Friday, June 24, 2016

History: The Year is 1815

I've uploaded year 1815 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Road Building becomes Cheaper, Quicker, and Better -- A Scottish engineer discovers that a thin layer of gravel and rock dust is better than the old Roman method.

Napoleon's Waterloo -- He is back... for 111 days. It's enough.

The Bloody Battle of New Orleans and the Federalists' Waterloo -- Andrew Jackson believes that the Spanish and British are supplying the Indians with arms so he goes to New Orleans to kick the snot out of the British. Problem is... the war is already over.

Road Building becomes Cheaper, Quicker, and Better

While attempting to straighten up the course of a road, a Scottish engineer, John McAdam, notices that the old roadbed is a lot thinner than normal building practices would recommend, yet, the road has held up for years and has not turned to muddy ruts. The Roman method of road building calls for deep layers of large stones and gravel pounded in layers. It is a arduous and expensive method, but McAdams has determined that if the roadbed is raised above the general level of the land, and slightly crowned so that water is allowed to run off, a thinner layer of gravel and rock dust can be used. The gravel must be smaller than the width of the wagon wheels. This will allow the wheels to crush the gravel and lock it in place for a unified roadbed to protect the soil from becoming muddy underneath. These roads will soon be called macadam roads. [1] [2]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
As a young man I was a soils inspector for earthwork construction. Probably the two biggest mistakes I have seen in road construction are... One: The moisture level for the soil and gravel was too wet or too dry for proper compaction when the roller went over it. That led to cracks or ruts in heavy traffic areas. And Two: The compaction roller did not work the edges of the roadbed well enough when there were existing curbs and gutters. Naturally, the guy running the roller doesn't get too close to the edge because he doesn't want to damage the curb, but if the city places a bus stop there, the wheels of a heavy bus will finish the compaction job. An indentation is created near the curb line where water collects. The water soaks down creating mud under the surface. The next bus rolls over the mud and turns an indentation into a pothole. Then the city lays a quick patch of asphalt over the pothole, sealing in the mud, and the process begins again. This is why a bus stop sometimes requires extra roadwork because the roadbed was never properly prepared at the edges. [3]

Napoleon's Waterloo

"Napoleon has humbugged me, by God... so I must fight him there" -- Wellington pointing to the map position of Waterloo. [4] [5]
Last year Napoleon was exiled to Elba, but his supporters still have faith in him, so he raises an army and deposes King Louis the 18th of France. Thus begins Napoleon's Hundred Days. (Actually it will be 111 days but who is counting?) Currently, the Congress of Vienna has been meeting to clean up Napoleon's previous mess, so it is easy to agree to a 7th Coalition to fight Napoleon. Napoleon must strike before the Coalition can gather an effective force. The battleground is Waterloo in modern day Belgium. Wellington receives word while he is attending the famous Duchess of Richmond's ball. Everyone who is anyone is there... instead of on the battlefield. Wellington's forces get there in time to reinforce the Prussians who are in retreat. Napoleon thinks the Prussians are defeated. (Big mistake.) He chases Wellington to Waterloo where Wellington has placed most of his army behind a low ridge. Rumors that the Prussians have already reorganized are dismissed. The battle begins late because of the muddy ground. By 4 PM the battle is still raging. The French cavalry charges, but it is too soon. Wellington's formations devastate them. Then the Prussians arrive to save the day. Napoleon is forced to retreat. It is June 18th. By the 24th he will abdicate and by July he will surrender and be exiled to Saint Helena until his death in 1821 from natural causes. DEFINITELY NATURAL. His supporters who encouraged him to return will die from unnatural causes. [6] [7]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
I've greatly simplified a complex battle. Historians are divided on whether the Prussians won the battle for Wellington, but all agree that without the unexpected (by Napoleon) Prussian attack, Wellington could not have won. The significance of the Battle of Waterloo was to underscore the need to stop the constant fighting in Europe. They were sick and tired of it. The Congress of Vienna split up the European powers so that no one country could become strong enough to dominate the others... like... oh... I don't know... FRANCE? Four decades of peace followed. [8]

The Bloody Battle of New Orleans and the Federalists' Waterloo

It is nearing the end of the War of 1812. Andrew Jackson is a major general in his state's militia. His men call him "Old Hickory" because he is tough like hickory. When the Indians go on a murder spree, holding children by the legs and beating their heads in, Jackson brings justice to them, harsh and swift. Like most Americans, he believes that the Spanish and the British are arming the Indians, so he threatens the Spanish forces at Pensacola and takes their fort. He moves on to New Orleans. The British land a force there, but wait for reinforcements. On December 23rd, 1814, Jackson's forces attack. Although the British beat them back, it forces them to rethink their strategy. They delay. That Christmas Eve, the Treaty of Ghent is signed. The War of 1812 is over, but out on the frontier, neither side realizes it. January 1st, 1815, the British attack. Jackson's eastern line fails, but the British have run out of ammunition so they retreat. During the night of January 7th, 780 British troops cross the Mississippi to create a diversion the next morning, but they get bogged down in the mud. The main British force makes a frontal assault under the cover of darkness and a heavy fog. As the sun rises, the fog lifts and they are exposed. It is a slaughter. It is embarrassing to say, but the British commander has forgotten to bring the ladders needed to scale the earthworks. Inside of 25 minutes, 700 British troops are killed, 1,400 are wounded and 500 are taken prisoner. Only 13 Americans are killed. The British bugle boy who played throughout the battle, actually lives. For the next several days the British navy bombards the fort at New Orleans and then departs. The Battle of New Orleans is over, but it never had to be fought. [9] [10] [11] [12] [13]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Once again, when telegraph lines are finally laid, unnecessary battles will not be fought. It seems like a side note, but the Federalists met at the same time in Hartford, Connecticut. They were discussing their on-going complaints. Treason is probably too strong a word, but it was perceived as such by the public. With Jackson's win, the Federalists all looked like fools. They were done. Please note that Andrew Jackson had many admirable qualities, but one can legitimately criticize him severely on many points. He was a volatile man. For example, suggesting that the government should put his picture on a Federal note would earn that person a bullet to the head. I don't think I am exaggerating here. And one more thing... I had the Battle of New Orleans on the list of things to talk about, but all suggestions are welcome. I am weak on the 19th century and I can use all the help I can get. You won't hurt my feelings. I promise. [14]

In Other News

  • UK corn laws increase the price of corn. Economist and philosopher Thomas Malthus suggests that high corn prices will increase the buying power of elitist landowners that will somehow allow factory owners to hire more workers. The key to this idiotic scheme is to make plundering, elitist landowners rich. What other virtue it has is lost on me. [15] [16] [17] [7]
  • The Great September Gale hits New England. This is a 3.0 hurricane with an 11 foot storm surge. It is the worst hurricane to hit New England in 180 years. From this hurricane, a Harvard scientist will determine that a hurricane is actually a moving vortex. (Yes, it is.) [18]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1815, Wikipedia.

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