My muse is wandering around somewhere in the information wilderness and has not returned. It’s disgusted with all the liberal and democrat acts of lawfare and their attempts to eliminate or change a segment of American history.

There will likely be no post tomorrow. A shootin’ buddy and I are headed for the range to try out his new pistol, a S&W Shield. I need to hunt up some blasting ammo, too. I’ll return on Friday.

Snuck outa town for the weekend, Part I

Mrs. Crucis and I did something that we don’t believe, in 43 years of marriage, we’ve ever done before…taken off for a long weekend.  She’s been busy since my retirement. She says she’s more busy now than when I was still working for Sprint.  This Thanksgiving, we realized we had an opportunity.  The kids and g’kids were going to be busy, the Master’s Closet would be closed due to the holiday weekend and there was nothing keeping us in town. So we took off with only vague plans of where to go and what go do.

It was great!

We did learn, or perhaps relearn, some things.  
  • Sleeping in strange beds is difficult at best.
  • Google maps can’t be trusted to show everything.  
  • Going south does not mean the weather is warmer.
Our first destination was the Pea Ridge Military Park, site of the Battle of Pea Ridge in March of 1862.  I’m a bit of a Civil War buff and amateur historian or at least I like to think so.  The Battle of Pea Ridge was important for two things.  First, it defeated the remaining pro-Confederate Missouri forces and insured Missouri remaining in the Union.  A small pro-Confederate force lead by former Missouri Governor Sterling Price has declared that Missouri had seceded from the Union but Price at that time only controlled a small southwest segment of the state.  He was driven out of Missouri into Arkansas and his forces merged with those of Confederate General Earl Van Doren near Fayetteville, AR.

The second factor of the Battle of Pea Ridge was the destruction of the last major Confederate force in Arkansas.  The remnants after the battle retreated into Louisiana and Texas  and continued to fight in the war. But after the battle, the Union controlled Arkansas.
We used Google Maps to reach the park.  It showed one route into the park, an in ‘n out.  We followed that route and saw a few canon in a field and some split-rail fences outlining a battle site.  That’s all. No signs, no turn-out areas to take photos, no visitor’s center.  I was using cached Google maps that I’d loaded before we left home.  We were in marginal cell range and couldn’t access the National Park Service website.

We were disappointed and continued on to Ft. Scott.  At Ft. Scott Nat’l Historical Site, also operated by the National Park Service, we were told we had used the wrong route.  If we’d gone to the south side of the Pea Ridge park, we would have found the visitor’s center and access to a loop that encircled the battle fields.

I’ll write about Ft. Scott tomorrow.  Today it’s Pea Ridge’s turn.

The Battle of Pea Ridge (also known as Elkhorn Tavern) was a land battle of the American Civil War, fought on March 6–8, 1862, at Pea Ridge in northwest Arkansas, near Garfield. In the battle, Union forces led by Brig. Gen. Samuel R. Curtis defeated Confederate troops under Maj. Gen. Earl Van Dorn. The outcome of the battle essentially cemented Union control of Missouri. The battle was one of the few during the war in which a Confederate army outnumbered its Union opponent. — Wikepedia 

The first day. Union forces meet Confederate Calvary. McCullough and McIntosh killed leaving their troops leaderless and they sit out the rest of the battle waiting for orders.

The site of this battle is an open field near the site of the village of Leestown.  Leestown no longer exists.

This first day of the battle resulted in the deaths of Generals McCollough and McIntosh.  Between these two, they commanded Van Doren’s cavalry and a large portion of Infantry.  The Leestown battle left those forces leaderless and they sat out the rest of the day awaiting orders from leaders who were dead.

The next two days were battles fought around the Elkhorn Tavern located at the junction of Telegraph Road and the Huntsville Road.  The Union troops originally held the site the first day.  Van Doren attacked the second day of the battle as seized the Tavern and the surround terrain.  Van Doren thought he’d won the battle and stopped to regroup his forces.

Troop movements and battles around the Elkhorn Tavern on the 2nd day.
Elkhorn Tavern
The Elknorn Tavern was burned about a year after the battle by Confederate guerrillas. This building is a replica built when the Military Park was created.
While Van Doren was collecting his scattered troops, Union General Samuel R. Curtis was busy organizing a counter-attack that he launched the following day catching General Van Doren by surprise and routing the Confederates who retreated to the southeast and eventually fell back to Fayetteville, AR.  Van Doren was relieved of command and never lead any significant forces for the rest of the war.

Confederate General Earl Van Doren made two classic mistakes.  First he split his forces ordering McCollough and MacIntosh to circle to the south to attack Curtis from that direction while Van Doren and Stirling Prices around the rear of the Union troops and attack from the rear.  McCollough and MacIntosh were killed early in the battle on the first day and their troops were scattered and remained out of communication until the following day.  The two-pronged attack planned by Van Doren never happened.
Van Doren’s second mistake was to leave his supply wagons behind in Fayetteville when he started his march to meet Curtis.  Those wagons also contained Van Doren’s reserve supplies of ammunition.  Individual soldiers only had 40 rounds of ammunition and by the third day most of that ammunition was exhausted.
After an artillery duel between Curtis’s second-in-command, Franz Sigel‘s 21 canon against 12 Confederate canon.  Sigel made the Confederate guns ineffective and then turned his guns against the Confederate infantry sheltering in the trees.
With the opposing guns rendered nearly harmless, Sigel directed his gunners to fire into the woods at the Confederate infantry. Near the base of Big Mountain the projectiles created a deadly combination of rock shrapnel and wood splinters, driving the 2nd Missouri Brigade from its positions. “It was one of the few times in the Civil War when a preparatory artillery barrage effectively softened up an enemy position and paved the way for an infantry assault.”[14] During the bombardment, Sigel’s infantry edged forward so that by 9:30 a.m. his divisions had executed a right wheel and faced to the northeast.
By this time Van Dorn found that his reserve artillery ammunition was with the wagon train, a six hour march away. The Southern commander bitterly realized that he had no hope of victory and decided to retreat via the Huntsville Road. This route led east from the tavern, then turned south. With Price disabled by his wound, Van Dorn’s army began to move toward the Huntsville Road in some confusion. — Wiki
General Curtis counter-attacked on the third day of the battle in what was called, “The Beautiful Charge.”
Plaque at the site of “The Beautiful Charge.”
The field where the Union troops (left) charged the Confederate lines (right) that won the battle for the Union.
The third day of the Battle of Pea Ridge
There aren’t too many places west of the Mississippi where there were Civil War battles on this scale.  In the Kansas City area, the site of the Battle of Westport is long gone.  A smaller battlesite, the Battle of Lone Jack in eastern Jackson County was sold to developers about a decade ago and is now a subdivision.  Little remains of it.

I’d like to tour other Civil War battlefields but none are close by.  Maybe some time in the future, we’ll travel east or south-east and see some more, like Siloh and Vicksburg.  We would like that.

I’ve uploaded a large number of photos to my Facebook account if you’d like to view them.

Tomorrow will be Ft. Scott and Judge Parker, “The Hanging Judge.”



Firing on Ft. Sumter, 1861
If any of you are history buffs, you may have noticed similarities between actions in congress over the last couple of years and those preceding the Secession of the Southern States in1860-1861.  In the years prior to the civil war, Congress passed a number of bills, over the objections of the South. Some concerned the creation of Free/Slave states, others concerned tariffs on imports needed by the south.

Those tariffs were intended to force the South to buy goods from the Northern States instead of from Europe.  It also impacted the price of cotton, tobacco and agricultural products sold by the South to Europe.

Each action alienated the South. Congressional politics and rule gaming reduced the perceived power of the southern states.  It’s arguable whether the South actually lost political power—but they believed they did and that finally lead to secession.

The democrat congressional leaders are doing the same today—changing the rules of Congress to impede the ‘Pubs and conservatives and to maintain the dwindling power of the democrats.

When the ‘Pubs had control of the Senate prior to 2006, the democrats used every political trick and rule to impede the Bush Administration at every front.  Many urged the ‘Pubs to exercise the “Nuclear Option.”

Nuclear option

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In U.S. politics, the “nuclear option” (or “constitutional option”) allows the United States Senate to reinterpret a procedural rule by invoking the argument that the Constitution requires that the will of the majority be effective on specific Senate duties and procedures. This option allows a simple majority to override the rules of the Senate and end a filibuster or other delaying tactic. In contrast, the cloture rule requires a supermajority of 60 votes (out of 100) to end a filibuster. The new interpretation becomes effective, both for the immediate circumstance and as a precedent, if it is upheld by a majority vote.
Although it is not provided for in the formal rules of the Senate, the nuclear option is the subject of a 1957 parliamentary opinion by Vice President Richard Nixon and was endorsed by the Senate in a series of votes in 1975, some of which were reconsidered shortly thereafter.[1] Senator Trent Lott[2][3] Proponents since have referred to it as the constitutional option.[4][5][6] (R-Miss.) first called the option “nuclear” in March 2003.
The maneuver was brought to prominence in 2005 when then-Majority Leader Bill Frist (Republican of Tennessee) threatened its use to end Democratic-led filibusters of judicial nominees submitted by PresidentGeorge W. Bush. In response to this threat, Democrats threatened to shut down the Senate and prevent consideration of all routine and legislative Senate business. The ultimate confrontation was prevented by the Gang of 14, a group of seven Democratic and seven Republican Senators, all of whom agreed to oppose the nuclear option and oppose filibusters of judicial nominees, except in extraordinary circumstances.
Frist chose not to exercise this option.  Once it was, it could, in return, be used against the ‘Pubs.  The result was that it was now necessary to have at least 60 votes to pass anything in the Senate. Many of us would prefer the Senate pass nothing than pass bad bills designed to punish portions of the country and/or the private sector.
Harry Reid exercised the Nuclear Option yesterday to prevent Mitch McConnell from forcing a vote on Obama’s “jobs” bill. A bill that many Senate democrats vowed to vote AGAINST. McConnell was about to add an amendment that would include Obama’s bill in the Chinese Currency bill.  If that happened, the Chinese bill would fail.  Reid couldn’t have that.

Dems change rules; Senate in chaos

The Senate descended into procedural chaos Thursday night as Democrats forced a change in Senate rules and shut down a GOP effort to bog down a Chinese currency bill with a series of unrelated amendments.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s move to suddenly overhaul a key Senate rule without warning infuriated Republicans and put an already bitterly divided chamber on edge as senators from both sides of the aisle traded angry accusations over whether the fight would fundamentally limit the rights of the minority party.

By a 51-48 vote, the Senate voted along party lines to change the precedent and limit how amendments can be considered once a filibuster is defeated. Under normal procedure, the Senate has 30 hours of debate after 60 senators agree to end a filibuster. Amendments can be considered during those 30 hours if each side agrees by unanimous consent to schedule a vote — or if a senator moves to waive the rules, which would then require the support of 67 senators in order to succeed.
But under the new procedure, senators can no longer move to waive the rules once a filibuster is defeated — a battle that threatens to further inflame partisan tensions and stymie legislative action at a time when frustration with Congress is at an all-time high.
“We are fundamentally turning the Senate into the House,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), pacing on the floor, with his voice rising, referring to the other body’s rules that can limit floor debate.
“The rules of the Senate will be effectively changed to lock out the minority party even more.”
Democrats rejected the concerns, saying that efforts to waive the rules are similar to the stall tactics Republicans have employed time and again. A motion to suspend the rules has not succeeded since 1941, they noted, meaning that such efforts typically amount to political messaging more than anything else. And nothing would preclude them from offering amendments agreed to by both parties before or after a filibuster is defeated.

And while all this is going on Anarchists, socialists, and bubble-headed students in operation “Occupy Wall Street,” want the government to forgive ALL debts and punish “evil” corporations.  These idiots are backed by the Unions, George Soros through a number of front organizations, and democrats politicians including Nancy Pelosi.

How stupid these people are.  Especially the Unions.  If debts were forgiven as they claim to want, it would destroy the economy—and all the stock supported Union pensions too.  Talk about cutting your throat to spite your face!

When you step back and look at the historical similarities, you have to wonder.  Have we just seen the first shots fired at a modern Fort Sumter?