...it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there...

July 30, 2005

This Day In Military History

Today is the 141st anniversary of the Battle of the Crater. If you don't know what that is, i suggest renting Cold Mountain tonight. i love that movie.

Anyways, the Battle of the Crater was one of the craziest episodes of the Civil War. It was an idea that should have worked in theory, but in execution was fucked up from start to finish. If you think of all the Federal blunders committed during the Civil War, it's a wonder we're not two countries today. But we stuck it out, thanks to a man named Abraham Lincoln, whose resolve did not waver despite innumerable setbacks and intense opposition to the war.

Speaking of Civil War films, one movie that i saw recently, which doesn't get enough credit as a fabulous CW movie, is The Horse Soldiers from 1959. It was directed by John Ford, and starred John Wayne and Bill Holden. i think that's all you'd need to know in order to go rent it ASAP.

Posted by annika, Jul. 30, 2005 | TrackBack (2)
Rubric: Arts & History


the new york times, at the time, in an article, referred to president lincoln as, "a damn fool".
that would be a sitting president.
that would be the new york times.

another C/W movie that, imo, gives an accurate account of what actually happened would be "the red badge of courage" w/ audy murphy.
not as spectacular as annie's recommendation i'm sure.

Posted by: louielouie on Jul. 30, 2005

Thanks for the movie tip. My fav movie is John Ford/John Wayne/Barry Fitzgerald -- The Quiet Man. Impetuous. Homeric.

Posted by: irishlass on Jul. 30, 2005

...because it's the Duke. And that should be reason enough lit-tle lady!

Posted by: Mike on Jul. 30, 2005

If i'm not mistaken The Horse Soldiers is one in a group of three films about the same characters.

Posted by: Kyle on Jul. 30, 2005

My favorite Duke film is still Sands of Iwo Jima.
Where he gave the greatest line of his career. "Son, life is tough, but its a whole lot tougher when your stupid".

Posted by: Kyle on Jul. 30, 2005

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Ray of European ouris agiaed of pani of mass and Hyseria, as of people are flee of massare, if bodies are widespread on roads, people who are sreaming and whih sirens jammernde.

regional governor said wo bombs of ar and perhaps a bomb of bag had balaned plae of reovery whih is popular wih plungers. * a deflagraion o break before far vom from hoel wih of Ghazala in bay Naama, plae of insallaion majoriy of Luxuxhoels plaes violen one, in whom nobody o inlude/undersand in Rubble o fear.

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I am gay!

Posted by: Robert McClelland on Jul. 30, 2005

Walk the ground there and you can sense it. Imagine the siege as they dig, move dirt, and pack the mineshaft with explosives. Yeah I know it was a minor skirmish in the grand scheme of things, but when you feel that earth beneath you feet, you can sense the awe of those Americans who fought each other so passionately. And for each it was never a minor thing, it was personal.

Posted by: NOTR on Jul. 30, 2005

Meade also denied Burnside & Pleasants the proper equipment to do the job.

There's a fairly good novel about the episode; the title escapes me at the moment.

Posted by: David Foster on Jul. 30, 2005

The Battle of Petersburg (including the Crater) is included in the Shaara novel "The Last Full Measure", the third of a 3-book father/son set. The other two books (Gods and Generals/The Killer Angles) have been made into movies (Gods and Generals/Gettysburg).

The amazing thing about the Crater is that race played a role in the battle. No one is sure why, but Grant refused to allow the African-american division that was selected and trained for the mission to execute it. One theory is that Meade didn't trust the ability of the colored soldiers and Grant didn't want to countermand Meade, and another is that Grant was afraid it would look like Ferrero's division was being used as cannon fodder if the plan failed. Thus, Gen. Burnside used the drawing of lots to determine who would lead the charge, settling on a division commanded by a drunkard. Lots of "lessons learned" in that battle.

Posted by: James on Jul. 30, 2005

Can never forget that battle in high school due to my teacher's one-liner during the lesson he gave on it:

"(It) was like shooting Cherrio's in a cereal bowl."

The scary thing is, iirc, I don't think that was the only example of tunneling through and using explosives underground in the Civil War. It just happened to be the most spectacular.

Movie recommendation: Ang Lee's "Ride with the Devil". The CW was only the backdrop to the story, but it was still, imho, a really underrated movie.

Movie de-recommendation: Gettysburg. Heavily based on Michael Shaara's Book "The Killer Angels". Gotta disagree with IMDB's rating here. How a movie can get the details 100% correct and still miss the spirit of both the topic and the specific book is way beyond me. It's not that it was bad, it was just... well... not good. Felt like it was merely going through the motions of the story. But, I have to admit, it reflected "The Killer Angels" accurately, down to much of the dialogue.

Posted by: E.M.H. on Aug. 1, 2005