Mr Lincoln’s Army 

The Rebirth of the Army of the Potomac (part four)Part four of a series. Desertion and “Demagogues”  Desertion was also a disease in the army, though of a different kind. With Hooker assuming command the army officially went into winter camp. Morale was still dangerously low and homesickness was a real problem. The men of the Army of the Potomac had been through a great deal […]

1st Minnesota, Joseph Hooker, Robert McAllister, The Rebirth of the Army of the Potomac, Daniel Butterfield, Corps Badge, 145th Pennsylvania, George G. Meade, 132nd Pennsylvania Infantry, Army of the Potomac, Samuel Fiske, Warren Lee Goss, Charles Francis Adams, Valley Forge Winter, 10th New York Infantry, 1st New York, 17th Maine

The Rebirth of the Army of the Potomac (part four)

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Once a hero….

Benedict Arnold: Misunderstood Hero & Bitter TraitorThe name “Benedict Arnold” is synonymous with “traitor” in American History. While there is no excusing Arnold’s treachery and broken oath as an American officer, perhaps we have created such a despicable man that we’ve ignored what he actually did for the Colonial Cause. You see, Benedict Arnold was not born with “traitor” stamped on […]

Battle of Saratoga, Traitor, Treachery, Benedict Arnold, West Point

Benedict Arnold: Misunderstood Hero & Bitter Traitor

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Monocacy Anniversary 

A Civilian Remembers the Battle of MonocacyToday is the anniversary of the Battle of Monocacy, fought in 1864 between Maj. Gen. Lew Wallace and Lt. Gen. Jubal Early. Wallace’s badly-outnumbered Federals aligned themselves along the Monocacy River, hoping to hold off the Confederates in a last-ditch effort to slow the gray- and butternut-clad onslaught through Maryland. Fifty miles behind Wallace’s men […]

Lew Wallace, Battle of Monocacy, James Van Valkenburg, Jubal Early, John Gambrill, C. Keefer Thomas, John Lamar, Alice Thomas, Antoinette Gambrill, Araby, Daily Frederick News, 61st Georgia, Gambrill Mill, Mary Addison ‘Mamie’ Tyler, John B. Gordon, Peter Vredenburgh

A Civilian Remembers the Battle of Monocacy

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Facts in Five

The Forgotten Major General George Sykes edition-

  • Sykes was promoted to Captain for bravery exhibited at the Battle of Cerro Gordo in April 1847
  • At First Bull Run, Sykes commanded the only Regular Army battalion on the field.  Sykes ordered the Regulars into a battle square and staved off disaster near the Stone Bridge
  • Sykes was promoted to Major General of Volunteers after the Battle of Antietam
  • “Tardy George” and “Slow Trot”  were nicknames attributed to him, yet his combat record contained no blemishes. 
  • Contrary to popular belief, Sykes was not relieved of command of the V Corps after Gettysburg- he requested extended medical leave and did not return to the Army of the Potomac
Actually Tardy? Do the research

Actually Tardy? Do the research

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Hyphens Separate Us…

The demand for hyphenated citizenship is a curious part… of 21st century American life.  Too many Americans feel incomplete without qualifying their nationality with an arbitrary link to some other part of the world.  Cultural relativism brainwashes people into believing that America is simply a place- like a loosely governed boarding house.   Thomas Jefferson gave us our creed in 1776- a belief that unites us all.  The modern world carries on as if these ideals were never truly American.


Preach, TR

Theodore Roosevelt said it best:

"In the first place we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the man's becoming in very fact an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all."


What is wrong with declaring yourself and American first?   If you are fascinated with your ancestry, there are websites for that now….  Assimilation to the American creed should not be an objectionable expectation.

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Movie Review: Fury

Fury wants to be a great movie, it yearns to be great… but in his effort to be profound, writer/director David Ayer misses the mark badly.  War is hell and wreaks untold havoc on the human spirit-  Ayer wants viewers to feel the unrelenting brutality of war, even a “noble” one like WW2.  War forces moral men to commit unspeakable acts – this paradox is what drives the plot of Fury.  No new ground is broken in Ayer’s bleak, often gory depiction of the final push into Germany.  The armor of the tank- symbolic of the mechanization of death throughout- traps as well as protects our fighting men.  Grisly, muddy, and tormented, Ayer’s film never reaches its lofty goal of understanding how humans are capable of such horror.

Gritty realism replaces morality

Gritty realism replaces morality

What’s missing in the savagery of the script is humanity… viewers never truly meet the characters.  Faces smeared with grease and mud rarely emote much more than weariness or fear.  Stock characterizations and odd southern accents are meant to convey  typical working class grunts- but Ayer never shows us the men; instead, we see hints of humanity smothered in the fog of war.  Spielberg was able to expose the heart wrenching effects of war on our basic humanity in Saving Private Ryan.  There is no talk of home, hearth, or loved ones in Fury.  A brief romantic fling with a terrified German girl is as close as this film gets to emotion.  Gone are patriotic renderings of the American flag- replaced with the relentless rolling of tank treads through mud and blood.  Even the star power of Brad Pitt is unable to bring much depth to the broken spirits of apathetic warriors. Little talk of brotherhood, patriotism, or mission- minimalism interrupted by brutality is how Ayer renders war.

No one cares for them

No one cares for them

Loosely based on the service of decorated American tank commander… Sgt. Lafayette Pool, Fury is a decent piece of historical fiction.  Special effects have forever changed war movies, and Ayer has crafted a prototypical example of what we have grown to expect; gritty realism and gore.  The message of the film, driven home with its gloomy cinematography, is nearly anachronistic in a WW2 story.  Such a story line is all too common in movies about the Vietnam War, it is painfully out-of-place here in the great conflict of our time.


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Ramblings of an Antiquated Mind

Madison rolls over edition…

  • A US Congressman publicly proclaimed the US Constitution was written so the Federal government could expand its power- Madison rolls over…twice
  • So much time and effort is expended trying to refute Original Intent, considering all of our trouble lately, maybe it’s time to embrace it?
  • The Bill of Rights is not negotiable
  • Nine of the first ten amendments restrict government and enumerate individual rights- but gun control advocates want you to believe that the Second Amendment empowers government through a collective privilege?
  • Government did not give us the Bill of Rights- it was the creator
  • Instead of simply taking a selfie with Thomas Jefferson….visitors to Monticello should read some of his words.
  • Democrats unhappy with the current legislative agenda should try winning more elections, rather than wrinkling their $1,000 suits sitting on the floor.
  • So very sad when France deals with domestic terrorism in more forceful terms than we do.
  • The AR-15 fires one bullet at a time
  • Commercial sale of automatic weapons has been illegal since 1937
  • One part William Jennings Bryan, and two parts Wendell Willkie, Donald Trump embodies the worst of both- demagoguery, combined with irresponsible opportunism. 
  • After listening to so-called legal and Constitutional experts spout-off for the past month- it’s clear that the Federalist Papers are not part of our educational system any longer.
  • Charter schools work- but not cookie cutter, for-profit diploma mills.
  • I stand with Jefferson
  • Stop the destruction of Confederate monuments


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