Tag Archives: Civil War

A damned old veteran to John Wayne: “Thank you for your service.”

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

I’ve been thinking a lot about us veterans lately, possibly because of the recent VA fiasco including my own healthy part of it.  Which put me into close proximity with a lot of other old model vets.

I’m going to start this off with what General Smedley Butler had to say to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in possibly the most honest address in history by a general-grade officer:

Old Confederates trying to recall the rebel yell:

Spanish American and Civil War veterans trying to remember how much fun it was.

Then there’s WWI:

I couldn’t find any veterans of the American Indian Wars being interviewed, though there were plenty of them still alive long after the movie camera and recording was invented.  I suppose John Wayne will have to do.  We veterans all owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude anyway.

Thank you for your service, John Wayne.

Old Jules

 

Advertisements

Bonfire of the vanities

Hi Readers:

I’ve got this box of US Archives microfilm of all the US Army Civil War correspondence for the Department of New Mexico and Arizona staring at me.  Wasted a phone call to the  Arizona State Archives, talked to a clerk who’d have her boss get back to me if they wanted them.

Microfilm of Yankee Army Civil War correspondence

No joy.  I suppose I might yet find a university, or the NM or Texans might want them for their State Archives.  It’s got the California Volunteers activities, and the Union perspectives on what all those Texas troops were doing raising hell up the Rio Grande.  Nice description of how, when the last Texans had retreated to Fort Davis, left their wounded in the hospital there for the Union to treat when they arrived.

Apache got there between the exit of the Texans and the arrival of the Union troops.  Slaughtered them all in their beds, mutilated the corpses.

We’re talking good stuff here.  Somebody sure as hell ought to want it.

Maybe I can swing up by Ruidoso and blackmail the Mescalero with it.

Or maybe it’s time for all that stuff to go into the burn pile.

Old Jules

Microfilm of Yankee Army Civil War correspondence

Packing up things I came across a box containing 30-some spools of microfilm I bought from the US Archives 20 years ago.  All the US military correspondence in the Department of New Mexico and Arizona, 1856 [I think] through 1866.  Includes California Volunteers after they crossed the Yuma River headed for the Rio Grande, also the Apache campaign and Navajo 1863-64 business.  And the late-1850s Bonneville campaign against the Apache with the occasional Navajo thrown in to spice it up.

I don’t think I’m going back to a place in my life where I’m staring at microfilm reader screens anymore.  If any of you have any interest in owning those spools, or know anyone who’d like to have them for the price of parcel post sending them, contact me at josephusminimus@hotmail.com.

Or if you have any ideas about some research library might like to own them under those conditions.  Or any other ideas how I can find someone who might get some use out of them.  Scads of interesting, intriguing, baffling stuff in there.

I’m not carrying them around with me anymore.

Old Jules

When the US Civil War was still hot off the presses – Horace Greeley 1866

Hi readers. Thanks for coming by.

Exciting stuff. A couple of blocks away from where Jeanne lives there’s an auction house in Olathe, KS. Every Saturday evening when the auction ends they put all the stuff that didn’t sell out in the parking lot for anyone who wants it, then haul what’s left to the dump.

Jeanne goes over there when she can catch it at the opportune time and finds all sorts of goodies. It’s where she found Lighthorse Henry Lee’s Memoire which caused me multiple organisms when she sent it to me. Maybe the last time in human history it will be read, and my pleasure being the one to do it.

Now a new crisis as arisen. Saturday night she found Volume 2 of Greeley’s history of the Civil War published in 1866. 700 plus pages of razor-edged northern perspective of the Civil War.

Hot diggidy damn. Multiple organisms again, just knowing that when I get settled down where I can have her sending me reading material sometime somewhere I’m damned likely to become the last person in human history to read Horace Greeley’s hot-off-the-presses Civil War.

Life is good. Even life that hasn’t happened yet and will have to wait a while.

Old Jules

Confederates and Non-Confederates

Me, trying on caps at the JC Penny store:  Why are some of these blue, other ones grey?

Store Clerk ladyWhy the grey ones are Confederates.

Me:  Oh.  Okay, what are the blue ones.

Store Clerk lady, frowning:   Um.  Those are Non-Confederates. 

Back when Keith Kelt and I were struggling through grammar school in Portales, New Mexico, a movie briefly drained our bluejeans pockets. 

Suddenly every kid in town had to have a blue, or a grey cap with a shiny bill and crossed rifles at the front.  Half-dollar at the JC Penny store had us all scrambling.  Each of us tripped down to JC Penny the instant we could scrape together the gelt. 

At which time probably all of us discovered we didn’t know enough to be making the decisions as we took cap after cap out of the bin, trying them on.  Those of us who’d seen the movie weren’t educated enough to know much about it, aside from the fact it was bloody, violent, and exciting. 

All we knew was that every kid who was anyone was wearing one of those caps.

Not until I made a fool of myself in class several years later in Junior High did I learn that the US Civil War wasn’t fought between Confederates and Non-Confederates.

Old Jules

Forgotten Lost Victories – Glorietta Pass

glorietta from the ridge pidgeons2

That roof you see down there covers the remains of Pidgeon’s ranch house.  Center point for most of the fighting during the battle of Glorietta Pass.  At the beginning of the battle Regular Union troops held the ridge where I was standing to take the picture and everything you can see beyond.  The rock face below me and to the right is dimpled by fire coming from below because the Union snipers were operating there.

The Texas artillery positions were outside camera range to the upper right.  The hottest fighting was along this ridge and below focused on the low wall between here and Pidgeon’s.

Texans flanked the Union position beyond the ranch house and overran the wall forcing the Federals into a hasty retreat beyond the far left of the picture, where they attempted to establish a new defense line, but the valley widened and doomed it to failure.

At that point the Texans had a straight shot all the way to Fort Union, their goal, with nothing to stop them besides a straggling of Federal troops in disorganized retreat.

But during the night the Colorado Volunteers trekked through the mountains to Coyote Canyon and attacked the Confederate supply train, burned and captured it.  Which completely reversed the fortunes of the Texas Mounted Volunteers. 

Suddenly they found themselves without supplies and a long road back down the Rio Grande occupied by New Mexico Volunteers and Federal troops from Fort Craig which they’d bypassed during the hurry northward.

They buried a lot of their dead just below and to the right of the ridge above Pidgeon’s.  They were found during the 1980s by someone digging a foundation to a house down there, and taken to Santa Fe, beginning a decade-long fight over them between Texas and New Mexico.  But under New Mexico law those bodies belonged to the person who owned the property and found them.

Around 1992 they were buried with a lot of ceremony at the National Cemetery in Santa Fe.

Confederate Capital of Arizona Territory

I probably should have added this to the last post, but somehow it seems to me to deserve a place of its own.

That building sitting on the corner of the plaza in Mesilla, New Mexico, was the self-same structure Col. Baylor of the Texas Baylor Baylors of Texas aristocracy chose as the capital building for the Confederate Territory of Arizona.

Baylor turned out to be a less-than-optimal governor to the Territory, brought himself up for all manner of criticism.  One of which being the source of an order to kill all the male Indians in the fledgling Territory, and make slaves of all the kids and surviving females.

News travelled slowly in those days, and this command reached Richmond, Virginia at a time to dovetail nicely with news of Sibley failures, chaotic retreat after Glorietta, and other matters not calculated to endear Baylor to the general Confederate command structure.

For instance, the retreating Texans left their severely injured in the hospital at Fort Davis as they passed through, hop-skip-and-jump ahead of pursuing Union Forces.  Obviously intending to defer medical treatment to the pursuers.

But Apache arrived at that hospital ahead of the Yankees.  Tortured, disembowelled, roasted those Texans at their leisure, finally killed them in time for the arrival of the rescuers.

Ultimately Baylor was reduced in rank to corporal and sentenced to spend the remainder of the war walking guard in Galveston, where he served honorably.

Old Jules