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Book Blog

This is where I will take notes on what I am reading. May be a daily thing, or just haphazard thoughts and summaries. Spoilers will be in here.

Further information on the books themselves can be found at the Book List.

August 12th, 2022

The Battle of Hastings Cnut was fighting in Denmark, so Aethelred was invited back to be king. He died in 1016 and his son Edmund II Ironside was recognized as king. He and Cnut fought, with Cnut forming alliances with the northerners and the south sticking with Edmund. Their war was essentially a stalemate and they partitioned the country. Edmund died in 1016, how is lost to history, so this deal didn’t last long. Cnut became sole king of England and exiled Edmund’s sons (to be murdered in Sweden, but they were spared and grew up in Hungary. Edward the Exile was to return to England in 1057 and died a few days later). Cnut ruled for 20 years and brought stability, despite a reputation for brutality. He installed his own loyal earls in the old kingdoms. Under Cnut, a man named Godwin came to power after serving him and ended up earl of Wessex. Cnut married Emma of Normandy to prevent the threat of Norman invasion, while Emma’s sons from Aethelred grew up in Normandy. Cnut was already married, but apparently this mattered little. His two sons from his first marriage split his kingdom when he died in 1035. Sweyn was king of Norway. Emma’s son Harthacnut was king of Denmark. Harthacnut was busy in Denmark and his half-brother Harold ruled England as regent. The north supported Harold to become full king, and Emma and Godwin supported the absent Harthacnut. An absent king is bad, so Alfread Aethling (son of Aethelred) was brought back to win support for the House of Wessex. He was betrayed by Godwin, blinded, and then died very shortly after. Sweyn died right away, Harold died in 1040, and Harthacnut became full king of England but died in 1042. Emma’s eldest son with Aethelred, Edward the Confessor, was invited back to rule England. He brought with him many Normans and married Godwin’s daughter. He was not a militant ruler, but apparently a decent one otherwise. He pushed his mother away, since it’s obvious she wanted power and was not so much interested in any particular son. It seems that during his reign the Godwin family expanded their wealth and power, while Edward also put Normans in favored positions. I would imagine this leads to conflict.

August 10th, 2022

The Battle of Hastings It turns out the book is not just about the Battle of Hastings. There will be build up and some afterwards, with maybe 30 pages on the battle itself. That is still a lot for one battle. The first chapter is a summary of the Anglo-Saxon monarchy under Wessex, from Alfred the Great to Edward the Confessor. I’ve read all of this before. Alfred, the fifth son and thus an unlikely king, reformed the English military system and waged war against the invading Danes, eventually forcing them to make peace. His son, Edward the Elder, expanded his burh system and spread Wessex authority to the Humber, which means Mercia was under his control. It helps that his sister, Aelthflaed was the Lady of Mercia. Aethelstan then spread Wessex power over Northumbria and beat the Scots in battle, forming an effective border. He could be called the first King of Britain. Aethalstan’s half-brother Edmund ruled a few years, in which York chose a new Danish king. His and his brother Eadred’s reigns are noted for struggling for control of the north against Viking leaders, both from Danelaw and Dublin. After Aethalstan, everything was unstable. Edmund’s sons Eadwig and Edgar split the kingdom, but Eadwig died after four years. Edgar’s son Edward the Martyr was not liked and ruled three years before being murdered, probably by this stepmother. This led to Aethred the Unready to take the throne in 978 at the age of 12. His 40 year reigned was marked by constant loses and payments to the Danes. Also importantly, he married and had children with Emma of Normandy, sister of Richard II, Duke of Normandy. Aethelred and his family fled there when Sweyn Forkbeard invaded and took London, becoming king for a year. He died and gave England to Cnut and Denmark to Harald. Cnut had to conquer England to keep it.

August 8th, 2022

Power and Thrones Chapter 12 is about architecture, with the first half discussing castles. The claim is that military fortifications did not evolve much past the Roman castra once the empire fell. Castle architecture evolved in the east, especially during the constant warfare in the crusader states. 1000-1400 was the era of siege warfare and it evolved quickly, with weapons and castles changing in response to new technology. The Normans were big in the spread of castles, both in Normandy and England. Edward I famously built a ring of castles after conquering the Welsh. The Spanish built some after their conquests, and the Germans built many too. Kind of interesting stuff. I think the rest will be about cathedrals.

August 7th, 2022

The Balkans The epilogue is pretty long for an epilogue and I read it over three sittings. Bulgaria and Romania aren’t really discussed, so they must be good. They got into the EU. Albania also isn’t really discussed, to my knowledge, and they’re not in the EU. Probably run by criminals. A lot is talked about Serbia and some of its neighbors and how they were essentially run by criminal gangs. They filled the void of legitimate government when there was none. Miloshevich got replaced after killing some people and then died a couple years later. His replacement president and the PM were not really compatible and the PM tried to do some reforms and got assassinated, probably by the gangs. There was quite a bit of killing. Anyway, Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania, are all EU candidates. Maybe Bosnia. There were some near war breakouts but it was all good. Turkey is also a candidate but their old party got outvoted by the Muslim Erdogan party and that’s not so great as far as democracy goes. Then the book ends blaming Greece for its economic crisis which got overshadowed by the global crisis. The end.

August 4th, 2022

The Balkans I said there were 5 Balkan countries in the last entry. How could I forget about Bulgaria? I guess it was pretty absent from the late 20th century section. It wasn’t even mentioned in the 1990s section. The last chapter ends with Bosnia and Hercegovina being partitioned. 51% goes to the federal government of Bosnia Hercegovina, the rest to the Republic Srpska, a government for the mostly Serb areas. It is still like this today. Very bizarre, I had no idea that this country had two governments. How is it considered a single country? Do they have a single foreign policy? Surprised it’s been stable since 1995. After the Bosnian War, terrorists in Kosovo started targeting Serbs and demanding independence. So there was more war, but the international community ignored it at first. Montenegro was still part of Yugoslavia at this point, but was now starting to take a separate stance from Serbia. The Serbs attacked Kosovo and sent all the Albanians out to destabilize Montenegro, Macedonia, and Albania. Bulgaria was mentioned at this point for not recognizing Macedonia as a separate country (still sore of 1878). Then NATO gets involved and starts bombing to “help” with the humanitarian crisis. Eventually Kosovo agreed to remain in Serbia if it was returned to autonomous status, which Serbia revoked in 1989. America made a mess of things. Then they leave and let the refugees handle it themselves. The chapter ends in 1999 at this state because that is when the book was written. There is an epilogue for the years up to 2012. We’ll see how much of this I remember. I know Kosovo will declare independence 2007-2008, and I think only the US really recognized them. Maybe that has changed.
 
Power and Thrones Finished the chapter on scholars. Unfortunately, it’s just not that interesting. It talks about universities some more, how Bologna was one of the first because it was located between the HRE and the Pope, so many legal scholars resided there. There was a lot of legal argument between the popes and the emperors. It mentions other universities like Oxford, Cambridge, Paris etc. Mentions some scholars and gives short blurbs. Talks about how universities, like today, could be locations for great radical thought, but also for censorship and silencing of different opinions. Back then they could burn you at the stake, too. Interesting topic but not so much for a whole chapter.

August 2nd, 2022

The Balkans The last chapter is about the 90s and will probably just be about Yugoslavia. There’s so many countries in the Balkans now, it’s easy to forget before the 90s there were 5: Greece, Yugoslavia, Albania, Romania, Turkey. Croatia and Slovenia declare independence and it ends up with more ethnic slaughtering. Slovenia is pretty isolated and safe. Croatia and Serbia exchange some fire, but a lot of this is initially overshadowed by the fall of communism and the Gulf War. Croatia finds support in Germany (newly unified) and Serbia initially finds support in Russia, but Miloshevich supports a failed coup and the new president Yeltsin has no love for him. France and Britain don’t recognize the new nations and, with the US, prefer to maintain a single nation. The UN sends peacekeepers. The situation then turns into a war over Bosnia. Serbs and Croats fight in Bosnia with Muslims caught in the middle. It is genocide. The Bosnian Serbs declare their own nation, the Croats claim the whole country, and the Bosnian government cannot maintain order. The country ends up partitioned into “cantons” but there’s no way this is will last. Pretty sure there will be war in Kosovo and Macedonia also. The Balkans really suck.
 
Power and Thrones Talks more about scholars. The crusades led to various Muslim cities coming under Christian control and, with that, many manuscripts. The Islamic world maintained the books of the ancient world and translated them into Arabic. Now, Christian scholars were re-translating these into Latin, or in some cases, Castilian (the predecessor to Spanish). It also talked about a few specific scholars.

August 1st, 2022

The Balkans The eighth chapter ends with the end of Yugoslavia. It glances over the execution of Ceausescu and his wife. At this point the author is starting to mention his own experiences in the Balkans, since he was there during some of these events as a BBC correspondent. Yugoslavia started to collapse after Tito’s death in 1980. Apart from economic issues, the main problem was nationalism over federalism. Each republic and autonomous region had a representative on the president’s board or whatever they had, and Serbia under Miloshevich started taking over the Kosovo, Vojvodina, and Montenegro (or Macedonian) votes. Seeing this as a Serbian takeover, the Croats, Slovene, Bosnian, and other M one had to form their own block. After the military declined to perform a coup, Miloshevich declared an independent Yugoslavia, There will be war with Croatia over Bosnia, it seems.
 
Power and Thrones Chapter 11 is about scholars. It opens with the story of Phillip IV’s destruction of the Knights Templar. He tortured them into confessing heresy and sodomy and got the University of Paris to convict them. The University was unsure and the pope got involved for his own investigation. The thing went on for years and ultimately, Phillip won. He stole their lands, took their money, and killed the ones he had to kill. Then it discusses the history of scholarship after the fall of Rome. For a few centuries, higher learning was scare and reserved for the ultra rich. Scholarship and learning began to flourish again and universities became an important part for a pupil or churchman. But as scholarship advanced, the more it became tied to the church. While early scholarship was able to look at ancient pagan works with interest, the late middle ages viewed anything “different” with suspicion. By the late middle ages, no one knew Greek or could read Plato etc.

July 31st, 2022

Power and Thrones Finished the chapter on merchants yesterday. It really says a lot about my attention span when it comes to money because I cannot remember a single thing I read. I’m sure it talked about the Italian Republics and their power/autonomy due to wealth alone. There was a similar, though smaller, group of cities on the North Sea. These Germanic cities formed the Hanseatic League. Then it talked about a guy named Richard Whittington. This part is coming back to me now. He was a son of a poor knight who had no prospects of a landed future. A century ago he’d have gone off to the church, but there were better options now. Richard got into England’s wool trade, the best wool in the world (or maybe just Europe) and acquired wealth. He got into politics in London by being on certain councils and eventually became mayor. He sold and loaned to the court, including John of Gaunt and Thomas of Woodstock. He then got in with Richard II and somehow stayed in favor after Henry IV took the crown. When he died, childless, his vast wealth went to various charities, some of which still exist today. What a nice way to end a chapter.

July 29th, 2022

The Balkans The Greeks and the Turks are back at their disdain for each other. The Turks stayed neutral during the war and tried to build up their infrastructure. Ankara was the new capital in the comfort of Asia Minor and all of their major improvements were a good distance from the coast. They were a single party country with a garbage democratic system, but became a US ally when the other option was being another Romania. This single party disregarded the officer class, who ended up performing a coup and installing a new government after executing a few leaders. Not a great system, but it was stable and of course the US supported them. The Greeks recovered after the war and were doing well economically, also supported by the US. There were some crazy guys in charge who still wanted all the old Greek territory. Some terrorists in Cyprus gave them their chance. Cyprus was around 80% Greek and 20% Turk who lived separately but peacefully. Then some Greek dudes threw some bombs and it was a tense situation for a decade. Then the Greeks, ruled by some military dictatorship now, declared Cyprus Greek in 1974. The Turks invaded in response. To this day, there is a unrecognized North Cyprus Republic.
 
Power and Thrones During the rise of merchant trading, several republics in Italy sprouted up. Venice, Genoa, Florence were all centers for trade and banking. It’s all quite boring. I can’t read about money. There was a lot about banking families in Florence lending money to England and it was so much money that they went bankrupt.

July 28th, 2022

The Balkans Now they’re back on Romania. Ceausescu had made a big speech defending Romanian sovereignty after the Soviets and several other Warsaw Pact countries invaded a liberalizing Czechoslovakia in 1968. His popularity soared after this and he ended up head honcho after Dej, the first dictator, died, though he may have died a few years before this. It sounds all fine and dandy but Ceausescu was completely mental and wanted to be royalty. On the surface, it seemed to be a fairly liberal communist country, but it was very oppressive and Ceausescu was controlling even minute aspects of people’s lives. The west loved him. He stood up the Khrushchev, who wanted some of the Balkan countries to be the bread basket for other communist countries. Obviously, nobody wants to be a bread basket, they want to be an industrial powerhouse. As the west and east warmed up to each other, Ceausescu was stuck in the past. By the Gorbachev years, he was the outdated brutal dictator, despite acting the same as he always had. Pretty sure this is the guy who gets executed live on TV. I always thought that was brutal, and it is, but it becomes a little more understandable when you see what his guy had done.
 
Power and Thrones The next chapter is about merchants. After the Mongols slaughtered their way to vast territory, they enforced law and order. There was a “Pax Mongolica” and one could try from Europe through Persia to Asia under pretty safe conditions. The man who had made this famous was Marco Polo. He went to Kublai Khan’s summer palace in central Asia with his father and uncle and became a fairly important guy due to his quick learning and skill with languages. He traveled Mongol territory, taking notes of the people, cultures, and sales opportunities. A Venetian, he was captured in a naval battle in his 40s against the Genoese. It was in prison where his co-prisoner wrote down Polo’s stories. This was the interesting stuff. It went on about some merchant stuff which was kind of boring. After the Roman Empire collapsed, there was no wide European market. The new kingdoms traded, but on a small level and had no access to cool stuff. This changed around 1000 when the climate picked up and farming was booming. Then commerce expanded and certain towns started hosting markets and fairs, which became quite famous.s

July 27th, 2022

The Balkans After Tito kicked out his bulldog (Rancovich?), there was a bit of a liberal spell. In the 60s, there was a student protest that wanted reforms. Tito promised them their reforms to quell things, but this was a lie. Even so, it proves that Tito was in complete control of the country. There was some lessening of censorship and the Croats wrote more about their struggle with the Serbs. The Serbs in Croatia were, rightfully so, afraid of the Ustashe years repeating. The peasantry was half the country and mostly ignored. Many young peasants left for the city or for western Europe for work. Albanians in Kosovo got some recognition, as did Muslims. The periphery republics, like Slovenia, were steal second fiddle to Croatia and Serbia. Eventually Tito proclaimed a new constitution to try to stem the “Serbianism” for a better federalism, but the liberalism was also toned down a lot.
 
Power and Thrones The Mongol empire was huge and open. There are several recorded diaries of westerners making the trip to Karakorum to see the Khan. Some travel through Kiev, others through the Mediterranean and Black Sea. Either way, it’s a long trip to Mongolia from there. The trip is full of dirt, fermented mare milk, minimal food, and strict laws that always end with execution. The westerners were fascinated by what they saw and how weird everything was. Obviously, those who left records survived, but not all did. There were instances of westerners in the capital being killed. The Mongols achieved an open empire and took many technologies and ideas from their conquered. This also opened the flow of information between east and west. After Genghis Khan, his son was Khan for 14 years and made a postal system across his whole empire. Then his son ruled, followed by a second grandson. After this, the system collapsed. It fractured and led to civil war. Kublai Khan was on top, but war continued until the empire was split in four. Kublai Khan ruled the Yuan dynasty in China from what would become Beijing. This would soon become another decadent Chinese empire that would collapse and be replaced by the Ming. The Golden Horse ruled the Russian steppes, then there was one that was former Persia and on that was Central Asia. The Khans had embraced Islam, and thus these areas have Muslim majorities today. Mostly Central Asia is because of them, obviously Persia was Muslim before. After these 4 Khanates fractured further, there was a bit of the old revived. Tamerlane, an Uzbek who was not a descendant of Genghis Khan, essentially took power as an “emir” since he was married to a few of Genghis Khan’s descendants. He waged bloody war across his empire, killing indiscriminately, and made a powerful empire that included the old Mongol lands except the Ming regions. Once he died, it was over. Mongol control of half the world lasted barely over a century. Without the strict obedience to a single leader, the system failed. The Mongols had brought the Silk Road into Europe and the next chapter discusses the effects of the merchant class.

July 26th, 2022

The Balkans The next bit is about Tito’s Yugoslavia, which was kind of covered at the beginning. Besides the standard horrible policing and killing, Tito was well liked by his people. He was a Croat peasant, fought on the Serbian and Russian fronts for Austria in WWI and was wounded and taken prisoner. He was in Russia during the Revolution, then made it back to Serbia and avoided being murdered in the anti-Communist years by being in jail. He was went to the Soviet Union and avoided being killed there too. During WWII, he formed a close circle of men who became his advisers, one of whom died in the war. Then he was in power for 40 years and it was a cult of personality. There was all the weird communist theories and stuff, but it was mainly Tito. He was “betrayed” by some of his close advisers, and then they were on the outs. As we’ve seen, he did his own thing separate from the USSR, but relations reopened in the Khrushchev years. Yugoslavia was pretty open for a communist country and had fairly good relations with the west. These good relations kind of gave them the benefit of the doubt when the police murdered people. There’s another section on Tito next.

July 25th, 2022

The Balkans Read about Albania during the Communist years. The Albanians, a xenophobic people, took the Yugoslavian concept and ran with it. Like most communist countries, the government was autocratic and built around one person, and the one person wanted to be Stalin. Even worse, he wanted to Stalin from the 1930s, and he pretty much was until 1990. Well, he was dead by then, but the country remained in those terror years for the whole regime. Albania, a poor peasant country with little industry and unable able to feed its population. It imported a lot of grain from the USSR. The leader pursed and alienated the UK, US, USSR, Yugoslavia, and China until it was all alone. It closed its borders to most. Despite the murdering and oppressing, the communists did achieve some good things. They forced industrialization, sanitation, and education. The life expectancy rose, literacy rose, but they still couldn’t feed themselves. Still, they were possibly the most oppressive communist country to live under.

July 24th, 2022

Power and Thrones Everybody knows about the Mongols. They were a bunch of steppe nomads in various tribes. Genghis Khan’s family was outcast after his father was murdered, but they survived in the wild. The steppes had the best climate in millennia. Eventually they were brought back into the tribe, and Genghis Khan ascended to tribal leader. Through his leadership, he fought and brought the other tribes under his leadership. He reorganized the military to make it less tribal and more structured. Then he started spreading. The took over the various Chinese kingdoms and then attacked Persia, which was ruled by Turks. They showed a little disrespect, and the Mongols slaughtered them brutally. They always slaughtered brutally, but they were really mad at Persia. At this point, the westerners and Crusaders, on their Fifth Crusade against Egypt, heard about a “King David” fighting the non-believers, a descendant of Prestor John. Obviously this was far from the truth. Somewhere around this time the Mongols split. Genghis Khan sent two generals further west, and they assaulted more territory, up through the Caucus, into Crimea and towards Kiev. Killing, killing, killing. Genghis Khan made it back to Mongolia and died. A new capital city was built to control the largest empire that had ever been created.

July 23rd, 2022

Power and Thrones There were more crusades, but nothing was achieved besides death. Pope Innocent III did some horrible things. Most famously was his crusade against the Cathars, Christians in southern France who rejected certain Catholic teachings. In the early 13th century, the pope wanted his authority to be absolute. He called a crusade against the southern heretics, which was supported by Phillip Augustus. He wanted to use this opportunity to secure power in the region. Simon de Montfort was sent and many thousands of innocent men, women, and children were slaughtered, along with sympathizers. De Montfort was a madman who loved violence and wanted to carve himself his own territory. He even fought and killed the Spanish king, a hero of the Reconquista. He was eventually killed in battle, but the crusade continued under Phillip’s son, Louis “the Pious”. Also under Innocent was the Fourth Crusade, which was supposed to be financed by the French and Venetians. The French failed to deliver, but the Venetians sailed anyway. This is not exactly the pope’s fault, but they went rogue. First they attacked some Croats who owed them money and destroyed their city. Then they sailed for Constantinople, invited by the son of the deposed emperor. They besieged the city, eventually sacking it and killing the emperor. They put a Flemish man on the throne and killed thousands of inhabitants, then sailed back home. After this crusade just became a term to justify violence, which it always was, but much more indiscriminately. English could crusade against English. Teutonic Knights built a duchy on the Baltic and crusaded against pagan Baltics for a couple hundred years, until the French king crusaded against them. It was bad rhetoric and is still used to this day. People shouldn’t crusade and never should have. End of part 2. Part 3 opens with Mongols.

July 22nd, 2022

The Balkans The collectivism in Yugoslavia led to an uprising in northwest Bosnia. People could not meet the demands and the government was causing them to starve. The region had been militant and isolated since Ottoman times, and was a vast majority Muslim. The Serb secret police did not sniff out the uprising because they had no spies among the close community. Like most peasant uprisings, it failed. The peasants overestimated their size and potential and were sent scattering by the army. Some 1000 men participated, making it a significant rebellion. Some other rebellions occurred in other Yugoslav regions around this time. The communists started to slow, and maybe reversed, the collectivism. Next is the dictatorship of Romania. It’s bad but what you’d expect from a communist dictatorship. Purging, forced labor, torture, etc. Same for Bulgaria. The Romanian leader held on after Stalin died, but Bulgaria was only propped up by his association with Stalin. Kinda boring.
 
Power and Thrones The chapter continues with an Islamic historian’s point of view (a century later) that the Crusaders were able to succeed because of the fractured state of Muslim territories. This was true, but the Christians were not only fighting in the Holy Land. Christians were fighting in Spain, fighting Slavic pagans, and even “heretical” Christians. War for Christ was everywhere. Once the kingdoms in the east were created, holy orders such as the Hospitallers and Templars were created to protect it. It was not a safe place, full of brigands. More Crusades were to come. Around 1140, a Seljuk wanted some power and assaulted Edessa, the most vulnerable of the cities. The Christians thought God had abandoned them and the West panicked. The latest pope (Eugene III?) called for the next generation to prove they were as able as their fathers and to repeat the First Crusade. This Crusade was led by kings: Louis VII and the Conrad, King of Germany. They literally followed the course of the First without any of the luck. There was no Byzantine support and the Turks in Asia Minor were stronger. The Crusaders barely made it to the Holy Land and didn’t conquer anything. It was an abject failure. Louis’ wife, Elanor of Aquitaine, divorced him and ultimately married Henry II. Good for Plantagenet history. This failure was offset by the conquering of Portugal and the beginning of the Northern Crusades, sanctioned by the Pope, where Germans murdered or converted Slavs. The idea of fighting in the east now brought a bad taste to people’s mouths. That is for 50 years until Saladin caused trouble. He worked for the son of the guy whose actions led to the Second Crusade. Saladin fought for him in Egypt and led to the collapse of the Fatimid caliphate. Once the guy was dead, Saladin took power and was in control of most of Syria and Egypt. The Kingdom of Jerusalem was weak. Baldwin IV, the leper, died and then the child Baldwin V died, leaving his mother and a guy named Guy on the throne. Guy was much hated. Saladin tricked him into coming out in full force and trapped him, slaughtering most of his army. From there, it was easy to take Jerusalem. This led to the Third Crusade, where Phillip Augustus and Richard the Lionheart led the fight. They took a Mediterranean course, taking some islands on the way. Their hatred for each other grew and they had mild success. They got some territory, but did not attempt a siege of Jerusalem. Phillip left long before, and Richard finally left, shipwrecked in Croatia and got imprisoned in Germany. With Jerusalem gone after 100 years, the Christians turned away. I think they turn to heretics and pagans.

July 21st, 2022

The Balkans The chapter ends with the “end” of the war in Greece. It was a dividing country and the communists held most of it. The British and republicans/monarchists held a small portion of the country. This ended up leading to civil war, with many people being killed. For some reason, the communists did not attack when the opportunity was there and the British were able to turn the tide. Stalin did not want strife and hoped the communists would lose quickly, knowing they could not win. By 1947, British public opinion turned and they wanted out of the country. The Americans, wanting to fight communism, announced the Truman Doctrine to send aid/weapons to Greece and Turkey. Eventually the communists took to the hills and lost the war. Now the Balkans were settled in their various dictatorships. Chapter 8 is about the post war years up to 1989, which is possibly the year Yugoslavia split up. I don’t remember how it opens up other than describing the Yugoslav government forcing collectivism on the peasantry. This was mostly to show the USSR how hardcore communists they are. The other Balkan communist countries were afraid to force collectivism due to peasant reaction.

July 20th, 2022

The Balkans Next topics were the liberation of Bulgaria and Yugoslavia. Bulgaria did not declare war on the USSR as demanded by Germany, but the USSR declared war on Bulgaria and invaded. The Bulgarians surrendered within hours. The Communist Party took power and, per usual, there were the executions. It was a bad place to be if you weren’t on the party’s good side, like the Agrarians. They’d kill you. The leader was Georgi Dmitrov, I believe. Stalin was a fan of his. The Yugoslavs were pretty independent since they spent the whole war fighting, and Tito’s Communist Party took control after liberation. Tito was more of a thorn in Stalin’s side than an asset and often caused tension with the British, which Stalin did not want. This Communist Party, you may have guessed, executed tens of thousands of people, especially Chetniks and Croats. I guess keep in mind that the Yugoslavs were sort of independent of Moscow and were a little too die hard communists. They didn’t realize it was all make believe to justify power. But the main theme is communist dictatorships are controlling the governments after the war and killing lots of dissidents.

July 19th, 2002

The Balkans The next section talks about the Jews of Salonika and other Greek Jews. They were deported to Auschwitz and most of them killed. Then we turn to the end of the war and liberation of the Balkan states. First, Romania was invaded by the USSR. As they invaded the USSR with the Germans, this was inevitable. There was a coup and the fascist government replaced, which angered Hitler. So the Germans invaded. Romania was invaded by two sides, but the Germans were pushed out by the Russians. They were occupied territory under Soviet control, though they were given back Transylvania from Hungary. The Romanians appealed to the British, but the Allies had already divvied up the Balkans. Romania was Soviet, Greece British, and they’d share the remainder.
 
Power and Thrones Chapter 8 is on the Crusades. It opens up with the defeat of the Byzantines by the Seljuk Turks and the collapse of two emperors. The third emperor appealed to Pope Urban II for help, framing it as a fight against Saracens. 1095 or 1096, the pope received Byzantine ambassadors and hoped to not only protect Byzantium, but restore Jerusalem to Christiandom. This would solve his other problem of knights causing ceaseless violence. Western Europe and the Frankish lands took his ideas with zeal. At first, only the mobs made way to Constantinople, massacring German Jews in the process. The emperor was not pleased with this rabble and many of them died due to their lack of military knowledge. Then the real warriors started arriving and against the odds marched through Turkey down the coast of Syria, fight the Seljuks along the way. They took Antioch and Edessa or something like that and make new counties with European lords. Of course, they killed many innocent non-Christians along the way. By 1099, they had besieged Jerusalem and taken the city, with another horrible massacre to follow. Before he learned of his victory, Urban had died.

July 18th, 2022

The Balkans The genocides in the Balkans were terrible and not talked about much, at least in what I’ve read. The Croats under the Ustashe (fascist terrorists) slaughtered Jews, Gypsies, and Serbs. Their camps were not very advanced and a lot of men, women, and children were killed by shooting or stabbing. Victims who escaped joined the Communist Partisans, or escaped to Italian territory where it was safe. The Italians were not into the genocide and their territories were safe until the Mussolini government collapsed and the Germans took the territories. The Nazis did terrible things to the Serbs, Jews, and Gypsies in Serbia. The male Jews were executed by the Wehrmacht. The women and children were put in camps until they were gassed in vans. Practically every Jew in Serbia was killed. Romania, as mentioned, was antisemitic, killed their own Jews, and joined the Nazis in the invasion of the USSR. The Bulgarians were unique. Unfortunately, the “expanded” Bulgarian Jews of Macedonia and Thrace were killed, sent to Treblinka or shot. Tsar Boris was playing power politics and tried to keep the genocide from coming into Bulgaria. The Bulgarians themselves were not very antisemetic, so there was no base to work with. Once the Nazis started to lose in Russia, Boris declared himself an ally of the British and western allies, and no genocide occurred in his land proper. Too bad he didn’t take a stand for his new subjects.
 
Power and Thrones The chapter on knights ends with how the fables affect real life, such as the British finding the bones of King Arthur and Henry VIII donning his armor in jousting tournaments and in war. Then the knight as a militant ended with changes in warfare. The siege weapon, the longbow, and crossbow became common. The Scots killed many charging knights of Edward I with well placed pikes. The knight moved on to a man who rode in to battle and dismounted to fight with sword and axe. The age of cannon and gun made him obsolete, though there are the odd men who still fought in armor and on horse. The knight evolved into an aristocrat of rank and lost his fighting prowess, as institutions like the House of Commons were set up to incorporate them. Feudalism was dead and the fighting-for-land was replaced by the hired mercenary. The old system was dead. Today, the knight is a weird club for silly rituals. But people are still into it nearly as much as 1000 years ago.

July 17th, 2022

Power and Thrones Chapter 7 is about knights. Three technological advancements were key to the knight’s existence. The stirrup, which had been invented by Siberian nomads in the early centuries AD and spread through the eastern world made their way to Europe through the Arab world. Some sort of saddle, which allowed the rider to side at a certain angle. This would help him stay on his horse when fighting with the last advancement, the lance. Since ancient times, horseback riders fought with the javelin, which obviously was thrown. They were not much more than fast infantry. The Franks did not seem to use cavalry until the era of Charlemagne. With his vast territories, he need a fast army to travel around it. I believe he also encourage his mounted soldiers to fight with the spear as a stabbing weapon as opposed to a throwing weapon, with great results. I guess the difference between a spear and a lance is a blunt front and a handle on the shaft, maybe some sort of counterweight. The knight with the lance charges at full speed and plows into someone with the end of the lance. This is roughly the same force as a rifle shot. One of the early victories in this new warfare was the Battle of Lechfield in 955, where Otto I of Germany used heavy cavalry to obliterate some attacking pagan Hungarians. The Hungarians had been a deadly nuisance for many years, and after this did no attack Germany further. Otto was crowned Holy Roman Emperor, and at some time St. Stephen was converted to Christianity and spread it throughout Hungary.

The knight would not be a knight if not for the symbols of chivalry and the relationship of feudalism. I don’t need to go in detail, but we know the knight served a lord who rewarded him with land. The land-for-arms deal defined the upper classes and governing system of western Europe for centuries. The knight was also romanticized and imagined to be a man of valor, courage, etc. Obviously it takes guts to charge full speed on a horse at another person. The morality of the knight was spread and preserved in songs and epic poems, some of which are based on real people, e.g., the Song of Roland. Some real life examples are El Cid, who fought the Muslims of southern Spain for Alfonso VI, was exiled due to jealously, and became of knight for hire. Eventually he conquered his own “dukedom”, in spite of the the king and all those who opposed him. Another was William Marshall, who served various Plantagenets. He was a wandering knight who performed well in tourneys (i.e., battle-royales, not jousting) and became friend of Henry the Young King (Henry II’s co-king son.) He taught Henry how to be a knight and served in his rebellious army. He was exiled from Henry’s court after rumors of his affairs with Henry’s wife (a la Lancelot) surfaced. They reconciled, but Henry died shortly after. Marshall then served Henry II and fought with him against his rebelling sons Richard and John. He defeated Richard in battle and spared his life. Once Richard was king, he made Marshall an important member of government, especially since Richard spent next to no time in England. After Richard’s death, he served John. Marshall did not like John, but supported his claim over Arthur of Brittany’s. Marshal clashed with John and was in and out of favor. Despite his dislike for the unchivalrous king, Marshal did not join the rebellion that led to the Magna Carta, or the rebellion after that. When John died, Marshal was a protector of the child King Henry III. At age 70, he fought against French invaders at the Battle of Lincoln in 1217. He died at age 72 in 1219. On his deathbed, he warned the young king to act chivalrously, or to die an early death.

July 15th, 2022

The Balkans I forgot to write yesterday. I believe the chapter finished with information on Bulgaria and Yugoslavia at the start of the war. Bulgaria was essentially coerced into joining the Tripartite Act, and thus became open for Nazi movement. Yugoslavia was also coerced, but managed to get it so that only material may pass through the territory, no soldiers. These countries were the two avenues to invade Greece. The Yugoslav citizens were not happy and overthrew their government, which had “federalized” since the Radic assassination. The new government was goad by the Croat leader to follow the Pact. Didn’t matter. The German’s invaded and decimated Belgrade. Yugoslavia and Greece fell within weeks. Chapter 7 is about the occupation years, 1941 to 1949. It’s pretty horrible so far. Just massacre after massacre. I can’t keep up, it’s too depressing. The Croat Italian terrorists are slaughtering not Croats. The Nazis are rounding up Jews and Communists. They’re killing hundreds of innocents as retaliation for guerrilla attacks. The Serbs have two competing underground bands. The Chetniks were local Serbs who were only worried about their Serb villages. Tito and the Communist Party of Yugoslavia were more open and had different tactics. They both fought Germans separately and occasionally side by side. By the end of 1941, the Chetniks planned on attacking the Communist Partisans and reached out to Germans for weapons. I think the Partisans moved into Croatia. It’s just slaughter. Really depressing.

July 13th, 2022

The Balkans Greek democracy had collapsed after the war with Turkey and the schism between republicans and monarchists ended with the return of the exiled King. A general Metaxas had installed himself as prime minister and was not a bad dictator. In 1940, the Italians gave Metaxas an ultimatum they would never accepted and he famously shouted “No!” (in Greek). Mussolini was upset by Hitler always doing thing without telling him and decided to invade Greece to spite him. The Italians invaded from Albania, but they had been given two weeks of preparation and it was a disaster. They were pushed out of Greece and the Greeks then occupied a third of Albania. Hitler knew about the invasion before Mussolini told him about it, and when they met, Hitler advised him to take Crete quickly and offered paratroopers to help. Mussolini never did. By the time the Italians were pushed out, the neutral Greeks had turned to Britain, and the British were now in Crete. After Hitler’s invasion of Britain fell apart, he wanted to fragment the empire. Now Mussolini had given them a new Mediterranean foothold. Hitler and Molotov met to discuss the Soviets joining the axis and being given central Asia as their sphere of influence, Molotov said they couldn’t do much without Bulgaria. They needed the Black Sea and the British would cause problems for the Russians if they joined without a better hold on the straits (ie Bulgaria). Hitler wanted to use Bulgaria to get to Greece and could not allow Russian military in the region. Stalin responded to Hitler later emphasizing the importance of Bulgaria. This breakdown would lead to Barbarossa, while Mussolini’s blunder bogged troops down in the Balkans.
 
Power and Thrones The monk chapter rounds out with the slow fall from supremacy of the Benedictines at Cluny. The theory of ascetism had come full circle around the 12th century and a rival group, Cistercians, had come to prominence. The Cistercians were old school in their deprivations of all things comfortable and enjoyable, in stark contrast to the magnificence of Cluny. Thus Cluny was somewhat eclipsed, and the Cistercians were not alone. Where Cluny was the sole power in its heyday, now there were many competitors. Around this time the friars of the Dominican and Franciscan orders came to being, known for their wandering begging for alms. Also on the world stage were the military religious orders, such as the Templars, Hospitallers, and Teutonic Knights. Secular leaders were also fighting the pope for more power over what happens in their land. Time to move on to the next topic.

July 12th, 2022

The Balkans We’ll call the Romanian man Cordenau. He was a prominent fascist and anti-Semite who first formed a secret underground group and then an open group called the Iron Guard. The Iron Guard was meant to appeal to the peasantry and get them on the side of the fascists. Recruiting people to antisemitism would have been redundant. King Carol’s mistress was a Jew, so that led to some heated remarks in his direction. Somehow these fascists started to lead in the polls and the king’s party lost the majority. He formed a coalition with radicals, but it didn’t last long. The king seized control and banned political parties, and the liberals reluctantly agreed. Better a royal dictator than a fascist one. The Iron Guard leaders were arrested and then were murdered. Soon after this, Hitler added Austria to Germany. Czechoslovakia had a treaty with Yugoslavia and Romania, who did nothing when Hitler took the Sudetenland. What could they have done? Romania was a bit of a thorn for Hitler, but economically they still needed it. It was either the fifth most producer of oil of a producer of a fifth of the world’s oil. While Hitler was spreading east, he was enjoying economic domination of the south. Things turned sour when Hitler and Stalin signed their pact, especially since Stalin wanted Bessarabia and Bukovina from Romania. They invaded, and despite Germany’s investment and interest in those regions, couldn’t afford to do anything. The King welcome the invaders, since he could not fight, and then abdicated or was exiled. Then the Nazis invade, but that might be saved for the next chapter.
 
Power and Thrones Cluny is the famous monastery network that is being discussed. The book continues to discuss it. The question is why in the 10th to 12th centuries or so was there a huge rise in monasteries? The potential answer lies in land. First, it was a warm period and crops were booming. Landowners were making a lot of money and becoming very wealthy. Next, the new Frankish kingdoms established a new system. Men were rewarded for their service with tracts of land. This led to conflict with neighboring land owners and warfare. How do rich men atone for the sin of murder? With money. They give what they have a lot of (land) and give it to God (monasteries). This isn’t mentioned, but was there an increased population due to the food supply and better climate? If you have a lot of living children, you have to do something with them. The non-heir sons who have some brains can join the clergy or a monastery. The dumb ones can be knights and deal with the surplus population by killing or dying. That’s the gist of it. Cluny houses controlled a lot of pilgrimage roads an profited further. It talks about the multiple abbots who redid the churches in extravagant fashion (I think Cluny was destroyed in WWII). This style survives in the 16th century redone Basilica of St. Peter in Rome. Cluny was getting a lot of money from the King of Spain (not Spain per se but whatever kingdoms were participating in the Reconquista) who was winning wars against the Moors and taking their vast wealth. There’s only a few more pages left on this.

July 11th, 2022

The Balkans The book talks about Boris, tsar of Bulgaria. He was at first a weak ruler who really did not have any power. Seemed like a good guy though. His country was very fractured and the parliament had many factions. Then, a military group performed a coup and took over. They also eliminated the VMRO. Boris decided it was time to do something and took advantage of the situation. Not trusting the military, he make the Minister of War report to him and installed the PM. Boris seems alright, I hope he doesn’t get murdered like the king of Yugoslavia. He also tried to get some economic connections with UK and France, but they weren’t interested. Germany was more and more their sole source of imports. Then the book moves onto Romania, which seems like it sucked. Unlike the other countries in the Balkans, Romania had a long history of aristocratic dominance. It remained that way and the lower class was treated like garbage. Their king was not so great a guy either. King Carol had given up his birth right twice, and decided to reclaim the crown in 1930. I don’t remember the details, but some people welcomed him, others were not happy. Then it starts about antisemitism in Romania, which this one politician formed an openly anti Jewish and anti Communist group.
 
Power and Thrones Chapter 6 turns to monks. I find Christianity kind of boring. It describes the beginnings of asceticism and hermits in 3rd century Egypt. The church was not fond of the hermits or cenobites because they were not really controlled by anyone. They did not answer to bishops or lords. Then monasteries started popping up with rules on how to live. A major rule book was written by Benedict. This spread around western Europe. Some monastery in France (Culy?) was founded and given free reign to do anything it wanted. It’s Benedictine monks were answerable to no one, and they spread. As they spread, they gained control over many other monostaries.

July 10th, 2022

Power and Thrones Started and finished chapter 5 this weekend. The topic was the Franks and ultimately how Charlemagne affected Europe. The Franks had settled into Gaul during the big wave of barbarians at the end of the Roman Empire, and a kingdom formed under the Merovingian kings. They had pushed out the Visigoths and Burgundians, or at least taken over their territory. They were not great rulers and they divided the kingdom up with all their sons. By the time of Charles Martel, the kings were mostly figureheads and the real work was done by mayors of sorts, which Martel was one. His son, Pepin the Short, officially deposed the king and declared himself king. He was smart and worked with the Pope to get the church to back his kingship. He essentially came up with the whole “anointing” thing. In return, Pepin knocked the Lombards around so they’d leave Roman lands alone. His son, Charlemagne, was also anointed. Once king, Charlemagne took things further. The Franks still split rule between siblings. After his brother died of a “nosebleed”, he had sole control. His brother’s sons fled to Lombardy. Charlemagne invaded Lombardy and actually took the crown and made himself king. His nephews “disappeared”. With the Lombard episode, the Pope officially gave up on Constantinople as protector of the west and hedged its bets with the Franks. Either Charlemagne or his dad gave the Pope a lot of land which would become the Papal states. Charlemagne then conquered east and west and had the largest territory in the region since Rome. He spread Christianity to pagan Germanic tribes and built a beautiful capitol at Aachen. In 800, Charlemagne and the Pope worked out some deals and Charlemagne was anointed Emporer.

In 814, he died. His only living legitimate son, Louis the Pious, inherited the realm. He was not so powerful or lucky as his father. His sons fought against him and deposed him, though he regained the throne. When he died in 840, he split the empire between his three sons, Charles the Bald, Lothair, and Louis. They fought each other until they agreed to split the empire into three, East and West Francia, and the Middle Kingdom. The chapter also discusses the Vikings and the start of their major raids in 797 at Lindisfarne. The Vikings are already very well known. They go from pagan raiders, to pagan invaders, to Christian kings and settlers. Importantly, after a hundred years of Viking problems, Charles the Simple of West Francia gave Rollo the land of Normandy (Nordmania). His son William was the first “duke” of Normandy. Several generations later, William the Conqueror would change Europe.

July 8th, 2022

The Balkans The Balkan countries were mainly agrarian, and after WWI pushed non-European countries into becoming main food suppliers, the prices for produce dropped significantly. The Balkan countries had very little industrialization and couldn’t compete with US, UK, France, or Germany. The Balkans took on lots of loans, mainly backed by German banks. Then the Great Depression hit, and US and German output dropped to half. Now the Balkans couldn’t make money selling produce and they couldn’t get loans. They barely avoided starving, and sometimes didn’t. The democracies collapsed and dictatorships took over. We already discussed Albania and Yugoslavia. The king of Yugoslavia at least tried, but couldn’t, fix the dividing issues between Croats and Serbs. Croatians turned to paramilitary groups, terrorism, and assassination. They found a safehold in Italy, who wouldn’t mind Yugoslavia breaking up. Then it could expand into Croatia. There was also the VRMO (Macedonian revolutionaries), who already had a part in killing the Croat leader Radic. Yugoslavia turned into a police state to stop the terrorists and oppression was everywhere. The terrorists finally succeeded in killing the king. I think Yugoslavia will now lean more to the fascists. Germany had by now not only caught up to Italy, but surpassed it. They strong-armed Italy out of the Balkans and claimed it for their own interests. The Germans supported a united Yugoslavia and provided aid and loans. The Yugoslavs would sell the Germans crops they were interested in and give them exclusive rights to certain minerals. The Yugoslavs would get cheap German imports. It seems like a good deal.

July 7th, 2022

The Balkans The book goes into Albania now and how messed up it was. The Albanians were pretty backwards since the Ottomans kept them down and they never had a state. Plus they’re half mountain tribes who blood feud and kill each other. Zogu was a somewhat crazy guy who killed his way to power. I don’t really know what kind of government they had, I guess a faux republic. He got pushed out of power once, but the Yugoslavs helped Zogu regain power. The Italians also were interested in Albania. The fascists wanted it more for the fact that they lost a fight there before, a la Ethiopia. Luckily for Mussolini, Zogu was easily bought off. The Italians had their own little, expensive, useless, protectorate. Zogu became King Zog I.

July 6th, 2022

The Balkans Didn’t write yesterday. The 6th chapter is the interwar years. It starts of describing the Turks and Greeks exchanging citizens back to their “home” land. A lot of time was spent on Bulgaria and the National Agricultural Union. The BANU won more and more parliamentary seats as conditions worsened. The BANU leader persuaded Ferdinand to abdicate to steal ammo from revolutionaries. Bulgaria doesn’t really have an army as a condition of their loss. There are some extralegal groups form that do policing, mostly under the BANU. The BANU leader angered the now unemployed officer class and was assassinated. The Communists took a neutral stance, and there was a “White Terror” as the new government oppressed/killed BANU and Communists. Attempts were made to kill the new tsar. It was chaotic and deadly. Yugoslavia was also a mess as the Croats, Slovenes, and Serbs could not agree on a government. Serbia wanted central control, the other Slavic states wanted federalization. Regional competition was fierce, and regional ties tended to be stronger than religious or “national”. The Croat leader messed up by protesting the parliament in Belgrade. Thus the Croats had no representation for years and were viewed as subversive. He eventually changed tunes and became a staunch monarchist, after the king pulled some strings to make a coherent system. It was still only a tenuous piece and the Croat leader was eventually murdered. The King would take total control of the government because of the inability of democracy to govern. These Slavs are not good at democracy.

July 4th, 2022

Power and Thrones Chapter 4 and section 1 end with the 8th century movements of the Caliphate. As mentioned, the Arabs took Byzantine Africa, then moved to Spain in 711 or so and took out the Visigoths with ease. The Arabs also took Persia and moved into the Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other stans. A general crossed the Pyrenees to Frankish Gaul in 732 and was causing some problems. Charles Martel raised an army and fought the Arabs at Tours or Poiters. The Hammer beat the Arabs and sent them back into Spain. Now the Arabs lost their wars of expansion in Asia Minor and in France. They had also gotten beat on the borders of the Chinese empire. The Arab borders were pretty much set for the next 800 years. The author questions raises these other battles to show that Martel’s victory was not the sole event to end Arab expansion. The author also raises the possibility that the Muslims were not interested in controlling Gaul, but merely in plunder. They already significant Mediterranean territory. Domestically, the caliphs started to coin their own money, the dinar, and force civil servants to use Arabic only. Obviously, this had a huge change on local culture and is a main reason why the Muslim world is fairly unified culturally today. The Persians maintained their own culture, which explains why Iran and its sphere are different and conflicting. The Umayyad dynasty ended in another civil war, with non-Arab Muslims who resent the favoritism for Arabs. They won and started the Abbasid dynasty, whose first caliph was a descendant of Mohamed's uncle. They moved the capital from Iraq and thus became more isolated from the west. The Abbasids are known for the Golden Age of Islam and their scientific advances, and technology taken from China. The Abbasids also were more decentralized, with local governors ruling in various regions. Later, these regions would each form a rival faction for power. The Umayyad’s survived in Spain and Morocco (Moors) and also had some cities of high renown in Spain.

July 3rd, 2022

Power and Thrones Umar was assassinated and this Muslim empire had some problems. His replacement was Umathene or something like that who ruled for 12 years. He was killed over something, then Ali, who I think was Muhammad’s cousin or nephew who married his daughter, ruled and was very religious. He wanted to purify the governing system but was also killed. So ended the “Rightly Guided” caliphs. Shia Muslims only regard Ali as legitimate. Then there were some civil wars, and ultimately the military powers in Damascus won. I guess the Shia Muslims think Ali’s descendents should be caliph and Sunnis are cool with the status quo, and thus they bomb each other 1400 years later in Iran and Iraq. Under the Umayyad dynasty, the Muslim empire spread further. They essentially took all of Persia and also took Africa, even crossing into Iberia. In Damascus, the Caliphate lost its overly religious tone and emulated a Byzantine imperialism. In Jerusalem, they built the Dome of the Rock on the site of the Second Temple. It remains there today, and to my surprise, is not a mosque. The Caliphate attempted to take Constantinople twice. Both times the navies were destroyed by Greek fire, and the army could not take the city. This slowed the advance of Islam significantly and probably kept (most) Europe in Christian hands.

July 2nd, 2022

Power and Thrones Yesterday I finished the chapter on the Byzantines. Justinian’s reign had some troubles down the road. There was the plague, which seems to have been a mutant version of the existing bacteria which aided in human to human transfer. We already know the devastation the bubonic plague can do. He had on and off wars with Persia, which sapped his military strenth. During one of these “offs” he sent his best general, Belisarius, to retake Africa from the Vandals, which he did with amazing success. Later, Belisarius was sent to fight the Ostrogoths in Italy. This was more difficult. Not only did war with Persia return, but the Ostrogoths put up a good fight. Belisarius took most of southern Italy and then got stuck. War and fighting would last here decades. Later Emperors would give up on Italy and the Byzantine empire became more and more Greek. The Lombards would eventually come south and take more Italian territory. There were also troubles with Slavs coming across the Danube, even to the walls of Constantinople itself. This may have been in the reign of a later emperor, though. After Justinian, the Byzantine emperors were not so successful and had troubles, and the old days of assassinations returned. I think Maurice and Heraclius were decently successful, brought stability in the wars on the several fronts. Heraclius brings us to the 4th chapter, the Arabs. So far it’s the well known story of Muhammad and his fighting in the Arabian Peninsula. Then Abu Bakr, Muhammad's friend who consolidated power after Muhammad's death, and his further conquest, then Umar, who was not a fighter but more of a strategist. He spread into Egypt and Africa, the Levant, Syria, and Persia. My timeline could be off. One of these guys, I think Umar, fairly easily took the Middle East from Persia and the Mediterranean coast lands from Heraclius and his successors. The Arabs fought hard and ferociously, but showed mercy to those who surrendered without a fight. They were not there to convert the locals, but to rule them. Christians and Jews were forced to pay a tax, but that is it. Not a bad deal.

July 1st, 2022

The Balkans The rest of chapter 5 is about the Greco-Turkish war. “Mandates” were all the rage, with non-European countries being administered by “Great power” countries. The US Senate was not interested in getting more involved in the other continents and the Turkish mandate was given to Greece. The Italians had already taken a city on the southern coast, but the major city of Smyrna was blocked by the Big Three. Lloyd George was big on Greece occupying Smyrna and being the dominant power in the region. Everyone else saw this as a disaster preluding to war. There were a minority of Greeks concentrated on the coast of Anatolia, not enough to stop the Turkish masses. The Greeks were blinded by greed and invaded, and atrocities started almost immediately. This is the time Ataturk left the army for politics and united the different factions with his personality and abilities. He also had the peasantry behind him, all the while the government in Istanbul gave more and more away in concessions. The Greeks invaded further, with Armenians, and it was full blown war. The British offered no support, and the French and Italians seemed to favor the Turks. The Greek PM was confident in his policy and called for elections, assuming his group would win. The King then got bit by a monkey and died, and the population brought in the exiled King and elected his faction. The other guys were kicked out of leading positions. The Greeks ended up losing, as most predicted, and the Turks controlled Asia Minor. The peace deal led to a new development: entire populations were exchanged. 1.3 million Greeks were deported to Greece, and some 700k Muslims were sent to Turkey.

June 30th, 2022

The Balkans The 1915 Treaty of London promised Italy tons of Austro-Hungarian land (Croat, Slovene, Albanian, etc) along the Adriatic. This put Italy as a new aggressor in the region and an antagonist for the Yugoslav nation that sort of existed as the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. American sympathies were with the Slavs, and Wilson despised the secret treaties of Old Europe and did not care for the Italians in charge. Matters got worse when the Italians demanded Fiume, a town that was historically Croat. The Hungarians flooded the town with Italians to keep the Croat riff raff down, but it was still a majority Croat. The stubborn Italians would not budge and things got crazy. As talks wore on, the Italian government changed and some thought that Rome would abandon the Fiume claim. This poet-soldier guy led some soldiers to claim the city. More soldiers joined on the way, and the general at Fiume surrendered. A new republic was founded and the birth of Italian fascism took place. All the bizarre theatrics and militarism stemmed from this one guy. The US and other delegates were worn out and eventually gave up, ceding the field to the Italians at the cost of Yugoslavia.

June 29th, 2022

The Balkans When Bulgaria was knocked out of the war, the country was in a bit of turmoil. Most people were against the war to begin with and people were restless after the losses, the deaths, and the German mistreatment. Members of the Bulgarian Agrarian National Union declared a Republic in Radomir, but it failed. The tsar abdicated anyway and the leader of the BANU ended up prime minister and went to the Paris Peace Conference. The Paris Peace talks were a facade for imperialism and revenge. Many small nations were hopeful by Woodrow Wilson’s 14 Points and stuff about self-determination. But only the Allies got anything. The losers were not invited and thus had no say in their treatment. The new nation of Yugoslavia wasn’t really recognized and was not treated with respect. The Slavs were getting a raw deal in favor of Greeks, Romanians, and the new major power, Italy. Italy had some bold claims for the Adriatic.

June 28th, 2022

The Balkans The Greek involvement in the war was minimal and odd. There was a big split in the country over how to handle the war. One faction was adamantly pro-Ally. The king’s faction leaned Central but try to stay neutral. The Allied faction controlled the northern country and worked with the allies at Salonika. The Macedonian front was considered a joke, but it got serious. The allies could not penetrate Bulgarian defenses. The British and French ended up attacking Greece to depose the king, but were repulsed. The king was forced to abdicate anyway and the pro-Ally faction gained power. They got rid of all the dissenters and joined the war, and thus got some spoils. One of the main factors that led to the end of the war was the penetration on the Macedonian front. The Serbs, with French aid, secretly moved a large amount of artillery on top of a mountain at the end of the German and Bulgarian entrenchments. In September 1918, they bombarded the defenses and easily overran the first two lines of trenches. British and Italian(?) air forces strafed and bombed the retreaters. The Allies kept pushing for the next month and essentially knocked the Central powers out of the region. After this, the Germans reached out to America to help work out peace talks.

June 27th, 2022

The Balkans Today’s reading discussed Bulgaria’s entry into the war and Romania’s. Essentially, the Central Powers drove the better bargain for Bulgaria and they joined in 1916. They joined a German-led offensive to knock Serbia out of the war, and they did so. The Serbs and their prisoners were forced to cross the mountains into Albania in winter, and it was quite horrible. The weather killed many, and Albanians killed some more, out of revenge. The Bulgarians were satisfied with taking Serbia, built up defenses in the south against the Allies in Salonika, and gave it a rest. The Germans were mad, and it almost led to war with Austria. But Ferdinand could not risk further war from his war weary nation. The peasants probably would’ve killed him. They made out pretty well. Romania did not. They were reluctant to join the war, but French promises (lies) got them to join. Plus they wanted Transylvania. Romania was to work in conjunction with the Allies in Salonika. The allies never got far. Romania was pushed out of Transylvania and then the Bulgars, Germans, and Turks attacked. Romania, on her own, was done for. The government was in exile and many died from starvation as the victors took the spoils. It was worse once Russia left the war, under the Bolsheviks. Will socialism affect the Balkans at this point?
 
Power and Thrones The third chapter is about the Byzantines, the Greek/eastern continuation of the Roman empire. It opens with a description of the Plague of Justinian in the 540s, the first recorded bubonic pandemic. Then it transitions to the beginning of Justinian’s reign. It discusses his love of law and order, which resulted in his fixing centuries of contradicting Roman laws. The Code of Justinian had an impact on legal systems all the way to Napoleon, whose systems are in use today. Justinian was also a stickler for religion. He tolerated the various sects, but not the pagans. The pagans had been dwindling but were still around and not outlawed. Justinian passed more laws against pagans, and banned them from teaching. So ended the ancient Academy in Athens. He also did the usual culling of gays and pederasts. He almost lost his city during the Nika riots. Some chariot loving hooligans had formed “teams” and the big teams, Green and Blue, were offended by him. A couple were supposed to be hanged after a riot but escaped. These teams ended up burning a lot of the city and Justinian almost fled, but his wife Theodora convinced him to man up. His got his army from around the area and killed tens of thousands of them who were holed up in the stadium. That done, he rebuilt the destroyed sections of the city, including the Hagia Sophia. The blood of 30,000 really adds to the beauty.

June 26th, 2022

Power and Thrones The second chapter ends with the direct impact of the Huns. Some time by 450, the Huns were under Attila, had crossed the Danube, and been harassing the eastern empire. They laid waste to the Balkans and extorted lots of money from Constantinople. By now, the Huns had learned siege weapons. It is thought they took 100k – 200k prisoners for slaves or ransom, and who knows how many dead. Then they set their eyes on the west and laid waste to Gaul. The Huns were not Christians like the Visigoths, and they slaughtered whoever the wanted. I don’t remember many names, unfortunately, but there is one Roman general who was able to beat the Huns on the battlefield, though it was a bloody cost. Attila retreated, embarrassed, then next season came for Italy. He ransacked the place, was somehow bought off, and died shortly after. Read the Nibelungenleid for a fun interpretation of the end of Attila. By now, Rome was mainly just Italy. The Visigoths had the west, Vandals Africa, Burgundians and Franks Gaul, and now a new federation called the Ostrogoths held more eastern lands. Now that the Huns were weak, the Germanic tribes held sway over the land. Odoacer, some sort of Goth, invaded Italy and deposed the child emperor Romulus Augustus. The empire was dead. Odoacer claimed himself King of Italy and a vassal of Emperor Zeno in Constantinople. Then an Ostrogoth, Theodoric, who I confused with Theodosius, caused trouble. He was a hostage in Constantinople and when he came of age he started raiding the empire. Zeno offered him Italy if he killed Odoacer. There fought a war and agreed to rule together, until Theodoric killed him. Theodoric, though a barbarian, brought stability to Italy and ruled for a couple decades. He kept Roman traditions and did not assault the Roman Church or aristocratic class. Finally, 130 years after the Huns and drought caused the death spiral of Rome, a new polity was born.

June 25th, 2022

Power and Thrones The Gothic war wound down and they were resettled in Thrace. I think it was Theodosius who resolved the problem, then took western Rome as part of his empire. He had a mini-golden age as the last emperor of a single Rome. He died suddenly and his teenage songs took the two empires. The end of the 4th century saw the Huns moving again and pushing more tribes into Rome, including the Vandals. The empire could not keep up. Men were attempting to usurp the throne in Britain and then the entire army abandoned the region. Stilicho was the guardian of western emperor Honorius and the most powerful man in the empire, plus he was half Vandal. His main problem was Alaric, the leader of the new confederation of Visigoths. Stilicho kept him at bay, but Stilicho was executed by the emperor for suspected treason. He probably didn’t do anything and now Honorius was screwed. Alaric was on tour of sacking cities and came to Rome itself. He requested some money, which he got that plus more, then offered to leave Italy for a permanent home in Austria and Dalmatia. This was denied, so Alaric sacked Rome. This was the second time in history, the first being 800 years ago by the Gauls. The Visigoths were Christians, so it really wasn’t the massacre that later writers made it seem. Alaric left and died shortly after, and the Visigoths moved onto to Gaul somewhere. Meanwhile in Britain, the locals were left to fend for themselves from seafaring Germanic tribes. Also Picts and Scots were assailing them. Things were not so good for Rome either. The Vandals were now sweeping across the empire. They were under a strong leader, Genseric, and by 430 they had moved from Iberia to Africa and conquered Carthage. Africa was now Vandal and Rome lost its breadbasket. The Vandals actually had a nice little kingdom, but we know they’ll lose it to Muslims. The Vandals ended up sacking Rome in 455. The situation was not good.

June 24th, 2022

Power and Thrones The second chapter is about the barbarian invasions of the Roman empire. It begins with the Huns, who were a central Asian nomadic tribe. They were troublesome to the Chinese since a few centuries before Christ and by the 4th century AD they were excellent horse-mounted warriors with composite bows that were deadly accurate. The Huns had no written language, so all record of them are from the people they were killing. They are not kindly written. The belief is that a “megadrought” around 370 left the steppes too arid to live. The dustbowl would not have sustained the horses they used for riding and eating. They crossed the Volga and encountered the locals. They defeated the Alans and then went for the Goths. The Goths may have been weakened by a recent war with the Romans and were not able to hold off the Huns. The Goths then arrived at the Danube, which was the border of Rome. They requested permission to enter from the eastern Emperor Valens. Rome was at war with Persia, so Valens thought he may be able to get away with letting some Goths in and using them to fight the Persians. This was done, and some tribes of Goths were permitted to cross and others were not. The Goths may not have recognized these Roman distinctions. Regardless, this led to a lot of Goths entering illegally. Once in Roman territories, the Goths were treated pretty poorly. There was too much of an influx of people into the Balkans, and starvation broke out. Poor conditions led to conflict, which led to war. Valens reluctantly asked his young nephew, Gratian, the western emperor for aid. Gratian had already had several military successes. However, Valens moved to fight before Gratian could bring his forces to the east. The Romans fought the Goths at Adrianople. It was a disaster. The Romans were completely routed and Valens was dead, his body never found. That’s a big win for the barbarians.

June 23rd, 2022

The Balkans The book talks about Turkish involvement in the war. There were several factions in Turkey, one for each alliance and some for neutrality. Due to French indifference, British aggression, and Russian apprehension, the Turks ended up going with Germany. The benefits for Turkey were taking some lands back in the Balkans and dropping its debts. The Turkish group, the CUP, ended up running the show and pushed the clerical/religious leaders out of power. During the war, Turkey changed drastically into a secular, nationalistic country. This can be seen further by the Armenian genocide and violence against Greeks, culminating in war. This violence was all state supported, as are many instances of slaughter, especially in the Balkans. Without the Germans, Turkey probably would’ve been crushed. It was a surprise to the world that the Turks did not crumble when the Allies assaulted the Dardanelles. This violent theater of war led to many more defender deaths than the attackers, but the attackers would not press the issue. The Turks were slaughtered in the Caucus and were doing poorly in Arabia, but the Dardanelles held. There’s probably more to it, I don’t remember. Then in 1916, Bulgaria joined the Central Powers. Why? They had the better offer. Bulgaria would gain a lot of land in Macedonia and Romania and some of the land they took earlier from Turkey. They’d also get revenge on Serbia for the Second Balkan War, not even 3 years ago. The Allies did not focus enough on getting more of the Balkan states on their side. Only the fact that Serbia held by a thread prevented the Austrians from diverting full force to the Eastern front, with Turkey, and knocking Russia out of the war.

June 21st, 2022

The Balkans The fifth chapter is about the years during WWI. It says that what could have been a Third Balkan War was expanded due to Germany’s ambitions and England’s opposition to those ambitions. The Austrians forced the war to survive as a great power and the French were dragged in due to being attacked, though they wouldn’t mind avenging some past wrongs. The Russians sided with the republics because it could not allow Austria to undermine its ambitions in the Balkans, plus the Russians wanted the Black Sea Straits. The Austrians began bombarding Belgrade and its industrial north. Most of Serbia’s history was about defending the southern border from Turks, so the entire army had been down there. Not sure why they didn’t start moving once the ultimatum was given. Austria bombarded for a couple weeks, however, giving Serbia time to mobilize. The Austrians crossed the river and moved into Serbian territory, while the world expected a quick victory. That didn’t happen. The Serbs even got a couple of victories at major battles, a huge embarrassment for Austria. Eventually the western front stagnated into trench warfare and the Germans thought that opening a front in Balkans would weaken Russian efforts on the eastern front. Germany and the Turks (who had now joined the war with its friend the Kaiser, though it could have been wooed to the Entente) bombarded a Russian fleet at Crimea. Romania initially allowed Germany access through its railroads, but now closed them for the sake of neutrality. Bulgaria was not yet in the war, nor were the other Balkan countries. They really didn’t know which side would benefit them, if joining the war would bring any benefits.
 
Power and Thrones The first chapter continues to describe Rome and some of the things that would have a lasting impact on Europe. The obvious ones are religion, Christianity, Romance languages, and laws. Emperor Caracalla in 200 something had made a drastic declaration. All peoples of the empire were eligible for citizenship. Before this, only Romans and foreigners who served 25 years in the auxiliaries could become citizens. Another aspect was slavery, which the Roman system was dependent on economically and societally, a la the antebellum South.

June 20th, 2022

The Balkans I’m pretty sure I read some on the 16th, but I couldn’t tell you if I did and what it was about. Today I finished the chapter leading up to WWI. It described the Young Bosnians as students that were radicalized by the decadence brought in by Austrian culture and the Austrian annexation. Most of the older people and wealthier Serbs were fine with it. The Young Bosnians intended to assassinate the patriarch who added prayers for the monarchy and empire. It had been proven that there were no Serbian plans for revolution within Bosnia and the annexation actually created the problem it wanted to avoid. Many of the Young Bosnians hooked up with the Black Hand after being rejected for the Serbian army in the first Balkan war. They were not good assassins and had no idea what they were doing. All over the word, assassinations and attempted ones increased drastically at the turn of the century. Most of them were attempts. Franz Ferdinand is one of the unlucky ones whose assassination succeeded. He was only shot because the driver took a wrong turn and was reversing, thus he was a sitting duck in a location Princip just happened to be. It seems preordained. This was after the 5 assassins failed or lost their nerve. The archduchess was only killed because Princip was aiming for a general and someone tried to block his shot. Like the Austrians, the Young Bosnians brought about the thing they wanted to avoid. Franz Ferdinand was the one who was keeping things cool while the older, more conservate guys were pushing for war with Serbia. They not only killed the guy who was more or less protecting them, they gave Austria the casus belli. The Austrians forced the war with their ultimatum on Serbia, whose government was not involved and was opposed to military led conspiracies after the 1903 regicide. Austria assumed that there would be no wider war and that Germany could handle Russia. Germany, to the surprise of Austria, was mostly interested in gains in the west. Princip, horrified that his actions led to destruction in Serbia, took solace in the fact that war was inevitable. Was it really?
 
Power and Thrones The book begins with a description of a hoard found in British, buried around the years of Germanic attacks and British departure. The rest of the chapter describes the Roman empire and why it worked. There was an exceptionally warm period that was great for farming and no real environmental disasters. Rome also spend a significant money on its military and military was its forefront. They would rarely give up after a loss and eventually their strength was enough to prevent a battle. This combined with their laws and way of life, which were attractive and easily adaptable to new locations. This led to the Pax Romana from Augustus to Aurelius and the growth of the empire to where a quarter of the world was under the empire. We’ll see that Rome’s growing dependence on barbarian mercenaries would lead to its collapse in the west.

June 15th, 2022

The Balkans Continuing the section about Austria, the book talks about a triumvirate of sorts. Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Foreign Minister Aehrenthal, and General-in-Chief Hoetzendorf were somewhat controlling the country. Ferdinand had no real power, Franz Joseph didn’t like him, but had power because we would one day soon be emperor. These guy didn’t exactly get along or work together well. Hoetzendorf was of the mind that preemptive offense was the best defense, and he was not able to keep up with modern warfare such as the devastation of artillery. They all hated Serbia and they wanted a strong monarchy, pre-Hungary days. Aehrentahl organized the annexation of Bosnia and used Bulgaria’s independence to try to take attention away. Hoetzendorf wanted to knock out Serbia and Russia in 1908, and he probably should have. The annexation of Bosnia backfired and it did not bring any greater feeling of belonging to the empire in Slavic circles. It just pissed off Serbs. Franz Ferdinand wanted to use it to federalize the empire, as a way to take power from Hungary, and somehow this would make him stronger. It didn’t really make sense.
 
The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 Finished the book today. The last section of the last chapter, knowing its time was at an end, took more of a sentimental and emotional approach. It works and I’m a sucker for the “end of an era” type of melancholy. The author talked about the some 200k dead from battle, 400k dead outside battle, and another 400k wounded or missing. 1 million men lives lost or ruined. The survivors went back to their lives as the country changed to a capitalist nightmare, ruining as many lives as war. This was especially true when the naive Grant became president and the capitalists robbed the country blind. The final section is mostly about Jefferson Davis and the remainder of his life. He never repented and became a citizen of the United States, though he was beloved by the south, except Joe Johnston. He tried his hand at business but lost it all in the crash of ‘73. He also lost the rest of his boys at young ages. He wrote a book and gave many speeches honoring the Confederate cause and those who fought for it. He outlived many of the leading men of the civil war, though not Johnston. Longstreet proved controversial, as he turned Republican and openly claimed the country was conquered. He was reconciled with the Confederates after marching onto a stage with Davis at a reunion. Davis died at 81, still claiming his cause was just, but warning the future generations to follow the tide of the country. War’s over.

June 14th, 2022

The Balkans I really don’t remember. There was stuff about Bosnians wanting autonomy but obviously that wasn’t going to happen. The Hungarians were especially involved in subjugation. They prevented railroads from being built. Then it went to describing the Austrian culture and how divided it was. People outside of the government circle had little to discuss about politics. Itwas completely dependent on the emperor, and a man over 80.
 
The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 Read’s expedition was in April before Johnston’s surrender. There were no other such incidents. The next tragedy on the seas was an explosion on an overcrowded boat taking Union POWs home from Vicksburg. The engine exploded and some 1500 men were killed. Similarly, 300 people died when a depot of surrendered weapons exploded in Mobile. The coolest story would be of the Shenandoah. It had been raiding in the Pacific and was isolated. It went after whalers up near Alaska, attacking in June. These were the final shots fired in the war. The Shenandoah took a lot of captives and was second to the Alabama in raiding successes. It soon learned that the war was over. Commander Waddell was not going to give up and sit in a prison. He and his crew went around South America and got to England in November. It surrendered to the British and was the last Confederate flag taken down. This also was the only Confederate to circumnavigate the globe. In another section, imprisonments are discussed. Most people were given amnesty by an act of Johnson, but there were a lot of exceptions. Johnson gave everyone a pardon anyway when they sought it. A few were cruelly executed. The guy who attacked Seward, the guy who failed to attack Johnson, and a guy who was somehow part of the planning or did something with Booth. Worst of all, the widow who owned the boarding house where the assassination was allegedly plotted was executed. A stain on the country’s history. Also cruelly executed was the commander at Andersonville. The man may have been cruel to prisoners, but he was pardoned and only killed because of Stanton’s wishes. Also cruel was Jefferson Davis’ imprisonment. He was held for 2 years in poor conditions. They even shackled him at first. But his long confinement and his refusal to seek pardon brought him all the love that he had lost as war turned sour. Like Lincoln said, he should have been allowed to escape. But he lived through his hatred and became the hero he was in 1861. He was eventually freed, and Richmond gave him an emotional welcome.

June 13th, 2022

The Balkans The Croats and the Serbs fight each other a bit because they all want the same lands. They’re in a power struggle. There was a guy, I can’t remember his name, it was like Rapic or Racic with accented c’s, who took an active part in politics as a teenager. He recognized that the root of the Croat problems was Hungarian oppression and he organized protests against their actions. Still, there were flareups of violence between Croats and Serbs. This antagonistic relationship would continue throughout the 20th century. Maybe they’re still like that today. That’s the gist of it. Then it talks about Bosnia and how the Muslims reacted to being the supreme power under Ottoman control to being on the same level as Catholics and Orthodox under Austrian control. It was a big change. It also described the culture of Bosnia and how despite the proximity of these religions, there was very little conversion and it was a big deal when it happened.
 
The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 Johnson declared the war over in the east. All that was left was the west. There was more fighting on the coast of Texas on May 13th and 14th, a Confederate victory. Nonetheless, Kirby Smith learned of all the other surrendering and finally of Davis’ capture. After refusing a surrendered to Pope earlier in the month, he surrendered to Canby. Some refused to surrender. Shelby and a group of men rode for Mexico and were given some land by French Emperor Maximilian. General Stand Watie was the last to surrender. He and his band of Indians had been fighting in Oklahoma. There would be no more battles. Grant’s and Sherman’s armies were outside Washington and causing ruckus. The Westerners were not happy about Sherman’s treatment, especially that Stanton was saying Sherman was mad for power. To wrap things up, there was a competition of east vs west. May 23rd would have the easterners parade through the capitol, and the next day the west. The westerners had been marching for a year and did not look great, nor had practice marching, but they wanted to prove that Sherman was a great man. And they made Sherman proud with excellent marching that received cheers from all over. The chapter moves on to naval affairs. It tells a story of a man named Read who tries to escape with his boat down the Red River. They got quite far masquerading as a Union boat, but someone in New Orleans recognized fighting it. The gig was up, so Read shored the boat and burned it. They ran, but most got caught. The consequence: parole. Nobody wanted to fight anymore. Just go home, southerners.

June 12th, 2022

The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 Johnston met with Sherman and the two ended up discussing how to end the entire war. Johnston brought in Breckinridge, not as a member of the cabinet but as a major general. They came to an agreement on how to end the war and surrender all the armies and sent it to their own governments for approval. Davis approved, Johnson did not. Grant was sent to talk sense to Sherman and make him follow Grant’s example. Johnston was told he would get the same terms as Lee. April 26th, Johnston surrendered. Davis was angry that he made no attempt to escape like Lee had done. Nevertheless, the war was over on the east coast. Taylor and Canby were holding similar meetings at the beginning of May, but they heard the news from the Sherman-Johnston meetings. There was no more fighting for Taylor. Wilson had pushed the Confederates out of Birmingham in April and Canby had done the same to Mobile. Taylor surrendered on May 4th, the day Lincoln was buried. Bedford Forrest was reluctant to surrender. He was injured and had lost his last battle to Wilson. There was a lot of talk of riding for Mexico, but one of his staff convinced him it was over. The men would follow him anywhere, so lead them to peace. This convinced Forrest and he wrote a nice announcement for his men, thanking them for their fighting spirit, but use their spirit to show the yankee that they would be dignified in defeat. All armies east of the Mississippi had surrendered. Kirby Smith was still holding the west. By this point, John Wilkes Booth was dead. The guy who attacked Seward was captured and a third guy who was supposed to kill Johnson but didn’t try was captured. I bet he wishes he had killed Johnson. I’m not sure where Davis was by now. He was in Charleston for awhile where he learned of Johnston’s surrender and that no one was willing to fight. The game was to escape. Little by little, his cabinet went their own ways, mostly back to family. The money was dispersed, Breckinridge fled to Florida to leave for Cuba. Davis’ goal was Texas and Kirby Smith. He had rejoined his wife, but planned to go separate ways when they heard Wilson’s men were on to them. On May 10th, they were awakened by the sound of confused Federals shooting at each other. This was the last instance of yankee men dying in battle. Once the confusion was over, they found Davis in camp. Davis had a plan to attack a Federal and steal his horse, but his wife ran up and he surrendered. Davis and several others were taken up north to be imprisoned in various military forts. Davis did not mourn the loss of Lincoln, but he knew that Johnson was a much worse choice for the future of the south.

June 11th, 2022

The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 Lincoln was dead. This must be understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate. That’s really what the 20 pages I read were about: Lincoln’s assassination. There has been a lot said about it, and it was more of an emotional story then a series of facts. Poor Lincoln didn’t really want to go to the play, especially after Grant bailed. Then he got shot. Seward was also attacked by a knife wielding assassin, but he was full of metal wire after his carriage accident and this probably saved his life. Lincoln was taken across the street and laid in bed half dead for 8 hours. The bullet destroyed his brain and was lodged in his eye. Stanton essentially took control of the country in the meantime because he spoke with authority. By 8am, Lincoln was dead. Andrew Johnson was president, much to the glee of the radicals. Poor Lincoln had a recurring dream that usually happened before big news. This was the news. The south was not going to get the warm, caring president. They were getting vengeful Johnson.

June 10th, 2022

The Balkans Chapter 4 covers the same 1878 to 1914 period, but the northern Balkans. I’m guessing that mostly means the parts in Austria, that is, Croatia, Bosnia, and parts of Serbia. The chapter starts of kind of incoherent and talks a lot about Serbia, which I thought was already covered in the last chapter. I guess there’s lots of Serbs in Bosnia, and Serbia desperately wants to control Bosnia, so they’ll be important in this chapter too. The Black Hand is a Serbian organization, after all. Gavrilo Princip was a Bosnian Serb, and they tell a little anecdote about how he was mocked and not accepted by the Serbian army in 1912. Guess he showed them. Then it talks about Austria and its struggle with Hungary and how they fight over influence in the Balkans. Hungary technically is in charge of Croatia, but Austria tries to administer Bosnia. The Hungarians don’t want more Slavs to challenge their authority, and Austria plays the Croats by teasing offers of making it a third kingdom in the empire. The Croats want Bosnian lands, too. It’s just a big mess. This is a relatively short chapter, so the region must be fairly stable (before the war).
 
The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 The final chapter starts off a bit slow. It opens with Washington after the news of Lee’s surrender comes in. Everyone comes to Lincoln to hear him speak, but Lincoln passes them off until he is ready. When he gave his speech the next night, the crowd was disappointed. Lincoln’s speech was not a victory speech. It was a sad speech about the future and reconstruction. Lincoln reiterated how he wants to get the states back to normal as quickly as possible. The radical Republicans wanted hard vengeance and were angered by Lincoln’s speech. But to play the politics game, Lincoln retracted his earlier promise to the Virginia legislature about having them vote on rejoining the Union. Grant had taken care of the army, so the legislature was superfluous. Meanwhile, Davis had moved to Greensboro, NC, barely escaping Stoneman’s destructive raid that wrecked all the railroad bridges. Davis was in denial of Lee’s defeat. When Breckinridge arrived and confirmed it, he took it hard. He had summoned Johnston and Beauregard to plan for the continuation of the war. They told him it was over and they planned on making peace talks with Sherman. Davis was disappointed but wrote the letter they were to sent to Sherman. Then he and his cabinet rode horses further south to their next capital. By now it was April 14th, the 4th anniversary of the loss of Fort Sumter. General (formerly Major) Anderson was to raise the same Union flag they had taken down in 61. It was a huge long ceremony, very patriotic. There was a private dinner later with more speeches. Anderson, not liking to speak publicly, gave a nice toast to Lincoln.

June 9th, 2022

The Balkans The Greeks did not sign the armistice and the Turkish commander of an outpost in Albania refused to recognize it, so war continued in the west. The Greeks eventually captured Ioannia, but the war between Turkey and the Montenegrins and Serbs intensified. The Turks eventually left and the city was devastated. Austria, Italy, and Russia forced the combatants out of the city. They mobilized and nearly went to war, I think it was related to this. Maybe Russia wasn’t involved yet. It’s kind of muddled in my head. Then there was the blockade of Adrianople. British Foreign Minister Lord Grey intervened and organized a conference to end the war. At first, Turkey refused to give up Adrianople but they were starved out. The Lord Grey conference was able to settle matters and an “autonomous” Albania was created. Global War was averted for a year. After this, Bulgaria was huge, but weak. Serbia and Greece attacked Bulgaria to take some of its gains. It was easy and lasted a month. The Bulgarians were war weary and wanted to go home. They didn’t care about Turkish or Greek territory. Romania annexed some Bulgarian land on the Black Sea to “maintain balance” in the region. These two wars explain a lot about why Bulgaria and Turkey teamed up with Austria and Germany in the war. It was a path to revenge.
 
The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 The chapter finishes with the details of the surrender. On the 9th, Fitz Lee and Gordon tried to make a break for it and knocked a hole in Sheridan’s wall. But it didn’t last: Ord and Griffin were there. These corps were each larger than Lee’s entire 12,000 effectives. The gig was up. Lee asked for a cease fire to organize a surrender. Ord agreed, but Meade (moving towards the rear) was a jerk about it. It’s good that the fighting is over, but it’s sad to see the heartbreak of the men who lost. Grant treated Lee with respect and his terms were reasonable. Lee was not thrilled with surrendering, but knew nothing would come from further fighting. The soldiers cheered Lee as he rode by. For days they still tried to see him one last time. The 12th was the day to hand in the weapons and Lee stuck around to make sure it wasn’t too hard on them. He sent a farewell address to the men, which meant the world to them. It made them feel proud of what they did. Now the men were paroled and on their ways home. Lee met Longstreet along the way to Richmond. Longstreet had just met his old friend, Grant, on the same road. They were all countrymen again, though they may not feel the same for each other they once did.

June 8th, 2022

The Balkans The first war started in October 1912 when Montenegro moved into Albania. Soon, Turkey was pulled into a war on several fronts. The Greeks were pushing northward, but didn’t perform very well. The Turks were able to hold their own. Montenegro marched south to Albania and probably into Macedonia. The Serbs moved into Macedonia and picked up the slack from the Greeks. The Bulgarians drove the Turks in Thrace back to just 30 miles from Istanbul. Only Adrianople was held by Turkey because that is the only fortress that Abdulhamid upgraded. The war lasted six weeks and Turkey was devastated. The Bulgarians and Greeks raced for Salonika because whoever got there first got the city. Unfortunately for the Sephardic population, they would be Greeks. Their economic status would decline. Tens of thousands of soldiers were killed in single battles as artillery bombarded unguarded infantry and civilians. Even airplanes were used to drop bombs. Both sides committed atrocities. Serbs massacred Albanians, Turks massacred Christians. It was a violent affair. The Turks managed to hold the line outside Constantinople and their navy protected the Dardanelles, and an armistice was signed.
 
The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 The final couple days of Lee’s army are discussed. They kept marching west, while Humphreys and Wright chased after them north of the river. Grant and the others marched south of the river. The only gap between the end of the Appomattox and the next stretch of the James was at Appomattox Station, where all the supplies from Lexington were waiting. It was a race. The Army of Northern Virginia moved without much hassle until they got to Appomattox Courthouse. Grant had sent a note requesting a surrender a couple days prior, and Lee asked for terms. Lee wanted to discuss peace, but Grant could not due to Lincoln’s instructions. Then at Appomattox Station, Sheridan struck at night. Some two dozen guns that were being unloaded from trains were taken, while a couple fired at the cavalry. The guns were soon silenced and the critical area was in Federal hands. Lee soon sent a note to Grant requesting an audience to surrender.

June 7th, 2022

The Balkans The book is a bit boring. The Young Turks deposed the sultan in 1908 with astonishing ease. They were not quite sure it would happen that way and were not prepared to lead a nation. They ended up just as repressive to counter-revolutions and non-Turks as the regime they wanted to replace. The nations of the Balkans took advantage of this display of empirical weakness. The Bulgarians declared full independence, the Greeks annexed Crete, and the Austrians annexed Bosnia. After this, some of the Balkan states took state building into their own hands. The Serbs and Bulgarians put a ton of money and effort into improving their military. The Greeks lagged in this regard, especially after their defeat by Turkey. The Serbs were unhappy with Austrian encroachment on what they thought was their path to the sea. The Austrians held Bosnia and a path through Montenegro. The Serbs and Bulgarians ended up forming some alliances and treaties of their own. These expanded to include Greece and Montenegro in time for the First Balkan War in 1912. The Turks still refused to allow Albanian autonomy, and they finally revolted. They took some city with extreme ease. The other Balkan countries, seeing this, decided to push try and Turkey out of Europe.
 
The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 I read once during my illness. It was mostly about Lincoln after the fleeing of the Confederate government. He went to visit Petersburg and unwisely went to Richmond. Richmond still was not very secure after the rioting and the army was in pursuit of Lee with a small force left behind. Lincoln talked with one of the guys from the boat meeting and discussed how to bring Virginia back into the Union. The method discussed was to allow the elected legislature to meet and vote to leave the Confederacy and rejoin the Union. Thus Lee and many Virginians would be obligated to stop fighting. Lincoln allowed it to be attempted and went back to Washington, where he visited Seward. Seward had a carriage accident and nearly died. Lincoln returned to the White House late and received word from Stanton that Lee surrendered to Grant that day, April 9th. Then the book jumps to the story of Lee’s dash westward. He got to Amelia quickly and found there to be no food stored there. He was stuck scavenging and waiting for Ewell and others to escape across the James or Appomattox. Meanwhile, Grant did not have a headstart but had no river crossing to make and a 20 mile shorter march to the main railroad crossing. He beat Lee there and deprived him of his path the Danville. They all moved west to Farmville where there was more food. Longstreet held off an attempted bridge crossing by Ord on April 6th, but the good news stopped there. At Sailor’s Creek, a big gap opened between Longstreet and Ewell and Anderson. They were surrounded by Wright and Sheridan it was bad. Gordon and Anderson escaped, but some 6000 were killed or captured. Ewell himself was forced to surrender. The Confederates escaped across the Appomattox to their provisions, but Mahone forgot to burn the bridge and Humphreys crossed it. Lee was furious at losing the river buffer and sent him to hold the line. After days without food, the Confederates still managed to fight of the Federals. Lee then initiated his third night march in a row.

June 6th, 2022

The Balkans I was deathly ill so haven’t really read in a week. I still kinda am, so I’m don’t remember much of what I read. It was mostly about Turkey. Caliph or Emperor Abdulhamid was ruthlessly oppressive and much hated. But once the European powers started to make him look weak, conspiratorial groups took root against his regime. The Russians lost a war with Japan, badly, and so their Far East goals got stopped. They looked back to the Balkans. After the Turks killed all the Macedonian insurgents, the Greeks stepped into the void and undid all the Bulgarian work. It mentioned something how the Turks had very few universities, but excellent military schools due to Prussian influence. Turkey and Germany were pretty close. These military schools are where many of the conspirators were educated. I’m sure somewhere people are killing lots of other people. Right, the Turks genocided the Armenians. That’s why Germany was their only friend.

May 31st, 2022

The Balkans It’s hard to keep track of who’s killing who and why. The Russians managed to get King Alexander von Battenberg exiled and had him replaced with someone of Saxe-Coburg, though he proved to be a thorn in their side too. This chaos allowed the PM to take control and he ruled fairly ruthlessly and oppressively. Eventually the King got him outvoted, and he ended up murdered. All this time groups of Bulgarians are trying to stir trouble in Macedonia to be able to annex it. There’s also Macedonians who are trying to form their own insurrectionary group, but in order to be autonomous. So they’re all killing each other. Then you have insurrections in Crete, which the Greeks support so that they can join the kingdom. This leads to war with Turkey, who knock the Greeks out and the outside powers intervene. Crete becomes autonomous, but the Greeks lost so much money and manpower that they can’t expand north like they wanted. This leaves it to the warring Slavic groups. There’s no law or order and guerilla bands roam around forcefully converting villages to Bulgarianism. The external guys cause more trouble because they kill Turks and leave, and then the Turks get revenge on innocent bystanders. It really sucks in Macedonia. Then in 1902, the external guys force an insurrection that took the peasants by storm. The internal guys were not prepared and did not want it. At this point, Austria was worried about internal problems and Russia was focused on the far east, so they didn’t really care about the Balkans. The French and British just wanted to protect their property from terrorists, who were bombing indiscriminately. The Turks stepped in and stopped the uprising, but it was pretty bad.
 
The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 The day after Five Forks, the Federals broke through the Petersburg lines. Lee didn’t see it coming. Or he did, but could not get men in the right places quickly enough. A. P. Hill, a high-energy hard-fighter, was killed in the defense when Wright’s corps broke through. Parke broke through on the east. Gibbon’s corps (formerly Butler’s) had a difficult task of taking Fort Gregg. They lost 3 times as many men as were defending the place, but stormed all at once. After much hand-to-hand combat, the fort was theirs. The defenders held the fort for 3 hours, allowing Lee to pull out and head west. Lee had given the order to evacuate Richmond and Petersburg. Davis and his government left the city and traveled slowly to Danville, near the North Carolina border. Davis waited for Lee, but by the 5th of April he still had no word.

May 30th, 2022

The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 At this point, Richmond is pretty empty. Congress is gone, all the rich who can leave have left. Davis sent his wife and children away, waiting for Lee to tell him he must abandon the city. One of Congress’ last acts was to allow black soldiers in the Confederate army. This is too late to do any good, and no black soldiers ever fight. Many southerners are still opposed to it and think it will undermine slavery. A curious deathbed act. In the field, Grant moves his headquarters to the southwest end of the fortifications, some 10 miles from Petersburg, in preparation for the attack around Lee’s right. Wright and Ord hold the center of the long line, facing AP Hill. Parke (not sure who he is) is on the north end, facing Gordon in the city. Anderson holds the far right, which Grant wants to go around. Sheridan is charged with the attack, with infantry support from Warren and Humphreys. Pickett is taken from Longstreet, who is at Bermuda Hundred, to hold the road at Dinwiddie. Sheridan pushes him out, and Pickett takes up defense at Five Forks. Lee orders him to hold it at all costs. Unfortunately for Sheridan, it has been raining non-stop and the roads are quicksand. Grant orders Sheridan to pull back, but Sheridan rides to HQ and convinces Grant to allow the attack. Sheridan is not happy with Warren’s unenthusiastic acquiescence and asks for Wright instead. Grant refuses because it is too late and Wright is needed to attack the center later. The rain delay gives Pickett confidence that no attack is coming, and he leaves for a fancy dinner. When the attack comes, there is no one to run the show. The Confederates are taken prisoner en masse. Things get muddled from bad maps and Warren ends up in the wrong spot. It gets fixed and Sheridan urges everyone to keep moving. Sick of Warren, he removes Warren from duty and Griffin is given command. With Warren, the hero of Little Round Top, all of the commanders who came with Meade across the Rapidan one year ago are gone. Warren would fight this charge, and 15 years later, after his death, he would be exonerated. Grant sends him back to City point after this April Fool’s Day battle, only 8 days left in the war in Virginia. Pickett, another legend of Gettysburg, was completely routed and Lee will have to act quickly now that his right is in the air and his main supply roads are lost.

May 29th, 2022

The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 Talked a lot about how Lincoln’s wife was crazy. Then Grant complained about how everyone else was too slow to be useful. Canby hadn’t moved in a month, nor had Wilson. Someone else was supposed to move in Alabama, but had not. Or maybe it was Thomas sending Stonefield to attack western Carolina. Only Sheridan and Sherman had done their parts. Now both would be in for the kill.

May 27th, 2022

The Balkans After the Bulgarian union, King Milan of Serbia declared war on Bulgaria. Some Russians officers defied the tsar and remained in Bulgaria, and the Bulgarians were united in outrage against the aggression. They moved remarkably quickly and the Russian officers’ experience enabled them to fight of the Serbian army after a couple weeks. It was embarrassing, and Austria stepped in to ensure that the status quo before the war was kept. The Serbo-Bulgarian war of 1885 was the first instance of internal fighting among the Balkan nations, with no great power instigating. By 1900, Milan was dead or abdicated in favor of his son, who was a bad king. The army officers were one of his targets and they revolted, assassinating the king. A descendent of Karadjordje was again installed on the throne after 30 some years of Obredovic rule. The author also talks a lot about Sephardic Jews in Salonika. They’re unique because the Jews were very powerful and pretty much ran the city (in Macedonia). Some Bulgarians were there and formed a revolutionary group. This led to much bloodshed and problems.
 
The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 Johnston launched a surprise attack on Slocum south of Bentonville, but he lacked Hardee. The plan was to surprise them with a head on fire, then attack the flank. Without Hardee, he lacked the manpower for the flank attack. Hardee arrived in the evening, but the Federals had dug in. Howard eventually caught up and Johnston formed a V to fend off both sides. Sherman, however, did not want to attack. He did not want to lose any more men without Schofield. Sherman was surprised that Johnston attacked and that he had not left. Johnston was busy trying to get his wounded away. One brigade defied Sherman and attacked, but was ordered to return to his position. This attack cost Hardee his 16 year old son, who begged his father to be allowed to join the army. Bentonville was a dud due to the small Confederate force. Retreating to Smithfield or wherever, Johnston told Lee he could not stop Sherman, especially now that he caught up to Schofield in Goldsboro. After the link up, Sherman went up the coast to see Grant and plan their future link up to destroy the armies of Johnston and Lee. Lincoln also happened to be there. That day, March 25th or around there, Lee gave Gordon permission to launch an attack to take a fort. He was to break in and take the rear guns and start a chain reaction of turning guns on the Federals. Unfortunately, there were no rear guns. The attack failed, and Grant took advantage of the depleted lines to take Confederate installations. Lee warned Davis that he may have to abandon Richmond soon, and that time had come.

May 26th, 2022

The Balkans I should have mentioned that Chapter 3 covers 1878 or so until 1914, so the between the Berlin Conference and WWI. Today’s reading moves to the independent kingdoms of Serbia and Bulgaria. King Minas of Serbia was an autocrat in the Germanic style and was welcome at the courts of Berlin and Vienna. He was pretty much in the pocket of Austria, which many of the radical Serbians saw as a problem. These Serbs saw Russia as their patron and viewed Austria as hostile towards their goals, especially of taking Bosnia as Serbian land. There was an election for a parliament to pass some laws regarding railroads required by the Berlin Treaty but many radicals were elected. Another issue were laws to take away the weapons from peasants not in the military. Minas was building a “strong” military and didn’t need his own people causing domestic trouble. There was a revolt, which lasted two weeks but almost split the country in half. Minas’ army obeyed his commands and killed their own people. In Bulgaria, Alexander von Battenberg was installed as king and welcomed with open arms. He was the cousin of Tsar Alexander III, one brother married a daughter of Queen Victoria and another married a granddaughter of Queen Victoria. He was connected. His capital, Sofia, was way on the western border, but would’ve been central if, as per San Stefano, Bulgaria had gotten Macedonia. Alexander stood up to the Tsar and was not his puppet, but he also had to follow the will of the people. The Bulgarians of East Rumelia wanted to join with the kingdom, and Alexander was threatened with death if he opposed. Suddenly, a rebellion in the capital of East Rumelia seceded from the Ottomans and joined Bulgaria. Alexander voiced his support. This defied the Berlin Treaty, but the signers did nothing. The British supported Alexander, Austria was not interested, and Bismarck did not want to get tied down by Balkan problems. Russia was not happy. I don’t remember Turkey’s reaction, but they were probably not happy to lose more land, even if in name.
 
The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 Back to the action. There’s maybe 6 weeks of war left but still 200 pages. It’s strange to read with the knowledge that there are literally weeks left in the war, but these Confederates are still trying. They may not have hop, but they are trying. This second section goes back to Sherman and Schofield. Sherman’s two columns under Slocum and Howard made it through the South Carolina mud into North Carolina. Once he got towards Fayetteville, Schofield sent a boat up the river with months worth of correspondence. The Army of Tennessee was no longer in the dark, isolated from the world. Sherman now knew that Johnston was in command and grew cautious. Bragg was also in the field. On March 9th, Bragg made a move against Schofield. Johnston knew the situation was desperate and threw away his characteristic caution. He sent 3000 men to Bragg who attacked Schofield in an attempt to slow him down. It lasted a couple days and kind of work. He took a lot of prisoners after the first surprise attack, and on his way back burned all the bridges. Still, Schofield marched on and got to Goldsboro before Sherman. Sherman marched in a north easterly direction from Fayetteville and was dogged by Confederate Cavalry. Then in mid-March, Slocum encountered Hardee’s men. Hardee’s job was to slow them down, learn where they’re going (Raleigh or Goldsboro), and how many men were there. He formed a good defense in a river delta or something and dealt a good number more casualties than he lost, and retreated in the nightt . Sherman did not pursue. He did not want Hardee, he wanted Johnston’s whole army. He also wanted to link with Schofield. Sherman marched with Howard’s column, when he got word from Slocum he was being attacked by 5 Confederate generals at Bentonville. Johnston, unlike in Georgia, was on the attack.

May 25th, 2022

The Balkans Next topic is some of the aftermath of the Berlin Treaty. First, the Albanians were completely ignored. Pretty much alone in the Balkans, they speak a unique language unrelated to the Slavic branch of Indo-European. They also were spread out in the empire and had a good mix of Muslims and Christians (not sure if there were Catholics). The Albanians were so useful to the empire that the Porte actively tried to repress any Albanian nationalism from growing. The treaty more or less gave Albania to Montenegro, and this was too much. The Albanians wouldn’t mind being in the empire, but they would not be subject to Montenegrins. They formed an army and fought for their territory. Unfortunately, everyone was against them. The Greeks, the Montenegrins, the Austrians, and even the Ottomans were convinced to get involved. This in turn created a fiery Albanian nationalism. They were crushed and would be forced to turn to subversive efforts to gain their independence. Similar things happened in Macedonia. This was a key region in the Balkans; it was the main thoroughfare through the mountains. Thus is had a strong mix of nationalities and religions. These people felt robbed that they were forced to remain in the empire and of course revolted. I don’t really remember how it went, but this would be a recurring problem for Macedonia. It didn’t really have a religious or ethnic identity, but a regional identity. This stands out from the other nations fighting for a Serbian or Bosnian or Albanian land. Next up was Bosnia. The Muslims were not happy about Austrian soldiers marching into their land and, you may have guessed, revolted. It took several months and a third of the Austrian army to stamp down this revolt. Just one more powder keg that could explode at any moment.

May 24th, 2022

The Balkans Chapter 3 starts with a more detailed description of the Berlin Conference after the war between Turkey and Russia. The powers of Europe, those being France, England, Russia, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Italy, and Turkey gathered in Balkan-neutral Germany to discuss the fate of the region. With the Ottomans on their way out, Austria and Russia were moving in. This could only lead to war, which Germany wanted to prevent. Germany, Austria, and Russia were the great conservative powers and Bismarck did not wany any rifts. The people of the Balkans had no official representation and were lucky to be allowed to speak at the conference. Turkey was essentially there to give up its lands. England got Cyprus to watch over, Austria got Bosnia to watch over, Russia got its Bulgaria and wrangled Bessarabia from Romania, and France got nothing. To compensate France, it got Tunisia, which set off the whole scramble for Africa. This conference is responsible for much of the problems of the Balkans (other than nationalism as an ideology) and the colonial effects in Africa. But it averted a major war for 30 years, so that’s not too bad. Maybe a major war would’ve been better sooner, before airplanes and machine guns.

May 23rd, 2022

The Balkans Finished chapter two, not really sure what happened. Serbia raised an army, but it was really outdated. In 1876 or so, after the Bulgarian massacres, the militant spirit was up. Some Russians volunteered to fight in the name of Pan-Slavism and the Serbs declared war on the Ottomans. The war lasted 2 weeks, Serbia was crushed. Russia intervened to end the war and the status quo before the war was kept. Something else to note is that after Austria got beat up by Prussia in 1866, they created the Dual Monarchy and Hungary was given equal/higher status. While the Austrians eye up Bosnia, the Hungarians don’t want any more Slavs to dilute their power. Then the Prussians beat up France in 1871 and Europe is all messed up. Some time after the Serbian war, Russia declares war on the Ottomans and whip them. They come up with the San Stefano treaty to redraw borders, but Prussia intervenes to draw more favorable borders, ones that won’t lead to war among the European powers. Austria “administered” Bosnia. Serbia, Romania, Montenegro got independence. The main discussion was over Bulgaria. Russia wanted a huge Bulgarian state. The Berlin treaty created a small Bulgaria, with the rest of the territory split between an autonomous East Rumelia and Macedonia, which stated Ottoman.
 
The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 Chapter 7 starts with Grant’s plan to keep Lee from retreating west (Lynchburg) or southwest (Danville). Sheridan has mostly been bored, so he was sent to do some demolishing. In the Valley were some local partisans causing a lot of trouble. Mosby’s men were a couple hundred Virginian’s doing a lot of damage to the Union despite their lack of training. The fighting starts will capturing and hangings. Some 7 of Mosby’s men were killed. Mosby retaliates by making his prisoners take a lottery for execution. Two escaped on the way, but 5 were executed. This stopped the hangings. Regardless, Sheridan went on with his mission while Hancock and infantry were sent to deal with Mosby. March 2nd, Sheridan catches up to Early and captures essentially his whole army. Early escapes with a few men back to Lee. Lee was going to send him back, but decides to send him home to wait for further instructions. Little did they now there was one month left in the war. Sheridan carried on to do his destruction. At this same time, Lincoln was inaugurated. Johnson’s inauguration went poorly. He was recovering from typhoid and took some whiskey to give him strength. He rambled and people were weirded out. Lincoln gave a short speech that some viewed as drivel, but others, especially in England, saw as deep and moving.

May 22nd, 2022

The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 Read some on Friday but I forgot to write. Lee is made commander-in-chief of all armed forces. Breckinridge replaces Semmes as Secretary of War after the latter resigns. The three delegates were not going to be received by the Union delegation, but Grant made an appeal to Lincoln. This seems to have convinced him not only to allow the meeting to occur, but to go personally. However, it goes nowhere because Lincoln will not have any sort of negotiations until the war is over. This lights a fire in the south and gives new popularity to Davis, though it is a little too late. There’s no men left in the south to fight the war. In early February, Grant launches another attack around Lee’s southeast flank, but it gets stalled. Both armies’ lines get stretched 30 more miles. This is nothing for Grant, but a big deal for Lee’s starved and shrinking army. The Siege of Petersburg has lasted 8 months so far. The main action is in Sherman’s march. Despite the mud and terrible conditions of a South Carolinian winter, the two columns of Union forces make good progress, burning and destroying much in site. There is little to stop them, just some cavalry skirmishers. Sherman’s ruse works and the Columbian’s have no idea he’s coming until a few days before. Beauregard frantically tries to raise a defensive force, but the city is abandoned. Union men get drunk and 2/3 of the city ends up burning. Sherman blames the Confederates for leaving the city full of cotton, booze, and other flammables. He had no intent on burning the city, but does not mourn it’s loss. A few days later he starts the march for North Carolina, but this time has a lot more trouble with the roads. Schofield had captured Wilmington and was on the move. March begins with the two armies on their way to conjunction. After Columbia, Lee makes the decision, with Davis’ unenthusiastic blessing, to place Joe Johnston at the head of middle army. Beauregard is disappointed, always being second fiddle and never getting a chance to prove himself in a full scale battle. Johnston is not pleased either, viewing the command as doomed to fail, or worse, a death sentence.

May 20th, 2022

The Balkans The book talks more about Bulgarians and how their national identity was formed as a struggle against the Greek influence. The Bulgarians got permission to establish their own Orthodox Church and of course it was a conflict. Then it goes back to Serbia and its progress as an autonomous region from the 1830s to the 1870s or so. Milosh Obrenovich played the political game and was able to get some foreign entities to establish consuls in Serbia. Political turmoil got him exiled and his son Michael reigned for 3 years. He was ousted for the son of Karadjordje. Then Michael came back 20 years later and reigned for a decade before getting assassinated. The Serbs struggled with the idea of Pan-Slavism or Pan-Orthodoxism, while at the same time wanting to centralize power in Belgrade. Their goals clashed with the Greek goals of wanting to establish their old Hellenistic empire. Place is a mess.

May 19th, 2022

The Balkans I think some of the chapters are a bit ambitious and try to cover too many things. The author jumps around in time and space regularly. The author mentions a financial crisis of 1873 and a bad winter and following spring that led to famine, with many people in the food-starved cities dying. Then in Bosnia and Hercegovina they were struggling against their tax collectors, who had quite abusive powers. Especially after the economic breakdown, they tried to extract more money. The Bosnians and Serbs had a plan to break away, with Austrian aid. But someone decided to attack a Muslim band of merchants and the shot was heard ‘round the world. The Ottomans brought the armies into Hercegovina and there was plenty of blood. This inspired the Bulgarians to rebel, but they had no real plan and they were shut down very quickly. None of the great powers really cared about Bulgaria. It had no strategic value for them yet, and was too close to Istanbul. Muslims and Christians were massacring each other, with tens of thousands killed. The Europeans were shocked at the murder of Christians and wanted their governments to intervene. There was also something about Turks finding national identity. Turk was a pejorative as it implied peasantry. The high-class guys spoke Ottoman, a bastard child of Turkish and Arabic but was incredibly confusing and nobody could read it. People started to refer to the Ottoman Empire as a Turkish empire, not just a Muslim empire.
 
The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 Mostly political talk in the rest of this section. The Army of Virginia was starving and there wasn’t much anyone could do about it. Lee know that a siege would destroy his army and it looks like he is being proven right. Men have no food and many of them are leaving for Yankee prison camps. Hood goes to Texas to recruit soldiers. Semmes, of the Alabama fame, returns to Richmond and is made admiral of the ships on the James, however few and weak they are. Most of the section discusses the growing resentment towards Jefferson Davis from the senate and other Confederate leaders. They blame him for the poor state of things, or they blame him for not pursuing peace. Men offer, but Lee refuses, to make the general the military commander of the army. There are plenty of schemes to usurp power from Davis. A political advisor of many decades in DC, Blair, volunteers to go to Richmond and talk to Davis, who he when Davis was a senator. Lincoln allows him to go, but it seems futile. Davis will only accept peace with independence, Lincoln will not acknowledge the new nation as legitimate. Regardless, Davis sent three prominent men, including his VP, to DC for talks.

May 18th, 2022

The Balkans I don’t really remember what I read. It jumped around through several short topics. After the Crimean War, the British and French gave the Ottomans lots of loans and put them in serious debt. They were in millions of pounds of debt which they could never repay. They also had to sign treaties to for certain trade rules which undermined native product. Eventually, the declared bankruptcy which led to crisis. Also, with Russian expansion into the Caucasus, Muslims fled to the Ottoman Empire. Many Crimean Tartars also immigrated there after the war. Some were resettled in Anatolia, but others in Bulgaria. This led to overpopulation and clashing between religious groups. Also during this time was a growth of a “Turkish” as opposed to “Ottoman” ethnic identity.

May 17th, 2022

The Balkans Chapter two starts off with Bosnia. It’s main focus seems to be the Bosnian Uprising of 1875, but it starts a few decades earlier. The Ottoman Empire was organized by nations of religion (millets). Ethnicity or language or location were not a factor. All Christians were a nation, all Muslims were a nation, and all Jews were a nation, with their own laws. It worked for a couple centuries, but the changes of the 19th century shook things up. The Ottomans were too rural to economically undeveloped to compete in the modern world. Some Ottomans tried to make some reforms in the 1850s or so, called the Tazmat. They wanted to abolish the nations rule and feudal dues and some other things. The Bosnian Muslim landlords blew a gasket and essentially went into rebellion. The Sultan sent Omar Pasha, a Hapsburg Croat turned Ottoman Muslim who was an excellent field marshal. He wiped out the Muslim hierarchy and consolidated the emperor’s power in Bosnia, all in the name of helping the poor Christian peasants. As with any war, the peasants suffered greatly. With the job done, Pasha left and the region was destabilized. The rebellion was over, and I think next something happens as result of the Crimean War.
 
The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 Section 2 is on the Confederate plans at the beginning of the year. There was some talk of freeing the slaves, or freeing them after military enlistment. Robert E. Lee encouraged the training of black soldiers. Though in a country created to preserve slavery, this was hotly debated and came to nothing. The main military change so far is the resignation of Hood. After destroying his army, he handed it over to Beauregard and went to the capital for a different type of service. The Army of Tennessee was given to Richard Taylor, but shortly after, his command was split up. Not sure who went where. I think Cheatham was sent to Charleston to prepare for Sherman, and Lee’s Corps was sent to fight Canby. Forrest was given some other job. They don’t have enough men for any of this.

May 16th, 2022

The Balkans The guy who bombed Prague was essentially in charge of saving the empire. They got Ferdidand to abdicate and his nephew Franz Joseph was made emperor at age 18. They used Jelacic to weak Hungary but didn’t provide him promised troops, probably to weaken the Croat nationalists also. Eventually Russia joined Austria and crushed the Hungarians, ruthlessly. The Croats were a bit less reactionary than the Hungarians and didn’t even get rid of feudal obligations. The last section of the chapter is about the Danubian provinces of Wallachia and Moldavia, which make up part of modern Romania. These principalities are part of the Ottoman Empire, Transylvania is part of Austria, and Russia is very interested in the region. For a long time these principalities were under the heel of the Greek aristocrats, but during the Greek War of Independence, they more or less got the boot, though they were supposed to be a significant battleground for the Greeks. The Romanians had some autonomy, though the Romanian boyars just kind of replaced the Greeks. It was still oppressive for the peasants. This was the one region of the Ottoman Empire to revolt in 1848. The Ottomans didn’t really care since they had little sway in the region, but Russia convinced the Ottomans to step in. There was a lot of rivalry between Wallachia and Moldavia, and the population was divided on whether to join as one Romanian country. Wallachia tended to outshine Moldavia with its capital at Bucharest. The Romanians wanted their own monarchy instead of being a Russian protectorate in the Ottoman Empire. They got their chance during the Crimean War. Russia occupied this region and Austria threated to invade if they did not leave. When Russia lost the war, Romania was part of the spoils. England didn’t want an independent Romania because they wanted a strong Ottoman Empire, but France under Napoleon III did. Romania had a native king for some time, but deposed him and recruited a German of some Hohenzollern branch. This was controversial, but Bismarck and the Prussians invaded Austria and took some land, and Italy (or maybe Piedmont. Don’t know if Italy was unified yet) took Venice, so Austria was in no place to interfere. When Germany became a unified country in 1871, having a German king gave them a boost of legitimacy. That’s all I can remember.
 
The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 Chapter 6 begins with Grant’s plans to end with war. Grant and Sheridan will put pressure on Lee, along with Ord, who replaced Butler. Butler went to DC to complain about his dismissal and during his review on why Fort Fisher was unassailable, the news came that the fort had been taken. Porter bombarded the hell out of it while General Terry assaulted with land forces. The fort held out for 3 days with 800 men and only one regiment of South Carolinans to reinforce it during the siege. But Terry had assaulted at two points, one of which went unnoticed. After some hand-to-hand fighting, the fort was firmly in Union hands. Colonel Lamb was wounded, and General Whitting died of his wounds later. Out west, the Transmississippi was ignored. Curtis left the department after getting no recognition for stopping Price’s raid and went to war-free Minnesota. Grant made sure Thomas would have no place in the 1865 offensives. He sent AJ Smith down to General Canby, who had replaced Banks. Wilson would also go down south. They were to take Mobile and Montgomery. Schofield was taken out east to assault Wilmington, then link up with Sherman. Sherman began his march north through the Carolinas. He left Savannah whole and the people generally took him to be a decent occupier, not the savage they thought would destroy their city. The first target was Columbia, SC, though the army would feint towards Charleston and Greensboro (maybe). After that city was occupied and probably destroyed, they’d march to NC and meet Schofield en route. I don’t know their target, but North Carolina seemed pretty reluctant to join the Confederacy. They were the last ones and if they hadn’t, they’d have been invaded by South Carolina and Virginia. Though with ports open, they probably would have been well defended by boat-transported troops. Either way, don’t give them the Atlanta treatment. In other news, after some backdoor politics, the 13th amendment was passed. Slavery was officially abolished in the United States. Congratulations.

May 13th, 2022

The Balkans Like most places in the Balkans, Croatia has a complicated history. Like Serbia, it was once an independent kingdom. I guess it was under Hungarian authority within the empire. In 1809, Napoleon did what Napoleon does and created a new kingdom in the area. I think the Kingdom of Illyria encompassed Dalmatia, parts of Croatia, and maybe up to Venice. A big change was Napoleon allowed Croatian (and Slovenian?) to be used as official administrative languages. This kind of awoke a nationalism or cultural identity. There usual Balkan question then came up: what exactly is a Croatian? Should there be a Croatian movement, a Pan-Slav movement, a Yugo-Slav movement? And the Serbs and Greeks and Croats and Hungarians, all preaching about their “ancient kingdoms” happen to claim the same lands. Not a recipe for peace. Then the revolutions of 1848 make everything messy. The Hungarians get their own parliament and some autonomy and oppress the Croatians and Serbs of Vojvodina. These guys team up and fight the Hungarians, with some support from the “independent” Serbia of the Ottoman Empire. Both Hungarians and Slavs continue to profess fealty to the Kaiser. The Kaiser, with is Viceroy Jelacic, support the Croats (though secretly the Kaiser is opposed to national movements). It gets bloody quickly with military movements and regular lynchings of the supposed enemy. Hungary also makes some claims to Transylvania and Slovakia, and thus provokes uprisings there. Italians in Venice and Lombardy revolt. Czechs in Prague revolt. The Russians come to the empire’s aid against Hungary. It’s crazy. I read a book on 1848 already and it’s still a lot to follow. I guess for the purpose of the Balkans, it’s important to know that Croats and Serbs (of Vojvodina) unify under the emperor to fight Hungary, while at the same time their national movements dream of claiming the same lands.
 
The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 This is the end of the longest chapter I’ve ever read in a book. Foote seems to like to end or begin chapters with a short section on the political happenings. Chapter 5, and thus the middle section, ends with Lincoln. The author mentions that Rosecrans, now head of the Army of Missouri or what have you, is replaced. So ends the war for Rosecrans, who once held the highest position in the west. All it takes is a Chickamauga, though Rosecrans was probably disliked by those in charge before then. Also departing is Farragut. Due to health reasons, he decides to retire, along with his ship, and is celebrate throughout the country for his service. Something terrible then happens in the west. A Colorado militia decides to slaughter the Indians. That was their goal, to actually murder women and children. And they did. They went to Kansas, found some Indians camped outside a US fort for protection, and killed them. I couldn’t make it as a ruler. If I were Lincoln, I’d have every man who participated in this slaughter summarily executed without trial. Maybe I’d give them a chance to speak. I’m sure there were some who were pressured into going and do not deserve a death sentence. But the leader would certainly be killed. But in this world, you get away with it. Without absolute might, you cannot make right. Anyway, I think the other news was that Salmon Chase replaced Taney as Chief Justice after the latter kicked the bucket. Now there are 300 pages left and 4 months of war, plus epilogue. Winter tends to be uneventful.

May 12th, 2022

The Balkans There were some conflicting groups within the Greek Independence movement. There were the Peloponnesians, the Rumelians (“mainland Greeks”), and the islanders (mostly of Hydra, Psara, Spetses). Within these groups were the low-class militants who just wanted to replace Ottoman rule with their own, and sort of aristocrats who wanted a new central government. This is the main difference from the Serb uprising. There were also Greeks who were influenced by western and French Revolutionary thought, and many of these guys lived outside the empire. So there was no unified front and there was plenty of fratricide on the mainland. The islanders tended to hold their own and keep the Ottomans at bay. The main aid to independence was foreign intervention. The British, French, and Russian governments signed a treaty in 1827 that they would not interfere, but later a British fleet destroyed the Ottoman fleet at Navarino because they did not hold up their end of the treaty. The British government was angry at this move by the navy. They wanted Ottoman unity to keep Russia in place and to keep their access to eastern colonies secure. But the die was cast after they decided to loan the Greek insurgents money. Without a navy, the Ottoman army was screwed. Greek had attained its independence by 1831, and a constitution and government were imposed on them by the three powers. But there was no unity and civil war plagued the country for several more years. Their self-established government ended with assassination. The three empires established a monarchy in Greece with a Bavarian prince as its first king. The book then moves onto Croatia and Hungary in 1848, beginning to tell of Jelacic, a Croatian field marshal who came to help the region against its Hungarian oppressors. The Hungarians had recently tried to become independent and reclaim its ancient lands.
 
The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 Mostly some wrap up of the chapter and odds & ends. Grant was mad at Thomas for not pursuing Hood’s army, but things were good elsewhere. Sherman captured Savannah by Christmas and would next march north through South Carolina. Stoneman had wrecked some salt mines in the Shenandoah. Sheridan did some action in the same region but I don’t think anything came of it. The Butler-Porter move on Wilmington, NC started. Butler’s plan to use a dummy ship full of explosives didn’t pan out. It exploded, but Fort Fisher was mostly untouched. Porter sent plenty of shots at it, but to no avail. Butler landed for a land assault and turned back because he heard Hoke was going from Virginia. Then Butler just left. Porter tried again but then he left to a nearby port also. Now that it’s after the election, Butler’s political power is not so important. Grant will replace him and the assault will be attempted again.

May 11th, 2022

The Balkans The book is very detailed and I’ll be lucky to remember 10% of it. The First Serbian Uprising ended in 1813 with the flight of Karadjordje. A new governor was installed by Mahmud II; Semil III was dead. He turned out to be ruthless and things were as bad as before. The new organized peasantry rebelled again. A new Serb, Milos something-o-vich, filled his spot and in place of armed rebellion, established power within the confines of the empire. The Sultan became very dependent on him and he became very powerful and rich. He was very oppressive though, and the peasants rebelled to no gain. Milos establish his own dynasty with hereditary rule. Karadjordje returned in 1817 and was executed. Next the book moves to the Greeks. To be Greek didn’t mean much. There was no real ethnic identity. They called themselves Christians, Romans, or Greeks (Hellenes was “revived” later). If you were in the Orthodox Church, you were a Greek. If you were a Muslim, you were not, even if you were from the Peloponnese and spoke Greek. The Greek speakers had a wide diaspora and many held important roles, as a result of the history of the Byzantines. There were also peasants who were in the same state as Serbs and others. Greeks ruled Wallachia and Moldavia and essentially controlled commerce and maritime trade. In 1814 in Odessa, Russia, some Greeks establish a secret society, the Friendly Society, to vaguely reclaim the “motherland”. This didn’t mean much. They started to spread throughout the empire. The Patriarch of the Church tried to stop its spread, fearing the reaction of the Turks. In Albania, there was a fat man named Ali Pasha who had gained much power as governor. The Turks blamed him for the Society and invaded in 1820. He had nothing to do with the Society, but joined its forces in reaction. By 1821, there was full blown civil war for an independent Greece. And it was not limited to modern Greece. Rebellion was in all locations of Christian society. It led to Christians being massacred in Istanbul and other Muslim cities. In retaliation, Muslims were slaughtered in Greek cities. It was genocide, but by 1825, the Turks had reclaimed a lot of the areas in rebellion.
 
The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 After the defeat outside the city, Thomas thought Hood would flee. Schofield knew Hood better; he said he wasn’t going anywhere and he’d fight. Schofield was right. Hood was dug in just a few miles south. He build a straight line between two hills with his left turning southward. Cheatham had the right, Lee the left, and Stewart’s beaten men in the hopefully safer center. The Federals picked up where they left off yesterday and eventually made their way south. Steedman and Wood attacked the right hard, hoping to turn it and take the Franklin Turnpike, the Confederate avenue of retreat. It was not to be and it was the bloodiest fighting of the day. Smith attacked the Confederate center-left, and Schofield and Wilson attacked the left. Smith, Schofield and Wilson were supposed to coordinate and launch an attack to take the western hill, but Schofield wanted more men. Wilson complained to Thomas, who ordered an immediate attack. The hill was taken before Wilson even returned to his men. After 4 hours off hard fighting, the Confederate army collapsed and ran for the turnpike. Luckily for them, it was still in their rear. The cavalry (not Forrest, he hadn’t returned yet) kept the western forces in place and Lee held the left while the rest of the army ran for their lives. Thousands of soldiers were captured, and several generals were caught or wounded, even one who cruelly had his brains beaten out with a saber by an Ohioan (he survived somehow). Some Tennesseans held the western hill during the retreat under a Colonel Shy, whose death on the hill gave it the name Shy’s Hill. So the gray army collapsed but the blues were checked by the rear guard. The Confederates ran for the next two days and they just kept running to Alabama. Forrest eventually returned and lived up to his reputation by keeping the pursuers at bay. Eventually Thomas couldn’t keep up, and with all the bridges burned and excellent rear guarding, he called the pursuit off. He did his job, that army was done for. Foote calls this the last great battle of the war. I guess with 4 months left in the war and a siege in Petersburg, there won't be much organized fighting.

May 10th, 2022

The Balkans So there were dahi (janissary leaders) and knez (local Serb chieftains). There were 4 dahi and they were corrupt and cruel. They learned some knezes were bringing in weapons from Austria (I guess this region sided with Austria in the war a few years before) and decided to slaughter a bunch of knezes before they could rebel. This, surprisingly, led to rebellion. At first the Serbs and Sultan worked together, and the dahi were killed. The Serbs had formed a rag-tag military force under Karadjordje, who ultimately forced many Serbs to fight under penalty of death. He made some demands to the Ottomans, and the Sultan was likely to concede to them under they went to war with Russia in 1806. Another money-wrench was Austerlitz. With the end of that war, France got the Dalmatian coast and was now a Balkan power. Russia and the Ottomans mostly went to war over Wallachia and Moldavia. The Russians and Serbs teamed up, but the Russians sold out the Serbs in 1812 to end the war and deal with Napoleon. Karadjordge and other leaders fled to Austria. During this chaotic period, nobody had firm control over the Belgrade pasha or had the same plans for its future. Some wanted a monarchy, others localized oligarchy. The northern Germanized Serbs in Vojvodina wanted a westernized system of government. I think the story is getting a little clearer.

May 9th, 2022

The Balkans This is going to be a rough read. The names of people towns just look very foreign, and not only in a single language. I assume there is romanization of various Slavic names, but as we are talking about the Ottomans, Arab and Turkic names. Then I don’t really know the geography, and names of regions that once were part of different empires now are part of certain small countries. Right now it is the start of the 19th century and a lot of this area is Ottoman, under Semil III. I don’t know so much about the Ottomans other than they are past their prime by this point. The basis of the society is confusing. There’s the emperor and he has elite warriors, janissaries. They are not supposed to marry and all that, but by this time they are doing whatever they want and creating sort of mini dynasties. Semil wants to reform all that and go back to the old ways. He has another problem. The governors (pashas?) of distant territories have since become semi-autonomous. Semil does not really have control of his empire. There is some sort of revolt going on up north in the Balkans and Semil was supporting a governor, but in 1798, Napoleon invades Egypt. Semil has to leave the Balkans to themselves and fight this front. The Ottomans have not kept up with Europe. They rejected the modern approach to economics and fell behind as western Europe filled with American gold and silver. They became poor and unstable, often near famine conditions. The book starts off at full sprint, so it will be slow going for a while.
 
The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 Thomas made a move, but not without a lot of drama. He moved too slow for the likes of Grant and Lincoln, 500 miles away and in their own stagnation. Thomas wanted to be prepared, and prepared he’d be. Grant and Halleck implied Thomas would be replaced, which he said he’d accept if necessary. Grant was going to send Black Jack Logan, who replaced McPherson on the field, to take over if a battle did not arise. After a delay by a several day ice storm, Thomas announced his move. December 14th he would move against Hood’s works. Steedman was to attack the Confederate right (Cheatham) as a feint to attract forces from the left, while AJ Smith attacked the right (Stewart). Later, Wood would add more force to the attack on the right. Finally, Schofield would launch the knock-out punch. Wilson’s cavalry would swing around the right and attack the rear. Lee manned the Confederate center, which did not get attacked. The left feint did not work and Cheatham kept Steedman at bay on his own. The attack on the right did not go as quickly as hoped and got stuck at 3 redoubts, which the Union forces eventually took. Lee was sent to reinforce the right and even some from Cheatham. The two redoubts on the north were the last to fall. Hood and his men fell back another line in the rear as night fell. While Hood was beaten, he was not destroyed. But while he was outside Nashville, the battle would continue.

May 7th, 2022

Our First Civil War The ends with the immediate post-war years and an epilogue on a few lives of the major players. In the army, the discontent had grown to include the officers. An anonymous manifesto was passed around to organize a meeting to discuss action. They wanted to get paid for their 8 years of service, and rightly so. Washington was disgusted by this breach of protocol. He had just denied Hamilton’s idea of using the army to pressure Congress to take certain actions. He forbid the meeting and organized his own, where he gave a speech that essentially convinced everyone to cool it. He then sent a letter to Congress, which persuaded them to pay the officers. The next day, a letter from Franklin arrived announcing the treaty. While the details were being worked out, the British held on to New York until November. When they left, Washington’s army paraded across Manhattan. He gave his farewell and returned to Virginia. William Franklin, in England, reached out to his father in France. They wrote a little, but Ben couldn’t really get over his son choosing the other side. William Temple convinced them to meet, but it was a cool meeting that really cemented the end of the relationship. Ben returned to Philadelphia. The last chapter was an epilogue. It’s disturbing that the author talks about the Constitutional Convention without mentioning Shay’s Rebellion. He makes it sound like there was a happy ending to the war (for the winners) when many rank-and-file men were still in debt and being mistreated by the government they fought to create. This book really stinks. I’ll touch on the lives of some of the people there aren’t 1000 books about. Benedict Arnold fought for the British, capturing a town in Connecticut, then left for England with his wife. After the war, he tried his hand at business in Canada but floundered. He privateered during the French Revolution, was captured and bribed his way out of execution, then died in 1803 or so. Thomas Hutchinson faded from view and wrote a history on Massachusetts. He died in 1780 before the third volume was published. Grace Galloway died poor in 1782. Joseph Galloway was convicted of treason in absentia and lost his lands. He remained in England, railed against Howe and the outcome of the war, then gave up politics and wrote about religion. He died in 1803 also. William Franklin received a pension from the government and was essentially written out of his father’s will. He died in 1813. That one slave who ran off to New York was given his freedom and transported to Canada. Many slaves got bad land in Nova Scotia and had a hard time. Some went to Sierra Leone, a British colony in Afria. The other slave, who fought for the US, was given his freedom. The Iroquois Joseph Brant was relocated to the Ohio area with the other tribes. He was eventually treated as a representative of his nation and met with President Washington. He died shortly before the Indians had to fight again in 1812. Some 50k to 100k Americans, who had chosen King over Congress, left the country after the war. To Canada, England, or the Caribbean their exile took them.
 
The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 After dealing with the disappointment, Hood decided to attack Franklin. It was heavily fortified and instead of another flank, which Forrest suggested he be allowed to do, Hood ordered a frontal attack. As expected, it was a disaster. Two Union divisions that were outside of the defenses were overrun and most were killed or captured, and the Confederate divisions who did this got their blood up. They ran ahead of the other divisions and penetrated the Union divisions before being quickly pushed back. It was a slaughter. Something like 7000 Confederates were killed, captured, or wounded. Half of his officers were out of the war. Schofield lost some 1000 men and crossed the river in the night. He made it to Nashville and the safety of Thomas’ additional 30,000 men. Hood did not cut his losses and marched to Nashville anyway. Two weeks went by and Hood had essentially stayed in place outside Nashville. In the meantime there was an attack by Forrest at Murfreesboro, to get a straggling Union corps, but the Confederate infantry ran after contact. Hood’s army was whipped and Thomas is going to destroy them if they don’t leave Nashville. Hood was not a good choice of commander. Would Hardee have made the same mistakes?

May 6th, 2022

Our First Civil War The last section goes over the peace treaty. After Yorktown, Lord North’s government lost the election and a new government favorable to peace was installed. Negotiations started and Franklin was adamant that they would not leave France behind. The war continued and the French lost a battle in the West Indies, de Grasse was captured. After that, France was more willing to seek peace, and they were willing to go for a separate peace. John Adams and John Jay joined the negotiations. Franklin was adamantly anti-Loyalist and would promise no reparations to them. John Adams cared about New England fishers, and they got the Ohio territory. None of it matters, we know the British wouldn’t leave and 30 years later there’d be more war.
 
The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 Everyone was worried of what Thomas would do in Tennessee. Hood decided to go for him. On November 16th, the day Sherman torched Atlanta, he finally crossed the river. His plan was to rush on Columbia and split Schofield and Thomas, then destroy one at a time. Schofield was slow to react and barely made it to Columbia first. Hood then made a flanking move. His guns stayed in place to distract the Union forces in Columbia and Forrest went 10 miles down river to keep James Wilson and cavalry in place. The Confederates crossed the river and tried to get to Franklin, the next river crossing. It nearly worked, but James Wilson warned Schofield about Forrest and Schofield told Thomas, who told him to move to Franklin. The IV corps met the Confederates on the way and thwarted their plans. The small corps was against Hood’s toughest men, who decided to quit. For some reason, the Confederates didn’t launch another attack. Everyone blamed each other for the disintegration, but Schofield got away.

May 5th, 2022

Our First Civil War William Franklin was disgusted by Cornwallis after Yorktown. Not only did Cornwallis give up very quickly, he abandoned the Loyalists and allowed them to be held as civil prisoners. Franklin was out of his imprisonment and lost all faith in the leading British men. Clinton was replaced by Guy Carelton of Canada, but Parliament did not let him do much. Franklin decided to take Loyalist protection in his own hands and formed an extralegal militia in New York, like his father’s Pennsylvania Association. Whatever the Patriots did to one of theirs, they’d do to a Patriot. A militia group executed a Loyalist, so the Association hanged a caption who was part of the executioners. They left a note. Washington demanded retribution, but Clinton said the leader would be court martialed. The leader said it was Franklin’s orders, and it ended there. It was a big debate whether to execute a Loyalist in retribution, but Louis XVI intervened, claiming part ownership of the prisoner and that he would not consent to execution. Franklin read the room and gave up on America. He hopped on a ship to London in 1782. Then there was a chapter on the Jersey, a prison ship in New York. As expected of prison ships, it was awful and many died there. Patriots were not recognized as military prisoners and thus were treated as common criminals, that is, poorly. The last chapter of this section told the story of some slaves. One joined the British and served some officer. He had quite the adventure before winding up in British New York, where he lived as a freeman. Another slave from Connecticut was forced to fight as a Patriot, ironically for the “rights” of his master. Not sure why he didn’t go over to the British, but he fought the duration of the war. There is one section left, which I assume will be an epilogue of sorts. War’s over.
 
The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 Section 2 of the chapter describes Sherman’s March to the sea, which is surprisingly uneventful. Of course, if you’re a lonely woman on a farm and soldiers take your livestock and valuables, it is very eventful for you. But for the historian, very little of note seems to happen. Sherman split Slocum and Howard into two columns and tried to mislead the Confederates on their final destination. They veered towards Macon and some other major cities, but the only city of significance they marched through was the capital (Milledgeville, Atlanta became the capital after the war), and that they only occupied the night. There were no soldiers to defend the state and next to no militia. Many railroads were destroyed along the way. The only battle on the way was against old men and teenagers who were slaughtered by artillery, not knowing proper battle tactics. They got towards the coast and took Fort McCallister in 15 minutes, which allowed the navy use of the river. The army was followed by escaped slaves the whole time, which were more of a burden. When crossing one of the rivers, the army tried to sneak across to leave the slaves on the other side. Many of them attempted to swim across and drowned. Other than that, another battle from a Union force in South Carolina tried to protect a railroad that went to Richmond, but got whipped by militia. Other than that, the Union forces had a pretty good time. The best fed army in the country.

May 4th 2022

The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 The first section of chapter 5 mostly covers the state of affairs before winter hits. Lee is still trapped with long defenses spanning Richmond and Petersburg, though Longstreet fortunately returns to the field in October. A fourth corps is scrapped together for Anderson. Grant is pretty worried about Thomas out west. It does not look like he is taking the initiative to attack Hood, who may make his way north to Ohio. Wright, or whoever was sent to Sheridan, returns, and so do most of Early’s men. Early is told to remain in the Shenandoah Valley as a field commander. Hancock officially departs after all of the disasters since June and goes to Washington. He is replaced by General A. A. Humphreys, a fellow Pennsylvanian. Butler is supposed to make a move on Wilmington, NC, the last major Confederate port city, but keeps delaying. Grant tries to launch another southern attack in December to lengthen Lee’s supply lines, but winter hits hard and nothing comes of it. It has been a rough time for everyone involved.

May 3rd, 2022

Our First Civil War It’s just a biography of Washington. Washington wants Comte de Grasse, commander of the French navy, to block a British retreat from New York while he and Rochambeau assault it or besiege it. Nobody knows what de Grasse is going to do and eventually they all agree to go after Cornwallis in the Chesapeake. Nathaniel Greene was not doing so well on his own down there. De Grasse held off the British fleet and this was their one contribution to the rebel cause. Otherwise, the invasion of Virginia would have been cancelled. Washington and some took boats down while Rochambeau and the rest of the army marched. They besiege Yorktown for 13 days and then the Brits surrendered. Thus ends the war, more or less. There’s 60 pages left and I bet most will be about Washington.
 
The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 The chapter ends with a description of Hood’s plan to fight. He starts moving west through Alabama, planning to cross into Tennessee and strike Nashville quickly before Thomas can build strength there. Unfortunately, he cannot find a way across the river and sits idle. Most of October is wasted. Forrest joins him after performing another amazing destruction of a fort in Tennessee. Beauregard is not happy with the delay. Sherman finally got his OK to start the march towards the sea. The election occurs and Lincoln won by a huge margin of the electoral votes, yet only had 55% of the popular vote. Many people favored McClellan, even after the recent victories. Jefferson Davis had gone on a long tour to try to build morale among his countrymen, but I doubt it had enough effect. Some, like Richard Taylor, don’t believe the war will last past the next spring offensive.

May 2nd, 2022

Our First Civil War There are a few paragraphs on the southern states. So far in the war, the British failed to take Charleston and were barely holding on to Savannah. There were few regulars in the area and most of the fighting was between Loyalist and Patriot militias. Clinton eventually sent Cornwallis down south, and Charleston was taken at last. The Battle of Waxhaws in May 1780 was a Loyalist militia victory that had many Patriots killed who were surrendering. Vengeance was taken at the Battle of King’s Mountain, in October, where the Patriots decided to give no quarter. Cornwallis had a major victory in the summer at Camden, SC against the famed Horatio Gates. Unlike in Philadelphia, the British were able to recruit a lot of loyalists, especially with their important victories. Then we get the story of Benedict Arnold’s betrayal and his British cohort, John Andre, who was hanged as a spy. I always felt bad for Andre. Arnold was apparently profiteering in Philadelphia and the local government wanted to take him to court. Instead, he was court martialed and got a slap on the wrist. He was sent to West Point to gather information on the British and switched sides, mostly for money. We’ve all heard the story. We’ve also heard the story of Washington’s army crumbling and the Pennsylvania mutiny. I am very proud of the mutineers. They did exactly what they should have after years of lies and abuse. It is embarrassing that Congress fled from them instead of addressing their concerns. I like that they stood up to General Wayne and threatened to kill him if he fired his pistols. The army managed to prevent other mutinies, notably among the men from New Jersey. Washington downplayed it to the French, saying the mutineers were mostly immigrants. The French, meanwhile, have really done nothing for the Americans. Rochambeau was stock in Rhode Island and the navy took a couple Caribbean islands. It’s hard to say what psychological affect they had on the war, but materially it was not much. Washington sent an envoy to request certain things from the court in France.
 
The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 I neglected to mention that Forrest’s raid took Thomas and a couple divisions out of Atlanta. Davis made some changes to the army. Hood and Hardee could not work with each other. Hardee took Beauregard's old job in South Carolina, and Beauregard's got a new title. Davis combine Taylor’s and Hood’s armies under one leader, who was sort of in charge but not exactly. It was an interesting compromise but everyone was fairly happy. On September 8th, Sherman ordered all civilians to leave Atlanta, no exceptions. Hood started attacking and with his newfound mobility was wrecking stuff left and right. Sherman tried to give chase but it was really no use. He could not keep up or predict what Hood would do. Sherman wanted to leave Thomas in Tennessee and take the rest of the army east. He’d destroy Atlanta, take Savannah and let the navy bring him supplies. Grant would not approve and Sherman felt his inability to chase Hood was proving his point. It would be suicide to chase a mobile guerrilla army. He must take the entire state of Georgia.

April 29th, 2022

Our First Civil War Looks like I forgot to write yesterday. It’s a shame because it was finally interesting. We got a few chapters on Loyalists in Philadelphia. Joesph Galloway and General Howe teamed up to encourage a growth of Loyalism in the area, and Galloway was essentially in charge of the city. He was supposed to recruit some new divisions from local Loyalists. He couldn’t find too many and Galloway and Howe fell out with each other. Howe blamed Galloway for exaggerating the amount of loyalism in the area, and Galloway blamed Howe for doing nothing to foster loyalism. Howe was replaced by Henry Clinton and the army decided to leave and consolidate the forces in New York. Galloway took his daughter with him to New York, ultimately leaving for England. His wife was left in Philadelphia with the estate. Benedict Arnold, still recovering from his wounded leg, was given command of Philadelphia. Grace Galloway appealed to him for help, as her property was “confiscated” due to her husband, but he could do nothing but provide a guard. Grace was eventually forcefully evicted and became destitute, though she kind of enjoyed her new freedom. Washington chased Clinton and the armies met at Monmouth, NJ. The Continental Army, trained by General von Steuben during the winter, held their ground and the British left the field. Washington proved his army could produce results and diminished any chance of being replated by Gates. The British changed strategies now that they were at war with France. They had more than just the 13 colonies to worry about. France wanted their islands in the Caribbean and out east, and Spain joined the war. Destroying Washington was no longer the way to end the war. Lord North put out some feelers to Franklin on ways to make peace, but Franklin said American could in no way betray France. As long as French and American interests aligned, they were partners.
 
The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 The last tidbit in this section is about some more Confederate raids. One of the most famous raiders, John Hunt Morgan, was out on a mission in Tennessee with his diminished band of men. The Union army surprised them and Morgan was caught in someone’s house. He tried to surrender, but a Union soldier shot him anyway. Morgan was killed instantly. What a sick thing to do. The other raider, Forrest, fared better. Richard Taylor, now his superior in Alabama, wanted him to attack some railroads to ruin Sherman’s supply lines. He spent two weeks doing damage, taking a few forts, and a lot of burning. He had done better than Wheeler, and it took considerable time to fix the damage, but it was too late. All this started at the end of September. Sherman had been comfortable in Atlanta nearly a month. If this had been done while they were still outside the city, it may have meant something. I think the final section of this chapter will bring us to Hood’s army since the fall of Atlanta.

April 27th, 2022

Our First Civil War Once France knew about Burgoyne’s defeat, they wanted to make the treaties that America wanted. Franklin decided to be coy and play the diplomat, giving the impression that American and Britain could come to peace terms. This would mean no trade for France, a stronger British Empire, and no chance for revenge for 1763. Phillip Gibbes, who I didn’t mention the first time he came up, was a resident of the West Indies somewhere and took it on himself to try to negotiate peace between America and Britain. He thought Britain may allow a federal union of America and Britain, but Franklin doubted this could ever be possible. France and America signed some treaties and Franklin stayed in Paris. Adams replaced Silas Deane, who was profiteering, and was upset by how little Franklin did and how well liked he was. Franklin was Frankiphied and Adams didn’t care for French ways. Adams and Arthur Lee were stuck with all the work, actually making use of the treaties, while Franklin dined with women. Adams, per usual, was unpopular. All this was fine and dandy, but back in America Washington was stuck keeping his army together. His star was falling to Horatio Gates’ big win in New York and he was not happy about the little support he got from Congress. With Howe’s army settling in Philadelphia for the winter of ’77, Washington needed to keep close enough to keep an eye on them. The Continental Army settled in the open plains of Valley Forge for the winter, an area with no natural shelter and an indifferent population.
 
The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 The book continues about a bunch of different one-off events. Some Confederate ex-POWs managed to form a large enough group in Vermont to steal a few hundred thousand dollars from a town. A raider, the CSS Florida, was reported to be in Brazil. A Union ship went to find it and challenged it to a duel in international waters, a la the CSS Alabama. The Florida declined and enjoyed the neutrality of Brazil to take a break from fighting. The Union captain then decided to ignore international law and just attacked the ship in port and captured it. It took it back to the US and was an international scandal. It was likely that the ship would have to be returned, and the CSS “mysteriously” sunk. The next naval incident was the continuation of the CSS Albemarle holding the sound from Union ships while more ironclads were being built upriver. It was unbeatable. Then a 21 year old Lt Cushing offered his services to take a small boat and torpedo into the sound under the cover of darkness and sink it, if he and his crew could not take it through hand-to-hand combat. He had to jump over log stakes to get the ship close enough to launch the torpedo. It was launched and shortly after his ship was blown out of the water. Two men drowned, Cushing escaped by swimming to shore, the rest were captured. After hiding out and finding a land route back to the Union ships, he learned that the Albemarle was sunk. The Union army took the sound, Roanoke, and the ships under construction. Cushing became a commander in the navy and was given a Thanks of Congress. At age 32, he died in an insane asylum.

April 26th, 2022

Our First Civil War More losses from Washington, then he pulls off some slick moves at Trenton and Princeton before stopping for winter. Howe then goes to sea and moves on Philadelphia, where Washington loses at Brandywine and botches Germantown. Meanwhile, General Burgoyne is marching from Canada to fight rebels. He took Ticonderoga and was doing all sorts of damage with the Iroquois. Schuyler is on the outs and Horatio Gates takes over the army, who does not care for Benedict Arnold. Arnold, trying to win a name for himself after the Quebec failure, goes to end a siege on Fort Stanwix. He bluffs that he has more men on the way and the Iroquois, who have already lost more men than they were willing to lose, leave the siege. The British general then retreats also. Arnold is not satisfied with just a ruse so he joins Gates’ army in their attack on Burgoyne, who is marching in poor, muddy conditions. They score some kills in the Battle of Saratoga, which is really a series of battles. Arnold then did some wild moves on his own and it went really well. I don’t know what it was or what the time span of all these events were, but soon after Burgoyne’s whole army was surrounded and surrendered. Arnold was promoted and Washington was very proud of his close subordinate.
 
The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 The 4th section of the chapter starts off with some developments away from the main scenes of Petersburg and Atlanta. This is about the last military operations west of the Mississippi. Starting in August, Kirby Smith sent General Price and his cavalry on a raid into Missouri to distract the Union army from sending General Taylor to Mobile. It also was used to prevent reinforcements from being sent to Atlanta. Both succeeded, with AJ Smith being sent to St. Louis instead of back to Sherman. Price with his lieutenants, Shelby and Marmaduke, assaulted a fort south of St Louis, which was defended by the general behind Order 11 to relocate all the citizens of northwest Missouri (or somewhere else). He knew he was going to get beaten and then killed, so they left in the night and blew up the fort. Price moved on to St. Louis, but it was reinforced by AJ Smith and unattackable. He went west and then General Curtis from Kansas or so came to meet him. His troops had little experience and the Kansas militia refused to cross state lines, so they got beat. General Pleasanton led the forces from St. Louis to attack Price’s rear. Price kept going west and then crossed into Kansas to fight the only battle in that state. They got whooped and Marmaduke was taken prisoner by a single soldier, who was given furlough for the rest of his term as a reward. Shelby managed to keep the Federals at bay while the Confederate train moved south. Price thought he escaped, but there was one more battle (Mine Creek?) in his future, the last battle of the Transmississippi. He was defeated again, and his men ran into Indian Territory to march back to Arkansas. This was November and the men starved, many dying. He returned to Arkansas, accomplishing nothing and having many men killed.

April 25th, 2022

Our First Civil War I’m writing this out of self-discipline. There really was nothing interesting to write about. Washington kept losing in New York and went into New Jersey, where he didn’t get much sympathy. Franklin’s in France trying to sell his propaganda and other goods to France and Europe. His secretary is a spy, but is a spy for both the British and Americans, earning a double paycheck.

April 24th, 2022

The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 The rest of the third section talks about events close to DC. The Democrats chose McClellan as their candidate, but he was not willing to give up the war. So essentially neither the pro-war or anti-war Democrats were happy, but it is what it is. Everyone thought they were going to win until Sherman took Atlanta in September. Then elections started to go to the Republicans in PA, NY, and Illinois (or Indiana?). The really big news was from Sheridan in the Shenandoah Valley. From a spy he learned that Anderson was going back to Lee and decided to attack Early. It went well. He feigned a frontal assault on Winchester and sent some men around the south in flanking maneuver, completely catching the Confederates off guard. It was a complete rout. Unfortunately for him, his cavalry generals did not even attempt to capitalize on the win. It was bloody, though. Sheridan lost 5000 to Early’s 4000, including General Robert Rodes. Rodes led Jackson's Chancellorsville attack and was critical to Gettysburg’s day one victory. Shortly after he launched another attack and drove Early further back. This was huge news and changed everything for Lincoln. Suddenly, he was a sure-shot for the presidency. Grant even got a little more land down south, which was insignificant but was made to be huge news. Then it backfired for Sheridan. While he was holding his new gains, Early got reinforcements and attacked. The man who found the path for Jackson’s Chancellorsville rout found a mountain pass that would give Early a direct attack on Sheridan’s flank. Gordon led the assault and it crumpled the Union army. Sheridan was absent. Gordon wanted to press the attack, but Early was satisfied. This was a repeat of Gettysburg inaction and his reluctance to let Gordon attack at the Wilderness. Big mistake. Sheridan returned to the field and got the troops back in order and counter attacked. He drove Early out of the Valley and burned it all on his way back to Harper’s Ferry. From September to mid October, Sheridan changed the outlook of the war and became one of the country’s most beloved men.

April 23rd, 2022

The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 Atlanta was taken at the beginning of September. Back in July, the Army of the Potomac was still dealing with Petersburg and Washington was dealing with Early. Early, despite backing away from the capitol, was still untouched. By the end of the month he had marched to Chambersburg, PA and set it on fire when they refused him $100k. Hunter was not living up to expectations. Down in Petersburg, some Schuylkill County miners thought they could dig under the rebel entrenchments. Burnside loved the idea, and Meade and Grant allowed him to go forward with it. They managed to do it in a month with no real equipment. A chamber was dug under the rebels and filled without explosives. They would blow a hole in the line and break through to the city. Burnside, who did not doubt that blacks could fight as well as whites, trained a black regiment to lead the charge. At the last minute, Meade or Grant made him use a white regiment. They thought if plan failed and the blacks were slaughtered in the charge, they would be censured by the northern abolitionists for using them as fodder. Burnside complained to no avail. He had to use an unprepared regiment to lead the charge. On July 30th, they commenced the Battle of the Crater. The explosives did their job, despite a setback with a spliced fuse, but the Union men stopped at the crater. Some then went into the crater. The black regiment, now the 4th of 4 regiments to charge, was the only one to go around the crater and attack the fortifications, as trained. However, it was too late. The Confederates had reformed by then and killed a good number of them. Like Fort Pillow, they even killed black men who were surrendering. They were shocked to be attacked by black men and disgusted. The men in the crater were sitting ducks. This was a big defeat for the federal army and Burnside fought over it with Meade. Burnside resigned and returned to civilian life, where he became governor of then senator for Rhode Island. In Washington, Grant consolidated the various defensive groups under one Hunter, then replaced Hunter with Sheridan. Sheridan proved cautious, since rumor had that Anderson’s division was reinforcing Early (only part of it did). Then in August, Grant again tried to move to the south of Petersburg to block railroad access. Warren was able to occupy a town a few miles south of Petersbug on the railroad, despite hard fighting with AP Hill. Hancock, who had been unable dislodge Confederates north of the city, was to attack a town a few miles further south. This ended in disaster, as most of his troops were green and could barely fight. Hancock, known for his hard fighting, had to retreat and lost many guns. Gibbons was disgusted by his division and resigned, but was convinced to stay in the army and transfer to Washington. Hancock was also upset. This was thus far the lowest point in his career, especially after the fame he received during Gettysburg and Spotsylvania.

April 22nd, 2022

Our First Civil War This next few chapters were more interesting. The main topic was William Franklin and the events that surrounded him as Royal Governor of New Jersey. He and his father had fallen out over politics and over general personality difference. Franklin had stayed in London knowing his wife was dying, something that raised the ire of William. In his role, he was very much against the radical revolutionaries. Then, the Patriots of New Jersey formed their own government, a council, which went armed to William’s house and arrested him. He refused to leave, so they settled for house arrest. He did not comply or acknowledge their illegal usurpation of power, but the new “government” did not allow the old government to convene. They cut his pay and his family suffered. William was then taken to Connecticut under arrest, where he got ill and agreed to be given free reign if he caused no trouble. Hartford was too Patriot for him and he was even assaulted, and he requested to be moved to more loyalist town. Eventually they believed he was doing things behind the back of the new government and he was put in a dirty, solitary apartment above a tavern. His wife fled to British occupied New York, but was broke and became ill. Benjamin Franklin gave her $60 but refused to help them further. William was not allowed to see her. She died alone in New York. Benjamin, who had long looked after William’s illegitimate English son, tried to keep the two distant. When Benjamin became ambassador to France, he took his two grandsons with him (Temple and Bache). In other news, the governor of Virginia was doing some crazy stuff. He declared martial law and any man who did not report to serve was liable to execution. This is too far, is actually tyranny, and obviously will radicalize many moderates. He also promised freedom to slaves who fled the rebels and fought for the British. Several hundred did, despite the knowledge they’d likely be executed if captured. Washington tried to counter this by allowing free blacks in his army (not the same thing) but Congress refused.
 
The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 Forgot to write yesterday. There were two setbacks to go with Farragut’s success. On the east coast, a new Confederate raider appeared. The Tallahassee was under Commander Wood, a grandson of Zachary Taylor and a man who saw service on the Merrimack. The raider captured some 60 union merchant ships in a couple of weeks, seeking shelter in Nova Scotia to refuel. It snuck out of Nova Scotia, sped past Union boats in international waters, and landed safely in North Carolina. The second was Nathan Bedford Forrest. Sherman sent AJ Smith to defeat Forrest. Smith was entrenched when Stephen Lee and Forrest came on him. Lee ordered Forrest to assault the entrenchments, which failed. Smith had to retreat anyway because his supplies spoiled. Forrest was mad and needed some revenge. He organized a raid up to Memphis, which was undefended. Not much damage was done, but fear was instilled in the locals. Sherman was happy as long as his supply lines weren’t touched. Back in Atlanta, Hood sent Wheeler to attack the railroads for Sherman’s supply lines. This was easily repaired and Sherman tried to use his cavalry to destroy Hood’s supply lines. This failed, so he had to use the army. Slocum was left in place to guard the north and the railroad line, while the rest of the army swung counter clockwise. Hood thought Sherman was retreating and did nothing. Sherman destroyed the western railroad, then went to cross the Flint River for the second. By this time, Hood knew something was up, but thought only Howard was south of the city. Hardee was sent to attack Howard at Jonesborough while he was split across the river. Howard was well dug in and Hardee was repulsed. Too late for Hood, he found out that the whole Union army was south of the river. Hardee was trapped in isolation. Sherman attacked to destroy Hardee but failed. Hardee then escaped in the night. Next day Sherman learned that Hood the supplies in Atlanta and escaped. Slocum was in the city. Sherman won Atlanta, but Hood’s army still lived.

April 21st, 2022

Our First Civil War This book is getting kind of boring. The history is very general and I have already read about it in more detail elsewhere. It talked about the American loss and retreat on Long Island and Richard Howe’s request for a meeting with representatives of Congress. The three men were Franklin, Adams, and I think a guy named Rutledge. The only interesting part so far, which I did not know, was Franklin’s relationship with Richard Howe. Howe was head of the navy and appointed by the King to attempt to restore peace, but from earlier in the book, we learned Franklin had frequented Howe’s sister’s and they all discussed politics. Howe had hoped to reconcile the two nations back then and hoped to do so now. But times had changed and the independence party took control of America. Franklin had been radicalized. No peace would be accepted without independence, and no independence would be offered. The two friendly associates parted and continued down the only road left, war.

April 20th, 2022

Our First Civil War This book is not really meant to be summarized, as it is really a series of summaries. Very high level stuff. And it really hasn’t represented the “other” side much. The book is already half finished and it is very American centered. I’m disappointed. What happened in this reading was Arnold’s expedition failed to take the city and they sent Franklin and a crew to diplomatically win over the Canadians. This failed too. Arnold proved to be a good leader, though, and the men under him really respected him. Washington takes the Dorchester Heights and fires cannon into Boston. William Howe replaced Gage and plans to take the heights, but bad weather foils his plans. The British leave by sea with many Torries. It’s interesting that the whole siege of Boston, there is not one inside perspective given in the book. It’s all Washington. He plans to take his men to New York because that’s probably where the British will go. Richard Henry Lee proposes the measure for independence and the fellows write the Declaration. Huzzah.

April 19th, 2022

Our First Civil War The book mainly jumps between George Washington and Benjamin Franklin. It talks about the siege of Boston, Bunker Hill, and all that. It mentions that Franklin, on a committee from Congress, and Washington discuss military needs. They discuss how deserters and those who aid the British may be put to death. This goes to prove what Joesph Galloway said, that the patriots would be just as bad or worse than Parliament. How can you justify killing someone for working with the officially recognized government? How can you kill a volunteer who is no longer interested in fighting “tyranny”? This makes you sympathize with the British, until they start burning down coastal towns that have nothing to do with the rebels. The book then provides some background information on Benedict Arnold. He was a Connecticut trader who was hurt and nearly bankrupted by the acts of Parliament. He joined the militia after Lexington and Concord and was a colonel. Washington thought he had some good ideas, but was too conscious of rank and it seems to me he may have been pretty full of himself. Taking Fort Ticonderoga was his plan, which was a success and brought lots of artillery for the siege. Congress sent an expedition to Quebec, and Arnold told Washington of a plan for a second front to attack. Washington agreed and had him sent to lead it, though he would be subordinate to General Schuyler once they met up.

April 18th, 2022

The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 Shortly after Hood’s last attack, the Union received some good news from further south. Farragut was charged with taking Mobile Bay in late 1863, but his ship the Hartford needed some repairs. After 4 months in Brooklyn, the ship set sail. Farragut was in a hurry, as news came out that the Confederates were building a new ironclad in the region. He wanted to get there before it could make it to the bay. By the time he got there, it was already complete and in the water. The CSS Tennessee was under Admiral Buchanan of Merrimack fame. Farragut arrived outside the bay and could not do much with his wooden fleet. There were three forts and a minefield blocking the entrance to the bay, while the Tennessee and its three companions did not leave the bay. Farragut called in some monitors from around the country and these took weeks to arrive. He also called in some army to distract one of the forts, but only got 2000 men. Time passed slowly, but the attack was launched on August 5th. The four monitors went to travel in the small area between Fort Morgan and the minefield. The monitor Tecumseh got mixed up and accidentally traveled into the minefield. In the downtown, Farragut’s men had been demining the area and found many corroded duds. This was not the fate for Tecumseh. It hit a mine and quickly went down, killing some 150 men. The monitors then slowed down the wooden ship procession and blocked the path. Farragut, growing impatient, ordered his ship through the minefield. When warned about the danger, he classically said “Damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead.” Miraculously, the Hartford did not hit a single live mine, nor the ships traveling in its wake. Once in the bay, the hours long battle with the Tennessee began. The three companion ships were quickly put out of commission. The Tennessee survived many hits, but eventually took shelter under Fort Morgan. Farragut took anchor in Mobile Bay, victorious. Buchanan later was enraged at this site and came storming out. His engines were too slow to ram the Hartford, and the rams of wooden ships were torn right off. The two flagships bombarded each other mercilessly, but the Tennessee suffered too many duds. Its guns were taken out one-by-one and Buchanan took a splinter to the shin, breaking his leg. It was useless to go on, and the Tennessee surrendered. Over the next few days, Farragut’s navy took the forts, with Fort Morgan proving stubborn. It’s commander, a cousin of Robert E. Lee, refused to surrender. It was essentially reduced to rubble and they surrendered. Now the Gulf of Mexico was firmly in Union hands.

April 17th, 2022

The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 The second section of chapter 4 heads back to Atlanta. With Hood in charge of the army, things will get uglier for Sherman. His first move was the Battle of Peachtree Creek, where he attempted to attack Thomas while he was crossing the creek and had men on both sides. It was not easy, but the Rock continued to earn his nickname and held firm as the rest of his army crossed. Hood's next attempt was a few days later. He recalled his men to more interior lines of defense around Atlanta and planned to pull a Chancellorsville. McPherson's left flank was hanging in the air and Hood sent Hardee to sneak around and attack the flank. Unfortunately, there was a delay of several hours. The division under General Walker was sent to get there first, and what was once empty field 30 minutes ago was now a Union division turned to face them head on. This was more coincidental than planned, as they were tearing up railroad, but they shot and killed Walker immediately. McPherson's defenses now formed an L shape, with Bald Hill in the corner. This was the fiercest fighting, and on going to observe the situation, McPherson wandered into Confederate forces. Instead of surrendered, he turned and rode as fast as he could. He was cut down by a rifleman and died on the spot. Sherman was distraught. He thought the future of the army was in McPherson's hands. Logan Smith, a volunteer and politician, was given command and performed well. The held the defense and the rebels retreated. After the battle, Sherman and Thomas discussed who should replace McPherson. They wanted a professional, so Smith was bypassed. The Army of Tennessee went to one-armed General Howard, of Gettysburg fame and Chancellorsville shame. Hooker, under Thomas, was outraged he was not given the job, that it was given to a man he hated and blamed for his loss at Chancellorsville, and handed in his resignation. He was told he was never considered and the resignation was accepted. Hooker's days in the war were over. Slocum, another Gettysburg hero, took over the XX corps (formerly XI and XII corps). Sherman then tried to go around Atlanta to the west and destroy the last rail link. His cavalry attempt ended in disaster. His infantry attempt, assuming Hood was defeated, was not as expected. Hood attacked once more with Stephen D. Lee, commander of Hood's old corps, and Stewart. Sherman sent Howard counter-clockwise around the city to destroy the link, and the two forces met at Ezra Church. Another bloody battle ensued, but it was repulsed. Howard was expecting what Sherman was not, a fight. Thus ends the month of July. With some 8000 Union calculates and some 11,000 Confederate. Hood's strategy had failed him three times and now his troops were feeling the dejection that comes with defeat. I'm sure they miss Johnston.

April 15th, 2022

Our First Civil War Franklin found some allies in the Howe family and Lord Chatham. Lord Chatham tried to pass a bill to remove the soldiers from Boston, but it was tabled. Franklin came to see that Parliament was not interested in reconciliation and gave up. He headed back to America before it was too late. Before he returned, fighting had started. The army and militia clashed at Lexington and Concord on April 19th, when the former tried to seize weapons stockpiled by the latter. Here, we see the British in the wrong. The British army retreated back to Boston with militia shooting at them from the trees. Former moderates, such as Washington and Franklin, now saw the inevitability of independence. Some still thought it possible to return to peace. William Franklin and Joesph Galloway saw the rebel leaders like Samuel Adams as just as bad as Parliament and may even lead to worse oppression. Both men were receiving death threats from these radicals. We know that they are right in this sense, as Samuel Adams himself said the leaders of Shays’ Rebellion should have been executed. This difference in opinion lead to a falling out of old friends, and father and son. Now in May, all these big names met in Philadelphia at the Second Continental Congress. They attempted to address grievance to the King, mostly the work of John Dickinson, which men like Adams and Franklin saw as a waste a time. Adams at least thought it politically useful for the King to publicly denounce the peace attempt, which by the time he received it he had already declared the colonies in rebellion. Adams also got in some trouble when his letter to James Warren, expressing his ideas for an independent America, were intercepted. Not only did he break the secrecy of the Congress, but “openly” spat on the idea of reconciliation. With shots fired, it was time to create an official army, which the Congress did by adopting the one outside Boston. Adams stepped up to nominate a leader, George Washington, due to his experience and to bring colonial diversity to the army. This offended John Hancock, who thought he should have been offered the role, but it was approved unanimously.

April 14th, 2022

Our First Civil War The First Continental Congress did not include Georgia and did not accomplish much. They agreed to resume boycotts if Parliament did not do something by December. Joesph Galloway had proposed a Continental Assembly with elected representatives and a president appointed by the King to copy Parliament and the King in America. This did not pass. Not much else of interest happened. Hutchinson resigned and went to London where he talked to the king about the state of affairs in the colonies. He was replaced by Thomas Gage, who was also in charge of the military. Parliament had no interest in reconciliation, only domination. This is unfortunate. I think they could have won the masses back from the radicals if they had returned to the pre-war state. Oh well. Franklin is still in London. He warns his son, now Governor of New Jersey, that he may be affected by the Hutchinson affair.

April 13th, 2022

Our First Civil War The law in Boston is essentially nil. Governor Hutchinson has lost his authority because nobody will listen to him. The Assembly does as they please, his council fears the mobs, and men like Samuel Adams have no fear of the law. Still, the actions of the Americans led to the repeal of the Townshend Acts but a small tax on tea with a monopoly on it to the East India Company. The rabble were not pleased still and organized more boycotts over tea, which started in Philadelphia. Hutchinson could do nothing, and then we have the Boston Tea Party. I’m pretty sure the Americans are in the wrong here. If you don’t want it, don’t buy it. This is kind of further makes a fool of Franklin’s external tax argument. Franklin, meanwhile, admitted to the Hutchinson letter scandal and is in some serious trouble. Not sure if he can get into legal trouble, but he lost much respect from everyone. The actions of the Americans led to the Coercive Acts, called the Intolerable Acts in America. They were mostly targeted at Boston. The lost tea had to be repaid, the charter was suspended, they had to quarter troops, and there must be more. In response, the Americans are organizing a Continental Congress to address the grievances. The House of Burgess was dissolved, but the men met elsewhere and Washington volunteered to represent Virginia.
 
The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 Unfortunately for Early, the rest of Wright’s corps and the XIX from New Orleans arrive in the capitol. He is lucky, as Confederate spies tell him the news. He calls of the attack and prepares to retreat, but Wright launches an attack. It doesn’t last long because it is gets too dark, but the point was made. Early gets it together and moves back down the valley. Was his mission a success? In a way. Union men were removed from Virginia and he scared the civilians. He got closer to DC than McClellan or Grant ever got to Richmond. So not bad for Jubal. The rest of the section talks about politics. Lincoln fights with his party and the press blames him for not finding a peaceful solution. An unofficial peace delegation talks to Davis, who rejects and peace terms that do not include independence. So the war will go on. Lincoln also suspends Habeas Corpus and arrests some Democrats in the state Kentucky election. What a scumbag. But it didn’t work and Democrats won all the seats. Good. Vote McClellan

April 12th, 2022

Our First Civil War Overwritten. I think it was about Hutchinson leaving for England and being interviewed by the King.
 
The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 Only read a little bit. Early and his men march through the Shenandoah Valley and start heading towards Baltimore. They don’t meet opposition until outside Frederick, at the Monocacy River. The local defense tries to block his path, along with a division from Wright, but are outnumbered and pushed out of the way. Early starts towards Washington but again comes up against opposition. A fortified position has more reinforcements, the rest of Wrights’ corps. Early rests his men for an attempt at the capitol.

April 11th, 2022

Our First Civil War The book jumps to Franklin in England. He is given an audience before Parliament to explain the thoughts and feelings of America and the Stamp Act. He explains that the Americans were proud of being British and did not have ill feelings toward England and the Parliament before this act. He said Americans view a distinction between internal taxes, which he cannot avoid, and external, such as a tax on a purchased good. He can choose to pay or not to pay the external tax at time of purchase, but the internal tax is theft, if it is not from his representative government. With a new prime minister, Franklin made big waves and the act was repealed. Parliament passed an act that said they had the right to legislate for the colonies, and Franklin said this would not be contested, as similar laws exist for Ireland and have never been taken advantage of. Parliament took the external tax thing as gospel and passed the Townsend Acts, import taxes on paper, glass, lead, and others. This raised more hell in the colonies, so Franklin looked a bit like a fool. John Dickinson in Letters From a Farmer claimed the distinction was taxes for infrastructure and taxes for revenue. There was nothing wrong with raising money for infrastructure, but to take money from the colonies solely for the profit of the motherland was unacceptable. Franklin wrote a bunch of anonymous letters in London newspapers to explain the American view. Perhaps he had been right, but the Stamp Act changed public opinion. Either way, goods were being boycotted, mostly in the north. Washington and the Virginians were too used to extravagance to go without. Now it was a power struggle over who could last longer without the other.
 
The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 Chapter 4 begins with Grant’s withdrawal towards Petersburg. Lee is stuck guarding Richmond on the western side, since he is unsure of Grant’s motives. So far only Baldy Smith, who was on loan, and Hancock, who could be on load, are across the James. Smith gets there first and attacks the city, taking some entrenchments, but does not press further since it is now night. He did not know that if he had, he would have taken the city. Beauregard’s few men are split across Bermuda something and the city, with only about 2000 men guarding Petersburg. Hancock comes up with more men but does not feel comfortable leading a night attack, not knowing the area. Beauregard abandons the works guarding Butler to defend the city, and Lee has to send some men to fill the void. Once Grant is fully across the river, Lee goes straight for Petersburg. Grant’s men miss another opportunity by stopping short of taking the southerly road out of Petersburg. This part of the city was completely undefended, only a few skirmishers were on the road. By June 18th, Lee is in the city and the Union army can tell. The chance to attack is over. His men start digging in. More bad news is on the way. Early had knocked Hunter out of his way and had entered the Shenandoah Valley.

April 10th, 2022

The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 Chapter 3, and the first section of the book, end with some drama. Because it is so dramatic, there is little to say about it. The Confederate government has watched Joe Johnston retreat time and time again without a fight for the last two months. Everyone wanted him gone. Davis, ever the independent, gave him the opportunity to detail his plan for dealing with Sherman’s army. His short message back gave no hope for him attempting to fight for the city. Johnston had to go, though it is very dangerous to change leaders when the enemy is a few miles away and you have nowhere to go. Bragg had even gone in person to see the situation, and said it was bleak. Davis asked Lee if he thought Hood would be a good replacement. Lee said he is a good fighter, but has no experience at so high a level. He said Hardee had more experience. Bragg said similar things, but Hardee had been too keen on Johnston’s retreat tactics. Hardee had also decline the job and was the reason Johnston was the replacement for Bragg in the first place. Yet Hood was chosen, to his and everyone else’s dismay. They begged Johnston to stay, but he would not. The troops were dejected at the loss of their beloved general. Sherman’s men warned him of Hood’s fighting prowess, but Sherman still felt the change was in his favor. So the campaign is on pause, as I think we shall return to Grant next.

April 9th, 2022

The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 Back to Sherman. Johnston has taken up a defensive position between the Kennesaw Mountains and protected his flank very well. Sherman gave up on his usual flanking maneuvers and thought a full-on assault would catch Johnston off guard. On June 27th, the attack on the mountain was launched but repulsed. Heavy fighting and a few thousand losses were all he got, but Sherman felt the attack “shook” Johnston up. He went back to flanking and eventually it came to Johnston guarding the river. Sherman could not risk another assault and managed to flank again. He crossed the river up north and forced Johnston to cross the river to defend Atlanta. Now the city was in site for Sherman, he just has to figure out to take it.

April 8th, 2022

Our First Civil War The book jumps around a lot. It’s not easy to remember what it talked about. It’s still talking about people’s reactions to the Stamp Act. Thomas Hutchinson, as lieutenant governor of Massachusetts, was a target. Mobs had threatened the stamp agents of Massachusetts and Connecticut, and Hutchinson urged the governor not to inflame the mobs by brining in the militia, many of whom are part of the mobs. But the mob had twice come to Hutchinson’s house. First it was talked down by a member who spoke in favor of Hutchinson. Hutchinson had refused to denounce the Stamp Act under duress, though he had never said anything in favor of it. The second time, they were drunk and broke into the house. He and his family fled. He wrote to Benjamin how they had spoke in the Albany Congress of “join or die”, but now the colonies were uniting not in defense, but defiance. Joseph Galloway, a protégé of Franklin, in Pennsylvania spoke of how commerce and the courts had shut down in Philadelphia. He was worried the sentiment of the mobs may lead to declaring independence, which he thought terrible. It would be best for America to gain equal standing in the empire, with its own local legislature. Like Scotland and England, I guess. John Adams, at age 29 looking to make a name for himself, wrote a proclamation to the legislature to not enforce the act. It won him fame, but business for his law office dropped. Patrick Henry, also a 29-year-old lawyer, demanded the House of Burgesses in Virginia oppose the act, comparing George III to other tyrants of history. George Washington didn’t seem to care much, but thought it a poor path forward. He was more concerned with trying to circumvent the land grab ban in Ohio.
 
The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 There some segues to Lincoln, who managed to get the nomination from the Republican party for reelection. Jackson was the last president to get elected twice, and Van Buren was the last to get a second nomination. Andrew Johnston, former senator and current war governor of Tennessee, was chosen as the vice presidential ticket. He would attract the pro-war Democrats and loyal southerners/border states, being a native of Tennessee. Vice President Hamlin had joined the radicals, who had their own convention and nominated General Fremont. The next aside is a continuation of the tale of the Alabama. For some 2 years, Admiral Semmes and his crew on the Alabama, an English built steamer, had been terrorizing the high seas. They raided Union merchant and naval ships and were very good at it. They even sank the USS Hatteras. After 2 years at sea and at ports of various foreign countries, they were found in Cherbourg. The USS Kearsarge was in an English port and informed of their proximity and set off immediately. They ships essentially agreed to battle in international waters. Semmes prepared his tired ship and waited for Sunday, allegedly his lucky day. The battle lasted an hour and a half, but Semmes’ luck ran out. The Alabama landed a perfect shot in the Kearsarge, but it was a dud. The Alabama was bombarded with superior guns and accuracy and started to go down. They surrendered and abandoned ship. Some were picked up by the Kearsarge, while others by a nearby British yacht. Semmes made it to the British yacht, and he and the surviving, free crew members were brought to London. Semmes, who was reported drowned to Captain Winslow of the Kearsarge, returned to Cherbourg for his loot and paid his men. With the loss of the Alabama and the end of his piracy career, he retired from active service. Pretty cool guy.

April 7th, 2022

Our First Civil War The Association was actually a consequence of King George’s War, not Braddock’s expedition, but that led to a similar outcome. The Penns eventually “gave way” and “donated” 5000 pounds to the Assembly, who used it for a defense fund. At some point Franklin went to London to make the argument before the court that the Penns were failing in their duties. But the feeling in England was that the King had 100% authority over the colonies and what he said goes. Penn had important friends, and so nothing changed. Another expedition was launched against the Ohio Valley, I’m assuming this is now the French and Indian War, and the French abandoned the site before the English got there. During the war, the English also took Quebec and Canada. After the war, the government banned any westward expansion from the colonists. It was Indian land, which disgusted the colonists who wanted to expand. The colonists are obviously in the wrong here. The government was in serious debt and decided to lay it on America, who had no representatives in Parliament and thus could not vote out the tax increasers. The Sugar Act lowered tax on molasses to combat smuggling and increase revenue. This was rather benign. The Stamp Act, a tax on paper, was to prove a nightmare. Franklin was in England and proposed some alternative methods to bring in funds, but the PM/Lord of Treasury was not interested. What Parliament says, goes. Mobs ran havoc in the colonies, even targeting Franklin, who they thought was in on it.

April 6th, 2022

Our First Civil War The book introduces Benjamin Franklin’s son William, who is a bit of a thorn in his side. He joined the army during King George’s War and loved it. Afterwards he essentially worked wherever his father appointed him. A decent number of pages are devoted to General Braddock and his expedition to the Ohio River Valley against the French, which Washington took part of and was promoted highly throughout. The British Regulars had little interest in Indian and American battle style and Braddock was livid to find next to no money coming from the Americans for their own defense. Franklin met Braddock in Fredericksburg as a spy for the Assembly and managed to help him acquire wagons and material in Pennsylvania, based on his good name. The expedition ended in disaster for the British, with the Regulars collapsing immediately from a French and Indian ambush. Washington claims the militiamen fought well, but many did not survive. Braddock was killed and the army retreated to Philadelphia. The French and Indians raided the western frontier mercilessly. The abilities of the British Army were shown to not live up to expectations. The Pennsylvania Assembly tried to raise defense funds, but Thomas Penn’s appointed governor vetoed it, as was the Quaker tradition. Frankin, some may say treacherously, founded an extra-governmental militia called the Association. The force was entirely volunteers with their own supplies, and a lottery was raised to buy cannons. Penn called him a traitor but knew any public denouncement of Franklin would cause problems. Franklin set a precedent of the citizens acting on their own accord when the government will not meet their needs or expectations.
 
The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 The next section talks about what Sherman fears: raids on his 400 miles of railroad. If the railroad goes, the army is done for. The Confederacy has two famous raiders, Morgan and Forrest. Sherman is only worried about Forrest, and this proves correct. Morgan, against orders, leaves the Shenandoah Valley to attack Union outposts in his home state of Kentucky. They rob and steal and generally lose any sympathy for the Confederacy in the area. On top of that, he loses half of his men throughout. He retreats back to Virginia a much less important man. To deal with Forrest, Sherman sends a cavalry and infantry force into Alabama. They fight on June 10th at Brice’s Crossroads and the ever clever Forrest whips the superior Union forces. The Union retreat and keep on running as Forrest pursues. Though they lost the battle, they kept Forrest occupied, so it’s all the same to Sherman.

April 5th, 2022

Our First Civil War Seems like the book is starting off introducing people. It starts with Washington’s blunder in the Ohio Valley right before the French and Indian War. Then it talks about Benjamin Franklin in Philadelphia. It mentions Thomas Hutchinson, who was a congressman in Massachusetts and then on the Governor’s council. Note that the Governor was a crown appointment and thus not a democratically chosen man. It goes back to Franklin, who organized the Albany Congress to discuss a common colony governmental body to help with the general defense against France and Indians. Most of the colonial representatives liked his ideas, though the governors did not. Franklin goes further and suggests that America become a full part of the empire and not just a colony, and how it would be mutually beneficial to both sides of the ocean.

April 2nd, 2022

The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 Read a chuck of the Sherman chapter. There aren’t really any major battles so far, though there has been a lot of action. Even without battle, men die. Sherman ordered Thomas to follow McPherson to get to Resaca, but Johnston beat him to the race. Sherman attacks but is repulsed. When Johnston hears about Federals coming to enclose him, he goes further south towards Kingston. Sherman sends Thomas straight down the railroad after Johnston, but sends McPherson on the right of the Oostanaula River and Schofield down east of the railroad. Johnston comes up with a good trap. He has Hardee protect the rear and deceive Thomas that the army will make at stand at Kingston, while the rest army is actually at Cassville, in the path of Schofield. He will then destroy Schofield’s army and head back to Kingston to take on Thomas before McPherson can cross the river. Sadly, this doesn’t work. The attack turns to a retreat when some Union divisions who got lost appeared in Hood’s rear. The rebels retreat along the railroad for Allatoona, an extremely deadly area to attack. Sherman knows this from his early army years and doesn’t even consider it. He goes crosses the Etowah River and tries to flank Johnston, but Hood’s men are already in his path at New Hope Church. Fighting Joe Hooker launches an assault, but is repulsed quite bloodily. Monsoon-esque rains end the battle. Far from the railroad, the Union army starts to suffer from lack of material. But Johnston retreats further and the Union army eventually gets close enough to the railroad to live comfortably. Sherman is not happy with the progress so far. Johnston is firmly entrenched north of Marietta. However, tragedy strikes the Confederate army. The generals climb Pine Mountain, really a large hill, to get a look at the Union army. Sherman sees them and is not pleased by their confidence. He orders an artillery unit to attack, but the unit had already took aim at them. The unit, led by a exceptional Prussian officer named Dilger, essentially had carte blanche to do as they pleased. The generals were leaving the mountain when they saw they were under fire, but did not leave quick enough. The third shot cut General Polk, the bishop, nearly in two. He died instantly. This was a huge and tragic loss for the Army of Tennessee. Polk had been in, around, and out of this army since the beginning of the war. He had stood up to Bragg and been expelled for it. His death will have serious consequences for the Confederate army. For the Union army, it was something to brag about, and brought Sherman out of his funk.

April 1st, 2022

The Wright Brothers The last section of the last chapter talks about the final days of the flight experiments. There was a race at Reims in the summer of 1909 with 22 contestants, only a year after Wilbur’s Le Mans flights. The prize for most speed went to Glenn Curtiss, who the Wrights would sue for patent infringement. Somehow the aileron design was in the Wrights’ patent for wing warping. They’d be in courts for a decade and eventually the Wrights would win all 12 of their lawsuits. The Comte de Lambertville shocked the world by flying over Paris, the first time a plane was flown over a city. On top of that, he flew over the Eifel Tower, over 1100ft in the air. Orville and Katherine went to Berlin to demonstrate more flights. He flew to a height of over 2000ft. Wilbur’s last major flight was a big one. In commemoration of Henry Hudson’s expedition, he was to fly up the Hudson River. With all the skyscrapers, the amount of wind was difficult to contend with, but he managed. On top of this, he flew around the Statue of Liberty to the awe of the city. On May 25th 1910, the Wright family gathered at the field where they used to practice. The Bishop finally went on a flight, and to close out a successful decade of work, the brother’s finally flew together in a single plane. The epilogue tells of the fate of the family. Wilbur would deal mostly with the Wright Company and litigation and was worn out. He got ill, contracted typhoid fever. He would die in May 1912 at 45. Orville and Katherine were to build a large new home and move in with the Bishop. The Bishop died a couple years later. In 1926 or so, Katherine got married in her 50s. Orville felt betrayed and refused to talk to her for 2 years until she was on her death bed. He finally saw her once more as she lay dying from pneumonia. Orville lived on until 1948, see the destruction that planes had wrought in war. He sold the company and started a research institute. He stopped flying in 1918 due to his old injury. After his death at age 76, he was buried at the family plot with the Bishop, Katherine, and Wilbur.

March 31st, 2022

The Wright Brothers Wilbur successfully trained his pilots and did more demonstrations in Rome. Then they left for London to go back home. Big parades and honors were given in all places. The Wrights worked on a Flyer IV to head back to Fort Myer, where Orville would fly again. There were some kinks in the new plane, but they were worked out and the army finally offered them a contract. In the last year, the Wrights brought in over $200,000 dollars in contracts. Life was good.
 
The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 The next chapter goes back to the beginning of May and over to Chattanooga to cover Sherman’s campaign for Atlanta. Johnston, always defensive minded, has some good fortifications in the mountainous terrain of northwest Georgia. George Thomas, the Rock of Chickamauga, comes to Sherman with a sneaky plan. He would go through a more southern mountain pass while McPherson keeps the front of the defensives busy and Schofield comes from the north on the eastern side of the mountain to keep the cavalry under Wheeler occupied. Sherman takes the plan but switches Thomas’ and McPherson’s role. Thomas, with the big heavy hitting army, is to attack the front. McPherson’s small army will move quickly and stealthily. They kick off at the beginning of the month to coincide with Grant’s movement. All goes well until Johnston, who had a feeling something was going on, requested a division from Polk to be sent to Rome. Since Banks was in no shape to threaten Alabama, Polk’s whole army was sent. McPherson encountered more resistance than expected at Resaca and stuck to the mountain pass. Meanwhile Johnston sent Hood and Hardee piecemeal to Resaca and abandoned Dalton. It was a less choice location for defense, but it was not worth getting surrounded.

March 30th, 2022

The Wright Brothers The story is clearly slowing down. Orville and Katherine come to France. Wilbur wins the Michellin Cup, flying for 2.5 hours straight. Everyone goes to Pau near the Pyrenees for some more flying. Here Wilbur will train his students, most importantly the Comte de Lambert. Many important people come to see him fly, including the King of Spain and Edward VII. The Comte de Lambert also starts flying solo, to the joy and pride of all. Everyone has fun. The end.

March 29th, 2022

The Wright Brothers Orville made more and more flights and kept breaking records until disaster struck. Orville was to take a Lt Selfridge in the air. During the flight, one of the propellers broke off. Orville tried as he could to land the plane safely, but the damage was too much and at 75ft the plane flew nose first into the ground. Orville broke several legs, his thigh and leg, but was conscious. Lt Selfridge was unconscious and bleeding heavily. He would not wake up. Orville spend September and October in a military hospital. Katherine took a leave of absence to watch over him. Eventually, they were able to take him home to Dayton, though he was in a severe condition. It was learned that the propellor had cracked and led to a destructive vibration, and it took a wing connecting wire with it. Wilbur took the news very hard and was upset he could not have been there to help examine the plane. It is too much work for one person with all the distractions around him. After a week of grieving, Wilbur flew again, this time for nearly an hour and a half. He then started taking up passengers, even fat Leon Bollee. After so many flights, he started training a few French pilots selected by the military. He then requested Orville and Katherine come to France.

March 28th, 2022

The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 I forgot to mention in Cold Harbor that General Law, of Gettysburg fame, got a gunshot wound to the face and was severely injured. General Brenckinridge also was injured, when his horse was killed and crushed him. But after the disastrous assault, no more were launched. Grant’s plan was to go south to Petersburg. He was done with this war of attrition. Things were successful elsewhere. General Hunter, Sigel’s replacement, had taken much of the Shenandoah Valley and linked up with the other Union forces in the area. Breckinridge was sent to face off with him, but little could be done with his small force. On June 12th, Early’s division was sent to help. On June 11th and 12th, Sheridan and now Hampton’s cavalry were fighting in the area for control of the railroads. A confusing close-combat battle was fought at Trevilian Station, with both sides leaving the field. Sheridan’s damage was quickly repaired. Lee was hoping Early could repeat this success against Hunter. Unknown to him, the 12th also saw Grant’s army slip away towards the James. Butler had assaulted Petersburg and failed. Now Baldy Smith with help from Hancock would repeat the attack, while the rest of the army files across the largest pontoon bridge the army had seen. This motion marks the end of the Overland Campaign, 40 days of battle which saw much blood shed and little to show for it.

March 27th, 2022

The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 Grant moves southeast along the Totopotamy Creek and crosses with all corps easily. Sheridan is sent ahead to see where the rebels are and this leads to a day long cavalry battle. Grant moves southwest towards Bethesda Church. Lee had already been in the area, beating Grant in the race again. Ewell is on indefinite sick leave, so Early has his corps. He launches a Hill-esque attack with one division and is repulsed easily. May 31st, Sheridan and Fitzhugh Lee fight over Cold Harbor. Reinforcements from Bermuda are arriving for the rebels and Fitz’s cavalry go out to meet them, which the infantry mistake for a retreat. This leaves Sheridan’s cavalry the town, hoping to hold on until infantry arrive. Grant is expecting Baldy Smith from Bermuda, but Grant’s instructions were never updated and he starts off in the wrong direction. On June 1st, Lee tries to keep the initiative and launch an attack. Anderson leads it with a Brigadier General Kershaw, a politician with green troops and no experience. He charges for the Union line and is killed immediately, his troops fleeing in panic. Thus Lee’s attack. Wright had reinforced Sheridan and now Cold Harbor was firmly entrenched. Grant wanted to attack at first light on the 2nd, but Hancock’s men did not get in the southernmost position in time and were dead tired. Rain also forced a delay. The attack was head on across the line for the 3rd. No checked the rebel lines and saw how well they were fortified. 7000 men were taken down in 8 minutes to nearly no Confederate losses. For days, Grant refused to parlay to take care of the wounded and dead. It was not until the 7th that he finally deigned to think of the wounded instead of his pride. By then, those who would survive had crawled back or were picked up by their fellow men. The others had died in the sweltering June heat, with no water or food, surrounded by rotting corpses. They found 2 living men out of the acres of dead. What a horrible thing Grant has done.

March 25th, 2022

The Wright Brothers On 8/8/1908, a Saturday, Wilbur at last flew his plane before a crowd. The French aviation clique was very skeptical of this American who had never flown in front of people before. Wilbur meticulously got his plane ready, even dismounting to check on a noise from the engines. When he was ready, he took off and flew for two minutes. The crowd was amazed, their world changed forever. The strongest critics were now avid supporters. More and more people flocked to Le Mans over the next month to watch him fly. One thing he did which cause the most amazement was a figure 8. He did have one small crash, which grounded him until the wing was repaired, but this only increased the admiration for him. The army offered him a better field to use, and more people came there. It was a tremendous success. Now it was Orville’s turn. He was in Fort Myer, an army base in Virginia 5 miles from D.C. He also cautiously prepared, but had a rough landing the first show. He flew again the next day and many days after, flying for over an hour at a time. Orville had as much success, if not more, than his brother.

March 24th, 2022

The Wright Brothers More talks in France and Germany went nowhere for months, but by the end of the summer the French were still interested if they could see a flight. The boys went home and finally got an offer from the US government. The Wrights hadn’t flown in over 2 years (it’s 1908 now), so they made another summer trip to Kitty Hawk with a new flyer. Camp was destroyed from neglect and now the press was watching their movements. They had some successful flights with their new machine, which now could seat two and upright instead of on the stomach. The brothers would not fly together. In case of an accident, they wanted one to live and carry on the work. That fear was almost justified as Wilbur, making a mistake with the new controls, took a nose-dive and crashed into the ground. He had to be pulled from the wreck, but suffered no serious injuries. The plane was done for, however. After this round of experiments, the brothers planned to divide and conquer. Orville would demonstrate the Flyer III in D.C., and Wilbur in France. Hart Berg and Wilbur found an automobile manufacturer Leon Bollee who wanted to help them. He offered his factory in Le Mans as a base and found a field for Wilbur to fly on. Wilbur opened the crates with his plane in them and found it destroyed. After blaming Orville, he learned it was the fault of the French Customs house who examined it. He had to repair everything, essentially single handedly. A test of the engine ended with the radiator hose coming loose and spraying Wilbur with scalding water. He was tended to, though with some bad burns. The fixed plane and an injured Wilbur lived in a shed near the field. No one knew when he would fly his plane.

March 23rd, 2022

The Wright Brothers The meetings with the French in Dayton went well, but they did not lead to a sale. The Wrights were not able (or willing?) to give a demonstration flight. They were not doing much flying as they were developing their new engine. In 1906, 3 years after applying, the Wright Brothers were given their patent. Which part of the plane is patented, I do not know. The whole thing? A firm in New York that sells arms to European countries was interested in selling the Wright Flyer III. Orville insisted on meeting with them. They came to some agreement, but their representative in Europe was not on board. He wanted the Wrights to come to Europe and advertise their new plane. Ultimately, Wilbur was to go to Paris and conduct negotiations with interested French individuals and the government (with the company representative translating). He did well, but it stagnated when the buyers wanted to see a flight. It took much longer than expected for Orville to get a plane ready at home, but eventually he was able to ship one and himself off to Paris.
 
The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 Lee and Grant both march south to the North Anna River. Ewell gets there first, with Hill crossing a little further west. Lee, suffering from an intestinal disorder at the moment, sees a Union advance and thinks it is a feint. He misjudged where the Union army will cross and Warren crosses the river without impediment. Hill sends a division to attack, but is ultimately repulsed. Sundown prevents Heth from joining the attack. Lee takes his anger out on Hill for putting up such a weak showing. Also further down river, Hancock easily drove Confederates from a bridge crossing and crosses easily the next morning. Lee comes up with a trap on the only bit of high ground south of the river. He forms a wedge, an upside down V, with the point at the river. Andersen and Ewell go down the east slope, Hill the west. This splits Grant’s army in two, Warren and Wright in the west, Hancock in the East, and Burnside occupying the apex from across the river. Lee plans to use this wedge to launch a strong attack on one wing, with Grant stuck having to cross the river twice to save the wing under attack. Unfortunately for Lee, the Union army spies the fortifications and digs in. The trap is unsprung. On May 27th, the Union army goes southeast along the river and crosses, now 15 miles from Richmond.

March 22nd, 2022

The Wright Brothers Yesterday the Wrights made their historic flight in Kitty Hawk with the Flyer I. This is the story everyone knows and has the famous picture. Since it was December and winds are crazy, after the flight the plane was picked up by the wind and smashed several times, bruising an audience member in the processes. The Wrights went home and packed up the damaged ship. In 1905, they would not return to Kitty Hawk. Their flights in the Flyer II would take place in a field outside Dayton. It started off poorly, but they built a launching “catapult” device and were able to get consistent flight results. They even were able to fly in a semicircle and full circle, more firsts in flight. Most people and journalists paid no attention. A man interested in mechanics and flight, Amos Root, wrote an in-depth article for his bee keeping journal, with the family’s permission. The British government showed interested, but the Wrights preferred to sell it to the American government. After two dismissals from the government, they went ahead and offered to sell a Flyer III to the British. This stalled, and the French became interested. They had their first serious buyer.

March 19th, 2022

The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 Pickett was in charge of defenses because Beauregard was ill and could not travel yet. He received reinforcements piecemeal from various locations. D. H. Hill volunteered his services, as he had been inactive for being a loudmouth and alienating his superiors, mostly Bragg. They had stopped Butler’s move towards Petersburg and set up defenses at Drewry’s Bluff south of Richmond. Butler had moved towards these defenses and entrenched. Beauregard joined and came up with more of his maniacal plans to destroy the Union forces, which Bragg and Davis declined. He decided to attack Butler head on and on both flanks, but his left most commander chickened out and ran. This ruined Beauregard's plan to drive Butler back, but Butler decided to move back to Bermuda Point anyway. He entrenched, Beauregard moved in and built up his own defenses, and then was forced to send 6000 men to Lee.

March 18th, 2022

The Wright Brothers The third trip to Kitty Hawk was much more successful than the previous. With their newly designed wings, they had thousands of successful glides. They continued to build up their shed as a second home. One night, a sleepless Orville came up with a new idea for control. The rudder or elevator should be hinged and controlled by the operator. Wilbur added on that it could be controlled by motion of the hips, keeping the hands free. The Wrights felt they had solved the problem of controlled flight. Next for them was powered flight. They have no data on propellors and could not find a light enough engine for their plane. They had Charlie Taylor, their bike shop employee, come up with the engine design while they figured out the propellor. The Wrights decided that the only way to get the propellors right was mostly trial and error. Charlie built an engine with a light aluminum block, no carburetor, and used the arcing of a closing switch as the spark. The first engine block cracked, and a few months later they received a second one. The engine made 12HP. In December 1903, they shipped everything down to Kitty Hawk for their fourth set of experiments. Seems like a bad time of year, but I guess they can’t sit around and wait for sun.

March 17th, 2022

The Wright Brothers The brothers went back home to work with their new data and keep the shop going. They hired their first employee, a trusted mechanic, to manage things so they could focus more on the flight project. Wilbur corresponded with Octave Chanute, a famed civil engineer and flight enthusiast, and they formed a strong professional relationship. Chanute visited the Wright house when in Dayton, and recommended some men to work with when the went back to Kitty Hawk. The Wrights redesigned the curvature of their wings based on calculations from Chanute and Lilienthal. In Kitty Hawk, they found their new design was worse than their original. The living was harder too, with mosquitoes running rampant in the region. They built a large shed to live in and house their work, and two men associated with Chanute joined them. One worked at the Smithsonian and the Wrights disliked him. The other was had a medical degree, but was just interested in the flight. The Wrights got along with him. The brothers decided the numbers from Lilienthal and Chanute were no good and went back to their old design. To the outside observer, things looked good. The brothers were disappointed, though, and felt like things had gone backward. Back in Dayton, they started wing design from scratch. They build a miniature wind tunnel (1.5’x1.5’ and 6’ long) and tested wing designs made of old scrap band saw metal. Things were delayed by want of money, and the Wrights had to focus on business for a time. They refused Chanute’s offer of money or to find any donors. Chanute asked Wilbur to give a speech to the Western Society of Engineers and Wilbur was very reluctant. He felt he could not give a good speech. However, his speech about their work went over well and was reprinted in multiple journals.

March 16th, 2022

The Wright Brothers The brothers began taking their flight work seriously, and Wilbur began looking for ideal locations for a test flight to test their novel, bird-inspired elevator ideas. They wanted regular 15mph winds and soft sand for landing. After contacting the Weather Bureau, they learned of a nothing town in the remote Outer Banks of North Carolina. Kitty Hawk was a small, poor fishing town, and Wilbur was in contact with a retired postmaster there. After some correspondence, the location was set. After a train ride to NC, no one nearby had heard of the town except a fisherman with a rickety boat. After nearly dying and two days without food, Wilbur arrived. Orville arrived a few weeks later, after everything was settled. They lived in a tent and cooked their own meals, fish if they could catch it and local eggs. Viewed as crazy people with weird ideas, some of the locals watched for entertainment and some helped out a bit. Despite an unmanned crash that destroyed the plane, they rebuilt and kept trying. Wilbur manned some of the flights, even taking off from a 100ft hill.
 
The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 The next section jumps back to the beginning of May, before Grant’s battles. Sigel began marching into the Shenandoah Valley to draw in the Confederates under Breckinridge. Meanwhile, General Crook would go west through West Virginia to the other end of the valley and attack some salt and lead works. General Averell of Bath, NY would lead his cavalry down and do some damage before linking of with Crook. Crook moved quickly and on May 9th gave battle and won. Instead of waiting for Averell, he kept moving, but not towards Sigel. He heard Grant was defeated at the Wilderness and moved back into West Virginia. Averell ran into Morgan, who escaped from his Ohio jail and was eager for battle. It was hard fighting, but the Confederates fought harder and Averell retreated, eventually catching up to Crook. By this point, they learned of Sigel’s battle with Breckinridge at New Market on the 15th. Breckinridge’s army, along with teenage recruits from VMI, prevented Sigel from taking the town of New Market. Sigel retreated full force after his defeat all the way to the north end of the valley. A furious Grant relieved him of duty. Breckinridge, with Lee’s blessing, chose to join Lee instead of pursuing Sigel into Maryland. On the opposite end of Richmond, Butler’s forces landed south of the James River and took up a fortification in the peninsula between the James and Appomattox rivers. He tried to make a move towards Petersburg but was repulsed, and he and his subordinate generals distrusted each other because of the results. Meanwhile, the navy lost two ships traveling the bending river towards Richmond. This was not going well for the Union.

March 15th, 2022

The Wright Brothers Orville had started his own printing business in the garage while still in high school. Wilbur joined him in the effort and they started publishing a newsletter for the area. They made money and moved to a proper building. Later, the bicycle became the greatest invention and the hype was huge. Orville was very into bicycles and he and Wilbur opened a repair shop. It was successful, but other shops opened and competition was fierce. Wilbur realized he was not interested really in business and was meant for more scholarly pursuits. Business picked up again, and the brothers started selling their own designs. They were making quite a bit of money and moved to bigger and bigger locations. In 1896, Orville got typhoid fever and nearly died. Wilbur and Katherine took care of him, and Wilbur read to him. At this time, the famous glider Lilienthal crashed and died. This had some inspiration for Wilbur, who became devoted to reading about flight. He wrote to the Smithsonian to acquire information and reading materials, and took this up as a serious pursuit.

March 14th, 2022

The Wright Brothers The book begins as most biographies do. The author gives a short description the main characters and discusses their upbringing a little. Wilbur Wright is the older brother, a more energetic, but quiet man. Orville is the youngest brother, a shy man but good with mechanics. As the younger brother, he let’s Wilbur lead the way a lot, though they are both very close and similar, practically twins. They live in the same house in Dayton with their father, Milton, a preacher, and younger sister Katherine, a teacher. Their mother died when they were young adults and there are two older brothers off with their own families, trying to make ends meet. Their mother was very handy, which is where they likely got it from. She also encouraged their constant tinkering as young boys. Their father was always travelling for his church and encouraged his kids to read and educate themselves. He had a diverse and well-stocked library, not just religious works one might expect of a preacher. In his late teens, Wilbur was expected to head off to a prestigious school like Yale, but met with a kind of accident. During a hockey game, he was hit with a stick and knocked his front teeth out. Possibly this was intentional, as the perpetrator was known to be psychotic and ended up executed for murdering his family. For the next three years, Wilbur was stuck in a depression and all talk of Yale was over.
 
The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 Following the terrible 12th of May, Grant moved Warren to the Confederate right to attempt a flanking maneuver. The march took until the 14th, due to rain, mud, and confusion. Wright suggested that the Confederate left was weak from taking reinforcements and that an attack should be launched here. Grant agreed. Simultaneously, Hancock would attack over the salient again. This day, the 17th, was a disaster, as the salient, or “Mule Shoe”, was still well defended. The Union attackers were slaughtered by gun and artillery. At this point, Grant decided to cut his losses. They would leave Spotsylvania and move south, with Hancock dangling out front as bait. On the 19th, thinking the Union’s right flank would be open as it prepared to march, Ewell attacked. Grant had prepared for this, and the way was well guarded. Ewell was repulsed by fresh green recruits from Washington. This bloody, 8 day battle was at an end, with nothing to show for it. Grant could not destroy Lee’s army, and Lee could not stop Grant’s advance. The benefit for Lee was he would now be closer to supplies and reinforcements. Sigel and Butler had been stopped in their tracks, freeing up some of Breckenridge’s and Beauregard’s men to assist in fighting Grant.

March 13th, 2022

The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 I find it hard to believe I didn't write anything for today, but it looks like I didn't. Writing this the day after. The Confederates misinterpreted the wagon train of wounded and Hancock’s march across the line as the beginning of a retreat. Lee moved the artillery from the front in anticipation of Grant’s next move. A brigadier at the salient heard the preparations for a Union attack and requested the artillery brought back. Unfortunately for him, it was minutes too late. Hancock’s men drove the initial Confederate defenders back and prevented the use of the guns. However, that was the peak of the day for the Union. Burnside launched an attack on the east side of the salient, but was stalled by the defenders and did not cross the fortifications. The attack at the “bloody angle” was to last for 16 straight hours and be one of the most unforgettable and scarring days of the war. Men killed each other relentlessly for the entire day, not even to stop with the setting sun. The survivors slept where they laid. The rest of the army was not idle. The western part of the salient was attack by Warren or Wright (Sedgwick’s replacement) at 6am but had similar problems as Burnside. Whichever of Warren or Wright remained attacked a more western point at 9am but that ended quickly, allowing Anderson to send more defenders to the salient. During the night, the Confederates formed a new line and slowly fell back, regiment by regiment. Also during this attack, Lee received some bad news. JEB Stuart had chased Sheridan’s cavalry after he left the battle. Sheridan sought a battle and destroyed as much as he could to get Stuart to show up. On May 11th, they finally met, and Stuart was shot in stomach by a pistol wielding cavalryman. He died the next day. Sherridan rested a few days at Butler’s camp on the James and then rejoined Grant’s army on the 24th. But back to the Battle of Spotsyvania.

March 12th, 2022

The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 May 7th passes with neither side leading an assault. So ends the Battle of the Wilderness. Instead of ordering a retreat like his predecessors, Grant, after recovering from the emotional shock of the loss, orders the army to march for the open plains of Spotsylvania. The troops, depressed at the loss, are surprised and cheered to find themselves marching south instead of north across the river. Lee, clever as ever, predicts his opponent's move and also starts for Spotsylvania. It becomes a race for Richmond. General Anderson is given command of Longstreet's corps and is to be the head of the marching column. Confederate cavalry get there first and build up a rough breastwork. The Union army moved too slowly due to confusion among its own cavalry. Sheridan is furious with Meade, who gave orders to cavalry that had no orders. Sheridan leaves the next day, with permission from Grant, to “take Stuart”. The Union infantry, Warren's corps, charge the Confederate cavalry position, only to find Anderson's men there in force. The Warren's men are bloodily repulsed after several charges. This first day of the Battle of Spotsylvania ends with the Confederates holding the field. The next day, Union army attempts to build up their defenses under heavy sniper fire. Sedgewick admonishes his men for ducking from such random shots and is shot in the face. He bleeds to death minutes later, a huge blow for the corps that greatly loved this man. General Wright would take command of the corps. On the 10th, the attack continues with Warren promising to take the fortifications. He fails, but a Colonel Upton comes up with a plan to take the salient point after seeing it close up. It comes close to succeeding, but there was not enough support to keep the position. General Mott was to attack a different point, but the brigade was destroyed by artillery fire. Grant liked the idea, so on the 12th, Hancock would take his men to the center and repeat it with a whole corps.

March 11th, 2022

Tecumseh and the Prophet After Tecumseh’s death, the confederacy collapsed. The entire war on this front was essentially over. Proctor was courtmartialed and never given command again. The surviving combatants came to the eastern Niagara front, with the Americans choosing not to pursue. The Prophet, Tenskwatawa is his real name, tried to lead his people, but to no avail. The Indians would be forever dependent on the whites. Tecumseh used his cunning to try to get the most of the British, claiming he was chief of all Indians. Matthew Elliot, who had been so close to the Shawnee all these decades, died around this time. The new Indian agents would not know how to to work with Tenskwatawa, he kept alienating more and more people. The treaty of Ghent ended the war at the end of 1814, and the Indians were officially abandoned. No homeland would be guaranteed for them. Tenskwatawa moved to the Amhertsburg and begged from the British. He was exiled from America for the next decade. He was invited back to Michigan territory in 1824 to guide Shawnees to their reservation in Kansas. Always an outcast, after the hard journey he segregated himself with some family and built a shantytown called Prophetstown. He faded away, was nobody for the next 10 years. Except in this time, a painter wished to capture his portrait as a legacy of the Shawnee. Tenskwatawa posed in his medicine man garb, abandoning the European style he had posed for in earlier portraits. Some time in 1836, he died alone in his little cabin. What a downer. These two brothers were so close to changing the world. I guess they did, it just didn’t change in their favor.

March 10th, 2022

Tecumseh and the Prophet Through the end of September and the start of October, the British and Indians do a lot of marching and no action as Harrison pursues. Proctor disappears further along to Moraviantown on the Thames, where his wife is, without giving instructions to his subordinates. The Indians take their own stand and skirmish with the Americans in the river delta before retreating further. On October 6th, 1813, the forces meet outside Moraviantown. The Battle of the Thames sees the British quickly routed with many men taken prisoner and Proctor absconding. The Indians form a line along the marsh and start off well, picking off Kentucky calvary men. After their commander is killed, the next in line orders his men to dismount and approach on foot, using trees for cover. Tecumseh’s brother-in-law is killed. Then, Tecumseh himself gets a bullet to the heart, instantly killing him. Word of this spread along the line and the Indians retreat. Many leave the coalition and sneak off home or surrender to the Americans. Harrison goes to the field later, but Tecumseh’s mutilated body is unidentifiable by then. Word spreads quickly around America how the great Indian leader had been killed in battle.

March 9th, 2022

Tecumseh and the Prophet Things go down hill from here. Desperate for a victory, Tecumseh organizes an attack on Fort Stephenson in Ohio. The assault on the fort was catastrophic for the British, losing 80 some men killed or wounded, with the Indians skulking away without a loss. The British are tired of the Indians and the Indians are tired of the British. Proctor gets no support from the capital. On September 1st, 1813, the Americans launch their Lake Erie flotilla. On September 9th, the British flotilla meets them to do battle. Not a single British ship returns. The lake is purely American. Fort Malden is cut off from their supplies and slowing go into starvation. The only option is retreat. As they dismantle the fort, angry Indians demand to know what is happening and nearly riot. They could easily kill all the British. Proctor convinces Tecumseh, who is fed up with Proctor, to move to a more tenable position down the Thames River. Many Indians refuse to leave, some say they will join the Americans. All the high hopes of Tecumseh have come to nothing.
 
The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 Longstreet per usual hits hard. He also brings strategy to what had been a brute force battle. Hancock had left one division on a south traveling road, expecting Pickett’s division to march up in this direction in a flanking maneuver. However, Picket was south of Richmond somewhere, nowhere near the battle. Some firing with cavalry brought more confusion and exception from this road. Worse, Burnside was still lost, leaving the center wide open. Longstreet used this opening and attacked from both the front and the side. Hancock’s men “rolled-up like a wet blanket” he would later say. They fell back fast to their breastwork. The fast moving Confederates met at a right angle and mistook each other for the enemy. This had tragic consequences. 2 men of Longstreet’s staff were killed, a brigadier general was hit, to die later, and Longstreet himself was shot in the neck. Too reminiscent of Stonewall Jackson’s fatal wounding in these very woods, Longstreet was taken back to the hospital. To avoid further disasters, 4 hours were spent getting the lines in order. But by 4pm, Burnside had filled the gap and no more advancement could be made, especially without Longstreet in charge. Lee looked to the left, Ewell, to keep the action up. Ewell, as in Gettysburg, sat and did not make a critical attack. Lee’s presence allowed General Gordon to propose his plan that Ewell and Early decline. Gordon would like some men (a division? brigade?) around the flank and attack Warren’s men from the side. Lee instantly ordered it and the attack was made at 6pm with strong effect. Warren’s divisions crumpled, losing 1000 men in an hour, but sunset soon put an end to any more fighting. If this attack had been coordinated with Longstreet’s, who knows what side of the river Grant would be on. With the 2nd day over, Lee anticipates, and hopes that, Grant will live up to his aggressive reputation and attack the next day.

March 8th, 2022

Tecumseh and the Prophet The British and Indians indeed attack Harrison’s Fort Meigs. General Proctor plans to weaken the fort with artillery and then the Indians will attack, but the artillery fails to deliver the damage. The Indians just sharpshoot, when surprise reinforcements from Kentucky join the battle. Some land south of the river (fort side) and assault the British guns, while a bunch more land north to take a different set of guns. The northern contingent has no idea what they’re doing and get drawn inland by the Indians. Tecumseh crosses the river to start a flank attack and the American under Dudley are decimated. Only 150/800 make it safely to the fort. Hundreds are taken to old Fort Miamis as prisoners, where they must run the gauntlet. Many survivors are killed, the British too few to stop them, until Tecumseh ends the bloodshed. The battle ends as Indians take plunder and leave, the fort still standing. General Prevost in Quebec does nothing to support Proctor in Upper Canada, and Proctor’s numbers dwindle as the Canadian militia head home for crop planting. He does not want to lead another attack, but knows he must follow Tecumseh or lose the Indian forces. Tecumseh attempts a ruse to draw out the men of Fort Meigs, but it does not work. The commanding officer sees through it. Despite the military successes, Tecumseh is no closer to his goal of reclaiming Ohio.
 
The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 May 5th, day 1 of the Battle of the Wilderness sees Meade turn his flank to attack Ewell’s approaching men, though he thinks it is a small force acting as feint. Grant loves the initiative and announces to everyone to attack as soon as the opportunity arrives. Hancock decides to dig in a little before he makes contact with Hill. Ewell and Meade’s division under Warren(?) go back and forth, but Hancock does real damage to Heth and Wilcox under Hill. The fighting is chaotic, regardless, visibility is minimal. Hancock is convinced he would have broken through the enemy lines if the day had not ended. Day 2, Lee plans to move Hill north to fill a gap and have Longstreet replace Hill’s men. Heth requests 3 times to move his men back to safer ground, feeling the Union would attack at first light. Hill has none of it. Grant plans to have the army attack at 5am, and Burnside will attack through the gap. In reality, Longstreet arrives late and Burnside gets lost. Ewell is attacked to prevent him from sending reinforcements, the main targets are Heth and Wilcox. Hancock nearly breaks through when Longstreet arrives. This will put a stall to Hancock's advance.

March 7th, 2022

Tecumseh and the Prophet Brock is killed during an American attempted invasion across Niagara. Tecumseh trusts the Prophet to lead an expedition against Forts Harrison and Malden, I think. The Potawatomis lead their own attack on Malden, while the Prophet leads the one at Harrison, though he lets a Kickapoo war chief lead the actual attack. The attack is well planned but does not succeed and both sieges end up repulsed. William Henry Harrison leads a Kentucky militia into Indian territory and starts scorching the earth. The fighting doesn’t really tip any scales, though a careless split of forces on the assault on Frenchtown allowed the British an overwhelming victory. Tecumseh spends the winter in his brother’s camp to recover from his wound. The British start to see things Brock’s way and become more favorable to the Indians, especially after Napoleon’s failure in Russia shows that the war in Europe may not last much longer. I can’t remember what else happened, there’s a lot of skirmishing. Harrison builds a new fort as a naval force is being constructed on Lake Erie. I think the British and Indians will assault that next.
 
The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 Apparently I didn’t save what I wrote. Strange. Grant moves cross Rapidan, no problems. Camps in Wilderness. Lee trusts gut and moves to attack. Ewell and Hill make contact with Warren(?) and Hancock. End day 1.

March 6th, 2022

The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 The 4th section of chapter 1 returns to Grant, who was angry over the failures in the Transmississippi. He took great care to make sure that events in the east would not go astray and off-plan. He went personally to Butler to discuss his invasion up the James River. His main focus was Meade’s army. Grant brought Phillip Sheridan from the west to be in charge of the cavalry, despite his relative inexperience in the matter. He would make sure the cavalry would be hard hitting and aggressive. Meade had reorganized the army and cannibalized some divisions, much to the ire of the soldiers. To encourage re-enlistment of volunteers, whose 3 year enlistments after Fort Sumter would be expiring, divisions that kept 75% of their men could keep their old colors and numbering, plus they’d get $400 dollars and a 30 day furlough. They’d also get a special insignia and title. They really wanted to keep these veterans. Many westerners re-signed, but only about half of the volunteers in the east did. Regimental pride carried a lot of peer pressure that coerced people into staying on. Also, to the amusement of the regular army, Grant fulfilled his plans of bringing many of the stationary regiments into the main army. Now he was ready to move. He told his men, and Sherman out west, that they would begin moving on May 4th. They would quickly cross the fords into the Wilderness and get out of there before Lee could attack. Lee, trusting his gut, moved his army towards the Wilderness to intercept. Foote also relates that tragedy that struck Jefferson Davis at the end of April. After the first April that did not bring a Confederate disaster, his 5 year old son fell from a balcony and died. Pretty sad.

March 5th, 2022

The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 The rest of this section talks about Joe Johnston’s command in the west and, as expected, he will take the defensive instead of the much needed offensive. To Davis’ chagrin, he has no one to replace him with and the soldiers love the man too much to accept a new leader. Johnston brought the troops back from deep depression after Bragg’s retreats. So the the Chattanooga, Knoxville, Nashville communications and supplies will go untouched. Longstreet returns to Virginia under Lee, but Lee can’t make a move because his men and horses are near starvation. They are preparing for a move by Grant. They do not know if he will attack their front across the Rapidan, go through the Shenandoah Valley, or move down the coast a-la McClellan. Possibly all three. Regardless, they are confident that they can oppose a seventh Union commander in Virgina.

March 4th, 2022

Tecumseh and the Prophet The war continues and General Hull sends a force to secure his supply lines. The British and Indians, after their victory at Brownstown, wait for more Americans to show up. They set up an ambush at Manguama or some difficult Indian name, but it does not go as planned. Main Poc’s men accidentally fire on the British and both start to flee. Canadian militia men mistook American drums for a retreat signal. Tecumseh’s ambush, however, splits the American force and they end up retreating, so it was a tactical victory with few dead and wounded. Tecumseh himself suffered a nasty bullet wound in the shoulder. With no action in the Niagara front, the General Brock came to the western front. He and Tecumseh saw eye to eye and greatly respected each other. Brock called for an attack on Fort Detroit, where Hull was holed up with many civilians. After some shelling, they surrendered and were surprised at the restraint shown by Indians. Fort Dearborn also surrendered, but Potawatomis were not so restrained. After clearing out the forts, Tecumseh and his men set out for some raiding further south into Michigan. Unfortunately, Brock was called back to the Niagara front.
 
The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 The odds may be against the Confederacy, but in the winter “down” time, while the main armies are in camp, the action has been mostly in their favor. Meridian, Red River, Florida, the raid on Richmond, and possibly others had all been successes for them. Two more movements in April went beyond their expectations. General Forrest’s cavalry led a raid through western Tennessee up into Kentucky, taking many supplies, prisoners, and recruits along the way. They assaulted Ft. Pillow on the Mississippi and ended up killing 20% of the men there, most of the fatalities being black men. This became known up north as the Fort Pillow Massacre. Forrest was then recalled by Polk, but wrote to the president about his desire to work with Johnston to strike at Sherman’s communications and supplies in order to ruin their plans on Atlanta. On the east coast, a joint naval and army assault to reclaim Plymouth North Carolina was under way. The army was led by General Hoke, out of Lee’s army, and the Navy (Admiral?) Cooke, in a newly build ironclad called the Albemarle. Again, it went exceedingly well. The Union ships could not stand up to the ironclad and the army easily took the fort once the navy was taken care of. From here, they can march further down the North Carolina coast, until the Union can come up with a ship with a low enough draft, or whatever the term is.

March 3rd, 2022

Tecumseh and the Prophet The British, at least in the Fort Malden/Upper Canada area across from Detroit, were not ready for war. The fortifications were old and there were not many men, especially compared with the Americans. War with Napoleon would prevent reinforcements, but the war-hawks lack of thinking rejected a naval bill and left the Greak Lakes in British hands. Some Indians followed Tecumseh to the British, while others chose neutrality. The Americans under Hull marched unopposed to Detroit. The British commander was a bit inept and couldn’t do much, but Tecumseh and his men proved very formidable. The British commander was replaced by someone named Packet or Pocket or something like that, out of Quebec, who revitalized the British forces and fortifications. He and Tecumseh went over the river to recruit neutral Wyandots. They were not interested in the Brit’s words, but listened to Tecumseh. After several days of prodding, many Wyandot warriors defected to Tecumseh. So far, Tecumseh has been a great war leader and embarrassing the numerically superior Americans.
 
The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 The third part of the first chapter begins with the state of the Confederacy. People, such as the governors of Georgia and North Carolina, have begun speaking out against Davis and the Confederacy, and even hint at rejoining the Union. Vice President Stephens had been speaking out against Davis for years now. Davis is running out of options. There will never be foreign aid, he will never conquer the north, and no southern envoy will be received. The only hope is a long defensive war to tire out the Union. If he is lucky, Lincoln will not be re-elected in 6 months and the Democrat president will end the war on terms favorable to the Confederacy. Otherwise, there is only defeat at the hands of Grant and Lincoln.

March 2nd, 2022

Tecumseh and the Prophet Tecumseh tries to pull everything back together after his brother’s screw up, and doing all this cover anti-American stuff in the background. Unfortunately, Main Poc’s men start killing settlers left and right and bring more conflict to the forefront. A few months go by of this wheeling and dealing, forging closer alliances with the British while trying to get the tribes to unify. In the capitol, Congress gets filled with war-hawks, with Henry Clay as their mouthpiece. Old spineless Madison gives in and declares war on England and any allied Indians on June 17th, 1812. A pointless war has begun. Pointless for the US and England. For the Indians, it will be a war for survival.
 
The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 Early May, Banks and Porter are still stuck because of the low river. Taylor is picking off straggling ships and doing a good job of it. Finally, a Lt. Colonel Bailey has a suggestion. They will dam part of the river and “raise” the river bed to increase the water flow. P1V1=P2V2. Many people laugh at the idea when he and 3000 soldiers start off, but they make fast progress. Some ships were able to use it before it started to blow. A 2nd dam was built further up to ease the pressure, and Porter got his boats through before the army starved. The navy was very grateful to Bailey for his ingenious work, and would ultimately be promoted to Brig. General. The Union starts moving, burning Alexandria and everything else in their path. On May 16th, the two forces met on a flat field, but the greatly outnumbered Confederates retreated before there could be combat. Kirby Smith had still not returned from Arkansas. Two days later, the Union army was stuck at the Atchafalaya River, which had become to wide to cross by pontoons. Taylor saw a chance and attacked, but AJ Smiths men were able to drive off the advanced skirmishers. When Taylor reformed, the Union army was gone. Bailey again came up with a feat of engineering. He put a bunch of commandeered boats together and bolted them together to make a strange bridge. The Union men were free to return, with nothing to show for it and a month late. AJ Smith and his men returned to Sherman. Banks, an important man in politics, was not replaced, but a new department was created and Banks became outranked, his career seemingly over. Taylor wrote a scathing letter to Kirby Smith and offered to resign, which Smith forwarded to Jefferson Davis to decide on the matter. Thus ends the Red River campaign.

March 1st, 2022

Tecumseh and the Prophet The Prophet convinced Harrison to hold discussions the next day and to camp that night in a certain spot. The American agreed and that night the Indians decided to attack. The Battle of Tippecanoe took place in the very early morning of November 7th, 1811. It was pitch black and pouring rain. The plan was to send a contingent of Kickapoo to sneak into the camp and kill Harrison, then the rest of the tribes would open the general engagement. The Kickapoos got found out and it turned into a chaotic engagement. Bonfires blinded the Americans and nobody could see anything. After hours of fighting and with the sun rising, the Indians retreated, practically out of ammo. The Americans went in and burned Prophetstown to the ground. The Indians barely spared the Prophet’s life, but dispersed as everyone had to survive the winter elsewhere. In December in New Madrid, a cataclysmic earthquake occurred with shocks felt throughout the country until March. Many Indians took this as a sign of god’s anger with them. Some rejoined the Prophet, or moved along their own path of cultural revitalization. Tecumseh traveled through this area, but the were not interested in him. The Osages, no longer enemy of the Shawnee, listened intently to one of his great speeches, but declined to join. Tecumseh went back with nothing to show for his travels. Back in Vincennes, Harrison boasts of his “victory”, in which he lost 1/5 men, and claims the Indians pacified.
 
The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 Steele’s expedition to Shreveport may have been worse than Banks’. Steele had been especially against leaving Little Rock, but once Grant ordered him to, he saw no point in further protesting. Going through the muddy, foodless plains of Arkansas, he crossed several rivers with Price’s cavalry picking on him. Though he outnumbered the Confederates, he could not support the supply lines or further invasion and turned towards Camden, not even halfway to Shreveport. Here he was besieged, but snuck out in the night and had a good head-start back towards Little Rock. At the last river crossing, the Confederates caught up. Kirby Smith had joined the army, so the forces were roughly 10k men each. A chaotic, dark, muddy battle ensued. The Union men held off and crossed the river, while the Confederates chose not to pursue. Little Rock was too close and too fortified. Steele returned to the capitol, another useless Union advance that only got men killed. At least he returned to safety, while Banks is stuck in Alexandria.

February 28th, 2022

Tecumseh and the Prophet Tecumseh’s trek south didn’t amount to much. The Choctaws threatened to kill him and the Creeks were less than interested. The Creeks, already in a divide between north and south. Tecumseh left one of his men there to spread the Prophet’s message, which may have contributed to a cultural revival and thus the Creek Wars. Either way, it was mostly a dud for Tecumseh and he left pretty empty handed for the western Shawnee. Meanwhile, the Prophet was gathering warriors from various tribes and alarmed Harrison. Under the pretext that the Prophet was responsible for assaults and thefts, he launches a military expedition. Peace talks fail and battle will take place.

February 27th, 2022

The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 April 8 saw the first battle of the Red River campaign. Taylor sat blocking Banks' path, waiting for him to make a move, which he did not do. The day passed idly, until Taylor decided to make use of the remaining daylight and attack. It was a rout and the Union men turned and ran. Banks marched through the night to a place called Pleasant Hill, where they mounted a defense. Taylor attacked the next day and events started out the same. However, General AJ Smith, one of Sherman's men, launched a counter-attack that sent the Confederates running. After this victory, Banks wanted to continue back to Shreveport, but his generals made him change his mind and they retreated towards the river to rejoin the navy, much to the anger of AJ Smith. Meanwhile, Kirby Smith had been informed of Taylor's actions and joined him, forcing him to return to Shreveport and wait for the approaching Steele and Porter. Both generals in charge of the engagement had been forced to flee in opposite directions. In Shreveport, nothing happened. Porter was stuck in the low river and Steele had made a turn for Camden, AK. Taylor, with a smaller command, went back towards Banks. Meanwhile, Banks and Porter had decided to retreat to Alexandria. Banks led a successful retreat, burning what he could along the way. Taylor kept on his tail but could not do much. Porter, losing ships along the way, ends up trapped at the falls due to the low water level. He fears that Banks will abandon him for Grant's planned expedition to Mobile, but Banks, despite their mutual dislike of each other, stays in the Admiral's proximity. The beginning of May, the Union men are stuck in Alexandria and shoring up its defenses.

February 25th, 2022

Tecumseh and the Prophet I didn’t pay much attention today. There was another meeting with Harrison that goes nowhere and then Tecumseh made his way down to the southern tribes in Tennessee, Alabama region. Main Poc is causing trouble for everyone by attacking white settlements.

February 24th, 2022

Tecumseh and the Prophet Tensions are high between Prophetstown and Harrison. Harrisons sees threats of war and British intrigue everywhere. He sends spy after spy to Prophetstown, and the last one barely escapes with his life, thanks to the intervention of the brothers. In response, Tecumseh and some of his men go to meet Harrison at Vincennes. The meeting nearly comes to blows and the Indians storm off. They meet again the next day but do not come to any understanding. Tecumseh will not acknowledge the Fort Wayne treaty and will kill any chief who signed it if they do not recant. They will prevent any attempt at American surveying of the land. Tecumseh then goes around the Michigan territory but only is successful in one Powtawatomi village. Main Poc had been shot in battle and his followers were shaken. However, many young warriors in the Indiana territory and Illinois territory start to see things Tecumseh’s way. Tecumseh, in a meeting with the various tribes and the British, professes friendship with the British and a change to warrior rule. The old chiefs will have no say on future events. They will not ask for British soldiers but request war material. The British will oblige, but advise against starting a war. The winter of 1810 passes without violence.

February 23rd, 2022

Tecumseh and the Prophet The Shawnee brothers straggle along. It looks like their power is waning. Tecumseh can’t do any recruiting, some Ottawas sneak into town and kill a woman and child. Tecumseh stops the Sauks and Foxes from attacking forts in the Illinois territory (split off from the Indiana territory in 1809) but they refuse to join his cult. Then Harrison tries some bonehead moves. In direct defiance of President Madison and the secretary of war, he tries to get more land from the Indians. He’s upset that his territory shrank and that he won’t be able to be governor of a state. He tries to swindle the Indians out of land, but they are firm. He gets them drunk on lots of whiskey and with some threatening he gets them to agree to the treaty of Fort Wayne. He really is garbage. The Shawnee brothers and their followers refuse to acknowledge this treaty and fight it at every turn. It helps bring many former adversaries to their side. And of course, it pushes them closer to the British.
 
The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 The chapter continues about Banks’ invasion. It gives some detail on the Confederates, with General Taylor’s retreat towards Shreveport. He only has 7000 men compared with Banks’ some 30000. Head of the department General Kirby Smith is racked by indecision and cannot decide whether to try to stop Steele or Banks. Taylor, sick of this indecision and retreat, decides to take a stand before he loses his home state of Louisiana.

February 22nd, 2022

Tecumseh and the Prophet Tecumseh and the Prophet’s people suffer a difficult winter and many people leave. They then leave for their new region, but are stopped and threatened with death by some Miami and Delaware along the way. They pay this no mind and muscle their way past. They establish Prophetstown in the area promised by Main Pac, despite it being Miami territory. Tecumseh is sent to Canada to meet with the British and makes a favorable impression. The British will try to placate the Indians to keep them on their side, or to prevent them from becoming friendly with Americans. Still starving and with no supplies from Main Pac, the Prophet goes to William Henry Harrison to play both sides. He also makes a good impression and gets plenty of food out of him. The whole time his men refuse to drink whiskey offered by the whites. Tecumseh goes north to try to recruit some more tribes to his side, but they are not interested. Meanwhile other Shawnees have taken up white living and started farming with help from a Quaker sent by the government. They’re a lost cause.
 
The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 Foote starts to talk about General Banks and his mission for Texas. This campaign was though up by General Halleck and Lincoln in Washington. Banks, after a failure at Sabine Pass along the coast in Texas, is opposed to the maneuver. But, a politician, he begins to see the positives to going up the Red River and taking Shreveport. This would open up the region, and possibly bring Louisiana and Arkansas back into the Union. It would also capture a lot of supplies, especially valuable cotton. Banks is especially eager after securing support from General Steele and some of Sherman’s divisions, in addition to Admiral Porter on the river. Once Grant is in charge, he gives Banks a time limit before he must return Sherman’s men. However, he implies that Banks will next be in charge of an expedition to Mobile, a much more glorious campaign. So far, by the end of March 1864, the only setback is that the Red River has not risen as expected. This limits what naval support is possible.

February 21st, 2022

Tecumseh and the Prophet Everyone is distrustful of the Greenville settlement. Envoy after envoy is sent to monitor them and see if they are allied with the British. Many Americans and still distrustful of all things British, especially William Henry Harrison. All visitors find the Greenville Indians peaceful and sincere. Some of the leading men, Tecumseh included, even go to the state house to speak with the governor and legislature of Ohio. Blue Jacket makes a moving speech and Tecumseh delivers a powerful 3 hour long speech where he vows peace but not to give up any more land. The Americans trust the representatives and dismiss the militia. The Indians plan on leaving Greenville for an unknown location deep in Indian territory. Around this time some Indians in Michigan sign the Detroit Treaty, which gives away a huge tract of land in southeastern Michigan into Ohio for next to nothing. A Potawatomi chief/sorcerer, Main Poc, goes to Greenville to see the Prophet. He probably shouldn’t be trusted. Despite coming to an ideological impasse, Main Poc leaves as an ally and offers them land that he stole from the Delawares, near the Wabash and Tippecanoe rivers.

February 20th, 2022

The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 3 Volume 3 begins where Volume 2 left off, with General Grant arriving in DC in March 1864 for his promotion to Lieutenant General, the third person to hold the position. Grant is unused to the east and is uncomfortable with his fame after the western victories and is very uncomfortable with the attention. He meets with General Meade, still leading the Army of the Potomac, with a negative prejudice and intent on replacing him. After their meeting, both men walk away with favorable impressions of each other and Meade remains at his post. Grant shortly goes back west and meets with General Sherman in Dalton, Ohio. There he tells his friend and most trusted general of the plans to end the war. In the east, Meade will go directly after Lee, General Sigel will march from his guard of the western Virgina mountain passes into the Shenandoah Valley, and General Butler will move down the east coast. Burnside, recently taken out of command after Knoxville, will be in charge of newly raised forces and support Meade. In the west, Sherman will destroy Johnston's army (he had recently replaced Bragg) and move on Atlanta. Banks, stuck in a useless invasion of Texas, will move east from New Orleans. There was a third guy who has to do something, I don't remember. Maybe Steele in Arkansas, or possibly Thomas, though Thomas is probably under Sherman. Grant would take men from garrison duty to beef up the attacking forces, and would eventually go from a 1:1 ratio of garrison to fighting men to a 1:2. After meeting with Sherman, Grant regretably goes back to Washington, where he knows he will be needed to keep the eastern generals from stepping on each other's toes. Grant wants to begin his nation-wide offensive in mid-April.

February 19th, 2022

War and Peace Read the Second Epilogue and finished the book. This section is more of Tolstoy's philosophical ideas on history and not a narrative. He asks the questions: What is power? What is the force behind the movement of people and nations? In ancient times, it was believed that either a deity controlled fate directly or chose a king/leader who's actions were sanctioned by the gods. This simple belief does not is not approved of by modern man. Tolstoy claims this idea is thrown out only to swap god for a king or powerful man, whose commands are followed. Why? Why should a million men march across Europe to Moscow because one man said so? Because one man has power. What is power? The will of the people, so claim historians. I personally think that the “people” neither care about nor are relevant to those in power. It is a pyramid, a hierarchy, will the lower levels following the orders of the higher and smaller orders. If the highest level changes, it will not be felt directly by the lowest unless it leads to consequences such as war. The in-between levels will obey who signs their paycheck. Does the Russian factory worker care if there is a tsar, a secretary, or a president? Back to Tolstoy. He recognizes the will of the people and the transfer between leaders as garbage. He also claims that “power” as we call it does not exist. It is named so after the fact. The effect is something happens, but is the cause that one man said it should happen? And what of the thousands of things that this one man commands to be done that are not and cannot be done? Napoleon spent years commanding an invasion of England, which did not occur because it could not. The many small events are combined by historians into one large event which seems preordained. Napoleon orders troops into Vienna, into Prussia, into Poland, and it becomes as one long initial command to invade Russia. And this ignores the commands that were not executed because they are not remembered or considered significant. The ladder of which commands travel down to the bottom, e.g. a soldier, is power. It is a relationship and relative. As the order travels down the ladder, more actions are performed. The top of the pyramid only orders, the bottom only acts, and in-between the relationship varies inversely. Thus, Tolstoy states, power is this relationship and the force behind the movements are the activity of all people involved. Then Tolstoy discusses free will vs man's subjugation to laws of nature. A man, because he is conscience where as a rock subject to gravity is not, thinks he is making choices of his own free will and not as a reaction of some agent. This is another inverse relationship. The more freedom in a choice, the less inevitability is involved and vice versa. A drowning man who survives by accidentally drowning another man is not guilty of murder, he had very little freedom in the matter. A man who kills a man to steal his wallet is much more guilty, even though this may not have been a choice of pure freedom. Maybe his family is starving to death? You would still be unlikely to find a jury who would consider him innocent. It is also difficult to look back to the past and consider a choice to be free. The farther ago in time it occurred, the more consequences have become cemented in our timeline and it is hard to imagine any other way. Tolstoy claims that acknowledging these facts and changing the study of history would not destroy the field. Copernicus did not destroy astronomy nor religion by removing the Earth from the center of the universe. Tolstoy ends by saying “it is similarly necessary to renounce a freedom that does not exist, and to recognize a dependence of which we are not conscious”.

February 15th, 2022

Tecumseh and the Prophet The Prophet’s word is spreading and pilgrims from the northwest had come to hear him. A man from one of the northern tribes, named the Trout (in French), becomes a disciple and is to be the Prophet’s mouth in this far territory. Tecumseh pushes back against the Americans who are trying to get the Shawnee out of Greeneville. He does not put up with their requests and refuses to see their messengers unless they come from a higher authority. Conflict nearly breaks out among the Indians as Tecumseh and another chief Black Hoof blame each other for the murder of a white man, but it is resolved peacefully later. In the northwest, the Prophet’s rhetoric takes the people by storm. The northwestern tribes in the Michigan/Wisconsin area take on a militant tone and refuse to negotiate with Americans about land, saying they will not give up one inch of hunting ground. The Americans live in fear but so far no harm has occurred. In 1807, conflict between the US and Britain is renewing. England is at war with Napoleonic France, who has commercial ties with the US. The British are blockading ports and bombard a US ship that has some Royal Navy deserters. Jefferson puts an embargo on British goods, which doesn’t do much. The British, who have given very little attention to Indian affairs, begin to look to rekindle old alliances.

February 14th, 2022

Tecumseh and the Prophet The Indians are very afraid of witches. The Prophet blames a lot of there woes on witchcraft and there are already witch hunts going on. Some Delawares have invited him to be the judge of suspected witches they round up. Several men and women are executed for obviously fake crimes. The Prophet gets his first “success” as in his role as holy man with these Delawares. Governor WH Harrison tells the Indians to make the Prophet really do a miracle to prove that he is a prophet, something Christ-like. Unfortunately for Harrison, the Prophet has learned of an upcoming total solar eclipse and plans to use this as proof. The Indians, already superstitious, fall for it and believe in his power. A second witch hunt was supposed to occur in Wyandot territory, but the Wyandots have a long exposure to Christianity from the French and many are Catholics. A Presbyterian minister moved in to preach against the use of alcohol and try to switch them to his team and was able to rally enough men to end the witch hunting. A loss of the Prophet.
 
War and Peace

I forgot to write yesterday, but I read part 15, the final part before the epilogues. Natasha and Mary are mourning the death of Prince Andrew, but try not to talk or think about him. They go on in a haze. Mary is soon brought back to the reality of having to raise her nephew and repair their estates. Mary’s planned departure depresses Natasha more, as they are the only ones who understand each other. At this time the family gets the tragic news of Petya’s death. The count and countess are a wreck, with the countess on the verge of a breakdown. Only Natasha is able to console her mother in the coming days, and this brings life back to her. Mary stayed with the Rostovs a little longer while they grieved. Natasha is exhausted during all this time and starts to waste away. When Mary and her people left for Moscow, Natasha joined them to see a doctor. A good portion of this section talks about Kutuzov, his recognition as a hero and abandonment as the Tsar intends to continue the war into Europe, and Kutuzov’s death. The last third of the section follows the new life of Pierre. He has become a more positive person and more care-free. He is able to make decisions without freezing form real connections with people. In Moscow he goes to see Mary and does not recognize Natasha. Once he learns it is her, his old love is immediately rekindled and he cannot get her out of his mind. It seems she starts to care for him too. Pierre spends much time there and eventually confesses to Mary that he must marry her. Mary works the situation out between the two, and though she is saddened to see Natasha move on so quickly, she sees that Natasha feels some guilt over the situation and feels reassured in her friend. I think they will get married, probably along side Nicholas and Mary.

The First Epilogue discusses the conservative reaction after Napoleon, Alexander’s drop of liberal reforms, and Alexander’s plans such as the Christian League or whatever it was called. Tolstoy then discusses the role of chance in history and how what people call genius is just relative to the outcomes of chance. Then he talks about all the chances that led to Napoleon’s rise to power and his 100 Days. The epilogue tells us what happened to the main characters between 1813 and 1820. Natasha and Piere were married and the old Count died shortly after. Nicholas inherited what was left and all the debts. He retired from the army and worked in the civil service, trying to pay off his debts and care for his mother and Sonya. After being cold to Princess Mary, they reconciled and were married. With Mary’s wealth, Nicholas was able to get rid of the debts and became a stern landowner. He was passionate about farming and the field peasants came to respect him as a wise and fair master. They had several children, as did Natasha and Pierre. We rejoin them, along with Denisov and nephew Nicholas, at Bald Hill in 1820 for a St. Nicholas celebration. Pierre is absent on business in Petersburg and Natasha is in a poor mood because he is late. It seems she found her calling as a family woman, but disappointing to me, let her appearance go. Pierre arrives with gifts and they discuss modern events and the state of the government, which Pierre sees as going downhill quickly and Nicholas disagrees with him strongly. Nephew Nicholas looks up to Pierre almost like a father and is enthralled by his words. I assume we will leave the characters in this happy state and the Second Epilogue will be something completely different.

February 12th, 2022

War and Peace In part 14, Tolstoy explores the discrepancy between military theory and reality. In theory, a large force should beat a small force. In reality, a small group of guerrillas can decimate a regular army. Tolstoy mentioned this with some of Bolkonski’s speeches. There is some unknown factor, some spirit and quality of the individuals fighting, that determines the outcome more than size alone. The story brings us to a guerrilla band led by Denisov. They are staking out a French camp with Russian prisoners and wondering if they should attack. They refuse to work with the regular army because they don’t want to lose the loot. Denisov plans to work with a second group led by Dolokhov. One of the refused generals sends a messenger, who turns out to be Petya Rostov. Against orders, he asks to tag along with Denisov. He is 16 and brimming with energy, looking for action. When Dolokhov arrives, he dons a French uniform to infiltrate the camp for information. Petya takes the 2nd uniform and goes along, against Denisov’s wishes. They make it through, Dolokhov has clearly done this before. He tells Petya to tell Denisov that they will attack at dawn. The next morning they charge into battle and Denisov tells Petya to stay by his side. Too excited, Petya dashes forward and doesn’t stop. He goes into the camp and is shot in the head, dying instantly. Denisov is crushed, Dolokhov indifferent. One of the prisoners liberated is Pierre. His group had lost a couple hundred men, as they died off or were shot for lagging behind. Platon, the man who was Pierre’s friend, had been feverish. Pierre avoided him because of this, though it seems like a strange and cruel reaction. One day Pierre see’s Platon sitting by a tree with a longing look on his face. Pierre turns away and hears a gun shot. It is evident Platon was killed by the French, though nobody wanted to acknowledge it.

February 11th, 2022

Tecumseh and the Prophet Part 2 of this book opens up with Tecumseh’s brother becoming “The Prophet”. The Prophet had spent the 30ish years of his life as a burden mostly and became a terrible alcoholic. This was a dark time for the Indians and there had been several “seers” who preached about a return to the old ways of life. One day, the Prophet collapsed and everyone thought he was dead. He was immobile for the next day, and as they were digging his grave, he awoke. He described his vision on the path to hell and the tortures of the damned, how drunkards would drink molten lead. He was returned to earth by the Master of Life to tell what he had seen. Tecumseh’s village believed him and followed his new path. They were to create a new village in white territory at Greeneville. Tecumseh and the Prophet went to a neighboring Shawnee village to preach, and Delaware, Wyandots, and others were present. They did not take his new religion seriously.
 
War and Peace Part 13 is mostly a historical chapter where Tolstoy waxes on his anti-great man theory and talks about how Kutuzov was unable to stop the Russians from attacking the French after they left Moscow. The first chapter starts with a very good observation about people, which I know I have seen for myself, and probably in myself. I will print it here.

Man’s mind cannot grasp the causes of events in their completeness, but the desire to find those causes is implanted in man’s soul. And without considering the multiplicity and complexity of the conditions any one of which taken separately may seem to be the cause, he snatches at the first approximation to a cause that seems to him intelligible and says: “This is the cause!”

The Russians do what anyone would do and march where there was supplies. The French did what was inexplicable and not only stuck around until winter to leave, not only didn’t winter in a decently supplied city, but march back along the same path which they devastated. Napoleon was seeking peace terms with Kutuzov and refused. It was clear that the French were weak and the game was up. In the fictional world, Pierre’s 4 weeks in jail were like a spiritual renaissance and all the things that depressed him in the past seemed so small. He opted to stay in the commoner’s jail instead of officer’s and befriended the guards. However, when the order to march came, the friendship was over. He saw on their faces the steeled looks that were on the faces of the executioners. No sign of friendship was left, and Pierre was moved over to the group of officers for the march from Moscow.

February 10th, 2022

Tecumseh and the Prophet I don’t think a lot had been said in this reading. It talked about the life of William Henry Harrison, who went from an army officer (who had been at Fallen Timbers) to the governor of Indiana Territory. The chapter also discussed the various land “deals” that took lands from the Indians and the problem of alcohol, which was destroying the native communities. Tecumseh went out to the west Shawnee to escape the surrounding problems, but returned after a few months. Essentially, there is no happy ending in sight. The Americans are systematizing their land grabs and the Indians are falling deeper and deeper into social turmoil. President Jefferson himself plans to either push the Indians out or convince them, through crippling debt, to stay and farm the land.
 
War and Peace The countess has been imploring Sonya to “free” Nicholas. She is hesitant, but when she see’s Natasha and Bolkonski together, she assumes he will live and they will marry. Apparently you could not marry your sister-in-law, so Sonya “frees” Nicholas thinking he will not be able to marry Princess Mary. Then in Moscow, Pierre and several other men are tried and sentenced before Davout. Pierre pleads before Davout and is left in the dark of his fate. Twelve men are led to a firing squad, with Pierre sixth in line. The first two are led to the firing line and executed by sad and reluctant soldiers. Pierre looks away and continues to look away as the next two are executed. The fifth, a factory worker of about 18, is led off and Pierre watches his horror and realization as his death is impending. The soldiers again reluctantly kill this man. Pierre was pardoned and kept in a sort of holding cell. Pierre is disgusted with humanity and shaken to his core after these killings. In jail, a peasant-soldier tries to cheer him up. They talk and Pierre observes him the 4 weeks he is held. This man brings some of the humanity back to Pierre, which he thought he had lost after seeing the murdering machination of the army executions. Back to Princess Mary, she takes some of her household to find her brother, who was likely on his death bed. I wonder if Pierre ever found out that his friend was still alive. Mary arrives at the current dwelling of the Rostovs and finds the family strange and annoying. Only in Natasha, who she once disliked, could she find someone who understood her mindset. Two days ago, Andrew had come to accept his death. He was cold to his sister as she represented the world of the living, which he no longer was a part of. He went through the motions and shortly after he died. For real this time. Pretty sad but its been obvious for a long time. So ends Part 12. Poor Natasha.

February 9th, 2022

Tecumseh and the Prophet The Indians did not get a warm reception at Fort Miamis. The British, who were in the midst of negotiations for abandoning their northwest forts, did not allow any Indians in. They had to retreat further and were in for a rough winter. With everything they had destroyed by the Americans, they were dependent on the British for food and supplies. The battle was a loss and the war was over. The Confederation and Americans made peace, and, under conditions, the whites were allowed to settle in the northwest. During the peace, Tecumseh formed his own village with his family and some who followed him, especially as he had proven himself brave during the battle. His group of men did not like the situation, but accepted the peace. Tecumseh eventually moved closer to the Americans at the request of a chief and even befriended some. He was growing into a diplomat.
 
War and Peace Part 12 opens up at St. Petersburg as they hear of the progression retreating and burning of Moscow. Bagration died of his wounds at Borodino. The Emperor is assured by a messenger of Kutuzov that the army is not demoralized and will fight Napoleon once it has its strength back. It is then revealed that Helene has taken ill and then dies. Tolstoy takes a moment to state that history looks back on important times like these and assumes or claims that everyone is taken with patriotism and doing their part to advance the cause of the country. He claims that in reality, people as just concerned with their own affairs as in any situation and this leads to better results, while those few who are actually striving for the “greater good” are getting in the way and hindering. Then story takes us back to Nicholas Rostov, who missed the Battle of Borodino. Per Tolstoy’s theory, Rostov was not interested in the cause and fighting the battle, but glad to be on an errand to get away from the army. He spends some time procuring horses in a provincial town and goes to the governor’s, who’s wife was apparently once a good friend of the countess. At dinner, which turned into a ball, he is told that Mary Bolkonskaya’s aunt is there and they talk. It seems that these ladies are colluding to set up Nicholas and Mary. Poor Sonya.

February 8th, 2022

Tecumseh and the Prohpet There’s some more raiding. Kenton forms another militia and sneaks up on Tecumseh yet again. Fortunately, an American fired his gun at a dog and the Indians were warned. The Americans were repelled, and the Indians lost a man. They went deep into Virginia for a revenge raid and attacked a homestead. The wife and several young children were killed, while three were taken hostage. Back in the NW, the Indians are preparing for war. Talks with the US government went nowhere, as the Americans were unwilling to leave the territory. The Shawnee, Delaware, Miami, Wyandot, and “Three Fires” form a war party. The Americans have prepared a professional army under General Anthony Wayne of Revolutionary fame. The Indians don’t agree on tactics. Some wanted to attack Wayne’s stretched out supply lines. The Three Fires, who had come late and assaulted the undefended Indian women, wanted to attack a fort which would have a supply train leaving. This was agreed to, though it did not go great. They attacked the train at Fort Recovery but it became a siege and they lost too many men. The Shawnees shock some Three Fires as they descended to attack the fort to avenge the women. Wayne advanced, and the Shawnee and Delaware left the Glaize and moved northeast towards British Ft Miamis. The Battle of Fallen Timbers took place between 3000 Americans and less than half that number of Indians. Tecumseh was in command of a contingent on the front center. His line breaks as the Americans advance.
 
War and Peace Finished off Part 11 and a lot has happened. The French have taken Moscow. Kutuzov gives the order for retreat and Count Rostopchin, the governor who has long been in denial of this inevitable, has to deal with the consequences of telling people to prepare for battle. He takes a political prisoner who was blamed for a pamphlet and sowing discontent, sentenced to hard labor and most likely innocent, and puts him before a mob that formed in his yard. After the man is beaten, he is given to the crowd who kills him. All are later disgusted with their actions and Rostopchin sneaks away. He is historically credited/blamed with starting the fires, though Tolstoy claims they are just as likely to happen in an abandoned wooden city full of soldiers smoking and cooking. Pierre was going to join the defense of the city, but it never formed and he went back to his benefactor’s. He then decides to assassinate Napoleon. Ruminating for hours, the drunk brother of the benefactor steals Pierre’s pistol and fires at a French officer who has come to the front door. Pierre disarms him and the Frenchman thanks Pierre for saving his life. They talk all night and drink and afterwards Pierre feels guilty about fraternizing with his foe. Meanwhile, Natasha had learned of Bolkonski’s presence and sneaks out at night to find him. They have a touching reunion and she becomes like a nurse to him, though it is still uncertain if he will live. While the city burns, Pierre goes out to look for Napoleon. He is much to late for the opportunity, but directs his energy towards rescuing a young girl from a burning building. On his return, he finds some French assaulting a beautiful Georgian woman and goes berserk. Pierre is then arrested under suspicion of being an arsonist.

February 7th, 2022

Tecumseh and the Prophet More raiding. Tecumseh and his band kill and steal. The steal some horses from across the river from Kenton’s station, a man much like Daniel Boone. Kenton raises some men to cross the river to take the horses back and take Tecumseh unaware. He loses two men and a woman, which is a very poor showing. Out of shame or some other reason, he goes back to his brother in Chickamauga country. They are having a harder time than up north and are showing less pan-Indian unity. They’ve lost British support and their chief had died. The new chief convinces the Americans he is a friend while working with the Spanish in Florida for supplies. He plans an attack on Nashville, but Tecumseh’s brother convinces him to attack a small outpost first. This would ruin any chance of surprise on the Nashville attack, but the chief concedes. It goes poorly and several Indians are killed, including Tecumseh’s brother. That is the end of the whole campaign. Meanwhile in the Northwest, the several tribes have gathered to discuss what to do with the Americans. They are more in tune and, despite Iroquois representing American interests, are in one opinion of taking back and holding their land.
 
War and Peace The Rostovs finally get it together to leave the house, and some of the wounded soldiers ask if they can ride in the carts. The Count absent mindedly agrees and the countess is upset that they will be leaving stuff behind, that he is losing more money that will be his children’s inheritance. Natasha is sickened by her mother and stands up for the helping of the wounded. She starts running the show and the unpack some of the things and load up the wounded. Sonya learns that in a carriage is a dying Bolkonski and tells the Countess, and they hide this from Natasha. They hit the road and on the way see a familiar man dressed in a driver’s outfit. It is Pierre. After he left his house, he went to his dead Mason benefactor’s to take care of his books by the widow’s request. He had sat in the library a long time thinking and spent the night. He asked the host (butler, valet, I don’t know the proper term) for the outfit and a pistol. They were on their way for the pistol when spotted by Natasha. It seems Pierre will remain in Moscow and fight, probably to die. Why?

February 6th, 2022

War and Peace Not a whole lot of summarizing to be had. It’s one of those bits you kinda just have to read for the writing. The Russians did not have the strength for a counter attack and start a long retreat. Pierre wakes up from a strange dream into a kind of existential crisis. Along his way home, he learns of the deaths of Anatole and Bolkonski. Kutuzov decides to retreat from Moscow, though Tolstoy claims this was an inevitability and it was never a choice he had the power to make. In Petersburg, Helene is playing some games with some guys and somehow ends up Catholic and trying to get her marriage ended. Pierre arrives back in Moscow and everything is in disarray. Instead of really doing anything, he leaves town. The Rostovs are still in Moscow, but are now packing. Nicholas was not near the battle, but Petya has been transferred to Moscow by the finagling of his mother. Little did she realize this would be the most dangerous spot. Natasha seems back to her old self. Troops are pouring into Moscow, and the Rostovs open their yard and house to the wounded. One of the wounded who arrives is Bolkonski. I don’t see the point of saying he is dead and 5 pages later saying he is not. That’s not a lot of time to grieve. Plus, this is the second time Tolstoy pulled this trick. Now when Bolkonski really dies, I’m not going to believe it. Will that make me feel worse to find out he is really dead, or will it take the feeling out? Or maybe he won’t die at all. Maybe Anatole isn’t dead. I get that in war there is a lot of confusion, so maybe that’s the point. Let’s see where it goes. I’m going to be pissed if he just dies of his wounds 5 pages later.

February 5th, 2022

War and Peace Quite a bit has happened. Pierre ran into Boris, who was happy to show him about the fortifications. With Boris was Dolokhov, who asked Pierre for forgiveness from their earlier duel. On his travels, Pierre came across Bolkonski, who was evidently displeased to see him. They had a heated discussion about war and then Bolkonski went to bed. Pierre, feeling the hostility, went this separate way to Boris’ lodgings. Tolstoy talks about the history of the battle, his thoughts on why the battle turned out the way it did and on the course of history in general. He gives some scenes from Napoleon’s perspective. Pierre awakes to find the battle started. He wanders up to the front line, to the annoyance of the military men, and follows an adjutant he knows to a redoubt on a hill. After the initial annoyance, the local squadron adopts him like a stray dog. The battle here is intense, with much shelling incoming and outgoing. Pierre runs down the hill to get ammo, when the cart explodes. He comes to and runs up the hill to find it swarmed with French. He and a French officer grapple with each other when a Russian charge drives the French back. Pierre then leaves the front. I think he ends up back at Kutuzov’s, or maybe the scene just switches. Kutuzov, despite objections from the German De Tolly, the order is to attack the next day. Bolkonski’s regiment is in reserve and does nothing. Despite being idle, they lose a third of their men to artillery fire. A shell lands next to Bolkonski and explodes. He is severely wounded and probably going to die. When taken to the surgeon’s tent, he sees a familiar man getting his leg amputated next to him. It is Anatole Kuragin. Tolstoy discusses why neither side launched a finishing blow that day. The Russians, he says, were exhausted and had defended their ground, thus were successful already. The French, despite Napoleon not sending in the Imperial Guard and other reinforcements, could not have launched a final attack. They were too dejected and the army would have crumpled. Maybe this is true. Thus ends part 10. I assume part 11 will include the fate of Moscow.

February 4th, 2022

Tecumseh and the Prophet Tecumseh and his brother fight with the Chickamauga and ambush a peace expedition sent by Washington. Tecumseh gains some fame as a good warrior, generous, and merciful. He decides to go back to Shawnee country, though his brother remains with the Chickamauga. He may have fathered a child here. Tecumseh with a few Chickamauga warriors take a meandering path to Ohio though east Tennessee and west Virgina. He abducts a slave boy out on an errand and struggle to find game. They come upon some travelling frontiersmen and attack them in the morning. The men are all killed and the slave escapes, but the Indians get some good supplies and food. Meanwhile in Shawnee country, war is going on. An expedition by Harmar was ambushed and many of them were killed. Then the war department demanded Governor (General) St. Clair to outfit an expedition. In November 1791, the Shawnee and their allies attacked their camp. The Prophet may have been here, but Tecumseh was not. It was a complete rout, with 600+ Americans killed and the entire camp left for the Indians. Good for them.
 
War and Peace As many people are evacuating Moscow, Pierre struggles with the decision of whether to stay or go. After seeing a crowd flog a French chef, he decides to leave for the army. Tolstoy gives his opinion on the Battle of Borodino and whether it was part of a grand strategy that history apparently has given it in order to bolster the fame of Kutuzov (who, if I am not mistaken, will take ill and die shortly after). Pierre’s carriage is in traffic with soldiers and carts of wounded men, and he witnesses a procession of some sort of icon of the Virgin Mary from Smolensk. Then he goes to a high hill to get a good view of the battle, where an officer points out to him the Russian and French forces.

February 3rd, 2022

Tecumseh and the Prophet The book isn’t necessarily hard to follow, but I find myself not really remembering much of it after the fact. Maybe it includes a lot of small details, if you can consider tens of people being killed or tortured a small detail. The gist of what happened next is Tecumseh and his brothers left to rejoin the Shawnee who crossed the Mississippi River because his oldest brother wanted to. During a hunt along the way, he fell off a horse and broke his thigh. They wintered in camp and, come spring, Tecumseh refused to stay behind. His thigh didn’t heal right and he had a slight limp for the rest of his life. In Spanish Louisiana, to their chagrin, they found Americans and Shawnee who did not mind it. The brothers stayed a year and left to head back east. The younger brothers went back to Ohio, while Tecumseh and his older brother went to Tennessee into Chickamauga territory. Though they spoke different languages, they had similar culture, and both wanted to kill lots of Americans. The Chickamauga were Cherokee who broke away after the rest of the Cherokee sold out for peace.
 
War and Peace Rostov punches the peasant who seemed to be commanding the rabble for not taking off his hat. The peasants, now frightened by the soldier, obeyed and Princess Mary was able to leave for Moscow. As predicted, Mary seems to be in love with Rostov. Andrew Bolkonski meets with Kutuzov, who has been made commander-in-chief of the army. Bolkonski meets Denisov here, who wants to offer his plan of guerilla warfare to Kutuzov. Kutuzov and Bolkonski mourn over the death of the old prince, and he offers Bolkonski a role on his staff. Bolkonski declines, saying he wants to remain on the front with his regiment. Kutuzov is disappointed, he views Andrew as a son, but understands. Bolkonski feels a sense of optimism now that Kutuzov has the supreme command. Back in Moscow, people are feeling light despite the approaching danger. Pierre has whipped up a large and expensive regiment. Due to his love of Natasha, he has avoided the Rostovs for a month. We will probably encounter them next.

February 2nd, 2022

Tecumseh and the Prophet The book continues to talk about the early years of Tecumseh’s life and the years of the Revolutionary War. Tecumseh, despite his young age, was given a gun and involved in the warfare. The small number of Indians defended their village from the generally inept Americans. There were raids and lots of back and forth fighting. The Shawnee tribes split up again, those desiring peace moving west. Tecumseh’s mother left, leaving the children in the care of their older sister and her husband. Much brutal warfare went on until 1783, when the British pulled out of the war and abandoned their Indian allies to the Americans.
 
War and Peace The Bolkonski's had not gone to Moscow, and the old prince decided to go back to Bald Hill and man the defenses. He shortly after suffered a stroke, and they took him to Prince Andrew’s estate to get away from the front line. In a very sad exchange between Princess Mary and her barely intelligible father, he expressed how much he really always cared for her. Mary, who is feeling guilty for thinking about the positive aspects of her father’s death, is surprised and feels even more guilt. The old prince dies. Mary is in a deep depression when the French girl comes up to her. They reconcile a bit, and the French girl suggests they stay and will be in safe hands when the French come. Mary is disgusted by the thought of being with the French army and orders for the household to get ready to go to Moscow. The peasants, believing some rumor that if they stay they will be safe and well paid by the French, refuse to let her go. At this point, Rostov rides into the estate to take supplies before the French come and sees the situation. He offers to help Mary leave. They’ll probably fall in love.

February 1st, 2022

Tecumseh and the Prophet The second chapter discusses the little early history of the Shawnee that is known and some of their tribal characteristics. The Iroquois profited heavily after trading beaver pelt with the Dutch and British, but exhausted the supply. They then invaded the Ohio River Valley to extend their territory. Armed with British muskets, they decimated the local Hurons. The Shawnee, Delaware, Miami, and other tribes were pushed west into French territory. The French then allied with these tribes and armed them. Warfare went on for some 60 years. The Shawnee tribes broke up, though they have been fairly independent and autonomous groups. There are 5 divisions within the Shawnee, which may have once been individual tribes. Then there were about 18 (down from a traditional 34) “clans” named after animals. After a few decades of diaspora, the tribes reunited in the Ohio region. Some characteristics are that they are very free and democratic. They would also adopt whites after performing rituals to wash away the whiteness, but they could also be extremely cruel and tortuous with captives. Obviously this varies based on the individual, but a captive was the property of the man who took him and thus he was free to do whatever he wanted. Some very sick events were described.

January 31st, 2022

Tecumseh and the Prophet The book describes the childhood of Tecumseh up until his father’s death in 1774. Essentially, after the French and Indian War, the Iroquois do whatever they want. They make a deal with the British to cede all territory south and east of the Ohio River and a line going to Fort Stanwix, thus the Fort Stanwix treaty of 1768. In reality, this was not Iroquois land but the land of their “dependents”. This ended relations between the Shawnee and Iroquois, as the Shawnee used the lands of modern Kentucky for hunting. Despite the agreement, Virginians and others crossed boundary looking for land. This blows up into killing and warfare, and Tecumseh’s father is killed in the Battle of Point Pleasant, part of Lord Dunmore’s war. Tecumseh is about age 8, and his ~15 year old brother becomes his guardian. Meanwhile, the nation of America tries to keep the Shawnee out of the war with England. The chief of the Shawnee, Cornstalk, is murdered at a meeting with the Americans in Pittsburgh.
 
War and Peace Part 10 begins with Tolstoy describing the war, of Napoleon’s advance and of Russia’s retreats. It must have been a common thought that the Russian retreats were part of a plan to bring Napoleon deeper into the country and the French, despite knowing their supply lines were thin, advanced nonetheless. Tolstoy claims this is nonsense, that the Russians had every intent on fighting but didn’t, and that Napoleon gave no thought to his supply lines and only cared about the chase. I believe the part about the Russians, but I recall from other reading that Napoleon was desperate for a battle. This drove him further in chase of the Russians. Then taking Moscow was to force peace on his terms, but the Russians didn’t care. I don’t mean to jump ahead. At this point, the Grand Armee is marching on Smolensk, which is a short ride from Bald Hills. Bolkonski warns his father, but the old prince is very senile at this point and doesn’t act. He sends a man to Smolensk to buy some building supplies when the battle breaks out. He is in the city as it is bombarded and later in his escape he meets Prince Andrew. Andrew is unhappy to hear that his family has not left yet and sends a note telling them to leave for Moscow immediately.

January 30th, 2022

War and Peace Read yesterday and finished Part 9 today. Balashov was given an audience with Napoleon, which went nowhere. It was to be war. Bolkonski was restless and wished to find Anatole Kuragin and, more or less, kill him. Both men were in the army, but every time Bolkonski arrived to Kuragin’s location, Anatole was already gone. Bolkonski had stopped a Bald Hill and found it to be divided into his father’s camp and his sister’s, who did not interact with each other any more. It was not the place he remembered and very uncomfortable. After defending his sister against his father, Prince Andrew left. He had gone to Turkey when peace with them was concluded, and then to the Emperor’s camp on the Russian frontier. After a meeting of the generals, Andrew requested of the Emperor not to serve in his retinue, but at the front. Meanwhile, Nicholas Rostov was back in the army and a new campaign had begun. He wished to go home to marry Sonya, but felt it wrong to leave his regiment at this time. Witnessing a charge of French dragoons, he acted quickly and attacked with his hussars. He knocked one off of his horse and took him prisoner, but felt sick afterwards. He did not know why, but it was probably the thought of potentially killing another man made him feel remorseful. He was rewarded with the St. George’s Cross for his bravery, though he felt low and like a coward. In Moscow, Natasha was slowly recovering but would never be the same care-free girl. She found solace in religion and become noticeably healthier. It seems that Pierre was deeply in love with her. He felt less depressed, but continued his drinking and lazy ways. The Emperor came to Moscow, and Pierre was hoping there would be a sort of Estates-General, though the Emperor only met with a select council and it was agreed that the nobility of Moscow would supply conscripts from their serfs. Count Rostov and his son Petya were swept up in patriotism, and the Count let Petya join the hussars at only 15.

January 28th, 2022

Tecumseh and the Prophet The book is off to an interesting start. It gives a summary of the French and Indian war and the Shawnee’s part of it, and afterwards the pan-Indian religious movement started by the Delaware Neolin. This movement spread to the Detroit area and was propagated by chief Pontiac, who watered down some of the more hardline aspects of it. Then he and his warriors attacked the British at Detroit and a war broke out. British reinforcements were brought in and the conflict ended in a stalemate. The British acknowledged Pontiac as chief of all the Algonquins, which the Algonquins did not go for. After Pontiac made peace, he was exiled and later murdered.

January 27th, 2022

How the Word is Passed Finished the book. There was only a few pages left about his interview with his grandmother. Born in 1939, both her parents were dead by 1942 and she and her many siblings lived with her grandfather in the Florida country. She described the segregation, poor schooling, assaults. She tells a story of how her grandfather was nearly lynched. Many things she did not remember or never asked. The author ends with a good point: history can be learned, but many cannot reckon with it. This he applies to slavery and how many still deny how bad it was. People use denial to cope with what makes them sad or uncomfortable, but this is not a mature response. People must confront what they do not want to know.
 
War and Peace Started Part 9. This section seems to be more historical than the others. Tolstoy opens up with a description of events leading up to Napoleon’s invasion and questions the causes, or whether it was inevitable. The rest so far is centered on Napoleon and his Marshals. The Tsar is in Poland, on the other side of the Neman, at a ball when news of Napoleon’s invasion reaches him. Boris overhears this and is commanded to stay quiet. General Balashov is sent to Napoleon’s camp with a letter to the Emperor, but is held up by Marshal Davout. He is made to travel with the French army and several days later he is back in the town where he started. I believe here he will meet Napoleon.

January 26th, 2022

How the Word is Passed The remaining bit of the African chapter has the author go to a girl’s school and asks them some questions. The girls are 17 or 18 and come off as very intelligent, much more intelligent than your average American high school student. Probably smarter than me at that age, but they probably take their education more seriously than I did. They are speaking about complex ideas in a foreign language (English), something I still can’t do. It sounds like they have a good exposure to the topic of slavery throughout their education, and the girls have different ideas about how Africans should handle their past. Some say it should be forgotten in order to move forward, some say it must be remembered, some say it should be acknowledged to understand the present, but forgiven. The author returns to America, and in the epilogue interviews his grandparents. His grandfather’s grandfather was born into slavery. His grandfather, aged 89, grew up in terrible times in Mississippi. He described some negative experiences and how was fortunate enough to stay in a town 20 miles away in order to attend high school. While nothing violent had occurred to his family, he described a lynching that happened while he was attending this high school. Truly a dark point in history which should bring up feelings up embarrassment. I believe the book will end with an interview of the author’s grandmother, who is 10 years younger than the grandfather (from the other side of the family).
 
War and Peace Sonya found out about Natasha and Anatole and confronts her. She sees what Natasha is blind to, but Natasha refuses to listen. Natasha writes to Mary to end the engagement, and Sonya smells out a plot. Natasha is going to run away with Anatole and elope. Dolokhov has set everything up for Anatole, but advises him to quit. When the men reach the house, they are invited in. Dolokhov smells a trap and they leave. The hostess found out from Sonya about the situation and tried to trap Anatole. She is livid with Natasha, who is unrepentant. They hide the situation from the Count, but he can tell something is awry. Bolkonski returns to Moscow, and Pierre goes to see him. He can tell that Andrew is hurt, but will not show it. Andrew is bitter but will move on with his life. He will pour his energy into something else. Mary and the old prince are happy. Bolkonski has heard about the elopement, but Pierre tells him it did not happen. Pierre is tasked with delivering some things to the Rostovs. He is given the whole story and is disgusted. He tells the hostess of Anatole’s secret marriage and is tasked with telling Natasha. That night she drinks arsenic, but confesses what she had done and is given an antidote. Pierre in a rage takes Anatole and tells him he must leave Moscow. I may be mixing up the order of events. Natasha wishes to speak to Pierre once more before they leave Moscow, and he tells her, in another life, he would have loved her. Natasha is very dumb and immature. I understand that she is not very educated and sheltered, but Sonya is able to see that this is a bad situation. Thank god for Sonya. It is 1812, so we should be seeing the invasion of Russia soon. It will not go well for some of our characters.

January 25th, 2022

How the Word is Passed The chapter African chapter isn’t bad. I think it’s mostly meant to stir up emotions. Of course, it is difficult to provide a lot of historical information when there are no real records. It’s a historical interpretation. Apparently, the Goree Island site has been saying millions of slaves went through here, but statistical evidence would point say it’s less than 50k. It’s the gas chambers all over again. Some believe that this “sincere fiction” is acceptable in order to get the message across. I disagree. The message gets lost in the falsehood. Numbers do not really affect the impact. Three people being executed can bring just as much emotion as 300. The director of the site seemed to be annoyed by the question of numbers and said that what the site represents is more important. Then just make a movie if you don’t want to be legit.
 
War and Peace Continued Part 8, and there are some things I do not like. At the opera, Anatole Kuragin was making eyes at Natasha and she fell for his tricks. Helene is in cahoots with him and invited her over. Anatole has a reputation, and even had a secret shotgun wedding in Poland. He is incapable of loving a woman. It’s all a game to him. Helene hints she knows about the betrothal, through Pierre, but partners with her brother anyway. The Kuragins are truly despicable. She invites the Rostovs to some performance at the Bezukhov’s and Anatole plants a kiss. Natasha thinks she is in love with him. I guess I can’t blame her because she is only like 16 and doesn’t know anything, but she is blind to the fact that he is not a good person and Bolkonski is. Poor Bolkonski.

January 24th, 2022

How the Word is Passed Finished the chapter on NYC. The author visited a once abandoned African burial ground, outside of the city limits at its time of creation. An archaeological dig before the construction of a tower led to the discovery of hundreds of bodies, half of them under the age of 12. This site was made a National Monument in the Bush years. Apparently, where now stands Central Park was once some land known as Seneca Village. This was a 2/3 black and 1/3 Irish area in the 1820s. What is interesting is that many of the blacks in this village were landowners, something rare at the time. For 30 years they lived off their land here. After the war, the mayor, who had wanted to secede with the South, used eminent domain to take the land from the people for little money. The land had become incredibly valuable as the city expanded. After refusing to go, the people were removed by force and their land was added to the park. A sad story of a corrupt and unfair government. Nothing can be done in such a situation. We are all truly helpless. The final chapter takes place in Senegal, on an island off the west coast. It seems that here was a house where Portuguese and Senegalese (or whoever they were at the time) traded in slaves.

January 23rd,2022

War and Peace Part 8 begins with a depressed Pierre. He has gone from an energetic youth with big ideas to a rich man who does nothing. He finds life to have no meaning and only brings him grief. He has nothing to distract him from the emptiness of existence. He constantly drinks to dull the pain and bury the dark thoughts. To avoid embarrassing his wife, he left Petersburg for Moscow, though she shortly follows him there. Count Rostov, Natasha, and Sonya arrive in Moscow to manage their affairs. They stay at a friend’s house; I forget her name, but she was introduced in Part 1 and is very fond of Natasha. This friend orchestrates a meeting between the Rostovs and Bolkonskis. The Old Prince is getting worse in his old age and more irritable and cruel. He is relentless towards Mary, who starts to find the same traits in herself as she teaches her 6 year-old nephew. The Count is terrifed of the old man, but the prince says he is not seeing anyone that day. Rostov excuses himself, and Natasha, Mary, and the French girl are alone, though the French girl does not see that she is in the way. Mary decided to dislike Natasha ahead of time, and the meeting is cold and uncomfortable. At the prince’s name day dinner, Mary confesses to Pierre that she would marry anyone to get out of that house, which the prince has threatened to kick her out of. Boris, wanting to marry a rich heiress, had alternated between Mary and Julie Karagina (don’t confuse her with the Kuragins). Ultimately, he proposes to Julie so that Anatole Kuragin can’t. It’s all a game. Now the Rostovs are at the opera and the show is about to start.

January 22nd, 2022

War and Peace Finished Part 7. It wasn't very long. The rest of the section isn't so boring, though there isn't much to talk about. Natasha is struggling with her absence from Bolkonski. She is very childlike and does not handle her emotions maturely, but I think she still loves him. Countess Rostov wants Nicholas to marry Julie Karagina because she is a rich heiress who would solve their money problems. This upsets Nicholas, who would be willing to do it if commanded but wants to marry for love. Then it is Christmas and some serfs come dressed in as mummers. This inspires the children to dress up and then they end up going to a widow neighbors house. Along the way, Nicholas admires Sonya in his sled and it dawns on him how much he actually loves her. Outside of the house they kiss. The next day he tells his mother his intention to marry Sonya. She is upset and takes it out on Sonya and Nicholas nearly leaves for good when Natasha tries to smooth things over. Neither of the parents are pleased, but the Count knows that they financial situation is his fault and thus cannot say much. The section ends with (if I can recall) the Count, Nicholas, and Natasha going to Moscow to sell the family estate there. Allegedly, Bolkonski recently arrived in town to see his father. So begins Part 8.

January 21st, 2022

How the Word is Passed This chapter on New York City is not the most interesting. I guess my problem is I’ve already read a decent amount about the city’s history, so there is nothing really new or “shocking” to me about it’s racial history or history of slavery. There are a few tidbits of things I did not know, but they’re mostly just that, tidbits. For someone who is unfamiliar with Northern slavery, I guess this is a good primer. Maybe the rest of the chapter is more heavy hitting.
 
War and Peace Part 7 looks like a Nicholas Rostov section. I’m not a big fan of him. He’s comes off as a real douchebag. He was guilted into coming home to deal with the financial decline of his family. He learned of Natasha’s engagement and wasn’t pleased. He must remember there encounter from 5 years ago, and probably finds the age gap weird. It’s his only sister, after all. Then the chapter goes on for 10 pages about a very boring hunt. We are introduced to their “Uncle”, who is a neighbor and distant relative. Nicholas, Natasha, and Petya dine with Uncle after the hunt and Natasha is fascinated by his lifestyle. It is very laidback and there is music from the serfs and then from Uncle. Natasha is off on another whirlwind of emotions, which seems to come to her very often and easily. Then a carriage comes for them and they go home.

January 20th, 2022

How the Word is Passed Finished the chapter on Galveston and Juneteenth. It is interesting to read about the history of it. It was widely celebrated as black independence day after the war, but became dangerous to publicly celebrate it after Reconstruction and in the Jim Crow era. It became a state holiday in Texas in the 70s and may have paved the way for MLK day in the 80s. Now, I think, Biden (or Congress) made Juneteenth a national holiday. Good for black people. The next chapter is about NYC, and the author will be going on a Underground Railroad and Slavery tour. Let’s see what kind of slave sites NYC has buried.

January 19th, 2022

How the Word is Passed Yesterday I forgot to write but I finished the chapter on Blandford Cemetery. The author interviewed some attendees and they say the stereotypical stuff about how “their” history is being distorted or “taken away”. I don’t know why these guys get so bent out of shape because their great-great-great grandfather was pro-slavery. How does it affect you to admit an ancestor did some bad things? I couldn’t care less if I was descended form some murderer. I’m not a murderer. In response to the argument that the morals of the past were different than today’s, I think there’s more to it than that. If you’re born into the upper caste of a society, you are very likely to want to change your situation. A person born into a slave owning family will be very unlikely to throw away his situation and way of life, no matter how he feels morally. You can see the same economics today. Burning coal is bad for the environment. People whose lives depend on coal mining don’t care about that; they want to maintain their present situation. People hate change. Of course this doesn’t specify slavery, but it is easy to preach about a situation one will never be in. I can say I would be a benevolent dictator, but I would easily fall into the habit of throwing dissidents into labor camps. I don’t think most people think critically about these points of view. I started the next chapter about Galveston, TX. This is where Juneteenth allegedly started. Apparently it’s a big deal, though I never heard of it until 2 years ago or so.

January 17th, 2022

How the Word is Passed The chapter on Blandford Cemetery continues on what the author calls the deification of Robert E. Lee. It’s impossible to know why people fought in the war. It’s pure exaggeration to think all southerners fought for slavery and all northerners fought for liberty. Most of those who fought were poor, lower-class individuals. Did they have a reason? Did they care? How perceptible are these young and poorly educated men to the government’s propaganda? Those who are rich and have power most likely fought to preserve their wealth and power, if not to expand it. This is typical. Owning slaves does not make Lee a bad man, but being abusive does. No man should be deified, we are all selfish and hypocritical at the root of it. People take individuals and apply their own ideas to them and make them bastions of their views. The author has some balls and goes to a Daughters of the Confederacy (or whatever they’re called) Memorial Day event held at the cemetery. I would feel uncomfortable at that, can’t imagine being a black man there. As expected, it was all “the south will rise again” and “our statues” nonsense. I’m not necessarily for the taking down of statues, but I’m not against it. Then I think about all these dumb rednecks crying about some statue of a rich slaver owner, who would’ve spit on their ancestor, being torn down, and I don’t mind it at all. Why should the Confederacy be idolized? Why shouldn’t any symbol of the rebellion be punished? How would these cry-babies feel if next to every Robert E. Lee statue was a bigger memorial to the tragedy of slavery?

January 16th, 2022

War and Peace There was a ball in Petersburg, which was to be Natasha's first. It was obviously a big deal for her and, in her usual energy, was very excited. However, at the ball she went for a long time without being asked to dance and was on the verge of tears. Pierre knew how good a dancer she was and sent Bolkonski to dance with her. They had a great time and after that many men were asking Natasha to dance. Bolkonski visited the Rostovs the next day, and instead of having his earlier disdain for them, saw them as a warm and lovable family. He stayed for dinner and requested Natasha to sing, which brought tears to his eyes. It is evident that Bolkonski had fallen in love with the girl. The Emperor had announced some plans for reforms, and instead of exciting Bolkonski, he felt nothing, even dejected. A dinner at Speranski's brought him even lower. Instead of idolizing Speranski, Bolkonski saw him as artificial and felt no enjoyment while all the other guests laughed and told stories. He left early and felt his all of his work to be stupid. He wanted to live and do something exciting. He wanted to plan his son's future, go see different countries of Europe. He began to see things Pierre's way, that one must understand happiness in order to pursue it. Bolkonski has changed his world view three times already. I am not convinced this positive outlook will last.

January 15th, 2022

War and Peace Part 6 has been very interesting so far. Bolkonski, on a business visit to the Rostov's country home, arrives in his pessimistic mood. Hearing the optimism and carefree-ness of a young girl who doesn't even seem to notice him (Natasha), he is inspired. He decides he wants to live a life and do something. He works on army reforms and goes to Petersburg to push them. The Emperor has no interest in him, even dislikes him, so he goes through other channels. He is put on a committee and forms a relationship with the sort of secretary of state Speranski. This is during one of Alexander's liberal phases, and Bolkonski ends up on a committee to write new laws on human rights. Pierre is struggling with his Masonry. It's hard to summarize, but he is very conflicted about everything. He tries to inspire the Russian Masons to act better and is met with some derision. In his depression, he concedes to reconciling with his wife, who is famed for her intellectual salon. Despite her stupidity, she is a much sought after hostess. Boris attends every day, and something about this bothers Pierre. He tries to avoid another Dolokhov situation, but when Boris becomes a Mason, he flips out. He struggles with his total aversion to Boris, who is very close to his wife. Count Rostov needs money and looks for work in Petersburg. Boris had avoided the Rostovs since first going off to war, but now pays them a visit. He had no intentions of marrying Natasha, but he sees her now at 16 and is enthralled. She is equally infatuated with him again. Boris comes to the Rostov's every day, despite the pleas of Helene. After a long talk, the countess pulls Boris aside and puts a stop to it for both his and Natasha's sake.

January 14th, 2022

How the Word is Passed Finished the chapter on Angola prison. They went into the Red Hat cells, which are terrible solitary confinement cells, and in there was a replica electric chair. There was a teenager who quite obviously was wrongly convicted of a murder because they needed someone to take the fall. He was given the chair, but they bungled the set up and he did not die. They wanted to execute him still, and the case went up to the Supreme Court where they ruled 5-4 that it was not cruel and unusual punishment to re-attempt the execution. Truly disgusting. We are still a backwards country to allow the death penalty. If you are not against the death penalty, you are an absolute moron. No debate. Angola also allows tours to go to death row, which seems insensitive. They’re using these guys like a zoo before they inject them full of poison. I’m sure they do worse. On the way out, the bus drives by prisoners working as labor in the field, as if slavery never died. The prisoners are given 7 cents an hour for their work. The next chapter is about Blandford Cemetery, a Confederate cemetery. It was set up by a woman’s association to repatriate Confederate remains who were mostly buried where they fell. The South had nothing like Gettysburg cemetery. 28,000 out of 30,000 of the remains are unknown. The author is not happy that there is not much talk about slavery or racism on the tour. I don’t agree that that should be the focal point of a soldier’s cemetery. The lowly soldier has little to do with slavery or barely has property of his own. Nobody even cared enough to have them brought home. Let it be a peaceful place.

January 13th, 2022

How the Word is Passed The book continues about Angola. The author describes a tour he went on that seems to try to do a lot of PR about how progressive and reformed the prison is. The author is upset that the tour did not mention slavery or its history as a plantation.
 
War and Peace Finished part 5 today and yesterday. Pierre thinks he is improving his land and lives of his peasants. He wants to free his serfs. However, he doesn’t know much and is taken advantage of by an overseer who just wants to profit. Pierre thinks he is doing good, but it is really a facade and the lives of the peasants are the same if not worse. He visits Bolkonski and it is awkward. They have become different people over the past two years. After some time, they come to discuss morality and how one should live. Pierre espouses his Masonic views and Bolkonski believes the goal of life is to improve (or less the the pain of) the existence of oneself while harming as few people as possible. This disagreement animates the two and their friendship begins to appear as before. Bolkonski is temporarily brought out of his slump. They go to Andrew’s father’s and Pierre is well received by the old prince and Mary. He feels at home. Then the story cuts to Rostov, back with is regiment. He does not take place in any battles such as Elyau or Friedland, but conditions are still horrible and the men are starving. Denisov decides to commandeer an infantry wagon full of provisions and is court martialed. He is shot in the leg and goes to the hospital to buy time. Ultimately he gives up and tries to get a pardon. Rostov visits him and sees the deplorable hospital conditions, men on the floor next to dead patients. The officers’ quarters are of course better, but still smells of decaying flesh. Rostov agrees to take his paper to the Emperor’s court at Tilsit, where he and Napoleon will be meeting to sign a treaty. We know from history that Alexander grows very fond of Napoleon on this day. Rostov meets Boris, and it seems that they can’t stand each other anymore. Quite the juxtaposition compared to Pierre and Andrew. Rostov sees Napoleon and Alexander, and his old general agrees to talk to the Emperor for him. Alexander declines the pardon. I really hope nothing bad happens to Denisov.

January 12th, 2022

How the Word is Passed There’s not much to say about the rest of the Whitney Plantation chapter. Like the previous chapter it mainly talks about various horrible things that happened to enslaved people. There are a lot of horrible things, so you can go on for quite some time. I read a couple pages of the next chapter about Angola prison, the state penitentiary in Louisiana. Apparently, until very recently one could be convicted of a felony with a non-unanimous jury. That’s pretty bad. Just for the sake of funneling in people for modern slave labor.

January 11th, 2022

How the Word is Passed This next chapter is about a plantation museum in Louisiana, the Whitney Plantation. In 1811, there was a revolt along the German Coast of Louisiana, which was suppressed 48 hours later. Slaves were executed for their involvement and their heads stuck on stakes. There is a replica of the heads on stakes as a memorial. How macabre. Then he goes on to describe some more exhibits. One has all the names and African tribes/countries where the first slaves on the plantation came from. There’s similar for later generations, with excerpts from the Freedom Writer’s program or whatever it is called.
 
War and Peace Started Part 5. So far Pierre was approached by a stranger in a station as he was contemplating his miserable life. This man lectured him and invited him to a masonic lodge, where Pierre became a member, desparate to find some path towards a virtuous life. Boris, now an aide-de-camp to someone important, is the guest of interst at one of Anna Pavlona's gatherings. He is a special messenger from the Prussian court after they lose Auerstadt and their war with Napoleon.

January 10th, 2022

How the Word is Passed Finished the chapter on Monticello. The author talks about tours he went on at Monticello and employees he interviewed. It seems that, not surprisingly, most people don’t know much about history and enough of them have bad reactions to hearing bad things said about Jefferson. I encourage it. Jefferson was a jerk and a hypocrite. You want a founding father as a role model, you go to the Adams family.

January 9th, 2022

War and Peace Part 4 wasn't very long, so I read the whole section. Nicholas Rostov returned home and brought Denisov with him. Rostov had also befriended Dolokhov. Count Rostov was throwing a banquet in honor of General Bagration, who came out as a hero in the campaign. General Kutuzov was looked down upon, and Bolkonski was dead. Pierre was at this banquet and sat across from Rostov, Denisov, and Dolokhov. We must remember that Pierre and Dolokhov were kind of friends at some point and were both involved in tying a police officer to a bear in St. Petersburg. Now, there were rumors that Dolokhov was involved with Pierre's wife. He did not believe it, but saw the familiar sadistic look on Dolokhov's face. After some disrespect from Dolokhov, Pierre snapped and challenged him to a duel. It was assumed that Pierre would be killed, but despite never firing a pistol before, Pierre shot Dolokhov in the gut. Dolokhov did not die, and he and Rostov grew closer while he healed. Pierre was confronted by his wife, who Pierre now acknowledged that he did not and never had loved, claiming that the rumors were completely untrue. Pierre left for St. Petersburg. Meanwhile, at the Bolkonski estate, the old Prince and Princess Mary hid from the little Princess that Andrew was dead. They would tell her after she gave birth, which would be soon. When the princess went into labor, a man, presumably the doctor, arrived at the estate. Mary went out to greet him, for he was French and knew no Russian, but to her surprise it was her brother. Prince Andrew went to see his wife, who was in great pain. A son was born, but the princess had died. Back in Moscow, Dolokhov had fallen in love and proposed to Sonya. She rejected him because she could only love Nicholas. Denisov had fallen in love with Natasha, and accidentally proposed, and was turned down. A new campaign was beginning (it was the beginning of 1807) and he left the next day embarrassed. Dolokhov's farewell party was a small card game, in which, out of malice, he got Nicholas to lose 43,000 rubles to him. Nicholas shamefully had to ask his father, who barely had money. He was able to get it, and Dolokhov was paid. Nicholas then left to rejoin his regiment in Poland.

January 8th, 2022

War and Peace Unfortunately, it looks like I keep forgetting to write. I read the black history book on the 6th and War and Peace pretty much every day. I finished Part 3 of War and Peace, which showed the Bolkonski family and Kuragin family. Prince Vasili wanted to marry his son Anatole to Mary Bolkonski, but she caught him with her attractive French friend and decided to say no. Her father, the old Prince, I guess would be considered rather liberal in allowing his daughter to make the choice. He was pleased, knowing that Anatole was a moron and that he would be distraught to be separated from his daughter, no matter how severe he is. The Rosotovs received a letter from Nicholas after his wounding and they send him money after his promotion. The section ends with the Battle of Austerlitz, which was a disaster for Russia. Rostov requested to be on the front line and, being somewhat obsessed with the emperor, gladly risks his life to deliver a message, only to find the battle decisively over and the emperor in tears. He decides not to bother him. Prince Andrew Bolkonski is with General Kutuzov, whose forces run at the first sign of battle. Bolkonski grabs the dropped colors and leads a charge towards the French, only to be wounded. He wakes up after the battle where he fell and finds Napoleon inspecting the dead. Napoleon hears he is alive and has him taken to the French field hospital, a prisoner. Forgot to mention, Pierre, now Count Bezukhov, marries Prince Vasili's daughter Helene.

January 5th, 2022

The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories Read the last story of this collection, Mr. Peeble’s Heart. This one is about a man who spends his life supporting the women around him. His wife’s sister, a doctor, comes to stay with them and notices something is off. She asks him some questions and I guess determines he is depressed. His wife more or less runs his life and prevents him from doing what he truly wants, to listen to music and travel. The sister moves in as a boarder and slowly integrates these things into the house. Then she drops the bomb that, as his doctor, she prescribes he goes to Europe for two years. After some protests, he does it, his health improves, and his relationship with his wife improves. A decent story
 
How the Word Is Passed Starting this book. It was a Christmas present from my mother-in-law. It's about slavery, but I don't think it's really a history book. Definetly a strange gift. I think it's going to be a little preachy.
 
War and Peace Finished Part 2, which ends with a battle of General Bagration's forces and the French under Murat and Lannes. None of the main characters die. Prince Andrew Bolkonski is shaken by the Battle of Schoengrabern, but forms a connection with artillery officer Captain Tushin. The Russians are forced to retreat, but the left flank, where Nicholas Rostov's hussars are, is trapped. They must attack and break through the lines to retreat. Rostov's horse is killed and he is injured. His arm is broken or sprained and he walks through some bushes into the Russian infantry. He is temporarily taken in by Tushin's retreating group. Tushin's artillery is credited by Bolkonski as saving the Russian army from complete destruction. Though the Russians were forced to retreat, Bagration's forces reunite with General Kutuzov's. It's a good section, but some of the military jargon can be a bit dull.

January 4th, 2022

The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories Read two more stories, Making a Change and If I Were a Man. They’re both very short. The first is about a woman who lives with her husband, his mother, and their newborn that always cries. The man is upset because he can’t sleep, the mother-in-law is upset because she is not allowed to help, and the wife is upset because of their hounding and the music career she left. She is on the edge and they all argue and say hurtful things. The wife decides to let the mother-in-law take the baby and goes to, I assume, kill herself by gas inhalation. The mother-in-law finds and saves her, and they reconcile. Behind the husband’s back, they start working to give their lives meaning. The wife goes back to teaching music and the mother-in-law opens a daycare. The husband finds out and is angry and offended that these women are working, but comes to understand. Surprisingly a happy ending for what opened so drearily. The second story is weird. A woman somehow spends a day as her husband and experiences the day as a man. She ends up in a train car, a smoking car, and sticks up for women amongst the complaints of the men. Bizarre.

January 3rd, 2022

The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories Read another story titled Turned. It is about a married woman in her 30s and her young house maid. It's pretty obvious from the beginning that the girl ends up getting pregnant and the husband is the father, though he is out of the country on business for weeks when this is discovered. It's well written and feels like a realistic story. The married woman's reaction is not over-the-top or dramatic, but something that I think a real person would do. After lashing out at the maid and telling her to pack her bags, she came to put all blame on the husband. When he comes back a few weeks later, they are gone. He hires detectives and finds her working under her maiden name and living with the maid. Good story.
 
War and Peace I've been reading this a few days now, but haven't written anything. I already read Part 1 of the book years ago, but got distracted and never went back. Now I'm reading a physical book, so that won't be an issue. The first part introduces a lot of characters and is hard to keep track of them all at first. You're taken through various events of the upper class in St. Petersburg and Moscow. Some of the characters are very likeable, some are annoying, which is good writing. I started the second part already, which takes place during the War of the Third Coalition in 1805. This is the campaign that ends in Austerlitz, so we know it won't end well for our Russian friends. Three of the characters (so far) introduced in Part 1 take part in this campaign. Hopefully, they make it home. I have to make a couple complaints about the translation. I know little enough Russian that I can spot non-idiomatic translations. Some of the them just sound funny in English. Unfortunately I don't know enough Russian that I could read the book in Russian. But while looking up some things in the Russian copy, I noticed footnotes. There's a lot of French sprinkled throughout the conversations and I know zero French. The Russian copy I saw online had footnotes that translated the French into Russian. Not so in my English copy. I understood the French through the Russian.

Old Notes

2021

 

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Updated 8/12/2022