Monday, April 30, 2012

Monkey Is Up! means a person is getting angry

In consequence of the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States (bravo, hooray, O my brothers!), it is announced that South Carolina, in an ecstacy of slave-owner's rage, has ordered a solemn day of humiliation, on which all the slaves of the State are to be flogged, and all copies of the Scriptures burned. Moreover, she calls a Convention, and declares that she is going to separate from the Union, and be an independent State, and have representatives of her own at the Courts of Europe. We hear that her first demands on England are, that to show our sympathy in her hate of the President, Lincoln Cathedral be pulled down, the County of Lincoln be re-christened and called Breckenridge County, that all Lincoln and Bennett hats be immediately smashed in, that Lord Lincoln be transported, and that when Falstaff in the play speaks of "thieves in Lincoln green," he be ordered to say "President Lincoln's black thieves." Anything to please the lovely Carolina.

So says the editorial in December 160's Punch--a British publication.  The cartoon is by John Tennial.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Stephen Douglas Flip Flops On His Deathbed

The astounding personage to the left is Stephen Douglas, erstwhile "Little Giant" and professional opponent of "A. Lincoln."  

I am reading a book called Year of Meteors, which begins with the last week of Douglas's life.  He wasn't even fifty, and he was dying the drunkard's death--cirrhosis of the liver. 

He had staggered to Springfield, which is the capital of Illinois, to address the state legislature and then to Chicago, where he spoke once, then went back to his hotel and died.

What was he saying that was so important that he did it with his last breath, almost literally?  He was trying to tell people that HE WAS WRONG!  Appeasement had never worked with the South, and he had been one of the appeasement kings.  

The situation had deteriorated so badly that war was here.  Sumter had been fired on.  

Douglas had lost his Presidential bid, and had, in fact, been part of the set of pawns manipulated by the fire-eaters to split the Democratic party and get a Republican elected.  That, in their eyes, justified secession even more.

In trying to help Lincoln rally the North to the inevitable, he had to admit that he had been wrong.  It was so important to him that he died in his attempt.

Today, he would be dismissed, accused of flip-flopping.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Meltdown on Aisle 7

Emerging Civil War asked for some less formal posts concerning some of the fun, interesting things historians do, especially go on trips and look at stuff.

I wrote a post about the Magical History Tour last February, and the emotion of seeing artifacts like the gun of James Jackson (right) which killed my colonel.  

Frankly, I thought it was sorta funny, and I was prepared for a rejection, but NO!  The post is up!  It is called "Meltdown on Aisle 7," and it is at

So, go read it.  We all need the stats!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Elections Are Coming Up!

To the right is one of the election tickets from the 1860 Presidential Election.  You told the man at the polling place what party you were, and he handed you a ballot.  You marked the men you supported, then put it into a large glass fishbowl.  

It wasn't exactly a "secret ballot."  

Lincoln initially told the media he was not going to vote.  Then he answered the question, "How are you going to vote?" with the enigmatic words, "By ballot."

He walked with Elmer Ellsworth and George Nicolay down the street to the Court House to cast his ballot about 3:30 in the afternoon, when the crowds had died down a bit.  

Ever the Victorian, he carefully tore off the top of the ticket, thereby casting his vote for everyone except himself.

They then walked back to campaign headquarters in the Illinois State House, to wait for the official results.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Mangas Colorados and the California Column

The fierce looking fellow to the left is Mangas Colorados, which means "Pink Shirt."  He should have a talk with Mrs. Colorados about the wash, I guess, altho' we have all made the same mistake.  

He was the chief of a group of Apaches in the Arizona-New Mexico Territory in the 1860s, and they made life for the California Column unpleasant in the extreme.  

No sooner did the Confederates decided their big Westward Ho push wasn't going to work out quite like they'd hoped than the Indians began to get annoyed.  

There is nothing politically correct about what happened--the Apaches, under Mangas Colorados and Cochise were destroyed--but that is what the Californians were doing for the rest of the war, after the fall of 1862.

Perhaps the Native American voice will be the one that the California State government finally hears when it comes to saving our landmarks, like Fort Tejon.  If anyone listens at all, that is.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Jungle Jackasses

The CST tests are coming up--this week and next, here in CA.  Our school always has a week or so of craziness to both rev up the kids, and to get their minds off the potentially awesome failure awaiting them.

We name our rooms after colleges, and we have to include our college mascot in everything we do.

Room 3 is West Point.  Our theme this year is "Welcome To the Jungle."  West Point's mascot is the mule.  Where is the connection?

To the right are actual West Point students, in JUNGLE camo BDUs, riding Army mules.  

Sometimes it just seems odd . . .

Monday, April 23, 2012

Picacho Pass #2

The second post concerning the Battle of Picacho Pass will be up on tomorrow.  There are three posts in all, and this one discusses the battle, which was held among less than 24 soldiers, so go figure.  

The whole Picacho deal makes me sick to my stomach.  I have never seen such disrespect for history as that shown by, of all things, state governments.  They are the very entities which should be protecting our past, but in the current economic crunch, an old fort, a spit of desert--they are the first to go.

The Arizona monument of Picacho Pass will be closed for the summer--no ranger, no protection, nothing except a place where men died to protect this country left open to the depredations of the desert and who only knows what else.  

Why can't we decide where our taxes should go?  Argh!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Why, Colonel Ellsworth! You Handsome Ol' Thing!

I have no idea where the 19th century edition is.  If anyone has a copy, please let me know. LOL?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

History Cat is HOT!

I has hacked blog agin.  It is to hot in my house.  Catmom not fixen it, so I has hacked blog. Kittehs not spos to bee hot!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Another Lost Cause!!

$216,000 in State funding for the “California Newspaper Project” (CNP) was cut last year and is cut in the current budget.  This state funding supports a number of newspaper projects that  preserve and digitize California newspapers for state residents, services no other organizations in the state provide, and that bring in substantial federal and private grant funds, approximately $5.8 million over the last 10 years.  These projects will come to an end without continued state support.
Yep--another one bites the dust!  Or is about to.  I was looking up information for the Picacho Peak blogs for ECW, and found that funding has been cut substantially for the fine folks at CNP.  It just isn't going to end, I guess.
Here's a link

Please go, sign the petition-do something--PLEASE??
(yeah, I know the image is fuzzy--their image is fuzzy--maybe it's fading away!!)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Shiloh's Glowing Soldiers Part 2

Continuing the saga of Angel's Fire . . .

Soldiers from the Civil War and World War I more often died from infections of soil-and-shrapnel wounds than from the wounds themselves. At that time, medicine did not recognize the existence of germs, and there were no antibiotics as such.

After the battle of Shiloh, soil-dwelling nematodes entered the open wounds of men lying on the battlefield. In order to protect the host of the nematodes (the soldier, in this case), the nematodes barf up a stew of micro-organisms called Photorhadus luminescens. These little glow-guys eat other bacteria, clearing the way for the nematode. YUM!!

How did we find out about these little good boys? Another little good boy by the name of Bill Martin, who was 17 in 2001, went on a summer trip to Shiloh with his family. He heard the story about "Angel's Fire," and asked his mom what she thought.

No average mom here! Ms. Martin is a microbiologist for the USDA, & she was studying photo-luminescent bacteria at the time. She immediately envisioned a project, and as soon as the Martins got home from vacation, Bill & his best bud Jon Curtis started researching.

The biggest question was how P.luminescens stayed alive, since they die at the average human body temperature. Turns out the night temps in the early Shiloh spring were low enough to give the soldiers hypothermia, which kept the bacteria alive.

And for all this work? The guys won first place in the 2001 Intel International Science & Engineering Fair.

I say Huzzah! and a long, loud TIGER!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Shiloh's Glowing Soldiers-Part 1

The two fellows on your left are Photorhabdus luminescens. They are glow-in-the-dark bacteria, and they saved lives.

After the Battle of Shiloh, soldiers both dead and alive were left on the battlefield overnight. Some were visible by the blueish-green glow which emanated from their wounds.

Those soldiers who glowed ended up with faster healing times and less hospitalization than their non-glowing counterparts. No one knew why, so it was attributed to God's intervention. The glow was called "Angel Fire."

It happened again in WWI, in France, where the nights were as cold as those in Tennessee. There was still no explanation for the phenomena. It has remained a mystery all along--until now.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Open House at Brownell

Home seriously late--it was Open House at school--ta da!!

Gilroy, the Garlic Capital of the World--home of E. E. Brownell Middle School.


Monday, April 16, 2012

An American-Russian Alliance

The American Civil War came very close to becoming an international conflict. Due to the persistent diligence of U. S. ambassador to Russia, Mr. Cassius Clay, it did not.

The Confederacy counted England and France pretty firmly in their camp, should it have come to that, but the Union held on to her own ally, Russia.

Russia was czarist at the time, and had been badly mauled in the Crimean War. Mother Bear was under no illusions about the aims of the more western European nations, so when offered warm-water ports and continued trading for her support, she was glad to give it.

Knowing that the huge Czarist armies would roll across the west if threatened again kept both England and France from completely declaring their military support of the South.

So, to my loyal Russian Readers, who continue to hit this blog second only to those readers in the U. S., I raise a small glass of vodka. You have my thanks, for everything!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Lincoln Assassination

When lilacs last in the door-yard bloom'd,

And the great star early droop'd in the western sky in the night,

I mourn'd--and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring.

O ever-returning spring! trinity sure to me you bring;

Lilac blooming perennial, and drooping star in the west,

And thought of him I love.

O powerful, western, fallen star!

O shades of night! O moody, tearful night!

O great star disappear'd! O the black murk that hides the star!

O cruel hands that hold me powerless! O helpless soul of me!

O harsh surrounding cloud, that will not free my soul!

In the door-yard fronting an old farm-house, near the white-wash'd palings,

Stands the lilac bush, tall-growing, with heart-shaped leaves of rich green,

With many a pointed blossom, rising, delicate, with the perfume strong I love,

With every leaf a miracle.....and from this bush in the door-yard,

With delicate-color'd blossoms, and heart-shaped leaves of rich green,

A sprig, with its flower, I break.

from "When Lilacs Last In the Door-yard Bloom'd," by Walt Whitman

Saturday, April 14, 2012

150th Anniversary of the Kerfluffle at Picacho Pass

The California Column is unique in Civil War history, because the men who were recruited for the Union Army stayed in the far west.

The vast majority of the 16,000 U. S. regulars were stationed in the west prior to the Civil War. They had a lot to do: keep the mail coming, keep the Native Americans from killing folks, and keeping the peace in the new state of California, which was geographically HUGE compared to the states in the east. It still is, btw.

The regulars went east as soon as Fort Sumter was fired on, so the new recruits took their place in California and the territories of New Mexico and Arizona.

On April 15, a very small group of Union cavalry (12 men) attacked an even smaller group of Confederate cavalry (10 men). This kerfluffle took place about two miles from Arizona's Picacho Peak, and the skirmish is considered to be the western version of the Confederacy's "high water mark."

Unlike Gettysburg, the Union lost this one. Just like Gettysburg, men died.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Clio, the Muse of History

Clio is one of the Nine Muses in mythology. She sprang from someone's head, I think--she & all her sisters. There are Muses of Art, Music, Poetry--all the good stuff.

I guess she is my Muse as well, since I am trying like crazy to be a historian here.

I was looking for an image of her--I found many. There was an anime' Clio, and a Goth chick Clio--both of which were in the running for the picture on the blog.

Then I found this one: it is the 123rd New York Regiment monument at Culp's Hill in Gettysburg. She is sitting there, tablet in hand, writing everything down. She's classical, and lovely . . .

. . . and she is Clio, the Muse of History.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

. . . and Facebook offered a billion dollars!

This has been hanging around on the desktop for a few weeks--it is sorta funny.

As my regular readers know, I have started my Master's degree at APU, in History, of course. The first class I am taking is a survey class concerning source work. It is pretty good, and I learn stuff all the time.

In one of our assignments we had to look for anomalies in primary sources--or sources claiming to be primary. One of the examples used was this ad for McCormick farm machines. It shows the Battle of Gettysburg with a McCormack grain binder in the field across which General Pickett's men are preparing to charge.

How would a McCormick grain binder from the 1880s end up getting stuck between the battle lines during the fighting at Gettysburg in 1863? Obviously, the ad is playing a clever trick on you, the viewer. In 1886, the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company used an ad campaign in which its harvesters made a series of ahistorical appearances at a number of famous Civil War battles.

Boy, do I wish I could find more of them!

Basically, this ad shows the viewer that Yankee ingenuity won the war, and is still at work, inventing things like the binder--but it is pretty funny as well.

What? No cute cats?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Time for a Poem

Co. B - 55th Illinois

This sure ain't what I thought

Bein' a soldier was gonna be.

Sure I knew there'd be lots a marchin'

But I'd followed the plow for years.

I even knew the food wouldn't be the best,

But ma had died when I was just ten.

Sleepin' in tents wouldn't be too bad

As long as there were blankets to keep me warm.

I knew there'd be shootin' and killin'.

Shootin' and killin' -

That's what a soldier's s'posed to do.

I was prepared for death

To be at my stoop any time.

But I sure didn't think,

Back in Chicago when I joined up,

That I'd ever be told, by my own Colonel,

To kill one of our own men

Simply because he went home

To be with his wife

When she buried their baby boy


by Frank Crawford

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Death of Elmer Peepsworth

You gotta love this! Happy Easter, all!

Found 'Em! Magical History Tour #2

I was pretty nervous at first, but we finally found what we were looking for--the graves of the two soldiers who were victims of the skirmish at Picacho Peak in Arizona.

Privates Leonard and Johnson will finally have their fifteen minutes of fame, I hope.

As usual, I cried. They were in their mid-twenties when they were killed, so never started families of their own, or knew that their good-byes to any other relative were actually the last ones they would be bidding.

I can't change history, but every time I find someone who appears to be forgotten, I CAN write about them, and maybe someone else will pass it forward.

To think no one cares about Ellsworth, or wishes to write him off as an overly-glamorized soldier death is awful. Not everyone gets to be Lincoln or Davis, Grant or Lee. But without the rest, those four wouldn't matter much anyway.

After all, it is the blood of the common soldier that consecrates the ground, not the heel of the commander.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Honor To the Soldiers

The 1st California cavalry might have looked like the picture above as they rode toward Picacho Peak, aware of Confederates in the area.

Within 90 minutes, two privates and their lieutenant were dead, or dying.

Today I will go to the National Cemetery in San Francisco to see the graves of Private William Leonard and Private George Johnson. I plan to photograph, do a couple of gravestone rubbings, and leave flowers, then come home and write their story.

Lieutenant James Barrett lies somewhere in the Picacho Peak vicinity in an unmarked grave. The only grave marker he has left is the huge volcanic rock itself.


Thursday, April 5, 2012

National Cemetery, SF

Tomorrow is Good Friday, and I have something special to do. I get to act like a historian!!

When I took Magical History Tour #1, I learned so much, but most of all I learned that seeing things like a historian is different than just seeing things. There is a different way to comport oneself, and a different way to introduce yourself, etc.

I am very new to this part of my life, but I take direction and criticism well. I now have a "Contact Card" and everything!! LOL!

So, tomorrow I am going to the National Cemetery in San Francisco to look at graves. The Kerfluffle at Picacho Peak resulted in three deaths. In 1892, two of the three soldiers were disinterred in Arizona, then reinterred at the National.

I don't know how long it has been since anyone visited the graves of George Johnson and Bill Leonard, but I am bringing flowers to these two young Union men from the 1st Cavalry, California Volunteers. Huzzah!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Lifetime of Service--John Clem-Part 3

Clem’s legend grew following Chickamauga, although some stories may be apocryphal. One holds that his drum was destroyed at the Battle of Shiloh, earning him the nickname “Johnny Shiloh” and serving as inspiration for the song, “The Drummer Boy of Shiloh.”

However, the 22nd Michigan, Clem’s unit, was not mustered until the summer after the Battle of Shiloh, making it unlikely Clem saw action in the battle with that regiment.

John Clem went on to fight at Perryville, Murfreesboro, Kennesaw and Atlanta, where he was wounded twice. Clem was discharged from the Army in 1864 at age 13, but sought to rejoin the military in 1870.

Nominated to West Point by President Ulysses S. Grant, Clem failed the entrance exam several times before Grant appointed him a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army.

He enjoyed a successful second military career, rising to the rank of colonel and assistant quartermaster general by 1906. He retired on the eve of U.S. entry into World War I with the rank of major general, the last Civil War veteran to actively serve in the U.S. Army.

John Clem died in 1937 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.