Monday, July 27, 2009

"It's Just a Cap Wound"

"May 19th, 1864, Thursday
Dear Father,
I had the front part of my Cap shot off by a Minie Ball, It knocked it off of my head and made me feel a little strange about the top knot. I would like to send my Cap home if I could get the chance. ... Your Son Daniel Chisholm"

"Thursday, January 19, 1865: Corporal Daniel Chisholm returned to us today, he was badly wounded on the shin June 16th 1864....On the evening of May 5th, 1864 in the first engagement that we participated in at the battle of the Wilderness, he had the front part of his cap pierced by a Minie Ball--tearing the whole front part of it out, passing through his hair above his forehead. It was a narrow escape for had it of been one half inch lower he would have been killed. While in the Hospital at City Point one of the Christian Commission seen his cap and told him he would attend to forwarding it home for him to his father, as it would be a great curiosity and show how near he had come to being killed. He did so and now it hangs in his room at his home."
-- Sergeant Samuel Clear
From The Civil War Notebook of Daniel Chisholm (Orion Books, 1989)

Friday, July 03, 2009

Churchill He Ain't

Stephen Harper, the dazzlingly eloquent PM of Canada, explains his modest country's modest goals in Afghanistan:

"We are not ever going to ever defeat the insurgency. Afghanistan has probably had -- [based on] my reading of history -- an insurgency forever of some kind ... We have to have an Afghan government that is capable of managing that insurgency and improving its own governance."