Tuesday, January 24

Fredericksburg, Virginia

The wholesale slaughter of troops offered new meaning during the Civil War. General Ambrose Burnside's fiasco at Fredericksburg, Virginia cost dearly in men's lives. It also cost him his command after President Lincoln found him unfit for that duty.

Leaders of men may make decisions that dictate life or death. Even with the most honorable of intentions and moral right, they make wrong choices. That is so clearly seen at Fredericksburg and so many other battlefields throughout history.

The Irish Brigade played a part in this drama. My g-great grandfather was with the troops that ascended Marye's Heights that Saturday in December. 45% of the Brigade would be annihilated, along with 14 of 15 field officers. You can read a short version of the story here: The Irish Brigade and find out what happened to General Burnside here: Burnside

Little wonder that President Lincoln expressed the sorrow and pain of the war in his last portrait. The following is from the President's Inaugural Address given a month before the end of the war.

"One eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the Southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was, somehow, the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union, even by war; while the government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war, the magnitude, or the duration, which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with, or even before, the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces; but let us judge not that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered; that of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has his own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!" If we shall suppose that American Slavery is one of those offences which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South, this terrible war, as the woe due to those by whom the offence came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a Living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope--fervently do we pray--that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-man's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether"

With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations."

Saturday, January 21

Lemon Chicken

Barb and I are playing babysitters again this weekend. First to Target where Angel wanted a 'rubber' chicken with an 'egg' inside that you can squeeze part way out of its body and watch the 'yolk' floating around inside a transparent 'eggshell.' Another wonderful toy made in ChinaMart. Then it was home to wash the car and pick a leftover lemon from the neighbor's overhanging tree. What a monster egg this was for Ms. Chick to lay!

It's another dreary, drab day to enjoy. A smattering of rain predicted. Lots of indoor options to explore. Also, I'm thinking about that digital SLR purchase that I might be able to rangle today. Body only to begin with. I've got some good lenses to use already. But I don't feel real well - kinda fluish, so with that and the rain to dampen my spirits, I'll probably stick close to home and hide the wallet.

Saturday, January 14

27 Years Young

Our two families enjoyed a second Red Lobster dinner birthday celebration this year for Elizabeth. The Collins and Skinners circled a large table after an hour wait and had wonderful food and a great time as Liz opened her gifts and couldn't stop smiling and saying, 'Thank you!'

Hard to believe it was 27 years ago she popped into the world and changed our lives forever - for the better. Barb and I learned what family was all about, over-sheltered and spoiled her, prayed for her and pulled our hair out over her sometimes.

It will soon be her turn to do the same for us!

Monday, January 2

The 2006 Mix

Predictions For 2006

This link is a good read for getting the feel of where this next year will take us. These aren't the biblical prophet caliber by any stretch, so no one will get stoned if they don't come true, but you'll find them interesting, 'predictable' and some yawn-worthy if nothing else. More of the same.

The rain added some excitement to the Rose Bowl Parade this morning. Spirits looked a bit dampened with drenched hair, uniforms and instruments presenting a pretty dismal picture. Crowd color and fumbling announcers were a treat, too.

The new vacuum cleaner is roaring in the living room. Decorations are down and the tree is out on the back patio enjoying the rain. My yard is flooded again but at least the roof isn't leaking.

Happy New Year, everyone!