Military History Digest #149
The deadline for the next Military History Carnival is coming up next Thursday, February 24th. Submit your entries here
1. Coming Attractions by Brooks D. Simpson
"As we approach the 202nd anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln, I will return to continue and then to conclude the series on Lincoln’s comments on racial equality during the Lincoln-Douglas debates in an effort to set them in … Continue reading →..."
2. An Interesting Conundrum by The General
"This is one of those cases that ties up both my interest in Civil War history as well as my day job. Hat tip to Charlie Knight for bringing this to my attention. This article appeared in the February 11, 2011 edition of The Virginian-Pilot newspaper: Williamsburg collector will fight for Civil War sword Posted to: Military News Williamsburg – James City By Tim McGlone The Virginian-Pilot © February 11, 2011 NORFOLK Civil War artifacts collector Donald Tharpe paid $35,000 for a one-of-a-kind, Tiffany-made sword, and he’s not about to give it up easily..."
3. 42-Pdr Seacoast Models 1840 and 1845 by Craig Swain
"Thus far the story of the 42-pdr seacoast guns remains linear without many side threads. In summary after a departure from the caliber in the early days of the American republic, the Army returned to the 42-pdrs for seacoast defense … Continue reading →..."
4. Chauncey B. Van Deusen by Steve Soper
"Chauncey B. Van Deusen was born on April 17, 1838, in Horseheads, Chemung County, New York, the son of Walter (b. 1799) and Julia (Kent, b. 1800).New York native Walter married Julia in October of 1829, probably in New York. Chauncey’s family left New York and came to Kent County, Michigan with his parents in 1848, and by 1850 Chauncey was living with his family in Vergennes, Kent County where his father, who was blind, was working as a musician. By 1860 Chauncey was a farm laborer living with his family in Vergennes where his father owned a substantial..."
5. Appeasing Slaveholders: House Resolution of February 11, 1861 by Donald Shaffer
"On February 12, 1861, the Daily National Intelligencer reported on the activity of the U.S. House of Representatives the previous day. Like the Washington Convention meeting at Willard Hotel, the members of the House desperately wanted to preserve the Union. On that day, they debated measures that might accomplish that goal. Orris S. Ferry of Connecticut suggested a resolution to investigate the feasibility of a constitutional amendment mandating that a state could not secede without the approval of two-thirds of Congress, the President, and all the other states. “Resolved, That the Committee on the Judiciary be instructed to inquire..."
6. Waterloo Cross Stolen by n/a
"You may have already seen this news but the Hougoumont Cross which managed to survive the battle of Waterloo has been stolen, probably by someone who has let their enthusiasm for the Napoleonic period get out of hand...."
7. Who’s Afraid of Kevin Levin … and Why? | Crossroads by n/a
8. Destruction of USS Maine and the Rush Toward War by NHHC
"The Spanish-American War (21 April–13 August 1898) was a turning point in United States history, signaling the country’s emergence as a world power. The sinking of the battleship USS Maine in Havana Harbor on 15 February 1898 was a critical event on the road to that war. Many Cubans desired independence from Spain, and political [...]..."
9. Hmdb Civil War Updates – Week of February 14 by Craig Swain
"Post Valentine’s Day Civil War marker update. Twenty additions to the Civil War category at the Historical Marker Database this week as we continue through the winter slows. Entries from Georgia, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin: - From Fitzgerald, Georgia a state marker notes the home of William Jordon Bush. Bush was the [...]..."
10. Who’s Afraid of Kevin Levin … and Why? by Brooks D. Simpson
"Over the past several years Kevin Levin’s blog, Civil War Memory, has become one of the most-consulted blogs in Civil War era history: it also enjoys a broader audience among historians and teachers of all stripes and a public interested … Continue reading →..."
11. Robert Clasby: Gettysburg by Pritzker Military Library
"Author Robert Clasby visits the Library to discuss his book: Gettysburg: You are There. Originally aired 10/23/03. ..."
12. Disunion: What Lincoln Meant to the Slaves by Donald Shaffer
"Yesterday’s Disunion blog in the New York Times has a piece by Steve Hahn, “What Lincoln Meant to the Slaves,” which provides a fine perspective on what the slaves were thinking and doing in the period leading up the Civil War. Hahn states, “Slaves’ response to the election of 1860 and their ideas about Lincoln’s intentions suggest that they, too, were important actors in the country’s drama of secession and war, and that they may have had an unappreciated influence on its outcome.“ Steve Hahn is one the best scholars of slavery and emancipation in the United States and his..."
13. What Lincoln Said at Charleston … in Context (Part Four) by Brooks D. Simpson
"Both Lincoln and Douglas reiterated their positions on slavery and race for the remaining two debates. In the sixth debate, held at Quincy on October 13, Lincoln set forth his position once more: It was in our first meeting, at … Continue reading →..."
14. Abraham Lincoln: Saint or Sinner? by Kevin Levin
"Sometimes I wonder if people are aware that there is a historical profession that has been engaged over the past few decades in the critical analysis of every aspect of Abraham Lincoln’s life. Consider the following description of an upcoming BBC documentary on Lincoln: To most Americans Abraham Lincoln is the nation’s greatest president – [...]..."
15. Black History Month Highlight: Robert Blake by email@example.com (Matthew T. Eng)
"Contraband Robert Blake (Photo#: NH 103762)Robert Blake was born into slavery in Virginia. After escaping, he enlisted in the US Navy from Port Royal, Virginia and served on USS Marblehead during the Civil War. While off Legareville, Stono River, South Carolina, on 25 December 1863, Blake bravely served the rifle gun as Marblehead engaged Confederates on John's Island. The enemy eventually abandoned its position leaving munitions behind. For his bravery in this action, Blake was awarded the Medal of Honor.USS Marblehead engages a Confederate Battery on John's Island, Stono River, South Carolina, 25 December 1863 (Photo#: NH 79920)LCDR..."
16. Black History Month Spotlight: Civil War Moh Recipient Robert Blake by Civil War Navy
"Contraband Robert Blake (Photo#: NH 103762) Robert Blake was born into slavery in Virginia. After escaping, he enlisted in the US Navy from Port Royal, Virginia and served on USS Marblehead during the Civil War. While off Legareville, Stono River, South Carolina, on 25 December 1863, Blake bravely served the rifle gun as Marblehead [...]..."
World War I
1. For Valentine’s Day – the Airman Who Married the General’s Daughter by Nicholas Schmidt
"Recently, I have been working on the papers of Field Marshal the Lord Birdwood, the First World War British General who commanded the Australian Corps for much of the First World War (including at Gallipoli). Amongst the papers, donated by the Birdwood family in the 1960s, I have found a story I think is suitable [...] ..."
2. Book Review: Spies in Arabia by n/a
"Spies in Arabia: The Great War and the Cultural Foundations of Britain's Covert Empire in the Middle East by Priya Satia. Published by Oxford University Press, London. 472 pages, 2008. Reviewed by Commander Youssef Aboul-Enein, MSC, USN Stanford University Associate Professor Priya Satia has published an award winning book that pieces together the evolution of British intelligence in the Middle East. Those with an interest in intelligence networks and Middle East affairs will find this book worth reading. Special Duty Agents traveled under cover of the Palestine Exploration Fund before World War I, and British Royal Engineers traveled Egypt..."
World War II
1. Bomber Harris, Bomber Sceptic by Brett Holman
"One sub-species of military intellectual is the retired field marshal (or admiral, or air marshal) who, at the end of a long career, sets down their thoughts on the future of warfare for the interested reader. Even though they may be quite famous, their essays into futurism is nowadays read less often than that of their junior counterparts, full-time military intellectuals like J. F. C. Fuller or L. E. O. Charlton, who had substantial careers in the military but left while still relatively young (and may well have borne chips on their shoulders due to their usually enforced..."
2. German Light Cruiser Königsberg by Charles McCain
"I have written about the German light cruisers previously including the Königsberg. The Königsberg was the first of the three 'K' class light cruisers built and so they are also referred to as Königsberg class according to German naval tradition. The K class light cruisers suffered from many design problems since they were designed and built in the late 1920's and had to adhere to the strict limit's imposed on Germany by the Treaty of Versailles. As the design problems became increasingly apparent, the duties of the ships were limited to compensate and they increasingly failed to serve in..."
3. A World War Two Warship Sunk by a Nuclear Attack Submarine by Charles McCain
"During the Falklands War of 1982, the Argentinians invaded and took possession of the Falkland Islands. Although a territory of the British Crown since the 1830s, their sovereignty has been a matter of dispute for several centuries. In 1982, Argentina was in the midst of an economic crisis. At that time the country was ruled by a rather stupid military junta. Since they had no bread, the junta gave the Argentinian people a circus, which was the seizure of the Falklands. These islands have less than 3,000 people, the weather is foul on good days, and the only activity going..."
4. Preparing to Move: Reprimands, Promotions and Confessions by Carlie Walker
"Friday 14th February 1941 Pro pace [For peace]. Only Horan and Carroll at Mass. Lecture on Arabic – too hard for me. Tim and Owen here for lunch. Visited McCormack and Ronald. Hours too long at evening meets. Arthur Amies the only one working. Horan filling his torch. Saturday 15th February 1941 Finished the [...] ..."
5. Book Review: Churchill's Secret War by n/a
"Churchill's Secret War: The British Empire and the Ravaging of India during World War II by Madhusree Mukerjee. Published by Basic Books, a member of the Perseus Book Groups, New York. 319 pages, 2010. Reviewed by Commander Youssef Aboul-Enein, MSC, USN I have the great privilege to teach officers selected for the vital Afghanistan-Pakistan Fellows Program at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in Washington D.C. These men and women spend a year totally immersed in the politics, culture, religions, and policies of Southwest Asia. One of my main challenges is to cultivate empathy and get students..."
6. Incompetence, Stupidity, and Cowardice: the Royal House of Savoy and the Governance of Italy, 1861-1946 by Charles McCain
"In order to truly get a grasp on why many respectable people supported Mussolini, and later Adolf Hitler, one has to understand the incredibly deep fear people who had any wealth at all had of Communism or what in that era they referred to as “Bolshevism.” If you take our fear of al-Qaeda, and magnify it fifty times, you will get a sense of what many people felt and not without..."
1. Setting the Record Straight on Malayan Counterinsurgency Strategy by n/a
"Setting the Record Straight on Malayan Counterinsurgency Strategy: Interview with Karl Hack by Octavian Manea Download the Full Article: Setting the Record Straight on Malayan Counterinsurgency Strategy You are a long time researcher and observer of the Malayan Emergency. What were the core key ingredients that broke the back of the communist insurgents in the Malayan Emergency? The primary cause for putting the campaign on a firmly winning path? The game changer that helped at the end of the day to regain the initiative? That is a bit like asking, ‘In making a cup of tea, which action is the..."
2. From the Editor: the Navy Exchange, Hair Spray, Hsas, and Corruption by firstname.lastname@example.org (J.R. Clark)
"In the previous diary entry on 7 July, Clark wrote,"Believe it or not, hair oil is not available at the PX, and this has been a sore point with me. The PX has lots of female hair spray and lots of other ladies items even though there are only about 200 nurses in all of Vietnam. But they don’t have things like men’s hair oil."Clark was one of many contemporary observers who noticed that the Navy Exchange stocked quantities of women's items, like hair spray and cosmetics, that exceeded the 700 authorized females in South Vietnam. Clark does..."
3. Diary Entry 22: Saigon, Friday Night, 9 July 1965 by email@example.com (J.R. Clark)
"Saigon Friday Night, 9 July 1965 Home late again as usual and dining tonight on cheese and crackers. Decided it would be a pleasant change from peanut butter.Started to write an entry last Wednesday night from an office out at Tan Son Nhut while I was waiting for a conference to start. After the first page was written, the conference got started and I haven’t stopped until now. After the conference on Wednesday night, we were up until early Thursday morning threshing out the plans. In the p.m. flew down to Vung Tau on business and got back here late..."
4. Diary Entry 23: Saigon, Saturday Night, 10 July 1965 by firstname.lastname@example.org (J.R. Clark)
"Saigon Saturday Night, 10 July 1965 Another day gone by and I’m back in the BOQ for a rest, provided the phone does not ring tonight. Seems like it rings much too frequently at night these days. Seeing what is going on, it is going to be only a short time before the headquarters is going to commence around-the-clock operations. The way things are shaping up, that is the inevitable conclusion. So to avoid any embarrassment in the future, I intend to put my branch on a 24-hour footing beginning Monday. Probably won’t be very popular as..."
5. Naval Aviation Centennial: Neptune’s Atomic Trident (1950) by SteelJaw
"7 Feb 1950: In a demonstration of carrier long-range attack capabilities, a P2V-3C Neptune, with Commander Thomas Robinson in command, took off from Franklin D. Roosevelt off Jacksonville, Fla., and flew over Charleston, S.C., the Bahamas, the Panama Canal, up the coast of Central America and over Mexico to land next day at the Municipal Airport, San Francisco, Calif. The flight, which covered 5,060 miles in 25 hours, 59 minutes, was the longest ever made from a carrier deck. (Naval Aviation Chronology 1950-1953, Naval History Center) To set the scene – the immediate post-war environment called for..."
1. The Four Chaplains: Famous for the Way They Died, Loved for the Way They Lived by The Bunny
"Four military chaplains mutually bound by the oath of office and a strong faith, Army Lts. George Fox, Alexander Goode, Clark Poling and John Washington had all met at the Army chaplain school, which was housed at Harvard University during World War II. Fox was a Methodist minister, Goode was a rabbi, Poling was a Catholic priest, and Washington was a Reformed Church of America minister. They were friends and were nicknamed “The God Squad.” By all accounts, they were well liked. All four of them were also on board the troop transport ship USAT Dorchester en route to various..."
2. Independent Duty Corpsmen by thomaslsnyder
"I had my introduction to Independent Duty Corpsmen when I served as Squadron Medical Officer in Destroyer Squadron Fifteen. Each ship in the squadron was served by one IDC and an assistant. I was the only physician for the six ships–usually steaming hundreds of miles from my position on the squadron flagship, so these men were the sole source of medical expertise for their crews. On one occasion, while the flagship was involved in an underway replenishment (during which, the ship, sailing a parallel course with a supply vessel while supplies–food, shells for the big guns, even fuel..."
3. Black History Month Highlight: William Tillman by email@example.com (Matthew T. Eng)
"The Attack on the Second Mate." NHHC PhotographThe National and Department of Defense theme for this year's observance is"African Americans and the Civil War." In honor of this year's theme and every African American past and present in the United States Navy, we will be highlighting several African Americans who served during the American Civil War. Today, we will be highlighting civilian ship's cook William Tillman (also spelled William Tilghman).This brief biography of William Tillman's courageous actions during the Civil War are reprinted here, courtesy of the Naval History and Heritage Command.William Tilghman was serving as cook on..."
4. Hms Caroline by firstname.lastname@example.org (Robert Farley)
"This is troubling:HMS Caroline is a light cruiser, a greyhound of the seas. Built in 1914, she served throughout the First and Second World Wars. She is the last survivor of the Battle of Jutland, and the last major ship to survive from the Grand Fleet. To stand on her bridge, with her tripod mast towering above you, is an unforgettable experience; and it is equally extraordinary to explore her galley, fitted out in 1914, or to sit in the doctor’s surgery, or to walk into her steering flat. She has the only in situ First World War turbines in..."
5. A Four Star Blog Post X 2: Lessons Learned From Our Carrier Tours by Adm Harvey and Adm Stavridis by admin
"Introduction When I graduated from the Naval Academy in 1991 and prepared to embark on my career as a Surface Warfare Officer, I asked my father, a retired SWO, if he had any advice. Drawing from his 30 years of experience, he provided me only these simple words, “Don’t hit the Bird Farm.” It sounded simple enough. In the past 20 years, there have been many occasions in which those words have come to mind. I have not served aboard an aircraft carrier and there have only been a handful of occasions in which I have been aboard one of..."
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