Saturday, December 25, 2004

Merry Christmas!

I see that Ann Althouse has an entry on the use of the term "Merry Christmas" versus "Happy Holidays", and this is a topic of discussion many places on the web this year.

I prefer "Merry Christmas". I'm not religious, and I'm not Christian, so that's not it. No, I prefer "Merry Christmas" for the same reason I prefer to say that someone "died" rather than "passed away". "Happy Holidays" is a politically correct euphemism. It expresses nothing and is verbal pap, an empty phrase used when you don't know your audience and/or don't want to offend anyone. That is precisely why retailers would rather shoot themselves than use the C-word.

If a movement arises to return us to our Roman roots by using the greeting "Happy Saturnalia", I'd be happy to join. But in the meantime,

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

August 1864 -- Follow Up

If you don't believe that, as of August 1864, the chances of Lincoln's reelection were slim, or that a Democratic win was expected to result in the division of the Union, consider this.

That month, Lincoln asked the members of his cabinet to sign, without reading, a brief paragraph that Lincoln had written. They did so (can you imagine such a thing now?). After the election, Lincoln showed them what they had signed:

It seems exceedingly probable that this administration will not be re-elected. Then it will be my duty to so cooperate with the President-elect as to save the Union between the election and the inauguration, as he will have secured his election on such ground that he cannot possibly save it afterward.


Recently, I've been reading about the latter stages of the U.S. Civil War, from late 1863 on. What's amazing to me is how close, even toward the end, the North came to losing the war.

After the great victory at Chattanooga in November 1863, the South was in serious trouble. Grant, having been summoned to head the army, decided to station himself "in the field" with the Army of the Potomac, while Sherman headed the Western forces. In the Spring of 1864, Meade (supervised by Grant) began moving on Richmond, while Sherman headed for Atlanta. By mid-July, both cities were besieged, but much of the public saw only horrendous losses for little apparent gain -- after all, McClellan had been at the gates of Richmond in 1862, and that effort came to nought.

Although officially pro-Union, the Democrats were howling to end the war, claiming that the war was not militarily winnable and asserting (falsely) that the Southern states would rejoin the Union if emancipation were rejected. Conversely, the South was hoping to deprive the North of any victories though the Summer and Fall, hoping that Lincoln's defeat would result in victory for the South.

Having waited as long as possible, to minimize the possibility that there would be a significant Northern military gains between the convention and the elections, the Democrats held their convention at the end of August. On August 30, 1864, they nominated George McClellan as their candidate for President. The central paragraph of the Democrats' brief, four-paragraph platform urged a prompt "cessation of hostilities":

Resolved, That this convention does explicitly declare, as the sense of the American people, that after four years of failure to restore the Union by the experiment of war, during which, under the pretense of a military necessity of war-power higher than the Constitution, the Constitution itself has been disregarded in every part, and public liberty and private right alike trodden down, and the material prosperity of the country essentially impaired, justice, humanity, liberty, and the public welfare demand that immediate efforts be made for a cessation of hostilities, with a view of an ultimate convention of the States, or other peaceable means, to the end that, at the earliest practicable moment, peace may be restored on the basis of the Federal Union of the States.

Once a truce was implemented, it would have been virtually impossible to resume active hostilities. Jefferson Davis had repeatedly made clear that, after four years of bitter war, the South would not rejoin the Union under any circumstances. In short, a Democratic victory -- which seemed increasingly likely -- would almost certainly have resulted in the destruction of the Union.

The Democrats did not wait long enough. On the day they concluded their convention, Sherman cut off the last railroad link between Atlanta and the outside world. On September 1, 1864, the Confederates evacuated Atlanta, and on September 2 Union forces occupied the city. The news hit the North like a thunderbolt. There was wild rejoicing, and Lincoln won reelection handily.

The rest, as they say, is history. Once Atlanta was taken and Lincoln's reelection assured, it was only a matter of time. Beginning in mid-November, Sherman marched east from Atlanta, reappearing and taking Savannah in time to give it to Lincoln as a Christmas present, and thence to the Carolinas. George Thomas's Army of the Cumberland destroyed the last Confederate Army of any significance, other than Lee's, on December 15. Lee, beseiged, held out until April 1865.

In retrospect, the South was on its last legs as of January 1, 1864. But it took the political perseverance of Lincoln and the military perseverance of Grant (and Sherman's victory) to translate that advantage into final victory.

Monday, December 13, 2004

I Think I'm Gonna Puke

I just surfed past one of the "entertainment tonight" shows and saw that we're going to be treated to "Regis's Rockin' Eve" for New Years this year. Dick Clark's been dead for twenty years and now we're getting Regis Philbin? Gimme a break!


Laurel Amp Posted by Hello

I'm a big fan of tube amps. Here's a picture of a tube amp I built from a kit about four years ago: a Welborne Labs Laurel. The Laurel is a monoblock amp that uses a single 300B triode (three element) tube. The 300B tube (the large tube with the white base in the back) was developed in about 1936 and puts out all of 8 Watts.

Pataki for Head of Homeland Security? Ugh!

As a lifelong New Yorker, I feel competent to sound off on the report that NY Governor George Pataki might be nominated to be head of Homeland Security.

I'm with Michelle Malkin on this one: yuk! Pataki has no leadership skills, has been a mediocre governor at best, won the last election by caving in to the unions by throwing them money and pork by the barrelful and has no qualifications for the post.

Percy Sledge

Ann Althouse has this one wrong. The big news out of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominations is not the Pretenders or U2. Percy Sledge may have been a one-hit wonder, but oh what a one.


Surprisingly, I never see reference to Debka at the blogs discussing Palestinian or Islamist terrorismism. Debka, operated as I understand it by former Israeli intelligence officers, regularly provides insightful analyses of Mideast issues. By way of example, Debka today posted a detailed article on the recent Rafah border crossing tunnel explosion that is well worth reading:

But DEBKAfile’s military sources report that the strike against the Rafah crossing was no run-of-the-mill Palestinian terror attack such as Israel has endured for decades, but a meticulously-planned military operation in which a battalion-scale force was deployed.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

A Real Military Problem

A general bursts into his commanding general's headquarters, thrusts an index finger into the commander's face and says:

You commenced your cowardly and contemptible persecution of me [over a year ago], and you have kept it up ever since. . . . You robbed me of my command . . . and gave it to one of your favorites . . . in a spirit of revenge and spite, because I would not fawn upon you as others did. . . . Now this second brigade . . . in order to humiliate, you have taken . . . from me. I have stood your meanness as long as I intend to. You have played the part of a damned scoundrel, and are a coward, and if you were any part of a man I would slap your jaws. . . . You may as well not issue any orders to me, for I will not obey them, and I will hold you personally responsible for any further indignities you endeavor to inflict upon me. You have threatened to arrest me for not obeying your orders promptly. I dare you to do it, and I say to you that if you ever again try to interfere with me or cross my path it will be at the peril of your life.

No, this incident did not occur during the Afghan or Iraqi war. It's Confederate Nathan Bedford Forrest to CSA General Braxton Bragg.

Source: Wiley Sword, "Mountains Touched With Fire: Chattanooga Beseiged, 1863".

Friday, December 10, 2004

The Orange Revolution and Ham in NYC

Want to meet wonderful people, discuss the Orange Revolution, and get great ham, all at the same time? I went to Kurowycky, a Ukrainian butcher at 124 First Avenue (just south of 8th Street), this morning. The proprietor is a delight. We talked about Ukrainian demographics, the poisoning and the upcoming December 26 re-election (his sources are very optimistic). And the ham is out of this world.

Is Islamist Totalitarianism "Fundamentally Expansionist"?

In an earlier post, I noted that Kevin Drum's objection to Peter Beinart's article, "A Fighting Faith", rests on the proposition that Islamist totalitarianism is "not fundamentally expansionist" or dangerous to the United States. In a December 5, 2004 entry, entitled "Liberalism and Terror . . . A Followup . . .", Mr. Drum amplifies, posing his assertions as questions, satisfactory answers to which he claims never to have seen.

Although all this strikes me as strange, I am nonetheless happy to see that correspondents at Winds of Change have begun to address Mr. Drum's purported questions:

"Kevin Drum Asks the Good Question" (December 7 post by Armed Liberal)

"Kevin Drum and 'The Phony War'" (December 7 post by Armed Liberal)

"Al Quaeda: The Scope of the Threat" (December 8 post by Dan Darling)

"Special Analysis: A Framework for Discussing the War" (December 9 post by Joe Katzman)

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Frank Zappa

I've been a big fan of Frank Zappa since about 1969 (yikes!). I stumbled across him by accident, buying a copy of "We're Only In It For The Money" solely because the cover was so weird. I was stunned. I bought (and still have and play!) every album of his that came out thereafter (and before) and attended at least one concert every time he came through NYC, whether at the Fillmore East, the Palladium or the Felt Forum, until his death.

Whenever people ask for recommendations about the "best" Zappa albums they get a wide divergence of suggestions because he produced so many different kinds of music -- the early silly yet pungent "comedy" Zappa, the sophisticated jazz/rock Zappa, the Flo and Eddie Zappa, the guitar Zappa, etc. In addition, in my case as in many others, it's difficult to identify his "best" work in any objective sense because listeners associate particular albums with particular times in or phases of their lives. In my case, for example, I am always going to love WOIIFTM because I cannot help but associate it with the sense of delight I experienced discovering it as a Ninth grader.

All that said, I'll suggest a few albums. Take my suggestions with a pound -- not just a grain -- of salt.

Early Zappa/Mothers of Invention: "We're Only In It For the Money" (1968). A hilarious yet brutal take on American Culture. If you like this, try "Freak Out" and "Absolutely Free".

Early "Jazz/Rock" Zappa: "Hot Rats" (1969). If you like this, try "Waka/Jawaka" and "The Grand Wazoo".

Early Post-Mothers Comedy/Guitar/Flo and Eddie Zappa: "Live At The Fillmore East June 1971". A personal favorite because I attended several of these concerts. Incredibly nasty skits (warning: some indecent but hilarious material) and amazing and amazingly sophisticated music. If you like Flo and Eddie, try "200 Motels" and "Just Another Band from LA" (1972).

Middle Zappa: "Apostrophe" (1974). Just a great all-round album. FWIW, probably my most-played album during college. If you like this, I'd suggest "Over-Nite Sensation" (1973), "One Size Fits All" (1975), "Roxy and Elsewhere" (1974) and (a little more distantly) "Zappa in New York 1978".

A Bit Later: "Joe's Garage Acts I, II and III" (1979). Biting (although a trifle paranoid and over-the-top) social commentary and, far more importantly, heavenly guitar. The song "Watermelon in Easter Hay" contains one of the most heartbreakingly beautiful guitar solos ever played. If you like the "guitar" Zappa (and live his guitar solos were simply overwhelming) there are several guitar solo collections such as "Shut Up 'N' Play Yer Guitar".

Happy listening!


I'm taking a break from Stephen Sears's book, "Chancellorsville" -- it's almost too painful to read, because very bad stuff is about to happen. It's the morning of May 2, 1863. Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson have conferred, and Jackson has set out on his famous march around Joseph Hooker's flank.

On balance, I suppose the campaign and defeat the Union army suffered served a purpose. As Sears tells it, Hooker instituted valuable reforms that curbed desertion and rebuilt morale, which had been shattered at Fredericksburg in December 1862. In addition, of course, Stonewall Jackson was mortally wounded by friendly fire on the evening of May 2. Had Jackson been present at Gettysburg, fought by these same armies two months later, I strongly suspect the outcome would have been different.

I have no complaints about the book, by the way; to the contrary, it's excellent. It is precisely Sears's ability to tell the story so dramatically that makes it difficult for me to read.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Harvard Sucks

Well, Harvard destroyed Yale in The Game this year, but the moral victory belongs to the Elis. A small group of enterprising souls, disguised in "Harvard Pep Squad" t-shirts, handed out red and white squares of construction paper to spectators on the Harvard side of the field, telling the hapless Harvardians that, when raised, the squares would spell out the phrase "GO HARVARD".

At the appointed hour, the Harvard fans did indeed hold up their squares -- but, unbeknownst to them, they were proudly confirming that "WE SUCK".

Read about it here.

Boola Boola.

"A Fighting Faith"

Peter Beinart's recent National Review article, "A Fighting Faith", is one of the most thought-provoking analyses of a contemporary political issue I've read in a long time. Using as his template the decision of most Democrats to affirmatively reject Stalinist communism following the end of World War II, Mr. Beinart argues that the Democrats have failed to take Islamist totalitarianism and terrorism seriously. The Democratic party, he argues, must similarly embrace the goal of defeating the threat presented by Islamist totalitarianism as its "north star". "The recognition that liberals face an external enemy more grave, and more illiberal, than George W. Bush should be the litmus test of a decent left." Every thinking American should read Mr. Beinart's piece.

The article struck a basic chord with me. In the recent election, it was precisely the apparent willingness of the Democrats to overlook, and often to excuse, Islamist totalitarianism that disturbed me the most. Nothing he did suggested to me that he truly believed that Islamist totalitarianism was the most serious threat to Western Civilization since the fall of the Soviet Union. Instead, he allied himself with Michael Moore, seemed to favor doing nothing of substance at best, and on occasion displayed a disturbing tendency to appear to be rooting for the other side.

No doubt, some Democrats are silently nodding in agreement with Mr. Beinart's analysis. Unfortunately for the two-party system, however, initial returns from the Democratic base are not encouraging. In his responsive essay in the Washington Monthly, for example, Kevin Drum argues precisely "that compared to fascism and communism, Islamic totalitarianism seems like pretty thin beer to many. It's not fundamentally expansionist, and its power to kill people isn't even remotely in the same league."
Beinart basically argues that in 2004 the argument over our response to terrorism should also be over. But the problem is that world events today are nowhere near as clear as they were in 1941 and 1949. Sure, 9/11 was a wakeup call, but in the three years since then what's happened that's the equivalent of even a single one of the events described above? There have been some scattered bombings, but barely more than before 9/11. North Korea and Iran appear to be building nuclear bombs, but they've been doing that for over a decade. The Middle East is dominated by brutal totalitarian regimes, but that's been true for as long as there's been a Middle East — and in any case the United States actively supports many of them.
A number of the comments to Mr. Drum's piece are downright bizarre and paranoid, arguing that it is President Bush and the Republicans who are the true fascists, far more dangerous than the Islamists. As one Solon succinctly summed up the sentiment, "I am far more worried about the bushco response to a new islamic terrorist attack on our soil than the attack itself. Look at what happened last time!"

If Democrats truly believe that Islamist totalitarianism is "not fundamentally expansionist", if they truly do not see Iran and North Korea armed with nuclear weapons (and missiles on which to carry them) as even a cause for concern, I fear they are going to be in the wilderness a long time.

A Christmas Gift Recommendation

Are you looking for an impressive and expensive-looking, but reasonably-priced, Christmas present for a friend or spouse with even a passing interest in military history or the Civil War? If so, I've got the solution.

The Official Military Atlas of the Civil War is a large coffee table-sized book. It consists largely of beautiful reproductions of maps drawn during the War by engineers and draftsmen on both sides for use on the military campaigns. Other maps were prepared immediately after the war, and the book also includes hundreds of engravings of forts, uniforms, flags, etc. Many of the maps detail troop positions and movements and are extremely useful when reading books about the campaigns and battles. But the maps are also simply things of beauty, which you can leaf through for hours, particularly when you realize that you are looking at a map that Stonewall Jackson, for example, may have used.

Topping it off is the price. The book originally sold for $70, I believe. Barnes & Noble is currently selling it for under $20.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Some Christmas Music Recommendations

I'm a music and stereo nut. More about stereos and speakers later, but with Christmas fast approaching, here is a short list of great Christmas music.

Handel, Messiah -- I know, I know, you already have it, but how can you discuss Christmas music without mentioning the Messiah? Without going on at tedious length, my favorites remain Pinnock (DG) and the politically incorrect Beecham/Goosens (RCA). I have not heard a lot of the newer stuff (e.g., McCreesh, Christie, Suzuki). I’d be interested in hearing what others think of these versions.

Bach -- Although I do like and play the Christmas Oratorio (generally Gardiner, DG), if I want Bach around the holidays, I tend to pick out cantatas, even though they may not be season-specific, and in particular cantatas from the complete 1970’s Harnoncourt/Leonhardt series (Teldec). These versions are admittedly an acquired taste, but I love them. Both the instruments and vocals are sometimes a bit rough, but Harnoncourt uses boys for the soprano parts (as Bach would have) and the effect is wonderful. The discs are sold these days (I believe) only in 6-disc boxes. If you can find it, my recommendation would be Volume 3. Since that seems to be currently unavailable, go for Volume 2.

“A Venetian Christmas” – Paul McCreesh, Gabrieli Consort (DG). This disc, featuring music by Giovanni Gabrieli (and others), recreates a Christmas Mass in St. Mark’s in Venice circa 1600. I have not heard a bad disc by McCreesh.

“Lutheran Mass for Christmas Morning” – Another Paul McCreesh project (DG), this disc features music by Michael Praetorius to recreate a German Christmas mass circa 1620.

“On Yoolis Night”, Anonymous Four – You may have heard of this one; it garnered much praise when it came out, all deserved. Four women singing motets and songs a capella. Gorgeous and hypnotic.

Olivier Messiaen – 20 Regards sur l’Enfant Jesus (Austbo, Naxos) – At Naxos prices, you get a fantastic recording of one of the great piano works of the 20th Century. [If you like this, get Austbo’s other Messiaen piano works on Naxos.]

“A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector” – I got this disc as part of the 4-disc Phil Spector “Back to Mono” box, but it seems to be available separately. Darlene Love, the Ronettes, et al., singing “White Christmas”, “Frosty the Snowman”, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”, etc. complete with that wonderful “wall of sound”.


My younger sister, Chris, adopted Dixie, a purebred Dalmatian, while she was living in South Africa in 1990. Dixie has been senile for several years, and she recently took a turn for the worse. Chrissy has reached the difficult but necessary decision to have Dixie put to sleep. The vet is coming tomorrow.

Dixie (a/k/a Dixie Doodle, Dixikins and Dix) has always been an absolute sweetheart. We're all going to miss her.

Dixie Posted by Hello

"The Lost Order"

I’ve been reading a bunch of books about the U.S. Civil War lately and ran across a story that boggles my mind. The history of the so-called “Lost Order” is one of those tales that is so improbable that you couldn’t make it up. On top of that, the Lost Order may well have changed the course of history: but for the Lost Order, the South might well have won, i.e., not lost, the Civil War.

By way of background, as of September 1862, the North was staggering. Particularly in the Eastern Theater (Virginia), the Union had suffered an unbroken series of military defeats, often catastrophic: First Bull Run/Manassas in July 1861; Stonewall Jackson’s Shenandoah Valley campaign in mid-1862; McClellan’s Peninsula Campaign in June-August 1862; and, most recently, Second Bull Run/Second Manassas in August 1862, in which Robert E. Lee had come close to destroying the Union Army of Virginia under John Pope. Mid-term elections were approaching, in which it was feared that Northern disaffection with the war would result in significant victories for anti-war Democrats. England and France were seriously considering whether to recognize the Confederacy, which all concerned recognized would probably be fatal to the Union’s war efforts.

After Second Manassas, the Union army was in utter disarray. In despair, Lincoln relieved General Pope and reappointed George McClellan, whom he had effectively relieved of command after the debacle on the Peninsula. Although McClellan had proved that he was grossly insubordinate and unable or unwilling to fight, Lincoln felt he had no choice. Pope had proved himself incompetent, there were no other suitable candidates, and McClellan was extremely popular in some circles and was at least capable of restoring morale and order in the army.

Second Manassas took place in northern Virginia. Following that battle, Lee took his army north, into Maryland, in the hope that a victory there would destroy the last vestiges of Union resolve and produce election results in November that would compel the North to seek peace. McClellan, prodded by Lincoln, followed half-heartedly at a respectful distance.

On September 9, 1862, General Lee and his army were at Frederick, MD. Contrary to Lee’s expectations, the Federals had not abandoned their depot at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia, which was exposed and now lay to Lee’s rear. On that date, Lee issued an Order (Special Orders No. 191) dividing his army into four parts. Three groups were to approach Harper’s Ferry from different directions, surround it and take it. A fourth part of the army, under General James Longstreet (accompanied by Lee), was to continue the advance into Maryland. Lee’s Adjutant, Robert H. Chilton, wrote out seven copies of the Order, each copy addressed to a specific commander, two of whom were Stonewall Jackson and D.H. Hill. The Order meant that, until the attack on Harper’s Ferry was completed and the army reunited, Lee’s army, which was small to begin with – perhaps 40,000 men – would be divided. Lee felt little concern about dividing his army because he was familiar with McClellan’s timidity and confident that McClellan would not move to attack.

D.H. Hill was, technically, a subordinate of Stonewall Jackson. For this reason, and because Jackson did not realize that Lee had issued a copy of the Order directly to Hill, Jackson also issued a copy of the order to Hill. Hill received (and saved) the copy of the Order he received from Jackson, but the copy addressed to him from Lee was apparently somehow lost.

The Confederate Corps promptly split up and moved out in accordance with the Order. Three groups headed south, by different routes, toward Harper’s Ferry. The fourth group, under James Longstreet, continued into Maryland. Beginning September 12, the Union army moved into Frederick, which the Confederates had vacated. Lee’s assessment of McClellan was entirely accurate. McClellan believed that Lee’s army was far larger than his (when it was, in fact, less than half the size of the Union army). He had little idea where Lee's army was located or headed, and had no idea that Lee had divided his army. He was tagging along well behind Lee and would not attack.

Incredibly, on September 13, a Union soldier stationed on the outskirts of Frederick by chance saw an envelope lying nearby in a field where he was camped. He picked it up and discovered that it contained three cigars, wrapped in a piece of paper. He saw that there was writing on the paper and actually read it, understood that it was important, and turned it over to his superior. Equally incredibly, one of his superiors realized that the document was genuine because he recognized the handwriting – it was the handwriting of Robert Chilton, Lee’s adjutant, whom he knew from before the War. The document was promptly forwarded to McClellan who, upon reading it, immediately understood its importance and exclaimed, “Now I know what to do.” The document was the copy of the Special Orders written by Chilton and addressed to D.H. Hill.

In fact, if McClellan had acted with reasonable promptness, he probably could have caught and destroyed Longstreet’s Corps (and Lee) before the other portions of Lee’s army could reunite with it. McClellan dithered instead. The Lost Order did, however, get him moving, however belatedly and hesitantly. Three days later, on September 16, he confronted Lee by Antietam Creek, near the town of Sharpsburg, Maryland. After delaying for yet another day (allowing the last elements of Lee’s army to reunite), on September 17, McClellan brought on the battle known as Sharpsburg or Antietam.

Antietam was basically a tactical draw. Indeed the North suffered more casualties (12,400) than the South (10,300). However, Lee’s smaller army, devastated by the loss of one-quarter of its force and lacking ammunition and supplies, was forced to retreat back to Virginia (McClellan, of course, mounted no meaningful pursuit), resulting in a strategic and perceived victory for the Union. Based on the result, Lincoln felt emboldened to issue the Emancipation Proclamation, which he had been holding in his drawer since June, waiting for a victory before issuing it. The perceived victory -- the first victory of any sort for Union forces in the East -- and the issuance of the Proclamation, dramatically influenced Northern and international perceptions. The November 1862 elections went reasonably well (far better than they would have gone otherwise), and England and France shelved talk of Southern recognition. Although the North would continue to suffer disastrous defeats thereafter (notably Fredericksburg in December 1862 and Chancellorsville in May 1863), the perceived victory at Antietam allowed the Union to persevere until Lee again invaded the North, and again suffered defeat – at Gettysburg on July 1-3, 1863. Gettysburg, together with the simultaneous surrender of Vicksburg to U.S. Grant , signaled the end of the beginning of the war.

Although responsibility for loss of the Order remains unclear, it now seems probable that Hill was not the culprit. Lee’s Adjutant, Chilton, claimed that he could not recall whether he had received a written receipt confirming delivery to Hill. He also admitted that he did not have documentary evidence of receipt. However, he asserted that he had a procedure by which he required written receipts and that he believed that he would have noticed if he had not received confirmation from Hill.

Both Hill and Hill’s adjutant, on the other hand, always consistently maintained that they never received the copy of the Order from Lee – the only copy of the Order that they received was the one from Jackson. Bolstering Hill’s credibility is the fact that he kept, and later produced from his headquarters files, the copy of the Order from Jackson. As noted, Chilton maintained no documentary evidence supporting his position (such as receipts or a log reflecting receipts). Neither the courier nor the owner of the cigars was ever identified. The best guess therefore seems to be that, however the Order was lost, it never made it to Hill’s headquarters. In the rush of events (the army was splitting up and moving out), Chilton apparently did not notice that he had not received confirmation of receipt.

Books that discuss the Lost Order include
Stephen Sears, Landscape Turned Red: The Battle of Antietam, pp. 111-115 and Appendix I; James McPherson, Crossroads of Freedom: Antietam, The Battle that Changed the Course of the Civil War, pp. 107-108; Sears, “The Last Word on the Lost Order”, reprinted in Robert Cowley (ed.), With My Face to the Enemy: Perspectives on the Civil War. A detailed internet article with interesting speculation as to how and by whom the Order was lost appears here.

Why "Elektratig"?

I'm going to keep this initial entry short. I had no idea it was so easy to set up a blog -- indeed, I had no intention of starting a blog until about fifteen minutes ago.

"Elektratig" is a conflation of the names of my first two cats, Elektra and Antigone. They were sisters, born in mid-November 1981, apparently in bad circumstances. I adopted them in mid-January 1982 from Bide-a-Wee, a shelter in New York City, and fell in love immediately. Elektra developed heart problems and died in 1996. Tig died only in January of this year (2004), at the ripe old age of 22.

Why on Earth would someone name their cats Elektra and Antigone? All shall be revealed in forthcoming posts.
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