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Old May 9, 2005, 09:07 PM   #76
4V50 Gary
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Early anti-tobacco movement (and you thought you had it hard)

I'm not a smoker and I don't like it. However, the following is taken from Conner Prairie's publication, Closer Look, and has the historical perspective on tobacco.

"From chewing tobacco (commonly called 'the chaw') to snuffing to smoking cigarettes, pipes, cigars, tobacco has been prevalent in American society for centuries. While tobacco use is still a strong cause for many, the impetus behind today's anti-smoking campagins differs greatly from that of the late 18th and early 19th century.

One of the first Americans to publish a work warning about the use of tobacco was Dr. Benjamin Rush. However, it was the moral flag that Rush was waving, not health. After the Revolutionary War, anti-tobacco sentiment began to grow in the United States on the basis of morality issues. Tobacco and alcohol were often paired as evil equals - precursors to gambling, prostitution and other social impurities.

By the 1830s, anti-tobacco activists were starting to emerge in Indiana. However, it wasn't until the mid-19th century that health concerns associated with tobacco surfaced. The effects of tobacco on the body and its strong addictive properties became widely discussed. These remain core issues in today's anti-tobacco campaign."


Gee, I didn't know that tobacco use led to gambling and prostitution. The following sidebar is also of interest. It is taken from Deborah Gage's and Madeline Marsh's, Tobacco Containers & Accessories

"In many countries, harsh punishments were imposed on those who indulged in tobacco. In Russia, Tsar Michael executed those caught smoking more than once and cut off the noses of snuff takers. In Turkey, smokers had their pipes driven through their cheeks and noses and were paraded on donkeys through the streets of Constantinople; and in Berne tobacco was officially added to the Ten Commandments - curiously included as 'Thou shalt not commit adultery, or take tobacco' - and smokers were liable to public prosecution."

Pretty harsh penalties even by our modern standards.
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Old May 9, 2005, 10:16 PM   #77
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Damn and I thought our local Austin Health Gestapo was a pain in the ass. Makes me glad I gave that sh*t up.
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Old May 10, 2005, 09:29 AM   #78
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Quote:
Tobacco and alcohol were often paired as evil equals - precursors to gambling, prostitution and other social impurities.
I actually starting drinking and smoking AFTER I started gambling and engaging in prostitution and other social impurities.
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Old May 10, 2005, 12:07 PM   #79
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I think that the anti smoking hysteria is still the same old moral saw, but now health and morality are seen as the same thing. I'm not saying that smoking is good for you--it's pretty clearly not. I'm saying that health is used as a bludgeon against groups that are not socially approved of--typically lower class non-whites. You see the same thing with obesity and marijuana, of which there is very little actual evidence of harmfulness. Our puritan culture just has a real problem with folks doing anything for pure enjoyment. After all, there *must* be some moral superiority to never having any fun and working all the time--otherwise *why do it?*

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Old May 12, 2005, 06:48 PM   #80
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Pass the cup - not.

Turn on the telly and look at any sitcom. The home is typically middle class and has plenty of nice furnishings. Now, here's a tidbit from the 1850s.

"A couple of years ago I made a pilgrimage to my great-grandfather's former home in Westford, Conn., in company with a kinsman over eighty years old - the last of his generation. It was a very comfortable house, with four rooms and a leanto, with a stone chimney. My great-grandfather lived there as early as 1750. My cousin called my attention to the old well near the door where, by the curb, there was a large stone hollowed out like a trough, he said the 'men folks' as they came from the field, would fill that trough with a bucket or two of water from which they would 'souse' themselves thoroughly, thus not disturbing the goodwife. And of course in the rustic neighborhoods the old customs existed long after they were abandoned in the larger villages and towns.

"You will hardly believe, when I say it, but I distinctly remember as a very samll boy, going to a house in this same primitive town of Westford where we were invited to a dinner. The only drinking vessel on the table was one of the quart Staffordshire mugs(would that I had that mug in my collection today) which was filled with water, milk or cider, I have really forgotten which, and passed around the table at the demand of any thirsty one. The family consisted of a man and his wife, an ancient grandmother, and several children with not too clean faces. I couldn't refuse the mug when urged upon me and selecting a place on the brim at the right of the handle, I drank, when one of the children exclaimed, 'See mar! He's got tranny's place.' Of course that practice in this instance was possibly nearly a century out of period." :barf:
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Old May 20, 2005, 09:35 PM   #81
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Holt Collier - the Daniel Boone or Davy Crockett of Mississippi

Holt Collier served as a member of the 9th Texas Cavalry, but the one thing that distinguishes Holt Collier was the fact he was a slave. Collier followed his master, Thomas Hinds, into the Civil War. At Green River Bridge in Tennessee, Holt Collier went from being camp servant to a soldier on the side of the Confederacy. Collier served in the Confederacy until the war ended in 1865.
After the war, Collier returned to Greenville, Mississippi for a time. He went west to Texas only to later return home. Holt began providing wild game for meat to loggers, railroaders, and levee construction crews. Being an expert shot, he was able to support himself by the game he provided to these different workers in the area.
His greatest claim to fame was the bear hunt he led President Theodore Roosevelt on in the Mississippi Delta. From that now famous hunt began the saga of the Teddy Bear.

This is shamelessly lifted from Holt Collier Camp Holt Collier Camp I learned of him from a newspaper article that was passed around the Peninsula Civil War Round Table. Didn't get to keep the article but I did learn enough about the man to be very impressed by him.

As a slave boy of 10, his master gave him a shotgun and instructed him to kill the varmints. He did but complained that it hurt his shoulder. His master suggested that he shoot from the other shoulder. Because of this, Holt learned to shoot shotgun, rifle and pistol with either hand. Holt became so proficient that he began winning shooting matches and more importantly, bets for his master. At age 14 his masters marched off to war and with tears running down his cheeks at the prospect of being left behind and separated from his masters for the first time, Holt begged them to take him. They demurred stating he was too young. He watched them ride over the horizon and devised a plan.

That night he left the house and went down to the dock. There he spied his masters and learned what boat they were on. He met a friendly boatman whose advice he solicited. The boatman suggested that he grab some baggage and carry it aboard. No one thought anything of Holt as he picked up a bag, hefted it onto his shoulder and followed other boatman aboard and down the hold. There he stayed the night. When the boat reached its destination, Holt popped up and greeted his masters. They figured that he was too determined to stay behind and consented to allow him to remain as a manservant.

The regiment went to Bowling Green, Kentucky. A battle was brewing and they marched off to meet the Yankees, leaving Holt behind in camp to watch after the sick. Holt didn't remain. He found a cartridge box and strapped it on. Taking a musket, he found them in battle and took his place in the regiment. Everyone was too busy fighting to scold him and Holt was firing away, reloading, and firing again as if he was back on the plantation. He suddenly heard his master laughing behind him. He turned and saw his master who was bemused at the sight of little Holt shooting at the Yankees. The master went off to yell at some men and Holt kept shooting. If his master said nothing, no one else had a right to say anything to him.

The battle won, Holt marched back to camp with his gun. One soldier asked the N****** what he was going to do with it. Another soldier chimed in saying that he was talking to a soldier and to leave him alone. That did it. From that point on, Holt was no longer a servant but a soldier. While never formally enlisted, he continued to serve as a soldier until the war ended.

Holt remained loyal to his masters and is suspected of killing a Union officer who injured his master after the war. He became one of the best bear hunters in Mississippi and earned for himself the nickname the Daniel Boone or Davy Crockett of Mississippi. He slew over 3k bears in his life and at times used a knife to do so. That's one though hombre!
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Old June 1, 2005, 07:39 PM   #82
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Laws we ought to revisit and update...

Massachusetts Act for Regulating the Militia: "Every listed Soldier, and other Householder shall be always provided with a wellfixt Firelock Musket, or Musket of Bastard-Musket bore, the Barrel not less than three foot and an half long, or other good Fire Arms to the satisfaction of the Commission Officers of the Company; a Cartouch Box: one Pound of good Powder: Twenty Bullets for his Gun, and twelve Flynts; a good Sword or Cutlass; a Worm, & priming Wire, fit for his Gun, on Penalty of six shillings..." From the Boston News-Letter, Feb. 7-14, 1733-4.

Six shillings was a considerable sum in 1733-4. Wheat was 6s a bushel or bread at 22 s per hundred.

Many of us modernly would meet this requirement except we'd show up with a good handgun, a semi-auto rifle or scoped rifle and a survival knife. In fact, I would hazard to guess that many of us could arm a squad and thereby gain our rank of high corporal.
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Old June 1, 2005, 08:00 PM   #83
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Clearance Sale! Everything must go. All sales final.

"On Thursday the 6 of February at three of the clock Afternoon, will be sold by Publick Vendue at the Exchange Tavern, about one hundred Canvice & Ticken Tents, Poles, Mallets, and Pins to them, about five hundred Pick-Axes, fifty Axes and Hatchets, about eight hundred Tomahawks or small Hatchets, about three hundred Spades and Bills, a parcell of Shovels, Wheelbarrows, Handbarrow's, Baskets of Speaks and Nails, all to be put and sold in Lots, and to be seen at the place of sale the Morning before the Sale begins: Also a very fine Negro Woman. - Boston Gazette, Jan. 27-Feb. 3, 1728-9."

I've mixed feelings about this ad. First, we're all born almost 250 years too late to bid. Second, while I don't condone slavery, how the heck does a "Negro Woman" get mixed into a sale of military surplus? Glad it's history and not the present (though I'd love to get in on those Tomahawks).
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Old June 4, 2005, 08:07 AM   #84
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For sale... One Breech-loader in America, circa 1756.

"Breech-Loading Gun. Made by John Cookson, and to be sold by him at his House in Boston: a handy Gun of 9 Pound and a half Weight; having a Place convenient to hold 9 Bullets, and Powder for 9 Charges and 9 Primings; the said Gun will fire 9 Times distinctly, as quick, or slow as you please, with one turn the Handle of said Gun, it doth charge the Gun with Powder and Bullet, and doth prime and shut the pan, and cock the Gun. All these Motions ae performed immediately at once, by one turn with the said Handle. Note, there is Nothing put into the Muzzle of the Gun as we charge other Guns." Ad found in Boston Gazette, April 12, 1756.

Too bad the price isn't listed. This would have been the assault rifle of its day and if Braddock's men were trained to use it (and it could take a bayonet), they might not have been so handily defeated at Battle of the Monogahela.

Recall that this was pre-industrial revolution and that the parts were exactingly fitted by hand. One slip-up and the powder magazine, which was contained in the stock, and you have an Eighteenth Century Ka-Boom!
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Old June 9, 2005, 09:45 PM   #85
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Rambling antidotes

"For deafness and slow hearing: The juyce of Radishes, fat of a mole, eele, or serpent, juyce of an Onyon soaked in Sperrit of Wine and roasted, essences of a mans or Bullocks gall, are all very excellent. In difficulty of hearing, distilled Boyes Urine is good; but better is the Oyl of Carawayes" - Compendium of Physick (Salmon), London, 1671

"Falling-Sickness. In Children. Ashes of the dung of black Cow given to new born Infant, doth not only preserve from the Epilepsia, but also cure it. In those of ripe Age. The lives of 40 water-Frogs brought into a powder, and given at five times (in Spirit of Rosemary or Lavender) morning and evening, will cure, the sick not eating nor drinking two hours before nor after it." (same Compendium of Physick)

"Cow's Dung. This seems to be of a hot penetrating Nature; and is experienc'd to do good in Erysipelous Swellings. This Cataplasm is also highly commended by some in the Gout. Pigeon's Dung is sometimes ordered in Cataplasms, to be applied to the soles of the Feet in malignant Fevers and Deliriums. Hog's Dung. Is also used by Country People to stop Bleeding at the Nose; by being externally applied cold to the Nostrils." English Dispensatory (Quincy), London, 1742.

Earth Worms. These are often used in Compositions for cooling and Cleansing the Viscera. They are good in Inflammations and Tubercles of the Lungs and in Affections of the Reins and Urinary Passages. Syrup of Snails. Take Garden-snails early in the morning, while the dew is upon them, a pound; take off their shells, slit them, and with a half of pound of fine Sugar put into a Bag hang them in a Cellar, and the Syrup will melt, and drop through, which Keep for Use. This is not kept in the shop, but is worth making for young Children inclining to Hectics and Consumptions... English Dispensatory (Quincy), London, 1742.

Makes you grateful for modern medicine, doesn't it? BTW, sugar was very expensive and to use a half of pound is a substantial amount in those days.
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Old June 13, 2005, 09:58 PM   #86
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Germans jus wanna have fun

During the Napoleonic Wars, the British recruited heavily from among the Germans and first drew on Hannover (after all, George was of the House of Hannover) and then from Germans in French service who were captured. They were collected into a regiment several battalions strong dubbed The King's German Legion. Over numerous battles, the KGL proved themselves to be very brave & reliable. Their regimental history tells of their various deeds in battle and of service throughout Europe on behalf of England. What it doesn't tell is that the Germans of various battalions of KGL didn't necessarily develop bonds of affection towards their fellow Germans. We hear from a soldier of the 7th Battalion, KGL:

"At no time were we on a kindly footing with the third and sixth regiments of the German legion; and therefore individuals attached to these corps were exempted from the privilege of being brought in by a friend. This exclusion was never forgiven; and the parties against whom it was levelled were perpetually seeking opportunities for revenge. The senior of our company, a good-natured fellow of thirty-six, who was a general favourite of both officers and privates, was one evening, whilst we were indulging ourselves with mirth and wine, in a neighbouring public-house close to our apartment, enjoying the lively conversation of his sweetheart. Suddenly twelve men, belonging to the rifle company of the third battalion, entered the place; and falling upon him, although he had not given the slightest provocation, proceeded to treat him exceedingly ill. In self-defence, he snatched up a sword, and vowed he would kill the next man who should touch him, a threat which he would undoubtedly have put in practice, not in any degree wanting courage; his determined look and gesture made his cowardly assailants pause, and they debated between themselves in what manner they should endeavour to secure him. Accidentally one of our men passed the house; and the terrified girl, her eyes full of tears, repeats to this man that a soldier of the seventh regiment is on the point of being slain. Immediately on receiving this intelligence, he hastens to give us the alarm; and each individual, starting to his sword and cap, rushes impetuously to the opposite wine-shop, which is soon abandoned by the enemy. In the commencement, fists alone were the weapons made use of, but shortly swords were plucked from their scabbards, and a regular battle ensued, in which many wounds were inflicted on either side. Fresh members of both battalions now came up half-naked from the barracks, with fixed bayonets; and in the dark night it was scarcely possible to distinguish friend from foe. Confusion, indeed reigned triumphant. The third battalion had a good many men wounded; we, on the other hand, only a few.

"Patrols were at length dispatched in every direction throughout the town; and numbers were conveyed to the guard-house, which was soon quite filled; the conflict being ultimately terminated by the dispersion of all combatants.

"On the next morning, an order of the day was put forth by our brigadier, in which we were reproached for want of harmony; and it was strictly forbidden for the soldiers of the two obnoxious battalions to enter at one time the same wine-house. On the side of the enemy several swords were missing, - the worthy owners thereof having preferred throwing them away to using them courageously; however, be it remembered, these fellows were amongst the twelve who had originally occasioned the dispute."


Those Germans jus wanna have fun.
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Old June 14, 2005, 10:22 PM   #87
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Something I lifted from Arfcom...

An older, more eloquent version of the expression,
"When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns."

I found this in the May 16, 2005 issue of Shotgun News; and think that it bears repeating:

“False is the idea of utility that sacrifices a thousand real advantages for one imaginary or trifling inconvenience; that would take fire from men because it burns, and water because one may drown in it; that has no remedy for evils, except destruction. The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Can it be supposed that those who have the courage to violate the most sacred laws of humanity, the most important of the code, will respect the less important and arbitrary ones, which can be violated with ease and impunity, and which, if strictly obeyed, would put an end to personal liberty — so dear to men, so dear to the enlightened legislator — and subject innocent persons to all the vexations that the guilty alone ought to suffer? Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve to rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man. They ought to be designated as laws not preventative but fearful of crimes, produced by the tumultuous impression of a few isolated facts, and not by thoughtful consideration of the inconveniences and advantages of a universal decree.”


Cesare Beccaria, father of modern criminology, 1764.
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Old June 15, 2005, 09:28 AM   #88
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Seminole War in FL

Beckwourth In the Everglades
While briefly back in St. Louis in the fall of 1837, Beckwourth was introduced by William Sublette to General William Gaines, who was recruiting mountain men to serve as muleteers in the Seminole War1. in Florida. Sublette recommended that Jim engage. "Florida, he said, was a delightful country, and I should find a wide difference between the cold regions of the Rocky Mountains and the genial and salubrious South." 2

But it wasn't balmy climes that drew Beckwourth. Sublette said there was an opportunity there for renown.

The involvement of the Missouri troops in the Seminole War grew out of Senator Thomas Hart Benton's displeasure over the steady drain of resources. By 1837 over $12 million had already been spent with no apparent results. Senator Benton thought that the expertise of the mountain men in tracking and Indian-style warfare was just what was needed for victory. Richard Gentry of Columbia, Missouri was appointed "Colonel of Volunteers" and was directed to recruit 600 men and have them ready for duty by November, 1837.

Beckwourth recruited a number of other mountain men and was engaged as "Express Rider & Sub-Conducter of Muleteers" for the sum of $50/month. His account of his experiences in Florida is, for once, remarkably free of exaggeration.

The men and their horses boarded small boats bound for Tampa Bay on October 26, 1837, but they had no experience with boats, and simply drove their horses into the holds with no attempt to make them secure. The boats were overtaken by severe storms, and many of the horses were killed or maimed. Beckwourth's boat foundered on a reef, and the men and horses were stranded for twelve days before being rescued by a steamer.

Colonel Zachary Taylor (later General and President) ordered all the men now without horses and unwilling to proceed on foot to be dismissed without pay. Thus began a rivalry between the regular army and the Missouri Volunteers that was to last for years, and was even carried to the halls of Congress (by Senator Benton).

Beckwourth's description of the Battle of Okeechobee under Colonel Taylor, which took place on Christmas Day, 1837, jibes perfectly with the military records and other eyewitness accounts, right down to the dates and times and the number of killed and wounded. It was in this battle that Colonel Richard Gentry,3 much loved by the Missouri Volunteers, was killed.

Beckwourth stayed on in Florida for ten months, doing some scouting and carrying dispatches, but the war settled down into a routine that he found unendurable.


Now we had another long interval of inactivity, and I began to grow tired of Florida . . . . It seemed to me to be a country dear even at the price of the powder to blow the Indians out of it, and certainly a poor field to work in for renown. . . . I wanted excitement of some kind -- I was indifferent of what nature, even if it was no better than borrowing horses of the Black Feet. The Seminoles had no horses worth stealing, or I should certainly have exercised my talents for the benefit of the United States. 4
In the summer of 1838, Beckwourth found himself back in St. Louis, looking for a job.






--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Old June 21, 2005, 07:55 AM   #89
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Early gonne control

I was reading a book entitled, "Gunpower" by Jack Kelly. Here's an interesting excerpt from pages 76-77:

"By making guns easily concealable, the wheellock sparked social concerns that continue today. The first recorded firearms accident took place in Germany in 1515 when a man shot a prostitute in the chin while playing with a wheelock pistol - he had to pay her a pension for life. The use of wheellocks by highwaymen disturbed civil authorities and led to many edicts banning manufacture or possession of the weapons. In 1523 an ordinance in Ferrara outlawed wheellock weapons, 'an especially dangerous kind of firearms... with which a homicide can easily be committed.' Societies were begining to sense a danger from the wider availability of gunpowder weapons, especially ones that an assassin could hide under a cloak. English authorities imposed an embargo on selling, firing, or making a pistol within two miles of Queen Elizabeth I."


And that's the way it was.
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Old June 28, 2005, 02:32 PM   #90
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What's cooking, doc?

From the Hystery of the 7th New Hampshire:

The writer will never forget his first attempt, after having completed the chimney to the hut in which he was quartered, at cooking in the new fireplace. We had hunted around and found enough money with which to purchase a few Irish potatoes, some onions, and a little butter at the sutler's, and at once became oblivious of everything except the preparation of a good square meal. We had the potatoes and the onions nicely done, using a tin plate with a split stick for a handle, which made a good frying pan; had just finished seasoning with salt and pepper, and had also added a small bit of butter, [Gary's note: All these ingredients took quite a bit of $ or hard foraging to procure. It's a better feast than what the soldier got in the field so you can understand how eagerly they looked forward to supper] and was about to take the dish away preparatory to making an attack upon it with knife and fork, when there was an explosion as of a two-thousand-pound shell, the atmosphere seemed suddenly to change, daylight turned to darkness, and we could hardly breathe or see for ashes. Our first impression was that we had inadvertently built our chimney directly over a volcano; but somehow it didn't seem exactly like an earthquake, but it came so suddnely that we were conscious of being the least bit bewildered. As the smoke cleared away and the ashes settled enough to allow us to see clearly, we found the plate in one corner, the handle in another, and fired potatoes and onions, our salt, pepper, and butter, together with half-burned brands, about as evenly scattered over our eight-by-ten floor as could well be imagined. Our uniform was on fire in half a dozen places, and a look in the fireplace revealed about a peck of metallic cartridge shells. Then we at once divined the cause of the trouble. Some person outside, just for pure 'cussedness,' had deftly tossed a bag of those cartridges down our chimney from the top. Of course the circumstances attending the case did not allow of our getting out quite quick enough to detect the culprit, but if we never got square with him, it was because he left the service before we did, for we had our suspicions down pretty fine. Anyhow, we dined on hard-tack and cold water that day, and we have been shy of fireplaces ever since.

Please don't try this at home or at camp.
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Old June 29, 2005, 05:06 PM   #91
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The happy Rebel

From after the capture of Fort Pulaski in South Carolina.

"The Rebel prisoners numbered about 400. One stuttering, dry joker among the prisoners asked the 'Yanks:' 'Why am I like Lazarus of Old Bible times, and you'uns like the rich man who turned Lazarus down?' Because I am going North into Heaven and you'uns are going to stay down here in Hell. You can look across into Heaven and see me reposing in Abraham's (Lincoln) bosom.' The fellow was as bright as well as witty and told the 'Yanks,' sub rosa, that he migrated from the North many years before as a mechanic and found an easy job in Savannah at good pay, that when we got into Savannah, to look for a small park in the center of the city flanked at the east end by an Episcopal church, that on the south side was a hotel, on the north side a store on which would be a sign reading 'Richardson's House Furnishing Suppies,' that it was for Richardson he worked, but although he would shrink some worldly good yet it was his intention to take the oath of allegiance and remain in the North. One member of the Company did not get to Savannah until 1872 and then found the small park, hotel and Richardson's store as described bythe stuttering 'Johnny Reb.'

Heckuva happy way to look at being a PoW.
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Old June 30, 2005, 09:14 PM   #92
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Wabbit Stew

"Comrade Brown writes as follows: 'The Captain was our guest at the Christmas dinner on Ladies' Island, South Carolina, 1862. It was a great time. One of the few times during the service of the company when the bars in rank were let down and all met on the level as a happy family. The first delicacy served was a rabbit stew in which the Captain found a wishbone. With an incredible yet knowing smile, the Captain remarked dryly, 'I did not know before, boys, that rabbits had wishbones.'
'Oh yes,' we replied, 'they do down here.'"


If you've learned nothing else from this forum, you should have learned to forage like a soljer already. It takes wits and skill and patience of a hunter. The way the boys got the wabbit for the stew follows:

"Sergeant Fogg in command of picket post, was, the day before the dinner, swirling a stick around his head, and it accidentally(?) slipped out of his hand and, strange to say, hit and killed a good fat hen. A little later Sergeant Sumner did the same thing. We did not want to let them spoil, hence the rabbit stew with wishbones. The rabbit story attachment runs thus: I was cut in the corn field roaming about seeking something to devour, (and sure an accident this time,) I stepped on a good big rabbit asleep. My big foot put him into his final slumber and I lugged him to camp in triumph."

There, now that you've got the alibi and the hunting technique, go get the wabbit.
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Old July 2, 2005, 12:53 PM   #93
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Stealing whiskey

"The ingenuity of men who have a passion for whiskey was well illustrated by some of the prisoners then in the fort who were detailed to roll the casks of liquor from the south wharf up the plank causeway and into the fort. The men who worked in pairs two to each cask, one at each chime. Before the men started on this duty some genius initiated them into the mystery of drawing liquour while the casks were in motion. They furnished themselves with gimlets and pine taps, and went on duty with empty canteens. Starting from the jetty with a cask, the man at the left chime would shortly insert the gimlet into the center of the head of the cask, and hold it firmly till the revolutions of the cask carried it through; then withdrawing the gimlet he held his canteen till it was full, when his pine tape was inserted, driven hard, broken off, and the scar smoothed over with dirt from the sides of the cask. The art was handsomely practiced, and probably would have passed undetected had it not been for one man who drew his canteen full from a cask of alcohol, from which he took so heavy a drink that it made him wild and noisy."
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Old July 7, 2005, 11:00 PM   #94
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Gun cleaning - how to the easy way.

Here's a lesson from the past that may help some black powder enthusiasts:

"On leaving Raleigh, N. C., for Washington, D. C., the war being ended, Nels Croft pitched his gun into the bushes by the roadside, with the remark that he did not need it longer. Arrived at Alexandria, Va., preparations were being made for the grand review. The boys were cleaning up their accoutrements, burnishing every bit of metal until it sparkled in the sun. Nels watched two substitutes who had come to the company at Raleigh while they put a fine polish on their guns. After they were through, they went down to a stream of water near by to wash, and Nels removed one of the guns from the stack where they had put in ear the left of the company, and took it to the right, where he belong, saying: 'Those substitutes never did any duty; they might was well clean a gun for me as not.' When the 'subs' came back from washing, they went to look at their guns, when one turned to his companion with a blank look and said: 'Jimmy, me gun's gone.' They sat down and cussed a little while, but didn't think to look farther up the line for the missing gun. However, the substitutes all carried guns in the review next day."
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Old July 9, 2005, 07:42 PM   #95
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Failed at draft dodging.

During the Civil War, part of the medical examination was to check the recruit for an upper and lower front tooth. Why? To bite their paper cartridges open of course. Here's the story of our anti-hero.

"In the month of July, 1863, a man in Amesbury, Massachusetts, was drafted, and on the 27th of that month he presented a claim for exemption as the only son of an aged and dependent mother. (At this point, try to hear the violins playing a mournful tune) On this, an investigation took place, which proved that the woman he called his mother was only one who had adopted him, and the claim was not allowed. He then suggested that perhaps his teeth might exempt him; but an examination caused that also to be dismissed. The next day or the day after he went to Newburyport and had eight teeth extracted, and in four or five days afterward he called at the office for exemption, and was duly exempted for loss of teeth. A short time after, these facts came to the knowledge of the provost officers, the man was at once arrested, and the allegations substantiated. The case was now reported to the Provost-Marshal-General, who ordered that the man be held to service and assigned to the artillery, without the privilege of communication or furnishing a substitute. He was soon on his way to Gallop's Island.

No bark, no bite.
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Old July 16, 2005, 02:58 PM   #96
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The married man

During the Mother of American Family Feuds (or the Late Great Unpleasantness between States), both North & South resorted to the draft to raise soldiers for their armies. We have an anecdocte of a married man (and you can tell he's married):

Commissioner: "What have you to say?"
Applicant: "I'm forty-eight years old."
"Where were you born?"
"Don't know."
"How old were you when you came to this country?"
"Don't know."
"How do you know you are forty-eight years old?"
"I know it. I'm sure of it."
The Commissioner, after various ineffectual trials to make the application show what reasons he had for his belief, now asks, "Are you married?"
(Applicant very sulky, but no answer.)
Commissioner: "I asked you if you are married. Did you hear?"
Applicant: "I don't wish to be insulted."
"No one wants to insult you. Are you married?"
Applicant in a very loud voice, "Of course I am!"
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Old July 24, 2005, 11:05 PM   #97
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"Round 'em up! Move 'em out! Rolling, rolling, rolling...

O.K. it's not quite rawhide. Yee-haw! Rather, it's about Brig. Gen. John Buford. If you remember the movie, Gettysburg, Buford was the Union cavalry general who arrived first in Gettysburg and recognized the need to keep the Confederates out of the town and away from the heights (Culp & Cemetery Hill). This post isn't about Gettysburg but how Buford got a stuck column moving. Enjoy.

"While Meade's army was on its retrograde movement, an incident occured which showed that General Buford was as fertile in expedients as he was brave in an emergency. While bringing up the rear, with the rebls not far behind him, he came up with a train of wagons several miles long, numbering, in all, some eight hundred. The train was stopped, and Buford could find no one in command to start it. No time was to be lost. The enemy were coming - coming! and Buford's command would be cut up and the train captured. The teamsters in that long line could not be made to comprehend and act. But General Buford, in a few seconds, both comprehended and acted. He ordered one of his rifled pieces to be planted in the rear of the train, and began firing shells up the road, over the wagons, and at the longest range, and with a good elevation. A few of those 'rotten cannon balls' bursting over the train roused the laggards and fixed the business. Believing that the rebels were thus close - very close upon them, the wagon-masters and teamsters applied the whip and spur, and the whole caravan was moved off safely."
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Old July 28, 2005, 08:35 AM   #98
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The American Militia circa 1840s

Here's a partial image of the American militia as seen through the eyes of a small and impressionable boy:

"There was no guidance in dress or adornment; a preponderance of hat and ancient lace was not a reliable indication of rank. The laciest figure on the scene was a mere captain from Mount Vernon [New Hampshire], gorgeous in a red flannel coat with yellow facings and brass buttons, gilt braid swarming on his sleeves and down the seams of his pantaloons, big spurs projecting murderously from his heels, and on his head a Bonapartist hat with an astonishing eruption of red and white feathers. He was a tired farmer when at home; here, he surpassed my gaudiest imaginings of Marshal Murat.[Murat was a cavalryman elevated to nobility by Napoleon. He was known for his gaudy uniforms.] In his fiery steed covered with trappings, no one would have recognized the old grey mare which yesterday was hauling manure with the captain for driver. Animals as well as men developed unthought-of qualities on parade."
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Old July 28, 2005, 12:25 PM   #99
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The American Militia circa 1840s

The writer sounds almost like a budding Sam Clemmons doesn't he?
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Old July 29, 2005, 09:01 AM   #100
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Holy War & Gawd's Work

"We changed camp several times, finally settling down near the river and about three miles west of the town. An incident occuring there gave rise to a story that grew to fabulous proportions, mulitplying converts to Christianity and the Baptist persuasion, until it bore to our Northern homes the glad tidings that entire regiments had enlisted in the army of the Lord. The way it began was this. Our chaplain, the Reverend George Bullen, baptized in the chill autumnal waters of the Potomac two men of our regiment, who had confessed their faith before they had left home. A few days later, Chaplain Bullen paid his respects to Colonel Coulter at brigade headquarters; and, declining as superfluous the customary social appetizer of old Bourbon, he told the colonel all about the baptisms. He dwelt upon the probable good effects, both godly and militarily; the men, he felt sure, would be the more amendable to orders and discipline; he had not omitted, he said, to remind them that they should render unto Caesar. Now it happened that Colonel Colulter, though commanding the brigade, was jealously attentive to the growing reputation of his regiment. He interrupted suddenly:

'How many men did you say you dipped, Chaplain?'

'I baptized two, Colonel.'

'Orderly!' The colonel's tone was peremptory. 'Tell my adjutant to detail a sergeant to take a man from each company down to the river and baptize them in the Methodist persuasion. I can't allow any damned Baptist to supplant my authority, either spiritual or temporal.'"


There is another story concerning Colonel Coulter and his chaplains.

"Just where we took up our position in line, a rail fence was found to be much in the way of the dismounted officers directing us. Colonel Coulter, after jumping it several times, turned to my clerk, Dwight Maxfield, who was wearing a Burnside blouse, and said to him sharply:

'Here, Chaplain, make yourself useful and tear down this 'rip-gut' fence!'

'Beg pardon, Colonel,' said Max, 'but I'm not one of that useful class. I'm only an adjutant's clerk.'

'Good God! I took you for a chaplain. Where are they?'

'That group on the knoll,' said Max, pointing, 'are spoiling for the chance.'

The colonel spurred to the group on the knoll.

'Pull down that fence!'

'But, Colonel, we are chaplains!'

'I don't care a god damn. Double quick! By God, you'll do something to earn your salaries as long as I command this brigade!'

The chaplains took down the fence."
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