Blogs > Cliopatria > Military History Digest #148

Feb 10, 2011 9:48 pm


Military History Digest #148



The Military History Digest is a long-running series which is, in essence, a roughly-biweekly digest of the best of the military history web, as chosen (egotistically) by me and organized by chronological topic. I read quite a few military history blogs on a regular basis and I share the entries that I find particularly interesting. Each entry has the post's title, author, and a snippet of the post itself. Nominations for new blogs to read are always welcome. Previous digests indexed here.

Contents

19th Century

1. Capturing the Horror of the Crater by Kevin Levin

Over the past few years I’ve seen a wide range of images of the battle of the Crater. Once I tidy up a few loose ends in my Crater manuscript I am going to turn to making a decision about illustrations for the book. I am planning to include images that give the reader a [...]...

2. Plans to Expand Vicksburg NMP by Craig Swain

H/t to CW Interactive’s Newswire: Plan would expand Vicksburg National Military Park An official press release from Senator Thad Cochran’s office reads: WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) today reintroduced his legislation to authorize the expansion of the … Continue reading →...

3. Slavery in the Provisional Confederate Constitution by Donald Shaffer

On February 8, 1861, the Montgomery Convention adopted a provisional constitution for their new nation. It would be in force for a little over a month before it was replaced by a more permanent document. As John J. Miller states in yesterday’s Disunion blog in the New York Times, the Provisional Confederate Constitution ”was more imitation than innovation” being heavily based on the U.S. Constitution. Yet in terms of slavery the Provisional Confederate Constitution was a significant departure. While slavery was present in both documents it was more implicit in the latter than the former. For instance, the word “slave...

4. A Debate Over the Black Confederate Debate by Brooks D. Simpson

Kevin Levin’s offered a thoughtful response to my post, “Seeing What is Not There.” Kevin concludes: What we have here is not a debate about whether free and enslaved blacks served as soldiers in the Confederate army. The folks referenced …

5. What’s Wrong With the Black Confederate Debate? by Kevin Levin

Brooks Simpson has chosen to wade into the mire that is the black Confederate “debate”. In his most recent post he surveys a short list of the standard primary sources that have been used to prove the existence of black men in the Confederate army. As Brooks notes, they are all problematic for any number [...]...

6. Disunion – White Union Soldiers and Emancipation by Donald Shaffer

Yesterday’s Disunion blog in the New York Times, written by Ronald Coddington, centers on the wartime experiences of Confederate Captain David Ramsey from Wilcox County, Alabama. This edition of Disunion would be of little interest to Civil War Emancipation except for an incident involving Ramsey related by Coddington. Having failed in their efforts to defend Island No. 10 on the Mississippi River against Union forces, Capt. Ramsey and his men found themselves prisoners-of-war. Coddington writes: The Alabamians spent that day in conversation with their captors. The federals “repelled as an insult the least insinuation that the war, professedly...

7. Katie Couric’s Notebook and Battlefield Preservation by Craig Swain

For the last few days I’ve mulled over one of Katie Couric’s Notebook entry from last week. In her opinion spot, the CBS news anchor noted the changed position with regard to Wal Mart’s proposed store near the Wilderness. “It’s been nearly 145 years since the end of the Civil War, and Walmart just surrendered.” [...]...

8. Gordon Rhea Article by Donald Shaffer

I hope Kevin Levin will excuse me if I piggyback on him again so quickly. I wouldn’t do it if he hadn’t shared an article yesterday highly relevant to Civil War Emancipation. I will say, as an aside, that I fully intend to do the same thing in the future under similar circumstances, giving full credit to the source, of course. So I’m in Kevin’s debt for sharing this article on Facebook. What Kevin shared was Gordon Rhea’s recent article in the Civil War Trust newsletter, entitled “Why Non-Slaveholding Southerners Fought.” Rhea provides a highly cogent explanation of why...

9. Kevin M. Weeks, Ann Dewitt, and Blacks “Serving” the Confederacy by Brooks D. Simpson

Kevin M. Weeks is the coauthor of a children’s book, Entangled in Freedom: A Civil War Story. As the website says: … this is an opportune time to discuss the views of your family or guardians as it relates to … Continue reading →...

10. Riddles and a Remote Fort – 42pdr Model 1839 by Craig Swain

The examination of the Model 1839 42-pdr Seacoast guns leaves me with several riddles to examine, but allows mention of a remote seacoast fortification. Earlier I introduced the four model numbers of the 42-pdr seacoast gun class in American service during the Civil War era. Although by regulation the class was declared obsolete at the [...]...

11. Big Flap Coming in Mississippi by The General

Mississippi looks to be the battleground over Civil War memory. The Sons of Confederate Veterans have decided to push their aggressive agenda by asking the State of Mississippi to offer a vanity license plate dedicated to Nathan Bedford Forrest. My thoughts on Forrest as a general are well known and need not be repeated here. Whether he was a good general is irrelevant to this discussion. What is relevant is that black soldiers were massacred by troops under his command at Fort Pillow and that Forrest was a Grand Wizard–and one of the founders–of the KKK. Those are...

World War I

1. Macaulay’s Prophetic Sterotypes by George Simmers

Rose Macaulay’s 1914 satirical novel, The Making of a Bigot pokes fun at many current intellectual fads, including the National Service League, which since 1902 had advocated vigorous preparation for war (Kipling was an active member). When a spokesman for the League gives a highly successful lecture at an East End Settlement, he invites his audience to a cinematograph display in Hackney the following week, called ” In Time of Invasion.” It was a splendid show, well worth three-pence. It abounded in men being found unlawfully with guns and being shot like rabbits; in untrained and incompetent soldiers fleeing from...

2. Incompetence, Stupidity, and Cowardice: the Royal House of Savoy and the Governance of Italy, 1861-1946 by Charles McCain

French Prime Minister George Clemenceau, British Premier David Lloyd-George and Italian Prime Minister Vittorio Emanuele Orlando at Paris Peace Conference in 1919. The Italians did not make a good impression during the treaty talks in Paris in 1919. Wrote Charles Seymour, a young staffer to the American delegation,"The Italians were very dramatic, waved their arms around, tears came into their eyes." On one occasion, while making Italy's case to the British, French, and Americans, Orlando...

World War II

1. Nazi Graphics Standards Manual by Jason Kottke

Steven Heller had heard rumors of a Nazi graphics standards manual for years and finally tracked one down. Published in 1936, The Organizationsbuch der NSDAP (with subsequent annual editions), detailed all aspects of party bureaucracy, typeset tightly in German Blackletter. What interested me, however, were the over 70 full-page, full-color plates (on heavy paper) that provide examples of virtually every Nazi flag, insignia, patterns for official Nazi Party office signs, special armbands for the Reichsparteitag (Reichs Party Day), and Honor Badges. The book"over-explains the obvious" and leaves no Nazi Party organization question, regardless of how minute...

2. Dwight D. Eisenhower: Carlo D'este and Geoffrey Perret by Pritzker Military Library

Authors Carlo D'Este and Geoffrey Perret visit the Library to discuss President Dwight D. Eisenhower, moderated by Lewis Sorely. Originally aired 10/24/03. ...

3. U-352 Dive Site by Charles McCain

Previously, I briefly mentioned the wreck of U-352 off the coast of North America in an introduction I did for Subsim.com about the persistence of U-Boat myths in the US. While mentioning the wreck, I did not delve into the life of U-352 at that time. U-352 was a Type VIIC U-Boat that was laid down on 11 March 1940, launched on 7 May 1941, commissioned on 28 August 1941, went on her first patrol on 15 January 1942, left for her second patrol on 7 April 1942, and was sunk on 9 May 1942...

4. A Psychiatrist on Combat Leadership in World War Ii's Tunisian Campaign by Thomas E. Ricks

What prevents combat trauma? In the same July 1944 article from the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry that I cited the other day, Dr. Herbert X. Spiegel, a psychiatrist assigned to an Army infantry battalion in North Africa in World War II, made these observations: Good leadership meant good morale, and this, in turn, meant a low psychiatric casualty rate and good performance...The company commander or platoon leader...saw to it that his men got the best possible food under the circumstances; sent blankets up to them at night if it were at all possible; made every effort to keep...

5. Japanese Ha-Go Tank Conservation – Part Two by John Kemister

Three months into this phase of the project has seen significant progress on both the external and internal conservation of the tank. Externally, all original armour plate components have been repaired. Replica plating has been fitted to replace inaccurate or missing components, with some plates requiring considerable modification to fit this individual tank, and to correct [...] ...

6. Incompetence, Stupidity, and Cowardice: the Royal House of Savoy and the Governance of Italy, 1861-1946 by Charles McCain

Island groups of the Aegean Sea. Benito Mussolini and Fascist blackshirts during the March on Rome in 1922. Benito Mussolini using the fascist salute during a speech in 1932. Italy wanted more than she received from the Paris Peace Conference. Much more. But there just wasn't enough jam to go around. Of colonies in Africa, none. Money? No. Something from Germany? Some ships perhaps? No. Nothing."You mean to say Mr. Big Three...

Cold War

1. Navy TV – USS Intrepid- the Legend and History by NavyTV

In commemoration of the Centennial of Naval Aviation kick-off event in San Diego this week, NavyTV has dug up from the archives a great video about the USS Intrepid (CV-11), the legendary aircraft carrier, which served this nation from WWII through the height of the Cold War. After being decommissioned in 1974, the Intrepid became [...]...

2. The BD Bookshelf: an Army Battalion Cut Off and Unsupported During Tet '68 by Thomas E. Ricks

What an interesting, thoughtful book. I've had this memoir, The Lost Battalion of Tet, on my shelf for a couple of years but had waited to read it in order of my research for the book I am working on. I am now, finally, studying the Vietnam War in 1968, so I turned to it. It is mainly about a 1st Air Cavalry infantry battalion that suffered 311 casualties in a few weeks, most of them after being surrounded outside Hue during the 1968 Tet Offensive, cut off with dwindling ammunition but without artillery support. First, it strikes me as...

Misc/Thematic

1. What Can Ike and Lawrence of Arabia Teach Us About Army Personnel Policy? by Thomas E. Ricks

By Crispin Burke Best Defense personnel policy bureau A recent Atlantic article by Tim Kane spotlights several top-performing officers who lament the military's peacetime personnel system, which promotes officers along a generic timeline. Many point to the promotion policies during the two World Wars, when innovative officers enjoyed meteoric advancement through the ranks. Anecdotes from the private sector and even the State Department suggest that many large, successful organizations promote leaders on a merit-based system, much as the US Army did during the World Wars. Nevertheless, every personnel system -- be it military, government, or private-sector -- is fraught...

2. Rumsfeld's Memoir: Was He the Most Destructive Secretary of Defense in U.S. History? - by Fred Kaplan - Slate Magazine by n/a

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