Alvin C. York Addresses the 82nd Division

 

The things you find on the internet.  Alvin C. York addresses his old outfit the 82nd Division “All-American” in May of 1942.

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Published in: on September 25, 2017 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Mormon Long March

 

One of the oddest episodes in American military history occurred during the Mexican War.  In 1846 the Mormons were beginning their epic trek West which would end with their carving a Mormon Zion out of the wilderness in what is now Utah.  The Mormons, realizing they would need at least tacit Federal approval to accomplish this, sent representatives to Washington.  The Polk administration asked for a quid pro quo.  The Federal government would render assistance if a battalion of Mormons would enlist to fight in the Mexican War.  Brigham Young readily agreed, and a battalion was raised after much cajoling by Young, due to the suspicion of most Mormons of the Federal government as a result of Federal indifference to the persecution of Mormons in Illinois and Missouri.

Along with the approximately 500 men, the Battalion was accompanied by 30 Mormon women, 23 of whom served as laundresses, and 51 children.  The Mormons were mustered into the Army on July 16, 1846.  They were assigned to the Army of the West under General Kearney, a tough regular.  From Fort Leavenworth on August 30, 1846, the Mormon Battalion made the longest infantry march in US military history, 1900 miles to San Diego, California which they reached on January 29, 1847.  The Battalion captured Tuscon, Arizona on the way to California, but saw no fighting, although the harsh climate and terrain they marched through more than made up for the absence of human adversaries. (more…)

Published in: on September 24, 2017 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Patton and the Tank: A Love Affair Begins

 

 

Through the mud and the blood to the green fields beyond.

Brigadier General Hugh Elles, Commander British Tank Corps, Battle of Cambrai

 

 

 

Captain George S. Patton was not a happy man.  A personal aide to General John J. Pershing, and in command of the Headquarters Company of the AEF, he lacked sufficient work for his vigorous mind and nature.  Writing to his wife he poured out his frustration:  “nothing but [a] hired flunky. I shall be glad to get back to the line again and will try to do so in the spring. These damn French are bothering us with a lot of details which have nothing to do with any- thing. I have a hard time keeping my patience.”  Pershing had promised him an eventual command in an infantry unit, but for a cavalry trooper like Patton that was a prospect he met with a decided lack of enthusiasm.

Tanks were a natural option, but surprisingly the tank initially aroused no enthusiasm in Patton.  “Tanks aren’t worth a damn” he had written in July 1917, and, indeed, the battlefield record of these primitive first steps in armored warfare were unimpressive.  Used in penny packets by commanders with no idea of how to utilize these newfangled gadget, manned by officers and men who did lack courage but did lack knowledge and skill, and suffering the birthing pangs of cutting edge technology in war, tanks had failed to make much impact thus far in the Great War.  In the months ahead that would all change at the Battle of Cambrai on November 20, 1917 when the massed use of 437 tanks led to an unprecedented advance on the Western Front and sent the church bells in Britain madly ringing.  The Germans counterattacked and took back most of the ground the British had gained before the battle sputtered out on December 7, 1917, but perceptive Germans saw that a new factor had entered into the conflict: (more…)

Published in: on September 22, 2017 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Thank the British Empire?

 

OK Prager U this video might be too much for me.  I fully share my sainted Mom’s ambivalence to all things British.  She taught me all the Irish rebel songs, but she also loved the Queen.  The speaker on the video, H.W. Crocker III, has written the best one volume history of the Church, Triumph, that I have ever read.  He also wrote the Politically Incorrect Guide to the British Empire that I think even Sir Winston Churchill would have thought went over the top in its adoration of all things British.  Oh well, above is the Prager U video and below by two videos that highlight my conflicted feelings to the land of Magna Carta and Henry VIII: (more…)

Published in: on September 21, 2017 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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September 20, 1860: Baron Renfrew Begins His Visit to the US

Baron Renfrew

When my bride and I moved to Dwight, Illinois, in 1985 we purchased a house located only a few blocks from a 20 acre park, Renfrew Park.  This was good planning on our part.  When our kids made their appearance in the nineties, they loved playing in the park, and we have many fond family memories of fun there.  We quickly learned that the name of Renfrew Park commemorated the visit of British royalty to our little town in September 1860, just before the Civil War.

Prince Edward had been carefully brought up by his parents, perhaps too carefully.  Kept from free association with people outside of tutors and family, he viewed his trip to Canada and America in 1860 as a great adventure.  It was.  Edward was the first Prince of Wales to visit the United States.  He made a great impression with his affability and his gift for speaking to everyone, high and low, with friendly interest.  Officially traveling incognito as “Baron Renfrew”, one of the lesser titles of the Prince of Wales,  on the eve of the Civil War, he charmed almost all Americans he encountered, north and south, drawing huge crowds during his 2600 mile tour of the country from September 20, 1860-October 20, 1860.

One of his minor stops was the Village of Dwight at the beginning of his tour.  He visited a corn farm and then went prairie chicken hunting where Renfrew Park is now located.  The Prince enjoyed himself immensely and relished the rest he had from the huge crowds that came out to meet him in larger communities. (more…)

Published in: on September 20, 2017 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Quotes Suitable for Framing: Thomas Jefferson

 

 

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence

Protesters covered a Thomas Jefferson statue at the University of Virginia in a black shroud during a demonstration late Tuesday — charging the former president as a “racist” and “rapist.”

The group covered the monument representing the nation’s third president and founder the university in protest of the school’s response to the violent “Unite the Right” white nationalist rallies in Charlottesville, where 32-year-old Heather Heyer died after a man drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters on Aug. 12, The Daily Progress reports.

“One month ago, we stood on the front lines in downtown Charlottesville as all manner of white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and neo-fascists swarmed the area,” one speaker told the crowd. “Two months ago, the Ku Klux Klan rallied in their safe space, fully robed and fully protected by multiple law enforcement agencies who brutalized and tear gassed peaceful counter-protesters.” (more…)

Published in: on September 19, 2017 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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September 18, 1895: Booker T. Washington Delivers the Atlanta Compromise Speech

What has become known as the Atlanta Compromise Speech, delivered to The Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlanta, Georgia is one of the most tantalizing, and saddest, might have beens in the history of the nation.  Black educator and writer Booker T. Washington, the voice of Black America in the eyes of the general public, to an enthusiastic and overwhelmingly white audience, expounded his vision of a New South where white and black working together could lead to an era of prosperity such as the South had never known:

Nearly sixteen millions of hands will aid you in pulling the load upward, or they will pull against you the load downward. We shall constitute one-third and more of the ignorance and crime of the South, or one-third [of] its intelligence and progress; we shall contribute one-third to the business and industrial prosperity of the South, or we shall prove a veritable body of death, stagnating, depressing, retarding every effort to advance the body politic.

It is one of the great tragedies of American history that Washington’s prediction went largely ignored after an initial warm reception.  The South paid for it with almost half a century of relative economic sluggish growth, and, in may ways, the nation is still paying for it.  Booker T. Washington September 18, 1895: (more…)

Published in: on September 18, 2017 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Ty Cobb and Myths

 

Ty Cobb (1886-1961), the Georgia Peach. One of the greatest ball players who ever strapped on cleats, he has also been long regarded as a violent racist and a dirty player.  According to a recent biographer, he was neither:

 

 

History, is, or should be, a continuing search for the truth.  In regard to Ty Cobb it appears that the search for the truth about him is bearing fruit.  He was neither an angel nor a monster but a work in progress throughout his life, as we all are.

Published in: on September 17, 2017 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Come, Ye Thankful People, Come

 

Something for the weekend.  Come, Ye Thankful People, Come.  Written in 1844 by Henry Alford, a Church of England rector, it quickly became a favorite hymn throughout the English speaking world.  My village of Dwight, Illinois is having its annual harvest days festival this weekend.  It is a sight to behold, especially the basset waddle on Sunday.  Seeing hundreds of bassets waddling down the streets of Dwight is a sight that will remain with you for a very long time!

 

 

1. Come, ye thankful people, come,
Raise the song of harvest home!
All is safely gathered in,
Ere the winter storms begin;
God, our Maker, doth provide
For our wants to be supplied;
Come to God’s own temple, come;
Raise the song of harvest home!

2. We ourselves are God’s own field,
Fruit unto his praise to yield;
Wheat and tares together sown
Unto joy or sorrow grown;
First the blade and then the ear,
Then the full corn shall appear;
Grant, O harvest Lord, that we
Wholesome grain and pure may be.

3. For the Lord our God shall come,
And shall take the harvest home;
From His field shall in that day
All offences purge away,
Giving angels charge at last
In the fire the tares to cast;
But the fruitful ears to store
In the garner evermore.

4. Then, thou Church triumphant come,
Raise the song of harvest home!
All be safely gathered in,
Free from sorrow, free from sin,
There, forever purified,
In God’s garner to abide;
Come, ten thousand angels, come,
Raise the glorious harvest home!

 

Published in: on September 16, 2017 at 5:36 am  Leave a Comment  
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Forgotten Heroes of the Revolution

 

Congress on April 3, 1776 formally authorized American privateers to raid British merchant ships.  In this Congress was merely recognizing what was already well under way, the patriot governments of the various colonies having issued letters of marque and reprisal since the beginning of hostilities.   The British parliament would authorize privateers against American merchant ships in December 1776.

Privateers were a traditional part of European naval war which fitted in well with the American national character.  Private operations, a common seamen on board a privateer after a successful cruise of capturing several British ships, could come back home with a small fortune in his pocket, often enough to purchase a small farm, or an inn, or set himself up in trade.  Privateers led by more daring commanders would even make prizes of several smaller ships of the Royal Navy.  Of course the risks were commensurate with the rewards, with death by sinking, or the slow death of rotting away in a British prison hulk if a crew was captured, ever a possibility.  Most American sailors were eager to take the risk, so many that the Continental Navy often found it difficult to man its ships. Some 11, 500 Americans died on the British prison ships, more than were killed in battle in all wars of America up to the Mexican War.  The dead are remembered in the Prison Ship Martyr’s Monument in Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn. (more…)

Published in: on September 15, 2017 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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