A Small Blue Cloud

Today in History, November 15: 1806 –

US Army Lt. Zebulon Pike was a brilliant, self-taught explorer. On this date he was on his second expedition to the West, searching for the headwaters of the Arkansas and Red Rivers.

When he observed a mountain in the distance which he described as looking like a “small blue cloud”, he told the Expedition they could reach the mountain, scale it, and return to camp by dinner time.

Never having seen a “14er” before, he had grossly misjudged the distance. He and his team had to shelter from the cold in a cave for the night. When they did reach the base of the mountain which would one day hold Pike’s name, he declared it could not be climbed.

After the discovery Pike and his expedition became lost, wandering until captured by a troop of Spanish soldiers who took them to Santa Fe before releasing them. Pike took advantage of this misfortune by mapping this valuable area also.

Pike would be made a Brigadier General during the War of 1812 during which he would be killed.

When America Came Together…for a Time

Today in History, November 13, 2001:

U.S. President George W. Bush signed an executive order that would allow for military tribunals to try any foreigners captured with connections to the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001.

It was the first time since World War II that a president had taken such action. The home territory of the United States had been attacked with a tremendous loss of innocent lives. For a time, the nation came together in common cause.

The Burning of Atlanta…and Why “Sherman” Became an Epithet in the South

Today in History, November 12, 1864:

The burning of Atlanta.

Union Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman and his army had taken Atlanta in September, and subsequently ordered the citizenry to evacuate the city. That order set off a firestorm of complaints and criticism from Confederate military and civilian leaders. Sherman stuck to his guns…the South could expend the resources to care for and secure their populace. Sherman’s supply lines stretched from Nashville, TN and were constantly threatened by Confederate army raids, so he knew he could not hold Atlanta for long.

But then, he didn’t want to. He stayed in Atlanta long enough to rest and build up supplies. On today’s date in 1864 he ordered the industrial district and anything that might prove useful to the enemy burned. The fires spread and eventually as much as 40% of the city went up in flames.

Sherman sent Gen. Thomas back towards Nashville to tie up the Confederate Army of the Tennessee led by Gen. John Bell Hood.

He then took his army east across Georgia, laying waste to the countryside in the same fashion that he had destroyed the city of Atlanta. This horrified the South, and Sherman’s acts are still points of contention. However if you read Sherman’s thoughts on his decisions, he was merely trying to end the war more quickly by reverting back to ancient principles of war. From times when armies fed themselves and armed themselves by living off of the land they were currently in. Sherman and his army took what they needed and destroyed what was left in order to deny the enemy its use. This was also intended to bring the war to the doorstep of the Southern citizens in the hope that they would press for the termination of hostilities.

By Christmas he would be able to send a telegram to President Lincoln: “I beg to present you as a Christmas gift the City of Savannah, with one hundred and fifty guns and plenty of ammunition, also about twenty-five thousand bales of cotton.”

Send in the Marines!

Today in History, November 10, 1775:

The First Continental Congress commissions a local innkeeper to raise two battalions of Marines to serve in the Revolutionary War. At Tun Tavern in Philadelphia the recruiting took place, and the United States Marine Corps was born. Aboard numerous US Navy ships during the Revolution, at Tripoli, during the Civil War, Belleau Wood, Iwo Jima and dozens of places in between, when the chips were down, the cry went out, “Send in the Marines!”



Today in History, November 9: 1938 – Kristallnacht. In order to direct Germany in the direction they wanted, the Nazis believed that they had to give the people someone to blame, someone to hate, for their misfortunes. The Jewish people of Germany and Austria were the perfect targets.

The Nazis used the murder of a low level diplomat in Paris as an excuse. Hitler ordered storm troopers to act as if they were citizens angered by the murder and to vandalize and destroy Jewish businesses, thus “The Night of Broken Glass” from the broken windows. Many Jews were killed and 30,000 men were arrested and sent to concentration camps. They were released if they promised to leave Germany….100,000+ did so. Kristallnacht would eventually lead to the Holocaust, during which 6,000,000+ Jews were killed in the Nazis attempt at genocide.

“A Time for Choosing” a California Governor; An American President


Today in History, November 8, 1966:

A Hollywood actor and Screen Actor’s Guild President is elected for the first time to his first term as California Governor, defeating Democrat political veteran Governor Pat Brown (yes, Governor Jerry Brown’s father.)

On October 27, 1964 Ronald Reagan had given a speech entitled, “A Time for Choosing” while campaigning for failed Presidential candidate Barry Goldwater.  That “moment in time” is referred to in political circles as “The Speech” because its dynamic message and Reagan’s powerful delivery, while it didn’t succeed for Goldwater, propelled former Democrat Reagan into a fireball career which would lead him not only to the Governorship, but to two terms as one of America’s most beloved and respected Presidents.  He was so revered by the American people, that it is only natural for leftist to revile him.  He is an excellent example of why you must watch closely for bias when researching individuals and events.

Here are a couple more versions of “The Speech”, one of it in its entirety if you are interested, and one which has been adapted to more modern events.  I share this because that one speech echoed down through history for other events…including “I hear you!  And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear from ALL of us soon!”



What Do “The Resistance”, “The Weather Underground”, and a Harvard Professor have in Common with the US Senate?

Today in History, November 7: 1983 – A bombing in the US Senate.

The Senate was expected to be in session late, but managed to finish early, around 7 PM. A few hours later a bomb which had been placed beneath a bench outside the Republican cloakroom exploded. The device blew the doors off of the office of Democrat leader Robert Byrd and nearly destroyed the painting of Senate legend Daniel Webster.

A five year investigation led to the arrest of six members of the “resistance conspiracy” for the Senate bombing, and bombings at Ft. McNair and the historic Washington Navy Yard.

Shocking, but not as unusual as one might think.

In 1971 a bomb was set off in the Senate by the “weather underground”, another radical group.

In 1915, a German Harvard University professor planted 3 sticks of dynamite in the Senate building in protest of American financiers who we assisting Great Britain in WWI.  He then attempted to assassinate JP Morgan. After being arrested, he committed suicide.