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Old July 29, 2005, 11:43 AM   #101
chaplain john
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OK, Gary, now you've gone and done it! You just had to go and let the cat out of the bag and and tell people that we CAN do something besides pray. Now they are going to expect us to :barf: WORK.
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Old July 29, 2005, 08:07 PM   #102
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Support your local Sheriff

Chaplain John, sorry, but I wasn't trying to pick on the men of the cloth. I post some of these things as I find them. Here's one incident that is very amusing. The writer grew up around Poverty Flats (not its given name), Montana.

"East of the town was Hellgate Canyon, named for its history as a place where one particular tribe would ambush other warwhoops going east for the buffalo before the white man appeared. In the white man's time, in a bitter winter, a bunch of incensed ranchers from around the diggings at Bannock and Virginia City, Montana, rode down a band of brigands in this place despite the fact that the snow was ass-deep on a tall Indian. These lads had been murdering folks for their gold, and in the time-honored tradition of politicians, the local sheriff at the mines was the leader. A rope and pole gate brought this episode to a satisfactory, albeit frigid, conclusion."

So, support your local sheriff - from a rope? Kidding.

Not black powder related but this is too good not to share. I was speaking with a Navy Vet today from the Eversole (DD 789). She was one of the first WW II Gearing Class destroyers to be FRAM modernized with ASROC missiles and a landing deck for a whirleybird. The whirleybird was armed with a dummy wood anti-sub torpedo and was doing a fleet demonstration for watching dignitaries including some Congress critters. Suddenly and unexplainably, while the whirleybird was doing a fly-by over the carrier Bennington, the torpedo broke loose and impaled itself in the Bennington's conning tower. Non-naval shades of red appeared in the ranks of many officers. Needless to say, when the Eversole docked, all officers saved one and many of the involved hands were ordered ashore for an investigation. When the Eversole's skipper returned, he found a carrier painted on the scorecard of the Eversole. Angered at the irreverence of his crew, he ordered it removed. It was but the next day a fresh carrier appeared on the bridge. It was removed again with the same results after the night watch. This continued for about a week all throughout the ship including the whirleybird itself. Finally, an order went out that there would be no liberty if another carrier tag was found aboardship.
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Old July 29, 2005, 10:34 PM   #103
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OK Gary "not trying to pick on 'men of the cloth'" in general... just this one... you do know that I am a Law Enforcement Chaplain don't you? ROFLOL
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Old July 30, 2005, 10:09 PM   #104
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Yes I know you're a LE Chaplain. You're the dude who arrests suspects and reads them their rights; their last rites.
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Old August 6, 2005, 04:03 PM   #105
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Rogers' Rangers Part 1

Roger’s Rangers Rules or Plan of Discipline
Major Robert Rogers – 1757 (Commander of Roger’s Rangers) this is the original version
1. All Rangers are to be subject to the rules and articles of war; to appear at roll-call every evening on their own parade, equipped each with a firelock, sixty rounds of powder and ball, and a hatchet, at which time an officer from each company is to inspect the same, to see they are in order, so as to be ready on any emergency to march at a minute's warning; and before they are dismissed the necessary guards are to drafted, and scouts for the next day appointed.
2. Whenever you are ordered out to the enemy's forts or frontiers for discoveries, if your number be small, march in a single file, keeping at such a distance from each other as to prevent one shot from killing two men, sending one man, or more, forward, and the like on each side, at the distance of twenty yards from the main body, if the ground you march over will admit of it, to give the signal to the officer of the approach of an enemy, and of their number, & c.
3. If you march over marshes or soft ground, change your position, and march abreast of each other, to prevent the enemy from tracking you (as they would do if you marched in a single file) till you get over such ground, and then resume your former order, and march till it is quite dark before you encamp, which do, if possible, on a piece of ground that may afford your sentries the advantage of seeing or hearing the enemy at some considerable distance, keeping one half of your whole party awake alternately through the night.
4. Some time before you come to the place you would reconnoitre, make a stand, and send one or two men in whom you can confide, to look out the best ground for making your observations.
5. If you have the good fortune to take any prisoners, keep them separate till they are examined, and in your return take a different route from that in which you went out, that you may the better discover any party in your rear, and have an opportunity, if their strength be superior to your, to alter your course, or disperse, as circumstances may require.
6. If your march in a large body of three or four hundred, with a design to attack the enemy, divide your party into three columns, each headed by a proper officer, and let these columns march in single files, the columns to the right and left keeping at twenty yards distance or more from that of the center, if the ground will admit, and let proper guards be kept in the front and rear, and suitable flanking parties as a due distance as before directed, with orders to halt on all eminences, to take a view of the surrounding ground, to prevent your being ambushed, and to notify the approach or retreat of the enemy, that proper dispositions may be made for attacking, defending, & c, and if the enemy approach in your front on level ground, form a front of your three columns or main body with the advanced, guard, keeping out your flanking parties, as if you were marching under the command of trusty officers, to prevent the enemy from pressing hard on either of your wings, or surrounding you, which is the usual method of the savages, if their number will admit of it, and be careful likewise to support and strengthen your rear guard.
7. If you are obliged to receive the enemy's fire, fall or squat down, till it is over, then rise and discharge at them. If their main body is equal to yours, extend yourselves occasionally; but if superior, be careful to support and strengthen your flanking parties, to make them equal with theirs, that if possible you may repulse them to their main body, in which case push upon them with the greatest resolution, with equal force in each flank and in the center, observing to keep at a due distance from each other, and advance from tree to tree, with one half of the party before the other ten or twelve yards. If the enemy push upon you, let your front fire and fall down, and then let your rear advance thro' them and do the like, by which time those who before were in front will be ready to discharge again, and repeat the same alternately, as occasion shall require; by this means you will keep up such a constant fire, that the enemy will not be able easily to break your order, or gain your ground.
8. If you oblige the enemy to retreat, be careful, in your pursuit of them, to keep out your flanking parties, and prevent them from gaining eminences, or rising grounds, in which case they would perhaps be able to rally and repulse in their turn.
9. If you are obliged to retreat, let the front of your whole party fire and fall back, till the rear has done the same, making for the best ground you can; by this means you will oblige the enemy to pursue you, if they do it at all, in the face of a constant fire.
10. If the enemy is so superior that you are in danger of being surrounded by them, let the whole body disperse, and every one take a different road to the place of rendezvous appointed for that evening, which must every morning be altered and fixed for evening ensuing, in order to bring the whole party, or as many of them as possible, together, after any separation that may happen in the day; but if you should happen to be actually surrounded, form yourselves into a square, or if in the woods, a circle is best, and, if possible, make a stand till the darkness of the night favours your escape.
11. If your rear is attacked, the main body and flankers must face about to the right or left, as occasion shall require, and form themselves to oppose the enemy, as before directed; and the same method must be observed, if attacked in either of your flanks, by which means you will always make a rear of one of your flank-guards.
12. If you determine to rally after a retreat, in order to make a fresh stand against the enemy, by all means endeavour to do it on the most rising ground you can come at, which will give you greatly the advantage in point of situation, and enable you to repulse superior numbers.
13. If general, when pushed upon by the enemy, reserve your fire till they approach very near, which will them put them into the greater surprise and consternation, and give you an opportunity of rushing upon them with your hatchets and cutlasses to the better advantage.
14. When you encamp at night, fix your sentries in such a manner as not to be relieved from the main body till morning, profound secrecy and silence being often of the last importance in these cases. Each sentry, therefore, should consist of six men, two of whom must be constantly alert, and when relieved by their fellows, it should be done without noise; and in case those on duty see or hear anything, which alarms them, they are not to speak, but one of them is silently to retreat, and acquaint the commanding officer thereof, that proper dispositions may be made; and all occasional sentries should be fixed in like manner.
15. At the first dawn of day, awake your whole detachment; that being the time when the savages choose to fall upon their enemies, you should by all means be in readiness to receive them.
16. If the enemy should be discovered by your detachments in the morning, and their numbers are superior to yours, and a victory doubtful, you should not attack them till the evening, as then they will not know your numbers, and if you are repulsed, your retreat will be followed by the darkness of the night.
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Old August 6, 2005, 04:04 PM   #106
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Rogers Rangers Part 2

17. Before you leave your encampment, send out small parties to scout round it, to see if there be any appearance or track of an enemy that might have been near you during the night.
18. When you stop for refreshment, choose some spring or rivulet if you can, and dispose your party so as not to be surprised, posting proper guards and sentries at a due distance, and let a small party waylay the path you came in, lest the enemy should be pursuing.
19. If, in your return, you have to cross rivers, avoid the usual fords as much as possible, lest the enemy should have discovered, and be there expecting you.
20. If you have to pass by lakes, keep at some distance from the edge of the water, lest, in case of an ambuscade, or an attack from the enemy, when in that situation, your retreat should be cut off.
21. If the enemy pursue your rear, take a circle till you come to your own tracks, and there form am ambush to receive them, and give them the first fire.
22. When you return from a scout, and come near our forts, avoid the usual roads, and avenues thereto, lest the enemy should have headed you, and lay in ambush to receive you, when almost exhausted with fatigues.
23. When you pursue any party that has been near our forts or encampments, follow not directly in their tracks, lest you should be discovered by their rear guards, who, at such a time, would be most alert; but endeavour, by a different route, to head and meet them in some narrow pass, or lay in ambush to receive them when and where they least expect it.
24. If you are to embark in canoes, bateaux, or otherwise, by water, choose the evening for the time of your embarkation, as you will then have the whole night before you, to pass undiscovered by any parties of the enemy, on hills, or other places, which command a prospect of the lake or river you are upon.
25. In paddling or rowing, give orders that the boat or canoe next the stern most, wait for her, and the third for the second, and the fourth for the third, and so on, to prevent separation, and that you may be ready to assist each other on any emergency.
26. Appoint one man in each boat to look out for fires, on the adjacent shores, from the numbers and size of which you may form some judgement of the numbers that kindled them, and whether you are able to attack them or not.
27. If you find the enemy encamped near the banks of a river, or lake, which you imagine they will attempt to cross for their security upon being attacked, leave a detachment of your party on the opposite shore to receive them, while, with the remainder, you surprise them, having them between you and the lake or river.
28. If you cannot satisfy yourself as to the enemy's number and strength, from their fire, & c. conceal your boats at some distance, and ascertain their number by a reconnoitring party, when they embark, or march, in the morning, marking the course they steer, & c. when you may pursue, ambush, and attack them, or let them pass, as prudence shall direct you. In general, however, that you may not be discovered by the enemy on the lakes and rivers at a great distance, it is safest to lay by, with your boats and party concealed all day, without noise or show, and to pursue your intended route by night; and whether you go by land or water, give out parole and countersigns, in order to know one another in the dark, and likewise appoint a station for every man to repair to, in case of any accident that may separate you.

Such in general are the rules to be observed in the Ranging service; there are, however, a thousand occurrences and circumstances which may happen that will make it necessary in some measure to depart from them and to put other arts and stratagems in practice; in which case every man's reason and judgment must be his guide, according to the particular situation and nature of things; and that he may do this to advantage, he should keep in mind a maxim never to be departed from by a commander, viz. to preserve a firmness and presence of mind on every occasion.

— From JOURNALS OF MAJOR ROGER ROGERS (as published in 1765)
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Old August 7, 2005, 09:12 AM   #107
4V50 Gary
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Hard Tack

Physical examinations prior to entering the army sometimes included checking the recruit for teeth. Here's one soldier's description of the exam and of the fare:

"Shortly after our arrival we were taken before the regimental surgeon for examination. The surgeon was Dr. J. J. H. Love, one of the most brusque-appearing and yet most kind-hearted men that ever lived. Until his recent death he was one of the most respected and prominent residents of Montclair.

'Strip,' ordered the doctor.

There were five or six examined at a time. We boys, who never had a pain or qualm in our lives, thought it was a needless formality, but were told that it was 'according to regulations.' Then the doctor punched us and pinched us, rubbed his hands down our legs as if we were so many horses, seized us in the groin, and told us to cough, and finally said:

'Let's see your teeth.'

'What do you want to see my teeth for?' I asked. 'Are we going to bite the enemy?'

'Something tougher than that,' good-naturedly answered Dr. Love. 'You will ahve to bite hard-tack and chew cartridges, and I guess you will find both tougher than any rebel meat you ever will see.'

I didn't know then that hard-tack was the stuff soldiers were mainly fed upon; but I found out before long. For the information of the reader I will explain that a hardtack is the most deceptive-looking thing in the world. Its general appearance is that of a soda cracker, but there the resemblance ends. You can bite a soda cracker. A hard tack isn't tender. Compared with it a block of granilite paving stones would be mush. That is the sort of pastry that the government fed its soldiers upon. Hard-tack must have been referred to in that part of the Bible where it says, 'he asked for bread and they gave him a stone.' A further corroboration of this conclusion lies in the positive fact that every box of hard-tack that ever arrived in the army was marked: 'B. C. 348,764,'

the variation being only in the figure. The 'B. C.' was on every box. And judging from the antediluvian toughness of some of the crackers, the prehistoric ancient who stencilled on the figures either accidentally or wilfully post dated the box several thousand years.

What 'chewing cartridges' meant, I hadn't the slightest conception of, but learned that subsequently. that my teeth were apparently equal to the emergency of both biting hard-tack and chewing cartridges, however, must have been a matter satisfactory to Dr. Love, for I successfully passed the ordeal of a 'surgical examination.'"
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Old August 12, 2005, 09:25 PM   #108
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Union bounty jumper caught

When the intial wave of enthusiasm died out and the horrors of war became known, it became harder to get recruits and so states and counties began offering bounties to men who would enlist. While the offer of bounties did encourage enlistment, especially among the poor, it was also abused by men who sought money without ever entering into the service. Thus, after receiving their bounties, they would disappear and enlist elsewhere to collect another bounty. Here's a story of one bounty-jumper who didn't quite get away.

"The good deeds of a dog have more than once to be put in contrast with the mean tricks of the human kind, and here is an additional illustration of this truth. A man who had in charge a bounty-jumper, stopped at the Union House, Wheeling, with his prisoner. The man left his charge in the hall in order to look into an adjoining room for a person he wished to see, when the nimble jumper jumped out of the door, upon the sidewalk, ran up the street with great rapidity and darted down the alley in the rear of the Union House. A Newfoundland dog - honest patriot! - observing that the jumper was being followed, with loyal instinct joined in the pursuit. The dog soon overtook the fleeing rascal, seized him by the boot leg, and squatted down in the mud. The jumper kicked the dog off, but he had no sooner extricated himself than the faithful animal caught him again, and continued to hang on and delay the culprit until his pursuers came up and captured him."
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Old August 12, 2005, 09:28 PM   #109
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Ira's Wife and his Breeches

While Mr. Ely was addressing a patriotic meeting in Gosport, N. Y., a little scene occured which created much merriment. He had been urging men to come forward and sign the roll, and told the women to hurry them up. At this, a woman arose in the meeting and addressed her husband substantially as follows: "Ira, you know that you said before you came here to-night, that you would enlist. If you don't do it, go straight home and take off those breeches, and let me have them, and I will go myself!" This brought down the house and brought up Ira, who put his name down and became a volunteer.
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Old August 14, 2005, 10:54 AM   #110
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We deliver for you.

"There was a joke - though possibly a wicked one - perpetrated on a certain Chaplain in the army, which ought not to be lost to the clerical portion of the world. It was the Chaplain's business to look after the regimental mail. This Chaplain, however, had been annoyed exceedingly by the great number of warriors who were constantly running to him and inquiring about the arrival and departure of mails. To save time and patience, the testy official at last posted a notice outside his tent, which read: "The Chaplain does not know when the mail will go,' and with this he imagined his troubles at an end. The reverend postmaster was absent from the camp that day, and on returning and glancing at his notice, was horrified to see there conspicuously written upon his own door, read by multitudes during the day, in a hand exactly counterfeiting his, following the words 'THE CHAPLAIN DOES NOT KNOW WHEN THE MAIL WILL GO,' this addition by some honest wretch: 'NEITHER DOES HE CARE A DAMN.' It was a case of depravity the obliging and godly man was unprepared for, - but perhaps he and his warriors were now 'quits.'" There was no church services that Sunday or for many Sundays after that.

O.K., I traced this story to the 13th New Jersey Volunteer Infantry. The involved chaplain was Chaplain Theodore R. Beck.
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Old August 20, 2005, 01:16 PM   #111
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The West's Least Famous Gunfighter

Hope this is on-topic.

My great-grandfather, Fred Welsh by name, gives me some hope for myself. After all, he proves that not all my ancestors were calm, respectable, middle-class people. The incident where he saddled the bull should alone be proof enough of that.

Running the livery stable in Elba, Nebraska, didn't take all his time. He was good in a fight, and a hard worker who had earned respect of the big men of that small town, so they decided to give him a little extra money by hiring him as town constable. As such, his job was to come running if anyone told him there was trouble in town-- not much more than that, officially at least.

The way the story has come down to us, one day he saw a couple of young men wandering around town. They appeared to be farm hands, but they were acting nervous. Fearing trouble, Fred pocketed his revolver (a nickel-finished .38 Smith and Wesson 3d model double action-- a hinge-framed pocket gun) and kept an eye on things.

Sure enough, he heard there was trouble at the bank. He headed that way. As he was approaching, he saw the farm hands running out the door with a sack.

He pulled his revolver and opened fire. They opened fire. Lead flew in myriad directions.

As Fred told it, he shot the man with the bag. He hit him in the leg. There is no witness to confirm that anybody hit anybody else; in any case, whatever damage he did was not enough to prevent the robber from getting on his horse and getting away. But he did succeed, one way or another, in startling the robbers so badly that they dropped the money.

My cousin claims to have seen the newspaper article about it. It says that Fred saved the assets of the bank-- about $435. or so-- and that in gratitude the townspeople took up a collection and got him a fine overcoat.

The way Fred told it was a bit different.

"See that quilt on my bed?" he'd say. "Well, that was what I got for saving the town's money. They got that quilt for me. But they didn't give it to me as a quilt, oh no. They gave me the patches. Ma had to stitch them together for me."

I don't know which story is true. Maybe they both are. But then, from what I understand, Great Grandpa wasn't a man to let the facts get in the way of the truth, especially when there was a good story on the line. Some of his descendants maintain that trait to this very day.
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Old August 21, 2005, 03:12 PM   #112
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Courtship by correspondence

A former Union soldier was riding in a buggy with a lady. At the toll gate, there was a young woman working as the toll collector. He paid the toll and drove off. The lady companion, was irritated and finally accused the former soldier of flirting with the toll taker. He profusely denied any inappropriate conduct. Remember, post-American Civil War was still the Victorian Era and there were certain rules to be followed in conducting oneself. She pointed out that he had been staring at the toll collector. He replied that he had seen her before and could not place her and hence the staring which he did not consider flirting. The lady companion replied that she had known the toll collector and that she had never left New York State. He, being from out of state and this being the first time in New York, could not have possibly seen her before. Tensions mounted when the answer came upon him.

He saw her photo several times during the war as it was carried by a sergeant in his unit. His sergeant, not being well schooled or read, desperately wanted to court the lady but could neither write very legibly nor was he gifted with words. Hence, the soldier was recruited to write the sergeant's letters for him. The soldier added that the sergeant expressed an intent to marry the woman when he returned from the war. This satisfied his lady companion. She professed that the toll collector was a friend and that her friend was also not a good writer. Like the soldier, she had been enlisted to return the correspondence of the sergeant. They laughed at the coincidence and felt that they had been courting each other through proxy. The buggy was turned around and they drove back to the toll booth. Speaking with the toll collector, it was learned that she had indeed married the sergeant who had courted her during the war.

As for the former soldier and the lady, they also got hitched.

BTW, a big thank you to Hafoc for his story about his great-granddad.
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Old September 3, 2005, 10:10 AM   #113
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Seat of Pants or the Great Escape

"It was while doing picket duty around Richmond that old man Smothers saved me from capture. One day we were in the rifle pits; the squad I was with had a pit some fifteen feet long, and four feet deep. I was in the north end of it, nearest the enemy. Smothers standing next to me. I was watching what was going on on our right, while matters of more interest were transpiring on our left. The enemy were flanking our pit. The rest of the boys saw the movement and vamoosed. Smothers finally got on to it. He was leaving, without attracting my attention. Suddenly I saw the enemy on the left, and Smothers disappearing over the edge of the pit. As he was straigthening up to leap for liberty, I made a desperate grab for the seat of his trousers. I made the connect, and in his frantic efforts to secure his own safety, he insured mine, by raising me boldly out of the hole. I covered his rear in the retreat that we made towards our lines, a run of about one hundred years, and as I cleared the bushes on the edge of a bank, six or eight of the enemy were within twenty feet of me. I heard the order, 'Halt, you damned Rebel, halt there,' but I fell down the bank into a creek, and was soon under cover of timber, and, as it proved, safe, though the zip, zip of the balls was not reassuring at the time. I always thanked my stars that the seat of Smothers' trousers were in a good state of preservation; by being so they accomplished mine."
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Old September 17, 2005, 11:59 AM   #114
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Hold the mayo

"A few of our visitors were glad to take the chances of a dinner with us, allured by the reputation of French cookery, which, in fact, increased our culinary resources, and provided for our guests some surprises entirely unlooked for. I do not speak now of the immense bullfrogs, whose legs were as large as and more delicate than the leg of a chicken. We had something better, or at least more rare than that, as doubtless Count de V___, a French officer attached at the time to the staff of General Keyes, will remember.

One day he was served at our open-air table with an exquisite mayonnaise, - so he called it after tasting it. He partook a second time with pleasure. "But what is that mayonnaise made of? What is the secret?" He could not guess and was very much perplexed about it.

"Eat what you want first, and afterwards we will give you the recipe."

"And I will take it to France," added the captain, "that it may take its place above the Parmentier potato, and by the side of the wild turkey of Brillat-Savarin."

The meal finished, the secret was revealed. The mayonnaise was of the black snake, whose nutritious qualities my Zouaves had discovered. We had eaten it without troubling ourselves, knowing what it was made of. But see the power of imagination. The word "black snake" was a shot in the stomach of our guest. He had found the dish excellent; the name struck him with horror. White as his plate as he rose, his smile had disappeared. - I regret to add, in conclusion, that he never appeared again at our table, and I have every reason to think that he did not make known in France the savory qualities of the black snake - in a mayonnaise."

The above incident happened in the Old Dominion State.
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Old September 25, 2005, 08:59 AM   #115
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Soothing the beast

We've all heard about how music soothed the wild beast. I wouldn't try jumping into the bengal tiger cage at the zoo to test my skill with the violin which, along with any other instrument, I can't play, but here's a rambling anecdote about one Union soldier's effort to quell the Confederates. Enjoy.

When Sherman's men were climbing the sides of "Buzzard's Roost," in their gallant and successful movement at that point, the rebels attempted to resist the advance by rolling down heavy stones from the cliffs and rocky sides of the mountain. The following story is told of the occasion, on the authority of a staff officer:

A corporal of the Sixty-fourth Illinois halloed to the rebels, and told them if they would stop firing stones he would read to them the President's Proclamation. The offer was at first received with derisive yells, but they soon became quiet, and the corporal then read to them the Amensty Proclamation. When he came to some part they did not approve, they would set up a fiendish yell, as if in defiance, and then sent down an installment of rocks by way of interlude. But the corporal kept on in spite of such uncivil demonstrations, and finished the document, when there was another outburst of yells, mingled with laughter, and the old business of tumbling down rocks and firing was again resumed. That corporal deserved an appointment as President Lincoln's Secretary-at-large.
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Old October 16, 2005, 10:42 AM   #116
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More medicine

Here's more reasons to be thankful of modern medicine:

A Powder for ye Dissines of ye Head Falling Sickness & hart Quals That Haue Bin Oft Vsed

Whit amber 3ii Diarrhodian 3ii Seeds of Peony (?)ii miselto 3i [b]the fillings of a Deadmans skull (?)i mak all into a very fine Powder & tak of it as much as will Ly on a shilling 2 or 3 nights together befor the new & befor the full moon take it in Saxony or bettony water.

Here's another wonderful cure:

Goose-Dung. The Excrements of most Birds are accounted hot, nitrous, and penetrating; for this reason they pass for inciders and Detergents, and are particularly recokn'd good in Distempers of the Head; but they are now almost quite laid aside in Practice. Elk's Hoof is also esteem of mighty Efficacy in Distempers of the Head. Naturalists tells us that the Creature itself first gave to Mankind a Hint of its Medicinal Virtues; for they say, whenever it ails anything in the Head, it lies in such a Posture as to keep one of its tips of a Hoof in its Ear; which after some time effects a Cure. But this I leave to be credited by those of more faith than myself." English Dispensatory (Quincy), London, 1742.

"For Share & Dificult Trauel in Women with Child by JC"

"Take a Lock of Vergins haire on any Part of ye head, of half the Age of ye Woman in trauill Cut it very smale to fine Pouder then take 12 Ants Eggs dried in an ouen after ye bread is drawne or other wise make them dry & make them to pouder with the haire, giue this with a quarter of a pint of Red Cows milk or for want of it giue it in strong ale wort.

"Beaver's cods are much used for wind in the stomach and belly, particuarly of pregnant women."New England's Rarities (Josselyn), London, 1672. Must be talking about flatulence. "JC" mentioned above can't be Jesus Christ either.

"For ye Toothe Ache"

Take a Litle Pece of opium as big as a great pinnes head & put it into the hollow place of the Akeing Tooth & it will giue preasant Ease, often tryed by me apon many People & neuer fayled. - Zerbobabel Endecott

I think than anyone would feel better with that litle Pece of opium.
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Old October 26, 2005, 07:35 PM   #117
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Give them the axe!

Lt. Stephen F. Brown of the 13th Vermont Infantry got himself into trouble before the battle of Gettysburg and was placed under arrest. Before the battle, time was of the essence and the order came out that the men were not to stop for water. Lt. Brown allowed his men to fill their canteens and was told by a superior to desist. He defiantly replied, "Damn your orders." Arrested, he wasn't turned over to the Provost Marshal and marched to the battle with his regiment anyway. To show the men that he had no authority, his sword was taken from him and placed with the regimental wagon (which was in back of the convoy). On the day of Pickett's charge, Brown was restored to command (every man was needed) but there was no time to retrieve his sword. Being a pragmatic Yankee, Brown picked up a camp axe and swinging it over his head, led his men in the repulse of Pickett's Charge. His ferocity so frightened a Confederate officer (who was probably demoralized by the losses they suffered in the charge), that he surrendered himself to Lt. Brown immediately. Brown accepted his counterpart's sword and continued fighting.

When it came time to put up a monument, the 13th Vermont Association wanted a statute of Lt. Brown with his hatchet. However, higher powers nixed that as it would be a bad example to others. As a compromise, a hatchet was placed at the feet of the statute of Brown and Brown is shown wearing a sword.
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Old October 30, 2005, 10:39 AM   #118
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A matter of honor

Here's on Federal soldier's opinion on honor. He was starving to death at the prison in Florence and figured out his best chances for survival was to cooperate with the Confederates and play his fiddle for them. In exchange, he would be fed better and housed outside of the prison.

Short after, the Adjutant came up and I told him I would go with him. Before leaving the prison, the Adjutant took my parole of honor that I would not go beyond the limits of the prison without permission, and intended to bind me to do no act that would be hurtful to the interests of the C.S.A., but as he read the oath to me from the U.S. Army Regulations and confined himself very closely to the text, it was so hard to tell what he had sworn me to that I felt afterwards at liberty to construe it as it suited me best; at any rate I was only an enlisted man, and in the army it is only the officers who are supposed to have honor, so my parole of honor was subject to so many doubts and uncertainties that it could not stand the strain afterwards when subjected to pressure.

Interesting interpretation of honor, isn't it?

The writer did make an escape attempt but was chased into a swamp and attacked by the hounds. He was brought back. Shortly after that, since Sherman's Army was approaching and Wilmington had been captured, he was paroled back to the Union.
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Old November 2, 2005, 10:00 PM   #119
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An Irishman's cast iron mouth

Travel back with us to Mother of American Family Feuds (ACW, 1861-1865), a time when brother rose against brother and the freely effused blood mixed with tears from heartbroken families on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line. The scene is Florence, South Carolina. We are in the company of Pvt. Ezra Ripple, 52nd Pennsylvania, who had been captured on Johnson's Island, South Carolina. Pvt. Ripple was initially sent to Andersonville and was among the prisoners who were transferred to Florence to prevent their liberation by Sherman. We see him seated on the ground with his three comrades around a plate of mush.

"We never drew cooked rations in Florence. Everything was uncooked... We had a pan made from the tin roofing of an old freight car... and by clubbing our rations of wood and rations of meals or beans together we were able to get along after a fashion...

"Having nothing in which to put the mush when it was cooked we were obliged to eat it out of the pan, and in order that we should get no advantage one of the other, we adopted a code of table rules. When the mush was cooked, and the pan taken off the fire, we would seat ourselves around it on the ground and wait for the mush to cool. Boiled mush is a rightly hot dish and holds the heat for a long time. It was hard work for us to wait, and long before it was cool enough we would be scraping the flakes off the sides of the pan, impatient to begin. At a given signal each man dipped his spoon into the mush, filled it, and all raised our spoons together. Now came the interesting time; we were all very hungry but the mush was so hot we had to take our time - all except Brennan. That fellow had a cast iron mouth. He would take a tablespoonful of scalding hot mush in his mouth, swallow it, and reach for the dish again before we were half through with ours. Often Rapp on one side and I on the other with our mouths full of hot mush and the tears streaming down our cheeks, unable to speak a word, have grabbed Brennan's hands and by signs and force kept his spoon out of the dish until we could get even with him. I have often scalded myself so badly that the skin would hang in shreds from the roof of my mouth."


Pvt. Ripple was paroled and survived the war.
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Old November 29, 2005, 11:10 PM   #120
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Fishy tale

Well, besides travel I've been doing some finishing work on my manuscript. Resubmitted Chapter 7 to the editor. These past few days I've been preparing some magazine articles which will be excerpts to help generate interest in the book. Hence my long absence. So, here's the rambling anecdote that should bring a smile across your face. Enjoy.

"Sergeant Pruitt... was an old cowboy from Arizona - looked line one too, acted like one, talked like one. But he was no hillbilly in the head. Pruitt was the talking kind. He talked and sang on the slightest provocation. He liked old cowboy songs. He liked to tell stories about cowpokes in Arizona. He told one day about an old cowboy who went to the city and registered at a hotel for the first time in his life. The clerk asked if he wanted a room with running water, and the cowboy yelled, 'Hell no! What do you think I am, a trout?'"
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Old December 4, 2005, 02:32 PM   #121
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Masonic bonds

It never ceases to amaze me the things one Mason will do for another. Here's an example:

Lietuenant Tinkham was among the many brave men who were killed at the second battle of Corinth. It appears that Lieutenant Timkham was not seriously wounded when the rebels took possession of that part of the field where he fell, but was only shot through the leg; and as the Union boys were contesting the advance of the enemy with desperate bravery, Lieutenant Tinkham raised himself upon his elbow to see the fighting, when another leaden messenger pierced his body, and he fell to the ground again. Seeing that he soon must be numbered among the slain, and that his life blood was fast flowing out, he made some sign to a passing rebel - which was said to be a Masonic sign of recognition - who immediately came to Tinkham's side, and rendered him all the assistance in his power. Just before the Lieutenant expired, he handed the rebel his watch and some money, with instruction to forward it to his family the first opportunity he had, - and in a few moments after saying this he expired. The rebel now pinned a small piece of paper on Tinkham's coat, stating his name and company, and left him. In this condition he was found by his company and by them buried. Time rolled on, and on the fourth of July, 1863, thirty-five thousand rebels surrendered to the victorious Federal army at Vicksburg, and among that vast multitude was to be found Lieutenant Tinkham's rebel friend - all honor to him! - eagerly searching for the Fourteenth Wisconsin Regiment. This he at last discovered, and, safely delivering the watch and money to one of its members, disappeared among the throng. The articles were duly received by the Lieutenant's friends. What it is to have an honest foe.

Tinkham is Lieutenant Samuel A. Tinkham of the 14th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. As for the Rebel, his name was lost in the dustbin of history.
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Old December 6, 2005, 10:47 PM   #122
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C'mon along now...

Not quite the British Bobby you've seen in Monty Python, but here's an early war speech given by Confederate General Wise who, from East Virginia, was attempting to rally men to him for his foray into Confederate West Virginia:

"Come and join me; bring a musket; if you have no musket; bring a rifle; if no rifle, a shotgun; if no shotgun, a pistol; no pistol, a gate hinge; no gate hinge, by God bring an India rubber shoe, but come."

Now those are words that will stir any stout hearted man to action.
For all his bravado, Wise rushed off and fought McClellan at Scarey Creek and got whupped. He retreated down the same road he had advanced on and called for General Floyd to meet with him. General Floyd did. Wise asked Floyd where he was going.

"Down that road."
"What are you going to do, Floyd?"
"Fight."

If looks could kill, Wise was annihilated. Without saying another word, Floyd rose, bowed and left. Floyd rode on, whupped the Yankees in a small fight and realizing that he had stirred a hornet's nest that was now coming down upon him, summoned Wise to join him. Wise never did. Outnumbered 3:1, Floyd was forced back. Enough history.
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Old December 11, 2005, 01:58 PM   #123
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More uses of the garden snail

"A good water for consumption...

"Take a peck of green garden snails, wash them in Bear
(beer) put them in an oven and let them stay till they've done crying; then with a knife and fork prick the green from them, and beat the snail shells and all in a stone mortar. Then take a quart of green earth-worms, slice them and beat them, the pot being first put into the still with two handulls of angelico, a quart of rosemary flowers, then the snails and worms, the egrimoney, bears feet, red dock roots, barbery rue tumerick and one ounce of saffron, well dried and beaten. Then power (pour) in three gallons of milk. Wait till morning, then put in three ounces of cloves (well beaten), hartshorn, grated. Keep the still covered all night. This done, stir it not. Distill with a moderate fire. The patient must take two spoonfuls at all times."
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Old December 14, 2005, 11:12 PM   #124
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You will see them again... and I hope shortly.

"The house we were defending faced all the batteries of Bayonne looking to the north and the Citadel stared it in the face... Here we mustered the Company... about thirty only remaining. That rascal Notting called up Schauroth and myself, the Youngest officer, and desired me to enter the house with fifteen men while he stood behind to assist in the yard with Schauroth (Notting was the writer's captain).

"Putting the Serjeant and six men in the left room and four in each of the others, I superinteded the whole and began by firing the first shot myself. My poor fellows did their utmost. I lost two killed from the centre room and one in [the] right hand one. In about two hours more I had sent two wounded away from the left and had one more killed in the Centre. Just at this time the French poured in grape at us and one or two forty-eight pounders which filled the rooms with mortar dust and we fired back at random... Just then a violent scream from the next room, with a thundering noise announced the corners of the house being blown down... I ran out to keep the men in; and as I turned to the right I bawled into the yard, 'Send up some more men.' But my eyes were so full of dust that I could see no one and the noise was so great, perhaps, that they could not hear.

"I had just at this time the narrowest escape of all. I was leaning agains the wall opposite the Centre room, rubbing my eyes and collecting my senses, so horrible was the noise, when the Serjeant from the [other] room tapped me on the shoulder, saying, 'Sir, Martin is shot in the head.'

"I had not taken two steps to the left to proceed to the room when an immense sixty-eight pounder poured through the the house and made a large hole enough to jump through in the very spot I had that instant left.

"My men were now so few that I saw it would be useless. However I returned to the Centre room where Lather alone was, and after firing till my shoulder was black and blue, the French poured in so strongly upon us that I began to think of leaving the house as the Serjeant had advised me.

"The two corners of the house were laid open and near one hundred and thirty cannons pointing at us. My men were reduced from fifteen to five and the Serjeant. And I was just making up my mind when a confusion as if heaven and earth were in contact suddenly came over me. The roof fell in and buried the whole of us.

"As Lather and myself were in the middle place, we fell together. My left elbow was so nearly smashed that I carry my arm in a sling. The Shoe-maker's head was actually scalped and when I groped into the yard like a miller the Captain says, 'I thought you was killed... Where is the Company?'

'You will see them again,' I answered, 'and I hope shortly.'

'Why, where are they, then, Sir?'

'Gone to hell!'"
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Old December 18, 2005, 12:53 PM   #125
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It's a miracle!

In the blackpowder days, the skill of a surgeon varied. Some "apprenticed" for a few years under another "surgeon" while others actually attended a medical college. Soldiers who saw the regimental surgeon during the Civil War were prescribed all sorts of medicine including the famous blue pill. Here's a case of a miraculous recovery without assistance from the regimental surgeon.

"One of the boys in the 2nd mess, Jaber Blackmer, lost his voice and was excused for several weeks from guard duty. But one unlucky night for him, he got to dreaming and talked as plain as any man in the mess. Some of the boys heard him talking and reported him, and from that time forth he had to do his duty the same as the rest of us."

Darn if that wasn't short of a miracle!

Now, that company was commanded by Capt. Scribner and the author tells us of his misadventures too:

"Captain Scribner had a good deal of trouble with his men. Some were in the guard-house about all the time. Some were fond of whiskey, and would contrive all ways to get it. He seemed to have a particular grudge against one named Sullivan; he told him he would put him in the guard-house and keep him there almost forever. One day he was drilling them in the manual of loading and firing. He told them he would put every man in the guard-house if they didn't do just as he wanted they should. He told them to load - aim- aim higher; about one half mistook the order for aim - fire and fired. It was fun to see the Dutchman rave and storm, using language not generally heard on drill. More of the men were put into the guard-house."
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