Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Classic Car Collectors Strike Gold In 2014

Two Months In 2014 that Classic Car Collectors Won't Forget

First, on February 28th, 2014, reported about L&L Classic Auto and their over 8,000 classic cars for sale.

The Wendell, Idaho, salvage yard is selling its stock of thousands of cars, as its 79-year-old owner considers finally retiring after over a half-century in the business.

And he’s throwing in the 80 acres of land they’re sitting on for free.

Or, maybe it’s the other way around.

“I will miss this place, but I won’t miss the stress of running it,” Larry Harms tells

Harms’ daily driver is a chunky, cerise 1937 Ford Coupe with thick whitewall tires, but he keeps a small collection of domestic gems for himself.

L&L, owned and operated by Harms and a staff fiercely loyal to vintage cars, began life as a body shop in a much smaller location close to town.

As the accumulated assortment of classic metal began to grow, the outfit moved to a more accommodating location that is large enough today to strike an impressive pose on Google Earth’s satellite view.

The land is populated with vehicles of all sizes and shapes, from derelict, parts-car specials to classics in running condition, some nearly a century old.

Conservative estimates put the total number between 8,000 and 10,000 vehicles, but the shop’s staff admits that it has been unable to catalog all of them.

Nevertheless, it maintains a thorough running tally of available parts for sale on its website.

As much as Harms is looking intently toward retirement, he’s not in a hurry to unload his trove.

Instead, he is firmly determined to find a buyer who is interested in preserving L&L’s cadre of historic vehicles, rather than someone who would prefer to destroy the cars and keep the land.

“I won’t [piecemeal] sell it,” Harms said. “I don’t want it crushed. I could do that myself.”

That’s right, unless you are planning to take – and take care of – the whole kit and caboodle, you’d better sit this one out.

The sum for the whole lot, including the land and the myriad cars scattered upon it, is listed at $3 million.

That’s anywhere between $300 and $375 per car, if you ever get around to counting them one by one.

“Is [that] a fair price? No, it’s low,” says one L&L employee. “It’s a great deal.”

L&L currently lists prices for some of the cars individually, including a gobsmacking 1974 AMC Matador "Oleg Cassini Edition" at $8,500, and what appears to be a pristine 1961 Pontiac Bonneville two-door for $29,000.

Most others are well picked-over and clearly past their prime.

Harms’ staff says it has already had several serious inquiries into the property, in addition to frequent calls from interested parties from as far away as South America, England, Norway, Australia and New Zealand.

Despite the apparent demand, Harms remains adamant that the cars end up in the hands of a serious buyer who understands their mettle.

“This is stuff you can’t get new,” he said. “Once it’s gone, it’s gone.”


Incredible Car Collection Uncovered After 61 Years

Next, on May 14, 2014, it was reported on that a collection of more than 200 historic cars hidden from public view for 61 years will be crossing the auction block in Oklahoma next month.

The cars belonged to Oliver Jordan, who ran a salvage business in the city of Enid from 1945 to 1953, when he locked it up during a zoning dispute that lasted for years.

Jordan never relented, and the cars have sat idle since then, most of them left outside to rot. The majority are from the 1930s, and '40s, but the oldest is a rare 1917 Maxwell.

Among the more notable finds are an aluminum-bodied 1937 seven-passenger Lincoln limo by Willoughby, believed to be one of five remaining of the 60 that were produced, and a 1937 Cord Model 812 Supercharged Beverly sedan.

Two 1942 “blackout specials” – a Ford and a Chevy – built during World War II, when the government put restrictions on the use of ornamental shiny metal parts, are fitting of the cache’s low profile.

A 1937 TerraPlane Super Six may sound like a flying car, but was from a short-lived brand produced by Hudson. It doesn’t come with a hood, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find an inch of it that’s not corroded.

The same can be said about pretty much all of the other vehicles.

Nevertheless, VanDerBrink Auctions is billing the event as a customizer’s dream, as many of the parts from the once-common cars are becoming rarer by the day.

Jordan sold a few of them himself over the years, but not many.


According to auctioneer Yvette VanDerBrink, if he invited you inside to see his secret stash, and you were interested in one of the cars, he’d make you a take-it-or-leave-it offer on the spot. No haggling or second chances allowed.

Jordan died in 2003, and his widow died seven months ago. His grandson, who helped consolidate the cars from four different yards in recent years, is overseeing the sale of the estate, including the 1929 Ford Model A wrecker that was Jordan’s first tow truck.

The auction is scheduled to take place on June 7, both on site and online.

All sales are final, of course. Jordan wouldn’t want it any other way.

-- end of articles.

And yes, if I had the money a 1937 Chevy would be sitting in my garage quick enough!

Tom Correa

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Toxic Jerky Dog Treats Linked To Thousands Of Dog Deaths


On May 19th, 2014, it was reported that more than 1,000 dog deaths may now be linked to toxic jerky treats -- that's according to a recent update from the Food and Drug
Administration (FDA).

The agency said that since 2007, there have been almost 5,000 complaints of pet illnesses related to the treats. The majority of the symptoms reported include gastrointestinal or liver disease, and about a third were linked to kidney and urinary disease.

About 10 percent of the illnesses included other signs such as neurologic, dermatologic, and immunologic symptoms, and about 15 percent of the kidney and urinary disease cases also tested positive for Fanconi syndrome – a rare kidney disease also associated with the pet deaths.

The FDA is still unsure of the specific cause for the reported illnesses and deaths, but most cases reportedly occurred after the pets had eaten chicken, duck or sweet potato jerky treats imported from China.

No specific brands were recalled in the FDA's latest release, but Dr. Jonathan Levine, an associate veterinarian at Blue Pearl Veterinary Partners in New York City, said owners should always check the labels of whatever foods they give their pets.

“Always be aware of what you're buying and where it's coming from,” Levine said.

Yet that may not always be enough to keep pets safe; products stamped “Made in the USA” could still contain ingredients sourced from China or other countries, the FDA warned.

In 2007, some pet food companies voluntarily removed some jerky treats from the market. But, at the time, the FDA said it didn't want to issue a recall without a definitive cause.

Those products included Milo's Kitchen Chicken Jerky Treats and Chicken Grillers made by Del Monte, and Waggin' Train and Canyon Creek Ranch dog treats made by Nestle Purina.

The FDA has partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to figure out what foods may be contributing to pet disease.

The study will compare the foods eaten by sick dogs to those eaten by dogs who haven’t gotten sick, in order to determine if the jerky is really the culprit.

So far, testing of jerky pet treats from China revealed low levels of antibiotics as well as the antiviral drug amantadine in some chicken samples.

Although FDA-approved for pain-control applications in humans and in dogs, the agency prohibited its use in poultry in 2006 to help preserve its effectiveness.

The FDA does not believe amantadine contributed to the illnesses, as the side effects of the drug do not correlate with the symptoms seen in the pets; however, amantadine should not be present at all in jerky treats.

Chinese authorities have agreed to conduct additional screenings and follow up with jerky treat manufacturers, and the FDA has notified U.S. treat makers of the presence of amantadine in some jerky products.

The agency will also continue testing these products for drugs and other antivirals.

The FDA cautioned pet owners that jerky pet treats are not required for a balanced diet.

If your pet experiences any sign of illness, including vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy, contact your veterinarian right away.

All owners should be extremely carefully, after all, none of us needs to lose our companions over this when it can possibly be avoided!

This needs to be passed on to other dog owners.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day -- A Day To Fulfill Our Responsibility

Memorial Day can be confused with Veterans Day. It often is.

Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who were killed in action while serving our nation.

In contrast, Veterans Day acknowledges and celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans.

Memorial Day is that one day a year set aside to remember and give out grateful thanks to those who made the supreme sacrifice and were killed in the defense of our nation, all for us.

Formerly known as Decoration Day, it originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War.

It was established specifically to honor those who have paid the ultimate price for us.

Yes, when people say, "Freedom Is Not Free," they are talking about the price paid in blood.

The blood of free men. Yes, that is the price of freedom. The price paid to preserve freedom and liberty is the blood of free men.

Memorial Day is ours to set everything aside so that we can honor those who paid the ultimate price for us.

As for those who think that I don't need to repeat myself, I'm sorry. I'm sorry, but the fact is that Memorial Day is that important that I find that I repeat myself.

You see, almost every government building as well as many businesses fly the POW/MIA black flags almost all year round acknowledging the roughly 38,000 missing in action men and women in uniform since World Word I.

As of February 20th, 2014, Vietnam War missing in action are listed at 1,643.

In contrast, other than a monument here and there, we only have this one day to acknowledge the 1,321,612 KIA -- those men and women killed in action protecting our freedoms. Those who died for us.

Honestly, away from the bar-b-ques, the cookouts, the picnics, the 4 day weekend spent on vacation, I really wonder how many truly take just a few moments to thank those who have died so that we can live the lives we do?

For me, Memorial Day goes to the heart of our responsibilities as United States citizens.
Yes, believe it or not, there are a few "officially" recognized responsibilities of U.S. citizenship.

They are:

• Support and defend the Constitution.
• Stay informed of the issues.
• Participate in the democratic process and vote.
• Respect and obey the law.
• Respect the rights, beliefs, and opinions of others.
• Participate in your local community.
• Pay taxes.
• Serve on a jury when called upon.
• Defend the country if the need should arise.

But there are other responsibilities as well, such as:

•  Supporting those who are presently serving in our military
•  Thanking those who have served with honor.
•  Providing care for our wounded.
•  Remembering those who have died for us.

Yes, we must never forget or take for granted those who have died for our nation.

It is our responsibility as citizens, but more than that it goes to the heart of who we are as people and our sense of self-respect.

So please, remember that today is the day we set aside to fulfill our responsibilities as citzens and thank those who died so that we may remain free.

We should all take a moment to say a prayer, raise a glass, or just close our eyes and whisper "Thank you!"

Besides, never forgetting and saying "thanks" is not all that much to ask when we owe them our undying gratitude.

That's just how I see it.

Tom Correa

Sunday, May 25, 2014

U.S. Marine Corps - The Most Important Branch

Although a poll out recently shows that Americans do not agree with me, I believe that the United States Marine Corps (USMC) is the most important branch of our military. The first reaction that you may have after reading that statement may be somethings to the effect, "that's no surprise coming from a former-Marine." But before you dismiss my position on military importance, please hear me out.

Gallup started asking Americans about the importance of U.S. military branches in the 1940s, using a variety of questions over the years. Each year Gallup asks the same question. Recently, Gallup released it's annual poll which shows that Americans feel the U.S. Army is the most important service branch to national defense -- but the United States Marine Corps is still considered the most prestigious.

The annual poll​, timed to mark the start of the long Memorial Day weekend, showed that 26 percent of Americans say the Army is the most important military branch. And, as surprising as it was to me, believe it or not, the Army was followed closely by the Air Force at 23 percent.

The Marine Corps was called the most important by 19 percent, the Navy by 17 percent, and the Coast Guard by 3 percent, the poll found. Technically the Coast Guard works for the Department of Homeland Security, so I really don't know why they were in the poll because they are not part of our military -- the Coast Guard is not under the Department of Defense.

By the way, I have a great deal of respect for the Coast Guard. They are great at what they do. While they have periodically been used to assist in military operations, there is a reason that they are not a part of our military. That reason has to do with the Coast Guard's ability to make arrests. According to our laws, the power to make an arrest is not a power that our military has because of the Posse Comitatus Laws.

The Posse Comitatus Act (1878) prohibits the use of the U.S. military, specifically the Army, to aid civil officials in enforcing the law or suppressing civil disorder unless expressly ordered to do so by the president. In the 1870s, Southern Democrats in Congress resented the widespread use of federal troops during Reconstruction and they introduced the law. Subsequently, this law was to stop that.

Since the Posse Comitatus Act restricts the participation of the military in domestic law enforcement activities, the Coast Guard is not a part of our military and has been placed under civilian authority. 

As for committing the U.S. Army, their role of importance has to do with our adherence to the Constitution. If we are to adhere to the laws written in the U.S. Constitution, then we are to understand that the U.S. Constitution states that only Congress can lawfully declare war. According to the Constitution, Congress must pass an act of war so that the United States can deploy the Army. The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts, and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States.

While I have a great deal of admiration and respect for all of the branches of our military, and while I really believe that the U.S. Army is much more important than the Air Force because of the difference in their missions, I do not believe that the Army and the Air Force are more important than the Marine Corps and the Navy.

My reasoning has nothing to do with my affection for the Marine Corps or the Navy, or some supposed dislike for either the Army or the Air Force. I admire everyone serving in all of the branches. I really do.

I see the Air Forces as having bigger payload capabilities with their B-52s and such, which the Marine Corps and Navy do not have. To me, America shouldn't need them unless it was such an engagement of such enormity that both Marine and Navy air power isn't able to do the job alone.

Per the Air Force: "The mission of the United States Air Force is to fly, fight and win in air, space and cyberspace." While they play a key role in war-fighting, the Air Force and its massive air power will always be a supportive role to commanders who want to disable industrial and military installations, or positions of importance.

Can that sort of bombing win a war? No, it never has. Fact is, no, like it or not, unless using nuclear weapons, you cannot win a war with just air power. Winning wars will always be left to troops on the ground.

As for the Army, I see the Army as America's giant fighting machine. Since the Army has over half a million soldiers on active duty (546,047) and over half a million soldiers on reserve status (559,244), the U.S. Army is over a million soldiers strong. Yes, that's Army strong.

In contrast to the Marine Corps which is the smallest of the United States Armed Forces in the U.S. Department of Defense with 195,000 on active duty and 40,000 ready reserves. The difference is that the Army's gigantic war machine takes much longer to deploy.

In most cases it takes months and there is a whole lot more logistics involved to get its massive numbers of troops from one place to another. It is a lumbering giant at best. Once awake and in place, it is a force that is second to none -- but it take a long time to get into the fight.

The Marine Corps and the Navy are more important if we just look at the practical application of American military power around the world.

Because both tactically and logistically, it's all about getting the best into combat the fastest, the United States Marine Corps is the branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to rapidly deliver combined-arms task forces.

As for technically requiring a Declaration of War to deploy the Army, per the Constitution, that is not the case with the Marine Corps. No act of war is needed to deploy U.S. Marines.

The Marines can be used "as the President may direct," according to the 1834 Marine Corps Law. Because of that, U.S Marines operate in a state of readiness for combat unmatched by units in other military branches.

A single Marine unit has everything it needs to leap right into combat, including logistical support and close air support both internally and from the Navy. And yes, Marines keep units stationed on Navy ships that are "on float" around the world. A force in readiness that puts Marines closer to potential trouble spots than troops stationed in the United States or Europe.

According to law, the "as the President may direct" portion of the Marine Corps' job description puts Marines in quite a few non-amphibious situations, including combat far from beaches, running security detail on some Navy ships -- which historically was originally the Corps’ primary function -- protecting U.S. Embassies as well as the White House, and transporting the president and vice president in Marine helicopters. By law, 10 U.S. Code 5063, the Marine Corps is responsible, in accordance with integrated joint mobilization plans, for the expansion of peacetime components of the Marine Corps to meet the needs of war.

For me, while I might be biased being a former-Marine, I see the Marine Corps as the most important branch simply because large numbers of Marines can be put ashore anywhere in the world, with lethal firepower, backed up by Marine and Naval Air, faster than anyone else can. And that leads me into why I also see the United States Navy as the second most important military branch of all.

For those who see the Navy as being less important than than the Army or the Air Force, it's obvious that those polled do not know what the United States Navy does. And no, I'm not talking about the importance of Navy SEALS.

Being real honest, Navy SEALS do a great job for what they do. But, let's face facts, they do not represent the U.S.Navy. In fact, SEALS are not representative of the much bigger overall mission of the United States Navy.

The mission of the U.S. Navy is a lot more than merely deploying a handful of SEALS ashore at any given time. And frankly, the Navy is a lot more than simply the less that half of 1% of all Sailors in the United States Navy who are SEALS -- or those who have anything to do with them. To me, while SEALS seem to do a lot of work for special ops, they have little to do with the mission of the Navy.

Per the Navy: "The mission of the Navy is to maintain, train and equip combat-ready Naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression, and maintaining freedom of the seas."
To accomplish their mission, the vast majority of sailors are truly the unsung heroes of the Navy. To maintaining freedom of the seas, America has Sailors who fuel and repair aircraft, scrap and paint, weigh anchor and do the heavy lifting, and preform hundreds of other jobs both atop the waves and beneath the ocean, all to make sure our ships get from one side of the world to the other. These unsung heroes are deployed on about 300 ships and a multitude of bases around the world in every clime and place. They are the "Real Navy" which sadly never gets the recognition they deserve.

Fact is, from Boatswain Mates to Cooks, from Machinist Mates to Aviators, there are over 300,000 active duty and over 100,000 ready reserve sailors in the United States Navy. All ready to fulfill the mission of the Navy of maintaining, training and equipping combat-ready Naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression by their mere presence, and maintaining freedom of the seas for American shipping.

Today, the U.S. Navy has the distinction of being the world's premier naval power. To really understand why there’s a need for a sea-based military in this day and age, just consider this:
  • 70% of the earth is covered by water
  • 80% of the planet’s population lives within close proximity to coastal areas
  • 90% of global commerce is conducted by sea
  • Commerce is the life-blood of free nations
Any way you look at it, our ability to navigate the waterways of the world freely is as critical today as it was more than 200 years ago. Whether it's by way of oceans, canals, rivers, there remains a great need for the Navy to be out there serving Americans as a guardian for our freedom and defending the life we cherish.

To support the cause of liberty abroad and promoting peace for all humanity, and enabling the safe travel of people and goods to meet the expanding demands of Americans worldwide, America's Navy is unique in that it conducts missions on all fronts: in the air, on land, and at sea.

Sadly, since World War II, the importance of the Navy has not been publicized over the years. Consequently, it is not a surprise that Americans view the Air Force as the most important branch of the military for many years up to the mid-2000s.

Now, as for the Army, the Army has edged out other military branches in Gallup surveys conducted throughout the years especially the last decade.

Importance does not necessarily equal prestige.

The Marine Corps has consistently been considered the nation’s most prestigious military branch, even if not the most important, with nearly half of Americans — 47 percent — saying they respect Marines the most.

The Air Force was a distant second, with 17 percent saying is was the most prestigious branch, said the poll.

And no, the Navy is not happy with the results as it is seen as the least prestigious military branch in the eyes of Americans -- with only a mere 12% of Americans saying the Navy is the most prestigious military branch.

As for the Marines being America's most prestigious military branch, that doesn't surprise me. After all, as a former-Marine, I really have to ask who's never heard of "The few, the proud, the Marines."

Marines are America's 911 when an enemy needs it's butt kicked. Because of the Marine Corps' history and tradition of being able to land on foreign shores faster than the Army, the Marine Corps' claim of being the first to fight in every clime and place where it can take a gun is legitimate.

That's the way I see it.

Now if you would like to do more reading about the Marine Corps' activities from 1865 to 1900 when it was in every clime and place where it could take a gun, please click:
The Late 1800s - U.S. Military Action Abroad

Tom Correa

Semper Fi!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Blacks Loyally Fought For The Confederacy

The Massacre at Poison Spring, 1864

First, let's talk about the Massacre at Poison Spring which took place during the American Civil War on April 18, 1864, in Ouachita County, Arkansas, during what became known as the Camden Expedition.

The battle itself, the Battle of Poison Spring, is infamous for the Confederates' slaughter and mutilation of black soldiers with the 1st Kansas Colored Infantry.

Depending on what we read, what the Battle of Poison Springs was either a plunder or part of a plan that went wrong very badly.

Some sources say that the Battle of Poison Spring was part of broad Union offensive in the region of Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas.

General Nathaniel Banks had led a 14,000 Yankee force through Louisiana in March and April, but a defeat in northwestern Louisiana at the Battle of Mansfield on April 8 sent Banks in retreat.

Union forces nearby in Arkansas were moving towards Banks' projected thrust into Texas with the intention of securing southwestern Arkansas for the Federals.

Union General Frederick Steele occupied Camden, Arkansas, on April 15th.

Supposedly because of dwindling food supplies for his army at Camden, Arkansas forced Union Army Maj. Gen. Frederick Steele to send out a foraging party to gather corn that the Confederates had stored about twenty miles up the Prairie D’Ane-Camden Road on White Oak Creek.

All of the sources that I could find agree that two days after arriving, he sent Colonel John Williams and 1,100 men to gather up the 5,000 bushels of corn west of Camden.

The party loaded the corn into wagons, and on April 18, Col. James M. Williams started his return to Camden.

It is believed that the force arrived to find that a handful of Confederate marauders had destroyed half of the store, but the Yankees loaded the rest into some 200 wagons and prepared to return to Camden.

On the way back 3,600 Confederates intercepted them.

Brig. Gen. John S. Marmaduke’s and Brig. Gen. Samuel B. Maxey’s Confederate forces arrived at Lee Plantation, about fifteen miles from Camden, where they engaged Williams.

Gen. Maxey placed Gen. Marmaduke in charge of the attack that ensued.

Col. Williams positioned part of his Union force, the 1st Kansas Colored Infantry, between the wagon train and the Confederate lines.

The regiment was the first black unit in the army, comprised primarily of ex-slaves.

The determined soldiers of the 1st Kansas stopped the first two Rebel attacks, but they were running low on ammunition.

The Confederates attacked Col. Williams' force from the front and rear, forcing him to retreat north into a marsh where his men regrouped and then fell back to Camden.

Yes, a third assault overwhelmed the Kansans -- and the rout was on. Williams tried to gather the remnants of his force and retreated from the abandoned wagons.

More than 300 Yankee troops were killed, wounded, or captured, while the Confederates lost just 13 killed and 81 wounded.

The Confederate treatment of the Union black troops would be considered a War Crime today as no black Union troops were taken prisoner of war, and those left wounded on the battlefield were brutally killed, scalped, and stripped.

During the fight, Col. Williams positioned the 1st Kansas Colored Infantry, a regiment made up of mostly ex-slaves, between the wagon train and Confederate lines -- those black troops fought bravely and repelled the first two Confederate offenses. Soon though, they ran low on ammunition and were beaten back.

The Confederates refused to take the wounded black soldiers as prisoners, and instead brutally slaughtered them, stripped them naked, and then scalped them. In all, the regiment lost nearly half of its numbers.

The Washington Telegraph, the major Confederate newspaper in Arkansas, justified the atrocity by declaring:

"We cannot treat Negroes taken in arms as prisoners of war without a destruction of social system for which we contend."

Their hypocrisy speaks volumes since Blacks loyally served the Confederacy.

Yes,  while white Southerners were concerned with slaves having access to firearms and that blacks would turn against them and use those firearms to kill whites -- and while initially, Confederate law prohibited enlisting blacks into the Army and Navy as anything other than "musicians" -- many Confederate units, both regular army and militia enlisted blacks.

Here's how they got around the law, the blacks that fought in the Confederate Army were not listed in record books as soldiers -- instead the word soldier was crossed out and body servant, teamster, cook, guard, musician, was inserted in its place.

It is believed that more than 65,000 Southern blacks served as fighting Confederate soldiers in the Confederate Army -- even as guards and scouts.

Isn't is interesting that black Confederate musicians, cooks, soldiers and teamsters earned the same pay as white Confederate privates, yet this was not the case in the Union Army where blacks did not receive equal pay.

At the Confederate Buffalo Forge in Rockbridge County, Virginia, skilled black workers earned on average three times the wages of white Confederate soldiers and more than most Confederate Army officers -- about $350 to $600 a year.

While many try to say that it was only when the South could see that it was in danger of losing the war, that the Confederacy created the "Confederate States Colored Troops" to add more regiments to their dwindling Army -- but that wasn't true.

Early on, the Confederacy set a quota for 300,000 black soldiers for the Confederate States Colored Troops.

Since 83% of Richmond's male slave population volunteered for duty, believe it or not, a special ball is said to have been held in Richmond to raise money for uniforms for these men.

While black regiments were segregated from white regiments, the black units were usually sent off into dangerous situations because they were seen as expendable.

And yes, while the massacre at Poison Spring in 1864 demonstrates how white Confederate troops viewed black Union troops -- blacks who were just yesterday their slaves now in their own uniforms was equally met with disdain by white Confederate troops. 

To say the impact of the Confederate States Colored Troops was only slight would be an understatement. The impact of black soldiers fighting for the Confederacy should not be overlooked because of the impact that their enlistment had on Southern morale and white enlistment.

With the creation of Confederate States Colored Troops enlistment numbers among white Southern sympathizers dropped like a rock -- proving that everyone was not for blacks fighting for the Confederacy.

It is said that demoralized white Southerners could not believe their eyes when they saw black Confederate soldiers in gray uniforms drilling in the streets of Richmond just before it fell.

Due to the war ending, it is believed only companies or squads of these troops ever saw any action. But that i8s far from true.

Black soldiers fought for the North in larger numbers earlier because the North instituted their policy sooner than the South. But all in all, thousands upon thousand blacks in the South loyally fought for the Confederacy.

John Parker, a former slave reported that the Richmond Howitzers were regiment partially manned by black people.

They fought at the 1st Battle of Bull Run where they operated the second battery. A black regiment also fought for the confederates during that battle.

It is believed that a number of Southern blacks were killed in that action which was the first battle of the Civil War.

It is said that "lighter-complexioned" blacks were used in the Louisiana Native Guards, known in French as the Corps d’Afrique.

On Nov. 23, 1861, the Louisiana Native guards fought along the Mississippi next to the white regiments.

The Guards consisted of at least 33 black officers and 731 black enlisted men.

It was believed that black Confederates joined the Louisiana militia for varied reasons, including the thought that they would lose their property and economic self-interest.

Dr. Lewis Steiner, Chief Inspector of the United States Sanitary Commission while observing Gen. "Stonewall" Jackson's occupation of Frederick, Maryland, in 1862:

"Over 3,000 Negroes must be included in this number of Confederate troops. These were clad in all kinds of uniforms, not only in cast-off or captured United States uniforms, but in coats with Southern buttons, State buttons, etc. These were shabby, but not shabbier or seedier than those worn by white men in the rebel ranks. Most of the Negroes had arms, rifles, muskets, sabers, bowie-knives, dirks, etc.....and were manifestly an integral portion of the Southern Confederate Army."

On April 4, 1865, in Virginia, a Confederate supply train was exclusively manned and guarded by black Infantry.

When attacked by Federal Cavalry, they stood their ground and fought off the charge, but on the second charge they were overwhelmed.

In February of 1865, Union General U.S. Grant ordered the capture of "all the Negro men… before the enemy can put them in their ranks."

Frederick Douglas reported:

"There are at the present moment many Colored men in the Confederate Army doing duty not only as cooks, servants and laborers, but real soldiers, having musket on their shoulders, and bullets in their pockets, ready to shoot down any loyal troops and do all that soldiers may do to destroy the Federal government and build up that of the rebels."

Frederick Douglas is also known to have warned President Abe Lincoln that unless slaves were guaranteed freedom as those in Union controlled areas were still slaves and land bounties, "they would take up arms for the rebels."

James Washington was a black confederate non-commissioned officer. He was the 4th Sergeant in a rec Co. D, 35th in the Texas Cavalry in the Confederate Army.
He served on the State militia level in Louisiana instead of in the regular Confederate States Army.

Former slave, Horace King, accumulated great wealth as a contractor to the Confederate Navy. He was also an expert engineer and became known as the “Bridge builder of the Confederacy.”

One of his bridges was burned in a Yankee raid. His home was pillaged by Union troops, and supposedly his wife pleaded for mercy.

It is estimated that nearly 180,000 Black Southerners, from Virginia alone, provided logistical support for the Confederate military.

Many were highly skilled workers, including nurses, military engineers, teamsters, ordnance department workers, brakemen, firemen, harness makers, blacksmiths, wagon makers, boatmen, mechanics, wheelwrights, etc.

One black Confederate Navy seaman was among the last Confederates to surrender, aboard the CSS Shenandoah, six months after the war ended.

At least two blacks served as Navy pilots with the rank of Warrant Officer. One, William Bugg, piloted the CSS Sampson, and another, Moses Dallas, was considered the best inland pilot of the Confederate Navy.

Dallas piloted the Savannah River squadron and was paid $100 a month until the time he was killed by a Union Marine during the capture of USS Water Witch.

After the war, in the North a veterans organization called the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) was established in 1866 for veterans who fought for the Union -- but it was strictly segregated.
It stayed segregated until the mid-1880s when the organization advocated federal pensions for veterans and allowed black veterans to join.

It is said that they did just that in significant numbers and organized local posts. The national organization, however, failed to press the case for pensions for black soldiers.
Most black troops never received any pension or remuneration for wounds incurred during their service with the Union.

Right after the establishment of th United Confederate Veterans (UCV) in 1889, that group advocated awarding former slaves rural acreage and a home.

There was hope that justice could be given those slaves that were once promised "forty acres and a mule" for volunteering to fight for the Confederacy -- but none received any.

In the 1913, the Confederate Veteran magazine published by the UCV printed an article stating that the plan was the right thing to do.

While the civilian populace in the South held on to its prejudices after the Civil War, there was much gratitude toward former slaves who fought for the South from other Conderate soldiers.

It was said, "Thousands were loyal, to the last degree," yet they were living in total poverty in big cities. Unfortunately, the proposal that the UCV put forward to try to rectify the situation fell on deaf ears.
The banner of the UCV is that of the Confederate Battle Flag.

Sadly, today the banner is seen by many as representing slavery -- instead of representing men, both black and white, who fought for States Rights.

representation in enamel of the Confederate battle-flag, on a plain metal surface of an inch square
The Banner of the
United Confederate Veterans

During the 5oth Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg in 1913, arrangements were made for a joint reunion of Union and Confederate veterans.

The commission in charge of the event made sure they had enough accommodations for the black Union veterans, but were completely surprised when unexpected black Confederates arrived.

The white Confederates immediately welcomed their old comrades, gave them one of their tents, and “saw to their every need”. 

Nearly every Confederate reunion including those blacks that served with them, wearing the gray.

And yes, here's a bit of trivia, the first military monument in the United States Capitol that honors an African-American soldier is that of the Confederate monument at Arlington National cemetery whcih depicts a black Confederate soldier with his comrades.

To the left of the black woman and child is a black Confederate soldier. Yes, the monument depicts a black Confederate soldier marching in step with his white Confederate comrades.

Of course, shown is one "white soldier giving his child to a black woman for protection".

File:Confederate Monument - E frieze - Arlington National Cemetery - 2011.JPG

In the 1920'S Confederate pensions were finally allowed to some of those workers that were still living. Many thousands more served in other Confederate States.

So no, not all of the blacks in the South during the Civil War were slaves waiting to be free.

While it is estimated that at least 65,000 blacks fought for the Confederacy, it is believed that thousands upon thousands of blacks loyally served the Confederacy, not just in the Confederate Army and militias as soldiers but also in the Navy as sailors, and as employees of the Army, Navy, Confederate government and even individual State governments.

Yes, it's what we were told in school.

Tom Correa

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Triple Amputee War Veteran Pens Open Letter To Barack Obama

My Open Letter to Obama.

I nearly died in a war that you and most of your colleagues supported overwhelmingly, including the two presidents who came before you. Many citizens may not agree with waging war in Iraq to free the oppressed Iraqi citizens, but it’s something that warriors like myself have zero control over. I joined to serve my country and to better my life. I’ve seen things that you could never imagine, and they have made me the person I am today.

Mr. Obama, even though we share extreme opposite views, we have one thing in common, we both attended school in Hawaii. However, that’s where the similarities end. You see, as you attended your exclusive, private school, I would ride my bike to Kaimuki High school in one of the roughest areas in Hawaii every morning and would ride past Punahou, the exclusive private school you attended. I would notice the Bentleys, Maserati’s, and fancy foreign cars that all the kids were dropped off in; wow it must have been extremely rough in Hawaii living that life, right?

I could only imagine what it was like to have that kind of money. Fortunately for you, not many people are aware of the school and the upper class citizens who attended it. The tuition to attend your exclusive, private school was more than it cost me to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the University of Arizona. You talk a big game when it comes to financial inequality, yet I’m quite sure you have no idea what it’s truly like to have sacrifice. You were one of the elitist children in Hawaii.

After High School, we each chose very different paths. You were able to attend Ivy League schools, and I sought out a military career to in hopes of earning a degree. What we have in life as children usually sets the tone for what we will face later in life that will make us successful. I worked to get where I am today, and YOU WERE HANDED IT….Mr. Inequality.

I volunteered to go to Iraq on both of my deployments, and the second time I begged to go even after I wasn’t selected, which ultimately got me placed on the team where I would lose both legs and my dominant arm. I’ve never asked myself was losing 3 limbs in a war worth it, even though many Americans were against it.

I am frequently reminded of the many young Iraqi children who would beg me for water, food, and toys while I was stationed in Iraq. Children, who in all aspects made the poorest of poor American children look rich. You have no idea what it really means to be poor. It’s laughable that you, who would have no idea what it means to be poor would so frequently play the inequality card.

While I was in Iraq, our mission was to liberate the Iraqi citizens from a tyrant and that’s what we did. Never forget, it was your people who sent us there, like the Clintons, John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi & Carl Levin. However, since the day you busted onto the scene you’ve been talking about ending the war and pulling the troops out, not understanding the blood sweat and tears that so many Americans and Iraqi’sinvested. And with complete disregard for every life sacrificed, every limb lost, and every broken family, you bailed on our mission to pursue an agenda that was completely centered on your re-election in 2012.

If you didn’t bail on Iraq you were worried that you may not get re-elected and that’s a fact. Just before elections on Oct 11, 2012 you said “Al Qaeda is on the run and Osama bin Laden is dead.” Look at Iraq now, they are in shambles and the Al Qaeda flag is flying freely. Clearly, you’re unfit for duty as a Commander in Chief. You put your own agenda ahead of America’s agenda, and now you have single handedly ruined and destroyed nearly everything we gained in Iraq. It clearly means nothing to you, because the only thing that you’ve personally invested in that country was a promise to bail on them. However, people like me gave limbs, friends have died, and we’ve watched families destroyed by war’s aftermath.

I’m not placing blame on you for the war, I’m placing blame on you for destroying what we’ve worked so hard to build. You’re not a leader, you’re a community organizer. A leader would have stood up regardless of the situation and put America’s agenda first and that is ensuring a secure Iraq even after 10 years of war. But, you placed Barack first, just as Robert Gates confirmed in his new book.

You’re just another elitist rich thug who’s pretended to live the rough life growing up in the inner-city. You’re only worried about your own agenda and furthering your party instead of taking care of Americans. Your inability to be a leader at some of the most critical points has caused both of our wars to fail. You’ve been a joke to most of our veteran community and we have no faith in your ability to lead.

Senior Airman Ret Brian Kolfage USAF

“The man who complains about the way the ball bounces is likely to be the one who dropped it.” — Lou Holtz

Monday, May 19, 2014

Today Everything and Everyone is Racist -- Including Mark Twain?

Dear Friends,

There are a few things that make me absolutely ill these days -- one happens to be the use of ther terms "racist" and racism" when it is in fact their use is unwarranted and completely uncalled for.

Everything today is racist, and it makes me sick because true racists -- those narrow minded individuals out there who truly hate others because of the color of their skin, or because of their ethnic background -- are today getting a pass of sorts.

Yes, a pass, a ticket to go on doing what they are doing.
Why, because the term racist is being watered down to mean nothing at all.

Examples are everywhere.

Just recently young children were stopped from singing the song "YMCA" because some clown declared it racist, a boy who played the child's game "hangman" was called a racist, the grocery story was called racist because some jerk didn't like it's products, and yes, the boy who wore a t-shirt bearing an image of an American Flag was called racist because he did it on Cinco de Mayo.

Of course, the first Black Attorney General of the United States has called those in Congress who questioned him racist.

Yet, really they were only asking him hard questions about the various scandals that his Justice Department has been linked to and has clearly been involved in -- such as the Fast & Furious Scandal.

Of course all of the other Attorney Generals who were made to answer questions regarding things like White Water, Water Gate, or Iran Contra, all testified under hard questioning and they didn't scream racism.

But then again, in America these days, they might have been able to even though they were of European and Hispanic ancestry.

Today racism is revolutionary in that anything and everything can be called racism -- nothing is exempt from being called racist.  

Yes, including of course the critics of the President of the United States.

I content that because he is America's First Black President, a man whose election was said to have marked the end of racism in America, that he goes out of his way to label his critics "Racists" every chance he gets.

It's none stop! For example, in 2009, many of us didn't like the 800 Billion Dollar Stimulus Bill that was shoved through by President Obama and Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.

Because of our dislike of the way Washington DC was spending money, many of us joined together to rally against it. Yes, that is why the Tea Party protesters got together in the first place.

And immediately, yes, we were labeled racists with Liberals comparing us to the Ku Klux Klan and such hate groups.

When many in America protested about the Black Panther's standing outside of a Polling Place with clubs in an open attempt to intimidate voters, we were called racists.

Racists. true racist, must be laughing at the absurdity!

I content that the Liberal Left has rendered that word so meaningless these days that there is nothing to call someone who is truly, a for real, honest to goodness, card carrying racist!

What amazes me even more these days is all of the history that folks are now in the process of re-writing.

There was talk recently that our currency was going to get a make-over and that our famous figures such as President Andrew Jackson and Ulysses S. Grant, along with American  statesman Benjamin Franklin would be removed because they are now deemed racists.

Imagine the insanity! And no, don't think it's stopping soon!

Racist this and racist that, racist this and racist that, blah blah blah this and blah blah blah that, blah blah blah this and blah blah blah that, yes, after a while the term means nothing at all.

Yesterday, a man who has been cited as being America's Greatest Writer, Mark Twain was called a racist.

While America's great writers such as Hemingway and Falkner and many many others have praised Mark Twain for his gifts to America in the form of literature which captured the 1800s, today he is now touted as a racist.

First it started with school libraries saying they would not carry his classic works, but now it has even stopped a plan to name a cove in Lake Tahoe after Mark Twain.

Why? The plan is being scrapped after a tribe complained saying Mark Twain had racist views.

According to the Associated Press, a state of Nevada panel effectively killed the bid to name a cove in Lake Tahoe after Mark Twain -- citing opposition from a tribe that says he held racist views on Native Americans.

The Nevada State Board on Geographic Names this week voted to indefinitely table the request after hearing opposition from the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California, whose ancestral homeland includes Lake Tahoe.

Supporters had sought to name a scenic cove on the lake's northeast shore for Samuel Clemens, Mark Twain being his pen name.

But Darrel Cruz, head of the tribe's cultural resource department, said Mark Twain was undeserving of the honor because of derogatory comments about the Washoe and other tribes in his writings.

Among other things, he cited Mark Twain's opposition to the naming of the lake as Tahoe, which is derived from the Washoe word "da ow" for lake.

Cruz also objected to a Twain quote about Lake Tahoe: "People say that Tahoe means 'Silver Lake' — 'Limpid Water' — 'Falling Leaf.' Bosh! It means grasshopper soup, the favorite dish of the digger tribe — and of the Piutes as well."

Cruz said Washoes dislike being referred to as the "digger tribe," a derogatory term applied to some tribes in the West who dug roots for food.

Other tribes ate grasshoppers.

"Samuel Clemens had racist views on the native people of this country and has captured those views in his literature," Cruz wrote in a letter to the board.

"Therefore, we cannot support the notion of giving a place name in Lake Tahoe to Samuel Clemens."

But James Hulse, history professor emeritus at the University of Nevada, Reno, said it's irrelevant whether Twain's writings were insulting to Native Americans.

Hulse said, "The cove should be named for Twain because he praised Tahoe's beauty while visiting the lake in 1861-1862, and he became one of America's most beloved authors after assuming his pen name as a Nevada newspaper reporter around the same time."

Hulse also said, "In his early days, (Twain's) ironic-comic mode was insulting to everyone, including governors, legislators, mine bosses and journalistic colleagues. 

He learned and overcame his prejudices far better than most of his contemporaries and successors."

Thomas Quirk, an English professor emeritus at the University of Missouri and leading Twain scholar, said the author eventually overcame his racism against blacks.

But Quirk said he has found no evidence that he significantly changed his views on American Indians.

It's said that Twain did not embrace the idea of idolizing what James Fenimore Cooper called the "noble red man," Quirk said, and poked fun at Cooper for doing so.

"When it comes to African Americans, he was ahead of his time substantially," he said. "When it comes to Native Americans, his record is not very good. If he were alive today, he would sing a different tune."

For me, I don't care if the Nevada board initiated another the plan to name the cove for Samuel Clemens. Fact is, it appears that those supporting the naming of a cove don't have what it takes to fight for what is right!

Case and point, board member Robert Stewart said he dropped his support of it -- even though he learned about a later letter Twain wrote objecting to the treatment of tribes in Arizona and New Mexico.

It's the second time the bid to name the cove for Mark Twain has failed.

But none of that matter these days, after all, if one group calls Mark Twain a "racist," then of course it must be true -- he must be a racist, at least that's the way it is today.

Mark Twain was not a racist.

Like Benjamin Franklin who was responsible for started the first anti-slavery group in America -- when America was still British -- Mark Twain was an adamant supporter of the abolition of slavery and emancipation of slaves.

He actually went so far to say, "Lincoln's Proclamation ... not only set the black slaves free, but set the white man free also."

He argued that non-whites did not receive justice in the United States, once saying, "I have seen Chinamen abused and maltreated in all the mean, cowardly ways possible to the invention of a degraded nature ... but I never saw a Chinaman righted in a court of justice for wrongs thus done to him."

If Mark Twain was a racist, then why is it that he paid for at least one black person to attend Yale Law School and for another black person to attend a southern university to become a minister?

Did his early views on Native Americans change over the years? Yes it did.

Example, Mark Twain wrote in 1870:

"His heart is a cesspool of falsehood, of treachery, and of low and devilish instincts. With him, gratitude is an unknown emotion; and when one does him a kindness, it is safest to keep the face toward him, lest the reward be an arrow in the back. To accept of a favor from him is to assume a debt which you can never repay to his satisfaction, though you bankrupt yourself trying. The scum of the earth!"

Later, in his essay on "The Literary Offenses of Fenimore Cooper" offered this kinder view of Indians:

"No, other Indians would have noticed these things, but Cooper's Indians never notice anything. Cooper thinks they are marvelous creatures for noticing, but he was almost always in error about his Indians. There was seldom a sane one among them."

In his later travelogue "Following the Equator" (1897), Mark Twain wrote that in colonized lands all over the world, "savages" have always been wronged by "whites" in the most merciless ways, such as "robbery, humiliation, and slow, slow murder, through poverty and the white man's whiskey".

Twain concluded that "there are many humorous things in this world; among them the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.".

In an expression that captures his Indian experiences, he wrote, "So far as I am able to judge nothing has been left undone, either by man or Nature, to make India the most extraordinary country that the sun visits on his rounds. Where every prospect pleases, and only man is vile."

Could he have changed his view on the American Indian?

We know for fact that he did not accept the Democrat Party's notion that women and blacks do not need right.

Yes, like many Republicans, he was a staunch supporter of women's rights and an active campaigner for women's suffrage.

His "Votes for Women" speech, in which he pressed for the granting of voting rights to women, is considered one of the most famous in history.

It's also said that Helen Keller benefited from Mark Twain's support, as she pursued her college education and publishing, despite her disabilities and financial limitations.

I believe that like many people, growing as a person Mark Twain changed many of the views which he held when he was younger.

Can that really take place? Well, if we are to believe the Democrat Party -- yes, it is something that surely can take place.

What am I talking about? Someone who supposedly changed.

The Democrat Party supported a man who has highways and bridges and schools and all sorts of things named after him -- that man was Democrat Senator Robert Byrd who passed away in 2010.

Robert Byrd served as a U.S. Representative from 1953 until 1959 and as a U.S. Senator from 1959 to 2010. All the while a Democrat.

Today, more than 50 buildings in West Virginia are named for either Robert Byrd or his wife. They are: 
  • Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope in Green Bank, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Academic and Technology Center, Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Academic and Technology Center, Marshall University Graduate College in South Charleston, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Auditorium, National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Biotechnology Science Center, Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Cancer Research Laboratory, West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Center for Legislative Studies, Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Center for Pharmacy Education, University of Charleston in Charleston, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Center for Rural Health, Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Clinical Teaching Center, Charleston Area Medical Center Memorial Hospital in Charleston, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope, Green Bank, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Hardwood Technologies Center, Princeton, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Health and Wellness Center, Bethany College in Bethany, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center, West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center Charleston Division, Charleston, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd High School, Clarksburg, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing (RCBI) Bridgeport Manufacturing Technology Center, Bridgeport, West Virginia.
  • RCBI Charleston Manufacturing Technology Center, South Charleston, West Virginia.
  • RCBI Huntington Manufacturing Technology Center, Huntington, West Virginia.
  • RCBI Rocket Center Manufacturing Technology Center, Rocket Center, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Institute for Composites Technology and Training Center, Bridgeport, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Library, Wheeling, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Library and Robert C. Byrd Learning Resource Center, University of Charleston in Beckley.
  • Robert C. Byrd Life Long Learning Center, Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College in Moorefield, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Life Long Learning Center, West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Metals Fabrication Center, Rocket Center, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd National Aerospace Education Center, Bridgeport, West Virginia (affiliated with Fairmont State University)
  • Robert C. Byrd National Technology Transfer Center, Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Regional Training Institute, Camp Dawson near Kingwood, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Science and Technology Center, Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Technology Center, Alderson–Broaddus College in Philippi, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd United Technical Center.
  • Robert C. Byrd Hilltop Office Complex, Rocket Center, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Industrial Park, Moorefield, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Community Center, Pine Grove, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Community Center, Sugar Grove, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Rooms, Office of the West Virginia Senate Minority Leader, West Virginia State Capitol in Charleston, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd United States Courthouse and Federal Building, Beckley, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd United States Courthouse and Federal Building, Charleston, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Federal Correctional Institution, Hazelton, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Clinic, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine in Lewisburg, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Clinical Addition to Veteran's Hospital, Huntington, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Addition to the Lodge at Oglebay Park, Wheeling, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Conference Center (also known as the Robert C. Byrd Center for Hospitality and Tourism), Davis & Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Visitor Center, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.
  • The Robert C. Byrd Bridge crossing the Ohio River between Huntington, West Virginia and Chesapeake, Ohio.Robert C. Byrd Appalachian Highway System, Appalachian Development Highway System in West Virginia -- also know as the road to nowhere.
  • Robert C. Byrd Bridge, crosses the Ohio River between Huntington, West Virginia and Chesapeake, Ohio.
  • Robert C. Byrd Bridge, Ohio County, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Drive, West Virginia Routes 16 and 97 between Beckley and Sophia, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Expressway, United States Route 22 near Weirton, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Freeway, United States Route 119 between Williamson and Charleston, West Virginia (also known as Corridor L).
  • Robert C. Byrd Highway, United States Route 48 between Weston, West Virginia and the Virginia state line near Wardensville, West Virginia (also known as Corridor H).
  • Robert C. Byrd Interchange on Interstate 77.
  • Robert C. Byrd Interchange on United States Route 19, Birch River, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Intermodal Transportation Center, Wheeling, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Locks and Dam, Ohio River in Gallipolis Ferry, West Virginia.
Yes, all of these places named after Robert Byrd.

All in spite of the fact that Democrat Rodert Byrd was a member of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1940s and early 1950s, served as a Klan recruiter, a leader for a local Klan chapter, and refused to fight for the United States during World War II because he didn't want to fight for a country that recognized blacks as equal to whites.

Friends, that's a true racist!

But in spite of waging war on behalf of the Democrat Party on every piece of Civil Rights legislation that ever appeared before him including the 1964 Civil Rights Act which he personally filibustered against, he was given honorable recognition.

When Byrd joined with Democratic senators to filibuster the Civil Rights Act of 1964, he personally filibustered the 1964 Civil Rights Act for 14 hours.

And yes, despite all of his efforts in that 83-day filibuster in the Senate, Republicans pushed that bill through Congress.

As for Robert Byrd, he also opposed the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

But in 2005, Byrd told The Washington Post that his membership in the Baptist church led to a change in his views.

Some speculate that Byrd, like other Southern and border-state Democrats, came to realize that he would have to temper "his blatantly segregationist views" and make himself appear less racist if he wanted to win reelection.

Because of his opposition to desegregation, Byrd was a member of the wing of the Democratic Party that opposed Desegregation and Civil Rights imposed by the federal government.

So while the Democrat Party says that despite having early career in the KKK as a committed segregationist and over racist, that Robert Byrd had changed his way of thinking and was rewarded for his change with recognition.

While a majority of Liberal Democrats and minorities say that Robert Byrd changed, they do not give Mark Twain the same forgiveness.

In 2011, the U.S. Board on Geographic Names rejected the request for Mark Twain's name to be attached to that cove in Lake Tahoe after the U.S. Forest Service said Mark Twain's influence on the Sierra Nevada lake was minimal and other historical figures were more deserving of the honor.

Supporters sought to honor him because there is no geographic feature in the state named for Samuel Clemens, or his pen name Mark Twain, whose book "Roughing It" really did put Nevada on the map.

Samuel Clemens became America's first celebrity author -- Mark Twain.

Roughing It put Nevada in context as a key player in America's Westward expansion, writing about the West in a way that affected both Mark Twain and those who read about his vision of it.

Mark Twain's writing affected the ways in which the nation perceived and mythologized the West.

Maybe it was his distinctive Western voice, or maybe it was the subject, but his telling of the tales lent credence to the stereotypes and truths about a West which was vanishing even as Mark Twain wrote about it.

Now the state of Nevada won't even name a cove after him.

And yes, that's pretty pathetic!

Tom Correa


Saturday, May 17, 2014

Mokelumne Hill was bloodier than Tombstone

After researching Tombstone, Arizona, I've come to the conclusion that the facts were hard for me to believe at first. My conclusion is that the violence in Tombstone, the town of know as "Heldorado," paled in comparison to the California Gold Country town of Molelumne Hill.

I looked at the violence that took place within the first 2 years of their boom, and compared apples to apples. The facts don't lie, Moke Hill, as it is known to folks in these parts, was bloodier than Tombstone and in fact was possible a more violent place than Tombstone and Deadwood combined.

The town of Mokelumne Hill took its name from the Mokelumne River, which was named after a Mi-wok Indian village located on the valley portion of the river. The Indians were most likely known as the Mokels, as the Mi-wok suffix umne means “people of.” Father Narciso Duran, the president of the missions in California, was the first to record the name in writing.

In April of 1817, Father Duran spelled it "Muquelemnes." During the Gold Rush, the name was spelled in a number of phonetic ways including Mokellemos, Moquelemes, Moquelumne, Mokelemy, and no doubt many others.

It started when a group of prospectors from Oregon discovered the rich placer gold along the Mokelumne River. That  happened in October of 1848, a little ways below the town’s present site, and the diggings were rich. In fact, it was so rich that even with their provisions almost gone, the men chose to risk starvation rather than abandon their claim to make the long trip to Stockton for supplies.

A man named Syree was finally persuaded to go and when he returned, he set up a trading post up the hill from the Mokelumne River atop a hill near the scene of operations. That spot became known as Mokelumne Hill. By 1849, Syree sold food, tools, and supplies out of his canvas tent. Yes, all at a price that more than made up for any mining he missed.

Most of the early mining in the area took place at Big Bar, the spot located by the Oregonians, and as word of the diggings spread through the mines, more and more miners began arriving and soon the land was covered with their tents and various shelters. Among the first to arrive were those already in the vicinity were French trappers from the Hudson’s Bay Company, Mexican and American settlers from the central valley, and ex-soldiers from Stevenson’s Regiment who were mustered out of service and looking for gold.

Colonel Jonathan D. Stevenson’s Regiment of New York Volunteers reached Mokelumne Hill in 1848. In later years Colonel Stevenson claimed to have been the first "alcalde" of the town. One of Stevenson’s men, Samuel W. Pearsall, discovered the first gold found up a ways from the river in Mokelumne Hill on the north side of Stockton Hill. Pearsall’s find marked the beginning of the end of Big Bar, as most of the miners left their claims to give the Mok Hill mines a try. And no, they were not disappointed.

The ground around Mokelumne Hill was so rich that the miners were allowed only sixteen feet square for a claim, many of which are reported to have yielded as high as $20,000. That's right -- the claims were only 16 feet by 16 feet and brought in as high as $20,000 in gold.

While hunting frogs for his breakfast in a prospect hole one morning, a Frenchman spotted a speck of gold. Using his pocketknife, he dug out a nugget which he sold for $2,150. With these kinds of prospects, "Moke Hill" drew gold-seekers from all over the world.

By 1850, Mokelumne Hill was one of the largest communities in all of California. The town was bigger than even that of San Francisco. And yes, in 1850, at the height of the Gold Rush, there were 62 males for every one female in all of Calaveras County. By 1860, thankfully the ratio was just over 6 to 1.

Major gold strikes were discovered on each of the four hills that surrounded the camp. French Hill was named for the "French War" which occurred there in 1851 during what became known as the "French and American War" at the time. Stockton Hill was named as such because several trails passed over it on their way to Stockton. Negro Hill was where gold was discovered by a black man in 1851. Sport Hill was where gold was discovered near where a horse racing track was constructed.

Mokelumne Hill area's population is said to have reached as high as 15,000 with people of all sorts of nationalities there. Among them were Americans, Frenchmen, Germans, Spaniards, Chileans, Mexicans, Chinese, Italians, Jews, English, Irish, Negroes, and many others from all corners of the world. The town has the only Jewish cemetery in Calaveras County, along with Protestant and Catholic Cemeteries.

It had numerous lodges, hospitals, and societies in addition to the more common I.O.O.F., Masonic and E Clampus Vitus. Besides those, located in the community were French, Italian, German, and Chilean hospitals and societies and a hall known as the Manor Char Hall.

Life was not a bed of roses for the early miners in the Mokelumne Hill area. The early newspapers tell of robberies, murders, and all manner of human difficulties associated with people living under trying conditions.

French Hill was the focus of a short war between Frenchmen and Americans. At Chile Gulch, two miles south of Mokelumne Hill, the Chilean War began where Chilean miners took aggressive action against American miners.

Further south a struggle began at Central Hill between the American and Mexican miners for dominance of Six Mile Creek. An American miner and a Mexican were killed in the fighting. The battle was followed up by several lynchings.

Besides racial tensions, the easy gold attracted criminal elements, and the town gained a reputation as one of the bawdiest in the area. The gold and the easy pickings brought in a bad element, and the town became a wild and wicked place during its early years.

The elusive and mysterious Black Bart robbed stages not far from Mokelumne Hill. In fact he robbed at least 27 stages in a nine year period of banditry in California. Bart was a lone highwayman who dressed in a mask and a linen duster.

Even though he always traveled on foot, Bart's once remarkable endurance allowed him to cover great distances. Yes, legend has it that he once robbed two different coaches 60 miles apart in mountainous country within the same 24 hours. And no, I don't believe it either.

Fact is, it seems as though every highwayman robbing a stage at the time all up and down California was said to be Black Bart even though that would have been impossible. As for the real Black Bart, he would often hide the larger amounts of loot and return at a later time for recovery. It is likely that he did not recover all of the hidden treasure and some lucky person is yet to find some of Black Bart's stash.

As in the case of most Calaveras County towns, Mokelumne Hill was a haunt of the notorious bandit Joaquin Murrieta. Often disguised, Joaquin would play cards in various saloons and discuss problems of his capture with the miners.

The women in the Murrieta gang would live in the town and gather information about the shipments of gold that went through Mokelumne Hill. Joaquin is said to have friends in town that sheltered and shielded him. On the side of Schrack Mountain in the vicinity of Chile Gulch was said to be a cave used by the bandit.
Murrieta probably operated this shelter as a resting spot where he could survey the surrounding countryside without being seen.

It is said that Mokelumne Hill was an extremely violent place. Robberies and killings were a commonplace event. Within two years of the boom, the year 1851, it was especially violent times as there was at least one homicide a week for seventeen consecutive weeks.

Compare that to the town of Tombstone two years after its boom with a similar size population where the entire town saw 5 murders all year -- three by gun shots, one with an axe, and one with a rock.

Thompson and West's History of Amador County reports that Mokelumne Hill was a very dangerous place, stating, "Death by violence seems to be the rule. For seventeen successive weeks ... a man was killed between Saturday night and Sunday morning. Five men were once killed within a single week."

To give you an idea of how bad it was, during the Gold Rush a Frenchman who was the local butcher was stabbed by a Chinese man. It happened when the butcher turned his back on the Chinese man who came in as a customer. The butcher turned to get what was had ordered, that's when the Chinese man stabbed him. When the butcher didn't immediately die, the Chinese man stabbed him again.

During the attack the butcher was able to reach a pistol he kept nearby, and he quickly took a shot at his attacker. The bullet grazed the Chinese man across the side of his face, but that was enough to send the attacker running out the door.

A man passing the shop heard the shot and saw the Chinese man run away. He ran after him, and he soon caught him. After a fight of his own with the Chinese man, he led the attacker back to the butcher shop where others were there treating the butcher's wounds.

The Chinese man was brought back to town and waited with others to see if the butcher would live. He was identified as the attacker and they kept waiting. It's said after the Frenchman died, the Chinese man was taken to a tree and hanged.

Things became so desperate that a Vigilance Committee was formed. Gongs would sound in the streets when serious trouble occurred, calling the committee to arms. On one such occasion, a man was caught stealing and sentenced to be hanged. Before the sentence was carried out, the man confessed to eight murders between Mokelumne Hill and Sonora.

Several other criminals were caught, tried, punished, some hung, and some banished, simply run out of town. The so-called "French War" or "French and American War" for possession of gold mines occurred in 1851.

Because of the rampant violence, the first Code of Laws for Miners in Calaveras County was drawn up in Mokelumne Hill. About the same time, a post office was established, and a company of militia called the “Calaveras Guards” was organized in 1851 to keep the peace. And yes, even though vigilantes and the militia was organized, the town was so violent that the merchants built a labyrinth of tunnels under the town to safeguard their clients.

In fact, even today, if one goes to the Hotel Le'ger in Mokelumne Hill, they can go beneath the hotel and see the entrance to the tunnels beneath the hotel. They are not hidden and were actually used for special dining at one time.

Today, the tunnels are blocked off and don't go all the way across the street anymore, but they were built so that patrons would be able to cross the street without being in the open and susceptible to being robbed. With the tunnels one could move from on merchant to the other and not worry about being killed for what little money or possessions they had.

As Mokelumne Hill was dry during most of the year, it soon became evident that water was necessary to successfully work the placers. The Mokelumne Hill Canal and Mining Company was organized in 1852 and for $180,000 a canal was constructed from the South Fork of the Mokelumne River 16 miles to the mining and agricultural districts surrounding Mokelumne Hill. In 1853 water arrived from the Mokelumne River and the area boomed.

The fire department there was initiated in 1861. Gas lights illuminated their streets in 1857, electrical in 1897. The first local telephone in that area was put into operation there in July of 1898. In 1861, the I.O.O.F. added a third story to the former Adams Express Company building, making it among the earliest three story buildings in the County. The first school there was taught in a tent by the wife of the Reverend J.F. Fish, the Methodist Episcopal minister, with five pupils in attendance.

Their first school district was organized in June of 1859. Township No. 6 was established by the Board of Supervisors on August 11, 1857, and included Mokelumne Hill, Big Bar, and Rich Gulch. Several churches were established in the early days. Their first church was the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1852, held in a tent. Later a building was constructed adjacent to the present Catholic Church. The First Congregational Church was organized during 1853, the present and oldest Congregational Church in California was constructed in 1856. The St. Paul’s Episcopal Church was dedicated in 1895 and discontinued in 1907.

Their Catholic Church was founded by Father John Bobard in 1851 and held services in a canvas structure. Various other Catholic Church buildings were erected after fires destroyed them until the present St Thomas Aquinas church was completed about 1900.

Chili Gulch was the richest placer mining section in Calaveras County. It received its name from Chileans who worked it in 1848 and 1849, and was the scene of the so-called Chilean War.

In December 1849, Anglo-European miners in Calaveras County drew up a local mining code that called for all foreign miners to leave the county within 15 days, leading to much protest and violence. The so-called "Chilean War" resulted in numerous miners being killed before ending with the expulsion of Chilean miners from their claims.

The "Calaveras Chronicle" newspaper was established in 1850. The early newspaper tells of robberies, murders, and all manner of human difficulties associated with people living under trying conditions. It also tells of entertainment such as fights between grizzly bears and bulls meant to amuse early residents. The diarist Byron McKinstry saw such an encounter in 1852 in front of 400 persons. The bear won.

On another occasion, two bulls were to take on a single grizzly bear. The bear, "General Scott", was estimated to weigh 1200 pounds and severely injured both bulls in short order.

At the bull and bear fights miners made bets as to the outcome of the event. It seems that gold coins or nuggets would easily be lost in the excitement of the skirmish. And yes, some have been found in the area dating back to those wild and woolly days in the mining camp.

Mokelumne Hill served as the Calaveras County seat from 1852 to 1866. The population continued to grow, the mines continued to pay, and the town continued to prosper. Along with the usual businesses and organizations of the time, Moke Hill also boasted a race track, skating rink, rock quarry, and a good-sized brewery and a large Chinatown located on the outskirts of town with an estimated population of anywhere from 300 to 2,000.

Of course the 1860s in Moke Hill also saw battles over water rights, and many were killed during that period. The gold began to give out in the 1860’s -- it always does at some point -- and the town’s population drifted away. One event in 1865 illustrates how bad it was.

A group of Chinese miners were robbed after being hung close to death. Once the robbers got the information as to where they kept their money and gold, the robbers who were only described as speaking the English language disappeared. The newspaper noted how many of the Chinese miners had rope burns and bruises around their necks from being hung.

Mokelumne Hill’s Chinatown stretched along East Center Street, from present-day Shutter Tree Park east to the edge of the Catholic Cemetery, and south up what is now called China Gulch. It was said to be one of the largest Chinese communities in California, and featured two temples: the Taoist Temple in the now-empty lot next to the park, and the Buddhist Temple farther to the east.

Surviving earlier fires and floods, the community was nearly wiped out by a fire in 1898, and during the Tong Wars -- rival Buddhists bombed the Taoist Temple.
The Chinese lived in flimsy wood homes that were built close together, which created a constant threat of fire. Three such devastating fires swept through Mokelumne Hill, each one nearly obliterating the town.

The first occurred on a Sunday morning, August 24 of 1854. Breaking out in Levenson’s Store, a canvas covered structure on Center Street, the fire consumed everything in its path except two stone buildings which were able to withstand the flames. Losses were estimated at over $500,000.

After this fire, many of the buildings that were rebuilt were made from a light brown stone known as rhyolite tuff, a material common to much of the Gold Country. This building remained the seat of County government until 1866 when the Courthouse was moved to San Andreas. After the Courthouse moved to San Andreas, business slumped off and advertisements proclaiming the sale of businesses and homes filled the newspapers. In fact, it's said when the county seat was lost to neighboring San Andreas, the decline quickened and the town faded even further, never again regaining its Gold Rush size or importance.

Because the county seat was located here for ten years, many lawyers, judges, clerks, and county employees settled in Mokelumne Hill. This permanent population and the commerce it engendered required the opening of numerous businesses. Among these were soda works, breweries, saloons, doctor and dentists’ offices, drugstores, billiard and pool halls, hotels and restaurants, carpenters and tinsmiths, bakeries, dry goods and grocery stores, livery stables, meat markets, liquor stores and cigar stores.

The town’s second great fire took place on February 26th, 1865, originating on the second floor of the Union Hotel. The third major fire occurred on September 4th, 1874, in which practically all of the business section of town was destroyed, along with many surrounding homes.

After the fire of 1874, many of the commercial structures were not rebuilt, due to the conclusion of the boom years for Mokelumne Hill as a commercial and political center. Because Mokelumne Hill was favored with an unusually moderate microclimatic condition for the foothills, it was able to grow many crops successfully. Madam Cataia and Frederick Mayer were early vintners, and various vegetables, fruits, oranges and hay crops were grown prosperously for many years. The Upper and Lower Italian Gardens supplied vegetables and fruits to the miners and homeowners in Mokelumne Hill and the surrounding communities.

During the latter part of the 1800s, cattle ranching became the most important agricultural enterprise surrounding Mokelumne Hill. Families homesteaded and purchased large landholdings to run livestock and much of the land around the town remains grazing land to this day.

In the first half of the 1900s, logging became an important industry in the mountains to the east and many of the townspeople went to work in the mills around Glencoe, Railroad Flat, and West Point. This is hill country and not flat like Tombstone, Arizona. As in years gone by, today Mokelumne Hill is scattered about the hills with the main portion of the old town still in pretty good condition.

Visiting there today you'd never think that once upon a time it was known as one of the most violent bawdy towns in the Mother Lode. Compare Moke Hill to the relatively quiet streets of Tombstone, Arizona and the level of violent at Moke Hill becomes startling.

And yes, that's just the way I see it.

Tom Correa