Monday, June 21, 2010

19th Century Manners

Senator Zebulon Vance sailed down Cheasapeake Bay with a group of men and women. He chose to step aside to allow a certain woman to mount one of the ladders on the boat. As the lady climbed, she noticed Vance glancing at her from behind.

She told him,"I can see, Senator, that you are not a gentleman."

Vance retorted,"Madam, beg your pardon but I too can see that you are not."
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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Rating Army Life

A Confederate soldier got an advance notice on army life from his grandfather who fought in the Mexican-American War.

When asked about army life, the old codger told his grandson,"The drinkin' is plumb fine along with the card playin'. Them Mexican women ain't bad but them battles...I tell ya...them battles is mighty dangerous."
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Monday, June 14, 2010

Civil War Vocabulary

During the Civil War, the troops cooked their own food. Their lack of prior culinary experience gave rise to some interesting concoctions. This situation gave rise to the term "hellfire stew." In other words, the cook made a brew composed of any ingredients he could find.

Source: A Treasury of Military Humor, James Myers
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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Civil War Vocabulary

The Civil War soldiers frequently used this instrument to dig trenches. They called it the army banjo. We call it a shovel.
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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Stephen Douglas

Today in 1861, a good American died. I pay Stephen Douglas this compliment because of his conduct during the election of 1860 and afterward. By the summer of 1860, it became clear to him that he would not win the presidential election. Instead of going home to Illinois, he toured the South in an active attempt to keep it in the Union. After Lincoln's election and secession, Douglas gave his former rival his complete support in the war effort.

He was a good American.

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Monday, June 7, 2010

Retreat Etiquette

A Confederate colonel led his men on a brisk retreat. The Federals followed close behind. A Southern soldier would occasionally pause to fire a potshot at the Union troops.

Finally, the colonel told his men,"Quit firing. It only makes them madder."
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Saturday, June 5, 2010

Fort Morgan and BP

Globs of oil washed up by Fort Morgan, a Civil War fort, in Mobile Bay, Alabama. This is one of the many forms of collateral damage from the BP spill. The damage is human, economic, environmental and now, historical. This is an Olympic-sized disaster.

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Friday, June 4, 2010

Zinger from Abe

President Lincoln fended off a bit of congressional criticism with this one.

Senator Wade told him,"Mr. President, we will go to the devil if we do not adopt a proposition for the emancipation of the colored man. Right now, we are not a mile away from hell."

Lincoln replied,"That may be but by a curious arrangement of the facts, that is just the distance from where you stand to the Capitol, where you gentlemen are in session."
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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Real Reason the Civil War Continued

The soldiers in Helena, Arkansas speculated on the true reason for the war's continuation.

When the two presidents Lincoln and Davis grew weary of the war, they met on neutral ground to settle it. After an hour of dickering, they agreed to split the West and the southern and northern states between them.

On the subject of Arkansas, they could not agree. Neither president wanted it and they could not agree to split it. And so the war continued.

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