New Yankee 7: Deer Hunters Full Crack [pack]l
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History of the 35th Massachusetts Volunteers, p. 48.____________________________________________________________Such a storm of balls I never conceived it possible for men to live through. Shot and shell shrieking and crashing, canister and bullets whistling and hissing most fiend-like through the air until you could almost see them. In that mile's ride I never expected to come back alive.Lt. Col. A.S. "Sandie" Pendleton, CSA Douglass Southall Freeman, Lee's Lieutenants. NewYork, 1946, p. 208.____________________________________________________________The third shell struck and killed my horse and bursting, blew him to pieces, knocked me down, of course, and tore off my right arm...Pvt. Ezra E. Stickley, Company A, 5th Virginia Infantry "Wounded at Sharpsburg," Confederate Veteran Magazine. Vol XXV, No. 9, September 1917, p. 400.____________________________________________________________A strong, sturdy-looking Reb was coming laboriously on with a Yank of no small proportions perched on his shoulders. Wonderingly I joined the group surrounding and accompanying them at every step, and then I learned why all this especial demonstration; why the Union soldiers cheered and again cheered this Confederate soldier, not because of the fact alone that he had brought into the hospital a sorely wounded Federal soldier, who must have died from hemorrhage had he been left on the field, but from the fact, that was palpable at a glance, that the Confederate too was wounded. He was totally blind; a Yankee bullet had passed directly across and destroyed both eyes, and the light for him had gone out forever. But on he marched, with his brother in misery perched on his sturdy shoulders. He would accept no assistance until his partner announced to him that they had reached their goal - the field hospital. It appears that they lay close together on the field, and after the roar of battle had been succeeded by that painfully intense silence that hangs over a hard-contested battlefield; where the issue is yet in doubt, and where a single rifle shot on the skirmish line falls on your ear like the crack of a thousand cannon. The groans of the wounded Yank reached the alert ears of his sightless Confederate neighbor, who called to him, asking him the nature and extent of his wounds. On learning the serious nature of them, he said: "Now, Yank, I can't see, or I'd get out of here mighty lively. Some darned Yank has shot away my eyes, but I feel as strong otherwise as ever. If you think you can get on my back and do the seeing, I will do the walking, and we'll sail into some hospital where we can both receive surgical treatment." This programme had been followed and with complete success.We assisted the Yank to alight from his Rebel war-horse, and you can rest assured that loud and imperative call was made for the surgeons to give not only the Yank, but his noble Confederate partner, immediate and careful attention.
brass monkeys/brass monkeys weather/cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey - very cold weather - the singular 'monkey' is common also in these expressions. This expression is a wonderful example of how certain expressions origins inevitably evolve, without needing necessarily any particular origin. There might be one of course, but it's very well buried if there is, and personally I think the roots of the saying are entirely logical, despite there being no officially known source anywhere. Partridge for instance can offer only that brass monkey in this sense was first recorded in the 1920s with possible Australian origins. Cassells says late 1800s and possible US origins. The OED is no more helpful either in suggesting the ultimate source. Allen's English Phrases is more revealing in citing an 1835 source (unfortunately not named): "He was told to be silent, in a tone of voice which set me shaking like a monkey in frosty weather..." Allen also mentions other similar references: 'talk the tail off a brass monkey', 'have the gall of a brass monkey', and 'hot enough to melt the nose off a brass monkey'. In fact the expression most likely evolved from another early version 'Cold enough to freeze the tail off a brass monkey', which apparently is first recorded in print in Charles A Abbey's book Before the Mast in the Clippers, around 1860, which featured the author's diaries from his time aboard American clippers (fast merchant sailing ships) from 1856-60. The switch from tail to balls at some stage probably around the turn of the 1900s proved irresistible to people, for completely understandable reasons: it's much funnier, much more illustrative of bitter cold, and the alliteration (repeating) of the B sound is poetically much more pleasing. The notion of a brass monkey would have appealed on many levels: monkeys have long been associated with powerful imagery (three wise monkeys - see no evil, etc) and the word is incorporated within various popular terminology (monkey wrench, monkey puzzle, monkey suit, etc). And aside from the allusion to brass monkey ornaments, brass would have been the metal of choice because it was traditionally associated with strength and resilience (more so than copper or tin for instance); also brass is also very much more phonetically enjoyable than iron, steel or bronze. It simply sounds good when spoken. Zinc and platinum are complete non-starters obviously. So it had to be brass. The choice of monkey - as opposed to any other creature - is also somehow inevitable given a bit of logical thought. Here goes... Certain iconic animals with good tails can be discounted immediately for reasons of lacking euphonic quality (meaning a pleasing sound when spoken); for example, brass horse, brass mouse, brass rat, brass scorpion, brass crocodile and brass ass just don't roll off the tongue well enough. No good either would have been any creatures not possessing a suitably impressive and symbolic tail, which interestingly would effectively have ruled out virtually all the major animal images like cow, elephant, pig, bear, dog, rabbit, lion, tiger, and most of the B-list like rhino, giraffe, deer, not to mention C-listers like hamster, badger, tortoise, all birds, all fish and all insects. We can also forget the well-endowed lemurs, platypii, and chameleons for reasons of obscurity: a metaphor must be reasonably universal to become popular. Which pretty well leaves just a cat and a monkey, and who on earth has ever seen a brass cat? It's just not a notion that conveys anything at all. So it kind of just had to be a monkey because nothing else would have worked. That's my theory, and I'm sticking to it unless anyone has a better idea. This is the way that a lot of expressions become established and hugely popular - they just are right in terms of sound and imagery, and often it's that simple. Incidentally a popular but entirely mythical theory for the 'freeze the balls off a brass monkey' version suggests a wonderfully convoluted derivation from the Napoleonic Wars and the British Navy's Continental Blockade of incoming French supplies. The story goes that where the British warships found themselves in northerly frozen waters the cannonballs contracted (shrank in size due to cold) more than their brass receptacle (supposedly called the 'monkey') and fell onto the deck. Or so legend has it. Unfortunately there was never a brass receptacle for cannonballs called a monkey. Ships did actually have a 'monkey rail' (just above the quarter rail, wherever that was) but this was not related to cannonballs at all, and while there was at one time a cannon called a monkey, according to Longridge's The Anatomy of Nelson's Ships, cannonballs were actually stored on the gun deck on wooden boards with holes cut in them, called short garlands, not monkeys. What we see here is an example of a mythical origin actually supporting the popularity of the expression it claims to have spawned, because it becomes part of folklore and urban story-telling, so in a way it helps promote the expression, but it certainly isn't the root of it. To understand the root, very commonly we need simply to understand how language works, and then it all makes sense. (I am grateful for A Zambonini's help in prompting and compiling this entry.)
These flasks originated first during Taylor's 1848 Presidential campaign and appear to have been produced up until the American Civil War (McKearin & Wilson 1978). The pictured examples both have smooth bases (no pontil scar), crudely applied single part "packer" type finishes (formed from crudely tooled glass which was laid around the cracked-off neck end), and were blown in the same two-piece hinge mold indicated by the straight mold seam dissecting the base. Earlier examples of the flasks blown in this same mold have blowpipe pontil scars and usually a simplecracked off and fire polished finish with no additional glass applied (like the GI-2 flask just above). Click on the following links for several more pictures of the aqua flask: reverse view with George Washington embossing; base view with dissecting mold seam. Most of Washington-Taylor flasks were produced at the Dyottville Glass Works, Philadelphia, PA.
The calabash pictured to the above right has an image of - and the words - JENNY LIND embossed on the front and is classified as GI-99. Jenny Lind, a singer who was know as the "Swedish Nightingale", was lured to the America by P. T. Barnum for a series of performances in 1850 and 1851. The reverse side has an embossed building with a smokestack and the words GLASS WORKS / S. HUFFSEY and was likely the product of the Isabella Glass Works (New Brooklyn, NJ). These bottles date from the 1850s though there is evidence that the mold was used as late as 1870 (McKearin & Wilson 1978). Click on the following links for more pictures of this calabash bottle: reverse side with glass works embossing, base with pontil scar. Of interest, the very mold that likely produced this bottle in the 1850s is located in the collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art; images of the mold available at the following link: Original molds for 19th century bottles still in existence are extremely unusual. The calabash to the right was described in the previous section on shield & clasped hands flasks, though this is an image of the reverse showing the eagle with the banner in its beak. It dates from the mid to late 1860s. Click on the following links for several more pictures of this bottle: base view with pontil scar, side view, neck and finish close-up. Agriculture, Commerce, and Transportation theme flasks This is another broad class of figured flasks that include embossing and motifs that deal with U.S. economic and social life such as agriculture, transportation, commerce, and even temperance! These flasks are a mixed lot with little physical commonality except that they are flasks and made during the figured flask period of 1815 to 1870. The do not have a group of their own, but are instead listed among several groups in McKearin & Wilson (1978). Colors, shapes, sizes, finishes, and other manufacturing methods vary as widely as the period allows. A couple flasks within this category are shown for examples representing the earlier and later ends of the period. For more information see McKearin & Wilson (1978) pages 491-495. The transportation related flask to the right has a horse drawn wagon on tracks and the embossed lettering SUCCESS TO THE RAILROAD. The railroad flasks (there are several different variations covered as Group V in McKearin & Wilson (1978)) celebrated the burgeoning railroad system which began in the 1820s. The pictured flask was likely first produced about 1830 and has the same embossing pattern on both sides. It has a straight to slightly flared finish (sheared/cracked-off and fire polished with some tooling), blowpipe pontil scar, and was produced in a two-piece key mold. The pictured example classifies as GV-3 and was produced by the Keene-Marlboro Street Glass Works, Keene, NH. Click on the following links for more pictures of this very crude flask: base view showing the pontil scar, side view showing the vertical ribs, close-up view of the shoulder and neck. The agriculture/commerce related flask to the right has a large ear of corn embossed and the embossed lettering CORN FOR THE WORLD. The reverse side has the Baltimore Monument embossed with the word "Baltimore." This quart size flask classifies as GVI-4, has a smooth (non-pontiled) base, applied double ring finish, and was blown in a two-piece hinge mold by the Baltimore Glass Works, Baltimore, MD. This particular flask likely dates from the 1860s, though other "Corn for the World" flasks also appear to date as early as the 1840s (McKearin & Wilson 1978; Hagenbuch 2005). Click on the following links to view more pictures of this flask: base view, reverse view with Baltimore Monument, side view, close-up view of shoulder, neck, and finish. Other Figured Flasks This category of figured flasks covers the flasks that do not fit into the previous categories. This includes flasks that have primarily sports related themes (hunting, fishing, horse racing, bicycling - mostly in McKearin & Wilson's Group XIII), those with just lettering (Group XIV & XV), and the large grouping of Pike's Peak items (Group XI). These flasks are also a mixed lot with little physical commonality except that they are flasks and made during the figured flask period. Colors, shapes, sizes, finishes, and other manufacturing methods vary as widely as the period allows. For more information on these variable flasks see McKearin & Wilson (1978) pages 491-495. The pictured flask is one of the Pike's Peak assortment and is classified as GXI-17. This flask has a smooth base, an applied finish that is a cross between a packer and patent finish type, and was blown in a two-piece key mold. Click on the following links for more pictures of this flask: reverse side view, base view, close-up of shoulder, neck, and finish. This group of flasks typically have a prospective miner walking with a cane and stick/bag over his shoulder on one side and an eagle on top of an oval frame on the reverse. These popular flasks played on the excitement of the 1858-1859 gold rush to Colorado, which was then part of Kansas-Nebraska. Given that fact, we know that none of these flasks pre-dates 1859 which is confirmed by the majority being smooth based; pontils scars are known but very uncommon in these type flasks. The best source of additional information on the Pike's Peak flasks, besides McKearin & Wilson (1978), is Eatwell & Clint's book "Pike's Peak Gold" (2000). The flask pictured to the right is listed in McKearin & Wilson (1978) as a figured flask (GXV-5), but has only embossed lettering (CUNNINGHAM & IHMSEN / GLASS MAKERS / PITTSBURGH, PA). This flask dates from between 1857 and 1867 (probably latter end of that range as it is not pontil scarred) and is fairly typical of this category of flasks, though they do vary a lot in form (McKearin & Wilson 1978). (See the "Flasks (not considered figured)" section below for a large assortment of other type liquor flasks, including this flask.) Return to the top of this page. 2b1af7f3a8