Sunday, January 31, 2010

Approach To Honey Hill

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In the summer of 1864, Gen Sherman requested that the Savannah- Charleston Railroad be cut. Gen Hatch set out with 5500 men from Folly Island to land at Boyd's Landing at the end of Broad River, North and West of Hilton Head. The army would march to Honey Hill and there cut the railroad. However, they were in for a surprise.

Point Peidras (Rocks)

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Point Peidras bearing NNW (compass) 4 miles, near San Pedro Harbor, on the California Coast, 1853.

View of Piedras Blancos

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View of Peidras Blancos measuring W 1/4 N (compass) 4 miles, California Coast close by San Simeon Cove.

Point Sal, California Coast

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Point Sal is marked by streaks of yellow sand at intervals except at the extreme point which is formed by high round black rocks to seaward of which are several sunken rocks extending one half mile to the Southward and Westward.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Chart of Nantucket Shoals

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This chart indicates the shoal water nearby the Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard Islands in the years prior to the Civil War. The area was surveyed by Captain Paul Pinkham. The color scheme is:

Light Blue -- Shoal Water;
Dark Blue -- Deep Water;
Light Green -- Land.

The map encompasses the area from the Elizabeth Islands to the Sandy Point of Monomoy,

Map of the Battlefield At Big Black River Bridge

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This battle was one of the preliminary battles to the taking of Vicksburg and opening the Mississippi River by the Union Forces. The colors used in Civil War Mapping were:

Red--Lines of communication (Roads, Railroads, etc.);
Orange--Military structures (forts, redoubts, defense lines, etc.);
Blue --Water;
Dark Green -- forest;
Light Green -- Brush.

This preliminary battle was vital to the taking of Vicksburg as it was the only approach route for Union Forces, and it was where the Confederate Forces made their stand against the attack. The author of the map was F. Tonica, Engineer.

Just to the left of the vertical bayou is the Confederate defense line. The Federal Forces are at the extreme right of the map. At the top of the drawing are sectional views of the Confederate rifle pits, and batteries
"en barbette."

Map of the Vicinity of Glascow, Kentucky

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This is a tracing of a map sketched by a Civil War Period Union Engineer showing the approximate contour lines of the area, estimated at 25 feet between contours. The contour levels have been colored to make it easier to use the map. The engineer was Capt. Sydney S. Lyons, acting asst. engineer. An arrow at the bottom of the map points to the city of Columbia.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Mortar Construction

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Banded Mortar

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Right Angle Mortar / Cannon

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Mortars -- Castle Assault

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In the same magazine as the Stonewall Jackson article there was an article in regard to the history of the Mortar. From the earliest known "forerunner to the mortar introduced by the Spanish Muslims in about AD 1250," to the modern day, the article reviews the value of the mortar as a piece of artillery, it's uses, and improvements over the centuries, as well as the development of the mortar as a valued instrument of war.

The mortar provided besiegers of cities a means for lobbing missiles down upon entrenched troops and positions forward of the main target as well as over city walls. In at least one example the besieged Knights Hospitallers of the Order of St. John used mortars to drop 100 lb. stones and other missiles upon the Turk's artillery emplacements on the island of Rhodes in 1480.

Mortar ships were developed in the 17th century and were very handy in putting munitions / missiles into forts on high bluffs coming close enough to the land to avoid the major ordnance of any given fortification. Advances in the 19th century gave rise to the Coehorn Mortar and the use of larger mortars in the Civil War and in mortar pits for fortification development in the latter part of the century. Today the mounting of mortars for rapid field deployment is a tactical necessity.

Pictures of some mortars and their usage will follow.

Reference:--William McPeak, "The Mortar Is Perhaps---," Military Heritage Magazine, Col. Weapons, Sovereign Media, Herdon, Va. Pages 12-15.

General "Stonewall" Jackson's Death

In a "Military History" Magazine that I recently found again in my library, there was an interesting article which discusses the cause of death of General Stonewall Jackson. It has been said in many sources that the cause of the General's death was not the wounds that he received at the hands of his own men, but rather the effects of pneumonia. The article investigates the possibility of still another reason for his death; Pulmonary Embolism. The article is quite interesting and worthy of a review.

The last paragraph of the article is indicative of the final possible result,

"Even with today's advanced technology, it is estimated that as many as half of all pulmonary emboli go undetected by physicians. The current treatment and prevention of thromboembolism is accompanied by the use of blood-thinning agents such as Heparin or Lovenox. Although Stonewall Jackson's death was unpreventable, given the state of medicine at the time, it is more likely that he died from thromboembolism as a direct consequence of his wound and amputation, than from the indirect cause of pnueumonia."

Reference: J.D. Haines, "Stonewall Jackson's Death---," Military Heritage Magazine, June, 2008, Col. - Soldiers, Sovereign Media, Herndon, Va,, pages 8-11.