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Odd confluence of events in US military history today...

It starts in 1777, with France recognizing the United States as a nation independent of Great Britain.

Then, in 1862, General Ulysses S. Grant issues General Order No. 11, expelling Jews from Tennessee, Mississippi, and Kentucky.

The text of General Order 11:

General Order No. 11 decreed as follows:

1.  The Jews, as a class violating every regulation of trade established by the Treasury Department and also department orders, are hereby expelled from the Department [of the Tennessee] within twenty-four hours from the receipt of this order.

2. Post commanders will see to it that all of this class of people be furnished passes and required to leave, and any one returning after such notification will be arrested and held in confinement until an opportunity occurs of sending them out as prisoners, unless furnished with permit from headquarters.

3. No passes will be given these people to visit headquarters for the purpose of making personal application of trade permits.
 

Shortly after hearing of the order, President Lincoln called on Grant to rescind said order, and in a face-saving manner for the General, I might add.  The Wikipedia article on the topic elaborates further and doesn't suffer from an overload of "presentism-driven" drivel.

In a fillip of karma, December 17, 1944 is the day the US ended the internment of Japanese-Americans.

Most famously on this day in 1944 the Germans kept pushing at the Losheim Gap, and the 101st started journeying from their rest area to Bastogne for their next epic fight. Combat in the Ardennes on this day resulted in three Medals of Honor for soldiers of the 2nd Infantry Division, who stuck their metaphoric fingers in the leaky dike of the Allied lines, trying to stem the tide of Oberstgruppenführer Sepp Dietrich's 6th Panzer Army:

*COWAN, RICHARD ELLER  (Posthumous Award)

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company M, 23d Infantry, 2d Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Krinkelter Wald, Belgium, 17 December 1944. Entered service at: Wichita, Kans. Birth: Lincoln, Nebr. G.O. No.: 48, 23 June 1945. Citation: He was a heavy machinegunner in a section attached to Company I in the vicinity of Krinkelter Wald, Belgium, 17 December 1944, when that company was attacked by a numerically superior force of German infantry and tanks. The first 6 waves of hostile infantrymen were repulsed with heavy casualties, but a seventh drive with tanks killed or wounded all but 3 of his section, leaving Pvt. Cowan to man his gun, supported by only 15 to 20 riflemen of Company I. He maintained his position, holding off the Germans until the rest of the shattered force had set up a new line along a firebreak. Then, unaided, he moved his machinegun and ammunition to the second position. At the approach of a Royal Tiger tank, he held his fire until about 80 enemy infantrymen supporting the tank appeared at a distance of about 150 yards. His first burst killed or wounded about half of these infantrymen. His position was rocked by an 88mm. shell when the tank opened fire, but he continued to man his gun, pouring deadly fire into the Germans when they again advanced. He was barely missed by another shell. Fire from three machineguns and innumerable small arms struck all about him; an enemy rocket shook him badly, but did not drive him from his gun. Infiltration by the enemy had by this time made the position untenable, and the order was given to withdraw. Pvt. Cowan was the last man to leave, voluntarily covering the withdrawal of his remaining comrades. His heroic actions were entirely responsible for allowing the remaining men to retire successfully from the scene of their last-ditch stand.

LOPEZ, JOSE M.

Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, 23d Infantry, 2d Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Krinkelt, Belgium, 17 December 1944. Entered service at: Brownsville, Tex. Birth: Mission, Tex. G.O. No.: 47, 18 June 1945. Citation: On his own initiative, he carried his heavy machinegun from Company K's right flank to its left, in order to protect that flank which was in danger of being overrun by advancing enemy infantry supported by tanks. Occupying a shallow hole offering no protection above his waist, he cut down a group of 10 Germans. Ignoring enemy fire from an advancing tank, he held his position and cut down 25 more enemy infantry attempting to turn his flank. Glancing to his right, he saw a large number of infantry swarming in from the front. Although dazed and shaken from enemy artillery fire which had crashed into the ground only a few yards away, he realized that his position soon would be outflanked. Again, alone, he carried his machinegun to a position to the right rear of the sector; enemy tanks and infantry were forcing a withdrawal. Blown over backward by the concussion of enemy fire, he immediately reset his gun and continued his fire. Single-handed he held off the German horde until he was satisfied his company had effected its retirement. Again he loaded his gun on his back and in a hail of small arms fire he ran to a point where a few of his comrades were attempting to set up another defense against the onrushing enemy. He fired from this position until his ammunition was exhausted. Still carrying his gun, he fell back with his small group to Krinkelt. Sgt. Lopez's gallantry and intrepidity, on seemingly suicidal missions in which he killed at least 100 of the enemy, were almost solely responsible for allowing Company K to avoid being enveloped, to withdraw successfully and to give other forces coming up in support time to build a line which repelled the enemy drive.

SODERMAN, WILLIAM A.

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company K, 9th Infantry, 2d Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Rocherath, Belgium, 17 December 1944. Entered service at: West Haven, Conn. Birth: West Haven, Conn. G.O. No.: 97, 1 November 1945. Citation: Armed with a bazooka, he defended a key road junction near Rocherath, Belgium, on 17 December 1944, during the German Ardennes counteroffensive. After a heavy artillery barrage had wounded and forced the withdrawal of his assistant, he heard enemy tanks approaching the position where he calmly waited in the gathering darkness of early evening until the 5 Mark V tanks which made up the hostile force were within pointblank range. He then stood up, completely disregarding the firepower that could be brought to bear upon him, and launched a rocket into the lead tank, setting it afire and forcing its crew to abandon it as the other tanks pressed on before Pfc. Soderman could reload. The daring bazookaman remained at his post all night under severe artillery, mortar, and machinegun fire, awaiting the next onslaught, which was made shortly after dawn by 5 more tanks Running along a ditch to meet them, he reached an advantageous point and there leaped to the road in full view of the tank gunners, deliberately aimed his weapon and disabled the lead tank. The other vehicles, thwarted by a deep ditch in their attempt to go around the crippled machine, withdrew. While returning to his post Pfc. Soderman, braving heavy fire to attack an enemy infantry platoon from close range, killed at least 3 Germans and wounded several others with a round from his bazooka. By this time, enemy pressure had made Company K's position untenable. Orders were issued for withdrawal to an assembly area, where Pfc. Soderman was located when he once more heard enemy tanks approaching. Knowing that elements of the company had not completed their disengaging maneuver and were consequently extremely vulnerable to an armored attack, he hurried from his comparatively safe position to meet the tanks. Once more he disabled the lead tank with a single rocket, his last; but before he could reach cover, machinegun bullets from the tank ripped into his right shoulder. Unarmed and seriously wounded he dragged himself along a ditch to the American lines and was evacuated. Through his unfaltering courage against overwhelming odds, Pfc. Soderman contributed in great measure to the defense of Rocherath, exhibiting to a superlative degree the intrepidity and heroism with which American soldiers met and smashed the savage power of the last great German offensive

 

Meanwhile, some ways away on that day SS Kampfgruppe Peiper took the time to load up some machineguns near the town of Malmedy and proceeded to mow down 70-90 inconvenient POWs from the US 285th Field Artillery Observation Battalion.  Or was it as simple as the wartime propaganda and post-war trial make it?  Hard to say at this remove - except that in the flush of battle, the tenor of a situation can change almost instantly.

Lastly, The U.S. Air Force ended its "Project Blue Book" and concluded that there was no evidence of extraterrestrial activity behind UFO sightings


3 Comments

Pshaw, I saw a flyin' sawser las' night, I think.
Coulda been the bourbon...naw it wasa sawser.
 
I saw one o'  them things, oncet...switch fum berbon to rum....han't seen a one since!
 
John,

There is another General Order 11 that folks around here still talk about, General Ewing's. He ordered the western counties of Missouri to be practically depopulated. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Order_No._11_%281863%29

Which is why some people hate the KU mascot around here, why base a mascot on looters, murderers and rapists? It would be no different that having a mascot in Missouri based on Quantrill's raiders.