30 November 2010

Metal Detecting Post #16

More video on the late Tom Dickey, the legendary Civil War relic hunter. Classic video - the thrill of the chase, the reward of the find.

29 November 2010

The Cult Of Expertise

"Progressivism is a faith-based program. The progressives' agenda for improving everyone else varies but invariably involves the cult of expertise - an unflagging faith in the application of science to social reform. Progressivism's itch to perfect people by perfecting the social environment can produce an interesting phenomenon - the Pecksniffian progressive." ~ George Will

Will's comment would also, in many cases, apply to academic & professional historians - many of the same which could also comfortably wear the label "progressive." You see this "cult of expertise" manifested in their disdain for the "unlettered" historian and the amateur historian and by their dismissing previous studies and books in favor of "more recent scholarship" (say that like Thurston Howell with your nose in the air), as if "more recent" automatically means "more accurate." What should actually be dismissed is their idiotic premise and their self-proclaimed "expertise." The "expert" historian often gets it wrong when they attempt to advise and lecture the rest of us "non-experts" on how we should think and interpret history. 

27 November 2010

Metal Detecting Post #15

I'll be headed out again this morning for some Civil War relic hunting here in the Shenandoah Valley. I'll be ready. Pictured here is just some of my gear . . . a White's MXT Pro metal detector, a Fisher 1266X as a backup (both made with pride in the good ol' USA), extra coils, headphones, and my recently acquired vintage 1950's Boy Scouts' knapsack (courtesy of ebay) made of heavy duck canvas and stocked with cameras, leather gloves, extra batteries, a couple of knives, a digging tool, a pinpointer, a thermos of hot coffee, miscellaneous and sundry other items and, of course, snacks. ;o)

Hopefully, I'll have a new video of my finds to post next week.

26 November 2010

No Truer Words Were Ever Spoken

"Whenever there is a simple error that most laymen fall for, there is always a more sophisticated version of the same problem that the experts fall for." ~ Amos Tversky

Metal Detecting Post #14

Homeschooler finds Civil War sword with metal detector near Berryville, Virginia:

"A week after receiving a metal detector for his seventh birthday, Lucas Hall's gift is already paying dividends for the first-grader."

Now that's teaching history. Story here.

More Angel Movie Screenings

Its a great film - take advantage if these are in your area:

The Angel of Marye’s Heights Documentary Screenings in PA and SC

1.       Saturday, November 27: CarnegieCarnegie Music Hall. Pittsburgh PA: “The Angel of Marye's Heights” tells the compelling story of a Confederate soldier’s selfless compassion. In the wake of the devastating battle for Fredericksburg, Sgt. Richard Rowland Kirkland risked his life to provide aid and comfort to the enemy—wounded and dying Union soldiers. Includes a conversation with writer/producer (and Pittsburgh native) Michael Aubrecht, and a dessert reception. One showing only. Tickets available at the Library circulation desk. 7:30 p.m. Music Hall $10. Look for an article on this event in the Nov. 27th (Sat.) edition of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Buy $10 tickets online here. Benefits the Capt. Thomas Espy Post No. 153 of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) and Right Stripe Media LLC. For more on the film visit www.theangelmovie.com.

BONUS: “The Angel of Marye’s Heights” DVD Exclusive Pittsburgh Premiere Offer: As an attendee, you are eligible for an exclusive Internet discount from Right Stripe Media. Get “The Angel” on DVD for $12.00. You will receive a special ordering code via email when the DVD (w/ bonus features) is released next month. (*Must register at the event.)

2.       Saturday, December 4: Confederate Relic Room Museum,  Columbia SC.: On Saturday, December 4 from 12:00-2:00pm and 3:00-5:00pm the CRR will host screenings of the documentary, “The Angel of Marye's Heights.” This film is about the life of Richard Kirkland and the story of the 2nd South Carolina Brigade out of Kershaw. The film screenings will be accompanied by presentations from film director/producer Clint Ross as well as historians Joe Matheson and Tony Ziebol. Details here.

25 November 2010

First Presidential Thanksgiving Proclamation

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to

"recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"
Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d day of October, A.D. 1789. 

George Washington

23 November 2010

Metal Detecting Post #13

Diggin' in the Old Dominion ~ Episode Two: Battlefield Dig ~ Part Two 

Shenandoah Valley relic hunt near a Civil War battlefield. We recovered several Hotchkiss artillery shell fragments.

20 November 2010

Quote Of The Week - PC Run Amok

Yes, though nervously twitching, red-faced, complicit academics like to claim it does not exist (Think: The Emperor Has No Clothes), political correctness is a serious problem in our society:

". . . the entire apparatus of the security line is a national homage to political correctness. Nowhere do more people meekly acquiesce to more useless inconvenience and needless indignity for less purpose. Wizened seniors strain to untie their shoes; beltless salesmen struggle comically to hold up their pants; 3-year-olds scream while being searched insanely for explosives - when everyone, everyone, knows that none of these people is a threat to anyone."
Charles Krauthammer

19 November 2010

Front Porch Pickin' #14

From our Front Porch Pickin' series, OVB strives to bring you the very best in in Southern Appalachian bluegrass, gospel, folk, country, and old-time mountain music. Get your culture here. And now, "playing the bones":

Affirming American Exceptionalism . . .

Makes history interesting . . . and relevant.

18 November 2010

Metal Detecting Post #12

Old Virginia Diggers ~ Episode One

(Yes, I realize I got the copyright date wrong, that recording artists no longer make "albums" and my email address spacing is messed up. This was my first time using Windows Movie Maker, so take it easy on me!)

*Update: Thanks to a reader for pointing our a deficiency in this post. Here is a brief description of the items recovered: A Hotchkiss shell fragment, an artillery sabot, a Civil War period button, a group of relics with a "chewed bullet" and a military equipment rivet, and a Hotchkiss percussion fuse in almost perfect condition.

17 November 2010

16 November 2010

Metal Detecting Post #11

There is a story behind every Civil War relic. The items pictured here are some I recently recovered on private property (with permission) near the Battle of Piedmont here in the Shenandoah Valley. The large, twisted piece of lead is a sabot from an artillery shell. The smaller fragment is most likely from an exploded Hotchkiss shell. They are both related to what the third item likely represents.

That item is a bullet fragment with what appears to be a human tooth imprint. (Click images twice to enlarge for greater detail.) While there is some disagreement as to how often (and for what reasons) Civil War soldiers actually chewed on bullets, I could not help but make the connection - at least in my mind - that the exploded artillery pieces I recovered very likely caused pain, suffering, and death some 150 years ago. In reading some of Scott Patchan's excellent book on the Battle of Piedmont last night, a couple of passages brought all this home. One Union officer observed that:

" . . . many of them having the flesh torn off their body by splinters from rails . . . ' which had been shredded by the Federal shells. The exploding shells set aflame the flesh of many of the Confederate dead.
And . . .
"One poor fellow had been completely skinned the whole length of his back. It must have been done by a piece of rail, as he lay on the ground on his stomach. He was conscious, and would talk to us, but one of the doctors said he would not live a minute if we turned him over."

This kind of knowledge adds an almost surreal element when I pull one of these relics from the ground, having been hidden there almost 150 years. Adding to the experience is the knowledge that one of my ancestors was wounded here and taken prisoner. This is so much a part of that "sense of place" which has been discussed on this blog before. 

Stay tuned. Another post about an exciting find coming soon.

15 November 2010

Metal Detecting Post #10

I'll be posting a series of photos of recent battlefield finds while metal detecting here in Augusta County. Here's the first. I found this metal button this past Saturday. The front is blank but the back has gold gilt on it with the letters "RICH GILT" in a decorative scroll. Below the shank, the letters "O R" are visible with more decorative gold gilt. One relic hunter said the believes it is definitely period, but more likely civilian. It was about 7 inches deep. Click image, then click again to get the best detail.

13 November 2010

Metal Detecting Post #9

Hunting for relics early this morning near the Piedmont battlefield in Augusta County, Virginia. 

I've noted before, but this ground is very special to me as one of my great-great grandfathers, John Meredith Crutchfield, was wounded at the Battle of Piedmont and then taken prisoner and sent to Camp Morton in Indiana.

The weather was perfect today - an absolutely beautiful day! A friend and I hunted on 43+ acres for almost 7 hours. We were able to make some great finds as well. I'll post some photos and descriptions soon.

12 November 2010

The Fruits Of Anti-American Exceptionalism

This is the type of thing that happens when schools fail to teach, in an affirmative way, American Exceptionalism - school officials requiring a young boy to remove an AMERICAN flag from his bike because someone might be offended!!

A school official at Denair Middle School told Cody some students had been complaining about the flag and it was no longer allowed on school property. 

By failing to instill and encourage a sense of American pride and patriotism in students and, instead, fomenting a hyper-critical attitude aimed at America's founding principles, students in lower grades are now getting increasing doses of what has historically been limited to college campuses. As political correctness (which many blogosphere academics say isn't really a concern), continues to permeate much of our educational establishment and academic elites, this type of thing will likely increase. First it was the Confederate flag, now its Old Glory. Unbelievable. Don't look for very many academics to condemn this. They're either complicit or afraid. But I'm willing to be pleasantly surprised.

Don't schools still fly the American flag?


11 November 2010

Metal Detecting Post #8

This is not my video, but found it quite interesting so I thought I'd share it with readers. Also, several very interesting dig opportunities have recently opened up to me. They involve metal detecting some Confederate camps, etc. I'm not at liberty to divulge where they're located, but will hopefully have some exciting finds to show you in the not too distant future. Stay tuned.

Veterans Day - Thank You

My Grandfather, Fred S. Busic, somewhere in North Africa during  WWII. He built this vehicle from spare parts gathered on the base.

Civil War Program Tonight At Liberty University

On Thursday, November 11, the National Civil War Chaplains Museum will present Far From Fields of Fire and Glory: Letters and Music of the Civil War, a special program blending dramatic readings of letters of soldiers with musical selections of the War. The presentation will take you back to the thoughts and dreams of the men of the Confederate and Union armies as they longed for a better time when death and destruction were far removed from them. Come and relive their hopes and sentiments in both writings and songs of that most turbulent time in our nation’s history.

The presenters will include Drs. Michael and Darlene Graves who will deliver dramatic readings of Civil War letters adapted from author Rod Gragg’s Far From Fields of Fire and Glory: Letters of the Civil War. Accompanying them will be Dr. Wayne Kompelien and the Liberty University Chamber Singers who will be presenting the musical counterparts to the letters. 
The program will be held in the new Tower Theater on the North Campus of Liberty University, just behind Thomas Road Baptist Church, and will begin at 7:00 PM on Thursday, November 11, 2010. The entrance to the theatre is located near the Tilley Center which is to the right of the La Haye Student Union opposite the La Haye Ice Center. Attendees may park in front of the La Haye Student Center.

For assistance, here is a map of the campus: http://www.liberty.edu/media/1616/CampusMap080108.pdf.

Admission will be $5 for adults and $3 for students.

No advance reservations are necessary.

For more information, call 804-582-2087 or e-mail kgrowlet@liberty.edu.

We look forward to seeing you there.

We know that this will be an experience you will not forget!

Dr. Cline Hall and Kenny Rowlette

The National Civil War Chaplains Museum



10 November 2010

Beck The Rodeo Clown vs. Soros Spooky Dude

My money's on Beck. H.L. Mencken once said, in reference to newspapers, that "you should never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel." I would say that's even truer with someone whose media empire consists of "barrels" of bandwidth, radio broadcasts, and cable TV shows. Not a smart move on Mr. Soros's part.

09 November 2010

Homeschooling's Growing Influence & The Recent Election

A recent post at The American Thinker, written by a homeschooled student, provides readers with some excellent insight as to how homeschooled students are altering the political landscape of America:

Public educators and the media can scoff all they want, but one thing is undeniable -- home-educated youth are dramatically changing America's political landscape. For years liberals have sought to contain the home-school movement by harassing families and banning their children from publicly funded athletic programs and other extracurricular activities. It hasn't worked. On the contrary, these discriminatory practices have created a generation of motivated activists.
To complement this writer's point, all 6 of my children are politically conservative, though one has a noticeable libertarian streak in him. Of those 6 children, 4 of them are currently homeschooling their children. I suspect that most of my 14 (soon to be 15) grandchildren will receive much of their education via homeschooling. When my children were still at home, we made an annual trip to Richmond with other homeschoolers and lobbied our legislators about issues important to homeschoolers. Virginia has one of the friendliest homeschooling statutes (we chose the religious exemption option) in the country, thanks in no small measure to the Home School Legal Defense Association which is headquartered in Virginia, as well as the lobbying efforts of homeschooling families.  

Due to the inherent spirit of innovation which springs from liberty and parents' natural motivation to love and give their best for their children, homeschooling continues to be on the cutting edge of education options in the United States - it is light years ahead of institutionalized learning methods. I only see its popularity growing. It will be interesting to see how its political influence develops in the coming years.

06 November 2010

Metal Detecting Post #7 - Looking For Locations

Shell fragment from the Piedmont Battlefield
(Augusta County, Virginia)
As readers of this blog know, I've become quite involved in metal detecting and relic hunting over the last few months. As a matter of fact, I am considering starting another blog which will focus exclusively on relic and treasure hunting. Until I do, you will likely continue to see more posts on the topic here. As I've already noted, it is a fascinating hobby and dovetails perfectly with my passion for history. The background research involved in scoping out potential sites is almost as interesting as the actual work in the field.

I originally owned a used Fisher 1266X, which is an excellent detector and have made some interesting finds with it. I also recently purchased a White's MXT Pro (along with 3 different types of search coils), which is also an excellent detector. I'm reading and studying everything I possibly can and I am now actively seeking additional locations to hunt and dig. I am particulary interested in Civil War related sites in the states of Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. I'm also interested in colonial period sites, pre-1900 home sites, and old church sites. If any reader owns land (or has access to sites) which fits these descriptions, I'd love to talk to you. If you're interested, please contact me via email. Thanks in advance for your consideration.

05 November 2010

Down Here Is A Sense Of Place

"The idea that government can force you to buy health insurance just goes against the independent spirit," he said. "It's a cultural thing. Democrats just don't get the culture down here [the South]." ~ Dave "Mudcat" Saunders, a campaign strategist for conservative Democrats commenting after Tuesday's liberal disaster

By referring to "down here", is ole Mudcat referring to one aspect of "a sense of place?"

The Geniuses Are In Control

"AARP's endorsement helped secure passage of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. Now the seniors' lobby is telling its employees their insurance costs will rise partly as a result of the law." 

Told you so.

More here.

Metal Detecting Post #6 - CS Plate

04 November 2010

Historic Election

I am extremely proud that, on election day, I had the opportunity to vote against the most radical leftist American government in modern history. This election was quite historic. *Just a few examples:

  • The turnover in the House of Representatives was the largest swing in more than 70 years.
  • Tim Scott, from South Carolina's 1st District, and Allen West, from Florida's 22nd, are the first African-American Republicans sent to Congress from their states in more than 100 years, and they're both the first black Republicans to join the House or Senate since J.C. Watts retired in 2003. Both are Tea Party favorites and both men were endorsed by Sarah Palin. (Source)
  • Republicans won smashing victories in state legislatures, capturing an outright majority of the nation’s legislative seats and the largest majority for the party since 1928.
  • Republicans will now control a majority of the South’s legislative chambers for the first time since Reconstruction.
  • The GOP took both the North Carolina Senate and North Carolina House from the Democrats, winning the Senate for the first time since 1870. The party won both houses of the Alabama Legislature from the Democrats, which will also give the Republicans control there for the first time since Reconstruction. In Oklahoma, Republicans retained their control of the Legislature, which, coupled with their win in the governor’s race, will give the GOP complete control of state government for the first time ever. In Tennessee the story was similar: Republicans won the governorship and solidified their control of the Legislature, putting them fully in charge of the state for the first time since Reconstruction.
But the South was not the only place where history was made on Tuesday:
No reversal was as dramatic as the one in New Hampshire. Democrats' shocking wins there in 2006 looked at the time like the culmination of a generations-long realignment away from the Republicans in the Northeast. That year, the Democrats won every major office in the state. The realignment lasted only four years, as Republicans won back both houses of the legislature, making a net gain of 100 or more seats in the state's 400-member House of Representatives. Republicans also picked up the Montana House, both houses of the Minnesota Legislature and both houses of the Maine Legislature. Maine joined Wisconsin in going from complete Democratic control of state government, including the legislature and the governorship, to complete Republican control. The hotly contested New York Senate remains up in the air, as do legislative chambers in Colorado, Washington and Oregon . . . From 1956 to 2002 Democrats controlled a majority of the nation's legislative seats. Democrats quickly regained their majorities whenever they lost them. But now Republicans will have their most clear-cut advantage since before the Great Depression. *(Source)
In the months leading up to this most historic shift of power, the ruling class and their sycophants in the old media had their laughs and juvenile level bathroom jokes about the "Tea Party." Who's laughing now?

02 November 2010

Anti-Americanism In Academia

As I've watched attacks and criticisms of Confederate monuments increase over the last 20 years, I always predicted that this would eventually be directed at all military monuments. That is extremely troubling to me, but we are seeing more and more of that mindset making its way into the "mainstream." We see so many academic bloggers constantly blathering how those on the right have politicized history. The right has nothing on the left when it comes to the politicization of history. What's worse, the left is doing it with your tax dollars. Here's just the latest example:

Here's just a sampling of this disgusting, anti-American garbage:

The U.S. military and its veterans constitute an imperialistic, oppressive force which has created and perpetuated its own mythology of liberation and heroism, insisting on a “pristine collective memory” of the war. The authors/presenters equate this to Japan’s almost total amnesia and denial about its own war atrocities. One presenter specifically wrote about turning down a job offer when he realized that his office would overlook a fleet of U.S. Naval warships, “the symbol of American power and the symbol of our [Hawaiians'] dispossession…I decided they could not pay me enough”. Later he claimed that electric and oil companies were at the root of WWII, and that the U.S. developed a naval base at Pearl Harbor to ensure that its own coasts would not be attacked.
Here's how one professor has responded:

"In my thirty years as a professor in upper education, I have never witnessed nor participated in a more extremist, agenda-driven, revisionist conference, nearly devoid of rhetorical balance and historical context for the arguments presented."

More here.

(We should probably ignore this as just more anecdotal evidence.)

Election Eve Prediction

I'm going out on a limb here, but I'm making these predictions based, in part, on this recent piece and the intense energy coming from the right, as well as our current economic conditions.

  • 80 seat pick up for the Republicans in the House.
  • 10 seats for GOP in the Senate.

Whatever the ultimate outcome, this will certainly be a historic election.

Election Day

And, in a related story . . .

Even on mostly liberal college campuses, the arguments against Mr. Obama have become more common. “The other day, they were blaring Rush Limbaugh in the breezeway,” . . . “People were infatuated in 2008,” said Maddy Joseph, 20, a member of the group. “The reality has set in, and that’s frustrating for a lot of people.”

More here. I'll be discussing a related thought in a long promised and upcoming post: History & Politics - Grading Academics

01 November 2010

All Good Writing Comes From A Sense Of Place

Just one example. And, yes, I do believe that experience very often (though not always), trumps "book learning." (Think open-heart surgery.) I find it very odd that someone thinks that's unusual.

How Should We Then Die?

When James Robertson wrote the foreword to my book about Stonewall Jackson and his black Sunday school class, he included these words:

"Willams's analyses reveal clearly that nineteenth-century religiosity, which some writers and reviewers conclude was nonsense, was in fact very much alive." 

The Museum of the Confederacy's most recent video short delves into this subject as it related to death during the time of the WBTS. Would it be accurate to suggest that death at this period of time was, for lack of better words, "more real?" This being due to the fact that mind-numbing drugs were not as readily available and those dying could express what they saw and felt while passing and while often possessing their full faculties. I would suggest that is so and also reveals why, at least to some extent, 19th century humans possessed more "sincere religiosity."