Short Takes

by Fred Ray on October 31, 2010 · 1 comment

Body armor has been around since Neolithic times and made somewhat of a revival in the Civil War. However it was never officially sanctioned and was mostly discarded both for its weight and because it left its wearer open to implications of cowardice.

Modern soldiers wear quite a lot of it, but as in the above illustration a private company is now offering armor to protect…privates. As an aside there’s an interesting article on Greek linen armor (yes, you read that right) that worked much like today’s kevlar armor.

War is a terrible thing but it does have the beneficial effect of speeding up technological advances not only in weapons but in medicine. The Civil War, for example, made for a quantum leap in medical technology. By the end of the war, if you made it to a hospital, you had a better than 90% chance of survival as opposed to one of less than half at the war’s beginning. The latest advance is a “skin printer” to close large wounds.

In Texas, an historic painting though to have been lost has been found in an attic.

The painting, the work of Irish-born artist H.A. McArdle, depicts the April 21, 1836 Battle of San Jacinto, in which 800 Texas soldiers led by Sam Houston surprised and defeated a Mexican army nearly twice as large led by Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.

It’s expected to fetch at least $100,000 at an upcoming auction.

Rob Neufeld, whom I mentioned earlier in connection with the Tom Dooley saga, writes about “Raids, assassinations in Civil War N.C.” specifically the murders committed by Goldman Bryson, an “independent contractor” for the Federals, officially a scout but who gained notoriety as a bushwhacker.

Confederate documents regularly referred to Bryson as “notorious.” His history of depredation goes back before the Civil War and derives from the antagonism between Western North Carolinians and east Tennesseans over the forced removal of Cherokee.

In Valleytown and Quallatown, William Holland Thomas, adopted white man and Cherokee chief, converted Indians to Christianity and secured their permanence of residence. The first Baptist convert at Valleytown, John Timson, became a representative to the federal government – and a Bryson target.

“In 1856,” author and local Civil War historian Terrell Garren reports, “a gang of toughs, led by Goldman Bryson crossed the border and murdered an innocent Cherokee man by the name of John Timson in cold blood. There were many witnesses, but their testimony was thrown out because they were Indians.”

The Confederates eventually caught up with and killed Bryson, making this yet another bloody chapter of the hit and run war in western North Carolina and so many parts of the South.

Last month blogger John Rosenberg and I compared the attitudes regarding the Ground Zero Mosque and the Confederate flag (I suggested that the in the true spirit of tolerance it should fly the Southern Cross). Rosenberg revisits the issue, looking this time at the case of Annie Chambers Caddell, an elderly (and terminally ill) white woman who is flying the flag in a neighborhood deemed “traditionally black.”

I wonder how many liberals who think it insensitive and un-American to oppose the Ground Zero mosque are ready to stand in solidarity with Annie Chambers Caddell. I suspect not very many.

Me, too.


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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

terrell garren November 24, 2010 at 2:17 pm

Confederate flag and ths mosque

The people who lead the assualt against the Confederate flag are either ignorant or part of a political effort to take advantage of division and discord. Some leaders on the right are no better. They fan the flames of discord for their own politcal purposes.

There are many liberals who really believe they are doing the right thing by using symbols to judge people. It does not seem to occur to them that such practice is no better than judging people by the color of thier skin. Some conservative Republicans slap us on the back and indicate that they are with us yet they do nothing and say nothing. Hardly any of them ever show their face at a Southern Heritage event. Yet they expect us to vote for them.

It’s the folks in the middle who need attention. Irrational and unfair people howl about the Confederate flag while simultaneously advocating a masque at ground zero. There are a multitude of things they say that make no sense if someone will take the time to seriously consider what’s being said.

The leftists are really claiming to be clairvoyant. Many are doing so without realizing the ramifications of what their doing and saying. If they can’t read minds then how do they call a person with a Confederate battle flag a “racist” even though the person is swaring that they are not?

Symbols are inantimate objects. They cannot possibly be good or bad. There are swasitkas on ancient Budas in Asia. Are we to assume that the Budists are Nazis? Good people expect us to judge people indviually, but they don’t practice what they preach.

The truth of the matter is that there are not enough racists to go around. There are probably a half million people now employed fighting racism and billions of dollars being raised for that purpose. If there are no racists then how would all these people make a living? What would happen to all those organizations? They have to have racists, and there are some. But if they don’t find enough then they become like military Generals without a war. They will start one if they can.

Many of these groups go under the title of “diversity.” Yet most of these folks will not admit a southern heritage person to their “diverified” group or listen to anything they say. It’s really an amazing thing, supposedly open minded folks making a concious decision not to listen to their fellow man no matter what. I call it optional ignorance.

All southerners should quit arguing or even discussing slavery. It does not matter what you think, or what the other guy thinks, when considering the question of honoring our Confederate ancestors. Slavery was horrible beyond all description and we shouldn’t argue about that. But we are not honoring our ancestors for slavery. We are honoring them for their incredible sacrifice and service.

We honor people for the good they do not the mistakes they make. All people are fallible. If we disqualify folks because of their mistakes then there can be no heros or mounments to anyone.

I would also like to remind folks that the word “cause” has multiple meanings. People on both side yell at each other about the word “cause.” As strange as it may seem they are really talking about two different things but neither side will shut up long enough to recognize it. The person on the left is talking about the verb “cause,” a thing that occurs so as to produce a specific result. Their opinion is that slavery caused the war. It’s a reasonable opinion. The Southerner is talking about the noun “cause.” That is the reason our ancestors fought, which was clearly the cause of independence.

In the future we should all remind anyone who’ll listen that the reasons men fought and the causes of the war are not the same thing.

If we are intimidated into cowering in the face of irrational, unfair and unethical people, then we should expect to perish in the long run.

Terrell T. Garren

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