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Shelby Foote and the noun/adjective combination June 15, 2006

Posted by Administrator in history, Smart People.
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Went from reading Walker Percy as mentioned before to reading his best friend, Shelby Foote, and his three volume, nearly 3,000 page narrative The Civil War.

In the first volume, Foote describes the maneuvering that occurred before Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson handed Pope his lunch at 2nd Manassas. Lee, despite being outnumbered nearly two-to-one, for first time (and certainly not the last) divides his army while confronted by a numerically superior foe; giving Jackson and his brigades the assignment of marching deep into Pope’s rear and disrupting his supply lines.

Jackson, previously noted for making his men march great distances with little notice and less food, immediately double-times his men over 25 miles into Pope’s rear, finding a signal supply depot at Manassas Junction, site of a huge Confederate victory more than a year previous.

Foote goes on to describe the reaction of the footsore, attenuated and ravenous Confederates as they discover the mountain of Union goods:

. . .Jackson moved on Manassas. . .the sight that awaited them there was past the imagining of Stonewall’s famished tatterdemalions. Acres -a square mile, in fact- of supplies of every description were stacked in overwhelming abundance. Newly constructed warehouses overflowed with rations, quartermaster goods and ordnance stores. . .best of all, from the point of view of the starved raiders, sutler wagons parked hub-to-hub were packed with every delicacy their vanished owners thought might tempt a payday soldier’s jaded palate. There it all was, spread before the butternut horde out as if the mythical horn of plenty had been upended there. . .the chief object of the search. . .was whiskey. This. . .their commander had foreseen, and by his orders the guards staved in the barrels and shattered the demijohns; whereupon the looters dropped to their hands and knees, scooping and sipping at the pools and rivulets before the liquor soaked into the earth or drained away.”

I cracked up reading his description of the tattered Confederates. Shelby Foote could write.

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