Speaking of cigars...

Speaking of cigars, no one in the ACW ever smoked a Grant but some may have smoked a Henry Clay which Wikipedia tells us was marketed first "in the 1840s." Naturally this cigar name would offend Democrats (Business plan: "I think I'll go for half the market").

I bought a Henry Clay tonight (in Union Station) and pictured Abe Lincoln of Illinois surrounded by his Whig cronies lighting one up outside the courtroom.

This compilation from Wiki is incredible:
English writer Rudyard Kipling mused, "There's calm in a Henry Clay," in his 1886 poem "The Betrothed."

Mentioned in English occultist Aleister Crowley's 1918 poem "Absinthe: The Green Goddess": "Here, too, sat Henry Clay, who lived and died to give his name to a cigar."

The brand is mentioned in Irish writer James Joyce's 1922 novel Ulysses: "Long John Fanning made no way for them. He removed his large Henry Clay decisively and his large fierce eyes scowled intelligently over all their faces."

In Russian and Soviet poet, playwright, and actor Vladimir Vladimirovich Mayakovsky's 1925 poem Блек энд уайт/Black and White portraying issues of racism and capitalist exploitation, the setting is a Henry Clay and Bock, Ltd. cigar factory in Havana: "В Гаване все разграничено четко: у белых доллары, у черных — нет. Поэтому Вилли стоит со щеткой у «Энри Клей энд Бок, лимитед»."… "И надо же случиться, чтоб как раз тогда к королю сигарному Энри Клей пришел, белей, чем облаков стада, величественнейший из сахарных королей."

Reference is made to Henry Clay as a London grocer's "finest cigar" in the 1929 Alfred Hitchcock film "Blackmail."

Mentioned in "Die Matrosen" tango from German playwright Bertolt Brecht's 1929 play "Happy End"

Belgian novelist Georges Simenon in the 1931 French-language novel Pietr-le-Letton/The Strange Case of Peter the Lett. "...un Henry Clay aux lèvres".

The character of Claire Zachanassian in Swiss dramatist Friedrich Dürrenmatt's Der Besuch der alten Dame/The Visit (1956) smokes Henry Clays.

Mentioned in the poem "A Busy Man" by British-Canadian poet and writer Robert William Service: "And now I'll toddle to the garden/And light a good old Henry Clay."

Maurice Leblanc's gentleman thief Arsène Lupin was noted to have used a Henry Clay cigar to conceal a reply to an invented associate as a part of his escape from jail in "Arsène Lupin in Prison".
Per Service, I did toddle to the garden this evening and the Clay was good enough to inspire this addition to the literary canon.


This "plan" is a varmint that won't stay dead

The John Batchelor show featured a talk about The Campaigns for Vicksburg, 1862-63: Leadership Lessons by Kevin Dougherty.

Q: "...Why is that [the so-called Anaconda Plan] a good example of leadership...?"

A: "The Anaconda Plan, named after the snake that kills its victims by strangling, is the original plan that Scott brought forth to the Federal side to defeat the Confederacy by limited war. Scott did not want to lose a lot of casualties either on the Federal side or the Confederate side, he had kind of a conciliatory approach to warfare that he practiced in the Mexican War and his plan was to build up a massive army, to blockade the Confederate coast, and to cut them off from the rest of the world, and to split the Confederacy in two by getting control of the Mississippi River. And although that plan was rejected because it was perceived as taking too long, and the country wanted to get on with victory, it ended up being the way that the Federals did eventually win the war."

Assertion: It was "the original plan..."
Response: It was not a plan. Several disparate ideas presented at different times were fabricated by the press and historians into a make-believe "plan".

Assertion: "...he had kind of a conciliatory approach to warfare that he practiced in the Mexican War."
Response: He waged conventional war against Mexico and when the capture of Mexico City did not bring surrender, he negotiated with the enemy.

Assertion: "...his plan was to build up a massive army..."
Response: His idea was to send 60,000 men down the Mississippi (in a separate source he suggests up to 80,000). He opposed creation of a massive army.

Assertion: "...that plan was rejected because it was perceived as taking too long..."
Response: There was no plan, there was no presentation, so there was no rejection. Scott's separate suggestions of a blockade and or a river campaign were discussed when they came up conversationally but there is no record of their pro forma acceptance or rejection.

Assertion: "... it ended up being the way that the Federals did eventually win the war."
Response: Preposterous, unless "the Anaconda Plan" is anything you want it to be.

For more details, see my series here, here, here, and here. The second and last posts are most important.

Ladies and gentlemen, before referring to something called "the Anaconda Plan," check your primary sources. You will save yourself embarassment.


Taking our worst failings seriously

Working through the McClellan controversies and the way they are treated, it eventually occurred to me that there is a much larger Civil War history problem of which McClellanology is just a small indicator.

Further, I have come to understand that this problem goes beyond Civil War history and permeates the culture.

A couple of weeks ago I commented to my brother on how wretched science has become in the same way as Civil War history and how very carefully we have to treat any claims by scientists, doctors, pharma, and so on.

Now, here comes The Lancet.
In their quest for telling a compelling story, scientists too often sculpt data to fit their preferred theory of the world. Or they retrofit hypotheses to fit their data. [...] The good news is that science is beginning to take some of its worst failings very seriously. The bad news is that nobody is ready to take the first step to clean up the system.
The leading Civil War historians will deny there is any problem in our little world. We have yet to confront "worst failings."