Thursday, September 22, 2016

Certain verities endure...

"...In war certain verities endure: threaten your enemy's line of supply. Get on his side, rear, or above him. Move fast and unpredictably according to a plan and when it's time, know it and fight. Communicate. Have heart. Show it. Triplecheck. Ruthlessly advance the best people. Don't quit. If you must, postpone and advance a different way. Waiting your chance is different from dallying. Admit error, if only to yourself. Learn hard from your mistakes. Adjust fast to change. And when you go, go..."

-- M. David Detweiler
The Civil War: The Story of the War with Maps

Monday, August 15, 2016

Our problem...

"...Glorious cause. Lives sacrificed on the country's altar. Hearts bleeding for the country's welfare. Some modern readers of these letters may feel they are drowning in bathos. In this post-Freudian age these phrases strike many as mawkish posturing, romantic sentimentalism, hollow platitudes. We do not speak or write like that any more. Most people have not done so since World War I which, as Ernest Hemingway and Paul Fussell have noted, made such words as glory, honor, courage, sacrifice, valor, and sacred vaguely embarrassing if not mock-heroic. We would justly mock them if we heard them today. But these words were written in the 1860's, not today. They were written not for public consumption but in private letters to families and friends. These soldiers, at some level at least, meant what they said about sacrificing their lives for their country.

Our cynicism about the genuineness of such sentiments is more our problem than theirs, a temporal/cultural barrier we must transcend if we are to understand why they fought. Theirs was an age of romanticism in literature, music, art, and philosophy. It was a sentimental age when strong men were not afraid to cry (or weep, as they would say), a time when Harriet Beecher Stowe's great novel and Stephen Foster's songs could stir genuine emotions. What seems like bathos or platitudes to us were real pathos and convictions to them. Perhaps readers will take another look at the expressions by soldiers quoted two paragraphs above when they learn that all four of them were subsequently killed in action. They were not posturing for public show. They were not looking back from years later through a haze of memory and myth about the Civil War. They were writing during the immediacy of their experiences to explain and justify their beliefs to family members and friends who shared--or in some cases questioned--those beliefs. And how smugly can we sneer at their expressions of a willingness to die for those beliefs when we know that they did precisely that?..."

-- James M. McPherson
For Cause & Comrades

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

2852 pages later, FIN...

"...I seek but to revive a memory which should be dear to you and to your children, a memory which teaches the highest lessons of manhood,  of truth and adherence to duty -- duty to your State, duty to your principles, duty to your buried parents, and duty to your coming children..."

-- Jefferson Davis

"...By the help of history, a young man may, in some measure, acquire the experience of old age. In reading what has been done, he is apprised of what he has to do; the more he is informed of what is past, the better he will know how to conduct himself for the future..."

-- Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield

"Unforgiving, he was unforgiven, and he preferred it so, for their sake and his own."

-- Shelby Foote
The Civil War

Friday, February 5, 2016

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12...

"...teach a man that it is neither good nor safe for him to utter anything with his tongue that he is not ready at all times to maintain with his hands...Take it quietly. Be persevering, and regular, and the thing will be done..."

-- Edmund E. Price
The Science of Self Defence

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The consecrated life...

"...'Behold the fowls of the air'--their main aim is to obey the principle of life that is in them and God looks after them. Jesus says that if you are rightly related to Him and obey His Spirit that is in you, God will look after your 'feathers.'

'Consider the lilies of the field'--they grow where they are put. Many of us refuse to grow where we are put, consequently we take root nowhere. Jesus says that if we obey the life God has given us, He will look after all the other things. Has Jesus Christ told us a lie? If we are not experiencing the 'much more,' it is because we are not obeying the life God has given us, we are taken up with confusing considerations. How much time have we taken up worrying God with questions when we should have been absolutely free to concentrate on His work? Consecration means the continual separating of myself to one particular thing..."

-- Oswald Chambers
My Utmost for His Highest

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Secure growth...

"...In practice you will find that the science must, as all other sciences do, complicate itself. But simplicity is the primary motive. The man who can be most thoroughly simple from knowledge, is the only man who can complicate with safety. Bear this in mind in everything you study; politics, war, boxing, or any of the thousand arts or sciences of peace..."

-- Edmund E. Price
The Science of Self Defence

Friday, January 8, 2016

Other movements...

"...War consists not only in battles, but in well-considered movements which bring the same results..."

-- John C. Frémont