Rough Men – TTG reposted 2022


On this day in 1776, General Washington led his cold, ill fed and ill equipped army across the Delaware River to attack and decisively defeat the Hessian garrison at Trenton, New Jersey. It was a morning of bloody footprints in the snow and supreme audacity.

My son captioned the image above after we joked about the idea. Some may find this inappropriate black humor, but we like it. There are a number of inaccuracies. The Hessians were not sleeping off a night of holiday merriment. They were stone cold sober. Washington crossed the Delaware in the dead of the night, not in the light of dawn. That particular flag was not created until six months after the battle. Nevertheless, I like it. It stands for the Army that I remember and love. The Army of the FIDO attitude. (Look it up if you don’t understand.) This is the Army that Churchill aptly described when he said, “We sleep safely at night because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those who would harm us.”



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101 Responses to Rough Men – TTG reposted 2022

  1. Alba Etie says:

    And by accounts I have read the Hessians not only were all sober but, fully armed , well supplied , and well led . If the Continental Army troopers were leaving bloody prints in the snow that must mean that they were fighting on with severe frost bite yes ?

  2. bth says:

    If I recall the painting was made in Germany and shown as part of a fundraiser for Civil War casualties and their families in NYC. I think it is now in the Museum of Fine Art in NY.

  3. Townie76 says:

    An Army that was not risk averse, an Army that was not pretty nor their troopers perfect, but by God when you put them in the field they got the job done and overcame obstacles. I still remember a Wire Dog who was in my Headquarters Company–he was a lousy garrison soldier–he liked loose weapons and booze but in the field there was no job he did not accomplish. One night he laid five miles of WD1 wire across a swamp at Fort Stewart Georgia, without a break, and comms were up and ready when the Commander moved to the location the wire was run to.
    Today I am not sure you could do that without at least an Officer and a Platoon Sergeant to supervise. Of course the soldier would have to wear a reflective belt so he could be seen at night etc etc. Unfortunately for the Army Soldiers like that are not longer welcomed.

  4. haldlock says:

    Not so sure of the origin but the painting is (or was the last time I was in New Hope) on display at the museum at Washington’s Crossing, PA. It’s huge, like a tapestry.
    I appreciate the ‘FIDO’ reference. Been years since I heard that.

  5. Andy Mink says:

    The painting was done by Emanuel Leutze in 1849-51, in 2 versions, one went to the US, one got burned in his studio in Düsseldorf and staid in Germany, where it was later burned for good by Britsh bombs in Bremen in 1943 or so. Leutze emigrated with his parents to Philadelphia as a kid, returned to study in Düsseldorf. He was a ardent Democrat and believer in the failed revolution of 1848 in Europe and came back to the US around 1859.
    The painting is an expression of his idealized admiration of the US as the land of liberty (see the black man in the boat). The Delaware here is actually modeled on the Rhine at Düsseldorf, ie the actual crossing is much narrower (I went to look at it). I love the painting, it´s now again at the Met after a long restoration and is just stunning and huge (we know the people who did it, they found some interesting “new” details after cleaning it up). The Met did a small publication on the painting that is definitely worth finding out. They describe who the people in GW´s boat are and point out the “historic mistakes” (they actually used flat bottomed boats, etc).
    But weren´t the bloody footprints in the snow part of Valley Forge??
    At the crossing on the Jersey side one can still see the beginning of the wooded path the Continental Army took to Trenton.
    Andy Mink

  6. morgan says:

    I think the quote at the end came from George Orwell, not Churchill.

  7. The Twisted Genius says:

    Orwell was probably the originator of the sentiment if not the exact words. Churchill was, no doubt, paraphrasing Orwell’s writings. A lot of people have used the quote since then.

  8. The Twisted Genius says:

    The full story of this painting is quite interesting. As for the bloody footprints, I’m sure they were at Forge as well… and probably many other places. Once hypothermia sets in, you start feeling warm and become oblivious to pain. I know that from experience.

  9. The Twisted Genius says:

    A historically more accurate depiction of the crossing was done by Mort Kunstler. It’s impressive in its own right.–Signed-by-Mort-Kunstler_p_7560.html

  10. The origins of the quote seem unclear.
    Apparently Orwell never said it. However, in ‘Notes on Nationalism’, written in 1945, he lists five types of nationalist, appending in each case ‘a fact which it is impossible for that type of nationalist to accept, even in his secret thoughts.’ In the case of the ‘pacifist’, the fact is that: ‘Those who “abjure” violence can only do so because others are committing violence on their behalf.’
    (See )
    And he wrote of Kipling, in his essay on that writer, that he ‘sees clearly that men can only be high civilized while other men, inevitably less civilized, are there to feed and guard them.’
    ( )
    It was Kipling himself who wrote the famous line about ‘making mock o’ uniforms that guard you while you sleep.’ And it was also Kipling who remarked that ‘speaking roughly, you must employ either blackguards or gentlemen, or, best of all, blackguards commanded by gentlemen, to do butcher’s work with efficiency and despatch.’ The line comes from the story The Drums of the Fore and Aft, which draws on events from the Second Afghan War of 1878-80.

  11. rkka says:

    “This is the Army that Churchill aptly described when he said…”
    It has been several decades since it did this. Mostly it spreads ruin in foreign lands.

  12. Alba Etie says:

    ‘…and its our Thin Red Line of Heroes when the guns begin to shoot ..”

  13. Bill H says:

    I too have seen Washington’s Crossing. On the same trip we spent a day at Valley Forge and I was moved to speak in whispers. No historical place has ever before or since moved me as that place did.

  14. Charles I says:

    I first learned it in rehab, along with other lifesavers like calm blue ocean, its not about me, but F*** It, Drive On covers it all.

  15. Charles I says:

    Totally O/T, here’s a bit of reporting on my repatriation planning questions:
    “It is a January sale with a difference. . . .
    We’ve got a long way to go, a lot of troops to move out yet
    Buyers will need deep pockets to bid for lots that originally cost up to $25 million, (although the tender document says that all major credit cards are accepted). The sales even include “non-tactical vehicles”. Unfortunately, for Taliban commanders with an eye on a bargain, the documents make clear that term excludes “launchers and tanks”.
    Weapons and other reusable kit are being shipped back home in a huge operation that logisticians call a “retrograde”. It includes bringing back as many as 40,000 shipping containers of equipment, worth an estimated $34 billion.
    At a recent press briefing, Chuck Hagel, the US defence secretary, said the drawdown was ahead of schedule. “We’ve got a long way to go, a lot of troops to move out yet, a lot of equipment to move out yet,” he said. “But this is an issue that is as high on the priority list as any that we all have.”
    At least 400 bases have already been closed or handed to local troops as foreign forces leave. Earlier this year, Afghan troops took over responsibility for security across the whole country. However, some 45,000 American troops are still in Afghanistan – along with more than 25,000 from other coalition countries – 12 years after the Taliban was ousted from power.”

  16. BabelFish says:

    I lived in New Hope, PA, just a few miles from the site of crossing. There is a restaurant there, Bowman’s Tavern, that dates back to thoses times. Given the state of the river, that crossing would be quite a piece of work.

  17. Charles I! Thanks for this summary!

  18. shepherd says:

    If I’m not mistaken, the first shelter at Valley Forge was completed on this day in 1777.

  19. turcopolier says:

    My 3rd great grandfather, Sergeant Amos Hall of the 7th Connecticut Line, was one of the people building the huts at VF. he participated in the Trenton operation. He served from 1765 until the Continental Army was disbanded after the Treaty of Paris. He had been at Yorktown and witnessed Cornwallis’s surrender. pl

  20. Matthew says:

    Was any country more fortunate than ours? George Washington. General. Founder. President. The only historical figure to my mind for whom familiarity breeds more respect….

  21. BabelFish says:

    Throw George Marshall in there as well.

  22. Matthew says:

    BabelFish: Amen.

  23. dilbert dogbert says:

    The history of a more modern set of tough men is fading. Here is a link:

  24. JohnH says:

    Off topic, but an industry insider says that the whole oil price bubble of the last decade was a manipulation of the markets by the US and Saudis. It would also explain the strenuous efforts to keep cheap Iranian crude off the market.
    “In my view, a geopolitical agreement was reached by the US with the Saudis … that the US would consent to oil prices at a minimum level satisfactory to the Saudis budgeted expenditure (perhaps $80/barrel) while in return the Saudis would act to ensure that US gasoline prices did not exceed a maximum level at which President Obama’s chances of re-election were threatened – about $3.50 per US gallon.”

  25. Matthew says:

    JohnH; Okay, John, then what changed?

  26. turcopolier says:

    IMO the US government does not manipulate commodity prices. pl

  27. confusedponderer says:

    Then there’s that dollar thing … how d’ya get rid of all that debt generated by having that splendid military spending …? Keep that press printing …
    Quite privilege to have a fiat currency being used on the primary markets. Thats’s for one thing the factor that makes sanctions a sharp tool, and secondly the thing that makes spending cheap …
    As Karl Rove or Dick Cheney – deficits are no problem. The US will always be able to deflate herself out of ever having to pay back … or so is the idea.

  28. turcopolier says:

    I see… It is all a US plot to screw you Germans… pl

  29. JohnH says:

    We’re not talking about manipulating commodity prices here. What Cook is talking about is a framework whereby prices trade in an agreed upon range, like many countries do with their currency. The Treasury also does this with interest rates.
    Oil marinated political leaders, like Bush and Cheney, could care less about day to day commodity prices as long as the price floor is high enough to support exploration and development of higher cost oil (offshore, shale, tar sands, etc.)
    My understanding is that the US and Saudi Arabia had a similar agreement to stabilize oil prices at a higher level during the 1970s and 80s. This encouraged development of the international oil market, since US production was becoming insufficient to support demand. This collapsed when oil became abundant and Saudi Arabia started losing significant market share in the late 1980s. At that point Saudi Arabia decided to pump like crazy to make in volume what it could not longer make with higher pricing.
    Cook attributes the collapse this time to the end of quantitative easing, whereby the Fed bought bank assets, freeing money up for bankers to invest in commodities, particularly speculation on oil markets. This enabled oil prices to rise rapidly after the recession, well before any recovery of the depressed Western economy.

  30. Jack says:

    I agree. Markets can be moved in the short term but not sustained over a long period of time. The only exceptions are when central banks create money out of thin air and dominate a market. But even they cannot sustain that over a long period of time.
    The petrodollar is a figment of imagination on the part of conspiracy theorists. Oil is fungible and can be purchased in any convertible currency that the seller is willing to accept. So even if crude is priced in dollars on futures exchanges nothing prevents the Russians or Saudis from selling it in a bilateral contract for cash in any currency.

  31. Jack says:

    Also, most of the crude purchased by refiners are on long term supply contracts with crude producers. Price protection and optionality can be built into those contracts. The futures markets and swap markets are mostly used for hedging. Speculators also use those markets for financial trading.

  32. Fred says:

    Most of that debt is from bailing out banks, including Europe’s. But of course German banks would never screw anybody, just ask the Greeks.

  33. JohnH says:

    “The only exceptions are when central banks create money out of thin air and dominate a market.” Exactly…quantitative easing.

  34. Jack says:

    IMO many central banks are trapped. The BoJ for example is currently buying 100% of the newly issued Japanese government bonds with money they just created. They are also similarly buying stock ETFs and ABS. The Fed has also “purchased” trillions in long dated Treasury bonds & MBS. So in reality there are no markets in the classic sense for these securities. Price signals are distorted. Normalization will be a bitch. As is always the case the middle class will pay at some point when psychology changes and central banks cannot create new money out of the ether to bloat their balance sheet.

  35. CRS {Congressional Research Service] in a new report estimates US spent $1.6 Trillion on wars since 9/11/01!

  36. confusedponderer says:

    Nah, the Chinese. They hold most of your your foreign debt. Pivot to asia, arm up with ficticious money, at the opponent’s expense? What’s not to like?
    But actually, I think it’s simply something that has become a habit.

  37. confusedponderer says:

    If Germany received ‘most of the money’ I’d be very much surprised. For example from the AIG bailout money alone, French banks got 19.1 billion, and British banks 12.7 billion – Germany being in the middle with 16.7 billion.
    Ah, those darned Frogs and the perfidious Albion are in it too?! You probably felt that already.
    And banks are banks. Ours are as greedy as yours. Says nothing about America or the US and the respective national character. The US just had a hedge fund sue Argentina over sovereign debt, and what German baks did in Greece is a long shot away from that sort of behaviour.
    Naturally, with banks being evil, and German banks being eviller – in all of this the Greeks are of course entirely blameless.
    Starting with them cheating themselves into the Eurozone (by vigorously cooking the books), tax evasion, various flavours of social security fraud (shadow employees, healthy people claiming disability benefits etc pp) being something a national sport … Greece was such a serene place before the crash came and Germany and those nasty German banks ruined it all.
    What I am saying is that the Greek crash was not a sudden external crisis (imposed on Greece by Germany, for example) but a genuine homemade mess.
    In Greece we have the situation that successive governments built a system of patronage and nepotism that is unparalleled in Europe, and stands out even in southern Europe which is accustomed to corruption.
    Greek governments of all colours have created thousands of jobs for cronies, friends and family members (putting them in a position to benefit from the culture of Fakelaki). The inevitable consequence of such nepotism was the dramatic fall of competency and efficiency of the Greek administration.
    Those jobs all cost money, but don’t generate any. Before the crisis about a quarter of all workers in Greece were employed by the state before the crisis began. Considering that Greece’s problem is one of government debt – do the math.
    I could go on. But you can read up on that yourself if you want. Try googling ‘Greece + corruption + fraud + tax evasion’. That should do.
    Random pickings from the search results:


  39. Russia’s 1% now fleeing to UK in large numbers. Putin understood theft but not economics.

  40. LeaNder says:

    Since you move from perceived German versus American tit for that to German versus Greek, it feels that Fred must have responded not over the top but actually caught the essence of your comment.
    If you are really are on the side of victims of corruption, how comes?
    “the Greek” cheated their way into the European union is a rather limited grasp of matters. Maybe you look up statistics in the Europäische Stablitätspakt from 2001 on.

  41. LeaNder says:

    TTG, you are one of my favorite voices in Pat’s blog, this is thread hijacking too, I admit. But I just wondered how Mondoweiss is doing.
    I didn’t look closer at the response thread, but here is piotr, one of my favorites there, and really I only scanned for the voice of reason:
    December 23, 2014, 10:58 am
    To any military buffs here:
    why a drone operator should be dressed in battle armor, helmet, carry a knapsack, machine gun and some large gizmo on the left hip?
    A combination of a heroic posture with incongruous detail is a comedy classic: he’s a lumberjack and he’s ok link to
    – See more at:

  42. confusedponderer says:

    I was thinking of China all along. See below.
    What ticked me off was the silliness of the ‘Germany got all the bailout money’ meme.
    So German banks got US money? It was first and foremost the US who did and still do push the international markets in which capital can flow freely.
    If the idea of the bailout was to prevent a ripple effect, in which bankrupt institutions like AIG would draw those banks they owed money down with them, then it was, in light of the interconnectedness of the world economy, effing inevitable that money would flow to banks beyond the US, and anybody who is aghast or surprised hasn’t been paying attention for the last decade.
    As for Greece’s ‘cheating’ – they had the help of the Grand Wizards of High Finance. This Wikipedia entry sums it up briefly:
    “By the end of 2009, as a result of a combination of international and local factors the Greek economy faced its most-severe crisis since the restoration of democracy in 1974 as the Greek government revised its deficit from a prediction of 3.7% in early 2009 and 6% in September 2009, to 12.7% of gross domestic product (GDP).
    In early 2010, it was revealed that through the assistance of Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and numerous other banks, financial products were developed which enabled the governments of Greece, Italy and many other European countries to hide their borrowing. Dozens of similar agreements were concluded across Europe whereby banks supplied cash in advance in exchange for future payments by the governments involved; in turn, the liabilities of the involved countries were “kept off the books”.
    According to Der Spiegel credits given to European governments were disguised as “swaps” and consequently did not get registered as debt because Eurostat at the time ignored statistics involving financial derivatives. A German derivatives dealer had commented to Der Spiegel that “The Maastricht rules can be circumvented quite legally through swaps,” and “In previous years, Italy used a similar trick to mask its true debt with the help of a different US bank.” These conditions had enabled Greek as well as many other European governments to spend beyond their means, while meeting the deficit targets of the European Union and the monetary union guidelines.”
    When you have a specific euphemism for bribery in your language like ‘Fakelaki’ then that speaks for itself. Greece’s problems with corruption, poor governance, graft, fraud and tax evasion are home made and the fault not of Germany or of German banks. The responsibility lies squarely with the Greeks.

  43. Fred says:

    “Germany received ‘most of the money…” That is not what I said. However, whether 1 or 16 what was received was liquidity, without which European banking would have ground to a halt; and for which the American taxpayers will foot the bill for the next generation.
    Are you stating German bankers were unable to recognize that the Greek government could not raise the taxes to pay for the loans the banks were pushing, ah “offering”, to their government? I’m shocked! Maybe some bankers should get fired and jailed for fraud against the shareholders. I’m sure all those bonuses can be recovered….
    “The US just had a hedge fund…” Yes, “a” hedge fund, singular, which bought on the open market the discounted – junk – bonds offered by the Argentine government at pennies on the dollar then demanded payment in full. Because a contract is a contract, right? That is an old, old story in the US:

  44. shepherd says:

    Col. Lang,
    Excellent heritage you have. My ancestors are mostly landless peasants who disappear from history rather quickly.
    I took my children to Valley Forge a month ago. It was a cold, rainy day, much like that December. They’re a little young to understand military things, so I taught them how the men built the cabins. They were most impressed by the fact that chinking was a cold, wet clay that had to be applied by hand.

  45. turcopolier says:

    As you say it is all a matter of record keeping. I always assumed that I was the usual blend of bog-trotting Mick and priest-ridden French Canadian but my wife discovered that the English line in my ancestry were Puritan founders in New England – heavily Norman descended English and thus linked to the upper classes in Europe in the Middle Ages. those folks among the nobility married each other a lot and once linked to them you are pretty much related to everyone you ever heard of. pl

  46. pl,
    Did your Puritan ancestors happen to find their way to New Haven, Connecticut? The early settlers of my hometown all came north from there including one Gideon Hotchkiss, grandfather of Jedediah Hotchkiss the map maker.

  47. confusedponderer says:

    It’s not ‘a contract is a contract’.
    The point behind Argentina’s troubles is the simple fact that, so far, nation states ***cannot*** default on sovereign debt, and for a long time, until Detroit that is, that even went for entities like states or cities, too (and beyond the US, it still does).
    Example: After the fall of the Iron Curtain, Russia again accepted (something they hadn’t done during the communist years) responsibility for tsarist debt. Iirc Warren Buffet bought those tsarist debt papers cheaply and made a lot of money. The point is: For states, debt is eternal.
    That aforementioned hedgefund in that sense didn’t do anything paticularly unusual – they said a dollar is a dollar i.e. wanted for their miniscule part of Argentina’s (iirc some 2%) fully repayment when everybody (98%) else was happy to get 20 cents on the dollar or somesuch.
    The anger directed at them is because they are spoilers in what even the US governments sees as a requirement to help Argentina back on its feet.
    But this ilustrates a point – the transcendent nature of debt – that is why German and French and British banks threw the Greeks a line, even though they were known to be deadbeats.
    Because nation states are, by definition, good for their money (that is desirable – it is what people ‘bank on’ when they buy US treasury bonds).
    And that is what I meant with German banks being just as American ones (or hedgefunds).
    As for your other point – that German banks received US bailout money: That is not scandalous but the inevitable consequence of the bailout being designed to stabilise the ***banking system***, which doesn’t end in the US.
    The only thing this illustrates is that European banks had, to a great extent, exposure to US debt. The US banking system would have not been helped if those European banks had gone down or taken a hit as a result of the US limiting themselves to serve US debt only, because other US banks, in turn, were exposed to these European banks.
    That ripple effect was what the bailout was intended to prevent.
    If you don’t like it, it can’t be helped. Let’s just note – it is not Germany’s fault.

  48. turcopolier says:

    My genealogist is checking her records. it would be funny if we are related somehow. pl

  49. turcopolier says:

    Other than some Fowlers and Tapps in New Haven County in the 17th Century, nothing in the New Haven area. My folks were in eastern Ct. and then up the Ct. river to Hartford and beyond. pl

  50. pl,
    The chance of us being related is pretty slim. My ancestors didn’t venture into the new world until the 20th century. The closest our families could have been is if some of your upper class relatives in Europe in the Middle Ages found their way to Grunwald in 1410. Of course they would have been on opposite sides at the time. There is a family story that my ancestors took down a Teutonic knight at that battle and became barefoot knights for this deed. Then again, it might just be a family myth. Records are damned scarce in that part of Europe.
    Our town schools kept the memory of our Puritan founders alive in us from a young age. That’s why men like Gideon Hotchkiss often seemed like distant relatives. That and having been raised in the former parsonage of the church he helped found. Here’s an image from the soldiers monument on our town green. I’ve traced these names with my fingers many times as a child. Those names of our Civil War veterans we’re over half the voting population of Prospect at the time.

  51. Dr. Puck says:

    Actually, as it is with most quantitative aspects, one can, as they say, “look it up.”
    Foreign debt holders
    Most people would fail if asked, Which foreign country holds the most US debt, depending on what day you asked the question? But, it is a dynamic figure.
    Currency and debt, bond, arbitrage is about to become one of the biggest games in the casino, (you know the shiny one with all the new building going on, located down there at the end of Swamp Lane,) now that it seems 140 characters can move the overnight and daily equity markets in a salutary manner.

  52. ambrit says:

    Really? The George Marshall who scapegoated Short and Kimmel for Pearl Harbour?

  53. JMGavin says:

    The Army does as it is commanded to do, by elected civilian leaders.

  54. turcopolier says:

    Marshall certainly did “scapegoat” Short. It was inevitable that someone’s head would roll, but Kimmel was a navy man and Marshall had nothing to do with that. Marshall also canned Leonard Gerow and replaced him with Eisenhower in the War Department ops section. pl

  55. Degringolade says:

    When I went back to a leg unit in the old FRG, we were all down in Grafenwoehr and were training there at the same time as the Coldstream Guards. Good folks, good troops. During a pleasant night of drinking at a Gasthaus, the Trenton “battle” was discussed.
    The Brit Colour Sergeant who was plowed beside me was of the opinion that we were a bit “cheeky” in that operation. According to him, there apparently was a cease-fire and truce with the “British Forces” and the Brits still feel that while attacking the “Fucking Germans” was technically a violation of the spirit but not the letter of the cease-fire with the Brits.
    FIDO my Friend, FIDO

  56. alba etie says:

    God Rest All Ye Merry Rough Gentlemen that have kept We Civilians safely sleeping since 1776 …

  57. mike allen says:

    An interesting article by Alexander Rose for the CIA about the role (or non-role?) of John Honeyman, who was (or wasn’t?) a spy for General Washington in Trenton. He had reportedly been a double agent, giving false intel to Hessian Colonel Rall. Rose debunks this. But it’s a great story. And even if not true, there were certainly patriots or anti-British citizens in and around Trenton passing info to Washington’s scouts.
    I make no claim either way. But I note that the Nathaniel Sackett that Rose mentions as the father of American Intelligence has descendants in your home state of Connecticut.

  58. LeaNder says:

    David, I haven’t looked at that essay for a long time.
    But if I may, more arbitrarily, it’s interesting that he starts with Lord Byron.
    I still vividly recall at what point in time I stumbled across the argument that the Romantics collectively and all later seemingly traditions were more or less some type of protofascists …
    OK, you finally will make me read Kipling. It may be more interesting than I lot of books I had to read.
    The best.

  59. LeaNder says:

    seemingly traditions
    ok seemingly related traditions, from a pure reason and enlightenment perspective… maybe I never felt as human I was purely reducable to something ‘enlightened’ or rational.
    I still have to admit that root and rootedness both in earlier historical discourses as in the present irritate me, somewhat, as argument.
    If you have reading suggestion beyond Orwell or Kipling, let me know.

  60. Fred says:

    One of my ancestors was a captain in the New Jersey militia. I don’t think he participated in this battle though he was in a few others.

  61. LeaNder,
    Questions to do with ‘roots’ and ‘rootedness’ are too complex for Christmas Eve.
    One needs however to distinguish genuine ‘multiculturalism’ from fake varieties.
    If one takes a culture in which it is normal for much child-rearing to be done by servants, and transplants it into a different culture, the results can be bizarre. So Kipling is bizarre. Very commonly, people do not realise this.
    One German reader of Kipling who got the point was that peculiarly creepy figure Bertolt Brecht – also a notable reader of one of the most bizarre pieces in English literature, John Gay’s ‘The Beggar’s Opera.’
    So Kipling’s fragment of an attempt at a music hall song, with the refrain ‘Oh, that’s what the Girl told the Soldier!’, is turned by Brecht into the ‘Ballade vom Weib und dem Soldaten’ – set by the Jewish communist Hanns Eisler. It is a song about Hitler’s armies, is it not?
    None of these people are ‘rooted’ in the sense of belonging to some kind of single, monolithic culture, or indeed, aspiring to be such. But equally, they were not – and this goes for the communists Brecht and Eisler (who I think a very considerable composer indeed, far superior to his master Schoenberg, or indeed Wagner) – simply attempting a kind of ‘Flucht nach Vorn.’
    As to Orwell, some of what he wrote is invaluable. But in the end he was a somewhat priggish – a bit like Edward Said.
    For another case study of the complexities of ‘rootedness’ – what about Günter Grass’s ‘Hunderjahre’?

  62. LeaNder says:

    So Kipling’s fragment of an attempt at a music hall song, with the refrain ‘Oh, that’s what the Girl told the Soldier!’, is turned by Brecht into the ‘Ballade vom Weib und dem Soldaten’ – set by the Jewish communist Hanns Eisler. It is a song about Hitler’s armies, is it not?
    It feels unlikely. Obviously it might have turned into that in the reader’s mind later. It first appeared in print in 1927, but is assumed to have been written around 1919 or 1921/22. His poems on the SA or on Hitler are much later. The ballad was used in Mother Courage and her Children written in 1939. That use would be closer to the time that’s on your mind.'-Women%22
    For another case study of the complexities of ‘rootedness’ – what about Günter Grass’s ‘Hunderjahre’?
    I struggled a bit with Hundejahre, or Dog Years, admittedly. Maybe with Grass more generally. That’s why I hardly remember it. The only thing I recall is that the story line concerning Hitler’s German Shepard irritated me somewhat. Never mind the constant presence of Hitler’s real Shepard in documentaries.
    Concerning John Gay’s Beggers Opera adapted by BB’s as the Dreigroschenoper, there is a long German tradition concerning preference of the British versus French stage tradition going all the way back to Lessing.

  63. LeaNder says:

    post scriptum:
    I’ll try to keep in mind to look up creepy the next time I stumble across the OED. I could of course subscribe to it online, on the other hand that might not end well. Might endanger me to spent hours and hours over single words and their usage over time, always with the vivid recollection on the back of my mind that one or the other entries, e.g. the ones related to drama, could be bad on deficient interpretation.
    My first response, by the way, would have been something like: Do you really want me to jump through that fiery rhetorical hoop?
    Triggered how? Carefully placed distinguishing markers, like e.g. creepy?

  64. Balint Somkuti, PhD says:

    Napoleon Bonaparte?

  65. Adrestia says:

    So German banks got US money? It was first and foremost the US who did and still do push the international markets in which capital can flow freely.
    IMO most bankers and very rich don’t care about any country, religion or ideology. They live in a world of their own with no loyalties to anyone.
    They have green-zone behavior and move from green zone to green zone worldwide, never in contact with the population except as servants. Protected by their own security and their own transport within a framework of nation states that fight for their attention.
    Unfortunately this is breaking up the old structures. In the US Trump continues the actions of Clinton, Bush and Obama in a reverse Robin Hood. Stealing from the poor and giving to the richt, which unfortunately seems to be the constant in human civilization. No investments are done in the population with for example educating the population or maintaining the infrastructure.
    In Europe the EU is falling apart. Today elections in Catalonia, yesterday formal actions against Poland and proto-authoritarian/fascist tendencies on the rise in populist right governments and political parties.
    But then again, it is probably all the Russians who are behind this! All trying to olbfuscate the Iranian-North Korean conspiracy to flood the world with electric cars, thus starting a worldwide financial recession as western corporations lose their monopoly-like positions.

  66. GeneO says:

    TTG –
    I have always admired Kunstler’s paintings. But his depiction of the crossing of the Delaware is still a bit off IMHO. I understood the ferry was only used for horses and artillery, the troops went across in boats.
    But you still gotta like Kunstler’s body of work. Even the comic book and ‘for men only’ genre art:

  67. Muzaffar Ali says:

    Many a man, but very few The Man!
    Many imposters try to pass as The Man!

  68. outthere says:

    beg your pardon for being off topic but
    i never knew about the nuclear documents that ellsberg hid and were never revealed
    the second half of this interview is all about nuclear winter and about DPRK
    must read

  69. outthere says:

    Andrew Bacevich December 21, 2017
    The authors of the Trump administration’s new National Security Strategy, released this week, are marketing it as an expression of “principled realism.” Belligerent narcissism more accurately describes its contents.

  70. GeneO,
    I like Kunstler’s works, too. I agree he may also have taken liberties with his depiction of the river crossing. Most of the men were ferried over in what were called Durham boats, a common cargo carrier of the time. They were larger than the boat depicted in the Leutze painting and probably familiar to many of Glover’s Marbleheaders. Larger ferries were used for the artillery. I don’t know if there are any accounts of how Washington, himself, crossed the river.
    Reading the Wikipedia entry on the battle of Trenton again, I noted the odd similarity to a river crossing I made in December of 1976 during the Florida phase of Ranger School. It was a night crossing of the Yellow river where we actually had to break ice in the chest high water of the swamps. We entered at dusk and didn’t get out until dawn. Two students froze to death in those swamps just as two soldiers froze to death in Washington’s army that December night.

  71. Ranger Ray says:

    In reply to rkka:
    Sorry to reply to your post so late in the string. However, was just now perusing this series and your terse comment immediately caught my attention. Obviously you know not of which you speak. Hopefully you are an “Outlander” and not a citizen or resident of this country. If you are, hang your head in shame as better men than you keep watch while you sleep.

  72. Abn505thPIR says:

    “FIDO” I do not think I can over state just how important that mind-set has been in my life over the years! Amen to that!

  73. Leith says:

    I was intrigued by the wikipedia comment that there are still today, 242 years later, one RA unit and eight ANG units whose roots are directly traceable to the Battle of Trenton.
    Maybe someday in the future I can make it to Trenton to see the crossing reenacted.

  74. Sbin says:

    People responsible for the American revolution were amazing men.
    Read about battle of Monongahela
    Washington lead a retreat after a massacre and was a hero.

  75. Sbin says:

    After the battle Ben Franklin was saved from financial ruin by King George sending 20,000 pounds sterling to cover lost wagons horses and equipment Franklin guaranteed with personal wealth

  76. turcopolier says:

    are you sure you are talking about Ben Franklin. His son was loyalist governor pf New Jersey.

  77. turcopolier says:

    Massacre? The British had made many mistakes leading to theor defeat by the Indians under French leadership.

  78. Sbin says:

    Washington and Franklin were involved with British expedition on fort Duquesne.
    Against French/Indian forces.
    Not many years later they were fighting British forces with French support.
    Today they would be terrorist and murdered with drones

  79. Sbin says:

    During misspent youth I could not afford college text books but had two sets of college books from Harvard and Yale.
    Reading our founding fathers words provided much more insight than overpriced nonsense from professors.

  80. Leith says:

    Gage commanded the forces to retreat. Washington was the one to rally a rear guard which allowed Gage to break off contact and lead the retreat.

  81. Roger Bigod says:

    In deference to the host, I haven’t posted here for awhile. But it seems appropriate to report in for my ancestor Isham Keith, who served at Valley Forge in the trying winter of 1777-78 with his brother-in-law Thomas Marshall and nephew John. He wasn’t there for the Crossing in 1776, but apparently John was. Isham left after a year due to eye damage from smallpox. When the Va. legislature stopped paying troops, John relocated to Williamsburg and studied law with George Wythe.
    One source has it that the bloody footprints were due to lack of proper shoes by some enlisted men.

  82. seward says:

    I would add Dwight Eisenhower also. The war in the West after Normandy went more or less exactly as he planned, and was over in 11 months. (With some help from the East of course.) He ended the war in Korea; kept us out of war elsewhere his whole term, especially the JCS intent to nuke the Viet Minh in 1954; was well on his way to a peaceful detente with the Soviets until derailed by the U2 shutdown (IMHO the flight likely leaked by insiders for just that purpose); and warned us explicitly about the Military-Industrial complex (which we’ve ignored tour peril). He is slowly but definitely, as the political quarrels of his term become a distant memory, coming to be regarded as one of the greats. In the same category as Washington, Lincoln, and FDR.

  83. turcopolier says:

    Roger Bigod
    Perhaps he and my ancestor Sergeant Amos Hall of the 7th Connecticut Line knew each other at VF.

  84. turcopolier says:

    Roger Bigod
    I don’t recall banning you. Must be a different name. I am descended from some Bigods who were sureties of Magna Carta. BTW, “Targets” was written by JP to say something or other about our shooting outings.

  85. Deap says:

    Wonderful Churchill quote. Thank you for keeping it alive.

  86. Deap says:

    Men fight with different weapons today: from keyboards in their mom’s basement. Or buffing up their own bodies to gaze at in their gym’s mirror. I miss seeing those young, shy awkward guys who were at least out there trying their hearts off. Until the smoothed their edges and did actually make it.

  87. Leith says:

    With all due respect to Trenton, Bunker Hill, Bennington, Freemans Farm, and Beemis Heights IMHO the war was won in the South: Kings Mountain, Cowpens, even Guilford Courthouse although a tactical defeat for Greene was a strategic victory forcing Cornwallis up to Yorktown.
    And of course the bigger influence that gained us our freedom was our Allies. Without Rochambeau & Galvez, and Admirals Francois deGrasse & Johan Zoutman we’d still be part of the Sassenach Empire.

  88. Shako says:

    The inspiring beginning of the ethos and can-do spirit of the U.S. Army. Thank you for posting!

  89. Leith,
    Those southern battles were critical to our eventual victory, But those early battles were just as critical. It was just a matter of the action moving from the northern battlefields to the southern battlefields. It’s true we don’t hear much about those southern battles except Yorktown of course. It’s the same with Rochambeau and deGrasse. They are celebrated while Galvez is largely unheard of.
    It’s the same with the Civil War. We hear about Virginia and Lee, but nothing of the Western Theater. I would argue that the campaigns involving Vicksburg, Atlanta and Nashville did more to decide the outcome of the war than anything else. That and the Anaconda Plan. But what we are taught goes from Bull Run to Gettysburg to Appomattox.

  90. Larry C Johnson says:

    Once again, TTG and I are in agreement. Look for unexpected lightening strikes.

  91. Deap says:

    Agree, Vicksburg was a very strategic battle for the Union to win, effectively cutting the South in two and destroying their supply lines. Plus being a logistically fascinating battle plan to take this formidable bluff, as well as horrific trial of endurance for the residents of Vicksburg itself. Vicksburg was the Beginning of The End.

  92. Leith says:

    TTG –
    You are right of course. The northern battlefields of the Revolutionary War had a few more wannabee historians though. Which is why they got more ink.
    In the case of the Civil War there was more blood seeped into the soil of Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. So that’s why they got the press. That plus the photography of Matthew Brady and others who rarely shot film at the battlefields in the west. Bloody Chickamauga with 34K+ casualties only gets minimum coverage. Yet some historians think that even though Chickamauga was a tactical victory for the South that it was a strategic failure and that battle plus the Chattanooga campaign is what paved the way for the surrender at Appomattox.
    As for the Anaconda Plan I agree 100%. That effort pole-axed Jeff Davis’s logistics and doomed many of Lee’s troops to go barefoot and half starve on cornmeal mush and peanuts. The Union Navy, both riverine forces and bluewater ships, never got the acclamation they were due.

  93. Roger Bigod says:

    There’s a software problem on my side or yours, so I have to do a special download of the comment feed.
    IIRC my offense was a remark that seemed to put down Lee. He’s a distant relative and I’ve tried to understand his approach to command. Some writers have criticized his judgment, but the general view of Southerners is total admiration. For them, he stands for everything positive about the values of the Old South.
    He, Jefferson and Marshall were the most famous descendants of William Randolph. The Randolph saga is a shaggy dog story that goes on and on without a punch line, that I’ve found.
    As you noted, Roger Bigod was one of the Surety Barons of Magna Carta. I chose him as a nom de terminal because his name was the simplest and least obviously french sounding. He was illiterate, swore a lot, seldom bathed and was casual about his neighbors’ property rights. A perfect Bad Boy ideal. The story is that his family were so famous for blasphemous oaths that they were known as the By-Gods. They decided to go in-your-face and adopt it as a name.
    Within a couple of generations, all the English gentry were descended from the Surety Barons. Today, the descendants must be in the millions. But the only documentation for centuries was land records. My line is from Henry Isham, whose daughter married Wllliam Randolph.

  94. turcopolier says:

    Roger Bigod
    Should I apologize for my ancestry? My wife is a highly competent genealogist. Ah, you think I am bullshitting you. Well, you could piss me off. Randolph? What? Just keep it up. I am also descended from the main Plantagenet line. So, the Bigods and my great …. father King John were not friends. Actually, Bigod sounds like a lot of my friends in SF. I did not ban you for whatever it is that you think of Uncle Bob. Lee was a civil works engineer officer who took up the cavalry because there was a vacancy in the 2nd US for a LTC. He didn’t know s–t about tactics at the beginning of the war and it showed but in my opinion he was “one of God’s finest creatures.” My father, not fond of me or of Southerners, paused for a minute in the great echoing space between Seminary and Cemetery Ridges, to say that “only madmen like you could get these men out here.” it was the best thing he ever said to me. You can work out your problems with the feed, or not.

  95. turcopolier says:

    Roger Bigod
    Louisiana? OK Wise ass. You are banned.

  96. Roger Bigod says:

    Apologies for any offense.

  97. Roger Bigod says:

    Apologies for any offense.

Comments are closed.