The Memorial Day Holiday is marked here at Balladeer’s Blog with items about neglected conflicts and neglected military units from American history. The latest unit to be examined is the Navy of the Republic of Texas. I’ll examine the period from the Texas Revolution against the tyrannical Mexican government up through the Texas Republic joining the U.S. as the State of Texas.
During the Fall Season of 1835 Texas rebelled against Mexico’s despotism and in March of 1836 officially declared their independence. On September 1st, 1835 two Texas ships – the San Felipe and Laura – clashed with the Mexican vessel Correo de Mejico. Maritime fallout from the incident severely limited Mexico’s efforts to prevent the rebellious Texans from importing arms and supplies for the conflict.
By November of 1835 the Texas government established an official navy to serve at sea and along the Rio Grande. Commodore Charles E Hawkins was in command. During the Texas Revolution their navy prevented the Mexican Navy from establishing a blockade of the new Republic’s coast and its port cities. Those naval forces simultaneously raided Mexican merchant ships, plundering supplies for the Texan land forces. Continue reading
THE THREE-DAY MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND IS HERE! As always Balladeer’s Blog marks the event with a few looks at neglected conflicts from America’s past. The servicemen who fought in those actions are just as deserving of being memorialized as those who fought in more familiar wars.
KOREAN EXPEDITION OF 1871 – A Diplomatic Mission was sent to Korea that year, with the time period’s usual military escort of war ships on such ventures. The U.S. expedition was snubbed on the diplomatic side and then Korean shore batteries opened fire upon the military escort. The Americans launched reprisal raids for a few days then departed, leaving U.S. – Korean relations somewhat cold for years afterward. Medal of Honor Winners:
WILLIAM F LUKES
Navy Rank: Landsman
Citation: June 9th – 10th, 1871 – During the assault on the Han River Forts on Ganghwa Island, Lukes came to the assistance of injured Lieutenant Hugh McKee. The Landsman fought his way through heavy resistance to the fallen McKee’s location and refused to abandon his comrade.
Through swordplay, bayonet charges and hand-to-hand combat William received a severe sword cut to the head, a wound which would cause him to suffer convulsions for the rest of his life from the brain damage. When American reinforcements arrived they found the unconscious Lukes had suffered 18 bayonet wounds in the fighting. Continue reading
Since we are marking the 100 year anniversary of America’s entry into World War One here is Balladeer’s Blog’s handy guide to some differences and key players between that conflict and World War Two.
WW I – Lasted from 1914 to 1918 *** WW II – Lasted from 1939 to 1945
WW I – America entered the war in April, 1917 *** WW II – America entered the war in December, 1941
WW I – Italy and Japan fought on the side of the Allied Powers *** WW II – Italy and Japan fought on the side of the Axis Powers
WW I – Germany, under Kaiser Wilhelm, led the Central Powers *** WW II- Germany, under Adolf Hitler, led the Axis Powers
WW I – Sinking of the Lusitania *** WW II – Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor
WW I – The Allied disaster at Gallipoli *** WW II – The Allied disaster Operation: Market Garden
WW I – Douglas MacArthur is an American Commander in charge of the Rainbow Division in Europe *** WW II – Douglas MacArthur is Commander in Chief of the entire Pacific Theater of Operations
WW I – George S Patton is an American Cavalry Officer who eventually becomes a tank commander *** WW II – George S Patton is an American Army commander leading troops in North Africa, Italy and France Continue reading
It’s Presidents Day Weekend! Three days of basketball and being reminded about how the Democratic and Republican Parties stick us with pieces of garbage like Barack Obama and George W Bush. Here are some takes on the more recent presidents.
Character Type: Well-meaning but befuddled sitcom grandfather.
Military Service: World War One and World War Two
Motto: “FOOORE!” (Remember, the traditional cry as you’re teeing off in golf? Oh, never mind!)
Nickname: Uncle Milty
Pro: Knew enough to distrust Richard Nixon long before it became the national pasttime.
Con: Was the first president to pronounce nuclear as “nucular”.
JOHN F KENNEDY
Character Type: Rich playboy who disdained both Liberals and Conservatives and played by his own rules.
Military Service: World War Two
Motto: “Thank God for television!”
Pro: The man was shrewd enough to distrust both liberals and conservatives equally. I can’t praise that attitude highly enough given our present circumstances.
Con: Continue reading
Sgt Alvin York
Veterans Day is just over a week away so Balladeer’s Blog looks at some more World War One history.
SERGEANT ALVIN YORK – At age 29 (yes, twenty-nine) Alvin York of Tennessee was drafted into the United States Army in November of 1917. York trained with the 82nd Infantry Division at Camp Gordon, GA. In April, 1918 the unit arrived in Liverpool, England and by mid-May was at Sommes, where they began relieving various units in the trenches to acquire their first field experience.
June saw York and the 82nd move to Lagney, where they patrolled and raided enemy lines for several weeks. In September York and his comrades participated in the St Mihiel Offensive and in October they fought in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, during which York earned the Medal of Honor. Continue reading
HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Here’s one final treat to finish off the 2016 season.
THE GALLOWS MAN – This is another neglected American horror legend which has been presented in many different versions over the years. Ralph Sutherland was born in 1702 in either New York City or a town near the Catskills, depending on the version.
Sutherland was born into the New York gentry but in his adult years his drinking and gambling eventually embarrassed the family enough that they stopped associating with him. After boozing, whoring and gambling away a large part of his money Ralph was left with just one reasonably-sized home surrounded by a stone wall. He had enough funds left to maintain that house and took in an indentured servant – a beautiful teen girl from Scotland.
Sutherland’s foul and obnoxious nature soon led the girl to flee. In a rage Ralph mounted a horse and tracked her down before she got far. The black-hearted man tied the terrified girl to his horse and rode back to his home, but was either so furious or so drunk that he inadvertently dragged the poor female to her death. Continue reading
A variety of colorful figures have served as Secretaries of State. Many of them may not be household names here in the 21st Century but they would definitely stand out on any staff. Here is an examination of sixteen such figures in chronological order.
1. TIMOTHY PICKERING (1795-1800)
Served under: Presidents George Washington and John Adams
Noted for: Conspiring with Alexander Hamilton to undermine some of the policies of the Washington and Adams administrations. When Adams discovered this he ordered Pickering to resign, but Pickering refused, forcing Adams to fire him. Pickering remains the only Secretary of State to officially be fired by the President.
2. HENRY CLAY (1825-1829)
Served under: President John Quincy Adams
Noted for: Fighting a duel with Continue reading
Balladeer’s Blog wishes a happy birthday to the USA! What happened in early July of 1776 certainly needs no rehashing so in keeping with my blog’s theme of addressing more out of the way subjects this post will examine various events that took place on other July 4th’s throughout American history.
JULY 4TH, 1778 – George Rogers Clark led his rebel forces in taking the British stronghold of Kaskaskia, near the confluence of the Mississippi and Kaskaskia Rivers. Clark and his Rangers were on a mission for then-Virginia Governor Patrick Henry.
JULY 4TH, 1783 – The Massachusetts Supreme Court is finalizing its written decision holding that slavery has been illegal in the state since adoption of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights in 1780.
JULY 4TH, 1788 – Continue reading
The Fourth of July is rapidly approaching! Some people get puzzled about the actual Thirteen Original Colonies of America. They know for instance that Daniel Morgan’s Kentucky Rifles were one of the most storied units of the war and saw action from Canada to the American South. Yet, Kentucky is not listed as one of the original colonies.
Similarly they know that Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys were a Vermont unit and that Chillicothe in Ohio was the site of the REAL last battle of the war, yet neither Vermont nor Ohio were original colonies, either. The reason for all that is this: Continue reading
HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY FROM BALLADEER’S BLOG! Here’s a look at the overlooked final year of fighting in America’s Revolutionary War.
THE FORGOTTEN YEAR OF THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR (1781 – 1782) – My fellow Revolutionary War geeks and I are forever rolling our eyes at documentaries that act like Cornwallis’ surrender at Yorktown marked the end of that conflict. True, it was the last MAJOR battle of the war, but there were 13 more months of open bloodshed and another year after that before the peace treaty was signed.
October 1781 to November 1782 saw General “Mad” Anthony Wayne’s campaign to fully recover Georgia from British Loyalists and Continue reading