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Let Them Be

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. Abraham Lincoln

I made a decision sometime ago to separate my interests in history from my interests in politics and faith. I dropped political topics from my blog completely and transferred faith topics to my other blog.

There are times however when history and politics become intertwined to the point it’s difficult to separate the two. Such is the case I believe with the brouhaha over the Stars and Bars Battle Flag that flies over the Statehouse in South Carolina.

I was born in and have lived most of my life in Wisconsin. Wisconsin became a State in 1848. When the Civil War broke out in 1861 Wisconsin answered Abraham Lincoln’s call for volunteers and supplied 91, 379 volunteers for service; most being assigned to the over 50 infantry regiments Wisconsin raised during the course of the war.

Some units, like the Iron Brigade which consisted of the 2nd, 6th, 7th Wisconsin and 19th Indiana (the 24th Michigan became part of the brigade after Antietam) were immortalized. The brigade was nearly annihilated in the Antietam Campaign and devastated a second time at Gettysburg in the Union cause.

The battle flag of the Wisconsin 12th Infantry Regiment. Union Regiments usually carried two flags. One was the National Flag as illustrated here and the other was regimental. The regimental flag was of standard design and featured an American bald eagle as the central feature. Confederate units usually carried only one flag and they were often diverse. The Stars and Bars that we know today as being “Confederate” was actually the battle flag for the Army of Northern Virginia and was most common in that army. Confederate units often recorded battle honors in a similar manner as shown on the flag of the 12th Wisconsin.

My own ancestors immigrated to the US after the Civil War as far as I can tell although my family’s surname is found in a couple of Wisconsin units.

Two of my wife’s ancestors on the other hand appear in the roles of Union Regiments; one serving twice-the first time in the Kentucky Cavalry (Union) and the second time in a Wisconsin Infantry Regiment. The other ancestor of hers served in a New York Infantry Regiment until being invalided home with some disease.

Over 12,00 Wisconsin volunteers would never come home. The number represents a little over 13% of those enlisted. The stats for the other Union States are not much different and the stats for the southern states are worse percentage wise.

So why did they fight?

Perhaps the biggest reason was simply loyalty to their state and a sometimes vague allegiance to the Union as well as a general distaste for slavery. I am certain that had I been around in 1861-65 I too would have found myself in Union blue rather than Confederate Gray or Butternut. What my primary motive to enlist would have been had I been around then I have no idea, but loyalty to Wisconsin seemed to be the norm for most.

Whatever their particular motivation to enlist their sacrifices helped win the war, preserve the Union and free the slaves. Freeing the slaves was the major outcome of the Civil War and the butcher’s bill was paid by the lives of thousands of Union soldiers, black and white.

President Lincoln at the Gettysburg Address laid out his attitude for when the war was over by saying, “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.” Lincoln’s words were about healing when the north had just paid a terrible price in blood for an eventual outcome that would end slavery.

The words were made by the nation’s first Republican President. It was the Republican Party which was abolitionist and not the Democrats although today you would think it’s the other way around. In fact, many northern Democrats led by the likes of failed General George McClellan were anxious to make peace with the south presumably securing the institution of slavery in the process. When General Sherman took the City of Atlanta in 1864 the north realized that the north could and would prevail and McClellan and his failed party went down to defeat in the fall elections.

During Reconstruction and then the Jim Crow days it was the Democrats who were the party of the Ku Klux Klan. The Klan during it’s hay day even had chapters, sometimes significant chapters in northern states like Ohio and Indiana. In fact the Democrats perpetrated segregationist policies until President Johnson, a Democrat famously said, “I’ll have those n*ggers voting Democratic for the next 200 years.”

Cynical and insensitive does not begin to describe that attitude.

Today the Democrats are the party of the far left and they follow Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals as if they invented them. The manufactured crisis over the Stars and Bars is a case in point.

Some evil loser is shown with the battle flag after he guns down nine Christians who are black and the left mounts a full press cultural purge of all things southern including the flag that many of their ancestors fought under.

Make no mistake my readers. I think South Carolina has been a bit tardy in removing the battle flag from the Statehouse. The motives which it put it in the first place were segregationist. South Carolina had a Democratic Governor from 1876 to 1975. The battle flag began to be flown over the statehouse in the 1950s-60s under Democrat Governors and now has been petitioned to be removed from the statehouse by a Republican Governor Nikki Haley. Gee whiz Democrats what took you so long?

I think South Carolina should fly their State Flag over their statehouse. It’s a flag all South Carolinians could appreciate as the Palmetto Tree symbol dates back to the War of Independence when a new nation was forged-a nation that yes, became exceptional and inspiration for millions of immigrants including my own.

South Carolina State Flag

South Carolina State Fl

 

Yeah, maybe it’s late but it’s being done so the left needs to shut up and desist with a further southern culture purge. There have been cries to remove the battle flag from Confederate graves, museums and other places of historical significance.  Just for once have some common sense and get off the pc band wagon that has more in common with a communist state than it does with a people who just want to heal from the nation’s past and at the same time not ignore our  history.

If there is any malice going on here it’s the loony Marxist left that doesn’t let any crisis go to waste as they push their agenda of identity politics.

Lincoln’s attitude should rule the day. It was the attitude of the people of the Charleston Church who forgave the sociopath who murdered their fellow Christians. They rightly identified the murderer as the perpetrator and the evil within him. They recognized the man’s need for redemption and Jesus Christ as of primary importance.

Like northern soldiers, most southern soldiers had more loyalty to their individual states than they did to any central government. Let them be, with no malice toward them or their descendants. Their blood stains the same fields as our ancestors. Let them honor their dead as we do likewise. The Civil War is over. Let them be.

 

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The Battle of Waterloo 18 June 1815

Bruce:

200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo. Wonderful blog by Martin Gibson.

Originally posted on War and Security:

Napoleon defeated Prince Gerbhard von Blücher’s Prussian army at Ligny on 16 June 1815, forcing it to retreat to Wavre. The battle of Quatre Bras between the French and the Duke of Wellington’s Allied army on the same day was a draw. Napoleon intended to outflank them the next day, but his slowness in acting allowed Wellington to pull back ‘to a ridge line south of Mont St Jean, a position that had been carefully noted by Wellington and his staff some time ago as being an excellent defensive position.’[1]

Source: "Waterloo Campaign map-alt3" by Ipankonin - Self-made. Vectorized from raster image Flags from. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Waterloo_Campaign_map-alt3.svg#/media/File:Waterloo_Campaign_map-alt3.svg Source: “Waterloo Campaign map-alt3″ by Ipankonin – Self-made. Vectorized from raster image Flags from. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Waterloo_Campaign_map-alt3.svg#/media/File:Waterloo_Campaign_map-alt3.svg

On 18 June the two armies at Waterloo faced each other on two low ridges that were separated by a gentle valley, which was bisected by the Charleroi to Brussels road. The frontage was…

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Major Kermit Roosevelt_One of Teddy’s Military Sons

I received a bonus when I purchased an old copy of Foreign Service Magazine dated July, 1943.

The feature article detailed the role of the U.S. Coast Guard during World War Two and I wrote about that at this link, Global Warfare with the U.S. Coast Guard, 1943.

In paging through the rest of the magazine I came across the obituary of Major Kermit Roosevelt who died June 4th, 1943 at age 53 in Alaska where he was posted.

Major Roosevelt was the son of Colonel Theodore Roosevelt and the 26th President of the United States. President Roosevelt had become a member of the V.F.W. in 1907 when the organization was known as American Veterans of Foreign Service. The organization changed its name in 1913 to become the Veteran’s of Foreign Wars of the United States. Major Roosevelt was eligible to the V.F. W. because of his service in World War One and World War Two.

Scanned from the July, 1943 issue of Foreign Service Magazine. Major Kermit Roosevelt.

Scanned from the July, 1943 issue of Foreign Service Magazine. Major Kermit Roosevelt.

Major Kermit Roosevelt had a very interesting wartime service record.

The magazine obituary states the following…

“In June 1917, he was commissioned a Captain in the British Army, serving with the Motor Machine Guns in Mesopotamia until June, 1918, when he was transferred to the Seventh Field Artillery, First Division, U.S. Army.

In 1939. Colonel Roosevelt was commissioned a Major in the Middlesex Regiment of the British Army. A year later, as a Colonel with the Finnish Army, he raised volunteers in England for the Finnish Campaign (against Russia); then participated in the Norwegian Campaign (against Germany) from March to June, 1940 with the British Army. after serving in Egypt in August, 1940, he was invalided to England in December, 1940, and returned to the United States in June, 1941. He wore the British Military Cross and the Montenegrin War Cross.”

According to WIKI Colonel Roosevelt battled depression and alcoholism and that led to his suicide in June, 1943. The obituary I just quoted from in the magazine did not mention how the colonel died.

The Wiki article adds a great deal of detail to Major Roosevelt’s life such as how he came to be an officer in the British Army and why his suicide was reported as a heart aliment. I recommend the link to learn more about Major Roosevelt’s life as a writer, businessman and officer in three armies.

Kermit Roosevelt had two brothers who also died on active service with the US military.

Quentin Roosevelt, one of Kermit’s younger brothers was a fighter pilot in World War One. He was killed in action in July, 1918.

Theodore Roosevelt Jr. was Kermit’s older brother. Theodore Roosevelt the second is perhaps the best known of the President’s sons. “Ted” as he was known was one of the first general officers ashore on Utah Beach during the Normandy landings despite the fact he suffered from crippling arthritis and needed a cane as well as a heart condition that would kill him 36 days after the landing.

Theodore Roosevelt Jr. with his cane. His jeep was named "Rough Rider, after his father's regiment during the Spanish American War.

Theodore Roosevelt Jr. with his cane. His jeep was named “Rough Rider, after his father’s regiment during the Spanish-American War.

Theodore Roosevelt Jr. was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on D-Day.

It can be said that “Teddy’s” three sons followed in the military foot steps of their patriotic father.

 

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They Never Came Home: A Story of Three Brothers Who Fought in the Civil War

They Never Came Home: A Story of Three Brothers Who Fought in the Civil War.

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Global Warfare with the US Coast Guard 1943

Growing up in the sixties it seemed I was surrounded by World War 2 veterans. Pogo lived down the street from us. His dad was a veteran of the US Navy. My dad was an Army veteran and served post-war (45-46) as a Military Policeman in Cologne and Geissen, Germany. My my uncle was an army veteran who fought in Italy as part of the 10th Mountain Division. My dad’s fishing buddy was a B-24 pilot based in Italy during the war. It seemed that every male I had contact with saw some service in World War 2.

The one I found the most unusual was my friend Peter’s dad. It seemed that everyone’s dad was either in the Marines, Army, (or Army Air Corp as it was called in WW2), or the Navy, Peter’s dad was in the Coast Guard. As a ten-year-old I had no idea what the Coast Guard was and automatically thought it was a “lesser” kind of Navy.

I remember my friend Gary telling me that his dad’s service had something to do with small boats and guarding our coasts from Nazi submarines. That was cool anyway!

All this came to mind on a rummage\antique excursion my wife and I took last year. I scored big and for a few dollars snagged a copy of Foreign Service Magazine dated July, 1943. The featured article was titled, Global Warfare with the U.S. Coast Guard by Vice Admiral Russell R. Waesche.

Foreign Service Mag Coast Guard

Foreign Service Magazine was published monthly by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). Today the magazine is called VFW Magazine and is for members of that organization.

The admiral’s article is a two page account of the history of the U.S. Coast Guard. The Coast Guard was established in 1915 when the US Revenue Cutter Service was combined with the US Life Saving Service. During wartime the Coast Guard becomes part of the Navy and its duties expanded.

In addition to the Coast Guard’s peacetime duties like ice breaking, maintaining shore stations, being an aid to navigation and patrolling (these days chasing down drug runners) the wartime Coast Guard assisted with naval landings of marines and army troops, escorting transports and hunting down Japanese and German submarines.

The cover of this issue is interesting. It features the crew of a cutter (small warship) with one guardsman preparing a depth charge while the other is ready to engage an enemy sub with a Lewis Gun of World War One vintage. The American flag is prominently displayed lending patriotism to a dramatic piece of wartime art. The art work seems to portray a couple of historical examples from the Second World War that the admiral uses.

One notable story is about the Cutter Campbell a 327 cutter that engaged six German submarines. Five of the subs were engaged with depth charges while the sixth was rammed and then sunk with gunfire from the Campbell (pictured below in 1940)! The Campbell was badly damaged in the fight and finally reached port after being towed 800 miles through waters still patrolled by German U-boats.

"USCGC Campbell (WPG-32) at New York Navy Yard 1940" by USCG - U.S. Coast Guard [1] photo [2]. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:USCGC_Campbell_(WPG-32)_at_New_York_Navy_Yard_1940.jpg#/media/File:USCGC_Campbell_(WPG-32)_at_New_York_Navy_Yard_1940.jpg

“USCGC Campbell (WPG-32) at New York Navy Yard 1940″ by USCG – U.S. Coast Guard [1] photo [2]. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:USCGC_Campbell_(WPG-32)_at_New_York_Navy_Yard_1940.jpg#/media/File:USCGC_Campbell_(WPG-32)_at_New_York_Navy_Yard_1940.jpg Full history of the wartime history of the Campbell can be read at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USCGC_Campbell_(WPG-32).

The article goes on to say how the Coast Guard was performing a vital role in keeping the transatlantic supply lines open.

In July 1943 the Allied Armies had just won the North African Campaign (concluded May, 1943) and had invaded Sicily, the first step in taking Italy out of the war. The Coast Guard escorted thousands of transports with men and supplies to the fighting fronts keeping the vast majority safe from submarines.

At the time of article’s writing the Coast Guard had recently assisted the Navy in landing US Marines on Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands on the other side of the world. Eventually (shown below) the Marines on Guadalcanal would be replaced by US Army troops.

The U.S. Coast Guard though small performed vital service during World War Two and in continues to do so today.

When I was about 16 a co-worker of my mom’s who I kind of knew joined the Coast Guard. He encouraged me to do so when I turned 18 like he had just done.

At the time the Vietnam War and the draft were still in full swing.  The Coast Guard with an opportunity to possibly serve on the Great Lakes (we lived in Milwaukee on the shores of L. Michigan) seemed attractive for more reason than one.

Shortly after my mom’s co-worker sales pitch my uncle Bill came to visit my mom, his sister. I had admired Uncle Bill, a career Navy man since I was in diapers. I told Uncle Bill that I was thinking of joining the Coast Guard rather than “his” Navy. With a wry smile on his face he asked me why would I want to do that when the Coast Guard only went into the water up to their knees. Typical inter-service rivalry I suppose.

Frankly, I think I would have been happy to be in either service given my fascination with war ships.

 

 

 

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D-Day

Bruce:

Nice remembrance from the Pacific Paratrooper blog.

Originally posted on Pacific Paratrooper:

D-Day from Dixon

Announcement
(By The Associated Press)

A dramatic 10-second interval preceded the official announcement today that the invasion had begun.

Over a trans-Atlantic radio-telephone hookup direct from supreme headquarters, allied expeditionary force, to all major press services, and broadcasting networks in the United States came the voice of Col. R. Ernest Dupuy, Gen. Eisenhower’s public relations officer.

“This is supreme headquarters, allied expeditionary force,” Dupuy said. “The text of communique No. 1 will be released to the press and radio of the United States in 10 seconds.”

Then the seconds were counted off — one, two, three . . . and finally ten.

“Under the command of General Eisenhower,” slowly read Col. Dupuy, “allied naval forces supported by strong air forces began landing allied armies this morning on the northern coast of France.”

Thus, officially, the world was told the news which it had been awaiting…

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British WW1 Cannon

There is a World War One British cannon on display in a small park in Wabasha, MN.

photo 1

Side view British 60pdr, Wabasha, MN

photo 2

Loading view British 60pdr, Wabasha MN. A 60pdr is equivalent to a 127mm or 5″ gun in American terms.

photo 3

Front view, British 60pdr Wabasha, MN

photo 4

ID plate British 60pdr Wabasha MN. Another damaged plate identified the gun as being manufactured by Armstrong/Whitworth.

 

The only information as to how and why a British canon became part of park in Wabasha is this:

This park features a prominent WW1 cannon from the early 1900’s. The cannon was almost salvaged but, thanks to community members, was placed in the park and has become a landmark near the middle of town.–

The canon is a British 60pdr or a five inch gun (127mm). It was the standard heavy gun that served in the British and Canadian armies during World War One.

According to Wiki the US acquired a few batteries of 60pdrs for evaluation purposes after WW1 but never adopted it for US service. Presumably, the gun in Wabasha was one of the these guns and the good citizens of Wabasha rescued the damaged gun from the scrap heap.

Since there isn’t a plaque in Canon Park commemorating US involvement in WW1 I’m guessing that the citizens just wanted a canon in the park to commemorate Minnesota’s involvement in all US wars.

The gun is marked as being produced by Armstrong, the main supplier of the weapon to the British Army.

Guns of this nature were combined into batteries and used to shell the enemy trench lines prior to an infantry attack. World War One is known as the war of artillery once the armies bogged down into trench warfare. If an artillery bombardment could suppress the enemy machine guns and infantry then one’s own infantry could attack and carry the enemies’ trench line. This was rarely the case but all participants used the tactic in the hopes of achieving a breakthrough that would end the bloodshed.

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