Monday, February 12, 2007

Burn the Town Sack the Banks Grit leadership and us

The author finishes out Chapter two with a portrait of the Vermonters paying a heavy price in the Battle of Cedar Creek. Me are dying on both sides to capture a flag. Somewhere the Duck is plotting to burn the flag.

We often talk about leadership and Charisma. We can talk of General Herkimer cooly smoking a pipe udner a tree in Oriskany wounded giving tactical directions that turned a rout intovictory. Even Benedict Arnold was a great leader and fierce in combat at Saratoga. He also saved the day in the Oriskany campaign with the clever use of the mentally ill. I am not sure how the folks in Brussels would view the use of the mentally challenged today.

In the Battle of Cedar Creek the Conefederates surprised the Union and the army was in retreat routed. However Sheridan was several miles down the road and personaly rallied his reserves and the routed men onto the field of battle. The image of Sheridan astride his black horse waving his hat and inspiring his men to follow me is a moving image of a bygone era.

It is true Patton led from the front but this maybe the product of another era. Istant fast communication means the leader may be thousands of miles away. Is it now up to the junior officers to fill the Sheridan type role.

The authors use of the Shenadoah campaign preceding the back drop of the raid in St Albans is multilayered.

1 We know where the men who would have defended St Albans were. 2 The author juxtaposes the tactics of Sheridan on a much larger scale with that of the raiders.

Do we have a bias where small units operating in a similar matter to Sheridan are percieved as terrorists. Does the bank heists and the use of a foreign nations territory and staging area and refuge change things. How far should a country go in hot pursuit across a border?


Always On Watch Two said...

the Shenadoah campaign

Even today in the Shenandoah Valley, "Sheridan" is a dirty word.

My great-grandmother was pregnant with my grandfather when Sheridan burned the Valley. According to the old wives' tale, my grandfather, who suffered from bipolar disorder and ultimately died in Western State Mental Hospital, was "a marked baby."

One reason that the Valley today so harshly judges Sheridan is that many of the inhabitants were pacifists and did not bear arms in the war. Also, the smaller raiding parties worked havoc upon the Valley's population.

Of course, the Valley was the breadbasket of the Confederacy. From the perspective of military tactics, the Valley needed to be destroyed as the food supplier.

Years ago, I read a book, the title of which was something like If the South Had Won the War. Interestingly enough, the longterm outcomes were the same: abolition of slavery, re-establishment of the Union, etc. I don't know if that book is in print now, but it was an interesting read.

Mr. Ducky said...

"Don't say it in Russian,
don't say it German,
Say it in broken English"

say it in broken English

beakerkin said...

Ducky admit it if you were on the battle feild you would be burning the flag

Mr. Ducky said...

Beak, when was the last time you saw the flag burned? I've never seen it.

In fact people respec the flag and outside a few nuts and police plants people simply don't desecrate it.

The flag burning amendment would do more harm than good and would lessen that level of respect. Pure silliness that you even mention it but the far right hasn't much to talk about these days.

Could have come through anytime
Cold lonely, your return
What are you fighting for?
It's not my security
It's just an old war
Not even a cold war
Don't say it in Russian
Don't say it in German
Say it in broken English
Say it in broken English

Lose your father, and your husband
Your mother and your children
What are you dying for?
It's not my reality
It's just an old war
Not even a cold war
Don't say it in Russian
Don't say it in German
Say it in broken English
Say it in broken English
What are you fighting for?
What are you fighting for?

beakerkin said...


I bet there were members of the MA regiments who served in the Civil War before being against the war. They were burning villages in the manner of Ghengis Khan.

Oh wait that was Gomer Kerry.

It seems house demolition is a comonplace tactic. The left only seems to cry when terrorists have their houses blown up.

Mr. Ducky said...

AOW, any statues to Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain down there?

American Crusader said...

"Do we have a bias where small units operating in a similar matter to Sheridan are percieved as terrorists?"

It depends on what uniform they are wearing.

beakerkin said...


Are they at least wearing uniforms?
There is a legal argument about spying and terrorist in absence of uniforms. Seeking havens in adjacent countries was obviously not new as well.

Always On Watch Two said...

AOW, any statues to Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain down there?

Not that I know of in the Shenandoah Valley. I think that he's honored at Gettysburg, PA and at possibly at Appomattox, VA, though I don't recall seeing many statues at the latter location. Appomattox is very understated in its approach to that day of surrender.

From Wiki:

On the morning of April 9, 1865, Chamberlain learned of the desire by Lee to surrender the Army of Northern Virginia when a Confederate staff officer approached him under a flag of truce. "Sir," he reported to Chamberlain, "I am from General John Gordon. General Lee desires a cessation of hostilities until he can hear from General Grant as to the proposed surrender." That evening, Chamberlain was summoned to Union headquarters where Major General Charles Griffin informed him that of all the officers in the Federal Army, General Grant had selected Chamberlain to preside over the ceremony of the surrender and parole of the Confederate infantry at Appomattox Court House on April 12.

Thus Chamberlain was responsible for one of the most poignant scenes of the Civil War. As the Confederate soldiers marched down the road to surrender their arms and colors, Chamberlain, on his own initiative, ordered his men to come to attention and "carry arms" as a show of respect. Chamberlain described what happened next:

The gallant John B. Gordon, at the head of the marching column, outdoes us in courtesy. He was riding with downcast eyes and more than pensive look; but at this clatter of arms he raises his eyes and instantly catching the significance, wheels his horse with that superb grace of which he is master, drops the point of his sword to his stirrup, gives a command, at which the great Confederate ensign following him is dipped and his decimated brigades, as they reach our right, respond to the 'carry'. All the while on our part not a sound of trumpet or drum, not a cheer, nor a word nor motion of man, but awful stillness as if it were the passing of the dead.

Chamberlain's salute to the Confederate soldiers was unpopular with many in the North, but he defended his action in his memoirs, The Passing of the Armies. Many years later, Gordon, in his own memoirs, called Chamberlain "one of the knightliest soldiers of the Federal Army."

I'm not a Civil War buff, so I had to look up Joshua Chamberlain. The name was familiar, but not the specifics--other than he was a Union commander at Gettysburg.

The Merry Widow said...

AoW-Sounds like Chamberlain was not only a rare kind of gentleman, but he also understood what was required to bring back the union, the respect necessary to be amenable to reconciliation. To bad that after Lincoln was assacinated, congress went toward retribution.


Always On Watch Two said...

The Reconstruction Period was tough. For many years, early 20th-century textbooks in the South didn't provide the details so as to get the South simmered down.

John Irving (I think) wrote a good novel called The Last Confederate Widow. I read it years ago and loved it, though I don't recall the details now.

The Merry Widow said...

AoW-It was brutal, and the whole thing was based on retribution. Which was something Lincoln was against, bless his heart. But those who came after were like a brother who feels his other brother had behaved in a manner that "required" bullying to keep the erring brother in his "place" as a "perpetual" transgressor!
Also, slimy opportunists wanted to rip off the weak and helpless!
My Dad's family was originally from Virginia, still there and you may know some, and most of the men served in the Confederate forces!
Good morning, G*D bless and Maranatha!


Elmer's Brother said...

I have read and own The Passing of the Armies....Chamberlain was wounded near Petersburg by grapeshot in the hips and taken to the hospital to die. His brother found a doctor willing to work on him and he survived although he was in pain the rest of his life.

kuhnkat said...

Little Che Duckfart has never seen a US flag burned??

Does that mean Little Che Ducktart doesn't watch the news or is just LYING or is being disingenous implying that since he personally has never seen it it doesn't happen!?!?!?!

Hey Ducktart, here is a partial list of your friends at work!!

April 1976, Dodger Stadium, Rick Monday takes flag away from 2 morons trying to set it on fire with matches and lighter fluid!!!

October 28, 1989 -- 500 people in Seattle defy the law at the stroke of midnight. A Vietnam veterans' group and others "desecrate" every flag in sight, including a Post Office flag raised in flames. 200 demonstrate in New York City in an "Exorcism of Forced Patriotism".

October 30, 1989 -- Four people burn flags on the steps of the U.S. Capitol in defiance of the new law. Three are charged with flag desecration: Shawn Eichman, Dave Blalock, and Dread Scott. Joey Johnson burns a flag but is not charged, in a move to separate him (as a symbol of the Supreme Court precedent in his case) from the government's attempt to reverse that precedent.

October-December 1989 -- Widespread protest and defiance of the new law, including rallies, flagburnings, and flag art shows on the campuses of Princeton U., U.C. Berkeley, U. of Washington, Hiram C. (OH), Wesleyan U. (CT), Evergreen State C. (WA), U. of Penn., etc. No flag desecration charges result from any of these actions.

December 1989 -- Seven people from the Seattle protest are charged with flag desecration and destruction of government property (the Post Office flag). Four are later arrested: Jennifer Campbell, Mark Haggerty, Carlos Garza, and Colin Stone. Three John Does identified only by surveillance photos remain free.

Vietnam veteran Jim Byrd for burning a flag in the Sonoma town square 12/15/89 to protest the U.S. government's role in Central America

a San Francisco middle school teacher for burning a flag in his classroom at the start of each of his 5 classes 1/2/90 in a discussion of the U.S. invasion of Panama

flagburnings during a blockade of the San Francisco Federal Building 1/23/90

February 28, 1990 -- The Emergency Committee to Stop the Flag Amendment and Laws kicks off a new national campaign against the proposed Flag Protection Amendment with a demonstration during Bush's next public appearance, a fundraiser in San Francisco. 2,000 people burn Bush in effigy, seated on a flag-draped throne and wrapped in U.S. flags, while larger, burning flags wave above. They spread a 30' by 20' U.S. flag in the street, dance on it, then burn it below a banner saying, "Stop the Fascist Flag Law" while speakers from the Emergency Committee denounce the flag law and amendment.

August 2000, Protester burns American flag in front of Democratic National Convention in LA.

September 2001, Sacramento grade school Teacher burns flag.

August 2006, Louisville School Teacher burns 2 flags in classes.

September 2006, Normal Illinois Teacher drags flag on ground, dumps water and stomps on it. (sorry, no burning)

Amazing how none of the more recent flag burnings here in Berkeley and San Francisco show in a web search!!!

I also don't see the ones during the Illegal Immigration protests!!!


beakerkin said...


I have been involved in a flag burning in Union Square Park. I just happened to have an unfortunate accident with some Mountain Dew and the flag got doused.

Now if we were to burn pictures of Mummia........or some Palestinian flags or some Ben and Jerry cartons........

Mr. Beamish the Kakistocrat said...

My great-great grandfather was one of the "Alabama Boys" that Chamberlain ran off of Little Round Top at Gettysburg.

My great-great grandfather, barefoot and missing two fingers (from a gun misfire in a previous battle) called it quits and went back home.