A scary moment

Boo!  (Note: I live in Cohoes).  James Spann

BOO! Source: James Spann

No, not the mile-wide EF2 tornado the other evening that tracked 17 miles toward us and then lifted just before heading into the population-dense Tri-City Capital Region of New York State. (Yes, tornadoes can happen anywhere, if conditions are right.)

That was unadulterated, sheer terror.

No, I lost my entire live-blogging post on Popocatépetl this morning while updating it. There was a real long pause and then the post turned into one word: “undefined.” Aaaaaaagh!

How to recover a lost WordPress post

The WordPress revision saver and autosave feature rescued me. If this ever happens to you, don’t panic and don’t exit WordPress. Look down way below your post. You will see a list of revisions/autosaves. I think the revisions happen when you intentionally save a draft.

Click on a revision or autosave. Again, don’t panic. I found the resulting screen confusing, but if that’s the droid post you’re looking for, just click “next.” The next screen will allow you to use that revision in your post.

Whew! I was just doing that quickly before getting to the Civil War today, and a WordPress malfunction is definitely not acceptable today.

Speaking of the Civil War …

Not much “Glory”

One thing that has delayed me with the current Civil War anniversary posts has been the long time required for research, especially for details on the black Americans who participated at this time.

African Americans had fought before now – and very well, too (infantry withstanding a Confederate cavalry charge) – but this unit hadn’t been officially mustered into the US Army yet. Otherwise, there seems to be a long stretch between them and the events that inspired Glory.

This week (or rather, last week), I came across some very sordid details of how the “official” African American unit was handled at Port Hudson. It doesn’t paint some white US commanders in a very favorable light; and next week (rather, this week), it’s the CSA’s turn, when it comes time to handle prisoners at Milliken’s Bend.

I understand now why the preferred image of black troops in the Civil War is the “Glory” regiment at Fort Walker (also coming up this year). The US commander got it right that time, and the heck with the CSA because they lost the war (though the movie did not show the events – the first ever – that led to a black man receiving the Medal of Honor, so we still have a ways to go).

That’s history as we like to see it.

It’s only human to have a selective memory, but in something as important as human freedom and civil war, we must always be aware that our history wasn’t like “Glory” – it was like us, with all our flaws and uglinesses, as well as that occasional bright ray of nobility.

We lionize Lincoln today for his role in emancipation, but we must also respect and honor the individuals who actually made it happen, and must never forget the sometimes horrific experiences they had along the way.

General Grant

It was this order (from this source) that made me realize that war had become hell.

Near Vicksburg, Miss, May 31, 1863

Commanders of Thirteenth, Fifteenth and Seventeenth Army Corps:

Open all your artillery on the enemy for half an hour, commencing at 3 o’clock tomorrow morning. Throw shell near to the parapets and well into the city also.

U. S. Grant

You don’t need to have an intense relationship with alcohol to depersonalize a city of thousands of civilians into “the enemy,” simply because they have resisted you, and then brutalize them this way. It’s a human thing that anyone can do, and so we always strongly condemn it.

Or we try to. There are always exceptions, even though there shouldn’t ever be.

This man won the war with such efforts, and he shaped America ever afterwards. This is one reason why we Americans must always seek to remain in touch with our more humane sides, especially during times of tension and/or military action.

There’s red on our ledger.

Today America is the only superpower. All of us here are responsible for ensuring that “it” – the nightmare – must never happen here. Because it can, at any moment, right in front of us, and it’s all too easy to deny it, or look away and pretend it isn’t happening.

Okay, enough darkness. Here’s a baby panda on a rocking horse from I Can Has Cheezburger:

Edit: The Civil War Anniversary post might have published incomplete last week. I’m not sure, but I’m seeing it posted below this post. I have just completed it – so that’s the whole thing there for May 27 to June 2. It’s a lot, so I’m going to take a break and try to get this week’s post (June 3-9) out on Tuesday, the 4th.



Categories: American Civil War, Random thoughts

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