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Old August 13, 2006, 10:43 PM   #160
4V50 Gary
Join Date: November 2, 1998
Location: Colorado
Posts: 19,342
Security blankets

Anyone old enough to remember Charles Schulz's comic strip, Peanuts, will remember Linus and his blanket. Well, Linus was probably a reincarnation of a Civil War soldier whose life was saved by his blanket. Here's a story of a man who was saved more than once by his same army issued blanket. Our hero participated in the Burnside's attack against the Confederates who were posted behind the stone wall of Marye's Heights in Fredericksburg. He was injured and pinned down with no cover to speak of.

...bullets were flying so thick around me that the thought struck me to pull or work my blankets off my shoulder and to place them in front of my head. They would serve as at least a slight protection from the deadly missiles. Fortunate, indeed, that I thought of this. Double fortunate that I succeeded in doing it. The prospect of death now seemed to increase. My clothing was literally being torn from my back by the constant and furious musketry fire of the enemy from three points. A ball struck me on the left wrist inflicting another painful but not serious wound. Another one which would undoubtedly have proved instantly fatal but for my blankets pierced through six plies of the blanket. It left me the possessor of a very sore head for six weeks after. With such force did this bullet come that for some time I really though it had embedded itself in the skull. My blankets were the receptacles of 32 other bullets which dropped out when I opened them up the next morning in Fredericksburg...
Our hero decides to escape and waits for darkness and a lull in the firing.

I decided that my only chance to escape safely from my dangerous position would be during the intervals between the Rebel fire. I resolved to attempt it. Just as the sounds of another volley of the enemy died away at about eight p.m., I regained my feet with much difficulty and excruciating pain... I crept slowly back from the dangerous Rebel front... My friendly balnkets, although then mysteriously and unaccountably heavy, I did not relinquish. I dragged them along.
Enroute back, he sees a light and discovers it's a lantern. Best of all, it's a lantern carried by a friend. He calls out and is helped to an ambulance. He is taken to a field hospital and is given medical care. While recovering, our hero feels cold and asks another soldier to unroll his blanket.

I asked him to remove the strings from my blanket which still remained rolled up. He willingly and cheerfully complied, remarking in doing so, 'How many blankets are here?' 'Only one,' I said. 'It's damned heavy then,' he said. The strings off, the officer, in order to open it up and spread it over me, raised it from the floor. To his sudden astonishment, a shower of Rebel bullets, 47 in number, dropped out of it around his feet, with a rattling noise on the boards. 'How's this?' he said, 'do the men of the 116th carry ammunition in their blankets?' I smiled and replied, 'Oh, no, we carry it in a much more convenient place and get rid of it as soon as possible.' I then explained to him the circumstance of my having placed it in front of my head while lying on the ground as a protection against the enemy's fire. 'Lucky boy,' he said, 'it just saved you from being riddled with Rebel lead.'"
And that concludes our rambling anecdote for the day.
Vigilantibus et non dormientibus jura subveniunt. Molon Labe!
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