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Author Topic: A THREE-FER FOR MARCH 12TH  (Read 21 times)
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« on: March 12, 2018, 09:52:18 am »


One of Lincoln's great problems in the civil War was getting and keeping various politicians 'onside' with his Administration and war aims. One of his solutions, and one of his worst, was to appoint them to high rank, in many cases General rank, in the Union Army. A few proved to be exceptionally able, like John Logan, and MG Meagher of the Irish Brigade. But most proved to be incompetent, like McClerland and Ben Butler. and then there was Nathaniel Banks.

Banks had taken Port Hudson, after Grant took Vicksburg. But his capture of the place was so bungled, it should have stood as a warning to Lincoln to send him on his way [Banks was a Massachusetts man, a state behind the war effort], especially since Banks had botched a previous command in the Shenandoah Valley. But he didn't. And then he doubled down by allowing Banks to command the army contingent in a combined arms offensive up the Red River which ran through western Louisiana and Texas. The naval contingent was commanded by Admiral David Porter, who had worked so well with Grant the year before.

Porter performed his part of the operation with skill and elan. Within a week, he had taken Alexandria, La. But Banks, with his army of 20,000 + men was moving far more slowly, arriving there two weeks after Porter. And as Banks moved toward Shreveport, he moved away from the river - and the protection and support of Porter's 20 ship flotilla's guns.

The result was catastrophic. Banks was attacked by a rebel army led by Richard Taylor, son of former President Zachary Taylor. Banks was routed, although when Taylor attacked again the next day, Banks' men held.

But it was all too much for Banks. Having surrendered the initiative to Taylor [and letting Taylor live in his head], Banks opted for retreat and full withdrawal.

That created a problem for Porter. with the Red River running low, it appeared his flotilla, soon to be at Taylor's mercy, was stuck, unable to move downstream because of the low waters. But an army engineer came to the rescue. By building a series of temporary dams, he allowed the water to rise behind the flotilla,which, when released, floated the flotilla to deeper water, and escape.

The entire campaign took a month, and accomplished nothing, except tie up Union resources more profitably employed elsewhere. The South held the Red river for the rest of the war. and Banks? He was relieved of command, but went on to participate in the south's Reconstruction.


By the early 20th century, the only professional major league in baseball, the National League, got competition, an upstart called the American League. And anxious to compete, that League offered teams inducements to join up.

One that did was the Baltimore Orioles [no relation to the current Orioles, who used to be the St. Louis Browns]. Moving to New York in 1903, the team was re-christened the New York Highlanders. And to say they were initially a failure is to be charitable. While some of their players were good, as a team they were not. And on top of that, they were competing in the same metropolitan area as the New York giants, and the Brooklyn Trolley Dodgers [later shotened to Dodgers].

Still, the highlanders had their fans. But the fans obstinately refused to refer to their team as 'Highlanders'. They called them "Yankees". And Yankees they became, and remained. And then two things happened that changed their fortune forever. One of their owners, Col. Jacob Rupert bought out his partners. and in 1920, he bought George Herman "Babe" Ruth, a pitching, outfielding, HITTING phenom from the Boston Red Sox of Harry Frazee. And the Yannkees never looked back.

The New York Yankees are the most successful sports franchise in America. Ever. they hold more World championships than any other sports franchise. The Baseball Hall of Fame is filled with their players. and it all started on this date in 1903, after a trip up from Baltimore.


See "PzLdr History Facts", page 10

You can get more with a smile, a handshake and a gun than you can with a smile and a handshake - Al Capone
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