Monday, April 30, 2012

Intelligent Design

We spent a large part of the weekend under the car, and had quite a bit of frustration with modern car assembly. This old newsreel shows us a neat idea from sixty years ago that never made it into the marketplace. Too bad...it looks like a neat idea.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Keep Your Eyes Peeled This Week!

You never know what you may run across.  Back To The Old Grind!

Not My Victrola



This song reminds me that I haven't had the canoes out of the barn for many years. Video posted by 240252. on Jan 10, 2012.  His notes:
 
"Paddlin' Madelin' Home, Fox-trot from the Musical Comedy "Sunny" (Words & Music by Harry M. Woods) -- New Prince's Toronto Band, Columbia 1925 (UK)

NOTE: One of Roaring Twenties' trademarks - the evergreen fox-trot "Paddlin' Madelin' Home" (also spelled as "Paddlin' Madeleine Home") - was the first great hit written by Tin Pan Alley songwriter and pianist, Harry A.Woods. First presented in 1925 in the Musical Comedy "Sunny" it was then recorded by Cliff Edwards reaching No 3 on Billboard Chart. Other hits composed by Woods were of a comparable popularity, to mention only Al Jolson's "When the Red, Red Robin (Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin' Along)" (1926), Rudy Vallee's "The Vagabond Lover" (1929) or, in later years (after H. Wood moved out from the US to London, in Europe) "Heigh-Ho, Everybody, Heigh-Ho", "I'm Looking Over A Four Leaf Clover", "You Ought To See Sally On Sunday", "What a Little Moonlight Can Do" or "Side By Side".
------------------------------------------
New Prince's Toronto Band was a Canadian dance orchestra founded in Toronto in 1921 by alto-saxophonist and singer, Hal Swain. In 1924, they were contracted to perform at Rector's Club in London yet upon their arrival, the club turned out to be out of business. They found another job at New Prince's Restaurant in West End, where they played until 1926 when the band split into two groups. One, having put on the name of Caplan's Toronto Band travelled with the banjoist Dave Caplan to Berlin, others until 1928 continued their successful contract in London under the name of Hal Swain's New Prince's Band."

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Weekend Steam

   

 Uploaded by
WhistlepostWP on Dec 7, 2011 Footage of Orange Blossom Canonball, a steam train excursion in Tavares Florida. The locomotive is lettered for the railroad Tavares Eustis and Gulf and is the only active standard gauge wood burning steam engine in the USA. The engine was in movies such as "True Grit," "3:10 to Yuma," and "Appaloosa." This video includes runby and cabride footage from Tavares to Lake Jem. For more info on the steam engine see the site below: http://www.orangeblossomcannonball.com/ All footage was recorded by Jared Davis of Whistlepost Productions

Friday, April 27, 2012

Arbor Day/Earth Week Celebration

With people planting trees and getting all green in their thoughts and deeds, I thought it was a good time to remind them that we will be up to our elbows in trees if we don't use a few, too. Trees are great because you can do so many things with them once you get them on the ground. And then you have a place to grow another one. There isn't much point in growing something if you don't use it when it's done.

Crankin' It Up

Isham Jones' Orchestra, March 1921. Is that a musical saw, or a slide whistle? My old ears can't decide on this acoustical recording. I must listen a few more times.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Gary Bahre Novo Note

 The Mrs and I ran across this 8 HP Novo engine in Eastern Kentucky about thirty five years ago, and it stuck in my head.  In 1986 I called the old boy who had it, and bought it over the phone.  I put some tie-downs in the bed of the old GMC, and made the round trip with my Father-In-Law to bring it home.

 It had been outside for many years, and the water hopper had cracked from water being trapped in it during winters.  I had it shot blasted, primed it, partially disassembled it, and stored it inside.  We finally figured out that even though it was no longer in danger of being ruined by the elements, I was never going to find the time to do a restoration.  In January we sold it to engine collector Gary Bahre, along with an IHC Titan engine that we also picked up in Eastern Kentucky.

 Gary has been keeping us posted on his progress, and he just told me that he expects to have the Novo running soon.  He had to fabricate a few of the valve assembly parts, and his biggest problems now are repairing the broken fuel pump, removing the big iron plug in the top of the gas tank, and cleaning the interior of the fuel tank.



Novo engines are headless, and this photo shows how the valves are hooked into the cylinder.  This will be a big, beautiful restoration when it is done.

UPDATE:  See the Novo run, CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Rust Revealed

 This McCormick tractor and baler were barely visible when I snapped a photo three years ago, and last year the shrubbery hid the tractor even deeper.

 Someone must have bugged the owner about selling the old iron, because it has now been freed from the multiflora rose.
 It was great to finally see these artifacts after driving by them for years.  The tractor would definitely be a challenging project for a collector.

 It will need lots of love to run again, and I bet it will be gone soon now that it is visible to passersby.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Big Barn

 The Big Barn is one of the more obscure cultural oddities you have never heard about before.  The barn is in southeast White County, Illinois, a short distance from the Wabash River.

The Wabash River floods regularly, making agriculture difficult, even in our modern era with sophisticated machines.  The farmer who built this barn on stilts went to great lengths to build it above the floods.  Cement pillars hold it about fifteen feet in the air, and there was a ramp at both ends.  Give a thought to how it would have been built.  The holes for the pillars had to be dug by hand, and dug deep.  The cement would have been mixed on-site, and the process of mixing and pouring had to have gone on for days on end.

 I last saw this barn about nine years ago, and it was a solid structure yet at that time.  I didn't have a camera with me then, but I did last week when I was on a property next door.  Storms of recent years have really taken a toll on the old building.

 The runway through the center had double floor joists.  The lumber used for construction was not planed, and was probably sawed in the neighborhood from bottomland hardwoods.

 This aerial photo from 2005 shows that the roof was intact at that time.

The barn sits just south of the curve in the trail at the top of the photo.  This peninsula is an odd feature on the map.  It is lengthening to the south as the river deposits sediment.  Timber is growing on the undocumented land, and there are several acres that don't belong to anyone, although they are landlocked by the owner of this timber.  The river bank above and below this peninsula is collapsing a bit every year, making land disappear.  There isn't much you can do about it; rivers like to move around.  There are several landowners adjacent to the river who are planting trees, and that will eventually curb major changes during flood events.

UPDATE BONUS! A commenter sent me looking for more barns like this one, and I found two barns on Wabash Island (at the confluence of the Wabash River and the Ohio). These images from Google Earth are USDA photos shot in 2011. Note that the Ohio was flooding, and much of the island has water running over it.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Heavy Duty Work Ahead



Back To The Old Grind!



Double Your Pleasure!

Not My Victrola: An Exercise In Dialect

The famous entertainer Sir Harry Lauder sounds pretty Scottish to Americans, but one of the secrets of his success was toning down the Scottish words and accent so his audiences could understand what he was saying. EMGColonel has posted a rare gem; a narration of a Robert Service poem in dialect, performed by the Scottish elocutionist James Spence.  The Twa Jocks is a tale of daring on the Western Front by a couple of Laddies, and just so you might figure out what is going on, I am including the text of the poem for you.



The Twa Jocks

Says Bauldy MacGreegor frae Gleska tae Hecky MacCrimmon frae Skye:    (frae-from)
"That's whit I hate maist aboot fechtin' -- it makes ye sae deevilish dry;    (maist-most)
Noo jist hae a keek at yon ferm-hoose them Gairmans are poundin' sae fine,  (hae-have, keek-peep)
Weel, think o' it, doon in the dunnie there's bottles and bottles o' wine.  (doon-down, dunnie-cellar)
A' hell's fairly belchin' oot yonner, but oh, lad, I'm ettlin' tae try. . . ." (ettlin'- intending, planning)
"If it's poose she'll be with ye whateffer," says Hecky MacCrimmon frae Skye.  (poose-drink)
Says Bauldy MacGreegor frae Gleska: "Whit price fur a funeral wreath?
We're dodgin' a' kinds o' destruction, an' jist by the skin o' oor teeth.
Here, spread yersel oot on yer belly, and slither along in the glaur;  (glaur-mud)
Confoond ye, ye big Hielan' deevil! Ye don't realize there's a war.
Ye think that ye're back in Dunvegan, and herdin' the wee bits o' kye."  (kye-cows)
"She'll neffer trink wine in Dunfegan," says Hecky MacCrimmon frae Skye.
Says Bauldy MacGreegor frae Gleska: "Thank goodness! the ferm-hoose at last;
There's no muckle left but the cellar, an' even that's vanishin' fast.   (muckle-much)
Look oot, there's the corpse o' a wumman, sair mangelt and deid by her lane.
Quick! Strike a match. . . . Whit did I tell ye! A hale bonny box o' shampane;
Jist knock the heid aff o' a bottle. . . . Haud on, mon, I'm hearing a cry. . . ."
"She'll think it's a wean that wass greetin'," says Hecky MacCrimmon frae Skye.  (wean-child)
Says Bauldy MacGreegor frae Gleska: "Ma conscience! I'm hanged but yer richt.
It's yin o' thae waifs of the war-field, a' sobbin' and shakin' wi' fricht.
Wheesht noo, dear, we're no gaun tae hurt ye. We're takin' ye hame, my wee doo!
We've got tae get back wi' her, Hecky. Whit mercy we didna get fou!    (fou-tipsy)
We'll no touch a drap o' that likker -- that's hard, man, ye canna deny. . . ."
"It's the last thing she'll think o' denyin'," says Hecky MacCrimmon frae Skye.
Says Bauldy MacGreegor frae Gleska: "If I should get struck frae the rear,   (frae-from)
Ye'll tak' and ye'll shield the wee lassie, and rin for the lines like a deer.    (rin-run)
God! Wis that the breenge o' a bullet? I'm thinkin' it's cracket ma spine.  (breenge-violent rush)
I'm doon on ma knees in the glabber; I'm fearin', auld man, I've got mine.   (glabber-mud, clay)
Here, quick! Pit yer erms roon the lassie. Noo, rin, lad! good luck and good-by. . . .
"Hoots, mon! it's ye baith she'll be takin'," says Hecky MacCrimmon frae Skye.
Says Corporal Muckle frae Rannoch: "Is that no' a picture tae frame?
Twa sair woundit Jocks wi' a lassie jist like ma wee Jeannie at hame.
We're prood o' ye baith, ma brave heroes. We'll gie ye a medal, I think."
Says Bauldy MacGreegor frae Gleska: "I'd raither ye gied me a drink.
I'll no speak for Private MacCrimmon, but oh, mon, I'm perishin' dry. . . ."
"She'll wush that Loch Lefen wass whuskey," says Hecky MacCrimmon frae Skye.

by Robert Service; Ballads of a Bohemian, Book IV

Saturday, April 21, 2012

e-Postal Reminder

You have this weekend and next to shoot and submit your April Target to JimmyB, The Conservative UAW Guy.  This will be a fun target for you to shoot, because you get to take a rest with your gun on the left side, but you have to shoot unsupported on the right side.  Dial those sights in fine before you shoot the contest so you can nail the spots.  Go over to JimmyB's for the rules, and to download the target.

Weekend Steam

Here's another gem from a family album.  After Lou married in 1912, she and her husband left the country to seek their fortune, and lived in East St. Louis for many years.  Lou or Will took this photo somewhere in the St. Louis vicinity in 1916.

Click to enlarge, study the boat, and then tell me about it in the comments.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Latest Ruger Releases Reviewed By GunBlast

The most basic gun needed in every home is a .22 rifle, and after you have one of those, the basic pistol you need is also a .22. These tools can be used for hunting, varmint control, home defense, and regular shooting practice at an economical cost. Ruger keeps on amazing us with new products, and they have really been teasing me lately with .22's that aggravate my gun itch. Here are some reviews by Jeff Quinn of GunBlast.com that show some of the current selection from Ruger



A walnut-stocked 10/22 has been part of our home for more years than I can remember, and Ruger has taken that design to a new level with their 10/22 Takedown model. According to the catalog it is a full pound lighter than a wood-stocked model. It would be perfect for those times that you want to take a .22 along with you on a road trip.



I have been thinking about moving up from the Single-Six to an automatic, and the new MkIII 22/45 Lite really got my attention. My Single-Six weighs 39 ounces, a Target MkIII is 40 ounces, a Target 22/45 is lighter at 32 ounces, but the new 22/45 Lite is just 22.8 ounces! You could pack that little bit of weight all day without it bothering you, and with a scope on top, it would make a good squirrel gun.



The latest version of Ruger's SP101 is an eight shot, adjustable sighted, stainless kit gun, weighing in at just 30 ounces. This would be a good choice, too, for a lightweight .22 that you could easily carry all day in the woods.



Ruger surprised everyone a few years back when they introduced the polymer framed LCR in .38 special. You can also buy that pocket pistol in .357 Magnum, which I think would require an extra tight grip, and now it is also offered as an eight shot .22 in the LCR22.

You can read Jeff Quinn's reviews on these guns and many more at his website, GunBlast.com.

Ruger is a generous supporter of the Gun Blogger Rendezvous and Project Valour-IT.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

There I Was Without A Tripod



This flicker was way up in the top of a tall snag, and the only spot where I could see him had nothing to lean against. He talked a lot; pecked a little.

Gary Bahre Updates Us On The Titan Engine

 Gary Bahre dropped a line to us recently, and included some photos showing the progress on his IHC Titan engine.  He certainly has it looking like an engine again, and I think he will be able to show it off later this year.

An excerpt from his letter:  " The water pump is apart for a rebuild it will be done this coming week, the Titan being on the floor is  better to work on there, the casting's are back and in the machine shop. They should be here by mid June, check out the shop built muffler."  Wow!  The missing parts have been cast, and will soon be machined!  We will keep posting Gary's updates as he sends them, and we will shoot video when this engine is running.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Hi-Point Firearms; Unbelievable Low Prices and They Work!

Tom of WeaponsEducation on YouTube has posted many videos of various booths at the January 2012 Shot Show. Watch his videos and you will figure out pretty quickly that he is very enthusiastic about high-end firearms, especially custom 1911's. Anyway, I have been enjoying his reports, and was highly amused by his review of Hi-Point. Hi-Points are economically priced, Made-In-America guns with a lifetime warranty, and a reputation for working. I hope Tom breaks down and buys one of these bargain firearms. They really do work, even if they aren't as pretty as his custom .45's, and they fill an important need for folks with limited funds who need protection at home.  Check into Tom's YouTube channel and tell him about your Hi-Point.  He just can't believe that they really work!



Several YouTubers have posted videos of "Torture Tests" of Hi-Point pistols which supposedly are evaluating how well these products work when they are contaminated with mud and grit. One of the latest tests posted consists of filling the barrel with powder, plugging the end with a bolt driven in, and surprise!!!; the barrel bursts. These testers need to get back to reality. Most folks clean and oil their pistols after use to keep them operating reliably, and know better than to run their guns with sand in the action, or with unsafe reloaded ammo.



One thing these videos prove is that some You-Tubers have $150-300 to throw away making a video. Hi-Points aren't made for gun snobs; the construction and operation is simpler than other brands, and the machining tolerances are probably looser than most custom guns...But, they work!!!, and they are fun to shoot. Mom has a 9mm Carbine, and I have a .45 Carbine. They both work every time we pull the trigger, and they shoot where the sights point. Go ahead and buy one, Tom! I promise that you will like it!

Hi-Point is a regular supporter of the Gun Blogger Rendezvous and Project Valour-IT. True Blue Sam blog receives no income or gratuities from Hi-Point or any of the other firearm manufacturers mentioned here. But, True Blue Sam does like Hi-Point because the company is somewhat of a rebel; making inexpensive products that work very well, in America, for Americans!  And their guns really work!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Time To Hook Up!

Back To The Old Grind!

Not My Victrola



Victrolaman shares a rare 1934 recording, and provides a little history of the Dorsey Brothers, too.  His writeup: "Here from August of 1934 on early Decca is the Dorsey Bros. Orchestra playing "Basin Street Blues" with vocal by Bob Crosby. The Dorsey Brothers went their separate ways, both forming their own Orchestras in 1935, and would not reunite again until 1953. The Record is being played on a 1925 two door Victor Orthophonic Credenza ."

Broken Toys and Faded Colors....



We actually got a comment when we posted a John Prine video a couple weeks ago, and that is a big deal on this little blog. The commenter is a John Prine fan, and his opinion counts since he spoke up. Here's another that I think you all will enjoy.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Weekend Steam: State Of The Art Harvesting A Century Ago

 Here are a couple of photos from an old family album that show farming where we live, near Dahlgren, Illinois.  The fellow sitting on the flywheel of this Heilman engine is Green Berry Darsham, the ancestor who settled on the family farm in 1903.  His daughter Lou (born Feb 1894) is the girl with the striped sleeve on her dress.

We don't know the two on the left, but the fellow with his hand on the throttle is Will Dillinder, Lou's husband.  The man in front of the steering wheel is Henry Kennedy, a man that I remember, sixty some years after these snapshots were taken.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Lot Easier Than Oak!



Mrs. TBS shot video while we worked up the dead pines recently, and you may notice the same thing I did as I ran the saws. White pine is a whole lot easier on the operator and the saw than black oak. When cutting black oak, I file at every fillup, but we worked up two pines into lumber and scraps without having to touch up the chain. The saw doing most of the work is the old 272XP, and the 359 did the honors releasing the slabs from missed spots.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Mr. Completely's April e-Postal Contest At JimmyB's Blog

CLICK HERE to go to the April contest over at JimmyB, the Conservative UAW Guy, read the rules, and print out your targets to participate.  Plan a trip to the range during the upcoming weekend, and take along family and friends.  Mr. C had very few entries in March, and you all need to jump into the game for the practice, friendly competition, and camaraderie of these long distance, friendly shooting matches.

The rules list a bunch of different classes, and you don't have to own any special or expensive hardware to participate.  Mrs. True Blue Sam and I shoot the contest with a Ruger Single Six, and the monthly practice does us both a world of good.  If you don't have a pistol, shoot the contest with a rifle, or even a pellet gun.  If you submit a target, it will be counted!  You know you need the practice, so get out to the range!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Old Times In Burlington

My Great-Aunt Bessye passed away in 1983 at the ripe old age of 90.  One of the things she liked to do when we visited was to take a ride through Crapo Park.  Her negative collection shows that Crapo Park was a favorite gathering place for friends and family during her younger years.  Her husband Carl was a professional photographer, and he took a lot of snapshots during their courtship and early marriage, and I was fortunate to get a stack of their negatives from her nephew who looked after her in Burlington.

That is my dear old Aunt sitting on the Parrot Rifle that was on display at Crapo before the scrap drives during World War II.  I wish I could figure out the identity of the fellow next to her.  It isn't Carl, the fellow she married, and it doesn't look like her father, or Carl's, who makes an appearance in a wedding photo.  Label your photos; someone might appreciate the effort some day.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Cherries Hung With...

Black cherry trees bloomed a couple weeks early this year in Southern Illinois, and they are pretty well finished at Easter.  Thanks to A. E. Housman, these lovely flowers always remind me of our mortality, but I enjoy taking time to admire the blossoms.

Take a good look and you will also find plenty of these ugly little buggers.  They have really grown since I posted a photo a bit over a week ago.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Easter, 1920

From my Great-Aunt Bessye's negative collection, we have a look at the weather in Burlington, Iowa on April 4, 1920; Easter Sunday.

Weekend Steam



Uploaded by on Jan 17, 2009
From July of 1971 until October 1990, the Wasatch Mountain Railway the Heber Creeper operated steam-powered excursion trains through the Utah countryside from Heber City to Bridal Veil Falls. Steam locomotive No. 618, a 1907 Baldwin 2-8-0, was put into service in 1971 after sitting on display at the Salt Lake City fairgrounds for eleven years. The railroad survived until 1990, when it closed down after nearly two decades of operation. This video is from the last year of Heber Creeper operation, August 1990. No. 618 would be condemned a month later, and the final runs were made that October using diesel power. This film shows the train at Heber City, with 618 backing down through the old Heber station grounds (a bank building stands there now), and past several of the display steam locomotives. Seen to the left is Pacific Lumber 2-8-2 No. 35, which ran at Heber from 1971-1977, and Rayonier 2-6-6-2T No. 110, which never ran there and is seen without its saddle tanks (it runs at the Black Hills Central today see my other videos). We then see No. 618 out along the line with a passenger train. From trackside, 618 runs tender-first across the US-189 overpass, and then is seen downgrade in Provo Canyon. At Vivian Park, it runs around its train of yellow coaches for the return trip to Heber City. When the railroad closed in 1990 most of the equipment was sold off, including all of the passenger cars. Only a diesel locomotive and one steam locomotive (No. 618) remained out of a fleet of eleven locomotives. The depot grounds were also sold. After a three-year effort, the tracks were reopened in 1993 from Heber to Vivian Park (except for the last half-mile into Heber City and the old railroad yard, which was torn up). Today, steam locomotive 618 and the trains are operated by the State of Utah as the Heber Valley Railroad. The engineer at the throttle of 618 in this video is Craig Lacey, who is now the executive director of the Heber Valley line.

New Madrid, Island 10, and Tiptonville, Continued...

We pick up where we left off  in Matthew H Jamison's 1862 account, Recollections Of Pioneer and Army Life.
"During our second night under the rebel batteries our company was on the outposts, where in the silence we could hear much that was going on behind the enemy's lines.  There was a "racket" throughout most of the night, their lights were gleaming, their band played continuously, and there was the rumble and tumult as of reinforcements coming in.  The truth proved to be, they were going on board their transports in a panic, evacuating all their works. leaving valuable property behind them.  At daylight we found their tents standing. lights burning in them and breakfast on the tables, and military stores in quantity and the heavy guns in the fort fell into our hands.  The result was that during the unequal duel which extended throughout the previous day, a canter shot from the rebel fort nearly buried Colonel Smith of the 16th Illinois and another broke the muzzle off one of our gig guns, putting it out of the game.  The captain smiled grimly (a man in a fight always smiles "grimly," I believe, if he is able to work his facial muscles at all) and landed another shot a little closer than before; at all events, the captain took a look at the enemy's coign of vantage after we got possession of it, and found one of his guns dismounted and household furniture piled up in a heap.

Along with our work on this day there was something doing down at Point Pleasant--pointed but unpleasant for the rebel Commodore Hollis, which shut him out of the mixup.  The Mississippi is a nice stream to travel on if you have the stuff which entitles you to a first-cabin passage and a "Northern Line" table to lunch at with a seat on the right of the captain, and provided there are no hunting parties out looking for big game.  Up to this hour in the Commodore's life he had smooth sailing, but on a night a Yankee battery was neatly fitted into a depression made for it at the "Point" and a lot of our best wing shots stood in the rifle-pits, looking bland and smiling out over the water, and, as usual, the unsuspicious Commodore came along with his flock of "Turtles," and our boys scared him so he has not been heard of to this day.  As a further diversion, during the afternoon the rebels formed a small infantry force out of our sight and played the old trick of marching it around and around through the fort as a continuous line of reinforcements, but really dropping out of sight behind the fort and coming in again, and endless chain.  We were unbelievers and smiled as we looked at the performance.

General Pope made the following official report of these operations:  "The 10th and 16th Illinois, commanded respectively by Colones J. D. Morgan and J. R. Smith, were detailed as guards to the proposed trenches and to aid in constructing them.  They marched from camp at sunset on the 12th instant, and drove in the pickets and grand guards of the enemy as they were ordered, at shouldered arms, without firing a shot; covered the front of the intrenching parties and occupied the trenches and rifle-pits during the whole day and night of the 13th, under furious and the incessant cannonading from sixty pieces of heavy artillery.  At the earnest request of their Colonels, their regimental flags were kept flying over our trenches, though they offered a conspicuous mark to  the enemy.

"The coolness, courage and cheerfulness of these troops, exposed for two nights and a day to the furious fire of the enemy at close range, and to the severe storm which raged during the whole night of the 13th, are beyond all praise, and delighted and astonished every officer who witnessed it."

General Pope says in another connection, referring to this movement:  "One brigade, consisting of the10th and 16th Illinois, under Colonel Morgan, of the 10th, was detailed to cover the construction of the battery and to work in the trenches.  They were supported by General Stanley's division, consisting of the 27th, 43rd, and 63rd Ohio.  Captain Mower, of the 1st U.S. Infantry, with Companies A and H of his regiment, was placed in charge of the siege guns.

"The enemy's pickets and grand guards were driven in by Colonel Morgan from the ground selected for the battery, without firing a shot, although the enemy fired several volleys of musketry.  The work was prosecuted in silence and with the utmost rapidity until at 3 o'clock A. M. two small redoubts, connected by a curtain and mounting the four heavy guns which had been sent me, were completed, together with rifle-pits in front and on the flanks by the whole of the enemy's heavy artillery on land and water."....

....Concurrently our friends were busy up at the Island.  Colonel Roberts (that gallant, deeply lamented hero of the 42nd Illinois, who fell at Stone River), with a picked squad of his boys, dropped in upon General McKown at vespers and spiked his guns, and on a stormy night the "Pittsburg" ran the rebel batteries and got safely down to the New Madrid landing, where we were waiting for it.  Withal, the opening along the bayous for the transports had been completed, and while our brigade stood in arms on the shore, lo! a steamer came walking, as it were, out of the woods, landed, and took us aboard.  There was a rebel earthwork on the opposite shore and the "Pittsburg" dropped out into the stream and sent a few plunging shots at it.  There was no response, and the transports carried us promptly to the Tennessee shore, and a foot-race began to interpose our force across the rebel line of retreat from the Island above.  Our brigade had the advance; quick time was made, and before night came on we had taken up our positions with strong picket forces out.  Our own company occupied an outpost, where we took prisoners in number equal to our own strength--regular Arkansas travelers; armed with frontier "toothpicks," home-make, on the anvil, and rifles, muskets and revolvers and every description of shot-gun that had been made up to that time;one of these a giant shot-gun that only a giant could carry or wish to fire.  During the night the commander of the rebel army at the Island, whose forces we had barred in their efforts to escape, sent in a communication asking for terms of surrender.  These having been agreed upon, the rebel army (infantry and batteries) filed onto open ground, nearer the river, in the vicinity of a hamlet named Tiptonville, close at hand, and stacked their arms.  I cannot say that the stars in their courses contributed to our success in these operations, or that our foe lacked courage and skill.  I am sure that those rebel soldiers of the Southwest lacked nothing essential to the real soldier.  The use of fire-arms, and fighting of one kind or another, was an everyday affair with them--almost a pastime; and I feel that I am stating the exact truth in saying that those backwoodsmen whom our company corraled as prisoners at our outpost could, man for man, have "wiped the ground" with us on a fair field and no favor.

The reasons for our success include some curious facts.  Precisely fifty years in advance of our appearance before New Madrid a great convulsion of Nature had changed the features of the landscape from the mouth of the Ohio River to the St. Francis.  Where once had been level farming lands and high plateaus covered by the ancient forest, appeared lakes of great depth or depressions difficult to pass.  The seismic disturbances of 1811-16 (for they covered the interval between these years) involved this whole region and were the severest in the immediate vicinity of our operations.  No disturbance of the kind recorded since the landing of Columbus could compare with it.  The best authorities state the movements were of two kinds--a perpendicular and the horizontal; that the latter was the most destructive; that it moved in immense waves, increasing in size as they progressed until they were the height of the trees, which tossed and tumbled together, the earth opening and discharging great volumes of water, sand, coal and rock.  Whole districts of fertile country were covered to a depth with white sand, and in other places the earth and forest sank, forming lakes some of them twenty miles in length.  Adjutant Theodore Wiseman, of our brigade, assured me that previous to the war he had passed in a hunting-boat with his fowling-piece over submerged forests in this region, the trees standing upright where they had sunk.  The grave-yard of the New Madrid and large tracts of land with it were swallowed up by the great river, and chasms and crevices appeared across which the few inhabitants of the country crawled upon trees where they happened to span these gulfs.  As a result of this earthquake the region around Island No. 10--which since the close of the war has wholly disappeared in the current of the Mississippi--extending on down the river and embracing all the country on both shores below New Madrid, was so broken up by lakes and the scars of theis convulsion that the passage out from the Island by an army under the restrictions of an investment was not a job to be relished by the most competent of military commanders.  The difficulties of the situation were greatly increased by high water.  The Father of Waters was rolling one of his immense spring tides to the sea and was a majestic spectacle.  The tributary streams were overflowing, and I have said enough to show that the Confederacy was in hard luck in her struggle with Nature, to say nothing of John Pope and his army.

A field battery of the Washington artillery (the pride of the South), manned by young bloods from New Orleans, was a part of the trophies of this campaign.  These gallant young French creoles and their beautiful brass guns won our sympathies, and I had an interesting talk with lieutenant of the company as we stood on the shore looking out over the great river.  He was courteous, intelligent, undismayed by their ill fortune, and had a rock-rooted faith that the South would never be overcome.  Our prisoners followed those of Fort Donelson to Rock Island, while a fleet of transports assembled at New Madrid, and convoyed by the flotilla of gunboats, the Army of the Mississippi descended the river to a point on the Arkansas shore in the vicinity of Chickasaw Bluffs, the next fortified stronghold place to dispute our passage.  It was a notable scene--our descent of the river; so many of the steamers. often  in full view, crowded with troops; hesitating at intervals on the broad bosom of the water, at a signal of caution from the iron-clads which were the advance guard, on the discovery of one of the enemy's "Turtles," half hid around the point of an island, when the boom of one of our rifled chasers woke the deep echoes of the desolate region."

When you consider the terrible casualties and fighting at Shiloh at the same time as the fall of Island 10, the outcome seems unbelievable.  Matthew Jamison's account doesn't dwell too long on the action away from his location, but there are several websites that provide a larger view of the action.  (Click 1)   (Click 2)    (Click 3)  (Click 4)  The soldiers who cut a path for the transports to slip past the batteries of Island 10 were pivotal in this important battle, and had to be darn glad when their Herculean task was finished.  The regiments who sat in trenches before the fort at New Madrid had to endure shelling, but they weren't swinging axes, pulling on crosscut saws, and handling waterlogged timber. The surrender of the Confederate forces at Tiptonville without a fight was a rare, nearly bloodless victory in a war that was going very differently over at Pittsburg Landing.

A sad note to finish on is a thought about the Confederate soldiers who were shipped north to Rock Island.  Civil War POW camps were bad places to be on both sides of the conflict, and these men had three long years ahead of them.  I imagine that a good many of these fellows are buried in the cemetery at the Rock Island Arsenal.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Seen At Omega, Illinois

This old one room school house is at at township garage and borrow pile site.  It has a tin roof, foundation, new windows, and a pretty neat barn quilt.  Someone is showing it some love.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Three On A Match

We are going back 150 years again to see what the Tenth and Sixteenth Illinois Infantry regiments were up to.  From Matthew Jamison: " On the  12th of March, 1862, in the evening twilight, our brigade formed and silently moved out from camp, the artillery muffled, and the men cautioned against making unusual noise.  Conversation, when indulged was in undertones.  In the darkness of the moonless night the column moved like an immense serpent winding in and out through the openings of the forest.  I was in the file at the head of our company with Lieutenant Sam Wilson and Captain Carr, whose company (H) preceded us in the column.  That officer was a veteran of the Mexican War, of middle age, who had seen much of the world; was devoted to the service, and kept his men well in hand.  We chatted in low tones as we marched along, Captain Carr admonishing his men at intervals against the clatter of their canteens, or the querulous voice of some man who had difficulty in getting along amicably with his neighbor.  We passed rapidly along in the darkness, and soon debouched upon an open field.  Our engineers and staff officers were at hand and under their guidance we were drawn up in line facing the rebel works; stacked arms; and in the inky darkness found a line of rail-fence, which we lifted bodily, noiselessly,  and extended along our front as a base for a breastwork; then with our trenching tools, working like beavers, we soon had an effective defense against the enemy's siege guns, for at daylight we would be an easy mark for his trained gunners at the rebel fort.  We were now up against the first notable obstruction of the Mississippi south of Cairo, which consisted of a formidable earthwork and siege guns and a line of defense works for infantry, a fleet of gunboats on the river, and the fortifications on Island No. 10 above.  On the left of our line four siege guns were placed in position protected by a still heavier earthwork.  While we were engaged in this work not a shot had been exchanged.  If the rebel pickets heard us, they relied upon their ears rather than upon their rifles for entertainment.  The silence remained unbroken, 'til Captain Carr left his company at their work in the trenches and went out on our front to reconnoitre on his own account.  There was a lane running at right angles to our line of works, and along the "worm" fence the captain stole quietly.  He loved his pipe, and in an unfortunate moment stopped and struck a match! That was the rebel sharp-shooters' opportunity, and in the glare of that little blaze the veteran received a mortal wound.  He was carried to the farm-house near by, where he died shortly afterward.  In the early dawn, our earthworks having been completed, there was  lively exchange of Minie balls, and the gunners in the rebel fort, discovering a big black bunch in the corn-field which they had never seen before, trained some of the best rifled pieces on it and made the morning exercises interesting for Captain Joe Mower and his men.  The captain (later a major-general) in command of our division, and later of our corps, was a fighter, but he was outclassed with his little hunchback of earthwork and four guns against a deliberately built fort of approved pattern"

Many young folks today may not be familiar with the expression "Three On A Match," and probably haven't been around pipe smokers.  The third man lighting a cigarette off of a match was likely to be hit by enemy snipers during WWI.  The above passage illustrates that one man could suffer the same fate if his smoke was a pipe.  I can remember my dad's step-father lighting his pipe when I was a little tyke.  A pipe is rather dramatic when it is being fired up with an Ohio Blue Tip match.  Every draw pulls the flame down into the bowl, and then the flame flares up big and bright before the next puff.  Captain Carr learned the hard way that you can't do that in front of soldiers armed with rifled muskets.  It was a sad end to an experienced veteran of the Mexican War.  During that war, muskets were smooth bores, and the Captain may have gotten away with taunting the enemy while lighting up at night.  I bet that no-one in the Tenth and Sixteenth regiments repeated his mistake during the next three years of war.  Next time; a dramatic victory at Tiptonville.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Illinois Turkey Season Opener

Avery:  "I'm on him!"
George:  "Shoot him!"
Avery:  "Cover my ears!"
Neighbors George and Sally dropped in the other day with their granddaughter and her First Turkey.  Here we see Grandpa George weighing the bird; 23.8 pounds.  That's a real gobbler, and Avery will remember that hunt for the rest of her life.  Avery was shooting her Grandma's 20 Gauge, with a load of 7/8 ounce of Number 6 shot.  The distance from their blind was 13 yards. Good Shooting, Avery!  Congratulations!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Harry Lauder Nails Monday



Posted by cdpx.

Oh well...



Back To The Old Grind!

Grinder video by mayormoonshine.

"The Years Went By Like Sweet Little Days..."



There comes a pivotal time in most lives when the realization hits you that things are going to change, and the old times are gone for good. Jesus could have said "To Hell with the rest of the world" when that moment came, and John Prine's song always gets to me when I listen to it.