1864

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Sherman's March through Georgia

Union General Corse was able able to "Hold the Fort". Now General William Tecumseh Sherman has taken Atlanta and he is leaving it a smoking ruin. This is the end of the world as Georgians know it. It is clear that this war has been backed primarily by the rich plantation owners, so the Union strategy is to choke off the Confederacy's commerce options. That includes the capture of sea ports. Thus when General Hood takes the majority of his Confederate forces into Tennessee to tempt Sherman into chasing him, Hood has simply cleared the way for Sherman's real objective, the sea port of Savannah. This is Sherman's "March to the Sea" that will be the subject of song by next year. The orders are simple: Surrender will be met with reasonable terms. Resistance will be met with unreserved barbarity. This is war and there is no way to make it pretty, so Sherman doesn't try. He has seen too much agony and death. He wants it over and he is willing to pay full price to get it. Sherman's troops march out of Atlanta with a swagger. The boys are singing "Glory, glory, Hallelujah," but Sherman has had his fill of war. [1] [2] [3]

"I confess without shame that I am tired & sick of war. Its glory is all moonshine. Even success, the most brilliant is over dead and mangled bodies [...] It is only those who have not heard a shot, nor heard the shrills & groans of the wounded & lacerated (friend or foe) that cry aloud for more blood & more vengeance, more desolation & so help me God as a man & soldier I will not strike a foe who stands unarmed & submissive before me but will say 'Go sin no more.' "
-- General William Tecumseh Sherman, in a letter dated 1865.
My Take by Alex Shrugged
It is said that when King Cyrus was finally defeated in war, Queen Tomyris, filled a skin with blood and seeking out the King's corpse, had it propped up and she said, "I according to my threat will give thee thy fill of blood," and she emptied the skin's contents into his mouth. Finally, the King had had his fill of blood. Certainly everyone else had had enough. Regarding the song "Marching through Georgia", naturally, it is not a very popular song in Georgia, even today, but it seems that most people don't remember the context of the song any more. I vaguely recall an event where President Jimmy Carter was greeted by the strains of this famous Union war song. Carter is the former Governor of Georgia. I think it was a mistake. What was not a mistake was when the song was played at the contested Democratic Convention of 1924. The Klu Klux Klan had endorsed Woodrow Wilson's son-in-law for the presidential nomination. The Northern Democrats didn't like it and tried to insert an anti-KKK plank in the Party platform. While they debated, the band played "Marching through Georgia" and fist fights broke out. The KKK candidate did not win the nomination even though he did get the most votes on the first ballot. [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]

Damn the Torpedoes! Full Speed Ahead!

Three Confederate ironclads lie in wait for the Union attack on Mobile Bay with the CSS Tennessee being the most capable. Two forts guard the entrance to the bay and the channel is sown with torpedoes or mines. The Union calls the torpedoes "those infernal machines". If you will recall, torpedoes or underwater mines were introduced by Robert Fulton. Yeah. The guy with the steamboat, but before he was building steamboats he had built the submarine Nautilus for the French with the aim to set underwater charges. (Jules Verne is having a field day with these ideas right now.) Currently, torpedoes are simply tethered mines. Admiral David Farragut guides two columns of steamships into the bay, but when his first ironclad hits a mine and sinks, his other ships shy to port and slow. With the forts firing on his ships, this is no time to take a nap. Before the initiative is lost, the Admiral pulls his ship out of line and moves forward, directly over the minefield. As he passes the other ship he shouts his famous order, "Damn the torpedoes! Four bells! [...] Full speed!" The mines fail to explode, probably due to faulty primers. Farragut's ships follow him into the bay. Then the Admiral issues his second most famous command, "You may fire when you are ready, Gridley." [9] [10] [11]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Over the years Admiral Farragut's quotes were smoothed out a little so they are now, "Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!" and "You may fire when ready, Gridley." It all sounds very courageous, and it was, but Admiral Farragut actually had little choice once he committed his ships to battle. To hesitate was to die. That was why Farragut pulled out of line and swept over the mines. There was no choice because the ship ahead of him would not move. Thus, they would either be killed by the mines or be killed by the fort's guns. The Admiral chose the mines and lucked out. Of course, acting like a madman AND SUCCEEDING often enhances a commander's reputation which is probably why we remember the Admiral's commands today. It certainly helped President Lincoln. He was running for reelection against General McClellan who was the Democrat nominee. McClellan was the wartime Democrat running on a peacetime platform. It was as if the Democrats were trying to LOSE the election! All the better for Lincoln. With Farragut's win at Mobile Bay and General Sherman taking Atlanta, it derailed Lincoln's opposition within the Republican Party and he won his reelection bid. [12]

In God We Trust and the National Bank

Last year Congress, in its wisdom, established a charter for several national banks. The requirements are stringent and capital requirements are high. Fractional banking is regulated by law and kept within prudent limits... hopefully. With the ongoing war there is a need for war bonds to finance the war. This year the national charter is expanded to monitor state banks. A large tax on state banks is imposed, mostly to limit the competition with the national banks. What it actually does is to kill a lot of state banks and cause a lot more panics. Along with these shenanigans is a movement to make the United States of America into a Christian country. A group of Christians organize and develop an amendment to the Constitution. They meet with President Lincoln and he is cautiously in favor of the idea, but he tells them he needs to look at the wording carefully. The amendment will never make it out of Congress but what WILL make it out is a change in the money supply. The phrase, "In God We Trust" will now appear on the 1 and 2 cent coins. However, the motto won't be a requirement until 1956 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs the requirement into law so that it shall appear on all US currency. [13] [14] [15] [16]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
As much as Congress distrusted the banks, they still felt compelled to fiddle with them because of the requirements of the war. (It's always something.) Regarding religion, is there a good reason NOT to have God's name on our money? Yes. Such usage tends to cheapen God's name. After all... why are we placing His name there? Is it to act as a talisman? An amulet? Or magic? I certainly hope not, but I worry about the casual use of God's name in any case just as I worry about the overuse of oaths. When one uses an oath as if it magically commands loyalty, it tends to lose its awe in its overuse. I prefer to use oaths only when necessary. If used in court, only when asking a specific question about a specific detail. It should not be used as a general means of entrapment as it is often used today. [17]

In Other News

  • Black Union soldiers are massacred as they try to surrender. Nathan Bedford Forrest (the future Grand Wizard of the KKK) is present, but it is not clear if he ordered the massacre or if it was spontaneous. He didn't stop it, though. [18]
  • Jules Verne publishes "Journey to the Center of the Earth". Professor Lidenbrock decodes a strange message describing a path to the center of the Earth via an Icelandic volcano tube. It is a fabulous story re-imagined and told again and again. [19]
  • Union General John Sedgwick's famous last words are "They couldn't hit an elephant from this distance!" He is the highest ranking Union soldier to be killed in this war. [20]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1864, Wikipedia.

See Also

References

  1. Marching through Georgia (Civil war song). YouTube.com (2016). Retrieved on 4 September 2016. “'Marching through Georgia' is a Union song from the American civil war, inspired by William T. Sherman's march 'from Atlanta to the sea' in 1864. The lyrics celebrate a crucial turning point in the war- and also the cause of ending slavery. 'Hurrah, hurrah, we bring the jubilee/ hurrah, hurrah, the flag that makes you free.'”
  2. Sherman's March to the Sea - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 5 September 2016. “As for horses, mules, wagons, &c., belonging to the inhabitants, the cavalry and artillery may appropriate freely and without limit, discriminating, however, between the rich, who are usually hostile, and the poor or industrious, usually neutral or friendly.”
  3. Hold The Fort - The King's Heralds. YouTube.com (1870). Retrieved on 5 September 2016. “'Hold The Fort' was written in 1870 by Philip Paul Bliss an Evangelist and Composer .”
  4. Cyrus the Great - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 5 September 2016. “Upon learning of what had transpired, Tomyris denounced Cyrus's tactics as underhanded and swore vengeance, leading a second wave of troops into battle herself. Cyrus the Great was ultimately killed, and his forces suffered massive casualties in what Herodotus referred to as the fiercest battle of his career and the ancient world. When it was over, Tomyris ordered the body of Cyrus brought to her, then decapitated him and dipped his head in a vessel of blood in a symbolic gesture of revenge for his bloodlust and the death of her son. However, some scholars question this version, mostly because Herodotus admits this event was one of many versions of Cyrus's death that he heard from a supposedly reliable source who told him no one was there to see the aftermath.”
  5. Tomyris - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 5 September 2016. “Tomyris led her armies to defend against an attack by Cyrus the Great of the Achaemenid Empire, and defeated and killed him in 530 BC (although this is debatable since Herodotus mentions that this was only one of many stories relating Cyrus the Great's death).”
  6. William Gibbs McAdoo - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 5 September 2016. “The 1924 nomination was notable due to the Ku Klux Klan endorsement of McAdoo, which he did not reject. He served as Senator for California from 1933–38, when he lost his bid for renomination to Sheridan H. Downey. McAdoo filed for divorce from his wife in 1934.”
  7. America's Bizarre, Brawl-Filled History of Contested Conventions. Rolling Stone (2016). Retrieved on 5 September 2016. “The longest brokered convention was the 1924 cultural and political showdown between the Southern Democrats, supported by the shadowy forces of the Ku Klux Klan, and the urban Northeastern Democrats led by the political machine of Tammany Hall. They met in New York City, which served as an excellent backdrop for a party riven by issues of race, religion and Prohibition. Tammany's man, Gov. Al Smith, was pitted against William G. McAdoo, son-in-law and secretary of Treasury to Woodrow Wilson. The event was marred by violence. Frequent fistfights broke out between the factions, while the NYPD made periodic sorties into the unruly crowd to restore order.”
  8. Alex Shrugged notes: The story and quote about King Cyrus is one of many so don't take it too seriously. It comes from the ancient historian, Herodotus.
  9. Famous Navy Quotes. history.navy.mil (2016). Retrieved on 5 September 2016. “As disaster seemed imminent, Farragut gave the orders embodied by these famous words. He swung his own ship clear and headed across the mines, which failed to explode. The fleet followed and anchored above the forts, which, now isolated, surrendered one by one. The torpedoes to which Farragut and his contemporaries referred would today be described as tethered mines.”
  10. Damn the Torpedoes!. civilwar.org (2016). Retrieved on 5 September 2016. “This, of course, is when Farragut took matters in hand. In order to avoid having his entire column of ships collide like a collapsing accordion, he ordered the Hartford to pull out of line and steam past the Brooklyn to port, directly through the mine field. As Farragut passed the Brooklyn, Alden called across to him to point out the torpedoes in the water dead ahead. To which Farragut purportedly replied, 'Damn the torpedoes!' The phrase has gained immortality in the 150 years since, but, in fact, Farragut had little choice at this point but to go ahead. He could not stop under the guns of Fort Morgan and he could not back down with a column of ships behind him, so he went ahead. The rest of the Federal ships followed him, careful to stay in his wake. As they passed through the minefield, some sailors later claimed they had heard the primers snapping on the torpedoes. Luckily, no more of them exploded, very likely because of faulty primers.”
  11. Torpedo - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 5 September 2016. “In the early 1800s, the American inventor Robert Fulton, while in France, 'conceived the idea of destroying ships by introducing floating mines under their bottoms in submarine boats.' He coined the term 'torpedo' in reference to the explosive charges he outfitted his submarine Nautilus. However, both the French and the Dutch governments were uninterested in the submarine. Fulton then concentrated on developing the torpedo independent of a submarine deployment.”
  12. Donald, David Herbert. Lincoln. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0684808463. “These Union victories, combined with the nomination of McClellan on a peace platform, had a devastating effect on the schemes of Radical Republicans to replace Lincoln as their party's nominee. On August 30, the day the Democrats chose McClellan, disaffected Republicans met, as scheduled, at David Dudley Field's house in New York City, but a number of major Radical leaders were not present. Chase was absent; he now doubted the possibility of the success of the movement and advised his followers to support the regular Republican ticket.” 
  13. National Bank Act - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 5 September 2016. “National banks were chartered by the federal government, and were subject to stricter regulation; they had higher capital requirements and were not allowed to loan more than 10% of their holdings. A high tax on state banks was levied to discourage competition, and by 1865 most state banks had either become received national charters or collapsed.”
  14. In God We Trust - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 5 September 2016. “'In God We Trust' first appeared on U.S. coins in 1864 and has appeared on paper currency since 1957. A law passed in a Joint Resolution by the 84th Congress (P.L. 84-140) and approved by President Dwight Eisenhower on July 30, 1956 declared IN GOD WE TRUST must appear on currency.”
  15. In God We Trust - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 5 September 2016. “The Reverend M. R. Watkinson, in a letter dated November 13, 1861, petitioned the Treasury Department to add a statement recognizing 'Almighty God in some form in our coins' in order to 'relieve us from the ignominy of heathenism.'”
  16. Ferguson, Niall. Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World, The. Penguin Press. ISBN 9781594201929. “The 1864 National Bank Act had significantly reduced the barriers to setting up a privately owned bank, and capital requirements were low by European standards. At the same time, there were obstacles to setting up banks across state lines. The combined effect of these rules was a surge in the number of national and state-chartered banks during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, from fewer than 12,000 in 1899 to more than 30,000 at the peak in 1922. Large numbers of under-capitalized banks were a recipe for financial instability, and panics were a regular feature of American economic life--most spectacularly in the Great Depression, when a major banking crisis was exacerbated rather than mitigated by a monetary authority that had been operational for little more than fifteen years.” 
  17. Amulet - definition of amulet (2016). Retrieved on 5 September 2016. “An object worn, especially around the neck, as a charm against evil or injury.”
  18. Battle of Fort Pillow - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 23 August 2016. “The battle ended with a massacre of Union troops (most of them African American soldiers) attempting to surrender, by soldiers under the command of Confederate Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest. Military historian David J. Eicher concluded, 'Fort Pillow marked one of the bleakest, saddest events of American military history.'”
  19. Journey to the Center of the Earth - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 5 September 2016. “The story involves German professor Otto Lidenbrock who believes there are volcanic tubes going toward the centre of the Earth. He, his nephew Axel, and their guide Hans descend into the Icelandic volcano Snæfellsjökull, encountering many adventures, including prehistoric animals and natural hazards, before eventually coming to the surface again in southern Italy, at the Stromboli volcano.”
  20. John Sedgwick - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 5 September 2016. “Sedgwick was killed by a sharpshooter at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House on May 9, 1864, making him the highest ranking United States soldier to be killed in the war. He is well-remembered for his ironic last words: 'They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance.'”

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