My Ancestor at the Battle of Spotsylvania

This week is the 155th anniversary of the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, one of the bloodiest and most terrible battles of the Civil War.  This particular phase of Grant’s Overland Campaign began on May 7th and lasted until May 19th.  The battle is most famous for the Union assaults on a stretch of Confederate fortifications called the Mule Shoe because of its shape, and particularly for the violence that took place in an area known as the Bloody Angle.

1280px-Battle_of_Spottsylvania_by_Thure_de_Thulstrup

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A Walk Among the Stones

Today Geoff and I took a trip to South Weymouth, MA to visit Mount Hope Cemetery where his Civil War ancestor, Moses Beaulieu, is buried. Geoff has done a lot of research into Moses Beaulieu and recently discovered a photo of his headstone and rough location in the particular cemetery in South Weymouth.

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Today is Four Chaplains Day

On February 3rd, 1943, a small convoy named SG-19 was making its way across the Atlantic to Greenland from New York.  It consisted of the United States Army Transport Dorchester and two smaller merchant vessels, the SS Lutz and the SS Biscaya, escorted by three Coast Guard cutters: Tampa, Escanaba and Comanche.  Somewhere off the coast of Newfoundland at about 12:55 AM that morning, a German submarine torpedoed the Dorchester, knocking out her power as well as opening up her hull to the sea.  Below decks were hundreds of young American servicemen, many of them on their first ocean voyage.  They had been instructed to leave their life preservers on in case of attack, but the heat of the ship’s boilers and engines led many of them to take the jackets off.  And with the loss of power they were all suddenly in the dark.

Among the personnel on board were four Army Chaplains, all First Lieutenants: George Fox (a Methodist);  Alexander Goode (Reform-Rabbi); Clark Poling (Dutch Reformed);  and John Washington (a Roman Catholic priest).  The four had become fast friends at the Army Chaplains School on the Harvard University campus, right here in Cambridge.

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Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act

We’ve all seen the photos that float around on the internet.  They show soldiers in Afghanistan or Iraq with their German Shepherds curled up together after a long day of work.  The MP off duty with helmet for a pillow, her dog sitting dutifully by her side.

What you may not know is that the military currently classifies these animals as “equipment” and that when their working careers are over there is no guarantee that they’ll end up adopted or go home with their handlers.

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A sign of our technological brilliance… and our general social ignorance.

Kelly found an article on Boston.com recently about the new application for smart phones that allows people to report a complaint if they feel they have been treated unfairly by the TSA.  It was created by the Sikh Coalition, who saw the need for it probably because so many Americans, including many of those who should know better, can’t tell the difference between a Sikh and a Muslim.

Continue reading “A sign of our technological brilliance… and our general social ignorance.”