big German officer came in and ordered rabbit with corn-meal mush. Grandpa said to come back in an hour or so. Grandpa not wanting to lose a paying customer had not told him he had no rabbit...He went out to alley in back & found big tomcat. After the meal, as he was lighting his pipe and relaxing over a final glass of wine, he said that was the best rabbit he had ever had! In 1912 grandma with 4 little kids under 6 years came to this country on the Ancona. She couldn't speak a word of english (grandpa had come over in 1910). During WW1, the Ancona was converted to a troop ship & was sunk off North African coast by Austrian U boat...Captined by Von Trap. I never did get to meet my grandfather, he having drowned in 1933. Grandma lived to see men walk on the moon, she died at 92.
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