Thursday, April 17, 2014

Damn Yankee


I've just finished a rather excellent book on the Battle of Gettysburg, Gettysburg: A Testing of Courage by Noah Andre Trudeau. This is the second time I've read it. Its accounts of the different phases of that watershed event are superb.

The cover of the book I just read.

The actions of the various generals, from Bobby Lee and George Meade down to the various regimental commanders on both sides, Mr Trudeau has done an excellent job of illustrating the difficulties of command in an era of rifled weapons where the troops had still to be commanded by voice, bugle and drum.

The actions of the enlisted men who did the actual fighting (and dying) are discussed, as are the impacts of the battle upon the innocent civilians of the town itself. All in all, if you read this one book, you will come away with an excellent and concise knowledge of the Battle of Gettysburg.

The next book I have in the hopper is one I picked up at the airport in Fresno, Cain at Gettysburg by Ralph Peters (one of my favorite authors). It's a novel which is said to rival (if not surpass) The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara. (And if you've not read that book then you are missing out on something special. A great read.)

Now what does all this have to do with the title of this post?

I was born and bred in the Green Mountain State, lovely old Vermont. I am, as it is said, about as Yankee as one can get.

There's an old saying I first heard some time ago -

  • To a Southerner, a Yankee is someone from north of the Mason-Dixon line,
  • To a person from north of the Mason-Dixon line, a Yankee is someone from the Northeastern United States,
  • To a person from the Northeastern United States, a Yankee is someone from New England,
  • To a person from New England, a Yankee is someone from north of the Massachusetts state line,
  • To a person from north of the Massachusetts state line, a Yankee is someone from Vermont,
  • To someone from Vermont, a Yankee is anyone who likes apple pie.
Yup, I'm guilty of all of the above (the pie especially). Damn proud of it too.

But I have to admit to a great affection for Old Virginia, for a number of reasons. I completely understand Robert E. Lee's reluctance to take up arms against his home state when the great bloodletting some call the Civil War and some call the War Between the States was about to commence. I understand it all too well.


Now I hear talk of a new "Civil War" being bandied about by folks who either have no firsthand knowledge of combat or who figure that they won't have to get their hands dirty if things come to that. Fools I call them. Damn fools.

Fools akin to those cursed idiots, North and South, who bayed for blood prior to the first shots fired at Fort Sumter. A place I have visited and when I think of the great conflict which began in the beautiful city of Charleston, that jewel of the South, I want to weep.

So let's stifle all talk of Civil War. Shall we?

On the other hand...

A fight against government tyranny is another thing altogether.


Stand your ground brothers and sisters. This is our land. Let's take it back from the crooks and idiots running it now. But let's be smart about it, eh?

The Constitution must prevail. This is an election year, use your ballot. Know the issues.

There may be a thing or two a Yankee can teach you about making a stand. Ask the lobster-backs who marched to Lexington and Concord.

Just sayin'...

24 comments:

  1. Mr. Jefferson is more erudite than I, so I will defer to him.
    "When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men,deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."
    I'm pretty sure "consent of the governed" is not implied in 'deemed to have passed". Additionally, if Melowese Richardson and others of her ilk pull their shenanigans again in November, I think the patience of the American People, or at least those not on the government teat will be gone. God help us then!

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  2. Come visit, and after the dogs have licked you half to death, we can do Gettysburg, which is only about an hour from here (or less by air).

    And while I'm not willing to fight or die for stupid causes like some guy's for-profit cattle business, the moment that our elected representatives declare war on the rest of us, it'll be on like Donkey Kong.

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    1. The two of you owe it to your selves to do Antietam and Cold Harbor also. The Antietam Battlefield is nicely preserved. Cold Harbor not so much, but you can still walk the trench line. The Union soldiers knew they were in for it and took to sewing their names onto small pieces of cloth and then sewing those to the backs of their tunics. 6000 killed in one afternoon with the attack starting at 4:30.

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    2. P.S. If you do decide to do some Civil War Terrain Walks, let me know. I'd like to tag along.

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    3. Murph, I sure look forward to meeting those dogs of yours. You too, of course. Gettysburg. We simply have to.

      Juvat - ditto Antietam and Cold Harbor. (Or would that first one be Sharpsburg?)

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    4. Antietam/Sharpsburg is half an hour from the Lair. Come any time for the grand tour. And I'm overdue for taking Murphy and Belle out there. Photo trip to follow.

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    5. Seems I need to arrange a trip down that way anyway. The Nuke wants to know when we can come visit DC.

      (I sense the need for some travel this summer!)

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  3. Growing up in Texas, a Yankee was someone from north of the Red River. A Damn Yankee was one of these folk who had moved to Texas and would not go home.

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    1. Now that's a pretty workable definition. No doubts there, Lou!

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  4. I will add that during my time at the 2nd Bomb Wing, Barksdale AFB, folks living in central Louisiana like Nachitoches, thought people living in Shreveport were yankees. Probably don't even want to know what the Cajuns from the Atchafalaya Basin think about us. Go figure.

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    1. I reckon the real Cajuns could care less about the existence of Yankees or any other non-Cajun critters. As long as we stay out of the bayou.

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  5. As usual, a good post. The fascinating thing to me is that the Army has formally adopted the uniform above as their dress uniform. If you look at pictures of the Old Guard they are wearing the darker blue coats over lighter blue trousers. It's taken them 150 years to come back to an Army uniform vice a green suit. Took 'em long enough.

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    1. Perhaps even the Army gets things right, given enough time.

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    2. Buyingthat new uniform took a bite out of my son's family budget, but it does look sharp!

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    3. New dress uniforms are seldom cheap. (Though they can look cheap. I know, I was in the Air Force.)

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  6. To a Red Sox fan, of course, a Yankee is the hated enemy (no matter where he's originally from.)

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    1. Well yeah. But I was trying to stay away from that. Dad was a Yankee fan, Mom is a Red Sox fan. I leave the rest to your imagination.

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  7. When I lived in South Louisiana, most of those around me thought that a Yankee was anyone from north of I-10. Of course they also thought that their side won the Civil War back in 1865. Don't ask them to explain if you can't keep a smirk off your face.

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    1. Anyone from north of I-10. Well, alrighty then.

      Louisiana is special. (That being said, I love Cajun food and music. I also hear they speak French that a Quebecois wouldn't understand.)

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    2. Yep. I was present once when two French people from Paris stopped by to surrender, uh, I mean see the sights out in Acadia proper. They tried to speak French to the old couple that ran the store that I was in, the old couple replied in Cajun French, and neither party could understand what the others were saying. I don't speak either language so I just drank my Abita.

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    3. I worked for a French Canadian captain in NATO, really good guy. Oh my word did he get mad once when trying to make hotel reservations in Paris. He slammed the phone down and was cussing a blue streak (en français naturellement). When I asked him what the problem was, he said "Zey told me to call zem back when I learn to speak the French!!!!"

      Yup, he was a little riled up over that.

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  8. Cajuns (Acadians) are like Hillbillies. Without the hills.

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    1. I knew there was something I liked about 'em. (Other than the food and the music that is!)

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)