Angel Glow At The Battle Of Shiloh

battle-of-shiloh_5At the battle of Shiloh, 16,000 men were wounded and 3,000 were killed. The medics could not care for this enormous need adequately, so many of the wounded and dying were left on the battlefield for two days. This was a swampy region and many were stuck lying in mud and stagnant water. To make matters worse, it happened to be raining off and on for those two days.

While waiting in the muck and mire, some of the wounds began to glow a faint blue color. When the soldiers were finally treated, the men who reported the glow had a higher survival rate than those who did not see a glow. The wounds that glowed had less infection and healed faster. They, also, seemed to scar less. The soldiers nicknamed it, Angel’s Glow.

These accounts were chalked up as forklore until 2001.

In 2001, two high school boys, William Martin and Jonathan Curtis did a science fair project. They wanted to prove there really was an Angel’s Glow.

They showed how tiny parasitic worms known as nematodes carry a bacteria called photorhabdus luminescens which glows in the dark. Luminous_BacteriaThe nematodes burrow into larvae then vomit out photorhabdus luminescens bacteria which causes the larvae to die. It also kills any bacteria in the larvae. The boys showed how this bacteria could also have gotten into the wounds of the soldiers killing the bad bacteria.

The problem with this theory is that photorhabdus luminescens bacteria can not survive in a warm human body. The boys explanation was simple. The battle of Shiloh took place in late April, which is a cool month. The men laid in water and were rained on causing hypothermia. Their body temperatures were at a point where photorhabdus luminescens bacteria could survive, killing the harmful bacteria. When the men were warmed up, the temperature killed the photorhabdus luminescens bacteria.

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Bat Bombs Of World War II

I have long been aware of bats being a gentle, beneficial part of our ecology. But I was amazed when I heard of a top secret unit in World War II working on developing a bat bomb.

The idea was conceived by a Pennsylvania dentist name Lytle S. Adams. He was a friend of Eleanor Roosevelt. He outlined a plan to arm bats with bombs that could be ignited to start fires. The plan was accepted and sent to the military under top secret status.

First, a container bomb was developed to house a thousand bats. This is a container bomb from Wikipedia. It had layers of trays inside to divide bats. Each bat was equipped with a small incendiary device strapped to it. Louie Fieser, inventor of the nepalm, designed half ounce and one ounce timed incendiary devices for the creatures.

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The plan was to drop the container bomb from 5000 feet. A parachute would be attached to the bomb. The bats would be released around 1000 feet. The bats would disperse to varies places. In the morning they would hide in the cracks of the highly flammable Japanese buildings. The timed devices would then be ignited, causing widespread fires.

Plans were made to have ten B-24 bombers from Alaska carry a hundred bat shells. This would release 1,040,000 bat incendiary bombs over the industrial cities of Osaka Bay.

Tests were done. Unfortunately in one test, some bats were accidentCarlsbad_AAF_Fire_after_Bat_Bomb_Accidently released and caused fires at the military base in New Mexico.  This is a picture of the devastation on the base.

Picture from Wikipedia

 

 

 

Another test in Utah included a fake Japanese village built for demonstration. Those watching felt the bombing was a success.

The program was cancelled in 1944 after spending two million on development. It was felt that the research was progressing too slow. It was reported that the founder of the idea made a statement saying we could have devastated Japan with the bat fires and sustained very little loss of life. Instead we sent an atom bomb.

 

Hawaiians Emigrate To Oregon

While visiting our son in Oregon, my husband and I took an afternoon to visit the history museum in Portland. One display in the Oregon history piqued my curiosity. It told of Hawaiians traveling to Oregon and Washington in the 1800s. I couldn’t help but ask myself, why? Granted Oregon is gorgeous but what did it have to lure Hawaiians.

Researching the subject, here is what I found. In 1842 approximately 500 Hawaiians lived in the Northwest. It seems emigration started the beginning of 1800s. After Lewis and Clark’s expedition, fur traders became very interested in the Northwest.  Traders, such as Hudson Bay Co, often used the Hawaiian Islands (or Sandwich Islands as they were known then) as a stopping place, coming from the Orient.

One American fur magnate, John Jacob Aster, sent two ships to the Columbia River. On the way they stopped in Hawaii and picked up forty Hawaiian workers with the approval of King Kamahameha.

Some historians feel the Hawaiians were anxious to leave the island because of the devastation occurring on the islands due to measles and small pox epidemics.

The traders were glad to get the Hawaiians. They were known for being hardworking, great navigators and ship builders. They were pleasant, agreeable people. They also were excellent swimmers. This was a plus for many non-swimming trappers. The trappers would put an Hawaiian rescuer in each canoe, in case it overturned.

The law forbade Hawaiians from marrying caucasian women, so the trade companies encouraged them to marry native Americans. They hoped this would keep them settled in the Northwest.

At that time, Hawaiians were called either Hawaiian, Kanakas (Hawaiian word for person) or Owyhee. Many places in the Northwest show the Hawaiian influence. Owyhee River, Kalama Washington are just a couple of examples.

old coxThis is  a picture of Naukane or Old Cox as he was known. It is from the Royal Ontario Museum. He traveled in 1847 for the Pacific Fur Company. He was the first Polynesian to travel into the interior and helped establish the first inland post, known as Spokane House.

 

 

Other Information on the Hawaiian Emigrants:

Leaving Paradise: Indigenous Hawaiians In The Pacific Northwest by Jean Barmen & Bruce McIntyre Watson

Hawaiians In Early Oregon by Robert Carlton Clark – Oregon Historical Quarterly Vol. 35 No. 1 Oregon Historical Society

Powder Monkeys

The first time I heard of powder monkeys, we lived north of Boston. We were on one of our historical trips into the city. That day we visited the USS Constitution.

USS-Constitution The USS Constitution (Old Ironsides) is the oldest commissioned warship. It was first launched in 1797. Active Naval personal still sail this ship for special occasions. The rest of the time it is available to board. The sailors we talked to said they were very privileged to receive USS Constitution duty. This picture is from americanheritage.com

In their talks, the sailors shared concerning the powder monkeys. Powder monkeys were the boys who were part of the crew. These boys were teen and preteen boys some as young as ten. Their job during battle was to run gunpowder and supplies from the powder magazine (storage) to the guns. Young boys were sought because of their agility and small stature. Being shorter helped them stay below the gunwale. Powder monkeys were a target for sharp shooters. If a shooter could kill or immobilize the powder monkeys, it would greatly hinder the gunner.

powder-monkeyThis is a powder monkey from the civil war. When the powder monkeys were not in war, they worked in the galley, for the captain or doing odd jobs for the crew. This life was extremely hard for these boys and many were abused. This picture comes from americanchildhoodhist.com

Sixteen year old girl outrides Paul Revere

 

How did Paul Revere get all the credit? Sure he was a prominent businessman and all, but what Sybil Ludington did was much more amazing. She was the oldest of twelve children, her father was a colonel in the colonial army. One night a soldier stumbled into their home telling of the British invading. As the soldier was exhausted and the father had to prepare for battle, the daughter, just sixteen, was sent to rally the troops.

She mounted her horse, Star, and took off in the rain around 9:00 pm. During this grueling ride, she was attacked by a highwayman, who she fought off with the stick she was using to prod her horse. She rode by herself, all night, covering forty miles. Paul Revere traveled less than half that amount in about two hours.

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She arrived home at dawn with the troops all preparing for battle. After the battle was over, George Washington came to her home to thank her.

In 1975 a stamp was issued to honor her.

Other reading on this subject:

Sybil Ludington: The Call To Arms by Vincent Dacquino

Ride For Freedom: The Story Of Sybil Ludington by Judy Hominick & Jeanne Spreier

 

Over 200,000 children displaced in U.S.

Can you even fathom that many children needing homes? I first heard about the orphan train riders when I was taking a creative writing course. I started researching and found over 30,000 children lived on the streets of New York in 1850. This was due to the explosion of population in the 1800s . In 1790 the census of New York was 33,131, in 1890 close to one and a half million people crowded into the city. Other cities were also overcrowded.

In 1848, a young minister, Charles Loring Brace, came to study theology and was horrified by the number of children abandoned and starving on the streets. He started classes to teach them trades, opened a home for the newspaper boys and tried to provide meals. This picture from the Children’s Aid Society (which he founded) gives a glimpse of the magnitude of the job.  IMG_0754

Rev. Brace had spent time in Europe and witnessed the placing out of children to farms. In 1854, his first train with orphans headed out of the city. Notices were sent to cities and towns, telling of the children coming on the train. Committees were set up to screen applicants. Children were to be treated like members of the family and had the right to refuse an offer. Over the 70 years, Children’s Aid Society, Catholic Charity and others sent over 200,000 children on trains to receive a chance for a better life.

from CBS news

This is one of the trains with the children  standing in front and on top. Picture is from Children’s Aid Society.

I was so moved by these children, I used their background for my first two books. The Promise and Oklahoma Bound. These books are Christian historical fiction for ages 9 to 12. You can purchase them at Amazon.com or if you would like an autographed copy send a check or money order in the amount of $14.95 ($11.95 + $3.00 shipping) to Carolyn Johnson, PO Box 311, Arapaho, OK 73620. If you want it personalized please include name.

Other reading on this subject:

We Rode The Orphan Trains by Andrea Warren

Orphan Trains: The Story Of Charles Loring Brace And the Children He Saved And Failed by Stephen O’Connor