Friday, June 22, 2018

The Peshtigo Firestorm-- Part 2: Deadliest Fire Ever in the U.S.


This list is compiled by the United States Geological Survey.

2.  Johnstown, Pennsylvania, flood of 1889 which killed 2,200 people.

3.  Peshtigo, Wisconsin, forest fire which killed 1,200 people.

4.  San Francisco earthquake of 1906 which killed 700 people.

5.  The Tri-State Tornado of 1925 which went through Missouri, Illinois and Indiana and killed 695 people.

The authors of the book believe that the real Peshtigo death toll was over 2,500.  regardless, it still remains the deadliest fire in U.S. history.

--DaCoot

The Peshtigo Firestorm-- Part 1: One of Top Five Deadliest Disasters In U.S.


From the book "Firestorm At Peshtigo" by Denise Gess and William Lutz.

I have been writing a lot about this fire in my Saw the Elephant: Civil War Blog this past month.  I also just wrote about it in my Tattooed On Your Soul: World War II Blog today.

Peshtigo, Wisconsin, and towns around it burned down October 8, 1871 in an unbelievably horrific fire and between 1,500 and 2,500 people were killed.  Unfortunately, there was another, better known fire that day called the Great Chicago Fire so Peshtigo did not get much into the news.

This is considered as one of the top five deadliest disasters in U.S. history

1.  Galveston, Texas, hurricane of 1900, 6,000 to 8,000 people killed.

The Rest of the List In Next Post.  --Cooter

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Sinking of the USS President Lincoln-- Part 5: One Final Act of Defiance


The crew went about their duties in a calm way after the attack.  When it became apparent that the ship would sink the order to "Abandon Ship" was passed and everyone but the sick jumped into the water and swam out to life boats.  The discipline displayed was perfect.

The gun crews remained at their stations until the last possible moment, just in case the submarine surfaced to view its destruction.  It didn't, but right before the gun crews left, they fired shots out toward where they figured the attack came from.

From the time of the torpedo strikes to sinking was just thirty minutes.

--Cooter

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Sinking of USS President Lincoln-- Part 4: Just When They Thought They Were Safe


On May 31st, the USS President Lincoln was 500 miles from France and the general feeling aboard was that she was safe.  However, at 9 a.m., there was a huge explosion.  The ship had been hit by three torpedoes.

The German submarine U-90 had been following the wakes of the ships since midnight.  The defenders aboard the President Lincoln prepared to open fire, but the submarine had only used its periscope instead of surfacing.  It had fired and then immediately dove to a lower depth.

The Ryndam had tried to ram the sub, but the submarine dived even deeper.

All four ships had been steaming in a line.  The President Lincoln was chosen to receive the torpedoes because it was the largest ship.

--Cooter




Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The Sinking of the USS President Lincoln-- Part 3: Part of a Convoy


Continued from June 15.

The troop transport USS President Lincoln left Brest, France on May 29, 1918 with three other naval transports, the Susquehanna, Antigone and Ryndam and was escorted by French and American destroyers until dark on May 30 when they left to join a large convoy heading to France.

The American ships were hoping to pass safely through the war zone under cover of darkness.  That meant avoiding U-boats.

On the afternoon of May 30th, Memorial Day services were held.

The crew added to their vigil after the destroyers left.

--Cooter

Monday, June 18, 2018

Illinois' Centennial in 1918 in DeKalb County


From the May 23, 2018, MidWeek "Looking Back."

1918, 100 Years Ago.

"Historic spots all over Illinois will be marked appropriately during the Celebration of State Centennial this year.

"DeKalb County will mark the place where the first white child was born in the county, the spot where Lincoln and Jefferson Davis met during the Black Hawk War, the place where the first election took place in the county."

I did not know that Jefferson Davis and Abraham Lincoln met each other in DeKalb County, Illinois.

And, Now We Are in the Bicentennial of Illinois.  --Cooter

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Jefferson Barracks in World War I


From Wikipedia.

In the June 13th post I mentioned about 48 men from DeKalb County, Illinois, leaving from Sycamore to go for army training at Jefferson Barracks in Missouri (near St. Louis).

In March 1912, Jefferson Barracks became the first base for training in military parachuting.  Albert Perry, a civilian, became the first person to parachute from a plane.

1911--  Lt. Dwight D, Eisenhower began his military career at Jefferson Barracks.

During World War I, Jefferson Barracks served as a training and recruitment center for men heading overseas for Europe.  It was the largest U.S. induction and demobilization center for troops in World War I.

--Cooter

Friday, June 15, 2018

Sinking of the USS President Lincoln-- Part 2: A "Charmed Ship"


In 1922, the President Lincoln's commander when it was sunk, Cmdr. Percy Wright Foote, USN, wrote about the sinking.  He said that though his crew was pretty green to being sailors, they had received much experience in the months before the ship was sunk and performed their duties admirably.

Colonel Clopton, who commanded the troops on the President Lincoln admired their performance during the sinking.

The USS  President Lincoln had made five trips to France and had transported 25,000 soldiers before it was sunk.  There had been no problems and many had come to consider their ship as being charmed.

--Cooter

Thursday, June 14, 2018

U.S. Flag Adopted Today, 241 Years Ago


The Second Continental Congress adopted the U.S. flag this date in 1777.  That would be 241 years ago.

Are your flags up?

Long May It Wave.  --DaCoot

The Sinking of the USS President Lincoln in WW I-- Part 1: Former German Ship


From the June 12, 2018, Naval History Blog "The Sinking of the USS President Lincoln, 31, May 1918" by Jon Hoppe.

The chronology post I did earlier this month (June 1) placed the sinking of the ship as June 1.  It actually was sunk May 31, 1918.

This month marks the 100th anniversary of this ship's sinking.  The USS President Lincoln was a troop transport ship used during World War I.  It was formerly a German ocean liner of the Hamburg-America Line.  The Navy commissioned it as the USS President Lincoln in 1917 to carry American troops and equipment to Europe.

It was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine SM U-90 on May 31, 1918.

--Cooter

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

World War I Chronology, June 1918-- Part 4:


JUNE 11--

In its first such raid, the 96th Aero Squadron bombs the Dommary-Barancourt railroad station near Metz.

JUNE 28

ITALY.  First contingent   of U.S. troops arrives.  Doughboys are sent to bolster Italian morale on the Austro-Hungarian Front.

Units eventually committed:  332nd Infantry regiment, 331st Field Hospital, American Ambulance Service and Army/Navy aviators.

--Cooter

World War I Chronology, June 1918-- Part 3


JUNE 9-13--

Montdidier-Noyan Defensive

1st Infantry Division participates.  Franco-American counterattack halts the German advance.

JUNE 11--

Battle of Metz

United States 1st and 2nd Infantry Divisions counterattack from Rubescourt to St. Maur.

--Cooter

48 Men from DeKalb County Joining the Army


From the May 23, 2018, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1918, 100 Years Ago.

"DeKalb County people in goodly numbers met in Sycamore to bid God-speed to 48 of DeKalb County's best young men who were selected for army service and starting on their way to Jefferson Barracks in Missouri, for training."

--Cooter

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Normal Museum of History in DeKalb, Illinois in 1918


From the May 23, 2018, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1918, 100 Years Ago.

"Six years ago, the Normal Museum of History, which has since gained worldwide reputation was opened at the Normal school."

I imagine Normal school referred to what is now Northern Illinois University, but have never heard of it.  Must not be around anymore.

--Cooter

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier-- Part 7: Everything Must be Perfect


Uniform prep takes several hours.  Everything must be perfect.  The all-wool uniforms are not about comfort, but about looks.  Brass buttons must be polished and shoes must be hand-shined.  The guards' M-14 rifle stocks are customized but the guns are not loaded.

The white gloves are wet to enable better control of the weapon during "the walk."  If a weapon is dropped on the plaza, you are subject to dismissal.

During his time as a Sentinel, Bill Hanna had to call out more than a few onlookers for not respecting the dignity of the Tomb of the Unknowns.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier-- Part 6: "It Is Requested..."


And, in addition to standing guard at the Tombs, the Sentinel also makes the crowd on onlookers pay their respects also.  There are several videos on YouTube showing how the Sentinels do this.

One is at Tomb of the Unknown -- soldier yelling at laughing crowd.

The Sentinel stops marching and turns and faces the crowd and LOUDLY (not yelling) says, "It is requested that everyone maintain a level of silence and respect."

Well, I tell you, you could have heard the proverbial pin drop.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier-- Part 5: Twenty-One


The Sentinels keep watch 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, in heat, cold, rain -- and even hurricanes.  Three guard shifts work 24-hour shifts, each guarding the Tomb for one hour.

Everything is done in the number 21 because it symbolizes the highest military honor that can be bestowed: the 21-gun salute.

The sentinel walks 21 steps behind the Tomb of the Unknowns, turns, faces east for 21 seconds, turns and faces north for 21 seconds, then takes 21 steps back and repeats the process.

The weapon always remains between the crowd and tomb to signify that the Sentinel stands between the tomb and any possible threat.