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Old November 23, 2006, 12:46 AM   #176
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Armed robbery story

From the dustbin of history, we have a Western tale of an almost train robbery and then a consolation stick-up.

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One of the few old stories occasionally told around the mines is of what is known as the "Dovey Robbery." One day during the summer of 1881 a stranger came to the Dovey mines at Mercer, then operated by John Dovey and his sons William and George B. Dovey. He asked for employment, and was told that he could go to work in a few days. In the conversation that followed he inquired in a casual way as to when the railroad pay-train would be due and was informed that it had passed through the morning before. John Dovey incidentally remarked that the following day was pay-day for their miners, and that William Dovey had gone for the money and would return some time during the night. The next morning, after all the miners had gone to work, three strangers entered the Dovey store. Two of them immediately stepped in front of the building and guarded the place, while the third remained int he store and with cocked pistol in hand demanded the contents of the safe. George B. Dovey unhesitantingly opened the safe and proceeded to hand out all it contained - about thirteen dollars in cash and a gold watch with his father's name engraved on it. William Dovey, expected home the night before, had been delayed and had not yet arrived with the pay-roll money, which would have been in the safe had he come back at the time he orginally intended to return. In the meantime two men and a woman, living near the mines, came to the store to make purchases. They entered the building, little suspecting that the two starngers in front were guarding the place. Immediately after they had stepped in, one of the strangers followed and with drawn pistol politely requested them to sit down and keep quite while "young Mr. Dovey was transacting business with his friend." (George B. Dovey was then nineteen years of age.) After the robbers were satisfied that they had gotten all the cash and the only watch in the store, they quietly walked out of the building. By the time the three customers and George B. Dovey had recovered sufficiently from the shock to step to the front door the three strangers were nowhere to be seen. However, an investigation made shortly after showed that the robbers had gone toward Pond Creek, then to Rosewood, and across the cliffs into Logan County. It was not known until about a year later that Jesse James was the man who had robbed the store, and that he had come to Mercer for the purpose of robbing the pay-train. In April, 1882, when Jesse James was killed, the John Dovey watch was among the things found in his posssesion, and his administrator, seeing the name engraved on it, located the Doveys and returned the stolen property.
It confirms that Jesse died, didn't it? At least he isn't in hiding along with Elvis.
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Old November 25, 2006, 12:45 PM   #177
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A great story, Gary.

The Dovey Mine at Mercer? In what state or territory was that?


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Old November 26, 2006, 01:10 AM   #178
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Kentucky.
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Old November 26, 2006, 10:39 PM   #179
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Fraternal love among officers and men...

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"Gen. Granger is very rough on this march. He whipped an infantry man with a rope & was going to do so to Corp. Cogswell of No. I; but Cogswell tried to get hold of the Gen to choke him & it finally ended. Sheridan choked a lieut. of Bat A 1st Ill. at Chickamauga creek, & came very near being shot for it..."

Letter of George E. Dolton to his wife. Published in The Path of Patriotism, page 105.

Can't find it now, but there's an account of Union Gen. John Geary berating the men and a couple of them responding by beating him up, dashing into the crowd before he could retaliate. Of course, no one saw what happened.
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Old November 27, 2006, 12:05 AM   #180
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Feed that cat!

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"A bullet has just passed, making as great a noise & similar to a cat when hurt. These cause such remarks as, "Feed that cat." "Keep your cats at home." "Poor Johnnies got nothing for your cats to eat" etc. etc. - I suppose that over 200 of these rebel messengers have passed us within 24 hrs..."
From The Path of Patriotism, Civil War letters of George E. Dolton, ed. by Theodore A. Dolton. page 144.
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Old December 1, 2006, 09:34 AM   #181
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Your story about the officer being 'kicked out' of the 28th Alabama was especially interesting to me because my G-Grandfather was a First Lieutenant in that regiment. Fortunately, his name wasn't Tucker!
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Old December 1, 2006, 01:13 PM   #182
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Many thanks.

Gary,

I really love the history of 19th century America. Being deployed, I don't have many books with me, and internet access is pretty unreliable for any great length of time.
I just wanted to let you know how very much I enjoy your anecdotes, and all the work that must go into researching and compiling them.
Thanks for making things here just a bit more bearable.

John.
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Old December 6, 2006, 11:42 PM   #183
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Lice, not fleas

WPA -if you have any family stories from the Late Unpleasantness between states, please share them.

38splfan - you're welcome and thank you and your buddies for serving our nation.

Remember that old poem that ended with "go to your God like a soldier?" Methinks Rudyard Kipling wrote that. So, what distinguishes a soldier of the 19th Century from a civilian? Read the following thread and judge for yourself.

Quote:
"There was an enemy that used to cause the boys considerable trouble and time to keep in decent state of subjection, and it was no uncommon sight to see many at the same time engaged in this common warfare. One day while in Pa. one of the boys had his shirt off skirmishing when an old citizen came along and stopped to look at him, the soldier taking no notice. "Are they fleas?" said the old citizen. "Fleas!" said the soldier in a voice of thunder and expressing great indignation. "What do you take me to be, a d*****d dog? No, I'm a soldier, and they are lice."
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Old December 9, 2006, 05:37 PM   #184
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We've come a long way

A German Jager officer's view of the Continental American Army of the Revolution.

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Concerning the American army, one should not think that it can be compared to a motely crowd of farmers. The so-called Continental, or standing, regiments are under good disicipline and drill in the English style as well as the English themselves. I have seen the Rhode Island Regiment march and perform several mountings of the guard which left nothing to criticize. The men were complete masters of their legs, carried their weapons well, held their heads straight, faced right without moving an eye, and wheeled so excellently without their officers having to shout much, that the regiment looked like it was dressed in line with a string...

Since the American nation consists of slender and well-formed people, it is an easily recognizable fact that the regiments of this army consist of handsome, and for the soldier's profession, well-built men whose appearance suffers very much indeed from a lack of clothing, hats, and shoes. For I have seen many soldiers of this army without shoes, with tattered breeches and uniforms patched with all sorts of colored cloth, without neckband and only the lid of a hat, who marched and stood their guard as proudly as the best uniformed soldier in the world, despite the raw weather and hard rain in October. But he keeps his piece clean and shining, and powders his hair as white as possible with provisions flour when on grand parades.
We've come a long way and hat's off to the patriots of 1775-1783!
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Old December 12, 2006, 11:08 PM   #185
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Same German officer's view on Benedict Arnold

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"This man was born in New England in North America. He learned pharmaceutics and established himself in business. Then, in an unlawful way, he declared himself bankrupt. Afterward, he engaged in horse trading in the West Indies and sailed his own vessel there. As soon as the unrest arose in America, he became one of the most fiery and zealous of rebels, and was chosen a general by his comrades...

"In 1780 the Congress entrusted him with the important post of West Point, where he then played the cunning trick on his countrymen which brught the good (Major) Andre to grief.

"He was a man of medium size, well built, with lively eyes and fine features. He could be very polite and agreeable, especially at the table, but if one stayed too long in his company, then the apothecary and horse trader showed through the general. He spoke a great deal about his heroic deeds on the other side, and frequently mentioned his ingenious trick at West Point, a story which he could make ridiculous with much wit.

"In his military actions he constantly displayed his former resolution, which, however, was mixed with a cautious concern due to his fear of the gallows if he fell into the hands of his countrymen. He always carried a pair of small pistols in his pocket as a last resource to escape being hanged. I have watched him very closely, and I found him very restless on the day the Americans threatened to take Portsmouth with a coup de main. On that day, he was not the 'American Hannibal.'

"His dishonorable undertaking, which, had it succeeded, could have actually turned the war more favorably for England, nevertheless cannot be justified, for surely self-gain alone had guided him, and not remorse for having taken the other side. If he really felt in his conscience that he had done wrong in siding against his mother country, he should have sheathed his sword and served no more, and then made known in writing his opinions and reasons. This would have gained more proselytes than his shameful enterprise, which every man of honor and fine feelings - whether he be friend or foe of the common cause - must loathe."
Here you have it from a German Jager Captain, Johann Ewald, who served under Clinton, Arnold, Phillips (died in Petersburg, VA) and Cornwallis. He served alongside Simcoe (Queen's Rangers) and Tarleton (British Legion).
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Old December 17, 2006, 01:53 PM   #186
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Showing respect on the firing line

As shooters, we should be respectful of one another. Here's a case of correcting a disrespectful soldier who discharged his firearm in the proximity of the ear of another soldier.

Quote:
"It was here that Brown I have spoken of was showing off after the works were shoulder high. I stood close to the breastwork and he was behind me, and a man to my left stuck his gun out between us and fired, the muzzle nearly opposite my ear. I told him to get up near the work if he wanted to fire. He made some remark about firing where he pleased. I told him not to fire his gun in my ear again or I would take a shot to the rear. He decided from the smiles of the other boys tht I had the best of the argument and although he was a corporal, he had better let the matter drop. We had but little trouble with him afterward and he was discharged with the others at the expiration of his term in September.”
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Old December 22, 2006, 11:51 PM   #187
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General, hold my horse.

The following account is given by a Civil War chaplain.

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The doctors mounted and I did the same. They were gallant young surgeons. One rode on either side of me and several men were mounted and followed after us. To an excited lieutenant who had charge of the ambulance I looked very much like a general. Riding up in front of our calvacade and tipping his hat to me, he said: "General, where shall I direct the ambulances?" I did not undeceive him but replied, in a tone of authority: "Have them driven to Fairfax!" I knew that so far the command was correct, and the lieutenant did as I told him. We marched the night through, having had nothing to eat all day except parched corn. At four o'clock next morning, having passed over a small river, the Occoquon, I think, and finding ourselves safely out of the trap, we halted, tied our horses to some small trees, and, though it was raining gently, slept on the ground until seven. Then started again, and, coming to a small log cabin, entered and asked for something to eat. The poor people seemed to be alarmed and said they had nothing. "Oh," we said, "we do not wish to deprive you, and we are willing to pay." Then, they took courage and gave us some fat pork, corn bread, and a kind of coffee, made, I think, out of burned peas. But it was warm. There were three of us, the two doctors and myself. We gave our hosts five dollars, and they were delighted, and so were we. Hunger made that breakfast the most delicious we had in six months. We continued our journey, and when we reached Fairfax, again near to our troops, we saw a tent where a sutler was selling cakes and canned meats. One of my companions went in to make our pruchases while I stayed outside with the other. After marching all night and sleeping in the rain, I had been mistaken on the evening previous. While standing outside the sutler's tent, covered with mud, horse-hair, and oak-leaves, my hair and beard, unkempt and uncombed for three days, flying in the wind, a man on horseback dashed up to the same tent, dismounted and with considerable nonchalance, and with scarcely a glance at me, peremptorily ordered me to hold his horse. Suiting his actions to his words, he extended his bridle-rein toward me. It was customary in those days to hand a boy or an idle loafer ten or twenty-five cents for holding an officer's horse for a short time. The occurence was somewhat stunning. "How hath my greatness fallen in one night!" I soliloquized. "Last night I was taken for a general; this morning I am taken for a loafer waiting to earn ten or twenty-five cents." The man who commanded me to hold his horse was not an officer, as far as I could ascertain. He looked like one who was earnest in his duty. Just as he was extending the bridle-rein to me, the doctor, who had been making the purchases in the tent, came out, and, lifting his right hand to his hat very politely, by way of salute, said: "General (keeping up the joke), I have a good supply for to-day." The stranger who owned the horse looked sharply at me, with terror in his face, and quickly darted out of sight. He seemed confounded at the thought of having asked a general to hold his horse.
The Chaplain in question is Father William Corby of the Irish Brigade. He is best known for offering absolution to the Irish Brigade before they plunged into the maelstrom known as Gettysburg. So touching was the moment that even General Winfield Hancock doffed his hat while he watched from a distance. If you visit Gettysburg today, you will find a statute of Father Corby there.

Have a safe & Merry Christmas everyone.
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Old December 30, 2006, 12:57 PM   #188
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Fighting Fish

You might have been misled to think that we're talking about some occupant of an exotic aquarium where colorful fish fight over territory and breeding rights. Rest assured, dear Reader, that nothing of the sort has been proffered upon you. This is, after all, a respectable black-powder forum and most of us are not fish mongers or spectators in aquatic combat. Instead, we have a tale of fish fighting as opposed to fist fighting. Read on to learn of this ludicrous tale from the days gone by.

Quote:
"During one of the operations to the left, and after the troops had been withdrawn from the entrencments peparatory to marching, we received what, under the circumstances, was a very peculiar ration and the only one of the kind that I remember to have seen issued during our term of service, namely, a ration of dried codfish. The brigade commissary must have had a large supply on hand and been very anxious to get rid of it, for each man received either an entire fish or a very large half. Had we been remaining in camp, where they could have been properly prepared, they would have made an acceptable addition to our men, for soaked, boiled, and minced with potatoes and made into cakes or balls, they are not bad eating. But what should we do with them on a march, and perhaps in battle? A column of men, each with a codfish strapped to his knapsack, would make a ludicrous spectacle. They might have been worn on the breast as bullet-protectors, but the odor was so strong that unless we had kept well to the windward of the enemy it would have warned them of our approach, and anyway, who wanted to be found dead with a deader codfish clasped to his bosom? Had we belonged to the artillery we might have used them as missiles of war, and I have no doubt that in the half-starved condition of the enemy there would have been a regular stampeded from all parts of their line as soon as they found that we were using codfish for cannon balls (patent applied for). Take it all in all, those immigrants from Newfoundland caused us considerable perplexity, until one comrade with mischief prepense quietly swiped another over the head with one. The question was solved. The blow had been struck, war was declared. From man to man, from company to company, from regiment to regiment, the wave of battle swept. None thought of saving ammunition; the air was thick with 'flying fish,' and so the historic battle of the cod raged until the order came to march, and the troops marched off leaving the field covered with the dead (codfish)."
And that's our tale of fighting fish. Have a safe and happy New Year.
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Old January 9, 2007, 06:41 PM   #189
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The wartime adventures of one anonymous sergeant

From The History of Walker's Texas Division, we have the amusing anecdotes of one sergeant or the advantages of a medical education.

Quote:
"On our trip down the river one of our doctors took a little too much 'benzine.' (Notwithstanding it was wartimes, there was a bar-room on every boat that plied on Red River. As a matter of course, no privates need apply.) The doctor had for his companion an ordnance-sergeant, belonging to the ___ Regiment, whome he frequently treated. While emptying the glass, the M.D.'s conversation was about medicine, and he commenced spouting Latin, which led the bar-keeper to believe that they were both doctors. After they had had several drinks together, the 'doctor's' head became dizzy; so he concluded to go to his state-room, leaving the ordnance-sergeant the bar-keeper's guest. Several soldiers were lookers-on, putting one in the mind of the fable of 'The fox and the grapes.' One of the soldiers, more witty than the rest, approached the ordnance-sergeant, addressing him as 'doctor,' and asked for his permission to get some whiskey. The sergeant being a jolly fellow, understood the joke, and at once ordered the bar-keeper to let his men have as much whiskey as they wanted; at the same time notifying the men not to get drunk, as he would be held responsible for their behavior. The commander of the regiment, seeing his men merrier than common, soon ascertained the facts, and the bar-keeper was immediately placed under arrest; and he, to save himself from being court-martialed, went in pursuit of the would-be doctor, and had him arrested. The bar-keeper was soon set at liberty."
End of Part I. In Part II, we'll see further adventures of the anonymous sergeant.
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Old January 12, 2007, 11:36 AM   #190
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Adventures of an anonymous sergeant... Conclusion.

In this installment, we'll see more misadventures of the anonymous sergeant.

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A short time afterwards this same ordnance-sergeant appeared in the role of a conscript officer, on Black River, which he carried out to perfection. Getting tired of camp-life, he strayed away from camp, for the purpose of getting a good dinner. He came across a house, ten miles from camp, and seeing no soldiers about, he alighted and asked for dinner. As dinner was getting ready for him, he got into a conversation with the host of the house. He soon discovered that he was not in the service. He informed the host of the house that he was a conscript officer. On hearing this announcement, the host begged him not to conscript him, as he had to provide for fifty soldiers' wives and widows. After dinner, the ordnance-sergeant, alias the conscript officer, asked what his bill for dinner was. The host replied that he would make no charge, and gave him to understand that as long as he was in the neighborhood, he was welcome to make his headquarters at his house. Thanking him for his kindness, he informed him that, as a conscript officer, it would be necessary, before he could exempt him from military duty, to have fifty soldiers' wives and widows at his house the next day, as he wanted to witness them himself. The following day he came again to dinner, when, sure enough, he beheld fifty soldiers' wives or widows present. After eating dinner, he made a patriotic speech to the women. He told them, in case they failed to get a good support from the party that he had exempted from military service, they must write to his headquarters at Shreveport.
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Old January 22, 2007, 08:33 PM   #191
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The Only Republican Victory...

in Tennessee.

Reuben F. Bernard was working on the corn. Every time his hoe struck a corn tassel, a cloud of yellow pollen was released and he'd sneeze. Tired of it and unwilling to live a life of a farmer, he ran away from home and took to blacksmithing. Learning quickly, he left the trade and joined the U.S. Cavalry. Well,while on leave, it turns out that the Democrats and Republicans were vying for the Presidency and Bernard was a Republican. Many supporters of Lincoln took to wearing tall stove pipe hats in support of their man. The message was not lost on the democrats.

Well, ole Reuben (actually a young man then) was dared to wear such a hat and Reuben never backed down from a dare (he was young, remember?). Tall and well built, he probably figured he'd have no trouble, or so he thought.

"I suppose you with your stove-pipe hat would like to settle matters with me!" shouted one big fellow who had imbibed freely before marching up and down the street and politicking loudly for the Democrats. The big fellow challenged anyone who thought differently to settle it with fisticuffs. Not exactly democratic, but certainly calculated to make an impression.

Well, the big fellow spied Reuben and smashed the hat down over Reuben's eyes and ears. The crowd broke out in laughter and the hat was so well jammed over Reuben's head that it took a while for him to pry it off. He clawed at the hat, tearing it piece by piece off until his vision was restored. Angered, he came out swinging and the big fellow swung back.

Like two mighty warriors, they traded blow for blow in the manner of Achilles and Hector. The two champions pummelled each other to the delight of the crowd. Finally, Mars favored Reuben and he knocked the big fellow out. It was the only Republican victory in Tennessee as the state casted its vote along Democratic Party lines.

Reuben Bernard was later commissioned an officer and brevetted as a colonel during the Civil War. His conduct during the fights against the various Indian tribes won him his brevet-Brigadier General rank. He retired as a Lt-Col in the regulars.
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Old February 12, 2007, 07:19 PM   #192
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Silent Killer.

We're not talking about disease or some sort of virus. Imagine a marksman hiding behind a bush, sighting his weapon on an unwary foe. He squeezes the trigger. The foeman is talking with his comrades when he suddenly jumps and falls down dead. Puzzled, his comrades roll him over and much to their surprise, see blood pouring from him. Looking around, no smoke is seen and as no shot was heard, they grow uneasy and run as another of their number soon falls dead to the silent killer. Fiction? No, it's silent killing with an airgun in the flintlock era before the 19th Century. It would take another fifty years before a reliable repeater would be produced and about a century before silenced firearms were feasible.Click here and go to the Girandoni Airgun video.
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Old February 18, 2007, 04:44 PM   #193
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Zouave Doughnuts

Amateur bakers do a brisk business, until overcome by their own success! Read it here at Rambling Anecdotes.

Quote:
Two of the boys (of Eastern Shore celebrity in mischief) procured about a bushel of flour, and some sugar and saleratus (Gary's note: baking soda), borrowed a sheet-iron kettle of one of the officers' servants, obtained a lot of fat salt pork, and went into business. They first washed all the salt from the pork, dried it out, mixed their flour with sugar and saleratus, let it rise, and then made some of the finest doughnuts, as they supposed, that were ever served up; at all events they were 'done brown.' When they had made a great pile of them, they opened shop, and never before was there such a rush to procure some of those elegant doughnuts. The pile was soon gone at five for twenty-five cents, and the demand soon exceeded the supply. Occasionally a man was found who had the temerity to express the opinion that they were rather tough, and were good specimens of home-made India rubber; but he was immediately frowned down as a barbarian, and a man devoid of epicurian tastes. The sale kept up so briskly that by night the batter was almost exhausted, and the firm closed up their business for the day, estimated their profits, and talked over their plans for the future. But they were in a quandry. The batter was nearly gone, and no more flour could be obtained within range of their guns. Suddenly the contracted brow of H. relaxed from its thoughtful aspect, and his face lit up with a genial smile. He had struck an idea, and was like a goldminer when he pans out a rich lot of 'pay dirt.' 'Eureka!' he exclaimed, quoting Archimedes. They had still on hand a quantity of saleratus, which up to this time was looked upon as dead stock, but now it was worth its weight in gold. 'What idea have you struck, pards?' asked H.'s colleague. 'Why, you noodle-head, its very plain - put in more saleratus!' 'That's the cheese! Why didn't you think of that before?' The saleratus was added in generous quantity, and they turned in and went to sleep, probably dreaming of light doughnuts for the million - so light, in fact, that a piece of dough the size of a walnut would turn into a doughnut the size of a pumpkin. At all events, they must have dreamed on promiscuous subjects, for they had partaken of their own stock in trade to show their faith in home manufactures. I am not positive that this was the identical night that the whole camp was aroused by fearful screams, and the men gasped their rifles, and the officers rushed out of their tents clad in Georgia costumes (Gary's note: undergarments), swords and revolvers in hand, supposing at first that then enemy had captured the camp and were bayonetting the men in their tents, until it was discovered that a somnambulist of Company F had jumped up in a nightmare and was trying to climb a tree before he was awakened, having dreamed that one of Hood's Texas Rangers was trying to scalp him. At all events this was the camp where this identical thing happened, and this naturally ought to have been the night, for never before were the men's stomachs so full.

In the morning the firm were roused from their dreams of wealth by reveille, and jumped up in a hurry. But what a sight met their eyes! Dough, dough, dough everywhere! The fact of it was, their stock had risen about one hundred and fifty per cent, above par, and kept on rising. The floor of their tent, blankets, rifles, cartridge-boxes, and everything else, were covered in layers of dough, and they could be traced out to the line for roll call by a string of dough. This was something that had not entered into their calculations. They, however, did well in business that day, and added saleratus, as their batter decreased, until the compound was so sour that all the sugar they could beg, borrow, or steal was not sufficient to sweeten it enough to suit the most depraved taste. Accordingly one night, after a very dull day's trade, they buried what remained of their stock in a hole outside their tent, in the company street. But their astonishment was great in the morning at the finding that the stuff refused to stay buried, and had burst through the crust of earth over it, and, like a fountain, was sending out its streams, whereupon they were obliged to heap several bushels of dirt over the spot to prevent its ressurection. The next morning they looked out of their tent with anything but confidence, expecting to see a new eruptoin. The were agreeable disappointed, and thus ends the long, but true story of the 'Zouave' doughnuts.
Thus concludes our story of a misadventure on the Yorktown Peninsula. D*mn Yankees.
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Old March 4, 2007, 11:10 PM   #194
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A break from tradition

This rambling anecdote is a break from tradition. Rather than focus on one incident, here's some stories to tickle your funny bone. Enjoy!


“I have spiked their gun for them.” - Capt. Hubert Dilger, Gettysburg, July 1, 1863, after personally sighting his Napoleon and knocking out a Confederate gun on Oak Hill by striking it on the muzzle with a single shot.

*********************
Rev. Henry Ward Beecher to a London audience, one of whom asked “If your cause is so righteous with your great Northern strength, why don’t you put the rebellion down?”

“Because we are fighting Americans and not Englishmen.”

*********************

Sen. Benjamin F. Wade, on Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase: “Chase is a good man, but his theology is unsound. He thinks there is a fourth person in the Trinity.”

********************

“I have stood your meanness as long as I intend to. You have played the part of a **** scoundrel, and if you were any part of a man I would slap your jaws and force you to resent it…”
Nathan B. Forrest to Braxton Bragg

********************

“Too late, sir, the battle is won.”
Richard Taylor after the Battle of Mansfield to a messenger from Kirby Smith ordering him to retreat
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Old March 10, 2007, 06:46 PM   #195
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Washington's Army in July, 1781

In his review of Washington's Army in July, 1781, Baron Ludwing von Closen, a member of Rochambeau's staff, made the following observations:

Quote:
It is really painful to see these brave men, almost naked, with only some trousers and linen jackets, most of them without stockings, but, would you believe it? Very cheerful and happy in appearance...
The only American regiment that impressed Bavarian von Closen was the Rhode Island Regiment which was largely composed of black troops.

Quote:
the most neatly dressed, the best under arms, and the most precise in manuevers.
French Chaplain Claude Robins aso commented that the Americans travelled with only forty pounds of baggage per 3-4 men whereas the French were almost doubled over because of their baggage in addition to each regiment requiring 14 wagons!
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Old March 12, 2007, 11:50 PM   #196
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Camouflaged for what!?

OK, I'm sure many of you who have read about gray as a uniform color. It certainly blended in better with the woods than the blue worn by the Federal soldiers. It didn't take much for a Confederate to lie down, throw some leaves atop of himself and virtually disappear from sight. One 15 year old girl in Gettysburg commented how bad the Confederates looked, until her father pointed to some a nearby fellow who was sitting down tying his shoelaces. She was shocked he was so close and yet escaped her sight. In the blackpowder era, the white sulphourous clouds of smoke also made it difficult to see an opponent dressed in gray. It blended and other colors stood out more and therefore were shot more. The British Army proved it in experiments (but still didn't discard the red for gray). Well, there's another advantage to gray and you can learn it from one Confederate:

Quote:
THere I learned that in moving and occupying the same grounds occupied by others, that cleanliness is no bar to lice. The color of the Confederate uniform had the advantage over the Federal in not showing them when on the outside of the clothing.
You learned it here first, at The Firing Line.
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Old March 16, 2007, 02:11 AM   #197
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Chewing tobacco...

Earlier I posted what some 19th Century Americans felt towards tobacco and it was not seen in a positive light. Today, I present another aspect and this time, the utility of tobacco is clearly proven as a life saving device.

Imagine two Army scouts in Indian Country. As volunteers, they've left their surrounded command which has been shot up and besieged on a tiny island in the middle of a shallow river. They're attempting to cross 100 miles of hostile terrority to reach an army post to summon help to rescue their comrades. Surrounded by nothing but prairie grass, they lay motionless in a buffalo wallow. About 100 feet away is a large party of Indians. But there is a closer threat: a rattlesnake that is wriggling towards the scouts. To shoot it would alert the Indians to their presence. To remain still would invite death by snakebite. Either prospect was not promising for our gallant heroes. Here's where the tobbaco chewing habits of Jack Stillman came in handy. As the snake slithered closer, its tongue flickering menacingly, the men tensed. Either luck or years of practice came into play as Jack shot a wad of tobacco juice right into the snake's face. Immediately the rattler veered away from Jack and his comrade and disappeared into the wallow. Our scouts remained undetected by the Indians. Jack and his comrade made it through and their command was saved by a rescue party of the 10th Cavalry (Buffalo Soldiers).
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Old March 18, 2007, 09:11 PM   #198
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Only in the movies...

This really happened... no sh*t.

After the Battle of Beecher Island, many surviving U.S. Army scouts forever had a hatred of the red man. Scout Pierre Trudeau and Jack Donovan, riding in advance of their command, had paused to allow their mules water themselves in the South Fork of the Republican River. They saw three stray horses and thought it peculiar. Suddenly, four Indians jumped up and three mounted the horses and fled. The fourth attempted to flee on foot. Having only mules, Trudeau and Donovan were too slow to catch the Indians on horses but they knew they could run down the one on foot. So, off they rode in pursuit. The indian zig zag as he ran, preventing the scouts from getting a good shot at him and their bullets struck on either side of him.

Firing a rifle, Trudeau hit the Indian in the leg, crippling him. After hopping a short distance, the Indian stops and gallantly makes a stand and tries to make the scouts pay dearly for their pursuit. He turns about and fires his Colt revolver at them. They fire back and he is seen to throw away his Colt.

Since Indians never showed mercy to prisoners caught on the plains, the scouts decided that no mercy would be shown to the Indian despite his being wounded and unarmed. After dispatching him, they recover the discarded Colt and discovered why he threw it aside. A bullet lodged between the barrel and the cylinder, thereby preventing the cylinder from rotating. Use only good ammo folks.

Now that's bad ammo!
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Old April 3, 2007, 08:18 PM   #199
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Dictionary definitions

From Charles James's "A New and Enlarged Military Dictionary," of 1805 vintage, we find the following defintions:

Quote:
CROATS. Light irregular troops. "They are ordered upon all desperate services.

ARMS. A long firelock with rifled barrel, a short bayonet, a brace of pistols. Maria Theresa employed 5,000 of these irregular troops, "the greater part of which had no pay, but lived on plunder, on the acquisition of which they are remarkably dexterous.

PANDOURS, SCLAVARIANS, who inhabit the banks of the Drave. "The pandours were originally a corps of infantry named Ruitza; and their chief occupation or duty was to clear the highroads of thieves." They first made their appearance in Germany under Baron Trenck, 1741...

Tolpatches or Talpatches. A nickname of the Hungarian foot soldier, usually used as an insult.

CRABBATES. I have not yet discovered what type of rascals these were.
Gotta love that last group, the Crabbates.
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Old April 4, 2007, 06:07 AM   #200
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Theodore Roosevelt: Raising the Regiment

http://www.bartleby.com/51/1.html
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