Friday, June 17, 2011

Dispatches From Our Correspondent

John Trumbull's Surrender of Lord Cornwallis from the English wikipedia, with this description:
This painting depicts the forces of British Major General Charles Cornwallis, 1st Marquess Cornwallis (1738-1805) (who was not himself present at the surrender), surrendering to French and American forces after the Siege of Yorktown (September 28 – October 19, 1781) during the American Revolutionary War. The United States government commissioned Trumbull to paint patriotic paintings, including this piece, for them in 1817, paying for the piece in 1820.
Français : Ce tableau dépeint le général britannique Charles Cornwallis, 1er marquis Cornwallis (1738-1805), se rendant aux forces françaises et américaines après le siège de Yorktown (28 septembre - 10 octobre 1781) durant la guerre d'indépendance américaine. Cette peinture à l'huile sur toile fut executée par l'artiste américain John Trumbull en 1817. Il fut acheté par le gouvernement américain en 1820.

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Our New War Correspondent Is Back In Town

Vacation is over for him and me both. I got away from my regular gig to cover for him, and now the time is up. He is back in town, driving the car that I suggested would be a good one back in '07, and he brought a stack of dispatches nearly two inches thick. Also we'll be working on a plug-in zip drive.

British Surrender at Yorktown

He has been in the area of Virginia where the British Army surrendered in October 1781, at Yorktown.

As the story goes, they tried to surrender to the French General Rochambeau, but the French general refused it on the grounds of etiquette, and then they tried to surrender to General Washington.  But, however, since General Cornwallis had directed his assistant O'Hara to do the surrendering, General Washington had O'Hara hand the sword over to General Lincoln--who had himself been compelled to surrender at Charleston previously, when the Southern Campaign was in its early stages.

Other highlights of the trip, from the point of view of the Civil War Sesquicentennial, will be further explored on the headquartersinthesaddle blog  in due course (see also Blogroll).

They include the Battle of Big Bethel 150th Anniversary, on Friday, June 10, 2011. This battle was a federal disaster and although it was quite a big deal 150 years ago at this point in the late spring of 1861, it would be eclipsed and forgotten six weeks later when the famous Bull Run catastrophe happened, at the First Battle of Manassas.

In the well-known Civil War movies, they like to start the war off with the Bull Run disaster, and it's a good drama, but there were some fights before that, and Big Bethel is one of them. The basic idea of the drama is that in the early stages they were expecting the war to be over in three months or so, and did not realize how serious it was going to be later on.

In 1861, the armies were organizing, and there were clashes in several places that are eclipsed by the bigger events, not only in Virginia but all the border states and the coasts.

Our Correspondent was there for the Anniversary of the Battle of Big Bethel

Also being a Navy man, he paid some attention to the fight of the Monitor and the Merrimack, and was using his hands to describe how they did it when I interrupted to ask, "you mean the C.S.S. Virginia?" and he said "Exactly."

The Confederates had taken possession of the USS Merrimack, in the navy yards in their state of Virginia, when they seceded from the Union, and used its hull for a secret weapon, the ironclad C.S.S. Virginia, hoping to break the US naval blockade by using warships with armor, like the French and then the British navies were doing since the Crimean War.

But unfortunately with so many things to talk about, a 53-foot semi barrelling out of the dock, behind me and a low-flying airliner landing nearby, that's as far as that story got. Next we were talking about how someone at Big Bethel showed him a grave of a cook right near where he was standing.

There are some places in the world where every time you turn around it seems there was some historical event right where you're standing. Rome, Cairo, Athens, and Jerusalem come to mind, among others. Virginia is like that too.

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I Had Some 'Splainin To Do

If it weren't for the Correspondent, I would not even know how to access the Internet.

I would say that he taught me everything I know, about computers, but that would be a slight exaggeration since I already knew about the on-off switch, installing an operating system, defragmenting the disk, watching movies and playing music. All that came from a South Indian Desi, so my music was in his language and Hindi, and I also knew that the Indian films from Bollywood would be easier to watch on the laptop, due to the format.

And from a Russian guy who had sold him the computer, I knew that he had ripped off the leather bag, for his profit.

From that point the Correspondent stepped in and showed me how to do plenty more, opening up the vast world of the Internet to me, also Copy-Paste, e-mail, Word and Excel and that sort of thing, and even wikipedia.

He's already a great instructor, a great American patriot, and now he will be a great Photojournalist. Now if you'll excuse me, I will tell him the name of the site.

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  1. That's a very nice painting, I'd not seen or even heard of it before, probably taken out of the history books over here!! Your totally right about the Battle of Big Bethal, I've not heard of that either, I thought I was quite well read on the ACW, I'll have to have another dig in my books to find out some more info.

  2. Hi, Ray,
    I will do an article about that on the other blog shortly. You won't find very much in books, and maybe for the same reason you suggest, in reverse.

    The Yankee invaders would be embarrassed, from patriotically identifying with the results, and so scarcely want to dwell on it.

    Not many here will have heard of it either, but it is interesting and I wound up reading about it until I fell asleep so no article yet.

  3. I didn't know you spoke French too, that is impressive!

    You can visit my blog here.

  4. Bonjour Patti D, Ah, but of course! Savoir faire, is everywhere!

    The first time I tried it was in Paris, at the foot of l'eglise de Sacre Couer.

    I was trying to find a park where hundreds of artists hang out and do their art, be it oils, acrylics, watercolors, drawings, caricatures, whatever.

    The park is in an arrondissement of the Pigalle, on the right bank. I knew I was close, but I broke down and went to ask directions.

    So busy checking the dictionary and phrase book for 'Ou sont les artistes', I did not notice until far too late that the homeless Yugoslav refugee I had approached, to try out my French, was in the act of defecating on the wall of the church! Plop!

    I can NEVER get that image out of my memory. I found the artist's colony anyway by myself a couple minutes later, only a few blocks away.

    And I still will never ask for directions again. Once!