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Old March 28, 2015, 09:40 PM   #426
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Vey interesting Gary. I have a copy of Doddridge’s: “Notes on the Settlement and Indian Wars.” One of those “crackers” you mentioned was a namesake ancestor of mine from Fort Hinkle on the frontier of western Virginia. He is also mentioned in Doddridge's book. He was with a Virginia militia unit under Gen. Washington and saw the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown in 1781.

Changing the subject a bit, if anyone enjoys reading about the old days of hunting, one could find no better reading than one of Jim Corbett’s books. Corbett (1875-1955) was born and raised in India and grew up in the jungle hunting with an old muzzle loading shotgun and later black powder cartridge rifles before using a large caliber cordite double rifle to take down numerous man eating tigers and leopards. He is credited in the Guinness Book of World records as having killed the two most notorious man-eaters of all time: the Panar Leopard and the Champawt tigress with over 800 human kills between them.

A naturalist and outdoorsman, Corbett was more concerned with saving human lives than killing for sport. It is estimated that thousands of native Indian lives were saved by his actions. Corbett’s “The Man-Eaters of Kumaon” is a classic and can be found on Amazon.

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Old April 5, 2015, 08:05 PM   #427
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Cherry Pie

OK, this account is new in a sense that it takes place during WW II aboard a 110 ft wood hull subchaser. It is told by Pappas, a gunner's mate who often served as the helmsman or as lookout. His skipper was a good guy but the other two officers were from the South and they hated the Yankees like Pappas. The officer involved was from Georgia and was nicknamed Cowboy.

Quote:
We all had nicknames. Mine was Greek and his was Cowboy. I was in the wheelhouse one day when Cowboy yelled from below, "Hey Greek, go tell the cook to make some cherry pies." I went down to the galley and told Christian what Cowboy wanted and he said he had no shortening to bake pies. I went back to the wheelhouse and yelled down to Officers' Quarters, "Hey Cowboy, Christian don't have any shortening to make the pies." Then I went back to the galley. I no sooner started talking to the cook when Cowboy came sliding down the later. He said to Christian, "When I give an order for pies, if you're out of shortening I don't give a damn if you have to use axle grease. I want pies. Do you understand?" Christian said, "Yes, sir." Then Cowboy turned to me and said, "As for you Greek, I am an officer in the United States Navy, and I am to be addressed as 'Sir." Understand?" He turned to leave. I said, "Sir, I am Pappas, gunner's mate. From now on you do not call me 'Greek." That name is only for my shipmates."

So we had our orders to make cherry pies. I really hated to do this to the skipper, but there was no other way. In the medical locker were fifteen or twenty brown bottles of medical supplies, a "pill for every ill." One of them was a full bottle of laxatives. We took about one-third of the bottle, crushed the pills into powder and cooking them in with the cherries for the pie. We used cooking oil for the crust - not too bad, a little hard. We used two big baking pans, one for the officers and one for the crew. Of course the crew didn't get the laxative pie.

I didn't see the officers for a couple of days; then i got to the skipper and was talking to him about nothing in general. he mentioned the pie and how good it was, but he said the cooking oil we used gave all three officers the runs. Day and night they took turns running to the head. I was sorry the skipper had to suffer along with the two rebel officers."
From pages 94-5 of Splinter Fleet: The Wooden Subchasers of World War II by Theodore R. Treadwell.
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Old May 14, 2015, 07:40 PM   #428
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New (old) use for potatoes

Presently reading Ross E. Beard's Carbine: The Story of David Marshall Williams. He's the fellow who invented the short stroke piston that was later used on the M-1 Carbine. Haven't gotten far into the book but there is a useful purpose for Irish potatoes:

Quote:
An amusing incident took place, one that may have been the opening for a more relaxed association between Carbine Williams and me. Carbine was standing in the kitchen with Mrs. Williams and me when she left to the room to get some old photographs which we had asked to copy.

Carbine immediately lunged for the cabinet under the sink and, after fumbling around with his hand while looking out for Miss Maggie with one eye, fished out an irish potato from a bag and slipped it into his coat pocket. He looked at me and smiled as if he had pulled a fast one on me as well as on Miss Maggie.

Mrs. Williams didn't return for a minute so I smiled back at him and said,"I know that old trick, too!" He looked at me disbelievingly and I went on to explain, "You see, to take a bite out of that potato is the bset way known to kill the scent of whiskey on the breath." It is not widely known as a breath freshener, but as fate would have it I had run across this information only a month before. It happened that a friend of mine, Jake Penland, sports editor of the The State newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, had told me about it. Jake had heard it from an old-timer on a bus trip from Atlanta when he was returning from a football game, and had passed this little gem on to me."
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Old May 22, 2015, 02:51 PM   #429
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End of WW II

The HMS Deane was accepting the surrender of German U-boats. It was accompanied by the yacht Philante. Among the sailors sent from the Deane to board the U-boat was ERA A. J. Brown.

Quote:
The yacht Philante (almost top-heavy with newsreel cameramen and senior officers) was standing by to record this surrender for posterity. We crowded into the boat armed to the teeth with pistols, rifles and submachine guns and all went according to plan until we got alongside the U-boat. We suddenly realised that it was not going to be all that easy to clamber out of the boat on to the Sub's casing. The sea was choppy and the boat bobbed up and down alarmingly. We were much encumbered by our arsenal of weapons and, after several of the lads made undignified (and unsuccessful) attempts to get board, we were somewhat fluxmoxed. Then someone, with true matelot's resourcefulness, solved the problem. We calmly handed up our guns to the bemused Germans and climbed up with ease. Nonchalantly taking our guns back from the enemy, we went about the normal procedure of taking them prisoner. This unmilitary behavior did not seem at all out of place to us but the top brass in Philante were LIVID! We were all given a hell of a dressing down when we eventually got back on board but no disciplinary action was taken. I have seen this episode on cinema newsreels on several occasions and the reel of film has also been included in the well-known TV series War at Sea - but you will note that the censor has very definitely cut out the bit showing us handing our guns up to the Germans!!
Taken from page 175 of Donald Collingwood's The Captain Class Frigates. It's the story of the seventy-eight Buckley class destroyer escorts that were lend-leased to the Royal Navy. Thanks to their twin rudders, they could, at 20 kts, turn a tighter circle than regular destroyers. That made them very useful for dropping depth charges on enemy submarines. The book is well worth the read if you're into WW II naval history.
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Old August 1, 2015, 04:33 PM   #430
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From Rear Admiral Paul Auphan & Jacques Mordal's The French Navy in World War II:

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Jacques Mordal, who had served as one of Admiral Auphan's confidential assistants for six months while the latter was Minister of the Navy, requested to be returned to his regular duties as a medical officer when the admiral resigned. After the scuttling of the fleet at Toulon, Mordal was assigned as medical officer to the personnel of the merchant and fishing fleets on the Channel coast from Dunkirk to le Havre. "It was a golden opportunity to carry out intelligence work," he once told me, "and it would have been a pity not to have taken advantage of the opportunity, I travelled constantly---naturally with a German aussweiss (pass) -- and everywhere I went I received the utmost assistance from the personnel of the navy, and of the merchant and fishing fleets. The German officer who renewed my aussweiss each week never failed to impress on me the necessity of obeying promptly all the challenges by sentries. And he would add 'We would be distressed if anything should happen to you!'

Apparently the Germans did not suspect Mordal. However, one day in January, 1944, he thought his end had come. While returning from clandestinely inspecting some new German works at Cape Antifer (near Le Havre), he was arrested by a German soldier and taken to an officer for questioning. At the end of two hours the officer informed him that he had been reported for asking directions in French - French with a pronounced English accent. In spite of his precarious situation - he carried compromising papers on his person - Mordal burst out laughing. He asked the German officer if he would not give him a written statement to that effect so that it could be sent to his English professor who, in yesteryears at college, has dispaired of his lamentable accent. In his turn the German laughed too and released Mordal - without having him searched."
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Old August 2, 2015, 10:27 AM   #431
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Just finished Rear Admiral Paul Auphan and Jacques Mordal's The French Navy in World War II. The book was copyrighted in 1959 by the United States Naval Institute Press. Here is an interesting passage from its conclusion:

Quote:
But sober consideration impels one to believe that the Soviet strategy does not lead necessarily toward a Third World War. On the contrary, considering what has happened in the past few years, it would seem to be to the interest of the Communists to permit the present situation to deteriorate naturally, and to wait for the socialist germs to take effect in those countries where they have been planted. In the meantime they hasten the process by nurturing internal subversive movements or by bringing a discreet support to those disturbance which the general staffs are beginning to qualify as "revolutionary."
How prophetic as much of modern France (2015) is socialist. We've no shortage of socialists right here in Estados Unidos either.
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Old November 14, 2015, 12:08 PM   #432
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From the Annals of Arfcom, here are some amusing stories: http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_1_5/180...w_thread_.html
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Old November 29, 2015, 09:41 AM   #433
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V-6, the Combat Cat

During WW II, the navy tugboat, USS Pawnee, had a cat for its mascot. They called it V-6 and the following account is from Theodore Mason's book, Rendezvous With Destiny.

Quote:
In November, five months later, she earned another reputation, this time as a "combat cat." We were approaching Empress Augusta Bay in the early morning hours of 17 November with a reinforcement echelon for the Marines at Cape Torokina, Bougainville. We were expecting an air attack, but since we lacked a radar at that time, we had no way of knowing where the enemy planes were.

My gun station was between the two 20-mm. cannons at the aft end of the boat, or the 0-1 deck. Adams, a shipfitter from Chicago, mentioned that cats were able to see and hear very well at night. Another sailor suggested that we use V-6 as a possible "early warning system." We kept a large welding machine between the port and starboard guns, which proved an ideal lookout spot for V-6. Adams and I kept an eye on the cat to see which way she was looking.

Suddenly she started looking dead astern and following something coming up on the port quarter. Our phone talker reported "plane astern!" to the bridge as we watched a Japanese Betty bomber coming in on a low-level attack. The seaman-gunner had never fired his 20-millimeter at night, SO I got behind him to help him lead the plane through the ring sights, hoping it would run into a stream of explosive shells when we squeezed the trigger. Unfortunately, the Betty passed out of the range of our guns - but V-6 had spotted it for us. She also spotted another plane which was brought down by one of our escorting destroyers.
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Old December 5, 2015, 10:17 PM   #434
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Mischievous riflemen of the 3/95

1814 was not a good year for Napoleon. The Allies were bringing the war to French soil. Among them was a rifleman of the 3/95 (Rifle Brigade).

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After being quartered in several places, we marched to Dixmude, where we lay for about three months of the winter of 1814. There was a heavy snow on the ground, and Colonel Ross being no favourite, we one night collected an immense snowball, and rolling it up to the door of his quarters, closed it, and obliged him in the morning to get out by the back of the house. He laughed at the trick, but never afterwards was without a sentry.
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Old December 24, 2015, 10:56 AM   #435
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Muzzle Control - Practice it always!

Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.

The following account is from an officer of the 95th Rifle Regiment.

Quote:
The occurences of this life are certainly very, very changeable and uncertain; for instance - a rifleman of ours was married the other day, and the regimental band played the new couple to and from chruch. the day following, we went out to fire ball at the target, when this same rifleman was shot through the breast bya ccident, and died immeidately on the grond: strange to tell, the band that played before him to church when married, now played the Dead March in Saul, to the same place, for him to be buried, within the short space of fifty-eight hours.

Our regiment was at exercise, firing ball at the target. I took a loaded rifle from one of the men, to try the range, and with the intetnion of explaining to the men also the new mode of firing recommended to riflemen, the piece went off in my hand, by accident, while holding it by my side, and instead of its killing me, which might have been the case, the ball passed through the body of a fine young man, who was placed to marke the target, about the distance of 150 yards from me. I heard him cry out, and saw him fall instantly, never to rise again in this world!

Words cannot, express my unutterable anguish on reaching the spot, God forgive me when I say, I envied the poor dying soldier's situation at the moment. O! ineed, could it have saved the life of the unfortunate victim, freely would I have given my own. A short time before this melancholy catrastrophe, I was rejoicing at the near prospect of joining the British Army in Spain - I am now inconsolable! How very defective is our foresight, in this world of trouble and sorrow! How has my ambition been laid prostrate!
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Old December 25, 2015, 12:19 PM   #436
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From Ezekiel Baker, maker of the Baker rifle carried by the 5/60 Royal Americans, King's German Legion, Brunswick Oels and the famous 95th Rifles:

Quote:
One other observation I must be allowed to make - and that is, to caution every person from presenting fire-arms towards another, whether injoke, or for the avowed purpose of frightening him. Many fatal accidents have arisen from this cause; and families have been involved in the extreme wrtechedness, by the casual discharge of a piece which as frequenty been attempted to have been fired in vain, and which, from repeated trials, has consequently been supposed not to have been loaded.

It would perhaps be a new system in education, but I am convinced it would be a most admirable one, if parents and guardians, masters, tutors, and every person engaged in the instruction of children, were early to impress upon them the dangers arising from pointing or presenting firearms at any one. I always shudder, whenever I witness it; and I repeat, if cautioned in their infancy, a practice so fraught with ruin might be prevented, and many valuable lives be therefore preserved. In the nursey, at school, in short every opportunity should be embraced to enforce obedience to so necessary an injunction, and to impress upon them the wretchedness they may entail on perhaps their best and dearest friends by so wanton and unnecessary a practice.
From pages 147-9 of Remarks on the Rifle-Guns. 11th Ed.
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Old December 31, 2015, 05:14 PM   #437
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More on Boy Scout training circa 1930

The scene takes place in Scotland.

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Because it became with hindsight a premonition of other events, I remember one consequence of slackening my resistance to team activity. I joined the Owl Patrol in the 12th Edinburg Royal High School Scouts, and wore my brown uniform along with all the other boys. We met weekly in the school gymnasium. One evening in the early 1930s, we were being taught by our scoutmaster to use long staves for crowd control - a most un-scout like activity, some echo of the General Strike of 126, or maybe just another of those hints that the world we were about to enter was a place so full of conflict that even games had to be made a preparation for it.

Towards the close of the evening the scoutmaster decided to give us a demonstration. We were lined up as a kind of human barrier, our poles at ready, while certain other scouts were struck off to impersonate a mob. They were unleashed at us through a suddenly opened door, charging at us wildly in a licensed free-for-all, young bodies crashing into others with good-natured brutality. We couldn't control them and our troop leader had lost control of all of us. The crush of the attackers caught me with my hand flung out. I can steel feel the right arm being bent further and further backwards until it snapped. There was a moment of sheer panic and disbelief, then the shocking pain of the break.

The scoutmaster, resourceful to the last, turned his failed experiment at crowd-control into a first aid demonstration. It was not every day that he could show his troop a real broken arm. He snapped a yard-stick in two to make a pair of splints, found some bandages and called for a taxi. When I reached the emergency department of Edinburg Royal Infirmary I had to wait only briefly before being wheeled into the operating room where I was given a very inadequate anaesthetic: the chloroform barely dulled the crushed nerves. I felt my arm being stretched and manipulated to get the sheared bones back into position. It is strange how easy it is to remember pain.
Interesting that one would even consider using boy scouts for riot control. Imagine that being done today in our litigious society?

The above was from Eric Lomax's The Railway Man. As a Signal Corps Officer, Lt. Lomax was sent to Malaysia as part of the 5th Artillery. He was captured there and endured a lot of torture when a small map was found in his kit. Many decades later (nineties) Lomax met with his interrogator who, post-war, became an anti-militarist and a buddhist and very remorseful about what happened to the PoWs - especially Lomax who was waterboarded. Lomax met his interrogator in Malaysia where Lomax saw the temple the interrogator paid for to atone for his conduct. They travel together to Japan where Lomax writes a letter forgiving the interrogator and hands it to him before he returns to Scotland with his wounds finally healed.
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Old March 2, 2016, 06:20 PM   #438
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Excerpt from Wenches, Wives and Servant Girls: A Selection of Advertisements for

Female Runaways in American Newspapers, 1770-1783. Ed. by Don Hagist.
From page 54 we read:

Quote:
Run away from the subscriber, a convict servant maid, named Sarah Wilson, but has changed her name to Lady Susanna Carolina Matilda, which made the public believe that she was his Majesty's sister, she has a blemish in her right eye, black roll'd hair, stoops in the shoulders, makes a common pratice of writing and marking her cloaths with a crown and a B. Whoever secures the said servant woman, or takes her home, shall receive 5 pistoles besides all costs and charges. William Devall. [Essex Gazette, 25 May, 1773]
Five pistols! Wow-wee. William Devall must have wanted her back badly.
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Old March 8, 2016, 05:33 PM   #439
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Support our Troops

And don't steal from them!

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Stolen, the 20th instant, eight shirts, four cambrick stocks, two pair of stockings, one feather bed and bolster, two blankets, one bed tick, an old sheet, and one pair of shoes. The person who stole the above things, goes by the name of Polly Welsh, otherwise Polly Campbell. She is a well faced woman, brown hair, black eyes, and commonly wears a roul in her hair, has a very comely carriage when in her airs, takes a great deal of stuff, and will get groggy if she can get liquor. She wears a dirty pale green short gown, and sometimes a blue skirt very much worn, a high crown bonnet, and an old white cloak which she borrowered of her neighbour. Any person who apprehends the said Mary, shall have Six Dollars reward by applying to Michael Welsh, Serjeant in the Tenth battalion of Pennyslvania regulars; or to Capt. Lewis Farmer in Second-street, between Vine and Race Streets.
Dear Polly must have been Michael Welsh's disgruntled wife.
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Old April 16, 2016, 11:42 AM   #440
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From Ken Tout's By Tank: From D to VE Day.

Quote:
Captain Sandy Saudners was aware that, with his strong build, light curly hair, and pink cheeks, he had an advantage with the girls. The officer's tunic was no drawback either. At the reception desk in the hotel, reserved for officers, he encountered a chattery, middle-aged, not unattractive woman who impressed him as rather a delightful old stick. Later, walking past Sandy's table, she stopped, smiled, 'Alone?'

'Yes. And glad to be. Seen too many people lately. Dead friends. Live bloody Boche.'

'I thought you might like to escort me. You're a big man. I have several visits to make and they involve cash. Terrible things happen on the streets of Brussels now. Especially to women. I always like a guard if I can get one.'

'Why not?' thought Sandy. 'Seems a decent old Dutch.' And aloud, 'One Northamptonshire Yeoman at your service, Madam!'

They marched off down the street. She paused at a club door. Spoke to an attendant. Collected a small parcel. Dropped it into her large bag. One again. Another club. Another parcel. Several British infantrymen were brutally punching and stamping on two American soldiers while the military police came running, blowing whistles. Sandy strolled gallantly on with his companion. At the next stop the girl on the door was scantily dressed and excessively painted. But she had a packet of cash ready. Drunken soldiers slept in doorways, or staggered along bumping into people, or stood in alleyways urinating.

Sandly escorted the woman back into the hotel, he always an officer and a gentleman, she always a strict lady. Her bag bulged with packages. She thank him, smiled and departed. Sandy turned to the man at the reception desk. 'Strange lady that. What does she do? Collect insurance?'

'You could call it that,' said the receptionist. 'Actually she is the madam of all the local brothels. Goes round every night collecting her percentage. Nice person. Of course, she never does it herself.'
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Old September 14, 2016, 05:54 PM   #441
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Took me over a decade to get this two volume set, Memoirs of Major General Riedesel. Riedesel was a Hessian general who served under Burgoyne at Saratoga. His wife's book is more readily available but this two volume set is available now in paperback.

Quote:
Riedesel possessed all the qualities of a good and brave soldier. To coolness and discretion in danger, he united that quickness in action which he always knew how to exercise at the right moment. His clear understanding comprehended everything readily, and his presence of mind and good memory seldom forsook him. Some of these traits are especially illustrated in the following adventure which happene3d during the seven years' war:

In one of his campaigns, Riedesel was in the habit of calling on a noble family whose country seat was but a short distance from head quarters. On such occasion he was accompanied by only one servant, there being, as the thought, no danger of surprise. But one dismal, foggy afternoon in December, as he was cosily chatting with this family, one of the ladies noticed through the window a number of horsemen approaching the house. She immediately called her guest's attention to the party, who were at once recognised by him as French hussars. The family were greatly alarmed for his safety, as none of them could see how escape was possible, since the castle was surrounded by a moat filled with water, and had but one entrance over a bridge. Nor was there time, even had he been so disposed, to escape on horseback, since, before he could mount, the enemy would be at the other end of the bridge ready to cut off his retreat. His entertainers implored him to conceal himself in the castle, but to this he would not consent. Hastily gathering up his things which lay about the room, he girded on his sword and bid them adieu. Then snatching from his servant an old cavalry cloak, which the latter had taken a few days before from a Frenchman, he threw it over his shoulders, told his servant to hide, mounted his own horse, which stood already saddled, and rode slowly toward the bridge. The hussars having by this time arrived in front of the gate, Riedesel authoritatively requested them in their own language to make room. Thinking he was a French officer, the hussars rode closer together, at the same time saluting him, while he, wishing them a good evening, rode slowly past, and escaped. The fair group in the drawing-room breathed freer upon seeing the daring captain of cavalry in safety, though their joy was somewhat alloyed by their terror, incident upon the entree of the unwelcome guests. The latter, however, after helping themselves to some feed for their horses, departed quietly, giving Riedesel's servant, who had been hidden under a haystack, an opportunity to rejoin his master.
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Old April 5, 2017, 10:35 AM   #442
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A hero of the war at Cold Harbor

Here is an interesting application of camouflage and stalking from the Civil War. It was not for killing or scouting but for rescuing a fellow soldier.

Quote:
A drummer boy of our regiment who was carrying a musket was wounded and left between the lines. There were many others of our comrades there, too, but somehow to us drummer boys who had beaten reveille and tattoo together and tramped at the head of the regiment so many long and wearisome marches, the thought that one of our number was lying out there in the blazing June sun suffering not only pain but the terrible agony of thirst, stirred our sympathies to the uttermost and we longed to go to his relief, but dared not for it was like throwing one's life away to show himself over the breastworks.

It was late in the afternoon that Peter Boyle, "our Pete," suggested a plan by which our comrade was rescued. Pet cut three or four scrub pine trees which abounded there and proposed that he and a couple of others should use them as a screen and go out between the lines.

"Why not wait till dark and go?" someone asked. But then it was feared he could not be found.

The bushes were set over the breastworks one at a time so as not to attract attention and as there were many more growing like them they were probably not noticed. When the evening twilight came on Pete and two others crawled over the breastworks and got behind the trees. Each had a couple of canteens of water for they knew that there would be many to whom a mouthful would be so very acceptable.

The three boys crawled and wriggled themselves toward the rebel lines shielded by the trees. Their movements necessarily had to be very slow so as not to attract the attention of the enemy. The ruse was well planned and executed, but fraught with much danger. They found their comrade and had to lie behind their shelter until darkness concealed their movements, and then the wounded comrade was broguht into the lines and his life saved.
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Old April 7, 2017, 08:30 AM   #443
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A timid rifleman'

'Our men are splendid, always a cheery look or word when you go round; though even Riflemen are sometimes "stumours." One poor fellow; who had not covered himself with glory, when invited to jump over the parapet on wiring duty at night, protested to his Captain (Frewen) that he seemed to intend him to go and join his wife. "Where is she?" asked the Captain. "In Heaven." "heavens, man!" said the gallant Captain, "if she saw you looking like that she'd kick you right out at the door".'
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Old April 9, 2017, 02:49 AM   #444
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Fascinating reading ! I have of late been playing around on the forum Civilwartalk.com, and find that a dog and I can spend hours in a chair with a computer on my lap just perusing the old info., and I'm not necessarily what you would call a civil war buff..
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Old May 17, 2017, 12:38 PM   #445
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Old Stony - I'm also at Civil War Talk. Like here, it's a good group of people from worldwide.

From page 50 of William Ash's Under the Wire: The World War II Adventures of a Legendary Escape Artist and "Cooler King". Ash was a Texan who grew up in and about Dallas. As a boy, he saw the depression and as he got older, rode the rail and wandered among hobos. When war broke out, he made his way to Canada to join the RCAF. They rejected him as underweight and he returned home, borrowed $20 and ate as much as he could for two weeks to gain weight. He passed this time and was trained to fly Spitfires. Assigned to 411 Squadron in Group XII, he shot down a couple of planes before being shot down himself.

Ash recalled one brave Lincolnshire farmer who carried out his own private war with the Luftwaffe. Overnight, he would drive his tractor to a Q-site, a dummy airfield that was designed to lure enemy bombers to drop their bombs over a harmless place and spare a real airfield from damage. The farmer rigged two long planks in the position of a wing with a red lamp on on the left wing and a green one on the right. When the Luftwaffe came over, he would drive his tractor as if it were an taxiing airplane. The next day after the raid, he would triumphantly return to his pub and order a pint. "Got the bastards to drop three sticks on me last night."

Quote:
At about this time, I became tangentially involved in one of the most remarkable deceptions of the war. Several of us were sent to fly guard duty over an aircraft carrier in the English Channel, only it was not an aircraft carrier at all. In reality, it was an old tramp freighter with a huge false wooden deck, painted up to look like an aircraft carrier. It was designed to lure the enemy bombers out to attack it, and very obligingly, they did just that.

For some days the enemy planes returned, wasting ammunition and energy on a wooden dummy boat, as we and the guns on board hammered back at them. Then, on one particular dark night, a single Stuka dive-bomber risked oblivion to swoop down over the ship. Before it veered away, it dropped a single bomb that clattered on the deck but did not explode. A bomb disposal expert inched up to examine it. It was a wooden bomb, dropped on a wooden boat, the Germans' way of saying the game was up.
Ash was present at Luft Stalag III during the tunneling effort that was made into the movie, The Great Escape. He was in the cooler and sat that one out.
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Old May 17, 2017, 04:20 PM   #446
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Since the Civil War was mentioned.

Ash tunnels out and is wandering around Lithuania when he decides he want to steal a small boat to escape to Sweden. Unable to move the boat, he approached some workmen and asked for help. One apologizes and says that while they would help, as German soldiers they cannot and Ash is again captured. He is returned to Luft Stalag III and finds there are Americans there in an adjacent compound. Both sides want to coordinate an escape and while the guards are distracted on both sides, Ash climbs the fence, cross the barbed wire barrier to the second fence, and swaps place with an American colonel who takes his place on the British side.

He spends a night in the American camp. From page 272:

Quote:
The atmosphere in the American compound was also more boisterous, from horseplay to goon-baiting, something that had annoyed some of my more stuffy English friends in the days before we were split up into different nationalities. Personally I found their energy very refreshing. I enjoyed my strange reunion with these good-natured rumbustious guys in a place none of us ever thought we would end up. When my friends went back to their nearby hut for the night, I stayed with some of the escape committee to go over more plans. Later, as I dozed off in a strange bed, I heard an incredible row and racket coming from the nearby American hut. It sounded like a full-fledged battle, but as the guards investigated, everything went quiet again.

Next morning, as I nervously prepared to do a repeat reverse performance of my high-wire act to get back to my own compound, I managed to snatch a few words with one of my pals from the hut net door. asked him about the ruckus. He smiled sadly and told me it was just an argument about the war.

I was incredulous. Here we all were, volunteers risking our lies in battle between good and evil, all prisoners of that same enemy and yet they were still arguing about the war? What the hell was there left to argue about? As I moved into position for my hundred-yard dash over the earth wire that led to the fence, my American friend called after me, "Not this war. The Civil War!"
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Old July 29, 2017, 09:27 PM   #447
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Negligent discharge

Remember Rule #1: Always point the gun in a safe direction.

Quote:
11 August, 1775.

This Day Capt. Flynt Came
home from the hospital and taki
ng his gun in order to Clean it
and Snaping the Same the gun
went of to his suprise whilst
he was Siting in the tent his
Gun went of But throw the
Goodness of god their was no
Damige Dun to any
Misspellings were common back then even among English officers.
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Old August 3, 2017, 03:29 PM   #448
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Reading a modern (Vietnam) era tank book, Praying For Slack. That's the name of one marine's M48A3. During the voyage on the LCD, our hero was told to clean the breechblock. He accidentally breaks his platoon sergeant bottle of whiskey which was stowed in a bag outside on the tank deck. He apologizes to the sergeant and figures he's in deep fecal matter. The other two sergeants who were with his sergeant laughed since it's a court martial offense for smuggling alcohol aboard a Navy ship. The injured sergeant sends our hero away. Anyway, our hero writes home and begs his mother to send a bottle which she does. After mail call, he calls his sergeant over and gives him the fresh bottle. The sergeant offers him and the lt. (who was present) a couple of shots and it is one of the sergeant's most memorable time of his two tours in 'Nam. Drinking good whiskey. All is forgiven and he's good with sarge again.

So, he pleads with his mother to send a second bottle to a buddy with whom he attended tank school. Like a good mother, she does that too. Then one day a government car pulls up to the house. She can see the white license plate and that it is a federal person. Oh no! The dread all mothers fear for their sons who are serving overseas - My son is dead and he's here to break the news to me. The knock on the door follows and a very officious person in civilian attire is there. She opens the door and after the stranger identified himself as a Postal Inspector, asked if she was Mrs. XZY. "Yes," she responds, bracing for the worse. "Did you send a bottle of whiskey to a soldier in Vietnam?" "Yes." "That bottle broke. Did you know it's against federal laws to send alcohol through the mail?" The absurdity of the moment struck her and she breaks out into hysterical laughter. "What's so funny? This is a serious federal offense." She explained that she thought he was there to deliver her son's death notice and that she was all worked up to receive the bad news. That he wasn't harmed made the matter of the bottle so trivial. The federale realized the awkwardness of the moment, gave her a mild warning and excused himself. Case closed.
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Old August 4, 2017, 07:56 PM   #449
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How to make axle grease

This is from the Diary of Sgt. Henry W. Tisdale, 35th Massachussetts, who was captured during the Overland Campaign. As a PoW, he was at Libby Prison and then the notorious Andersonville. Move to another camp, he describes making axle grease:

Quote:
Our squad was set to work one day to make some axle grease. The process first, was to cut some pitch pine wood into small sticks of a foot in length, and one-half to one inch in diameter. Hollow out a circular place in the ground about four feet in diameter. Place the sticks uprightly in this hollow and cover them with turf leaving a small opening at the bottom on one side. Then setting the pile on fire with the result that the smothered heat caused the pitch to stew out of the opening and run into the hollow prepared for it, and which when cooled made a fine wagon grease. It is needless to say that the novelty and easy work of the task made us for a little while, forget our rags and hunger.
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Old November 9, 2017, 08:22 AM   #450
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From I Do Wish This Cruel War Was Over, ed. by Christ and Williams.

After making good our retreat and clear of the peril which a few moments ago surrounded us, an amusing little dialogue took place, in which our Captain got the worst of it. At a halt every man came up "pell mell"; Witt came up minus his hat, when the Captain remarked, good humoredly, "Luther, where's your hat?" Luther instantly replied, "in the brush," and continued he hesitatingly, "and Captain I've lost my pistol too," says the Captain rather sharply, "Uh, you MUST have been in a hurry," says Luther. "Yes, I was trying to KEEP UP with my Captain."
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