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Contents The Military History Digest is an idiosyncratic selection of military history from a variety of weblogs. Nominations for blogs to follow are always welcome at <firstname.lastname@example.org> ----- Medieval ----- 1. Siege of Xiangyang by: Mitch Williamson at: <http://warandgame.com/2012/05/01/siege-of-xiangyang/> The twin cities of Xiangyang and Fancheng (modern Xiangfan in Hubei province) were a key SONG DYNASTY fortress straddling the …Continue reading »... ----- 19th Century ----- 1. Ambrose Burnside: a True Story of Facial Hair by: Kevin Levin at: <http://cwmemory.com/2012/04/27/ambrose-burnside-a-true-story-of-facial-hair/> A short puppet bio-pic chronicling the fame of Ambrose Burnside. From his failure as a Civil War General to his experimentation and innovation in the field of facial hair. It’s [...]... 2. Battle of New Orleans-Sponsored by William Waud by: email@example.com (Gordon Calhoun) at: <http://civilwarnavy150.blogspot.com/2012/04/battle-of-new-orleans-sponsored-by.html> W. Waud's image of USS Iroquios' XI-inch gun crew hit during the battle of New OrelansArtist William Waud, brother of artist Alfred Waud, accompanied Farragut's fleet up the Mississippi River and was present during the attack on Forts St. Phillip and Jackson. While Alfired worked as a contract sketch artist for Harper's Weekly, William worked for the cross-town rivial: Frank Lesile's Illustrated Newspaper. The Library of Congress and the LOUISiana Digital Library both have several dozen digital versions of both brothers' work online.W. Waud's image of the heart of the fight between Farragut's ships and the Confederate forts... 3. Porter's Mortar Schooners - Failure to Meet Expectations by: firstname.lastname@example.org (Craig Swain) at: <http://civilwarnavy150.blogspot.com/2012/04/porters-mortar-schooners-failure-to.html> Earlier we looked at the Mississippi River mortar boats used upriver at points such as Island No. 10 and Fort Pillow. While suitable for the inland rivers, being little more than rafts these were not capable of ocean passage. For the lower reaches of the Mississippi, the Navy acquired several ocean going civilian vessels to form a bomb flotilla. Commander David Dixon Porter, in charge of the Mortar Flotilla, set high expectations for these craft. As with expectations upriver, many thought the 13-inch mortars would rain destruction down upon fortifications blocking passage along the Mississippi. Those championing the heavy... 4. Battle of New Orleans-One vs. a Hundred by: email@example.com (Gordon Calhoun) at: <http://civilwarnavy150.blogspot.com/2012/04/battle-of-new-orelans-one-vs-hundred.html> Lt. Beverly KennonAs mentioned in the April 25 post, the Confederate forces afloat at New Orelans were very much outgunned and outnummbered. With resources scarce and little chance of victory, standard naval warfare dictoms would advocate caution. Live to fight another day and so forth. One man who must have slept through that part of his Naval Academy training was Lieutenant Beverly Kennon.Kennon was an officer in the Louisiana State Navy and commanding officer of the steamer Governor Moore, called New Orelans home. In his post-war account of New Orleans, Kennon made sure everyone knew that he did not... 5. Secrets of a Cemetery: Part IIi-Beyond the Field of Battle by: Kathleen Logothetis at: <http://emergingcivilwar.com/2012/04/26/secrets-of-a-cemetery-beyond-the-field-of-battle> I am very happy to inform you that your son was a promising young man and an excellent soldier and was beloved by his officers and comrades, and whether he died on the battlefield or in camp, his friends can have the satisfaction of knowing that he died an honorable death and was doing his humble part towards restoring the Union to its former position.” ~Captain James Chipman of Co. D, 33MA to the parents of Otis W. Pinkham (grave #5144) When one thinks of battle casualties, combat deaths come first to mind. Many more men were wounded than... 6. Thoughts on Shelby Foote’s “Narrative” by: Chris Mackowski at: <http://emergingcivilwar.com/2012/04/27/thoughts-on-shelby-footes-narrative/> Shelby Foote’s The Civil War: A Narrative certainly stands as one of the most recognizable texts of the Civil War “canon” (if such a thing exists). The three volumes, when placed side by side, make an imposing and impressive sight. Whether you’ve read them, you certainly know of them, and maybe you even own them. They do, after all, look good on a bookshelf. I’ve read much of Foote’s Narrative before but not all of it, so I’ve decided to tackle it. This will be my first time through the entire work from start to finish. As I go, I’ll... 7. 150 Years Later–the Battle of Picacho Pass Part 3 by: Meg Thompson at: <http://emergingcivilwar.com/2012/05/01/150-years-later-the-battle-of-picacho-pass-part-3> Part three is a series. Lieut. Jas. Barrett 1st Cav. Cal. Vols Killed in action April 15th 1862 aged 28 years Geo. Johnson, Co. A 1st Cav. Cal. Vols Killed April 15th 1862 aged 25 years W. S. Leonard, Co. D 1st Cav. Cal. Vols died of wounds April 16th, 1862 . . . and that is all there is, now. Lieutenant Barrett was buried on the site of the battle, but time and the desert took his crackerbox headboard somewhere else, and his body could never be found for reburial at Fort Lowell, in Tucson. Privates Johnson and Leonard were laid to... 8. Mapping Out Chancellorsville 149 Years Later by: Chris Mackowski at: <http://emergingcivilwar.com/2012/05/01/mapping-out-chancellorsville-149-years-later> Today marks the 149th anniversary of the opening of the battle of Chancellorsville. Supremely confident “Fighting Joe” Hooker rocked back on his heels after an unexpected punch on the nose by Stonewall Jackson, withdrawing into a defensive position around the Chancellorsville intersection. Giving up the high ground to the east of the intersection was the first major mistake in a battle that would see him make many. That land is today preserved by the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust and the Civil War Trust. It was a crucial acquisition that opened up important terrain for understanding the overall battle (and I... 9. End This Pusillanimous Gingerbread Policy! by: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ron Coddington) at: <http://facesofthecivilwar.blogspot.com/2012/04/end-this-pusillanimous-gingerbread.html> James E. McBeth, a Wall Street law clerk who joined the army in 1861, became a military zealot who called for total war to defeat the Confederacy. In a series of noteworthy letters to his friend William "Billy" Conrow, McBeth detailed the events and experiences that shaped his thinking. In the letter transcribed below, McBeth rails on Washington politicians and generals. His call for a radical change in the way the war was fought predates Ulysses S. Grant's rise to general-in-chief of the army by more than a year. And yet McBeth reveals that in other respects he... 10. Admiral Farragut Honored at His Birthplace (and an Update on the Missing Monument) by: Craig Swain at: <http://markerhunter.wordpress.com/2012/04/26/admiral-farragut-birthplace> In Farragut, Tennessee, they are proud of their namesake – David G. Farragut – on the 150th anniversary of the Admiral’s greatest victory. Jack Neely of the MetroPulse writes: Farragut, the man, has gotten a lot more attention here just lately. The Town of Farragut, America’s biggest municipality named for the admiral (there’s at least [...]... 11. The Mortar Schooners: Bombarding the Mississippi Forts by: Craig Swain at: <http://markerhunter.wordpress.com/2012/04/29/porters-mortar-schooners> Continuing the discussion of 13-inch mortars in action, I’ve posted an article on the Civil War Navy Sesquicentennial blog detailing the Navy’s mortar schooners used below New Orleans. The piece complements a series of cross-posts between the CWN150 blog and the Civil War Monitor’s Front Line blog, all focused on the campaign to take New [...]... 12. What Can a Picture Tell Us? : Mortars at Yorktown by: Craig Swain at: <http://markerhunter.wordpress.com/2012/05/01/mortars-at-yorktown> No doubt you’ve seen this wartime photo a time or two. Yes, Federal officers and crews proudly posing with those massive 13-inch seacoast mortars. Usually, this photo carries a caption mentioning McClellan’s slowness and maybe something about poor intelligence. Yadda, yadda, yadda. The scene is Battery No. 4, near the Moore House, facing the Confederate [...]... ----- World War I ----- 1. Anzac Day and Gallipoli Reflections – Simpson Prize 2012 by: Stuart Baines at: <http://www.awm.gov.au/blog/2012/04/27/anzac-day-and-gallipoli-reflections-simpson-prize-2012/> ANZAC Day is a significant point in the trip for everyone. Experiencing the Dawn service for the first time at the Cove is different for everyone and in the context of the whole trip and for us, the intensity of the Gallipoli experience has shaped the day for us all. In many ways we have [...]... 2. Wilfred Owen: 'Futility' by: email@example.com (Tim Kendall) at: <http://war-poets.blogspot.com/2012/04/wilfred-owen-futility.html> On 4 February 1917, Wilfred Owen sent home his account of a recent tour of the ‘advanced Front Line’: ‘The marvel is that we did not all die of cold. As a matter of fact, only one of my party actually froze to death before he could be got back’. The platoon had been caught under bombardment and left 'marooned on a frozen desert' as high explosives fell around them. Owen was able to sleep briefly, but he woke believing himself in hell. This episode directly inspired two of his best-known poems: ‘Exposure’ and ‘Futility’. He wrote the second... ----- World War II ----- 1. World War II: the Big E by: n/a at: <http://militaryhistory.about.com/b/2012/04/28/world-war-ii-the-big-e.htm> Launched in 1936, USS Enterprise (CV-6) joined the fleet two years later. After brief service in the Atlantic, it was transferred to the US Pacific Fleet in early 1939. Away from Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked on December 7, 1941, Enterprise was at the center of the many of the Pacific war's campaigns. Earning a record 20 battle stars, Enterprise saw took part in the Doolittle Raid, Midway, the Guadalcanal Campaign, Eastern Solomons, Santa Cruz, Philippine Sea, Leyte Gulf, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. It also conducted numerous raids against Japanese bases including Truk. Badly damaged by a kamikaze... 2. Sunday, 26 April 1942 by: Brett Holman at: <http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/airminded/~3/I3lipg9gm6o/> The Observer's lead story (5) is about Japan's continuing advance in Burma. It's very hard to work out what exactly is going on based on the summary report: there are at least three fronts, their relation to each other is not stated, and the map provided is too small-scale to be of much use. The analysis by the Observer's military correspondent is much more helpful: The Japanese are practising the advantages of mobility which they enjoyed in Malaya, and getting full benefit of the lead which it gives them over our more cumbersomely equipped forces. They have been switching... 3. Monday, 27 April 1942 by: Brett Holman at: <http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/airminded/~3/meSAlBY1BPc/> Just at the moment, this war seems mainly to be an air war. The main news today is that Rostock has been bombed for the third night in a row. In addition Stirling bombers carried out a low-level raid on the Skoda works in Czechoslovakia, and six targets in northern France were were attacked by bombers with strong fighter escorts. As the Yorkshire Post reports on its front page: ROSTOCK has become symbolic of our new air offensive. On Saturday night and yesterday morning the harbour and aircraft works were attacked for the third successive night, by a strong... 4. Tuesday, 28 April 1942 by: Brett Holman at: <http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/airminded/~3/6yAxxSs7WdA/> The Yorkshire Post, (above, 1), again leads with Rostock, which has been bombed by the RAF for the fourth consecutive night. The city 'is a heap of smouldering ruins, crushed by nearly 800 tons of British bombs. Its population is fleeing in panic. Its war production has ceased': PHOTOGRAPHS taken after the third night's raid show swarms of people flocking towards the battered station to join crowds already waiting there for trains to take them away from what Berlin describes as 'terror raids.' The paper's military correspondent claims that 'NO town has ever been battered so fiercely, even over weeks... 5. Wednesday, 29 April 1942 by: Brett Holman at: <http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/airminded/~3/qHLN-Ls4qzg/> The situation in Burma is getting worse, as the Daily Mirror (above, 1) and most other papers note in their lead stories. The whole length of the vital Lashio-Mandalay railway is in grave danger as five Japanese divisions, totalling 100,000 men, supported by panzers and bombers, are storming the southern edge of the Upper Burma plateau. With Japanese ground forces only 110 miles away, Lashio itself is being evacuated of civilians and supplies; it is burning following a raid by twenty-seven Japanese bombers (eleven of their escorts were shot down by the Allied defenders). Writing in the Daily... 6. Thursday, 30 April 1942 by: Brett Holman at: <http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/airminded/~3/NwglryDoEPc/> Most newspapers in my sample today lead with the further grim news from Burma (the Japanese army has now reached the suburbs of Lashio) but The Times chooses to go with the latest Bomber Command raids on Kiel and, for the second night running, Trondheim, both the locations of key German warships (4): The heavier force was directed against the strongly defended naval base of Kiel, where the Scharnhorst is believed to still be in dock after her dash from Brest. The Tirpitz, Scheer, and Prinz Eugen are thought to be based on Trondheim, while a cruiser of the Hipper... 7. Friday, 1 May 1942 by: Brett Holman at: <http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/airminded/~3/C-ewWQKhKqw/> This news has been coming for the last few days: Lashio has fallen to the Japanese. As the Daily Express reports, the town was 'pounded by artillery and dive-bombers before the final assault' (1): Then large numbers of tanks and armoured cars rumbled forward into the inferno as a battering ram for the enemy. General Stillwell's defending [Chinese] army was overwhelmed by the superior numbers and weight of metal in the Jap attack. A spokesman for Marshal Chiang Kai-shek did little to disguise the seriousness of the situation, saying that 'the Chinese will be be compelled to abandon... 8. Book Review: Second World War Infantry Tactics by Stephen Bull by: Mitch Williamson at: <http://warandgame.com/2012/04/30/book-review-second-world-war-infantry-tactics-by-stephen-bull/> By Pam Norfolk Published on Monday 30 April 2012 07:00 ‘Battles and wars are not won unless the infantry is …Continue reading »... ----- Cold War ----- 1. Allan Millett Wins 2012 Truman Book Award by: Mark Grimsley at: <http://warhistorian.org/wordpress/?p=2963> Allan R. Millett, General Raymond E. Mason Jr. Professor of Military History Emeritus, has received the 2012 Truman Book Award for The War for Korea, 1950-1951: They Came from the North. The Harry S. Truman Book Award, given by the Harry S. Truman Library Institute for National and International Affairs, recognizes the best book published [...]... 2. The Cold War Part II by: Mitch Williamson at: <http://warandgame.com/2012/04/27/the-cold-war-part-ii/> Stalin’s 1949 cancellation of the Berlin blockade did not repair the damage it had done. Stalin’s move had been astoundingly …Continue reading »... ----- Misc/Thematic ----- 1. From the Annual Reports of the Navy Surgeon General: a Visit to the Paris Morgue by: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mr. Grog) at: <http://usstranquillity.blogspot.com/2012/04/from-annual-reports-of-navy-surgeon.html> The Paris morgue was more than its name implies. In her book, Spectacular Realities: Early Mass Culture in Fin-De-Siècle Paris, Vanessa Schwartz writes, “At the Paris morgue city and state officials, in conjunction with the popular press, turned the allegedly serious business of identifying anonymous corpses into a spectacle—one eagerly attended by a large diverse crowd. The popularity of public visits to the Paris morgue during the nineteenth century was part of a spectacular ‘real life’ that chroniclers, visitors and inhabitants alike had come to associate with Parisian culture.” In 1874, Navy Surgeon Michael Bradley, USS Alaska... 2. The Key but Under-Acknowledged Role of Foreign Military Advisors in U.S. History by: Thomas E. Ricks at: <http://ricks.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/04/11/the_key_but_underacknowledged_role_of_foreign_military_advisors_in_us_history> On the train from Exeter to London the other day I was re-reading retired Lt. Gen. Dave Richard Palmer's Summons of the Trumpet, partly because I decided I didn't really get it the first time around when I read it a couple of years ago. I also picked it up again because it as close as I think anyone has come to writing an operational history of the Vietnam War. The book is good, but a bit dated in places. I think General Palmer is over-optimistic about the implications of the Ia Drang fight. He also seems credulous... ----- For subscription help, go to: http://www.h-net.org/lists/help/ To change your subscription settings, go to http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/wa?SUBED1=h-war -----