Sunday, September 28

This week in the Civil War: Sept. 28, 1864

Quiet prevails at Petersburg, Virginia

The Associated Press reported on Sept. 28, 1864, 150 years ago during the Civil War, that relative calm prevailed for a few days amid a longstanding Union siege at Petersburg, Virginia, not far from the Confederate capital of Richmond. “Quiet still prevails in front of Petersburg, broken only by the usual picket firing and occasional artillery duels, the effect of which is to consume a large quantity of powder.” The AP dispatch added that heavy firing could still be heard in bursts from the area around the James River and there were reports of large groups of Confederate cavalry on the move, their war aims unclear. The Union besieged Petersburg as crucial Confederate supply point 25 miles to the south of Richmond. The siege would drag on nearly until the end of the war before Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant would cut through and hasten the end of the war in 1865.

Sunday, September 21

This week in the Civil War: Sept. 21, 1864

More fighting in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley

Confederates freshly defeated at the Third Battle of Winchester, Virginia, erected defensive works at Fisher’s Hill in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia this week 150 years ago in the Civil War. A smaller battle was fought Sept. 21-22, 1864, with the Union taking the offensive against Southern cavalry before crashing through Southern infantry lines. Confederate Jubal A. Early was forced to retreat with his troops southward down the Shenandoah Valley. Meanwhile, news of the Union victory at Winchester reached Northern troops, eliciting cheers. The Associated Press reported on Sept. 20, 1864, that there was a raucous celebration among Union troops of the Army of the Potomac when they got word of developments in Winchester. AP reported: “The news of the victory in the Valley was read to the troops along the lines this afternoon, and was received with unbounded enthusiasm and repeated cheering. A salute of one hundred shotted guns will be fired tomorrow at daylight, in honor of the victory.” AP added that Confederate desertion appeared on the rise. It added that some Confederate deserters told had they had recently obtained fresh beef from livestock seized in the countryside. The report also said some rebel pickets close to Union forces were offering to trade their fresh beef for Union coffee and other supplies.

Sunday, September 14

This week in the Civil War: Sept. 14, 1864

Third Battle of Winchester, Virginia

Confederate units often had ranged freely through the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia but fought a bruising fight against Union forces at Winchester in that state 150 years ago this week in the Civil War. Union forces under Philip Sheridan and Confederates led by Jubal A. Early saw thousands of casualties in the Third Battle of Winchester on Sept. 19, 1864. Fierce fighting ended with a Union victory and marked the beginning of the decline of the Confederate threat along the strategic valley corridor slanting almost south to north alongside mountain ridges. Elsewhere in Virginia, The Associated Press reported in a dispatch dated Sept. 14, 1864 that Robert E. Lee’s Confederate army was reportedly being reinforced in Virginia. “It is stated by deserters that Lee’s army has been strengthened by reinforcements from various points and by large numbers of conscripts.” AP also reported that shelling continued around Petersburg, Va., this week 150 years ago in the civil war: “The Confederates have kept up a brisk artillery firing ... The result of is that five or six Federal soldiers are brought into the hospital every day.”

Saturday, September 13

The Book of Life

20th Century Fox Animation
I don't know about you, but Clementine and I are muy excited about the upcoming moving picture, The Book of Life.

The Book of Life is the journey of Manolo, a young man who is torn between fulfilling the expectations of his family and following his heart. Before choosing which path to follow, he embarks on an incredible adventure that spans three fantastical worlds where he must face his greatest fears.

The Book of Life is scheduled to be released October 17 - just in time for Halloween and Día de Muertos.

Is The Book of Life promoted in your area, or is it primarily in the Southwest?

Sunday, September 7

This week in the Civil War: Sept. 7, 1864

Atlanta's Capture: morale boost for the North

The Union's capture of Atlanta, one of the most important of Southern cities, immediately buoyed President Abraham Lincoln's re-election prospects — 150 years ago in the Civil War. Lincoln would ultimately be returned to office by voters with an ample victory. A North wearied by long years of grinding warfare suddenly had major news to rejoice over — even as the Confederacy and many in the South despaired. From the fall of Atlanta until the end of the war would just be a matter of months of heavy fighting to follow. Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman, days after his forces had entered the city, ordered its civilians to evacuate. Meanwhile, newspapers such as the Philadelphia Inquirer in the North reported Sherman's forces were still "in pursuit" of the fleeing Confederates. The Associated Press reported from Virginia on Sept. 9, 1864, that some Confederate forces in their defense works there had begun cheering after hearing a false rumor spread that Atlanta had been retaken." The AP report said those overly optimistic and mistaken Southern soldiers "were very jubilant for a time, indulging in loud cheering." 

Thursday, September 4

A cruising speed of 10 miles per hour

Oliver Lippincott arrives at Grandview Point on Jan. 12, 1902.
(Photo: Grand Canyon National Park #05122)
Nick and Chris Howell of England have earned my Respect and Admiration.

Eight years ago, Nick Howell purchased an antique 1901 Toledo Steam Car(riage). He later discovered it was the very same car that had made the first automobile trip from Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon.

Steam engines capable of propelling themselves developed about 100 years before internal combustion engine automobiles. The light steam car developed about the same time as cars powered by internal combustion engines.

Oliver Lippincott was a Los Angeles photographer who liked trailblazing remote areas with new technology.

The first automobile to enter Yosemite was a Locomobile steam car driven by Lippincott. Lippincott and his mechanic arrived June 24, 1900 and spent several weeks taking pictures to promote both Yosemite and the Locomobile.

Part of what protected the Grand Canyon for so long was its remoteness. A railroad to Flagstaff was completed in 1882 and stage coaches started to take tourists from Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon in 1883—a 70-mile, 11-hour journey at $20 per person. 

The first train with paying passengers (the 64-mile trip cost $3.95) arrived at the South Rim on Sept. 17, 1901 from Williams.

In January of 1902, Lippincott planned to drive the roughly 70 miles from Flagstaff to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. 

Accompanied by a local guide and two reporters from the Los Angeles Herald, Lippincott's 1901 Toledo steamer became the first vehicle to successfully make that trip. In what was later described as "The Trip from Hell," what was supposed to take seven hours took two daysor two weeks, depending upon who told the story.

The Toledo Steam Carriage was a very well-made, high-quality machine and is considered one of the best steam cars produced at the time.

Because steam cars used technology already developed for steam locomotives, they initially had the advantage. In 1900 the steam car was superior and held land speed records, but by 1920 the internal combustion engine had progressed to a degree of refinement that made the steam car obsolete.

Eight years after purchasing the Toledo Steam Carriage, the Howell brothers recreated Lippincott's historic trip. The brothers hoped to do the trip in seven hours, but it, too, took two days. On Aug. 26 and 27, 2014 (with the help of several car and history buffs—and lots of tea) they did it.

And the Howells weren't towed inunlike Lippincott.

I strongly encourage you to follow the link below to read more about their daring adventure.

Well done, gentlemen. Well done. 

Wednesday, September 3

Graveyard fiesta

Greta Garb-oh!
Momma is happily buying fabric and sewing right now with so many lovely Day of the Dead fabrics to choose from.

This morning she made three papel picado skirts, each one trimmed with pink, aqua, or orange Cluny lace.

The images on this fabric are papel picado, a Mexican folk art. Commonly cut from tissue paper using a guide and small chisels, papel picado can also be made by folding tissue paper and using small, sharp scissors. Common themes includes birds, floral designs, and skeletons.

They are frequently displayed for both secular and religious occasions, such as Easter, Christmas, Día de Muertos, as well as during weddings, quinceañeras, baptisms, and christenings. In Mexico, papel picado are incorporated into altars during the Day of the Dead. 

Isn't Josefina pretty in her camisa and skirt?