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The American Civil War: An Exceptionally Nice Conflict? April 10, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
The American Civil War: An Exceptionally Nice Conflict?

The American Civil War was a grim event: of this there should be no question. Perahps 400 thousand young men were killed, who would have contributed to the future of their country/countries. There was lasting bitterness, particularly in the South, where even today there are debates about Confederate Flags and northern culpability. For an outsider, […]

Submarine Weapons Before Torpedoes: Gloves, Javelins and Greek Fire February 13, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Submarine Weapons Before Torpedoes: Gloves, Javelins and Greek Fire

Even the first submarine pioneers recognised that there would be a military applications for crafts glidingly silently unnoticed under the water. But the question was how on earth do you get to blow up the enemy flagship? On land there was everything from machetes to canons, and rocks to catapults. But under the waves human […]

Blunt Swords and the American Civil War July 31, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Blunt Swords and the American Civil War

An old and dear friend of this blog Stephen D., to whom many thanks, sends in this bizarre extract from Battles lost and won: essays from [American] Civil War history .ed. John T Hubbell and an essay there by Stephen Z. Starr, ‘Cold Steel’. What were the Union cavalry thinking? A most curious situation involving the […]

Transvestite President? May 19, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
Transvestite President?

Beachcombing isn’t big on cross-dressing but this fabulous pastiche of poor old Jefferson Davies’ capture caught his attention. Some accounts – Union accounts it should be noted – claim that Jefferson tried to escape wearing his wife’s clothing. This comes from the New York Times. To Maj. Hudson was given the duty of surrounding the […]

De Gaulle and Ike at Gettysburg January 26, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
De Gaulle and Ike at Gettysburg

One of Beachcombing’s many files in the rusty filing cabinet in the downstairs bathroom is a surprisingly bulky: ‘battlefields after the fact’. Here there are a series of great men and women visiting the places of carnage past and reflecting on ‘the father of all things’. There are many precious references in said file including […]

Eating Flags December 22, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
Eating Flags

In Beachcombing compendious filing cabinets there is a surprisingly thin folder on flags. ‘Surprising’ as flags, as highly charged symbols, encourage moving and peculiar behaviour. One of the most notable films of the last years is, after all, the Flags of Our Fathers (2006) telling the story of that photograph and Old Glory on Iwo […]

Preeminent Horses: Rodney November 30, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Preeminent Horses: Rodney

Nathan Bedford Forrest… For those who have not heard of this rather frightening individual the ‘Wizard of the Saddle’ was a Confederate cavalry leader in Tennessee and Alabama, who repeatedly surprised Union commanders with his audacious charges and his clever use of dismounted riders. This post pays tribute to Forrest’s most famous horse, Rodney. But […]

The South Will Rise Again…in Brazil August 17, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
The South Will Rise Again...in Brazil

Carl Sandburg once wrote that the American Civil War was fought over a verb: ‘the Unites States IS’ or ‘the United States ARE’ and there can be no doubt which verb won. The South struggled with every nerve and muscle in its body. But, by 1865, the Confederate States had  lost and were dragged kicking […]

The American Civil War and a Coincidence June 19, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
The American Civil War and a Coincidence

                    Beachcombing has never really got his head around coincidences. So can it really be a ‘coincidence’ that he shares a birthday with another sixteen million human beings? Is it just dumb ‘luck’ that he has the same middle name as his wife’s American cousin? And is it mere ’fluke’ that he […]