Total Pageviews

Wednesday, June 30, 2021


GUEST BLOG / By Daniel Welch, writer following day, June 30, was to be a rather restful day for the Union army as well. Since Gen. George Meade had taken command on June 28, the Union army had been in almost constant motion, seeking to bridge the gap between the two opposing armies that had opened during the previous weeks of the campaign under Gen. Joe Hooker. 

This constant marching had nearly depleted the ranks with thousands of stragglers falling by the wayside from heat exhaustion, sunstroke, and dehydration. In order to have his army in a better condition to fight, Meade’s men needed rest, shade, and water. Meade also realized that not only did his men need physical rest, but they needed to be in the mindset to be prepared to fight the enemy once again. 

Gen. George Meade
 To that effect, Meade issued a circular to be read to the   troops by their respective commanders, “explaining to   them briefly the immense issues involved in the [coming]   struggle.” Meade wanted his officers to emphasize their   men that “The enemy our on our soil. The whole country   now looks anxiously to this army to deliver it from the   presence of the foe.” The commanding general needed to   make sure his men knew what was at stake, “Homes,   firesides, and domestic altars are involved.” 

 At the same time, however, new and more accurate   intelligence of Confederate dispositions in the operating   area had arrived at headquarters, and with it, Meade   needed to amend his orders of the previous evening. Meade had learned that Confederate forces were at Chambersburg and inclining a line of march east to Gettysburg while further enemy combatants were in Carlisle. 

These forces were to the north and west of the advancing columns of the Army of the Potomac while Meade had the army moving towards York. With this intelligence, Meade decided to strengthen the left-wing of his army, the wing closest to contact with the Army of Northern Virginia. His movement of the Second and Third Corps on June 30 strengthened and supported the First and Eleventh nearby. 

On June 30, 1863, Union General John Reynolds would spend his last night alive at the Moritz Tavern, where he made his headquarters about seven miles south of Gettysburg.—Photo: Adams County Historical Society.

The First Corps’ several divisions only moved between three and six miles coming to rest at Marsh Creek and Moritz Tavern for the rest of the day. The Eleventh Corps, another corps of the left-wing under Gen. Reynolds, moved through Emmitsburg and only a mile beyond to St. Joseph’s Academy. The last corps of the left-wing, the Third Corps, spent most of the day watching as the Twelfth Corps marched past their camp at Taneytown. 

Finally, in the afternoon they moved out towards Emmitsburg, a march of only eight miles. The Twelfth Corps was looking to get into Pennsylvania during their march and happily celebrated the feat near noon. One division spent the rest of the day camping at Littlestown, Pennsylvania while the Second Division, with reports of Confederate activity to the north and east of their position, aimed the direction of their march to Hanover, Pennsylvania. 

The final three corps, bringing up the rear of the army also moved little during the day. Although the Fifth and Sixth Corps marched on to Union Mills and Manchester respectively, the Second Corps rested in camp all day in Uniontown, Maryland. 

Covering much more ground on June 30 than the Federal infantry was the Federal cavalry. Gen. Judson Kilpatrick’s division had spent the predawn hours of June 30 in Littlestown taking care of his men and mounts. Nearing dawn, this column of Federal cavalry moved out of Littlestown making their way towards Hanover, with their objective of York, Pennsylvania. 

As the lead elements of the division approached Hanover, PA they collided with Col. John Chambliss’ Brigade. Chambliss’ lead regiment “not only repulsed the enemy, but drove him pell-mell through the town with half his numbers, capturing his ambulances, and a large number of prisoners….” 

Union Gen.'s Custer, left and Pleasanton
The Confederate cavalry were only initially successful. Further Union reinforcements arrived on the scene, counterattacked, and began the process of throwing up barricades in the streets. The defensive works acted as a force multiplier for the Federals as they awaited more supports. Not long into the break in the skirmish, Michigan troopers under the command of Gen. George Custer arrived. 

Dismounted, Custer’s men fought in a pitched back-and-forth action with Confederate cavalry as their slowly arriving reinforcements came to their beleaguered assistance. “After a fight of about two hours, in which the whole command at different times was engaged, I made a vigorous attack upon their center, forced them back…and finally succeeded in breaking center,” Gen. Judson Kilpatrick reported to Gen. Alfred Pleasonton that evening. Only darkness brought an end to the fight, and with it, the retreat of the Confederate cavalry from the field. The other two divisions of the Federal cavalry corps also moved throughout June 30. 

Gen. David Gregg’s command had ridden throughout the darkness of June 29 and the early morning hours of June 30. With the dawn of June 30, Gregg’s troopers reached Westminster. After he heard of Stuart’s brief occupation of the town, Gregg was unsure if the intelligence that told him Stuart had left was reliable. Gregg entered into the town prepared to fight, and, once he discovered no sign of Confederate activity, issued orders for the command to remain in Westminster. 

Meanwhile, Gen. John Buford’s division of cavalry had reached Gettysburg. “I entered this place today at 11 a.m.,” Buford wrote to General Pleasonton. The arrival of his troopers met enthusiastic citizens of the town, happy to know that the Union army was there after their encounter with rebel Gen.'s Jubal Early and John Gordon’s commands days earlier. 

Buford at once issued orders for his men to establish vedette posts west, northwest, north, and northeast of Gettysburg. Their job was to screen the approaches to the town itself while also gathering as much intelligence on the location, size, and intentions of Confederate units operating in the area. 

Eagle Hotel, Gettysburg, was Gen. John Buford's HQ on June 30

As this was taking place, Buford established his headquarters The Eagle Hotel where Buford established his headquarters on June 30, 1863. in the Eagle Hotel on the northwestern end of Gettysburg. He did not have to wait long to make contact with elements of the Confederate army. 

“On the morning of June 30, I ordered Brigadier-Gen. J.J. Pettigrew to take his brigade to Gettysburg, search the town for army supplies (shoes especially), and return the same day,” wrote Gen. Henry Heth. And so one of the longest enduring myths and fallacy of the Gettysburg Campaign was born. Heth had ordered Pettigrew’s brigade to Gettysburg, but shoes would not be found. 

No shoe factory existed in the town of 2,400 citizens, nor had the town have much left to offer anyway. Illustrative of the problems of Confederate communications during the campaign and then tactically during the battle, Heth and his superior, Gen. A. P. Hill, should have known that Early’s division, Gordon’s brigade, had already been through Gettysburg four days earlier and already acquired what little supplies had not been sent away by the townspeople. 

Heth had written his report of the battle two months after it had ended. Had his search for supplies as noted in his report provided cover for his bringing on a general engagement on July 1 against the orders of Robert E. Lee? Regardless of this enduring myth, Confederate forces were on the march down the Chambersburg Pike towards Gettysburg on June 30. 

The road in the foreground is the Chambersburg turnpike. The ridges in the background were the scene of terrific conflict on July 1. Trees to the left is where Gen. John Reynolds and his First Corps came to relieve Gen. John Buford’s cavalry vanguard. It is also where Reynolds died from a sharpshooter’s bullet in the head.

As Pettigrew’s command reached the north-south ridges west of Gettysburg he observed what he thought to be elements of the Army of the Potomac, particularly cavalry. By all information given to Pettigrew, the Federal army was miles away to the south and he should not encounter any resistance except militia or home guard units. “On reaching the suburbs of Gettysburg, Gen. Pettigrew,” however, “found a large force of cavalry near the town, supported by an infantry force,” wrote Heth in his official report. What happened next was far different than the report itself. 

 Pettigrew knew not to bring on a fight, and despite his years of service in the Confederate army, he was relatively green to brigade and field command. Nevertheless, Pettigrew made a great decision not to push the issue to gain entrance to Gettysburg, but rather return back to Cashtown. As Heth reported in September, “Under these circumstances, he did not deem it advisable to enter the town, and returned, as directed, to Cashtown.” 

When Pettigrew returned to Cashtown, he reported to his superior Heth, and Heth’s commanding officer, General Hill, that he believed that the force that blocked his way into Gettysburg was Federal cavalry from the Army of the Potomac. Both Heth and Hill on June 30 refused to believe Pettigrew’s observations. 

Hill had been with Robert E. Lee earlier and had seen where Lee believed that army to be, in the vicinity of Frederick, Maryland, certainly not Gettysburg. The young brigadier had merely seen home guard and militia. Because of Pettigrew’s failed mission, Heth asked permission of Hill to return to Gettysburg the following day, July 1, and accomplish what Pettigrew had not, a search of the town for supplies and shoes. 

Hill gave permission and a fateful decision that would influence the next three days in American history had been made.

Darkness on June 30 still found the Federal army busy, particularly the high command. A full day of activity by both armies lent Meade to issue orders that advanced the Union towards Gettysburg. Orders from Headquarters sent the Third Corps to Emmitsburg, the Second Corps to Taneytown, the Fifth Corps to Hanover, the Twelfth Corps to Two Taverns, the First Corps to Gettysburg, and the Eleventh Corps to Gettysburg, and the Sixth Corps to Manchester. 

In all, Meade had ordered two corps to or near Gettysburg with four other corps roads that all converged to the town itself. Gen. Meade, although receiving constant updates from his commanders in the field and issuing orders for the army for the next, found time to write his wife. Two days into his role as commander of the Army of the Potomac, Meade told his wife that he felt he had already accomplished several objectives that Lincoln and Halleck had made priorities. “I think I have relieved Harrisburg and Philadelphia,” wrote Meade, “and that Lee has now come to the conclusion that he must attend to other matters.” 

Although he told Margaretta that “All is going on well,” he confessed that he was “much oppressed with a sense of responsibility and the magnitude of the great interests entrusted me.” “Of course,” Meade assured her, “in time I will become accustomed to this.”

The Confederate army continued to march to the concentration area of Cashtown and Gettysburg throughout June 30. Gen. Richard Anderson and Heth’s division were in Cashtown by the end of the day while the last division of General Hill’s Corps, Gen. W. Dorsey Pender’s, remained in camp at Fayetteville. The Second Corps under General Ewell moved much farther than the Third Corps on June 30. Still returning to the Confederate army from the western approaches of Harrisburg, Gen. Edward Johnson’s soldiers marched through Shippensburg and reached Scotland before coming to a halt to rest while Gen. Robert Rodes’ men halted for the night at Heidlersburg. Not far from Heidlersburg and Rodes’ column, General Early’s Division came to a halt on June 30 just three miles shy of that command. Ewell’s Corps had the lion’s share of the marching to reach the concentration point of the Army of Northern Virginia. 

Although often lost during campaign studies as these events hover so closely to the fighting of July 1, 1863, in just one day, Ewell had managed to pull two of his divisions together, a combined force of over 13,500 men. It was no easy feat. These two divisions, Rodes’ and Early’s, began their marches miles apart, were plagued by the heat and dusty roads, and lacked Confederate cavalry to screen their advance as most of Gen. Albert Jenkins’ command lagged to the rear of the marching column. Meanwhile, the First Corps, Gen. James Longstreet’s Corps, was also on the move. At the end of a long, hot march, two divisions of the corps, Generals John Hood and Lafayette McLaws reached the foot of South Mountain after leaving Chambersburg early during the morning hours. The final division of the corps, General Pickett’s, remained in camp in Chambersburg during the day in order to cover the rear of Lee’s army that was concentrating further to the east. As darkness consumed the landscape on June 30, 1863, the Confederate army, though well concentrated, still had large geographic spaces in which to cover to finish the concentration before risking combat with the Federal army. 

That evening, Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia had four of his nine infantry divisions east of South Mountain. Although more of the army was near at hand, there was a distinct disadvantage because of the terrain. A majority of Lee’s army was on the western side of South Mountain. If Lee needed to call upon more of his army the following day they would have to crowd onto a single road through the Cashtown Pass over steep inclines at a distance of ten miles. Would Lee need to do so? The answer to that question would have to wait until the following morning, July 1, when General Hill sent orders to have his men moving early and “discover what was in my front.” 

 CIVIL WAR WEEK Continues tomorrow with Day One, Battle of Gettysburg July 1 thru 3, 1863.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021


GUEST BLOG / By Daniel Welch, writer
m--Twenty-four hours into his command, General George Meade showed no signs of hesitation and continued to push his army hard to bridge the large geophysical gap that had developed between the Army of the Potomac and the Army of Northern Virginia during Gen. Joe Hooker’s generalship. 

The previous day, Meade’s orders had concentrated the army near Frederick, Maryland. Now, the orders for June 29 sent the army northward at a long and rapid pace. The left-wing under Gen. John Reynolds moved towards Emmitsburg, with only the Third Corps of the wing moving toward Taneytown. 

The distance of the left wing’s marches all exceeded twenty-five miles. The other columns of the army had marches that were all long, hot, and challenging as well on the 29th. Soldiers in the Twelfth Corps marched during the day until they arrived near Bruceville, Maryland, not far from Emmitsburg and Taneytown. 

To the south and east, the Second Corps, after a delayed start, spent the entire day on the road, arriving late into Uniontown. The Federal Fifth and Sixth Corps brought up the rear of the army. Although pushing throughout the day, the Fifth Corps ended their march south of Liberty, Maryland while the Sixth Corps finished their grueling day several miles to the north and east at New Windsor. Gen. Meade also had the cavalry busy as well. Gen. John Buford’s troopers moved to the west and north in search of the Confederate First and Third Corps. Gen. David Gregg’s command headed north and east in search of the Confederate cavalry under Gen. J.E.B.Stuart with additional orders to guard the flank of the Army of the Potomac. Gen. Judson Kilpatrick’s newly minted division was to head off in search of the Confederate Second Corps. 

Both troopers in the saddle and infantry on the march remembered it as one of the most trying days of their time in the Army of the Potomac. 

At the close of June 29, Meade had not only moved his army northward, but he had secured both wings of the Army of the Potomac. He had chosen an excellent location for his headquarters in Middleburg, Maryland, which placed him effectively midway between the far flanks of the army. From Middleburg, Meade wrote Gen. Henry Halleck in Washington his proposed plans for the coming day. “My endeavor will be falling upon some portion of Lee’s army in detail,” Meade noted, with “My main point being to find and fight the enemy.” The commanding general was also well aware of Stuart’s ride and raid in his rear, but, in order to proceed with his plans for the army that he laid before Halleck and Lincoln, “I shall have to submit to the cavalry raid around me in some measure.” 

At the same time, Meade also worked on ordering his commands to prepare for the advance on the coming day. Meade’s orders for June 30 would take into consideration all threats by the Confederate army and be in line with his directives from Lincoln and Halleck. Meade placed his commands in a way to be able to march towards or protect Harrisburg, Baltimore, or Washington. With this in mind, the order of march for June 30 inclined the army to the northeast towards York, Pennsylvania. In addition, the lengths of marches were to be cut significantly. Meade’s army was wearing under the long marches, a number of hours on the road, heat, and dust. In order for the men to be in condition to fight well on the field of battle, Meade wanted to slow the pace of the campaign. 

Lee's arrival in Cashtown, PA, June 29, 1863

June 29 witnessed the first attempts by Gen. Robert E. Lee to concentrate his entire army since their entrance into Pennsylvania. According to Lee, “…on the night of the 28th, information was received from a scout that the Federal Army, having crossed the Potomac, was advancing northward and that the head of the column had reached the South Mountain.” With this intelligence, Lee called off Gen. Richard Ewell’s approach and plans of the Pennsylvania state capital at Harrisburg and ordered him to “join the army at Cashtown or Gettysburg.” 

Lee also ordered his other two corps, Longstreet and Hill’s, to move towards the concentration point of the Cashtown-Gettysburg area as well. “Hill’s corps was accordingly ordered to move toward Cashtown on the 29th, and Longstreet to follow the next day,” recorded Lee in his January 1864 report of the campaign. As the main body of the Confederate army headed towards Chambersburg, Cashtown, and Gettysburg, General Stuart’s cavalry was on the move as well. 

Stuart’s men continued their destruction of track and telegraph lines at Hood’s Mill. “The bridge at Sykesville was burned, and the track tore up at Hood’s Mills,” wrote Stuart. “Measures were taken to intercept trains…various telegraph lines were likewise cut, and communications of the enemy with Washington City thus cut off at every point.” Nearly all-day Confederate cavalry occupied the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad with continued operations in this area. By the end of the day, however, Stuart’s men moved on Westminster, Maryland, but, so too had Union cavalry. 

Skirmish in the streets of Westminister, MD between opposing cavalry units stalled Confederate Gen. J.E.B. Stuart's ride north.

Stuart had received intelligence that the Union army was concentrated around Frederick, Maryland, and, according to Stuart’s campaign report, “it was important for me to reach our column…to acquaint the commanding general with the nature of the enemy’s movements, as well as to place with his column my cavalry force.” To achieve this, Stuart’s troopers pushed on until reaching Westminster near 5 p.m. The column had had long rides. Stuart’s troopers riding from Brookeville had a 25-mile ride to reach Westminster, while those that left from Hood’s Mill had slightly less at seventeen miles. “At this place, our advance was obstinately disputed,” as elements of the 1st Delaware Cavalry under Major Napoleon B. Knight engaged advance elements of the Confederate cavalry column at Westminster. 

A sharp but brisk fight took place down Main Street with the eventual scattering of the Union forces. Stuart and his men basked in the “Several flags and one piece of artillery” that were captured during and after the fight. After the brief encounter, Stuart sent out foraging parties, and, finding an abundance in the area, the men had for the first time in a week enough to eat. With stomachs full and mounts rested, the head of the cavalry column, Lee’s brigade, reached Union Mills, Maryland, halfway between Littlestown, Pennsylvania, and Westminster, Maryland following the skirmish. The night of June 29 saw Stuart’s column stretched out between the two points, and, at Union Mills, Stuart found a restful evening. 

 CIVIL WAR WEEK Continues tomorrow with part two of Days to Doom, a prelude to the Battle of Gettysburg July 1 thru 3, 1863.

Monday, June 28, 2021


STATUS OF THE STATES, 1861. Dark red indicates slave states that seceded before April 15, 1861. Light red: slave states that seceded after April 15, 1861; yellow: Union states that permitted slavery (border states). Dark blue: Union states that banned slavery.

The Editors of, a daily online magazine-style blog will post a series of several articles about the American Civil War’s most famous bloody clash: The Battle of Gettysburg. 

--June 28: Civil War Overview. 

--June 29: Days before Doom. 1 

--June 30: Days before Doom. 2

--July 1: Battle of Gettysburg Day 1

--July 2: Battle of Gettysburg Day 2

--July 3: Battle of Gettysburg Day 3  (By Winston Churchill)

--July 4: What if the South won the Civil War (by Winston Churchill)


Today, thanks to Wikipedia, we post an overall review of the Civil War (1861-1865). The American Civil War (April 12, 1861 – May 9, 1865), was a civil war in the United States fought between northern and Pacific states ("the Union" or "the North") and southern states that voted to secede and form the Confederate States of America ("the Confederacy" or "the South"). 

The central cause of the war was the status of slavery, especially the expansion of slavery into newly acquired land after the Mexican-American War. On the eve of the Civil War in 1860, four million of the 32 million Americans (nearly 13%) were black slaves, mostly in the South. 

The practice of slavery in the United States was one of the key political issues of the 19th century; decades of political unrest over slavery led up to the war. Disunion came after Abraham Lincoln won the November 1860 presidential election on an anti-slavery expansion platform. An initial seven Southern slave states declared their secession from the country to form the Confederacy. 

After Confederate forces seized numerous federal forts within territory claimed by the Confederacy, efforts at compromise failed and both sides prepared for war. 

Fighting broke out in April 1861 when the Confederate army attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina, just over a month after Lincoln's inauguration. An additional four slave states joined the Confederacy in the following two months. The Confederacy grew to control at least a majority of territory in eleven states (out of the 34 U.S. states in February 1861) and asserted claims to two more. 

The Confederates assumed that European countries were so dependent on "King Cotton" that they would intervene, but none did. The Confederate States of America was never diplomatically recognized as a joint entity by the government of the United States, nor by that of any foreign country. 

The states that remained loyal to the federal government were known as the Union. Large volunteer and conscription armies were raised; four years of intense combat, mostly in the South, ensued. 

During 1861–1862 in the war's Western Theater, the Union made significant permanent gains, though, in the Eastern Theater, the conflict was inconclusive. 

In September 1862, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which made ending slavery a war goal. 

To the west, the Union destroyed the Confederate river navy by summer 1862, then much of its western armies, and seized New Orleans. The successful 1863 Union siege of Vicksburg split the Confederacy in two at the Mississippi River. 

 In 1863, Confederate General Robert E. Lee's incursion north ended at the Battle of Gettysburg

Western successes led to General Ulysses S. Grant's command of all Union armies in 1864. Inflicting an ever-tightening naval blockade of Confederate ports, the Union marshaled resources and manpower to attack the Confederacy from all directions, leading to the fall of Atlanta in 1864 to Union General William Tecumseh Sherman and his march to the sea. 

The last significant battles raged around the ten-month Siege of Petersburg, gateway to the Confederate capital of Richmond. The war effectively ended on April 9, 1865, when Confederate General Lee surrendered to Union General Grant at Appomattox Court House, after abandoning Petersburg. 

Confederate generals throughout the Southern states followed suit, the last surrender on land occurring on June 23. 

At the end of the war, much of the South's infrastructure was destroyed, especially its railroads. The Confederacy collapsed, slavery was abolished upon ratification of the thirteenth amendment, and four million enslaved Black people were freed. The war-torn nation then entered the Reconstruction era in a partially successful attempt to rebuild the country and grant civil rights to freed slaves. 

The Civil War is one of the most studied and written about episodes in U.S. history, and remains the subject of cultural and historiographical debate. Of particular interest is the persisting myth of the Lost Cause of the Confederacy. 

The American Civil War was among the earliest industrial wars. Railroads, the telegraph, steamships, iron-clad ships, and mass-produced weapons were employed extensively. 

In total the war left between 620,000 and 750,000 soldiers dead, along with an undetermined number of civilians, as well as President Abraham Lincoln who was assassinated just five days after Lee's surrender. 

The Civil War remains the deadliest military conflict in American history and accounted for more American military deaths than all other wars combined until the Vietnam War. The mobilization of civilian factories, mines, shipyards, banks, transportation, and food supplies all foreshadowed the impact of industrialization in World War I, World War II, and subsequent conflicts. 

CIVIL WAR WEEK Continues tomorrow with an analysis of June 29, 1863. 

Sunday, June 27, 2021


"Lion at Twilight" by Roger Conlee is now available at Amazon,, and elsewhere. 

rolific spy novel master Roger Conlee’s ninth historical thriller, “Lion at Twilight,” is set in Berlin during the height of the U.S.-Russia Cold War. In 1953, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill vanishes, and Whitehall goes into panic. 

Has the old lion, now 79 years old, been kidnapped? Or murdered? Main character Jake Weaver, a journalist turned soldier of fortune, heads for Berlin at the bidding of a retired MI6 spymaster. 

Hoping to find Churchill, they reach the divided city and encounter Cold War perils they hadn’t imagined. 

Here’s a sample chapter from “Lion at Twilight:” 

“There’s a chap I’d like you two to meet,” said Colonel Freeborn, the retired spymaster. “He’s not one of ours at MI6, more like a first cousin—he was with Naval Intelligence. He’s written a book as well, what one calls a spy thriller. You’ll have much in common, much to talk about. His name is Ian Fleming.” 

Minutes later, Freeborn introduced Jake and his daughter Ilse to Fleming in a small conference room at MI6. 

Jake took note of the man’s thin brown hair, a high forehead, and that he looked to be in his mid-forties. His handshake was firm, his smile friendly. 

Coffee was brought in and Freeborn excused himself, saying they might like to talk alone. 

Ian Fleming, in a brown tweed jacket with a maroon ascot at his neck, sat across the wooden table from Jake and Ilse and said, “It’s so nice to meet the two of you. Colonel Freeborn has filled me in and he speaks highly of you. I’ve known the colonel for some time, going back to the war when I was personal assistant to the Director of Naval Intelligence.” 

“Great to meet you too,” Jake said. “What do you think may have happened to Churchill? Do you have any theories on that?” 

Fleming spoke carefully, “It’s difficult to say. It’s well known that the communists want to take over West Berlin. Perhaps the East Berlin mayor, Walter Ulbricht, has snatched Sir Winston to use as a bargaining chip: ‘Give us West Berlin and we’ll return your prime minister.’ 

“I’ve considered that too, Mr. Fleming,” Ilse spoke up, surprising her father, who’d been about to speak. “It’s certainly possible but it would be such a dirty trick it could give world communism a black eye, bad publicity at a time when they’re trying to win over unaligned countries like Italy and Greece.” 

“It’s difficult to read Moscow these days,” Fleming said, nodding respectfully. Malenkov hasn’t been in the saddle all that long since Joe Stalin’s death. We don’t know how strong a hold he has on the Politburo.” 

Fleming picked up his coffee cup, put it back down, and said, “I understand you’ve coauthored a book that analyzes Allied decisions during the war, Weaver. I’d like to read it.” 

“I’d like to read yours as well,” Jake said. 

“Tell us about it.” Fleming said, “First of all, I’m aware of your two incursions into Nazi Germany and your apprehension of the V-2 rocket developer, Wernher von Braun.” 

“Apprehension? You make it sound like I kidnapped him.” 

“Use whatever word you like but you found the man in hiding from the SS and got him into Allied custody. A marvelous achievement. You are among three persons who inspired my novel.” 

“Me?” Weaver asked.  

“Certainly. You and two British agents, one who operated in Yugoslavia and the other in Berlin, were models for the character I created. Their exploits were equally stunning.” 

Jake was taken aback. “I’m flattered,” he managed. 

“And I believe you’ll be successful again, Weaver. But enough of that for now.” Fleming gazed into Jake’s eyes and then Ilse’s. “I know that each of you is familiar with Berlin, but the city is much changed since you were there.” He went on to describe Checkpoint Charlie, the Oberbaum Bridge, other east-west checkpoints, and the harsh strictness of the East German police, the Stasi. Jake and Ilse got out their notebooks. 

 Jake asked if he knew about the West Berlin neurologist Freeborn had mentioned. “No, but I’m sure the colonel can help you there.” Fleming then gave the names of two contacts he had in Berlin who might be able to help. They’d been fellow naval intel agents, a man and a woman. 

Jake and Ilse wrote down the names. 

 “Many thanks,” Jake said. He sipped some coffee and added, “But tell us more about your book. It’s hard to believe I inspired you.” 

 “It’s called "Casino Royale". I made my protagonist quite the dashing character, full of derring-do and, I’ve given him the code name of Double-Oh-Seven.” 

 “Double-Oh-Seven?” Ilse asked. 

 “Right. The double zeroes indicate he has license to kill,” Fleming said. 

 “License to kill?” Ilse uttered and looked at her father. “We don’t plan to kill anyone, do we?” 

 “You never can tell,” Ian Fleming said. 

San Diegan Roger Conlee
  ABOUT THE AUTHOR. Roger’s been writing for as long as he can remember, even back in grade school. He was editor of his junior high, high school and college newspapers, and then worked for the San Diego Evening   Tribune and the Chicago Daily News. He has been a sportswriter, reporter, copy editor and columnist. Later he had a career in public relations and marketing before   finally sitting down to tackle that first historical novel. Roger minored in history and has a special interest in modern history, ranging from the American Revolution up through the 20th Century World Wars and beyond. 
[Below] Images added by

Sir Winston Churchill
Photo by Cecil Beaton from the public domain

Ian Fleming glancing at his Novel "Casino Royale"

Saturday, June 26, 2021


Coffee and bear claw with Bosch’s Titus Welliver at DuPar’s Restaurant and Bakery, 3rd & Fairfax, LACA. 
Can it be season seven of TVs Harry Bosch series is upon us TODAY (actually yesterday)? 

Enjoy now on Amazon Prime as the famed fictional detective created by author Michael Connelly will end this season. Promises, promises as producers say another spinoff series is in the works. Stay tuned for that. 

Did someone say bear claw? 

For now, Harry (played by veteran actor Titus Welliver) is having coffee with Eleanor Wish at DuPar’s Restaurant in Season 4, episode 4, where Wish tells him that her marriage is over. 

Harry, every time I get the ax, I order the bear claw at DuPar’s, 3rd and Fairfax, LA, CA. Yes, the pies are great, too, but two bear claws seal the deal (one to eat at the table and one to go). 

Another piece of advice: get over Eleanor-it just wasn’t in the cards for you. 

Also, before you binge on season seven, the haunting opening musical theme is called “Can’t Let Go” by Caught a Ghost, an LA-based indie electro-soul band. LISTEN HERE.

Jesse Nolan, and Tessa Thompson as Caught a Ghost. 

Since 1938 and nobody does it better. 

Friday, June 25, 2021


Born on Christmas Day in 1884, Florence Evelyn Nesbit was America’s first media heartthrob who labeled her as the World’s most beautiful woman by East Coast tabloids and nascent movie fan magazines. 

On this day in 1906, Pittsburgh millionaire Harry Kendall Thaw, the son of coal and railroad baron William Thaw, shot and killed Stanford White, a shocking crime and trial that took the April 18 San Francisco Earthquake and fire off the headlines. 

White, a prominent architect, had a tryst with model, showgirl and actress Florence Evelyn Nesbit before and perhaps during her marriage to Thaw. The shooting took place at the premiere of Mamzelle Champagne in New York at the Madison Square Garden rooftop theatre that White’s firm had designed. 

In her mid teens, Nesbit began as a legitimate artist’s model for respected painter James Carroll Beckwith and posed for illustrator Charles Dana Gibson (The originator of the Gibson girl). She appeared in advertisements (Coca-Cola for one) and in the play White Rose, she was the talk of the town as Vhasti, the gypsy girl. 

Must have been some performance as Harry Thaw admitted he saw her perform in the White Rose more than 40 times. Actor John Barrymore allegedly attended eight performances and was in all the gossip columns as one of Evelyn’s suitors. She rejected Barrymore’s marriage proposal in favor of Thaw. 

Nesbit as Vhasti
 Somehow, she made it to age 21 before she and Thaw   married.

 Nesbit testified in the trial after Thaw was arrested and   tried as America’s first celebrity defendant. After the   first  “trial of the century” ended in a deadlock, a second   trial found Thaw guilty by reason of insanity. He served   five years in an insane asylum before being released. 

 By the end of WWI, Nesbit divorced Thaw, and had a   baby boy, allegedly by three or more possible fathers.   Her career in silent B-movies faded as America frankly   didn’t give a damn anymore. All eyes focused were now   focused on Hollywood.  She died in 1967.

James Carroll Beckwith Portrait of Evelyn Nesbit 1901 age 17. 

Gibson Girl by Charles Dana Gibson, 1901  

Nude study as a teen.

Nesbit, age 18

Nesbit, age 16

Nesbit, age 18 photographed by Otto Sarony.

Washington Square Arch was designed by Stanford White in New York City.

Leading architect of his day, Stanford White was shot in the back while attending a play at the rooftop theatre, Madison Square Garden, a building his firm designed.
Photo of his murderer Harry Kendall Thaw is below.

Thursday, June 24, 2021


La Pineda in Barcelona is a deli worth adding to anyone’s bucket list of sausage emporiums. 
Recently an international foody website named Culinary Backstreets [] has published the holy grail of all things sausage. The epic posting includes the following: 

--Market fresh green chorizo in Mexico City 

--Vic, Spain, where sausage is king --Saintly Sausages in Marseille 

--Drive in sausages in Queens, NYC 

--The Sausage Club in Barcelona 

--Kofte and Kobasica in Istanbul’s Little Bosnia 

--Hello, Athens. Arapian Deli basks in sausages. 

--Another Marseille sausage emporium, La Femme du Boucher restaurant. --Porto Portugal’s famed sausage shops --On the road to Vienna for a feature: “A dying breed of Butcher.” 


Wednesday, June 23, 2021


Along the Spanish coast, the most prominent structure on Cape Trafalgar is a 34-metre-high lighthouse (112 feet above sea level), the faro de Cabo Trafalgar, first illuminated on 15 July 1862. 

Of historical interest is the 1805 naval Battle of Trafalgar, in which the Royal Navy commanded by Admiral Horatio Nelson decisively defeated Napoleon's combined Spanish and French fleet, took place off the cape. 

What could be more British and busy than Trafalgar Square in London? Not so along this sleepy stretch of Atlantic coastline.  Cape Trafalgar in Spain, which is popular among locals and an occasional covey of tourists is just plain dull in the light of day or night. To be kind, let’s say Cape Trafalgar sedate and sandy. 

The word Trafalgar is of Arabic origin, which means edge or extremity and refers to a promontory. 

Planned by Eduardo Saavedra in 1857 it was the only lighthouse between Cadiz with Tarifa prior to the construction of the Caraminal and Roche lighthouses. It pretty much set the standard look for lighthouses ever since. 

Built atop a tapering tower like a Roman column, the light is 34 metres high, but its early fragility meant that it was later reinforced with vertical buttresses that give it its singular appearance. It has an adjoining building where the lighthouse keepers live. 

 It was lit in 1862 with a range of 19 miles, using a blend of oil and petrol as fuel. A new project for the light was installed in 1923, extending the range of the light to 29 miles. A circular radio beacon was installed in 1973 which was later electrified. 

 BREAKING NEWS. Yes, a 159-year-old lighthouse can have its 15 minutes of fame. That happened in May, 2021 when archeologists digging in the sand around the Cape Trafalgar lighthouse found nearby ruins of a Roman era bathhouse. Quite the discovery because the remains were well preserved. 

Roman bath house ruins discovered on Cape Trafalgar beach

[3 more blog images continue below]



Monument (170 ft. tall) by William Railton in Trafalgar Square in London built 1843 to commemorate Admiral Horatio Nelson. 

Monday, June 21, 2021


Saved this week for the third time since 2010.

GUEST BLOG / By Nina Totenberg, NPR’s Morning Edition
. Excellent recap gives the news and the reason behind the Supreme Court decision in on pithy and easy to understand article. Outstanding. CLICK HERE. 

For an equally remarkable collection about Nina Totenberg read the bio fashioned by Wikipedia on this remarkable journalist. CLICK HERE 

Following an introduction by President Bill Clinton, who appointed Ginsburg to the Supreme Court in 1993, esteemed NPR journalist Nina Totenberg sat opposite Ginsburg [in 2019] posing questions, all carefully worded to produce the choicest of Ginsburg anecdotes. Between the two women: years of mutual admiration, a vase of flowers and a pair of coffee mugs emblazoned with bold capital letters so that together, they spelled out “DIS-SENT” ⁠— a nod to the justice’s famed penchant for impassioned disagreements with the court’s majority opinions. Photo: Brian Chilson.

Sunday, June 20, 2021


Oceanside’s (CA) Bliss Tea & Treats tearoom will be celebrating Juneteenth with a sock hop and poetry event and African and West Indies-inspired food. Owner Rushell Gordon said she wanted to do something fun to celebrate June 19, 1865, when Texas freed enslaved Black Americans. 

 Source: San Diego Union Tribune. Photo: Lisa Hornak 

"Juneteeth, the Novel" is a work by the late Ralph Ellison (author of Invisible Man).  For more about Juneteenth and Ralph Ellison CLICK HERE.

Saturday, June 19, 2021


Bison Coffeehouse in Portland Oregon, at 3941 NE Cully Boulevard, is a native American (woman) owned enterprise with has links to other tribal coffee operations in the Pacific Northwest. 

Wander around its website for a rich family history and who’s who in Portland coffee circles. CLICK HERE. 

Loretta Guzman is the visionary behind Bison Coffeehouse. She’s a native Portlander and member of the Shoshone-Bannock tribes of Fort Hall, Idaho. Her life's journey meandered down several side roads, including careers as a dental technician, a master baker, and a barista, before she eventually created the concept of her coffee business. 

As Bison Coffeehouse continues to evolve and gain local prominence, Loretta is focusing on continuing expansion to serve local native communities and is a tireless advocate for causes that are close to her heart. 

Friday, June 18, 2021


Venture capital giant Andreessen Horowitz has created a media property. The Silicon Valley firm calls it 

Here are two articles about the birth of straight from's News Womb:


From the Columbia Journalism Review’s Media Today column. CLICK HERE 

Thursday, June 17, 2021


Postcard in Joyce's hand to Frank Budgen

Alas, this posting was meant for June 16: Bloomsday. But time, tide, the Fates, plus a one on one with the Musette Procrastination and a pleasant dinner with our son delayed us. 

Instead, our ode to Bloomsday appears today, June 17, the day after Bloomsday. 

The following was brought to our attention via, an online magazine exploring the art of prose. Yesterday, the site celebrated Bloomsday, the annual worldwide party toasting all things, James Joyce. 

Leading's fete is a pastiche of sorts, call it a review by the site's writer of the day Mark David Kaufman, who reviews “James Joyce and the Making of Ulyssess” by Frank Budgen [1882-1971]. 

GUEST BLOG / By Mark David Kaufman-- James Joyce once observed that he had included so many “enigmas and puzzles” in Ulysses that professors would be preoccupied with the book “for centuries”—an effective way, he added, of “insuring one’s immortality.” 

Such remarks, along with what literary critic Hugh Kenner called “the copious and often futile literature that has grown up around the name and legend of James Joyce,” have inevitably resulted in an image of the novel, in the popular mind, as embracing complexity for complexity’s sake, an exercise in self-righteous virtuosity intelligible only to professional scholars who surrender their lives to deciphering its mysteries. 

But this reputation belies what is arguably the central quality of both Ulysses and its author: a great and unflinching humanity. 

This Bloomsday, June 16, as both Joyceans and the Joyce-curious around the globe gather (virtually) to toast one of the twentieth century’s most luminous literary personalities, we do well to reflect on the accessibility, rather than the obscurity, of the man and his creation. 

There remains no better introduction to Joyce and his craft than Frank Budgen’s 1934 James Joyce and the Making of Ulysses, currently accessible for free through the University of Wisconsin’s online James Joyce Scholars’ Collection. [Link follows below]

This unassuming volume—part memoir, part commentary—offers a candid and

Frank Budgen, 1962
personal portrait of the artist. Budgen, an English painter engaged in wartime propaganda work for the British Consulate in Zürich, first met Joyce in the early summer of 1918, and over the next year and a half frequently discussed the composition and progress of Ulysses with his drinking companion. 

Joyce was remarkably open with the intelligent and sympathetic Budgen, and he continued to send the painter updates and manuscripts after relocating to Trieste and later to Paris, where the novel was published in 1922 [by Sylvia Beach]. A sampling of Budgen: For Joyce, writing—like marriage—did not come easily; it was a labor that required almost supernatural degrees of patience and dedication. 

When Budgen asked his friend how the novel was coming along, Joyce revealed he’d been struggling all day over two sentences: “I have the words already. What I am seeking is the perfect order of words in the sentence.” Joyce’s remark brings to light one of the defining qualities of modernist art: an intense awareness of one’s medium, an attentiveness to the materiality and historicity of paint, clay, or language itself. Words are not simply conveyors of information. In the writer’s hands, they are living things, “quick with human history as pitchblende with radium, or coal with heat and flame…"

In addition to synopses of each chapter of Ulysses and a preview of Joyce’s subsequent “work in progress” (Finnegans Wake), Budgen provides a rare look at the man behind the myth. 

James Joyce
He recalls, with painterly precision, his first sight of the lanky Irishman, whose walk “suggested that of a wading heron” and whose “heavily glassed eyes” caused him to navigate with uncertainty a darkening garden terrace. At once confident and vulnerable, the Joyce of Budgen’s memoir slowly emerges over the course of their many talks in local watering holes, like the Augustiner Restaurant, where the writer would invariably order white wine, and their leisurely wanderings around Zürich, particularly along the Bahnhofstrasse, where the chorus girls referred to Joyce as “Herr Satan” (presumably because of his goatee). 

Here we find a Joyce whose writing is an expression of his own sense of the comédie humaine, a Joyce who would occasionally break into a “fantastic dance” for no apparent reason and who enjoyed a good joke, inspiring Budgen to pen what is surely one of the best descriptions of laughter in English letters: A laugh is a significant gesture. Joyce’s laughter is free and spontaneous. It is the kind of laughter called forth by the solemn incongruities, the monkeyish trickeries and odd mistakes of social life, but there was no malice in it or real Schadenfreude. His is the kind of laugh one would expect to hear if the president of the republic took the wrong hat, but not if an old man’s hat blew off into the gutter. 

For the whole article by Kaufman CLICK HERE  



ABOUT THE AUTHOR Mark David Kaufman is an Assistant Professor of English at the United States Air Force Academy, where he teaches courses in writing, literature, and film studies. His work has appeared in The Public Domain Review, James Joyce Quarterly, Twentieth-Century Literature, Virginia Woolf Miscellany, The Space Between, and elsewhere. You can find him at