Saturday, December 09, 2006

Jogged Memory

When I saw this it jogged my memory a bit. Finally, I remembered Anecdote #243 [Frank Wilkerson] of the Oxford Book of Military Anecdotes:

On one of those six Cold Harbour days, when my battery was in action, I saw a party of horsemen riding towards us from the left. I smiled as the absurdity of men riding along a battle-line for pleasure filled my sense of the ridiculous; but as I looked I saw that the party consisted of a civilian under escort. The party passed close behind our guns, and in passing the civilian exposed a large placard, which was fastened to his back, and which bore the words, 'Libeller of the Press'. We all agreed that he had been guilty of some dreadful deed, and were pleased to see him ride the battle line. He was howled at, and the wish to tear him limb from limb and strew him over the ground was fiercely expressed. This man escaped death from the shot and shells and bullets that filled the air. I afterwards met him in Washington, and he told me that he was a newspaper war correspondent, and that his offence was in writing , as he thought, truthfully, to his journal, that General Meade advised General Grant to retreat to the north of the Rapidan after the battle of the Wilderness.

[a footnote reads; the correspondent was Edward Crapsey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. General Meade later claimed that his punishment delighted the army 'for the race of newspaper correspondents is universally despised by the soldiers'.]

Please stay safe, and God Bless Mr. Roggio.


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