Tag Archives: history

Doug Smith: Remember Gettysburg, our Republic, on our Independence Day

4 Jul



Doug Smith:  Free State Patriot History and Social editor



What began as skirmishers in the pre-dawn from Buford s Federal Cavalry and Heth’s Confederate Infantry has grown into a meeting engagement involving 3 Union Corps. General John Reynolds of I Corps has been killed. 2 Union Corps have retreated through the town of Gettysburg to the high ground of Cemetery Hill and Culp’s Hill, with orders to fortify.

Confederate General Jubal Early arrives on the field and is ordered by Lee to attack the Union flank ” if practicable”. He declines.
Both decisions were to prove seminal for a battle in which Union forces retreated, but held the all-important high ground.


 It is quiet now at Gettysburg. The cries of the wounded cut across the heavy air, hot from the July sun, coppery smelling from the blood.

Exhausted men chew hardtack and curl up to sleep, or peer over their breastworks for movement in the night. The heat and the flies do their grisly work on the dead, men and horses alike. Tens of thousands move up in the night to join the battle with the coming of the dawn.

As they smell the odor of battle, gunpowder, decay, blood, intestines, fear sweat, and hear the crackle of fires, and the occasional scream from the relentless work of the surgeon’s saw, they wonder if they turned off the road and marched into hell in the darkness.

Tens of thousands settled for an uneasy night, grimly resolved not to flinch away from the horrors that would come with the sun of July 2, 1863.

Meade arrives to take command. He determines to stay and fight from the high ground held by his Army.

So, the first day of battle ended, but the worst lay ahead.

It was night at Gettysburg.

Day 2.

  4 pm. After a long day of march and delay, Longstreet attacks the Union flanks.
Col Strong Vincent of NY places Col Joshua Chamberlain ‘s 20th Maine at the far left of the Union line with orders to ” hold at all costs.” Both men knew if the 20th retreated, Longstreet’s Alabamans would roll up into the rear of the Union lines. It could sway the entire battle. It could sway the entire war.

The 386 men of the 20th began a desperate 3-hour battle that would test their resolve to its limit, and burn Little Round Top into the consciousness of the nation forever. Of the 386, 38 died, 91 were wounded, 5 missing, and every shot was fired from their muskets.

Still unwilling to yield, Chamberlain orders the regiment to fix bayonets and charge downhill into the attackers.

The 20th held.

The 20th prevailed.

And as the 20th, thus the Republic.

Day 3

 Pickett s command of some 15,000 men were ordered by Lee to assault the Union center on Cemetery Ridge. For the 3rd time now, Alabama on the Left, Texas on the Right, and now Virginia up the center, Lee orders his men to assault fortified high ground.

About 3 pm, Longstreet, who had argued unsuccessfully against the attack, reluctantly gave the go ahead to Pickett to send in his men at Lee ‘s insistence. They would go in across nearly a mile of open field, against entrenched infantry and artillery.

Union artillery fired directly into their ranks. Infantry flanked and fired from multiple directions. Only a few hundred, out of 12,000 reached the Union barricades. They were all promptly killed or taken prisoner. Over 7,000 men were killed or wounded, effectively destroying Pickett ‘s Virginia Regiment.

Demoralized and badly beaten, the Army of Northern Virginia retreated to lick their wounds.

The Battle of Gettysburg was over. Lee had been beaten decisively. Unknown to him, or to Meade, Vicksburg had fallen, and Grant had taken control of the Mississippi, and cut the Confederacy in half.

Meade had won, but in caution or timidity, did not send his exhausted Army of the Potomac to pursue and finish Lee. He would not recover from that decision, and would soon find himself subordinate the Lt Gen U.S Grant.

On Independence Day, 1863, the Civil War still raged. But the outcome was no longer in doubt.

Only the butcher s bill.



Doug Smith: The Slavery of free (stuff)

17 Mar

“Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes”

(I fear the Greeks, even when they bear gifts)



Doug Smith: Author, historian, patriot and history, politics and society contributor to Free State Patriot


Take it to the bank: anyone wanting to give you free stuff does not have your best interest at heart. The hawker outside restaurants in resort towns offering you free meals or tickets to come hear a 90-minute presentation about a wonderful time share opportunity is not there so you can go to a theme park free. He is there to hook you with freebies, and get you snagged into paying 1000 times the cost of those tickets for decades to come.

TANSTAAFL. There aint no such thing as a free lunch.  That should have been Article 1 of the Constitution; another truth we hold self-evident.

Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson did not undertake, like Caesar, to bequeath their fortunes to the poor. Instead, they tossed out a salad bowl of “free stuff” that they could not pay for. And thus, begins the trap. People get used to the free stuff, and like it. It takes away motivation and incentive to work to earn it themselves. It creates a sense of entitlement, because the government always gave it to us. Plans are made, lives are lived, on the premise that the government will give us its money for X.

But one of the secrets of governments is that governments have no wealth, produce no wealth, and can only seize and distribute the wealth of others. The kings and queens of old did not mine gold, or grow food, or breed horses.  The started a pyramid scheme. Learn to fight. Beat someone up, and make him share his wealth with you. Do this enough, and you can hire other people to fight for you, and you won’t even have to fight anymore. Steal enough from the producers to pay enough fighters to keep them in line, and you are off and running. Declare yourself the lawgiver, and your fighters the enforcers of the law. Better yet, make nice with the church, and make what you do sound holy (Divine right of Kings, Jesus was an immigrant, social justice), and you can wrap up the most blatant theft in a ribbon and wax poetic about it.

Of course, for the system to work, it is necessary to keep the fighters happy so they will keep the serfs in line, and to keep the serfs just at subsistence so they can grow your food, breed your next generation of serfs, but not dare to rebel against you because you are the source of what food they get to keep. Don’t let them figure out that absent them, you and your fighters will starve because you could not grow a tomato.

The system worked for centuries.

In the light of that historical glimpse, consider Social Security. FDR took money he did not have from people who could not resist him, or at least did not, took their gold so they could not resist his printing of money, and decreed a government run retirement system. The first woman to draw a check only paid in for one month. Over the years, as the system metastasized, more and more people came to rely on that little check as their only hope of having money in retirement. Government, as is its wont, was wasteful and inefficient with the money, so the return was tiny, less than putting the money in a savings account for 40 years. But since people relied on it, and did nothing else to prepare (in many cases,) now there is an unspoken bargain that people who have relied on the contract for their entire working lives cannot change now. So, they, of course, are slaves to the system. They cannot support eliminating or changing the system, for they are the serfs to the dead hand of FDR.  Never mind that the system, as government systems do, grew to include payments to far more than just the working folks who paid into the system for 40 years, and returned about 1% on the money paid in by those who do pay it in. Never mind that Galveston TX, opted out of Social Security in the 70s, and has paid a return 3 times higher than the same amount in Social Security to their employees. Never mind that the system is so inefficient that we are eating our seed corn.

Many are already retired and drawing it. Many are too near the end of their working lives to start a strategy that does not include Social Security.  Woe betide any politician who dares to say we can do better, and we must do differently.

The serfs are trapped on the land. When the lord of the manor comes to tell them that the money is gone, and he must cut their dole down by 30%, they have no choice about it. He has the swords, after all. And the fruits of their labors.

And they are slaves, serfs, to the freedom of free stuff.

Once the government starts to give away free stuff (or rather, steal it from some, to give it to others, for remember, government does not produce wealth) it is extremely hard to stop. Think of one government freebie we have ever stopped giving away.

We can have free men. Or we can have free stuff. Combining the 2 has not worked out well.

I fear the government, especially when it is bearing gifts.



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