Monday, September 5, 2016

History: The Year is 1864

I've uploaded year 1864 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Sherman's March through Georgia -- It's like the Borg walking through your living room as General Sherman makes mincemeat out of Georgia.

Damn the Torpedoes! Full Speed Ahead! -- Admiral Farragut utters his famous lines but "torpedoes" are not what you think they are.

In God We Trust and the National Bank -- Hey. We get God on our money. That will protect us. Right?

In Other News -- Black Union soldiers are massacred, Jules Verne and a General's last words.

Sherman's March through Georgia

Union General Corse was able able to "Hold the Fort". Now General William Tecumseh Sherman has taken Atlanta and he is leaving it a smoking ruin. This is the end of the world as Georgians know it. It is clear that this war has been backed primarily by the rich plantation owners, so the Union strategy is to choke off the Confederacy's commerce options. That includes the capture of sea ports. Thus when General Hood takes the majority of his Confederate forces into Tennessee to tempt Sherman into chasing him, Hood has simply cleared the way for Sherman's real objective, the sea port of Savannah. This is Sherman's "March to the Sea" that will be the subject of song by next year. The orders are simple: Surrender will be met with reasonable terms. Resistance will be met with unreserved barbarity. This is war and there is no way to make it pretty, so Sherman doesn't try. He has seen too much agony and death. He wants it over and he is willing to pay full price to get it. Sherman's troops march out of Atlanta with a swagger. The boys are singing "Glory, glory, Hallelujah," but Sherman has had his fill of war. [1] [2] [3]
"I confess without shame that I am tired & sick of war. Its glory is all moonshine. Even success, the most brilliant is over dead and mangled bodies [...] It is only those who have not heard a shot, nor heard the shrills & groans of the wounded & lacerated (friend or foe) that cry aloud for more blood & more vengeance, more desolation & so help me God as a man & soldier I will not strike a foe who stands unarmed & submissive before me but will say 'Go sin no more.' "
-- General William Tecumseh Sherman, in a letter dated 1865.
My Take by Alex Shrugged
It is said that when King Cyrus was finally defeated in war, Queen Tomyris, filled a skin with blood and seeking out the King's corpse, had it propped up and she said, "I according to my threat will give thee thy fill of blood," and she emptied the skin's contents into his mouth. Finally, the King had had his fill of blood. Certainly everyone else had had enough. Regarding the song "Marching through Georgia", naturally, it is not a very popular song in Georgia, even today, but it seems that most people don't remember the context of the song any more. I vaguely recall an event where President Jimmy Carter was greeted by the strains of this famous Union war song. Carter is the former Governor of Georgia. I think it was a mistake. What was not a mistake was when the song was played at the contested Democratic Convention of 1924. The Klu Klux Klan had endorsed Woodrow Wilson's son-in-law for the presidential nomination. The Northern Democrats didn't like it and tried to insert an anti-KKK plank in the Party platform. While they debated, the band played "Marching through Georgia" and fist fights broke out. The KKK candidate did not win the nomination even though he did get the most votes on the first ballot. [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]

Damn the Torpedoes! Full Speed Ahead!

Three Confederate ironclads lie in wait for the Union attack on Mobile Bay with the CSS Tennessee being the most capable. Two forts guard the entrance to the bay and the channel is sown with torpedoes or mines. The Union calls the torpedoes "those infernal machines". If you will recall, torpedoes or underwater mines were introduced by Robert Fulton. Yeah. The guy with the steamboat, but before he was building steamboats he had built the submarine Nautilus for the French with the aim to set underwater charges. (Jules Verne is having a field day with these ideas right now.) Currently, torpedoes are simply tethered mines. Admiral David Farragut guides two columns of steamships into the bay, but when his first ironclad hits a mine and sinks, his other ships shy to port and slow. With the forts firing on his ships, this is no time to take a nap. Before the initiative is lost, the Admiral pulls his ship out of line and moves forward, directly over the minefield. As he passes the other ship he shouts his famous order, "Damn the torpedoes! Four bells! [...] Full speed!" The mines fail to explode, probably due to faulty primers. Farragut's ships follow him into the bay. Then the Admiral issues his second most famous command, "You may fire when you are ready, Gridley." [9] [10] [11]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Over the years Admiral Farragut's quotes were smoothed out a little so they are now, "Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!" and "You may fire when ready, Gridley." It all sounds very courageous, and it was, but Admiral Farragut actually had little choice once he committed his ships to battle. To hesitate was to die. That was why Farragut pulled out of line and swept over the mines. There was no choice because the ship ahead of him would not move. Thus, they would either be killed by the mines or be killed by the fort's guns. The Admiral chose the mines and lucked out. Of course, acting like a madman AND SUCCEEDING often enhances a commander's reputation which is probably why we remember the Admiral's commands today. It certainly helped President Lincoln. He was running for reelection against General McClellan who was the Democrat nominee. McClellan was the wartime Democrat running on a peacetime platform. It was as if the Democrats were trying to LOSE the election! All the better for Lincoln. With Farragut's win at Mobile Bay and General Sherman taking Atlanta, it derailed Lincoln's opposition within the Republican Party and he won his reelection bid. [12]

In God We Trust and the National Bank

Last year Congress, in its wisdom, established a charter for several national banks. The requirements are stringent and capital requirements are high. Fractional banking is regulated by law and kept within prudent limits... hopefully. With the ongoing war there is a need for war bonds to finance the war. This year the national charter is expanded to monitor state banks. A large tax on state banks is imposed, mostly to limit the competition with the national banks. What it actually does is to kill a lot of state banks and cause a lot more panics. Along with these shenanigans is a movement to make the United States of America into a Christian country. A group of Christians organize and develop an amendment to the Constitution. They meet with President Lincoln and he is cautiously in favor of the idea, but he tells them he needs to look at the wording carefully. The amendment will never make it out of Congress but what WILL make it out is a change in the money supply. The phrase, "In God We Trust" will now appear on the 1 and 2 cent coins. However, the motto won't be a requirement until 1956 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs the requirement into law so that it shall appear on all US currency. [13] [14] [15] [16]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
As much as Congress distrusted the banks, they still felt compelled to fiddle with them because of the requirements of the war. (It's always something.) Regarding religion, is there a good reason NOT to have God's name on our money? Yes. Such usage tends to cheapen God's name. After all... why are we placing His name there? Is it to act as a talisman? An amulet? Or magic? I certainly hope not, but I worry about the casual use of God's name in any case just as I worry about the overuse of oaths. When one uses an oath as if it magically commands loyalty, it tends to lose its awe in its overuse. I prefer to use oaths only when necessary. If used in court, only when asking a specific question about a specific detail. It should not be used as a general means of entrapment as it is often used today. [17]

In Other News

  • Black Union soldiers are massacred as they try to surrender. Nathan Bedford Forrest (the future Grand Wizard of the KKK) is present, but it is not clear if he ordered the massacre or if it was spontaneous. He didn't stop it, though. [18]
  • Jules Verne publishes "Journey to the Center of the Earth". Professor Lidenbrock decodes a strange message describing a path to the center of the Earth via an Icelandic volcano tube. It is a fabulous story re-imagined and told again and again. [19]
  • Union General John Sedgwick's famous last words are "They couldn't hit an elephant from this distance!" He is the highest ranking Union soldier to be killed in this war. [20]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1864, Wikipedia.

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