11 February 2014

It’s been 3 years since my last post — I’m not much on chit-chat, even in a good cause — so there’s a pile of new stuff. From 32 books my American history site has expanded to 59, and from 16,000 pages of print in 2700+ webpages, to 26,000 pages of print in 4400 webpages.

Cullum’s Register, on the other hand, I didn’t complete in March 2012, and am still plugging away at it. It’s complete thru the Class of 1867. I’ve also been adding a lot of West Pointers who graduated well after 1890.


American History, continued

4 February 2011

These are the most important new items onsite since my last entry a year ago: Stanley Clisby Arthur’s The Story of the West Florida Rebellion (and other material relating to “West Florida”), Constance Lindsay Skinner’s Pioneers of the Old Southwest (and other Kentucky and Tennessee material), James R. Jacobs’ Tarnished Warrior: Major-General James Wilkinson, Irving Berdine Richman’s Ioway to Iowa.

In addition, a couple dozen journal articles, mostly about West Point, railroads, and the frontier from the Appalachians to the west bank of the Mississippi; about fifteen hundred more entries of Cullum’s Biographical Register of the Graduates of the U. S. Military Academy, now complete thru the year 1850 and thus including many of the generals of the War between the States — I expect to complete the transcription of all 3384, thru the Class of 1890, in March 2012; orientation pages to the History of Florida, the History of Iowa, the History of Wisconsin; Sidelights on Dutch History.

The homepage of my American history site (as of writing: 32 books, 16,000 pages of print, 700 images in 2700+ webpages) is here.

The Great Iron Trail

27 January 2010

A more substantial addition this time to American railroad history: Robert West Howard’s The Great Iron Trail. The book is about the building of the Transcontinental Railroad. It’s atrociously written, as I point out on my orientation page (and I’m not the first to do so); but it’s a book of solid worth nevertheless, not so much for its detailing of the technical aspects of that great American enterprise, but mostly because it seats its subject firmly in the wider context of American history, paying attention not only to the nuts and bolts and the financial shenanigans of the principals, but to the economic, political and cultural currents of the time.

The homepage of my American history site (27 books, 13,000 pages of print, 600 images in 1700+ webpages) is here.

Latrobe’s Reminiscences

13 January 2010

One more West Point item, a fairly important one, bringing my History of West Point site up to a bit more than 550 pages of print: West Point Reminiscences 1818‑1882, by John H. B. Latrobe (son of the architect of the U. S. Capitol). A member of the Class of 1822, he went on to become a pioneer in American railroading in the earliest days of the Baltimore & Ohio. His memoir, unfortunately briefer than one would like — although it makes up for that by being well-written and more interesting than memoirs sometimes are — is one of the very few first-hand accounts of the “new” West Point put in order by Sylvanus Thayer. Don’t let the whiskers in my picture fool you, by the way: that was later. He was 15 when he entered the Academy.

The homepage of my American history site (26 books, 12,000 pages of print, 600 images in 800+ webpages) is here.

USMA should be abolished (etc.)

11 January 2010

Yet another West Point item, joining the 3 books and several other journal articles in my site on the history of West Point: The Attack upon West Point during the Civil War, a paper published in 1939, detailing a flare-up in popular opposition to the Academy from Northerners who viewed it, or professed to view it, as a hotbed of Confederate sentiment, aristocratic leanings, and treason; onto this bandwagon leapt a few politicians from the radical wing of Lincoln’s Republican party. The Union reverses at the beginning of the War between the States were responsible for this flare-up; as soon as the North started winning, it died down.

The attack still holds a lesson for today’s Academy: beware of creeping feelings of superiority; and remember that not only technical training but courage and common sense win wars, of course.

The homepage of my American history site (26 books, 12,000 pages of print, 600 images in 800+ webpages) is here.

Jefferson Davis’s Camels

9 January 2010

Today’s addition: an entertaining article in Popular Science Monthly for February 1909 on Jefferson Davis’s Camel Experiment, by Walter L. Fleming, who is already represented onsite (in my American History Notes section) by papers on the Buford Expedition to Kansas, and a really bizarre little Ku Klux Klan item he dug up.

The homepage of my American history site (26 books, 12,000 pages of print, 600 images in 800+ webpages) is here.

Making West Point more useful

7 January 2010

Another West Point item, i.e., another part of the largish section of my site on the history of West Point: one more idea for restructuring it, or reforming it, or improving it — How to Make West Point More Useful. The 1894 article suggests a significant increase in the number of cadets, who are, however, to be divided into four groups, following respectively a 4‑, 3‑, 2‑ or 1‑year course, with the longest-trained graduates continuing on to the Regular Army, and those following the shorter courses to act as leaven in the National Guard. The author overlooks the horrific problems this would cause with morale and esprit de corps — look what happened with the World War I classes (Waugh, pp147‑150) — but his ideas have, in the main, been adopted in today’s army: at 4000 strong the Corps produces more graduates than he recommends, OCS provides the second tier of officer training, in just about the same proportion (3/4 of American army officers), and the Guard has been much more tightly integrated into the national army.

The homepage of my American history site (26 books, 12,000 pages of print, 600 images in 800+ webpages) is here.