Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Soldiers and Sailors

Oliver Hazard Perry - became a national hero in the War of 1812, when he regained U.S. control of Lake Erie.  It was the first time in in British naval history that an entire squadron was lost.  Perry, whose mother was a Scotch-Irish immigrant, sent the message "We have met the enemy and they are ours."

Thomas MacDonough - defeated the British at Lake Champlain and perhaps saving New England from invasion.

Andrew Jackson - Defeated a British force at New Orleans even though a peace treaty had been singed 2 weeks before.  No one knew.  He was Scotch-Irish and later was elected president.

Francis Scott Key - Descended from Clan Ross and Clan MacKay.  Wrote the national anthem after the U.S. repulsed a British naval force in Baltimore harbor.

Sir Robert Robertson -   WWI Head of the British Army during most of the war.  Believed to be the only British soldier to rise from private to Field Marshall.

Field Marshall Douglas Haig - Born in Edinburg. Commanded the largest British army ever in the field.  Bore the brunt of the fighting in WWI, but ultimately defeated what was the mightiest war machine in history.

Lt. Col. T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia)  Had a Scottish mother. Enlisted in the R.A.F. in 1922 as John Hume Ross. 

Colin Campbell- Crimean War.  Commanded the "thin Red line" at Balaklava in 1834.  As thousand of Russian mounted troops bore down on them he said:  "Remember men, there is no retreat from here - you must die where you stand."  They did and the Russians were repulsed.  Mr Campbell was born in  Glasgow.

"In Flanders Fields the poppies grow.
Beneath the crosses, row on row..."
                                Written by John McCrea a Canadian solder of Scottish heritage, 1915.

General Winfield Scott - Beginning of Civil War was too old to fight.  Became Lincoln's chief military advisor.  Winfield Rd. and Winfield, IL. are named for him.

George Washington - When someone asked Washington what he would do if he lost.  He is reported to have said:  "I will take the Scots-Irish and go the mountains of Virgina and fight on."  Have never been able to document that statement, but it sounds good.

Gen. Arthur MacArthur:  Civil War.  Became a colonel at the age of twenty.  Wounded 3 times and cited for "gallant and meritorious service" in ten battles.  Received the Congressional Medal of Honor at Missionary Ridge.  He was the father of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, WWII.

Gen. J.E.B. "Jeb" Stuart:   Confederate soldier known for daring cavalry raids.  He was descended from Archibald Stuart whose family moved from Scotland to Ulster in the 17th century.

Admiral Franklin Buchanan: Only full admiral and senior officers of the Confederate navy.  First commander of an ironclad ship to engage in combat.  Twice wounded.  Buchanan was of Scottish heritage and after the war took a bankrupt institution (Maryland Agricultural College) with only a handful of students and turned it into the University of Maryland.

David Glasgow Farragut:  Scottish HeritageGreat victory at New Orleans over the confederates.  At Mobile, Farragut decided to cross a minefield, yelling his famous, "Damn the torpedoes!."

Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman:  Remembered for taking 6,000 men on a march from Atlanta to Savannah, Georgia (1864) leaving total destruction.  Some Southerners never forgave him for the utter destruction, once the war was won.

Robert E. Lee:  Had some Scottish ancestors.  He was a gentlemanly soldier.  Fought with dignity and skill against overwhelming odds.

General Ulysses S. Grant:   Was a Scottish-American.  His campaign at Vicksburg was brilliant. Later, took Richmond the Confederate capitol.  Received Lee's surrender at Appomattox.  Elected president in 1869 and founded the National Parks Service.  At the time of his death, he was America's foremost hero.  His funeral in New York City was attended by more than a million people.  His tomb took more that a decade to debate and build.

If I had to fight a war, I would do it with Scots.  They are great warriors.  If I were younger and just starting out on this journey, I would do a PhD thesis on Scots and the American Revolution.   I have often said, "no Scots, no Revolution"  Perhaps in days to come, I will write about their role in our democracy.  I have been to Valley Forge and if you look at the names it was the Scots who stayed with Washington during that awful winter.  It is more than appropriate that as a nation we celebrate April 6 each year, as National Tartan Day.

"There is only on thing wrong with Scotsmen, there are too few of them."

                                      Winston Churchill, addressing the House of Commons

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