Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Old 34th New York Remembrance

34th NY Infantry Regiment Monument at
Antietam Battlefield, Sharpsburg, Maryland

Spend some time this month in remembrance of those fallen boys from the “Herkimer Regiment”, those forty-three souls of the Old 34th Infantry Regiment of New York State Volunteers (NYSV) who were killed the morning of September 17, 1862 at the American Civil War Battle of Antietam. Three-Hundred & Eleven men of the 34th NYSV were engaged that day – men who hailed from upstate New York – and most of them Herkimer County residents. The Herkimer boys were engaged in a brutal fight -– perhaps better described as an ambush -- with well hidden Confederate forces for about one-half hour just after 9 o’clock that morning. The majority of these honored dead were fighting in the “West Woods” section of the Antietam Battlefield, slightly northwest of the now famous Dunker Church. An impressive monument was dedicated in 1902 to the valiant officers and men of the 34th New York Infantry Regiment, standing guard on the exact battlefield location where they struggled that truly longest day. This 34th NY Infantry tribute is displayed in the above photo.

I’ve been doing some research on the 34th NYSV for several months now – and can truthfully report that the real story remains unknown (maybe always will due to conflicting reports). But I strongly tend towards very bad leadership at all levels of federal command that day…of course starting right at the top of Union command with the cautious, ineffective, even incompetent leadership of commanding General George McClellan. The carnage inflicted this day by both Blue and Grey, the bloodiest single day battle of the rebellion and in American history, was nearly too awful for words. I’ll relate just one moving report quoted from the notes made during the Antietam Battlefield 34th monument dedication on September 17, 1902:

“The writer at the dedication related the following incident of the battle: Milford N. Bullock, of Company K, was found dead on the field after the battle. The position in which he was lying indicated the painful circumstances of his death. He was lying on his back, his rifle by his side. The ramrod of his gun was in his hand, the lower end against the trigger of the gun, and the muzzle of the gun at his head. It appeared at the time that the wound he had received had not been sufficient to cause instant death; but, being in mortal agony, he had contrived to end his sufferings by taking his own life. He had placed the gun by his side; the muzzle at his head, and by means of the ramrod had succeeded in discharging it. The circumstances were all so painful, that his comrades, at the suggestion of Captain Northup, agreed that they would not mention them in their letters home. But now, after forty years, there is no harm in referring to them. Young Bullock was from Stratford, Herkimer County, and was highly esteemed by all who knew him. His courage, his fidelity to duty were always unquestioned. His grave is not at home among his kindred, but far away, like that of so many others. He sleeps among the many unknown dead, in the great National Cemetery at Antietam; but we have never walked down those beautiful shaded aisles without feeling that we were again very near to our beloved comrade of those far-off days.” --Lt. L. N. Chapin

But today let’s just remember those forty-three men of the gallant 34th Infantry Regiment NYSV who made the supreme sacrifice the morning of September 17, 1862. Twelve of these 34th NYSV soldiers are buried with fellow New Yorkers in marked graves at the Antietam National Cemetery, the grave number is indicated following the soldier's name. Several more unidentifiable 34th NYSV soldiers rest in unknown graves in this hollowed ground. Here are the names of those killed-in-action or mortally-wounded-in-action on this single mid-September day:

· Adle, John H. C. -- Grave #826
· Allen, William G. -- Grave #834
· Armour, David C.
· Ashley, Sergt. Jacob J. C.
· Bailey, Henry C. -- Grave #845
· Beardsley, John G. -- Grave #524
· Bramley, Henry D.
· Buck, Martin A.
· Bullock, Milford N. K.
· Carey, Corp. David A.
· Cool, Stephen B.
· Coon, James E.
· Coonan, Patrick D.
· Crouch, Corp. David F.
· Dickson, John F.
· Donohoe, James A. -- Grave #832
· Easterbrook, Albert G. G.
· Eldridge, William E. G.
· Gadban, Lewis D.
· Gillman, Henry A. -- Grave #831
· Greek, Ezra I.
· Hartley, Robert H. A.
· Hawley, George A. E.
· Hayes, Dennis D.
· Helmer, Sergt. Aaron G.
· Hill, Second Lieut. Clarence E. H.
· Hicks, Lawrence G.
· Hubbell, Henry D.
· Jolly, Peter D. -- Grave #593
· Lewis, William K. -- Grave #844
· Ladew, Warren C. B.
· Lyon, First Sergt. Henry C. I.
· Mead, Sergt. Garland W. G.
· Murphy, John A.
· Mycue, John D.
· Keef, Corp. Arthur B.
· Orcutt, Alvin E. -- Grave #825
· Rhodes, Color Sergt. Chester S. H. -- Grave #828
· Rubbins, William G. -- Grave # 829
· Salisbury, William A. C. -- Grave #827
· Sashagra, Anthony D.
· Walby, Ralph B.
· White, Daniel E.

Note: the letter following the named dead is the Company within the 34th New York Infantry Regiment to which the man was assigned during the Battle of Antietam.

Another seventy-four men of the 34th New York were wounded-in-action on the morning of September 17, 1862 in their bloody engagement during the Battle of Antietam. Nine troops remain missing-in-action (MIA). Many of the MIA are no doubt buried in unknown graves at Antietam.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Rant On Military Political Correctness

I've got to stop reading that military.com stuff...since these articles are very bad for the blood pressure. Just deleted their latest email without reading and will soon unsubscribe. Fully expect to shortly see an announcement for a third-track U.S. Navy advancement system under a “Homosexual Awareness & Support Program.” Hell –– I say advance ‘em all on a promotional fast-track. You’ve got to get the homosexuals in khakis anyway, since its said they refuse wear white after Labor Day. Just read yesterday that the first contingent of female submariners has been selected, prospective boat supply officers in the first group I think. Probably safe –– can’t remember a single noteworthy event from any supply officer I ever sailed with –– except that patrol where we went to sea stocked with only steak in the meat locker (still don’t eat steak even to this day).

This female submarine sailor experiment, while so politically correct, is going to fun to watch. Green zone, yellow zone, red zone touching lectures will of course be held on a mandatory frequent basis. Standby for heavy rolls takes on a whole new defination. How do naval crews presently handle celebratory events where significant lines of latitude & longitude are crossed? I know the new-age CPO initiations have been cleaned-up to the point of being an essential non-event. These are, of course, trivial examples of the more evident issues relating to disciplined close-contact sailing. Ever wonder how truthful the Navy will be on disclosing personnel problems related to mixed-gender submariners –– you know –– sex, sexual harassment, pregnancy, boy-girl natural tensions, those predictable love-triangles, etc., and those POed spouses calling the XO or base chaplain when the very foreseeable boy-girl connections occur in isolated duty (can't even think about that boy-boy & girl-girl cluster thing). Been through this kind of thing in the late 70’s & early 80’s as a unit XO & CO -- and that's a hell-of-a-price for being stylish. Was the negative “Love Boat” press waffling from the USS Acadia (AD-42), USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69), et al –– just figments of the imagination? My gosh –– put relatively young men and women together in close quarters –– and in isolated duty on ships or stations –– and what should be obvious to naval leadership WILL happen. Sweep it under those green carpets –– don’t capture the data –– this morale damaging conduct shall be held secret –– military leadership can’t be held responsibe for an anomaly where they claim no statistical data is captured. Those three monkeys, hear no evil, see no evil & speak no evil come to mind. What can this present crop of politically correct U.S. Navy four-star admirals be thinking? Can they really think these “progressive changes” will make our American military more ready and more capable in a future fight? There has always been an honored place for Pride & Tradition in the U. S. Navy ... a point that today seems lost with current top naval leadership. Can that fourth star really be worth what you have predictably sired?

No question I’m a dinosaur submariner without new age gender-neutral social skills. And an unabashed advocate from the “Dirty Harry” school of hard knocks -- "If she wants to play lumberjack, she's gonna have to learn to handle her end of the log." But those 4-star Pentagon men might have unintentionally discovered the real truth for submarine manpower billeting. Perhaps there are too many men in those all male crews. Some serious number crunchers a whole lot smarter than our senior flag officers might better propose a reduced manpower plan aboard all our boats. Now such plans make better financial sense… and might actually increase skill, productivity, and safety coupled with reduced crew risk.

P.S. An old article worth re-reading:
Click here to view it.

P.P.S. Or the sadly humorous article & comments at:
click here for an informed smile.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

“Killer Angels” and “Gettysburg”
Fiction and Myths

Southern Ridge of Little Round Top

The novel “Killer Angels” and the related movie “Gettysburg” offer several heroic acts intended to demonstrate typical examples of warrior action during the Rebellion. These distinguished acts depict historical-fiction meant for application across the general Civil War combatant population. One significant combat event is selected to represent action on each of three days that encompass the Battle of Gettysburg:

· Day One, July 1st, 1863 - General John Buford’s courageous action to stand-and-fight a greatly superior Confederate Force with his dismounted cavalry,
· Day Two, July 2nd, 1863 - The Union defense of Little Round Top by the 20th Maine Infantry Regiment, and,
· Day Three, July 3rd, 1863 - General George Pickett’s Charge against the center of Union position on Cemetery Ridge.

One of the distressing late Twentieth Century revisions in American Civil War history is the extraordinary recognition now bestowed on Colonel Joshua L. Chamberlain and the honorable 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment regarding the Union defense of Little Round Top. This recent revisionist history is in no small part rooted in Michael Shaara’s novel and in Ted Turner’s movie production, perhaps an unintended consequence of using singular exploits to represent typical action over the combatant general population. Some historians suggest that the pivotal Battle of Gettysburg might have been won by the Confederacy if the Rebels had taken Little Round Top in the late afternoon of July 2nd. Other historians have expressed a certain amount of skepticism concerning Colonel Chamberlain’s extraordinary contribution to the defense of Little Round Top – and to the larger question regarding far-reaching importance of Little Round Top to the outcome at Gettysburg and to the Civil War. This analysis is not intended to diminish the heroic action of the valiant 20th Maine or their fascinating commander Joshua L. Chamberlain. Rather, the goal here is to cite and exalt the efforts of other military officers and men who did not survive their struggle on that rocky hill.

Had Confederate troops of the gallant Texas 4th and Texas 5th Infantry Regiments (i.e., General John Hood’s famed Texas Brigade) broken-through to the summit of Little Round Top on the Union left – as they almost did in the afternoon of the second day – Little Round Top might have been captured by the Rebel troops.
It was West Point graduate Colonel Patrick Henry O'Rorke's 500 courageous Monroe County soldiers of the noble 140th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment who joined to the right of the superb 16th Michigan Volunteer Infantry Regiment, filling weakened gaps in a near broken Union line and to eventually turn-back that bold assault on Little Round Top by the Texas Brigade. It is important to know that this later afternoon struggle between the Union 140thNY & 16thMI Regiments and the Texas Brigade took place some amount of time (perhaps more than a half hour) before General Hood’s 15th Alabama Regiment engaged Colonel Chamberlain’s 20th Maine Regiment. A successful Texas Brigade would have held the high ground atop Little Round Top and to the right of Harvard graduate Colonel Strong Vincent’s undermanned 3rd Brigade - the brigade that included the 20th Maine troops.Coupled with General Hood’s 15th Alabama uphill attack on the Union extreme left flank – the small Union 3rd Brigade, the 20th Maine and Colonel Chamberlain might have been crushed – sandwiched between Confederate Forces from both high right and low left by General Hood’s Rebels. No amount of 20th Maine heroics would make much difference had the gallant Texas Brigade secured the high ground summit of Little Round Top. This critical afternoon engagement, but a subset of July 2nd fighting, is not reported in the book “Killer Angels” or presented in the movie “Gettysburg.” Why do these works of historical-fiction overlook the heroism of these two young Colonels O'Rorke and Vincent? No doubt this is because Commander of 140th New York Colonel Patrick Henry O’Rorke was killed-in-action in the afternoon struggle against the Texas Brigade. And after issuing battle orders to Colonel Chamberlain, the Union 3rd Brigade Commander Colonel Strong Vincent was mortally-wounded-in-action just moments before Colonel O’Rorke’s combat death – Colonel Vincent then departing this life five days later. Both of these articulate Union officers were aged but 26-years when killed at Gettysburg. Whereas, Colonel Chamberlain survived for more than a half-century following the Battle of Gettysburg to write, speak, and promote his personal wartime endeavors – and those courageous acts of the 20th Maine Regiment. In fact, the many post-war writings of General Joshua L. Chamberlain and those of Confederate Corps Commander General James Longstreet significantly influenced Shaara’s book and Turner’s movie. Click here to review my July 2009 posting relating to the life and times of Patrick Henry O’Rorke.

Furthermore, if the Confederates had captured Little Round Top, they would likely have had a clear shot to Union supply lines and to the rear of many Union forces – together with a more direct road to Washington. At a minimum, Confederate Forces would have been better positioned on July 3rd to assist with General George Pickett’s Charge and with General J.E.B. Stewart’s unsuccessful cavalry attack on the Union rear and to those important Union supplies. Many significant historians speculate that another Union defeat at Gettysburg might have won the Rebellion for the Confederacy. This logic follows that a Union loss on Little Round Top would directly lead to a Union loss at the Battle of Gettysburg – and the Union defeat at Gettysburg would lead to Federal capitulation in the American Civil War and victory for the Confederate States. For me it seems there are too many "ifs" presented by this argument – but plausibly – it just might have happened. I'm not at all sure that a victorious Confederacy in the War of the Rebellion would have been all that bad for the Greater North American population, particularly in view of direction the Americas presently tend. Many northern-region residents of North America might perhaps find life more fit for human habitation somewhere in the Confederate States Of America - bathing in less federalism.

A closing thought: CSA Commanding General Robert E. Lee in no way accepted the premise that the Confederate Rebellion was lost following those three days in early July 1863 at Gettysburg. More Civil War causalities occurred following the Battle of Gettysburg than were suffered before the Gettysburg battle. General Lee does not appear to be a broken man as he writes this August 1863 letter from Richmond to his second-in-command & right-hand man Lieutenant-General James Longstreet:

GENERAL, I have wished for several days past to return to the army, but have been detained by the President. He will not listen to my proposition to leave to-morrow. I hope you will use every exertion to prepare the army for offensive operations, and improve the condition of our men and animals. I can see nothing better to be done than to endeavor to bring General Meade out and use our efforts to crush his army while in its present condition.

Very respectfully and truly yours,


References cited:

Michael Shaara, “The Killer Angels” , Random House Inc., New York. 1975.

Ronald F. Maxwell, screenwriter & director of movie “Gettysburg” , Turner Pitchers Inc., Atlanta. 1993. Included on this DVD are valuable comments by the noted Civil War historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author James M. McPherson and beneficial comments by professor emeritus at the U.S. Naval Academy and noted military historian Craig L. Symonds.

Selected examples of numerous web site references:


Saturday, June 5, 2010

Open Communication To News Media

Arlington National Cemetery

The below email was sent because FOX News, and indeed most other broadcast media, seem to think that Memorial Day somehow honors living military personnel. Evidence is simple to see in the tone and content of their reporting on Memorial Day. Furthermore, Memorial Day also does NOT honor the service of Firemen, Policeman, and other such public protectors. Those public protectors who have died on-the-job should be certainly honored by a thankful public, but not by ceremony on Memorial Day. Political, fraternal and veteran jurisdictions should pick some other day to honor fallen public guardians who are not military war veterans. Memorial Day honors deceased military War Veterans... period!

-----Original Message -----
From: DJ
To: Friends@foxnews.com
Sent: Monday, May 31, 2010 8:19 AM
Subject: Misguided...

The purpose of Memorial Day is to honor those Killed-In-Action, wounded and later died from those wounds, those who died in undeclared wars, and generally all deceased war veterans. Formerly known as "Decoration Day", the stated objective is to honor all deceased war veterans. Many people seem to be confusing Memorial Day with Armed Forces Day and Veteran's Day. Memorial Day does not honor living former or current military personnel... it is they who should be joining with all Americans in those many ceremonies and parades to express public honor for their brethren war-veteran dead. Please Click HERE for more information.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Followup Letter to Congressman Arcuri

Dear Representative Mike Arcuri:

Just a quick note to say thanks.
Your honorable commitment to vote NO on the US Senate bill on health-care was a bold act in the face of what appears to have been very strong pressure from your political party leadership. I must admit to being pleasantly surprised by your action, and I now hold a new view of Mike Arcuri… a man of his word. You publicly stated your intention to vote against the U.S. Senate “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” (PPACA) more than two weeks before the actual vote, citing various problems in that legislation. Your solid position regarding a more incremental approach to national health-care reform is a far more sound approach to health care.

I've read most of the "Utica Observer-Dispatch letters-to-the-editor" regarding your vote on health-care -- some being very negative. And what I read is little more than the typical "progressive" whining by a vocal minority. But as a Libertarian (and registered Republican), I'll be giving Mike Arcuri a second look in November. Thank you again for your statement on the direction of national heath-care reform, and for that great "profile-in-courage" example.


DJ Paul
Mohawk, NY

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Holes Amid Green Fields

What beckons to us regarding that game?
Those nests set out on green fields to be tamed.
Dimpled spheres found we so tricky to tuck,
small sums we do chase that do not awful suck.

Delicious gold suds and great play for keen boys,
exercise, fellowship, or to flaunt your new toys.
What drives we old duffers? High tallies humiliate!
On those frequent dark journeys to self-flagellate.

by DJ Paul
Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Friday, March 5, 2010

Open Letter To Congressman Mike Arcuri

Click post title to see one view comparing various heath care bills

Friday, March 05, 2010

Dear Congressman Mike Arcuri:

Yes, the health care bill has been read. I strongly urge your no vote on current attempts by House leadership to rubber stamp the U.S. Senate version of the health care bill (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – aka PPACA). I’ll cite just a few serious issues with the senate bill:

1. The bill’s $871 billion cost is false and grossly understated for many reasons. The necessary quarter trillion dollar Medicare “doctor fix” – clearly part of any health care reform – was striped from the related bills very early in the legislative process. Those quarter trillion dollars will be simply added to the deficit under present direction. This is an obvious under handed legislative maneuver to bring health care proposals under a phony one trillion dollar target. Further, the proposed half trillion-dollar cut to Medicare is allegedly arrived at mainly through waste, fraud & abuse detection and enforcement. This is a dream that simply does not work in large state & federal programs. Simply look at the USPS, the Social Security System, and large regulatory agencies (e.g., HEW, EPA, etc.). I challenge you to cite one federal program where “savings” of that magnitude are realized via waste, fraud and abuse action.

2. The kickbacks afforded to senators from Louisiana and Nebraska – to plainly buy their health care yes votes – coupled with the obvious White House back room political dealing is unconscionable. Ask yourself, what is it in PPACA that made necessary those special deals for Louisiana and Nebraska? According to Mayor Bloomberg and the Governor, New York State taxpayers will be negatively impacted annually by billions of dollars in lost federal Medicaid support without similar PPACA provisions for New York State. Please focus on paragraphs 3 - 6 of this link ( click here ) citing the problems PPACA hoists on New York State.

3. Please refer to PPACA pages 2069 – 2078. Obviously, the language relating to provisions for federal support of “reproductive services” includes federal subsidies for abortion. How does a practicing Roman Catholic Christian vote for this bill? Please refer to the official policy statements of the Church from the Pope and the legitimate Catholic clergy for guidance.

4. The entire health care debate over this past year has been strongly unseemly. What is it that Democrat politicians find objectionable with federal legalization of authority to purchase private health care insurance across state lines? More health care insurance choices will naturally drive down private insurance costs through free enterprise competition. And what is it the congress finds objectionable with meaningful -- non-pilot -- health care tort reform? Skyrocketing malpractice insurance expense and preposterous court judgments that cost good medical professionals (and their malpractice insurers) too much are a real and present problem. As a simple self defense mechanism, rational hospital administrators and doctors are logically required to order patient medical tests far beyond those required. Last year Bassett Hospital Healthcare billed lab tests to Medicare totaling about $700.00 following my annual physical. My Primary Care Provider ordered these tests as part of a physical, my first annual physical under Medicare. I was not aware that these self-defense tests were conducted until the after the bill was received. Thank God, I’m a healthy man. What is Medicare billed for similar self defense tests conducted during an unhealthy person’s Medicare-backed annual physical? Any true health care reform must include tort reform provisions to better control unnecessary self-defense laboratory testing by medical professionals.

Thanks for your attention.


David J Paul

Footnote: For source click here

Congressman Arcuri's votes with both Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and with the admonished and allegedly corrupt Congressman Charles Rangle 95% of the time.
NY-24 voters should be concerned that Mr. Arcuri’s heath care vote will be in lock step with his Democrat leadership. Please communicate with Mr. Arcuri to encourage his independence.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Three Great American Crows

There was some fairly unusual weather here yesterday in Upstate New York. Temperatures rose to fifty-degrees Fahrenheit. It rained heavily at times throughout most of the morning, and then well into the afternoon. Some large and fairly deep puddles appeared along the edge of our driveway. I just happened to be looking outside in late morning when our three American Crows were observed flying in near the front driveway area. It almost seemed as though they waited to make sure I was watching.

The crows each took their turn enjoying rather long -- five minutes baths. Ice water didn’t seem to bother those crows. They waded into the large deep puddles, flapping their wings and shaking their bodies. At times they would dunk their heads into the ice water for a few seconds... then pull their head out of the water to shake off. Their behavior was kind of amazing. Just one crow would bathe while the other two looked on, as if the two non-bathers were standing guard. Said it before and I’ll say it again, there is some real intelligence in our old American Crows. One crow even returned to enjoy a second bath.

I’ve written about our three American Crows before. We’ve named these black-beauties Moe, Molly and Curly. Outside observers might say... they can’t be the same birds you noticed over the past five years. But I’m here to verify they are the same birds. Our property is their property, and they seem to know this. In winter, our birds are fed each morning within an hour or so of sunrise. We expect to use between 300-to-400 pounds of various wild birdseed and perhaps thirty-pounds of suet this winter. Common visitors in January 2010 include:

· Three-dozen Mourning Doves,
· Twenty-Five Blue Jays,
· Many Sparrows (several species),
· Many Black-Capped Chickadees
· Several Tufted Titmice,
· Many Finches,
· Several Dark-Eyed Juncos,
· One or two pairs of Northern Cardinals,
· A few Downy Woodpeckers,
· A couple of White-Breasted Nuthatch,
· Two or three Cooper’s Hawks.

The Cooper’s Hawks are typically seen perched in trees around the general population feeding area -- not everyday -- more like a couple of times a week. The hawks are fun to view in flight. But hawks are unwelcome visitors when perched in trees surrounding our feeding area. This is their way of stealth hunting -- waiting -- perhaps for one of the lesser intelligent Mourning Doves to slip-up and become the predator’s next meal. Bird kills only happened a couple of times this season. It is not our intention to provide backyard smorgasbords for hungry hawks. We understand too that hawks must eat to survive. However, all non-violent efforts are made here to see that they fly off somewhere else to find that next feathered meal. Thankfully, it seems our American Crows will not tolerate these hawk visits to their property. Crows seem to hold a deep hatred for hawks -- even to the point where they stop feeding for awhile -- taking time to drive hawks from their territory. Kind of amazing to see our hungry crows forgo food, choosing rather to drive those predators away from their lands. And while our American Crows perform this "mobbing" service to the greater ornithology community, the smaller birds continue to feed on the recent seed offerings. Moe, Molly and Curly are actually unknown friends of the smaller bird population -- jet black protectors of their property -- and to the smaller bird community who reside here in an uneasy coexistence.