The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions." --American Statesman Daniel Webster (1782-1852)

Friday, February 28, 2020

Ending of the Battle of Atlanta at Jonesboro

I live in this area graduated from a high school next town away from Jonesboro and never really thought about the battle while I was in high school, then went to college for a year, then joined the Army,  The war against northern aggression, er I mean "The war between the States" ah the Civil War was an abstract to me.  I didn't think much about the area that I live in until  after i had gotten out of the Army and I was living in Griffin and saw all the old stately buildings in that city that were older than 1861.  Griffin wasn't put to the torch like other cities in Georgia because General Sherman "March to the Sea"  General Sherman turned his armies away from Griffin after the battle of Jonesboro and headed to Savannah.

I drove past this monument in the early 90's while I ran that pizza place everyday and I guess it registered.  This monument was where the bodies of both the confederate and union soldiers died from the battle of Jonesboro,
In a lot of places history is a relative term or an abstract, but when you actually are there it kinda seeps into your consciousness.   I pay a lot of attention to history now that I wish I had paid attention sooner.  I had made the same comment when we were stationed in Germany when we went by Remagan and I didn't pay attention to the bridge area when I was a kid.  Ad I was stationed there for 5 years and didn't drive up there.   It is on my bucket list to go back to Germany and see the stuff that I missed.   I had fun working this article about the Battle at Jonesboro.

At the Battle of Jonsboro Union General William T. Sherman hoped to destroy the Army of Tennessee and seize Atlanta, GeorgiaBy late August 1864,the situation of the Confederate Army of Tennessee in Atlanta had become extremely grim. Its new commander, General John Bell Hood, had counterattacked the superior forces of red-bearded Maj. Gen. William T. “Cump” Sherman’s forces in their positions north, east, and west of Atlanta with no success. Each loss added to the list of Confederate casualties that numbered in the thousands. Sherman had devised an effective plan of cutting the railroads into Atlanta, and the last order of business was to sever the Macon & Western Railroad.
While Hood pondered his remaining options, “Cump” ordered the vanguard of his army to pack 15 days of rations and begin marching south around the western rim of Atlanta to Jonesboro Georgia, which was situated on the railroad that entered the city from the south. Sherman entrusted one-armed Maj. Gen. Oliver O. Howard with overseeing the movement. By the evening of August 27, all of Sherman’s army, except the XX Corps, was between Sandtown and Atlanta. Hood learned about the Union movements from his cavalry; however, he was in the dark as to exactly where Sherman planned to strike.
For four long months Union and Confederate forces in northern Georgia had ground away at each other, leaving the landscape on the Chattanooga-Atlanta corridor dotted with the graves of fallen Johnny Rebs and Billy Yanks. Sherman, who had replaced General Ulysses S. Grant on March 18, 1864, as the commander of the Military Division of the Mississippi, had departed Chattanooga and crossed into Georgia in May 1864 with his three Union armies. He fought his way steadily south over the roughly 100 miles to the Athens of the South by repeatedly outflanking Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston’s smaller Army of Tennessee. Facing the superior Union numbers, Johnston took up one strong position after another only to see it turned by the resourceful Sherman. By early July, Johnston’s back was against the Chattahoochee River just north of Atlanta.
Sherman was acutely aware that U.S. President Abraham Lincoln needed a decisive Union victory to increase his chances for reelection in November. As commander of the Military Division of the Mississippi, Sherman had 100,000 men under his command. Although Sherman had substantially more men than Johnston had in the Confederate Army of Tennessee, the Confederates had strong fortifications surrounding Atlanta. A headlong attack against those fortifications was sure to be bloody, and it was by no means certain of victory.
The Confederates had their own problems. Confederate President Jefferson Davis wanted an aggressive commander who would put up a more effective defense against the Union Army at the gates of Atlanta. Dissatisfied with Johnston’s tactics, Davis sacked him on July 17. Davis replaced Johnston with Hood, who was promoted to full general.

 Battle of Jonesborough, Georgia
In the battle of Atlanta fought on July 22 east of the city, General John Bell Hood’s Army of Tennessee suffered heavy losses it could not afford if the Confederates were to hold the city.

Hood counterattacked on July 20 at Peachtree Creek north of the city but suffered a bloody repulse. Unfazed, Hood attacked again on July 22 in what became known as the Battle of Atlanta. This time the Confederate commander sent Lt. Gen. William J. Hardee’s corps on a 12-mile forced march to get around the Union left flank east of the city. But Hood miscalculated the time it would take for Hardee’s corps to get into position. Union Maj. Gen. James McPherson committed reserve forces to hold his position. Although the Confederates broke through his line briefly, they were driven back by heavy artillery fire. Hood lost 7,000 men he could ill afford to lose, while the Union Army lost McPherson, who was killed in the confused fighting when he inadvertently rode into a group of Rebels from Maj. Gen. Patrick R. Cleburne’s hard-hitting division. Sherman gave command of McPherson’s troops to Howard, who had been transferred to the western theater from the Army of the Potomac.
Sherman’s plan was not to attack Atlanta headlong but to send Union forces to slip around the Confederate flanks and sever the rail lines that were the city’s lifelines to the rest of the South. Sherman eventually found that he could not effectively cut off Atlanta from the east without getting too far away from the railroad that supplied his army. For that reason, he ordered Howard to pull back and swing to the right in order to threaten the city from the west. The Macon & Western Railroad was the only open railroad supplying the beleaguered Confederate army in Atlanta.
Hood once again saw a chance to catch the Federals off balance. On July 28, he sent Lt. Gen. Alexander Stewart and Lt. Gen. Stephen D. Lee to launch a coordinated attack against Howard. Hood expected to catch Howard on the move, but Howard had already entrenched by the time the Rebels attacked. The battle unfolded in the woods surrounding a rural chapel called Ezra Church. The botched attack cost Hood another 5,000 men. The Confederate Army was hemorrhaging badly. Hood had fought three large battles in nine days and come up short each time. The initiative reverted back to Sherman.
While Howard had shifted west of the city, Maj. Gen. George Thomas, commander of the Army of the Cumberland, and Maj. Gen. John Schofield, commander of the Army of the Ohio, had maintained a steady bombardment of Hood’s forces opposite them. On August 26 all of the Union forces except for Maj. Gen. Henry Slocum’s XX Corps of the Army of the Cumberland had vanished from the trenches opposite Atlanta. Sherman had put in motion the Union operation to cut the Macon & Western Railroad.
The Atlantic & Western Railroad joined the Macon & Western Railroad at East point a few miles south of Atlanta. As the Yankees marched around Atlanta, some of the units halted midway through their march to tear up sections of the Atlantic & Western Railroad before proceeding to the Macon & Western Railroad.
“In one and one-quarter hours we utterly destroyed rails and ties for twice the length of our regiment,” wrote Sergeant Charles Wills of the 8th Illinois Infantry, XX Corps, Army of the Cumberland. “We, by main strength with our hands, turned the track upside down, pried the ties off, stacked them, piled the rails across and fired the piles. Used no tools whatever.”
Howard’s troops in the vanguard arrived August 30 west of Jonesboro. Instead of occupying Jonesboro, which was lightly defended, they began entrenching on the east bank of the Flint River. On the east side of the river were bluffs that ranged from 100 to 200 feet in height. It was a strong defensive situation; to make it even stronger, Howard rested both flanks on the river. His battle line was more than a mile long. The Flint River paralleled the Macon & Western Railroad and in some places was only one mile from the railroad.

 Battle of Jonesborough, Georgia
As General Sherman’s troops advanced south toward Jonesborough, they stopped to tear up sections of the Atlantic & Western Railroad.

Part of the XV Corps, under Maj. Gen. John A. “Black Jack” Logan, arrived later than the others and needed to entrench hastily. The 55th Illinois, a regiment in the XV Corps, had to drive away some enemy sharpshooters and skirmishers before it could reach a prominent hill that provided a good position. “While half the brigade pushed back the enemy and held them in check, the rest piled rails and logs … into a rude low breastwork,” wrote Logan. “Lying behind this, with bayonets and tin plates—anything that could serve as a tool—the men dug into the hard gravel to increase their protection.” The Yankees built a second line of entrenchments behind the river, backed with artillery.
The Federal cavalry, under Brig. Gen. Judson Kilpatrick, picketed the Union right flank. The rest of the Army of the Tennessee was positioned, right to left: Brig. Gen. Thomas E.G. Ransom’s XVI Corps, Logan’s XV Corps, and Maj. Gen. Francis P. Blair, Jr.’s XVII Corps.
Hood knew that a large Federal force was threatening to cut his supply line with Macon, Georgia. He believed it was only two corps, though. He did not know that the force consisted of most of Sherman’s troops. On the evening of August 30, Hood ordered Hardee to take his own corps, which was commanded by Cleburne, and Lt. Gen. Stephen Dill Lee’s corps to Jonesboro. The Confederates expected to arrive before sunrise, but Cleburne’s corps, which was in the lead, encountered Yankees holding a bridge that they had to cross. Once a ford was found, Cleburne sent a communication for the rest of Hardee’s command to follow him.
“The darkness of the night, the dense woods through which we frequently marched, without roads, the want of shoes by many, and the lack of recent exercise by all [due to being in the trenches for so long,] contributed to induce a degree of straggling which I do not remember to have seen exceeded in any former march of the kind,” wrote Confederate Maj. Gen. Patton Anderson.
The head of the column did not reach Jonesboro until mid-morning on August 31. The lead brigade of Lee’s column did not get there until 11 am, and it was not until 1:30 pm that the entire command was in place. As the Confederates arrived, they immediately began fortifying their line.
Hardee’s corps deployed facing northwest. Cleburne’s own division, under Brig. Gen. Mark P. Lowrey, moved into position on the left. Brig. Gen. Hiram B. Granbury’s Texas Brigade of Cleburne’s division took up a position on the extreme Confederate left flank. The rest of Cleburne’s division consisted of Lowrey’s Alabama/Mississippi Brigade behind Granbury. To the right of Granbury were Brig. Gen. Hugh Mercer’s Georgia Brigade and Brig. Gen. Daniel C. Govan’s Arkansas Brigade. The other divisions of Hardee’s corps were Maj. Gen. W.B. Bate’s division, on the right of Cleburne, and Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Cheatham’s division, in reserve behind Bate.

 Battle of Jonesborough, Georgia
While General Ulysses S. Grant led operations against Richmond, Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman directed his armies to capture Atlanta in the late summer of 1864 by severing Confederate supply lines to the city.

Lee’s corps deployed facing west to the right of Cleburne’s troops. Maj. Gen. Carter L. Stevenson’s division held the left, while Anderson’s division held the right. Maj. Gen. Henry D. Clayton’s division backed Anderson. The rest of Stevenson’s division was held in reserve behind the main line.
Hood told Hardee that the fate of Atlanta rested on his ability to push the Federals back across the Flint River at Jonesboro. He instructed Hardee that the Confederates should attack with fixed bayonets. Hardee planned to attack in echelon, from left to right, led off by Granbury’s brigade. An echelon attack was intended to compel the enemy to commit his forces against each separate advance, thus leaving an easier path for the next advance in line.
Granbury began the attack as ordered. Granbury’s men were met by Kilpatrick’s dismounted troopers, with four cannons, behind rail breastworks. After a brief fight, Kilpatrick retreated across the Flint River.
Kilpatrick’s cavalry “just fairly made it rain bullets as long as they had any in their guns, but as soon as they gave out, and we were getting closer to them every moment, they couldn’t stand it but broke and ran like good fellows,” recalled Captain Samuel T. Foster of Granbury’s brigade. Contrary to specific orders, Granbury chased after them, beyond the river. The cavalrymen “outran us by odds,” Foster said.
Lowrey’s and Mercer’s brigades followed Granbury’s example, and all three brigades crossed the river. Lowrey commanded the three brigades to retire back across the river and to change the direction of their advance to the north, hoping to hit the Federal infantry in the right flank. Instead of finding the Yankees with their flank in the air, they discovered that their right was anchored on the river.

 Battle of Jonesborough, Georgia
After the Confederates failed to inflict substantial losses on the Union army on the first day at Jonesboro, Hood switched to the defensive for the second day.

The three right brigades of Cleburne’s division, followed by Bate’s and Cheatham’s divisions, respectively, went up against the main Federal line. “Our men were true in emergencies…. On the command, ‘forward,’ they moved as one man with steady steps,” recalled Sergeant Sumner A. Cunningham of the 41st Tennessee. “Very soon we were in one of the fiercest battles of the war.” Before reaching the Yankee line, they were ordered to retreat. The men reformed and were ordered to charge again, but this met the same fate as the first charge.
“Soon our men begin to fall, rapidly and steadily we advance,” wrote Sgt. Maj. Johnny Green of the 9th Kentucky. “Just as we have fired the volley at them and begin to rush on them we come to a deep gully ten feet wide and fully as deep. No one can jump this gully and at this close range it will be impossible to clamber up the other side of the gully and reform to rush on them with fixed bayonets. The shot and shell and Minié ball [were] decimating our ranks.”
Lee, on the right of Cleburne, heard skirmish fire coming from the main line. He thought the chief attack had begun and hurled his men forward too soon. In addition to attacking ahead of schedule, their assault was confused. They attacked in two lines and Lee instructed the second line not to allow an interval of more than 100 yards between them and the line in front. Some of the lead brigades were slow in starting, which made it hard for the support brigades to keep the proper intervals and to keep an even alignment with each other.
“In front of the breastworks, a dense growth of timber and brushwood had been felled,” wrote Brig. Gen. Arthur M. Manigault. “This obstruction proved a serious inconvenience to our men, creating much irregularity in the line.”
Anderson led the right three brigades of Lee’s advance line. “They advanced up the ascent to within a pistol shot of the enemy’s works,” wrote Anderson. “At this point, under a deadly fire, a few wavered [and] the rest laid down. The line was unbroken, and, although the position was a trying one, every inch of ground gained was resolutely maintained…. Both men and officers in the front line were suffering severely. Each moment brought death and wounds into their ranks.”
The line officers shouted encouragement to the men under their command, urging them to stand firm. “Slowly but resolutely they advanced up the ascent to within pistol-shot of the enemy’s works,” wrote Anderson. “Every effort was made to hold the ground already gained. Stragglers were pushed up to the front and the slightly wounded were encouraged to remain there.”
The men of Colonel Theodore Jones’s brigade of Brig. Gen. William B. Hazen’s division of the Union XV Corps manned the left of their line opposite Anderson’s Rebels. “The first rebel line rushed into sight out of the skirts of the brush that fringed the slope, and when within a hundred paces our first volley met them full in the face,” wrote a soldier of the 55th Illinois. “A few of the more desperate reached the rifle-pits, but the main body was swept back to the shelter of the copse, leaving the hill crest covered with a bloody burden.”

 Battle of Jonesborough, Georgia
Yankees surge over the Confederate breastworks on the second day in a desperate effort to silence Rebel guns firing canister.

The Federals of Logan’s corps encountered Lee’s men. “They came with a yell, attacking our whole line,” wrote Private John K. Duke of the 53rd Ohio. “We reserved our fire until they were quite close, when we opened up a continuous fire, some of our officers standing back of the firing line biting off the ends of cartridges and urging coolness and rapid fire…. The space between our works was strewn with their dead and wounded.”
Lee was repulsed all along the line. He informed Hardee that he did not think he could capture the Union position in a second assault. Hardee had received information, which later proved to be false, that the Federals were going to assault Lee. Therefore, he ordered Cleburne’s division to the right to reinforce Lee and went on the defensive. Night ended the fighting, and the Confederates withdrew behind the protection of the Jonesboro defensive works.
Although the Confederate attacks were fierce, the Federals repulsed them with relative ease. The casualties reflect the inequality of the contest. Confederates suffered 1,700 casualties, while the Union suffered only 200.
“The enemy attacked us in three distinct points, and were each time handsomely repulsed,” Howard informed Sherman. “Besides losing a host of men in this campaign, the Rebel Army has lost a large measure of vim, which counts a good deal in soldiering,” wrote Wills.
“The agonies of the wounded and dying, as they lay between the lines that night, was peculiarly horrible,” recalled Sergeant Cunningham of the 41st Tennessee.
The Confederate losses were not large enough to satisfy Hood. The attack “must have been rather feeble, as the loss incurred was … a small number in comparison to the forces engaged,” wrote Hood. Hardee’s failure to drive the Federals into the Flint River “necessitated the evacuation of Atlanta,” he wrote.
On the night of August 31, Hood ordered Hardee to return S.D. Lee’s corps to Atlanta. Hardee directed them to vacate their positions at 2 am. Cleburne’s division then spread out to occupy Lee’s position. Cleburne’s men were so few they had to fill the trenches in a single line. There was some delay, and Lee’s men did not get on the route back to Atlanta until daybreak.
The next morning the troops of Stanley’s IV Corps moved south along the Macon & Western Railroad. “Marching early, our brigade soon struck the railroad, and turning south, began the work of demolition,” recalled Sergeant Lewis W. Day of the 101st Ohio Infantry. “Everything that could be burned was committed to the flames; cedar ties proved to be excellent material for heating the rails, and adjacent trees offered solid supports for bending them; a roaring fire of cedar rails soon destroyed the wooden culverts, and a few pounds of powder blew up the stone ones. The railroad was utterly wrecked—nothing was left, except the roadbed, and even that looked exceedingly disconsolate.”
When they reached the existing Federal entrenchments, they formed on the left of Brig. Gen. Jefferson C. Davis’s XIV Corps, facing south against the right flank of Cleburne’s Confederate division. The rest of the XIV Corps faced southeast opposite the rest of Cleburne’s division. Logan’s XV Corps held the right of the Union line, facing east and confronting Bate’s and Cheatham’s divisions.
The Confederate entrenchments formed a fish hook, with the barbed end on the north, bending back to the right. The right flank faced north, and the center and left flanks faced west. Cleburne’s troops were in a single rank spaced a yard apart in order to fill their entrenchments. They were on the right, facing north, with Govan’s Arkansans holding the angle where the fishhook was curved.

     To the left of Cleburne’s division were the men of Bate’s division and to the left of Bate’s division was Cheatham’s division. All of Bate’s and Cheatham’s troops faced west.
Because he believed Govan’s line was in a bad position, Hardee ordered its commander to move his line back and prepare new works. As his men carried out these instructions, they were also able to destroy the entrenchments they abandoned to deny their use to the enemy. But owing to the heavy fire from Union guns, Govan’ men were unable to destroy their old fortifications.
Hardee shifted Brig. Gen. “States Rights” Gist’s brigade at 1 pm from the extreme left of the line to the extreme right. They were formed with their left resting on the Macon & Western Railroad cut. The men received orders to strengthen their position as much as possible since they were responsible for holding the right flank.
“The men climbed up the small trees, bent them over, and, using pocket-knives to cut across the trunks, succeeded in a half hour in making a first-rate abatis of little trees, interlaced thickly, and held by half their thickness to the stumps,” wrote Colonel Ellison Capers of the 24th South Carolina. For breastworks, the men used rails and logs.
In the Union Army, Brig. Gen. James D. Morgan’s Second Division of the Union XIV Corps acted as a pivot for the right of the corps. They swung around until they were facing east and aligned, in a north-south direction, opposite the Confederate entrenchments. Left of them, the Federal line faced south to the Confederate right flank. Confederate guns opened on them as they crossed the Flint River.
The Third Brigade of the Second Division held the right of the line, the Second Brigade held the left, and the First Brigade was in reserve as they approached the Rebel entrenchments. On the left, they could see Brig. Gen. William P. Carlin’s First Division of the XIV Corps and Maj. Gen. David S. Stanley’s IV Corps.
“As far as we could see brigades were massed for a charge, with batteries thundering from the intervals between them, flags waving and flashing in the sunlight, staff officers dashing here and there, all made a martial scene grand and inspiring in the highest degree,” wrote First Sergeant Henry J. Aten of the 85th Illinois. “At the command the men moved forward with bayonets fixed and their empty guns at the right shoulder-shift.” The 17th New York Zouaves suffered heavily; their red turbans made them an inviting target.

The Federal columns began pushing their way through thick, swampy woods toward the enemy works at 4 pm. They were on a collision course with the Confederate field works that ran along a wooded ridge in the distance. Despite their fortitude, the Yankees had difficulty keeping their direction and alignment as they moved through swamps, ditches, and tangles of thickets. After an hour of slow but steady progress, the Federal units halted at 5 pm to dress ranks. They then surged forward along their entire front. Behind the main body, Brig. Gen. Thomas J. Wood’s Division of the Army of the Cumberland’s IV Corps, which constituted the Union reserve, moved south along the Macon & Western Railroad in columns to the left of the railroad.
Men on both sides watched tensely as the skirmishers became engaged and the roar of artillery grew in intensity. “Dirt, rock, slivers of rail and bushes, together with the grape and canister, as well as the Minié balls, filled the air with the most deafening noise,” wrote alf Hunter, adjutant of the 82nd Indiana.
Federal artillery fire pummeled Govan’s brigade. The Rebels endured frontal fire, crossfire, and enfilading fire. The brigade’s eight cannons were disabled, having had their wheels shot away. When the Union guns ceased fire, the men of Brig. Gen. Passmore Carlin’s First Division of the XIV Corps swept forward against Govan’s entrenched men.
“The entire brigade had to pass a morass, densely covered with brambles and undergrowth, so that it was impossible to preserve an exact alignment. The officers and men, however, pressed through the swamp, and rushed gallantly up the hill in the face of a galling fire from the enemy,” wrote Major John R. Edie of the 15th Infantry of the U.S. Regular Brigade.
Advancing on the left of the U.S. Regulars was Colonel Marshall F. Moore’s Third Brigade. “[We] threw out skirmishers, and moved forward through a dense thicket,” wrote Captain Lewis E. Hicks of the 69th Ohio. “We advanced to charge the rebel works. We reached a point within 50 yards of the works, and held it for 15 minutes, under a murderous fire, which speedily decimated our ranks.” The regiment’s colors were left in the no-man’s land between opposing lines when the color bearer was killed; however, the Yankees recovered them in their second charge.
“We assaulted the enemy’s intrenched position in the edge of woods, moving in line of battle through an open, difficult swamp, across an open field, under the severest artillery and musketry fire, flank and front,” added Captain Lyman M. Kellogg of the 18th U.S. Infantry of the U.S. Regular Brigade.
When his men stalled under the enemy’s galling fire, Kellogg sought to lead them through the hailstorm of lead by example. “I rode in front of my colors, and caused them to be successfully planted on the enemy’s works, jumping my horse over them at the time they were filled with the enemy, being the first man of our army over the enemy’s works.” The irate Rebels knocked Kellogg off his horse. While inside the enemy’s lines, he suffered severe wounds from shot and shell.
Govan’s Arkansas Rebels repulsed the first assault, but the enemy came again, in three columns, all converging on the Arkansans. They broke through the center of their line, capturing Govan, his adjutant general, 600 men, and the immobilized cannons.
“Although the odds were very great, the men gallantly contested their advance, fighting the enemy with clubbed guns and at the point of the bayonet, and thus a great many lost the opportunity for escaping,” recalled Colonel Peter V. Green of the 5th-13th Arkansas Consolidated Regiment. “The advance of the enemy was so rapid, and the woods on the right being so dense as to screen their movements, it was impossible to form any combinations to resist it.”
Granbury’s Texans were on the left of Govan. When the Arkansans’ line was broken the Kentucky Orphan Brigade’s right flank became exposed. “Our brigade [was] taken out of the works at a double quick and formed a line in rear of our works perpendicular to them facing the Yanks,” wrote Green. “Our battery [was] taken out of its position and wheeled around so as to face the new direction.” The Rebels waited patiently while the Yankees escorted their prisoners to the rear before resuming fire.

 Battle of Jonesborough, Georgia
Federal guards lead Southern prisoners into captivity. Hood’s aggressive tactics at Atlanta proved unsuccessful.

Vaughan’s Tennessee Brigade, in Cheatham’s division, arrived at this opportune moment, from the left of Hardee’s line, and was ordered to retake Govan’s old position. “Major-General Cleburne threw Vaughan’s brigade into the lurch, which, with the assistance of the remaining portions of Govan’s and Lewis’ brigades, completely checked the advance of the enemy,” wrote Brig. Gen. Mark P. Lowrey. Three of the regiments advanced too far to the left, coming up behind Granbury’s Texans, but the remaining regiment forced the Yankees in Govan’s entrenchments to assume the defensive.
“It was about five o’clock when the first [Union] line made its appearance, then another and another, until five double lines were in full view, coming in double-quick,” wrote George D. Van Horn of Swett’s battery of the Mississippi Artillery. “Our guns opened on them at a distance of three-quarters of a mile, and kept it up, the Yankees halting only at times to reline, then on again. Shortly our infantry commenced on them, and we began to use double charges of canister, but they kept coming.”
The Yankees surged over the Confederate breastworks in a desperate effort to silence the menacing guns. “Our infantry and artillery were still firing as rapidly as possible, but hundreds of them were climbing over the works,” continued Van Horn. “The first ones that came in found the gun already loaded and ready to fire. The embrasure was filled with howling Yanks.”
The Yankees swore and yelled at the Rebels in an effort get them to surrender or abandon their guns, but the resolute cannoneers stood fast. “One of them called to the man who was firing the gun that if he fired again he would run his bayonet through him, but the gunner paid no attention and fired, clearing out the porthole,” recalled Van Horn. “The Yank pulled down his gun and drove his bayonet through the gunner’s breast, pinning him to the ground, and, putting his foot on the man’s breast, jerked the bayonet out, leaving his man on the ground, as he thought, dead.”
One of the Yankee regiments that attacked Govan’s position was the 14th Ohio of Colonel George P. Este’s brigade. “After one of the most desperate hand-to-hand contests ever witnessed between two contending foes, the works were finally carried,” wrote Union Lt. Col. John A. Chase of the 182nd Ohio.
The 105th Ohio of Colonel Newell Gleason’s brigade supported Este’s men as they advanced against Govan’s brigade and Lewis’s Orphan Brigade of Kentuckians. “Este’s men dashed off with a wild cheer, carrying everything before them,” wrote Lieutenant Albion Tourgee of the 105th Ohio. The troops had fixed bayonets “along the whole front of the brigade,” Tourgee said.
The soldiers fired at each other at point-blank range. “I rose from a stooping posture in the trenches to shoot but just as I looked over our trenches a Yankee with the muzzle of his gun not six inches from my face shot me in the face and neck but fortunately it was only a flesh wound,” recalled Green of the 9th Kentucky. “It stung my face about as a bee sting feels but in my knees I felt it so that it knocked me to a sitting posture. But my gun was loaded and the other fellow had had his shot. I rose and put my gun against his side and shot a hole through him big enough to have run my fist through.”
At one point, a Union soldier poked his rifle through a small crack in the Rebel fortification and fired, killing two soldiers with one shot. Two of the Kentuckians grabbed the muzzle of his gun and bent it so that it could not be extracted.
The Union troops who overran Govan’s Arkansans swung around behind the Kentuckians. Many of the Confederates were captured, but the rest of the brigade fell back and then reformed.
Sherman had arrived at Jonesboro just before the Union attack began and was with Logan’s XV Corps. He was deeply pleased with the progress of the battle. “They’re rolling them up like a sheet of paper,” he said with evident delight.
Brigadier General William Grose’s Third Brigade of the IV Corps attacked the right flank of the Confederate line. “[They] pressed forward under a heavy canister fire from the enemy’s guns to within 300 yards of the enemy’s barricaded lines,” wrote Grose.
Brigadier General John Newton’s division of the IV Corps pushed forward around the enemy’s right flank, confronting only the Rebel skirmishers. They did not have much to do, but did capture a Confederate hospital, with the sick and wounded, about a dozen nurses, and a doctor. As the doctor was being led back through the lines, he said, “Billy Fed, we are sold; we did not expect such an army here.”
Both sides, blue and gray, were fought out. The majority of the Confederates had been pushed out of their original entrenchments but still held on. Hardee issued orders at 11 pm for his troops to withdraw from their positions. Despite the determined attacks of the Yankees, Hardee had held his position long enough to give Hood the amount of time he needed to evacuate Atlanta.

 Battle of Jonesborough, Georgia
Sherman burned Atlanta to the ground as his troops set out for Savannah on November 15.

The Battle of Jonesboro “decided the fate of Atlanta,” wrote Aten. “The troops slept on their arms, and were startled during the night by what appeared to be terrific artillery firing in the direction of Atlanta…. We learned next day that the noise proceeded from the explosion of ammunition, the rear guard of the enemy having destroyed his abandoned ordnance stores as his army retreated from the city."
 On the morning of September 2, the Union Army looked out on the “wreck of a defeated enemy,” Aten wrote, “who had retreated during the night, leaving his dead unburied and his wounded uncared for.” Union and Confederate soldiers alike heard deafening explosions inside Confederate lines. 
“About this time I heard a terrible roar,” recalled Private Robert Patrick, a Confederate soldier stationed in Atlanta. “At first I could not imagine what it was but after a time I ascertained that it was shells exploding.” What Patrick heard was the explosion of rail cars loaded with ammunition being destroyed to prevent their contents from falling into enemy hands.
“I could see how to walk for a long distance by the light of the shells and the burning cars,” wrote Patrick. “My road lay parallel with the track and as I approached nearer and nearer the burning train, the sound became deafening, and the fragments of shells hurtled through the midnight darkness over my head with an ominous rushing sound.”
What Patrick heard was the death knell of the western Confederacy. Mary Boykin Chestnut in Richmond, Virginia, echoed the feelings of the entire South when she noted in her diary, “Since Atlanta fell I felt as if all were dead within me forever.”
Hood would not give up but, from this time forward, nothing he could do would compensate for the loss of Atlanta. To force Sherman to abandon Atlanta, Hood would attack the Federal communications and supply lines north of the city. When that did not force Sherman to quit Atlanta, Hood moved into Tennessee, hoping Sherman would follow him. Sherman sent Thomas’s Army of the Cumberland and Schofield’s corps from the Army of the Ohio in a race to beat Hood to Nashville.
With no need to hold Atlanta, Sherman destroyed the city. On November 15 Sherman led his 62,000 men on devastating march of destruction to Savannah, arriving on December 10. Meanwhile, Thomas and Schofield successfully defended middle Tennessee against Hood. Schofield defeated Hood at Franklin on November 30, and Thomas won a decisive victory over Hood at Nashville in mid-December. At that point, the once great Confederate Army of Tennessee ceased to exist as an effective field army.
The war ground on for another seven months but, after the Battle of Jonesboro and the fall of Atlanta, there was no question that the North would prevail, and little doubt that Lincoln would win the 1864 presidential election.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

"Don't do Russia's work"

I saw this article on farcebook, one of my friends had posted it and I had read it and I thought that it was very well stated.  People that say that "Russia is supporting Trump or supporting Bernie" are missing the point.  Russia is after Chaos and they get it in spades especially after the 2016 election.  I personally believe that Russia would prefer a democrat in office rather than Trump. but they will play one group against another because they want chaos and the United States in turmoil, and when the US is in turmoil, it benefits them.    Look at the past 3 years, there has been a constant drumbeat against Trump.  I am surprised he was able to do as much as he was able to with the constant internal attacks.  We can squabble amonst ourselves, but the squabbling ends at the oceans.  Well not anymore, we have people from the democrats trying to make deals separately with the various regimes that are hostile to America.  I honestly believe that Trump will win in 2020, when he first ran for president, I had grave reservations, I liked Ted Cruz, but when the Donald got the nod, I supported him, voting for Felonia von pantsuit was a nonstarter.  He has impressed me, in the past the GOP president tried to take the high road and ignore all the slings and arrows , but Trump fights, he will get in the mud and sling back at them and he is a lot better than they are at it.  He fights, and for that reason, I will overlook the incessant Twitter comments, although I can see why he uses social media, the establishment media view themselves as the "Gatekeeper of Knowledge" and only news that they approve of gets disseminated.

    The article came from "Security Studies Group"

Back in 2017, we at the Security Studies Group published a piece called Understanding Russian Propaganda. Now, in the run-up to the 2020 elections, we should certainly be on the lookout for Russian propaganda. There is likely to be some, which must be identified and countered. This piece does not intend to suggest otherwise.
What I do want to do here is to reinforce a point from the 2017 article:  Russia’s main effort is to divide Americans against each other, not to support any particular outcome in any particular election. Irresponsible speculation that someone is being backed by Russia — let alone an actual agent of Russia’s — is doing the work of the Russians for them. Insofar as this kind of rhetoric is deployed without hard evidence, it is irresponsible. When American speakers with prominent platforms engage in this kind of irresponsible rhetoric, they can reach far more people and do far more damage than the Russian government’s propaganda arm could ever purchase with its limited resources.
The argument from 2017 applies verbatim to the current situation:
If we remember that dividing us and sowing distrust among Americans is the main effort, it becomes obvious that the Russians have found a powerful strategy in not hiding some of their propaganda efforts. Lots of people are now thinking about Russia all the time, and wondering which of their opponents are secretly Russian agents.  That’s a much greater effect than they could have had by planting all the actual agents they could afford.
On that occasion, the target was H. R. McMaster. Today the targets are Richard Grenell, Senator Bernie Sanders, and of course President Donald Trump.  As liberal outlet The Nation points out, the playbook is the same against Sanders as it has been against all the figures from the Trump administration:  some vague intelligence is leaked to the press, where it is allowed to stand as a kind of guilt-by-association. Russia ‘might be’ helping X, therefore X is in some sense doing things that are in Russia’s interest; perhaps they are even agents of that hostile foreign power.
The latest round of Russian interference panic followed a familiar script. Vague leaks that US intelligence officials have determined that Russia intends to boost both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders made front-page headlines. Cable news pundits and Democratic luminaries seized the moment with ritual alarmism: “The Russians are coming,” MSNBC’s Chris Matthews and Joe Scarborough pronounced, and Trump—who “is a Russian operative” (MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell) and “Putin’s puppet” (Hillary Clinton) “is trying to cover it up” (CNN’s Don Lemon)…. James Carville concurred: With Sanders winning Nevada, Carville told MSNBC, “the happiest person right now is Vladimir Putin.”
The outcry proceeded despite a stunning lack of evidence or even a single detail on what the supposed Russian interference entails…. [Russia] the New York Times added, has “a new playbook of as-yet-undetectable methods.” This raises the obvious question: If Russian methods are undetectable, how can US officials detect them? Perhaps there is nothing to detect[.]
If we look at who is actually doing Russia’s work — dividing Americans against one another with these suggestions of foreign influence — it turns out that these journalists are much better candidates for ‘Russian agents’ than any of the politicians (excepting Ms. Clinton, who is right there with the journalists advancing irresponsible rhetoric). I do not say this to accuse them, or anyone, of being a Russian agent. What I mean to say is that Putin has more reason to be happy because major TV networks are accusing the winner of the Nevada caucus of being a spy than he has reason to feel good about Bernie Sanders having won.
Bernie Sanders’ election might possibly be good for Russia insofar as he is able to make good on his campaign rhetoric to undercut America’s energy exports. Russia’s economy and much of its geopolitical power derives chiefly from its energy exports, especially to Europe. Sanders’ desire to cut American exports would drive up prices for energy in the global market, enriching Russia, and make Europe much more dependent than currently on Russian gas and oil. Sanders’ stated desire to cut American military spending would probably also delight the Russians. Yet none of those policies is being advanced by Sanders because they would help Russia. He wants to cut energy exports because he believes it will help the climate; he wants to cut military spending as a believer in a longstanding left-liberal/progressive critique of America as warlike and imperialistic. Any benefit to Russia is coincidental.
And by the inverse argument, it is at this point indefensible to suggest that the Trump administration are Russian agents. No American administration since Reagan’s has done more harm to the Russian geopolitical position, in this case exactly by advancing America’s energy exports. Just as Reagan bled the Soviet Union out with a military buildup they could not afford to match, Trump is bleeding them by causing international energy prices to be at much lower levels, and by scarfing up a larger share of the international market for American producers. As Omri Ceren of Ted Cruz’s office points out, Richard Grenell did as much as anyone to slow the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. That pipeline is arguably Russia’s #1 agenda item, because it would tie central Europe to Russian energy exports in much the same way that Eastern Europe is tied to Russia. That would give Russia a powerful lever to force Europe, even wealthy Germany, to give in to its designs. There is no plausible way that these people are Russian agents and also aggressively working against Russia’s most crucial interests.
One thing has changed since the 2017 article. In 2017, the Mueller investigation was only getting started and there was some possibility that it would uncover Russian agents in the Trump administration. In 2020, we know that the Mueller investigation — which was intense, and destroyed several lives of even wealthy and connected persons in order to compel cooperation — found no evidence that any Americans colluded with Russia. That is good news, and we should celebrate it. Even in 2017, it was important to be careful and critical of speculation because of the damage done to American unity by sowing distrust. In 2020, it is outright irresponsible to engage in this kind of talk absent very hard evidence establishing the truth of it.
No doubt the Russians will run some information operations targeting our elections. They’d be fools not to, since they get so much mileage out of it. We don’t have to help them carry their ball downfield. Be wary of becoming a participant in Russia’s information warfare against our own nation.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

2 paths to Manliness

I shamelessly clipped this from "The Art of Manliness".  I recall a phrase that John Wayne said in a movie or an interview.  He commented "A measure of a man is being scared and doing the right thing anyway.".  This separates us from animals, we use our mind to control the fear.  Remember the movie "Dune"

Paul Atredes Used his training to overcome the fear, The Reverend Mother tells Paul that the gom jabbar kills only animals. What she means is that those who have failed the test and died did so because they *behaved* like animals. To survive the test, Paul must use his human mind to overcome the animal impulse to flee from that which hurts and frightens him.
  I shamelessly cribbed this from "Art of Manliness", I have loaded this on my scheduler thingie for a Tuesday load.

ancient trojan hero hector holding baby son painting
With our archives now 3,500+ articles deep, we’ve decided to republish a classic piece each Friday to help our newer readers discover some of the best, evergreen gems from the past. This article was originally published in November 2016.
For the Ancient Greeks, Homer’s Iliad was the Bible on andreia — that is, manliness, particularly manly courage.
Alexander the Great was said to have kept a special edition of the epic poem (prepared by his tutor Aristotle) under his pillow during his conquests and he’d read from it often. For Alexander, Achilles was andreia incarnate, and so the young king patterned his life after him. When he began his conquest of Asia, Alexander made a detour to pay homage to Achilles’ tomb. Whenever he experienced bouts of self-doubt, he’d pray to Achilles’ goddess mother, Thetis, for comfort. When his best friend and general, Hephaestion, was killed in battle, Alexander mourned deeply, just as Achilles had grieved for his best friend, Patroclus.
Many young men since Alexander have also found inspiration from Achilles, the mighty, swift-footed warrior. For he embodies an ideal that they, deep in their gut, keenly desire: undaunted courage and physical prowess.
Yet while Achilles may be the perfect embodiment of andreia, and get all the attention and adulation, there is another character who exemplified manliness in The Iliad as well, and actually provides a better roadmap on how most men can achieve it.

Achilles: Being Manliness

Nothing could stop Achilles in battle. He feared no one, not even King Agamemnon, the elected leader of the Greek hosts at Troy.
Achilles was fast, agile, and strong. He made heroic feats look easy.
His thumos, or spiritedness, burned white hot, so much so that it would often overtake him while he unleashed carnage on the battlefield.
Achilles’ reputation for andreia was so great that the Trojans cowered in fear when they saw Patroclus walking towards the battlefield wearing his friend’s armor, mistaking him for the legendary warrior himself.
Achilles was also a handsome fella to boot. Homer described him as “beautiful.” It’s fitting that Brad Pitt played Achilles in the film adaptation of The Iliad.
Of course, Achilles did have some major flaws. His uncontrollable rage, a hyper sense of honor, and a vulnerable heel all led to his early downfall. But it was a price he had to pay to immortalize his perfect andreia and secure a legacy in which people still today talk about his excellence in courage and warfare.
Yet, making Achilles one’s exemplar poses a significant difficulty for us mere mortal men . . . because Achilles wasn’t a mere mortal.
His mother was a goddess, making him a warrior demigod. Achilles didn’t have to work at andreia. He couldn’t help not being brave, virile, and good looking; it was built right into his divine DNA. Achilles came out of the womb a man. Andreia was just a part of his being.
So while the andreia of Achilles can certainly serve as an ideal, his life isn’t a very useful pattern for most men to follow, unless of course, your mother happens to be an immortal Olympian goddess.
There is, however, a character from The Iliad who does provide a helpful model for men on attaining andreia. And he happens to be Achilles’ mortal enemy: the Trojan prince, Hector.

Hector: Learning Manliness

For nine long years, Hector led the defense of the city of Troy against the Greek onslaught. He was a battle-hardened warrior, and, like Achilles, had a reputation for andreia.
But Hector was different from Achilles. He was 100% mortal.
Unlike Achilles who was born with andreia, Hector had to learn it.
He even admitted so in perhaps one of the most touching scenes of Western literature.
Hector, battle weary and covered with dust and gore after preventing a Greek route of his forces, comes back inside the protective walls of Troy for rest. There he meets his loving and loyal wife Andromache who begs him not to go back into battle, afraid the next time her husband returns, it’ll be on his shield, rather than with it.
Hector, still in his armor, confesses to his wife that he shares the same fear. How un-Achilliean! Achilles would have responded with a chortle, a boast, a patronizing retort to his wife not to worry her sweet little head about it. But Hector is human and has some humility about his ability and his bravery.
As he reflects to Andromache:
All this weighs on my mind too, dear woman.
But I would die of shame to face the men of Troy
and the Trojan women trailing their long robes
if I would shrink from battle now, a coward.
Nor does the spirit urge me on that way.
I’ve learned it all too well. To stand up bravely,
always to fight in the front ranks of Trojan soldiers,
winning my father great glory, glory for myself.
Did you catch that? I italicized it to help you out.
Hector says he had to learn how to be brave and fight. He experiences courage not as a lack of fear, but the practiced ability to feel fear, and then decide to move forward anyway.
The Greek word for “learn” is didaskein and English professor David Mikics astutely notes that didaskein is never used anywhere else in The Iliad to describe learning about bravery or manliness. Just in this instance. Homer is clearly setting up a contrast between Hector and his instinctively fierce rival, Achilles.
While Achilles was born manly, Hector had to learn andreia. He had to learn how to be fierce and strong, which suggests it wasn’t in his nature to be so.
Instead Hector was probably by nature a nice guy. No, not the insufferable nice guy nice guy. I’m talking niceness in terms of being genuinely kind, compassionate, and considerate to others. There’s evidence for this characterization in the text; for example, while others blamed and resented Helen for starting the Trojan War, Hector went out of his way to show kindness towards her.
Further, following Hector’s admission to his wife that he had to learn andreia, his young son, Astyanax, catches sight of him in his blood-stained armor, and, not recognizing his father, begins to scream. Laughing, Hector takes off his helmet, picks up his boy and tosses him in the air while giving him kisses, just like you see dads do today.
Hector was a good guy. A caring husband and a loving father.
But he understood that goodness must be backed with strength. Hector recognized, like Theodore Roosevelt did millennia later, that “unless we keep the barbarian virtues, gaining the civilized ones will be of little avail.”
And so he spent his life learning that which didn’t come naturally to him, but which he desired in order to live with andreia. He learned from observation and from practice how to be brave, daring, and strong. Hector dedicated himself to an education in virile manhood.

Hector: A Fellow Traveler on the Path to Manhood

I relate with Hector.
I think of myself as a “good guy.” I’m naturally inclined to be kind and friendly towards others. And like Hector, I’m a family man.
But being an andros? A courageous, fierce, thumos-driven, physically adept, and strong man?
That’s something I’ve had to learn and am still learning. It’s not in my nature. If I just followed my druthers, I’d probably do a lot of sitting around on a beanbag chair, playing video games and eating nachos. But because I believe that developing andreia is essential to achieving arête (excellence) and eudemonia (flourishing) as a man, and because I value goodness and desire that others have the chance to pursue arête as well, each day I strive to develop the strength and courage to protect that possibility.
I’ve come across some men who are more like Achilles. They were born with andreia. They were naturally courageous, physically adept, and comfortable with risk, even as boys. When I’ve met these sorts of men, I’ve found myself being awestruck. Like Achilles, they embody an ideal of virile manliness that I can’t help but respect, even if they’re a bit rough around the edges.
But inspiring as these men can be, they don’t provide useful insights on how to develop that same sort of andreia. It’d be like asking Usain Bolt how to become a faster sprinter. First step: be Usain Bolt. Not very useful.
Instead, I prefer looking for the men who are by nature good guys like Hector, but who had to learn how to become fierce. Those guys will have some pointers.
Theodore Roosevelt, Frederick Douglass, Winston Churchill, and my grandfather are just a few of these “Gentleman Barbarians” who I look to for insights on how to gain an autodidactic education in andreia.
Most men I’ve encountered are fellow Hectors. They’re good guys who have to work at being manly. It can be easy to feel insecure about the fact that you have to constantly learn and re-learn how to be a man. Achilles-types sometimes scoff at the idea of actively trying to learn the art of manhood, and evince disbelief that other men haven’t known how to do certain skills since they were young boys, and don’t embody certain traits intuitively.
But such insecurity is misplaced, and such criticism wrong-headed. Few men emerge from the womb with hair on their chest, or simply absorb the skills and traits of manhood from the ether. Lots of great men throughout history have had to intentionally set out to learn manliness, including Hector.
Being or learning. Those are two paths towards andreia. For most of us, learning is the path we must take. It’s the path I’m on, at least. The Art of Manliness is where I’ve shared some of the ideas I’ve picked up along my journey towards that goal. And it’s been great meeting other Hectors — good guys — along the way who’ve made the conscious decision to learn manliness too

Monday, February 24, 2020

Monday Music "Bad to the Bone" by George Thorogood

I am continuing my string of "bugaloo" songs.  This discussion was started in the "Monster Hunter Nation, Hunters Unite", it is a facebook group with enthusiast of the ILOH "International Lord of Hate" A.K.A Larry Correia.  We were talking about what song would we use if we looked out of our window or glanced at our security camera and saw this.....

One of the alphabet bois lining up to take down your house...What would be your "Valhalla" song and you would set it up to play as you load up magazines and prepare yourself.
Bad to the Bone is the fifth studio album by American Blues-Rock band George Thorogood and the Destroyers. It was released in 1982 by the label EMI America Records and contains their best known song, "Bad to the Bone". The album also features The Rolling Stones side-man Ian Stewart on keyboards. A special edition of this album was released in 2007 to mark the 25th anniversary of the album's original release.

 "Bad to the Bone" is a song by George Thorogood and the Destroyers released in 1982 on the album of the same name. While it was not widely popular during its initial release, its video made recurrent appearances on the nascent MTV, created a year before. Licensing for films, television, and commercials has since made the song more popular.[citation needed] Author Jim Beviglia argues that despite the song not making the pop charts, it "outstrips all other 80s songs in terms of the way it has essentially become cultural shorthand"

 he video intercuts a live performance by Thorogood and his band with his playing a lengthy game of pool with Bo Diddley. Pool player Willie Mosconi is summoned from another room by a spectator (played by Michael Fusco), and he wagers a large sum of money on Diddley. As Thorogood appears to be winning, a group of children outside celebrate while Diddley gets a dirty look from Mosconi.
Thorogood smokes a fat cigar throughout the pool-playing sequence. The video ends with Thorogood making the 8 ball drop into a pocket by flicking a large quantity of cigar ash on the floor, apparently triggering the drop of the ball in the pocket.

The song has been used in filmmaking and television productions, often as a tongue-in-cheek comedic device when a "bad guy" needs to be introduced or identified. An example of this is in the opening of the movie Christine, where the song is played as the red and white 1958 Plymouth rolls down the production line and injures an inspector, and again in the ending shot when a piece of Christine's grille moves. The song was used in the bar scene in Terminator 2: Judgment Day where the Terminator first is shown in his full leather outfit. It can also be heard in the card game scene from the remake of The Parent Trap. The song was used in the scenes in the 1988 drama film Talk Radio in the scenes where radio talk show host Barry Champlain's radio show, used as the opening and closing theme of his radio show. It was also used in the 2010 computer-animated superhero movie, Megamind. It was also the title theme to Problem Child and its sequel, and Major Payne. It is also included in the South Park episode "You're Not Yelping" while Cartman walks down a hallway. It is also played during Shaun the Sheep Movie after Shaun is caught by Animal Containment.
The song was used many times in Married... with Children, when Al Bundy does something fun, usually followed by the line "Let's Rock." For example, in "Hot off the Grill", "A Man's Castle", "Heels on Wheels" episodes.
The song was referenced in the episode of Family Matters, "Crash Course", by Steve Urkel when Eddie Winslow crashed the family station wagon in the living room without a driver's license. Urkel stated that he is bad to the bone and that bad is his middle name.
Alvin and the Chipmunks covered the song for the episode "Alvin's Oldest Fan" from their TV series. It was also featured in the episode "Endless Summer" of the series Renegade. Almost the entire record can be heard at the beginning of the episode "Nobody Lives Forever" on the TV series Miami Vice. An episode of Disney's TV show 101 Dalmatians: The Series has an episode named after the song.

"Bad to the Bone" has been used in many films, such as:

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Shooting and More shooting.

I have been busy the past few days...shooting.  First off,  I took a total new shooter to the local range near where my wife works.  The shooter is a friend of mine and my wife.  I honestly believe that all ladies should know how to shoot.  She bought a .38 special revolver 8 years ago, but has never taken it out of the box.  I mentioned in passing that I teach people how to shoot and she was really excited about learning how to shoot and I was very happy to teach her.

We started off with the .22LR pistol, with the reduced noise and recoil, it is perfect for teaching where people can practice the fundamentals without worrying about the noise and recoil.  The range we used was "dingy" and very noisy, not a good place to show someone how to shoot.  I had wanted to take her to my friend Macks place of business but he was out of town.  Mack works at a much nicer facility than where we shot.
Here she is loading magazines.
   I started her at 2 feet away, then 4, then 8 feet up to the 21 foot mark.  I explained the significance of the 21 foot rule, the "Tueller Drill".  the stripe on the floor reinforced this.  You can tell from the targets that she did really well, especially for a first time shooter with the guy 2 bays down shooting some hand cannon from the "boom"s  we were getting.
I then moved her up to the .32 ACP Model 81 Beretta.  I was working her up to the .38 Special like what she  will be shooting and what she owns.   The Beretta shot flawlessly as normal and she did well with the larger pistol.

I then moved her to my .38 special revolver.  I showed her how to load the revolver, and utilize both the single action and double action of the revolver.  Although shooting it single action is easier for accuracy shooting

 She shoots extremely well especially for a new shooter.  She was really excited when I told her that we will go to shoot rifles, especially the EBR's that is a very popular with the shooting community next month.    Per Macks recommendation, I got her some Hornandy Critical Defense 110 Grn FTX, perfect for short barrel revolvers, hers will be coming up from her folk's house and she will have the proper ammo for it.  I was happy to show her how to shoot, the Lady is a class act and a pleasure to deal with.

I had volunteered to run a shooting event  the next day at our local Boy Scout base, Of course I stopped at the local Kraznovian Embassy for breakfast and coffee as is tradition.  I got to camp and got things set up for the shooting.  I was instructing and running the .22LR range.
it was foggy at first and a bit cold, but the sun was successful in burning the fog away.  The kids are having a good time, I have a reputation for running "fun" ranges for the kids.  They shoot better if they are relaxed.
  I had an 18 year old girl there, she is a member of a ""Venture Crew"  She was killing the target with the rifle, and with her Dads permission I quickly instructed her in pistols.  In the Venture crews, they are allowed to handle pistols as one of their activities.  She didn't do as well as my friend did the day before but she enjoyed the experience because she has never fired a pistol before. 
    Well Lunch came and rather then eat, the kids had gone back to their campsites, so I set up my rifle.  I used the .22LR adapter for my rifle.
I relaxed and started shooting, I didn't have my glasses with me, so I was just shooting with "safety glasses,

 I didn't do half bad, it does help using a red/green dot rather than iron sights.  Although my rifle has backup iron sights on it.
      I realized the time and quickly put my rifle back in "normal" configuration and put it in my truck before the kids and parents showed up after Lunch.
     We continued shooting and I wound up signing off 7 kids for the shooting target requirements of their "rifle" merit badge.  I do stuff like this on a regular basis.  If the scout has the fundamentals , I will sign off the target.  Especially when they put 50 rounds through it and everything is "tight"  There was one kid that never fired a rifle before, not even a "BB" gun and he qualified right out of the gate, pure natural, told his scoutmaster what was going on and he told he that he knew the scout since he was a "Tiger" in the cub scouts and that he is a good kid.  I commented "That kid is a natural, he does like that and gets better, he might represents us in the Olympics one day."  the scout master appreciated the praise.
It was a great day to go shooting, the wind was minimal and I had a good group of scouts, no drama and everything went smoothly.
     While I was shooting my rifle, I kept seeing this..
  And the song came in my head from the early 80's "Key Largo" and the lyric was "Here's looking at you kid" was playing through my mind.  And of course the "Happy Faces" are part of my warped personality.
"Key Largo" 1982

Back Home and Cleaning up
 Big Smiley is back in the Gun safe all clean

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Some Reasons to consider the M-14/M1A

I am continuing my articles on the M-14 pattern Rifle(Down Jim), LOL.  Again I shamelessly clipped this from "American Rifleman", this article showed up in my email feed last week and I thought it was pretty good.

The internet is rife with essays by self-styled firearm experts who seem hell-bent on disparaging various legacy platforms for all manner of supposed deficiencies—despite the fact that those same guns are held in high regard by large numbers of satisfied users. Such differences of opinion are understandable given the fact that each of us has a uniquely individual set of experiences, knowledge and preferences that informs our choices.
One platform that seems to be a magnet for criticism is the M14 rifle. In fact, some call it out as an ideal example of failure with explanations such as: “It’s too heavy and too long. It was the shortest-lived service rifle in U.S. history and was only adopted because the process was corrupt. It was unsuccessful in singlehandedly replacing the M1 GarandM1903 SpringfieldM1917 EnfieldM1 CarbineM3 submachine gun, M1928/M1 Thompson, and M1918 Browning automatic rifle.”

Of those claims, the first is purely subjective, the last represents an unrealistic goal and those that follow are arguable, considering that the rifle still sees some military service today and that the parties involved in its adoption are no longer with us. More to the point, none of the complaints are relevant to a discussion of the merits available to the average rifleman by modern-day, semi-automatic M14 clones.
Springfield Armory continues to offer semi-automatic M1A rifles styled like a traditional M14.

Examples from such companies as Springfield Armory (whose corporate cornerstone is the trademarked M1A) LRB Arms, Bula Defense and James River Armory remain not only commercially viable, but are available in a wide variety of configurations, including polymer- and folding-stock and short-barrel models. And since most command the better part of two grand in price, that should answer any questions as to the value they hold in the minds of modern consumers.
At the risk of appearing to indulge in the same brand of myopic self-rationalization as the aforementioned “experts,” I’d like to suggest that the old warhorse is not only still worthy of consideration by today’s armed citizen, but is uniquely qualified as one of the best general-purpose rifle choices for uncertain times. Why? Because of six characteristics that lend it an undeniably attractive character.
Military Pedigree

Civilian firearms derived from military designs offer their users several advantages over those developed solely for the commercial market, and the M14-style rifle is no exception. Such designs are typically overbuilt as they are intended to suffer the exigencies of wartime abuse and neglect. They typically consist of separable subassemblies that ease cleaning and inspection and decrease parts loss.

Spare parts left over from military contracts eventually find their way into the civilian marketplace, which virtually ensures the user’s ability to keep the firearm in working order indefinitely. Provisions for the attachment of accessories such as optics, muzzle devices, bayonets, etc., and the on-board storage of cleaning equipment is another advantage. Finally, military firearms like the M14, because they are employed by wide-ranging user group, usually exhibit well-developed mechanical and ergonomic features.
Rugged Construction

The original M14 rifle was nearly devoid of polymers and nonferrous “light” metals or construction methods designed to shave a few ounces or favor inexpensive manufacture. Its parts are nearly all made from machined steel forgings—a process renown for longevity and durability. Its steel barrel threads into the receiver, which also provides the locking recesses for the two-lug steel bolt. The gun is basically a gas-operated bolt-action with a strong, simple mechanism that can withstand tens of thousands, if not a couple of hundred thousand, rounds of firing.

In fact, the improved drawings used to machine the receivers of today’s semi-automatic clones, whether from precision investment castings or forgings, along with improvements in metallurgy and quality control of bolts, barrels, gas cylinders and other parts, makes the current crop of civilian rifles even more reliable and refined, in some respects, than those the military had made by the U.S. Springfield Armory, Harrington & Richardson, TRW and Winchester.
Reliable Operation

Being an offshoot of the M1 Garand, and with aspects of its design perfected by none other than John C. Garand himself, the M14’s basic operating system had already proven itself throughout multiple theaters of World War II and in the Korean War before undergoing a baptism by fire in the Vietnam War. In fact, the gun’s detachable box magazine and piston-driven, gas cutoff mechanism were further refinements of the Garand’s more rudimentary en bloc clip and dog-legged, one-piece piston/operating rod.

Standing in distinct opposition to unsubstantiated claims about how the Garand-derivative family of arms is overly susceptible to the ingress of debris are reams of testimonials from G.I.s across a generation that praise the rifle’s performance across dramatically distinct climatic and terrain conditions. Given responsible care and lubrication and fed proper ammunition, today’s M14-style rifles, which include Ruger’s Mini-14 series, can be counted on work exactly as designed for many years.
Simple Ergonomics
Oftentimes, those who have intimate familiarity with one particular firearm platform, either through personal preference or professional service, have difficulty accepting another—and that’s understandable. But when one particular style of firearm or operating mechanism and one arrangement of controls becomes so sacrosanct that all others are deemed wrong, that becomes legalism, and such is the case with AR-style controls. The M14, by contrast, has quite usable controls in a slim, ergonomic platform. The M14-style rifle has a reciprocating charging handle on the right (ejection) side that’s simply an extension of its operating rod. It allows for positive chambering by a nudge of the heel of the hand.
In a compact package, the M14-style rifle offers numerous benefits in terms of ergonomics and handling, as exemplified by this Springfield Armory SOCOM16.

The bolt catch, which can be replaced with a commercial version that also acts as a release, is on the left side of the receiver. The safety lever is operated by the trigger finger, and it pivots into the triggerguard from the outside, ensuring that the trigger finger is off the trigger when going “on safe.” The design also ensures that the trigger finger comes away from the trigger momentarily when the lever is pivoted to the triggerguard’s outside before the finger returns to the trigger to go “on fire.” The magazine hooks and rocks into position with an audible “click,” and the magazine release is also centrally located. Windage and elevation adjustments do not require the use of tools. It is, overall, a simple, tried-and-true set of controls that rely mostly on gross motor skills.
Ingenious Design

Several aspects of the M14’s design make it stand out from the crowd. Its ingenious White expansion and cutoff gas system—with a separate piston that moves rearward to strike the operating rod—minimizes damage with a variety of bullet types and weights used in it. In addition, a valve on the gas cylinder allows the gas system to be manually turned off, resulting in what is essentially a straight-pull rifle that can be cycled faster than a traditional bolt-action, since all that’s required is to withdraw the operating rod handle to the rear and then simply release it, allowing the recoil spring to return the bolt into battery. 

Also, the rifle has a feature that most newer guns, even military designs, no longer possess: a built-in guide that allows the magazine to be fed using stripper clips. Such clips present an efficient and lightweight option for carrying additional ammunition. Additionally, the attachment of either conventional or forward-positioned optics using a wide variety of bolt-on mounts is easy. Finally, few could successfully argue against the M14-style rifle’s excellent sights and trigger, both of which contribute to a level of accuracy that well serves most hunting and defensive roles.

Traditional Aesthetics

Rifles made of wood and steel have served remarkably well in both civilian and military circles for about seven centuries. Sure, for about as many decades, polymer and nonferrous metals have proven to offer some advantages—but primarily in weight savings, not longevity. So, when it comes down to it, there’s simply nothing fundamentally wrong with a traditionally styled rifle made of wood and steel.
Springfield Armory's new M1A Tanker blends classic aesthetics with a compact, shortened profile that provides for easy handling.

In fact, the appearance of such a gun could be an advantage during circumstances in which a more modern, tactical design might draw unwanted attention. With a flush-fit magazine and a shortened muzzle compensator, such as in Springfield’s recently released M1A, the Tanker, the M14-style rifle has a form factor that is significantly more svelte than the average modern sporting rifle, despite its greater weight.

For all of the above reasons and more, the M14-style rifle offers a level of utility and capability—all in an understated package—not commonly encountered in many more modern firearms. Is it the “perfect” rifle? By no means, but it is surely underestimated and underappreciated when objectively evaluated.
The M14 platform continued to see active military service well into the 21st century, albeit in a modernized Mk 14 EBR configuration. Photo courtesy of PEO Soldier.