Tuesday, September 6, 2016

History: The Year is 1865

I've uploaded year 1865 to the TSP Wiki...


Here are some one liners...

The Confederates Surrender -- General Grant offers generous terms to General Lee but the fighting will go on in other states until May.

With Malice Toward None... or Maybe Just One -- Lincoln offers reconciliation. Then he is shot dead by John Wilkes Booth. I cover some of the conspiracy theories regarding Booth's possible escape.

George Washington Reaches Godhood -- The ceiling fresco in the Capital Rotunda is completed. I talk about where our souls go after death and as a joke I suggest various household appliances.

In Other News -- Alice in Wonderland, Hatfields and McCoys and missing Confederate Gold.

The Confederates Surrender

The War between the States is rolling to an end. Louisiana and Arkansas have retired from the field. General Sherman has turned Georgia into a smoking ruin. President Davis has skipped town with the treasury in hope that the South will rise again! (We know how that turns out.) The Siege of Petersburg is really a siege of Richmond, the capital of the Confederacy. Petersburg serves as the supply nexus for the region. It is defended by a minimal number of Confederates, so clearly Lee was not expecting Union forces to come calling there. After several months of siege and trench warfare, Union forces break through and scatter Lee's forces. Lee moves west toward Appomattox Station to meet a supply train. Grant's forces cut him off in an amazing 21 hour march by infantry to support the Union cavalry. Lee's army is done. Lee chooses to surrender at a small courthouse at Appomattox. General Grant's terms are generous. Every Confederate officer shall take an oath of parole, and keep his sidearm, his personal horse and luggage. (What is implied is that officers will not be tried for treason and they will have a horse to plow their fields and feed their families.) The troops will take a similar oath. Other weapons are to be stacked and stowed. Grant also supplies rations to get them home. As predicted, once General Lee surrenders, the other Confederate armies surrender too. Dear God. It's all over. Isn't it? No. Not all of it.
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Here we are. Years distant and sitting in judgement. What shall we say? Certainly, the fighting between massed armies was over, but the bullets kept flying here and there. Gun control was a reaction to ex-slaves owning guns. (Goodness! We can't have that!) Literacy tests excluded ex-slaves from voting since they were never taught to read and write. New York finally gave up on literacy tests in 1966. (Sometimes I wish for a minimal test for voting competency. Get 2 of 3 questions right: 1. Who is President? 2. Who is your Congressman? 3. Where does the money come from to fund welfare? "Obama's stash" is not a reasonable answer.) Ex-slaves initially joined the Republican Party, but in later years they switched to the Democrats: the Party of the KKK. It happened in the early 1900s when both Parties stunk to high Heaven. Darwinian eugenics was in full swing, but if you voted Democrat, they promised you stuff. Minorities sold their souls and now they are having trouble getting them back. Republicans are no prize any more, but when I look at the Libertarian candidate, I wonder, "Is he baked? He looks baked!" And he says very few things I would call Libertarian. I'm not asking for perfection, but I would like us to put down our weapons occasionally and talk to each other like adults. Yes. That would ease my soul. [1] [2] [3]

With Malice Toward None... or Maybe Just One

We fear God's justice and we pray for God's mercy but not all of our prayers will be answered. It is March 4th... Inauguration Day in Washington D.C. It has been wet and windy, but as President Abraham Lincoln takes the stand, the clouds part, and the sun shines. It is a good omen. The end of this war is more than a month away, but Lincoln is still working for reconciliation. He ends his speech thus: "With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations." Then General Lee surrenders, but the rest of the Confederacy has not yet folded. John Wilkes Booth believes there is yet time to turn this war around. It is now April 14th. Lincoln finds his escape from cares at the theater. Booth is a popular actor, and when he arrives at Ford's Theater, he is greeted with welcome surprise. In his pocket is a .44 caliber Philadelphia Derringer... a cardsharp's gun. The play is a comedy so he waits for the biggest laugh line, steps behind Lincoln and fires. Booth leaps 11 feet down to the stage and breaks his leg, but with his adrenaline high he barely notices. He utters the line, "Sic semper tyrannis!" meaning, "Thus always to tyrants," and he escapes on horseback into the night. It is Good Friday. Lincoln dies the next morning. [4] [5] [6]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
OK. Everyone grab your tinfoil hats. It's conspiracy time. Booth was killed in a shootout with Union soldiers 12 days later... or was he? A marriage certificate and a mummified body say differently. Do I believe it? No, but let's go through it. Booth and a friend rode their horses hard into Maryland. They stopped at Dr. Mudd's home to have Booth's leg set and to change his appearance. They finally arrived at Garrett's farm in Virginia on April 24th and hid in the barn. Union soldiers showed up. Shots were fired. A body was dragged out. It was taken to the Washington Navy Yard where 10 people certified that it was Booth, but no family members were allowed to view the body. Why would the government lie? Because the war was not over yet and they needed this case closed. So... where did Booth go? The answer is obvious... West Texas, or Europe, or India! The theories abound. Years later his mummified remains were sold to a circus! Only one story makes sense. He traveled to West Texas and became John St. Helen. He married and told his new wife that he was John Wilkes Booth. His wife marched him back to the courthouse and changed the marriage certificate to his real name. The marriage certificate does exist. Is this real proof? I don't think so, but once a good conspiracy gets started it is hard to stop. [7] [8]

George Washington Reaches Godhood

As you enter the Capital Rotunda in Washington D.C. look up. You will see a fresco painted on the ceiling. It depicts George Washington, the angels and various gods looking down on us from Heaven. The idea behind the fresco is that President Washington has risen into the heavens to become a god himself. It is the deification of Washington or "Apotheosis of Washington" (ah-poth-ee-OH-sis). It is not meant to be disrespectful in any way.... neither to Washington as a man nor to the religious sensibilities of the public in general. Over the years, the fresco will collect a lot of grime that will mar and diminish its impact, but in the modern day it will be cleaned and restored to its pristine beauty. [9] [10] [11]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
There are some technical disagreements amongst theologians as to what happens to the soul after death. Within Jewish circles, being elevated to the level of a deity is frowned upon, but certain worthy souls can enter the Garden of Eden. Other religions allow deification of the soul, but only under strict circumstances and never greater than God. I am being necessarily vague here, not because I am afraid of offending anyone, but because I am aware of the many and varied opinions on the subject. Nowadays most people have no problem believing that when people die they become angels in Heaven... or spirits hovering over us in some protective manner. This was not always an accepted theological position. My wife believes that her dead mother inhabits our curio cabinet and turns on the light inside to let us know she is still with us... in spirit anyway. My wife laughs when I suggest that our souls will inhabit various household appliances after we die. Somehow the theology doesn't work for me. Consult your local religious authority for a definitive answer.

In Other News

  • Lewis Carroll publishes "Alice in Wonderland". Some people look for it's deeper meaning, but it's just a lot of fun. [12]
  • The Hatfields and McCoys begin their feud. Asa McCoy is murdered while coming home from the war. A Hatfield is suspected. It goes on from there. Years later in 1979 the Hatfields and McCoys meet for their final challenge on the TV game show Family Feud. The Hatfields win. [13]
  • Confederate gold and jewels are missing! At a guess, call it 19 million in modern dollars, but in the closing days of the War, a lot of it goes missing... bit-by-bit... no doubt kept safe by the Confederate Knights of the Golden Circle for the day when THE SOUTH WILL RISE AGAIN! Or not. There is a rumor that an empty grave is now filled, but not with a body. [14]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1865, Wikipedia.

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