Defending our Christian Heritage ....

To The Last Ditch

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Location: Somewhere in the Heart of Dixie

Redeemed Sinner. Deep Roots. Southern Heart.

Friday, October 30, 2009

"Justice Is The One Thing You Should Always Find"... reports that Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford was convicted of all 60 counts.

I have not given proper background to his story, you can read that in the papers. But Langford was a major real life demonstration to me that an individual doesn't have to be qualified for a job in order to obtain it in a political race. Now, in a free market system, this shouldn't work because unqualified people will fail. However, people who refuse to acknowledge God as the source of government will cease to act in a rational manner. This was ultimately demonstrated in the election of Barak Obama. How many things in history would have turned out differently if people had just looked at the facts, instead of letting their emotions take over?

God gave us these examples to show his power in the affairs of men, and to warn us, lest we make the same mistakes. He always writes the last chapter!

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Barn Dance

Here's a short video a friend put together of the famous annual Bailey Barn Dance. Our bluegrass group played and sang, along with "special guests", the West Girls.
These are so much fun to play at!
I hope everyone enjoyed our music as much as we enjoyed playing!

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Monday, October 26, 2009

A Message From Officer Phillips...

To whom it may concern...

Hey Steven and all other male readers of this blog.
My name is Zachary Phillips and I was a squad officer (Steven's officer coincidentally) at Challenge Basic '09. So if you would like to attend Challenge, you don't have to be a member of TeenPact to do so. I oversee the Challenge blog so I will post dates and info on next years events at the appropriate time. Challenge will happen again sometime next fall. So until then follow the challenge blog and get to meet some of the men who have been through the training (online of course).
1st Timothy 4:8

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Meanwhile, Down On The Farm...

We are ready for the sun to come out!

Several weeks ago, our poultry netting came in, and that is really working well.
We dried our cow up today, she's due in December.

Last Saturday several families from our area got together at the fall festival. Some of us guys played bluegrass. Here's a short clip of Rawhide.

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Thursday, October 8, 2009

After Action Report: Challenge Basic

As some of you may know, my brother Michael and I just got back from attending Teenpact Challenge Basic at Fort Benning, Georgia.

It was an awesome experience! As we drove through the checkpoint, it was an indescribable feeling, just thinking about all the great infantry warriors of the past who had trained here, since World War I!

I hardly know where to start.

I guess I could say it was the most miserable and yet the greatest week of my life. Essentially, we were conditioned to do difficult tasks with minimum strength, wholly relying on the Lord and our buddies for the power to take the next step. During the week, we learned rappelling, hand to hand combat, land navigation, and basic first aid. The majority of the last two days were spent on the Yankee Road Land Navigation course.

The staff was absolutely awesome! Officer Stansbury, the program director, is one of the Godliest men I have ever had the honor to meet. He is a former Ranger, and, as one of the other recruits said, "He eats nails for breakfast every morning...without milk!".

The other staff, Officers Nathan and Caleb Hudson, Creswell, Zmudzinski, Chase, Schmidt, Phillips, Alasu, and Schalchlin, were phenomenal. We really drew together as a unit under their training.

Officer Phillips told me that he would be uploading some of the pictures that the staff took at the event on the Challenge blog, after Extreme.

Unfortunately, we took very few pictures, but here are a couple.

Michael on the left and Joel F. on the right...with some other folks in the background.

Officer Schalchlin and myself.

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Blue Hen's Chicks, Part 6

On this day, 229 years ago, the battle began.

British Captain Chesney, having made the rounds of the pickets which were posted at the base of the hill, heard a shot. "I immediately paraded the men and posted the officers", he later said. Without further ado, the battle began.
The militia had surrounded the British position and began to take it apart, flitting between the trees, never providing an open target for the enemy.
The British made several sallies out from their position but these became weaker and weaker as the fight continued. A distant witness reported that "the mountain was covered with flame and smoke and seemed to thunder."
As the battle progressed, the battle lines desinegrated, and the Americans clearly had the upper hand. The British rallied at the extreme crest of the hill and made a desperate charge to cut their way out, during which, Major Ferguson was felled by a volley. Command devolved to a Captain dePeyster, who immediatley attempted to surrender. Although the white flags had begun flying, the shout "Tarleton's Quarter" was often heard and it was with great difficulty that the officers finally restrained their men. But as soon as the shooting ceased, a single shot rang out, killing one of the militia generals, and the slaughter commenced. After this too was stopped, the work of burying the dead commenced.
They slept on the field of battle and began their journey homeward the next day. Hurrying along with their prisoners, they feared that Tarleton himself would soon be upon them. But Cornwallis was thinking of everything but sending a force after the mountain men. While the patriots fled north, Cornwallis fled south and the soil of North Carolina was free of invaders.

The implications of this battle were enormous. Because of this defeat, Cornwallis would be unable to advance north to the destruction of Washington. Several months later, Cornwallis would lose again at the battle of Cowpens. He would ultimately be defeated at Yorktown. Ferguson's defeat was considered to be the turning point in the war. The loss of the battle would have meant the loss of American independence.
The British had learned to their own detriment the cost of messing with the Scotch Irish.

After the fashion of Davy Crockett, Joseph McDowell later wrote:
"We were the bravest of the brave. We were a formidable flock of blue hen's chickens of the game blood, of indomitable courage, strangers to fear. We were well provided with sticks; we made the egg shells- British and Tory skulls- fly like onion peelings in a windy day. The blue cocks flapped their wings and crowed."

Author's note: The majority of first hand accounts that went into the creation of this series comes from Hank Messick's most excellent book King's Mountain. I highly, highly recommend it.

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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Blue Hen's Chicks, Part 5

The "Resting Place" was a large rock jutting out of a hill to form a semi cave. Located along the Doe river, today, a bronze plaque is affixed to the rock that reads:

First Night Encampment
King's Mountain Men
Sept. 26, 1780
"They trusted in God
And kept their powder dry".

The next day, they pressed on up Doe Creek to the foot of Roan Mountain. Near the top, they trudged through new fallen snow. After a dress parade at the crest, a problem was discovered. Two men were missing. One was a simple youth, but James Crawford was old enough to know better. Assuming that Crawford had gone ahead to alert Ferguson, they took counsel, but came to the conclusion to continue. Colonel McDowell was dispatched with a detachment to scout ahead and bring back intelligence of Ferguson's next move. They marched on for two more miles before stopping for the night. They continued on for three more days, leaving the hills at the same time the deserters reached Ferguson's camp. The deserters informed Ferguson of the number of men marching against him.

After being joined by reinforcements, the mountain men continued, while the advance force sent out two scouts which captured the Major's cook, questioned him, then let him go. When he complained to Ferguson about being roughly handled, Ferguson concurred that for once, the barbarians had acted quite civilized.

On October 4th, the main force having arrived, a conference was held before the final approach, in which, Isaac Shelby spoke to the men: "You who desire to decline (from fighting), will, when the word is given, march three paces to the rear".
When the word was given not a man stirred, whereupon Shelby issued final instructions: "When we encounter the enemy don't wait for the word of command. Let each of you be your own officer and do the best you can. If in the woods, shelter yourself and give them indian play. The moment the enemy gives way, be on the alert and strictly obey orders."

After some maneuvering, it was discovered that Ferguson had taken a strong defensive position on the crest of a place called King's Mountain.

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Monday, October 5, 2009

Blue Hen's Chicks, Part 4

Back in July, the McDowells and Shelby determined to capture a local Tory fort, called Fort Thickety. The Tories surrendered without a shot being fired, making Ferguson rudely aware of their presence.
Charles McDowell, the militia colonel, decided that the next target would be a detachment of 200 Tories at Musgrove Mill. It was a walk in the park for the militia, which easily defeated the British. On their trip returning home, Shelby received word that Gate's army had been defeated at Camden and "to get out of the way".
The militia anxiously awaited events, the Overmountain Men from their homes, because their enlistments had expired. Ferguson finally ignited a flame of indignation when he paroled Sam Phillips, a cousin of Shelby's, and sent him home with the message:
"If the officers west of the mountains did not lay down their oppositions to British arms, Ferguson would march his army over and lay waste to their country".

Bad Idea.

Soon after issuing the challenge, Ferguson sent a letter to the inhabitants of North Carolina, ordering all loyal men to the banner of king George. But far from being inspired, the Tories, for the most part, decided to lay low. They may have all agreed that their enemies were "mongrels" and "barbarians", but they also knew them to be good fighters. Lacking Ferguson's pride as an officer and gentleman, they were able to face up to realities in a manner he continued unwilling to do.

This was all Shelby and Sevier needed to motivate their men. After meeting with Sevier, Shelby wrote: "After some consultation we determined to march with all the men we could raise, and to attempt to surprise Ferguson by attacking him in his camp, or, at any rate, before he was ready for us. We accordingly appointed a time and a place of rendezvous."
This would be September 25, at Sycamore Shoals.

The Overmountain Men began to muster in. Among these were two of Sevier's brothers, two of his sons, Shelby, with two of his brothers, four Crocketts, among these was the father of David, and twelve Campbells. But nothing better illustrates the importance of the Scotch Irish as an ethnic presence in this association of free men, as the 59 names which began with "Mc". As the men arrived, so did their pastor. Welsh Presbyterian Samuel Doak was "commanding in appearance and possessed a voice full of thunder and lightening". Those scenes must not have been too different from those Covenanter pastors, who stood up to preach to their flocks during the "Killing Times".
Reverend Doak prayed for the families who were staying behind, for the men who were marching to battle, and finally he told the story of Gideon. "Let that be your battle cry: the sword of the Lord and of Gideon". Like slow thunder came the reply: " the sword of the Lord and of Gideon".

The men then mounted their horses and turned up Gap Creek toward the blue mountains.

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Saturday, October 3, 2009

Slight Digression... A Book Review!

16 years ago, 160 members of Task Force Ranger roped into the city of Mogadishu. The next day, they drove out with 104 casualties, 16 of which were killed in action. However, they administered over 5 times their number of casualties on the enemy.

Since that time, the Battle of Mogadishu, more popularly known as "Black Hawk Down", has become one of the text book examples of modern urban warfare.

One of the best stories of this battle is the autobiography by Jeff Struecker, entitled Road to Unafraid. Struecker is currently acting as an Army Chaplain with the 2nd Ranger Battalion. He tells of his experiences with a definite Christian bias.
Although much of this book tells of his experiences during the battle, it also covers his earlier action in Panama and the Gulf War. Throughout the book, he stresses his commitment to God and family. To me, one of the more fascinating parts was his account of the training he under went in order to win the Best Ranger Competition in 1996. Jeff Struecker's commitment to God and family is a great encouragement. I really recommend this book. Language is very minimal.

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Friday, October 2, 2009

Blue Hen's Chickens, Part 3

Following the battle of Camden, Cornwallis moved into North Carolina, the heart of Scotch-Irish country. He quickly captured Charlotte and reorganized his army. One division was put under the command of Major Ferguson, with orders to eliminate the King's enemies on the western frontier. This division consisted of Loyalists, American citizens who were loyal to the crown, who had been recruited by Ferguson.
In one of the more interesting ironies of this period, most of the loyalists from this area were Scottish Highlanders. They had left Scotland to escape the tyranny of the Hanoverian kings, yet when his "sovereignty" was threatened, they were the first to rally to his cause.
Unlike their Scotch-Irish cousins, who were the very ones who threatened King George's sovereignty, these Scots fought valiantly for the king.

The Scotch-Irish settlements that dotted the frontier had a long heritage based in a militia system. The similar clan system had served their ancestors well against King Edward Longshanks 500 years earlier. When they came to America, their frequent clashes with the Indians had necessitated that this system remain in place for the preservation of their lives. In this region the militia west of the Appalachians was often referred to as the "Overmountain Men", because they had to travel over the Appalachian Mountains when they deployed. The regulars often looked down on the militia, and sometimes with reason, but in the South, at least, the militia had by far the better record. The fact that their leaders were selected on the basis of ability rather than political influence may have had something to do with it.
The most prominent leaders in south-western North Carolina were Isaac Shelby, John Sevier, William Campbell, Charles McDowell, and Joseph McDowell.
The stature these men had gained was purely by the blessing of God and their own skill. One was not a political appointee to command a militia.
There was one thing they all had in common, namely, fighting experience, something that even some Northern generals couldn't say. These frontiersmen had fought together in the past and knew what made each other tick.

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Blue Hen's Chickens, Part 2

The campaign for the South began with the capture of Savannah, Georgia in late December of 1778. Surprised, the continentals retreated to join General Lincoln, who incorporated them into his command. After several small battles and much maneuvering by both sides, the British commander determined to take the city of Charleston. After a bombardment of several days, because of pressure from the town's citizen's, Lincoln surrendered the city on May 12th, 1780. With it, fell the entire Continental military establishment in the South, along with their supplies. At the time of the capitulation Colonel Abraham Buford, with the 3rd Virginia Continentals, was forty miles away, making with all haste to the relief of the city. After learning of it's fall, he turned around and headed for home. Unfortunately, he wasn't fast enough for Banastre Tarleton. After a short battle, which ended in slaughter, Tarleton had earned the nickname "Bloody Ban", and his type of fighting would be forever known to the patriots as "Tarleton's Quarter".

Washington was in deep trouble. Although he was holding his own in the north, now that his southern army was gone, the British had that many more troops freed up to march north. The British were free to rape and pillage to their hearts content. There was no organized resistance except from partisans like Francis Marion.

The mountain men had not risen yet, but they were waking from their sleep.

The Continental Congress hastily dispatched General Horatio Gates to try to hold off the British in the South. This general immediatley gathered an army and set out to fight. By early August, the day of battle was drawing near. Gates had marched his men day and night in an attempt to surprise the British. Despite the urging of his staff that the men were not ready, that they were too exhausted to fight, Gates arrogantly continued with his plan.
The battle of Camden began on August 16. The British, actually outnumbered, put 2,239 men on the field to the Colonials 3-4,000. But Cornwallis was confident that his well trained men could stand up to anything the colonists could throw at him.
It was a complete disaster. The exhausted patriots made a half hearted assault on the british line before turning and fleeing from the battlefield. Of course, this was exactly what Tarleton wanted to happen.
The slaughter began.
Future Chief Justice John Marshall later wrote, "Never was a victory more complete, or a defeat more total".

For the second time, the South lay at the feet of the invader.

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