Saturday, November 29, 2008

This Day in History (WWII Edition).......

Coffee rationing begins

On this day in 1942, coffee joins the list of items rationed in the United States. Despite record coffee production in Latin American countries, the growing demand for the bean from both military and civilian sources, and the demands placed on shipping, which was needed for other purposes, required the limiting of its availability.

Scarcity or shortages were rarely the reason for rationing during the war. Rationing was generally employed for two reasons: (1) to guarantee a fair distribution of resources and foodstuffs to all citizens; and (2) to give priority to military use for certain raw materials, given the present emergency.

At first, limiting the use of certain products was voluntary. For example, President Roosevelt launched "scrap drives" to scare up throwaway rubber-old garden hoses, tires, bathing caps, etc.--in light of the Japanese capture of the Dutch East Indies, a source of rubber for the United States. Collections were then redeemed at gas stations for a penny a pound. Patriotism and the desire to aid the war effort were enough in the early days of the war.

But as U.S. shipping, including oil tankers, became increasingly vulnerable to German U-boat attacks, gas became the first resource to be rationed. Starting in May 1942, in 17 eastern states, car owners were restricted to three gallons of gas a week. By the end of the year, gas rationing extended to the rest of the country, requiring drivers to paste ration stamps onto the windshields of their cars. Butter was another item rationed, as supplies were reserved for military breakfasts. Along with coffee, the sugar and milk that went with it were also limited. All together, about one-third of all food commonly consumed by civilians was rationed at one time or another during the war. The black market, an underground source of rationed goods at prices higher than the ceilings set by the Office of Price Administration, was a supply source for those Americans with the disposable incomes needed to pay the inflated prices.

Some items came off the rationing list early; coffee was released as early as July 1943, but sugar was rationed until June 1947.

This day in history (American Revolution Edition)......

Congress creates Committee of Secret Correspondence

On this day in 1775, the Second Continental Congress, meeting in Philadelphia, establishes a Committee of Secret Correspondence. The committee’s goal was to provide European nations with a Patriot interpretation of events in Britain’s North American colonies, in the hope of soliciting aid for the American war effort.

The committee, consisting of Benjamin Franklin, Benjamin Harrison, John Dickinson, John Hay and Robert Morris, instructed Silas Deane to meet with French Foreign Minister Charles Gravier, Count de Vergennes, to stress America's need for military stores and assure the French that the colonies were moving toward "total separation" from Great Britain. Covert French aid began filtering into the colonies soon after the outbreak of hostilities in 1775. Deane, a Connecticut delegate to the Continental Congress, left for France on the secret mission on March 3, 1776.

Deane managed to negotiate for unofficial assistance from France, in the form of ships containing military supplies, and recruited the Gilbert du Motier, marquis de Lafayette to share his military expertise with the Continental Army’s officer corps. However, it was not until after the arrival of the charming Benjamin Franklin in France in December 1776 and the American victory at the Battle of Saratoga in October 1777 that the French became convinced that it was worth backing the Americans in a formal treaty.

On February 6, 1778, the Treaties of Amity and Commerce and Alliance were signed, and in May 1778 the Continental Congress ratified them. One month later, war between Britain and France formally began when a British squadron fired on two French ships. During the American Revolution, French naval fleets proved critical in the defeat of the British, which was assured after the Battle of Yorktown in October 1781.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

This day in history.......

On this day in history......

The assassination of John F. Kennedy, the thirty-fifth President of the United States, took place on Friday, November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas, USA at 12:30 p.m. CST (18:30 UTC). John F. Kennedy was fatally wounded by gunshots while riding with his wife Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy in a Presidential motorcade. The ten-month investigation of the Warren Commission of 1963–1964, the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) of 1976–1979, and other government investigations concluded that the President was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald. This conclusion was initially met with widespread support among the American public (1964–66), but polls conducted after the original 1966 Gallup poll show as much as 80% of the public hold beliefs contrary to these findings.[1][2] The assassination is still the subject of widespread speculation and has spawned numerous conspiracy theories, though none of these theories has been proven. In 1979, the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) found both the original FBI investigation and the Warren Commission Report to be seriously flawed. The HSCA also concluded that there were at least four shots fired and that it was probable that a conspiracy existed. Later studies, including one by the National Academy of Sciences,[3] have called into question the accuracy of the evidence used by the HSCA to support its finding of four shots. (From Wikipedia)

Other Presidential Assassinations.....

Abraham Lincoln
The Abraham Lincoln assassination took place on Good Friday, April 14, 1865 at approximately 10 p.m. President Abraham Lincoln was shot by actor and Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth while attending a performance of Our American Cousin at Ford's Theatre with his wife and two guests. Lincoln died the following day—April 15, 1865—at 7:22 a.m., in the home of William Petersen.

James A. Garfield
The James A. Garfield assassination took place in Washington, D.C., at 9:30 a.m. on July 2, 1881, less than four months after Garfield took office. Charles J. Guiteau was the assassin. Garfield died 11 weeks later, on September 19, 1881 due to infections caused by substandard medical care.

William McKinley
The assassination of William McKinley took place on September 6, 1901, at the Temple of Music, in Buffalo, New York. President William McKinley, attending the Pan-American Exposition, was shot twice by Leon Czolgosz, an anarchist. McKinley died eight days later, on September 14.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Rain drops keep falling on my head......

This past weekend at the CSS Neuse site raindrops didn't fall on my head the entire weekend. The only raindrops we had to face were Friday afternoon during our set-up and on Saturday evening. As for set-up, we were able to get part of our canvas up on Friday afternoon in-between the rain showers and delayed the remainder until Saturday morning. While overcast, Saturday turned out to be overcast, muggy and warm. Vistation was good with a good portion of the visitors either Shriners (they were having a Shriner convention in Kinston the same weekend) and boy scouts (they were camping in the area). The rain cranked up at about 5:45pm which forced the cancellation of the artillery night firing which is always a crowd-pleaser. On Sunday morning, the rain was gone and the day, while chilly, turned out to be quite pleasant. For the weekend, I'd estimate that we saw about 800 visitors with the bulk of those engaging us on Saturday. As always the event was fun, gave us a chance to visit with old friends and make a few new ones.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

CSS Neuse Living History

Sailors! Marines! Artillery (lots of it)! It's time for the the CSS Neuse's annual Civil War Living History program on the banks of the Neuse River. I always look forward to this event as I get to visit with good friends at a laid back living history program which usually draws good crowds both Saturday and Sunday. If you get a chance, come visit us this weekend at the CSS Neuse/Richard Caswell Memorial Historic Site.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Have you voted?

Today is the day all Americans have their say! If you have already voted during the early voting period or this morning, good for you! I stood in line at 7:15 am this morning for 30 minutes to exercise a right that thousands of men and women died so I might have the priviledge. For those who choose not to exercise this right, don't ever complain that the leaders of this country aren't meeting your needs. You lost the right to complain when you chose not to vote. Don't take the right to vote for granted or you may lose it one day.