Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)

Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.

This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Well, it was bound to happen.

Despite my best intentions, it seems the Thursday Three has started a minor quibble about barbecue. Obviously, you can cook any animal over a slow fire. Obviously, too, the superior animal to be treated in this fashion is the noble pig, but I think we all know there are people who think a cow is just as good (and a lot easier to keep kosher).

BUT FRIENDS! Are we not all Americans!? (I mean, of course, excluding those of you who aren't.) Let us look back at our shared history and learn that we can--NAY--we must get past such bickering and realize that what's important is eating smoked meat!

TO AID IN THIS ENDEAVOR, I ask that you all recall that at one time I was in a group of Revolutionary War reenactors, and our chosen area of expertise was the war as it was fought in Georgia. As part of my research, I went to the Linn-Henley Research Library across the park from me a few years back and spent a fine afternoon in the muralled main reading room copying down a fascinating old book--The Order Book of Samuel Elbert, Colonel and Brigadier General in the Continental Army.

An order book is just that--a collection of orders received from higher headquarters, as well as orders sent down the chain of command, all of which were copied down by orderlies with big goose quill pens. (The early equivalent of REMFs.)

Anyway, Col. (later brigadier general) Elbert was the commander of the 2nd Georgia Regiment headquarted in Savannah during the first part of hostilities. He served under Gen. Lachlan McIntosh, probably best known as the man who won a duel with one of Georgia's three signers of the Declaration of Independence, Button Gwinnett.

Elbert's command of the 2nd Georgia was not long, and reading the order books, it seems his tenure was one of near constant exasperation at the laxity and unprofessionalism of his junior officers and troops. (Actually, this was pretty widespread among all the Georgia regiments, not just Elbert's.)

However, that was no reason to not allow celebration when called for! And such is actually, finally, the point of this post.

So here goes--allow me to post an excerpt of the orders that should put to rest any minor squabbles among us carnivores (spelling and such as originally published):

General Orders, by Genl. McIntosh.

Head Quarters, Savh., 3d July, 1777


All that are in Town of the Georgia Brigade, with those onboard the Galleys & the Artillery Comys., are to be reviewed tomorrow Morning, 10 o'clock, on the Parade near the Garden Battery, by General McIntosh, and it is Expected their Cloathes, Arms, Accoutriments & the field Artillery will be in the best Order & Eighteen rounds of blank Cartridges, to Celebrate the Anniversary of the most Extraordinary & glorious Revolution in the History of mankind, the Declaration of Independency of the United States of America; the Commissary is ordered to provide a quarter Cask Rum, a Beef, a Hog & a Weather to Barbecue upon the Occasion.

First, the obvious--our founding fathers and their kids did not particularly care what they called barbecue, be it a beef, a hog, or a wether. (You have to take into account the creative spelling the orderlies used.) I hadn't ever heard of that particular animal before I did my research, and I found out that it refers to a castrated ram. (Now why they didn't go ahead and specify a steer and a barrow for the other two, I don't know.)

In any event, they didn't care, as long as there was gunfire and booze involved.

Other items that you might find interesting is the concept of the feu de joye, which can be a bonfire, but in a military context is defined as gunfire done after a victory or other agreeable news. But remember all you wacky kids, BLANKS! NOT LIVE AMMO!

Second, it might seem odd to hear of cartridges, seeing as how these guys were all using muzzle-loading black powder guns, but this particular type of cartridge is a little paper tube of gunpowder. You bite the end off, pour the powder down the muzzle, tamp the paper, and blast. Of interest especially is that the order called for eighteen cartridges, which, given the Georgian's lack of stores, was quite extravagant.

Third, the parole is an upper echelon watchword, distinct from the more normal sign and countersign given to picket guards.

Finally, the rhetoric about the Declaration of Independency is not the least bit overstated.

SO, there you go.

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