Hamilton and the Military State

Alexander Hamilton warned his fellow citizens about the dangers of standing armies and a society dependent upon its military. In Federalist No.8 he cautioned: But in a country, where the perpetual menacings of danger oblige the government to be always prepared to repel it, her armies must be numerous enough for instant defense. The continualContinue reading “Hamilton and the Military State”

None Braver

The charge of the Irish Brigade against the Confederate position at Marye’s Heights outside Fredericksburg is the stuff of legend.        The legendary  stature of these men and their deeds is largely due to the reminiscences of their opponents. James Longstreet, whose troops occupied the stonewall position at Marye’s Heights remembered: “The manner inContinue reading “None Braver”

Pearl Harbor Hero

Mess Attendant Third Class, Doris Miller was awarded the Navy Cross Citation for heroism displayed during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He was the first black sailor to receive the honor. CITATION: “For distinguished devotion to duty, extraordinary courage and disregard for his own personal safety during the attack on the Fleet in PearlContinue reading “Pearl Harbor Hero”

Finest Two Minutes

Lincoln thought he failed November 19, 1863…  obligatory applause from a damp crowd in Gettysburg offered him little consolation.  Lincoln had just followed a masterful two-hour speech from America’s greatest orator, Edward Everett.  The President sat down in his seat and commented to his friend, Ward Lamon, that the speech wouldn’t “scour” (would fail to clearContinue reading “Finest Two Minutes”

Little Mac Says Goodbye

George McClellan said goodbye to his beloved… Army of the Potomac on November 11, 1862.  He cared deeply for their well being(much too deeply it turned out) and they repaid him with unwavering affection.  Lincoln had to make the decision- The “Young Napoleon” was fighting like the war could go on for decades.  But toContinue reading “Little Mac Says Goodbye”

Desecration of Major Ballou

Major Sullivan Ballou of the 2nd Rhode Island Volunteers was mortally wounded leading his regiment on Mathews Hill during the First Battle of Bull Run. Solid shot from a Rebel battery smashed his right leg beyond repair. The shattered limb was amputated later that afternoon; Ballou died on July 28th. He was buried near theContinue reading “Desecration of Major Ballou”

Chickamauga- Plenty of Blame to Share

William S. Rosecrans fought  nearly perfect campaign  forcing his Confederate opponent out of Tennessee.  When the newly reinforced Confederates finally turned to fight Southeast of Chattanooga, he and his subordinates were unprepared for the strategic implications.  George H. Thomas, “The Rock of Chickamauga,”  is justly praised for his dogged defense of Horseshoe Ridge on SeptemberContinue reading “Chickamauga- Plenty of Blame to Share”

Through the Cornfield

Before dawn on September 17, 1862…. Maj. General Joseph Hooker’s men waited pensively in the woods North of Sharpsburg, Maryland.  Neither Hooker nor his troops knew what awaited them on the other side of the Miller cornfield.  Through the pre-dawn mist, Hooker could barely make out a small white building, that would be their target.  HookerContinue reading “Through the Cornfield”

Gallantly Streaming

The United States needed a national anthem…. since the War of 1812, the de facto anthem had been “My Country, Tis of Thee” – or as it is better known, “God Save the Queen” – The British national anthem.  The march entitled “Hail Columbia” also was considered our anthem for a short period. A brief historyContinue reading “Gallantly Streaming”

A Feud Begins

Following his dramatic victory on Lake Erie, Oliver Hazard Perry submitted his after-action report to the Secretary of the Navy. This report would spark a decade long feud with a querulous subordinate. These events ultimately led to the Naval hero’s death. Perry observed, “At half past two, the wind springing up, Capt. Elliott was enabledContinue reading “A Feud Begins”