“Two-Front War” Article in America’s Civil War Magazine

I am delighted to announce the publication of my story, “Two-Front War” on pp. 50-53 of the November 2021 edition of America’s Civil War. The story is based on my research in connection with my biography of General C. F. Smith. Teacher of Civil War Generals – Major General Charles Ferguson Smith, Soldier and West Point Commandant published by McFarland Publishing. The article focuses on Smith’s assignment in Paducah, Kentucky under General Ulysses Grant. During his time in Paducah, a citizen waved a Confederate flag from his residence, The Lloyd Tilghman House. Smith followed Grant’s orders not to disturb peaceful citizens, but the 11th Illinois thought the flag should come down. This resulted in a near mutiny in Smith’s command and widespread criticism as a Southern Sympathizer. The story reveals how Civil War officers often had to fight on two fronts: the enemy and culprits in their command.

Smith Leads Attack at Fort Donelson

This story led to an article in the magazine’s Grapeshot column (p. 10) about the role General Smith played in the capture of Fort Donelson. Most discussions focus on Grant’s victory and “contributions” made by other officers. Sometimes, these officers are not mentioned, but Generals Grant and  Halleck credited Smith with the victory. Smith’s leadership and bravery at Fort Donelson earned him confirmation as a major general by the Union Senate.

Imagine my surprise when my Editor Chris Howland sent me two copies of the issue addressed to Allen Mesch “Contributing Editor.”

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Defending Freedom


The United States military has demonstrated one of its duties during the evacuation of Americans and Afghans who supported U.S. forces. This task was extremely difficult and resulted in the loss of thirteen soldiers. This is not the first time U.S. forces have evacuated Americans and those citizens that supported us. This happened in the Vietnam War. The same evacuation of soldiers and people who assisted us occurred then. However, there are differences between Vietnam and Afghanistan. The Taliban are ruthless religious zealots, and the North Vietnamese were led by a popular revolutionary. During the Vietnamese War, there were protests on college campuses and soldiers were spit upon and called “baby killers.” I don’t recall any protests about the war in the twenty years U.S. troops were in Afghanistan. The soldiers who died in the attack on the Kabul airport were honored as heroes. Both of these conflicts suffered from political interference and questionable decisions. When we send our military abroad, the government should allow the troops to pursue their mission without interference. Let the warriors fight the war, don’t let them be constrained by ever-changing political rules that corrupt and confuse their mission.

So, what is the mission of the U.S. military? Is it winning wars or something else?

The mission statements of the military and its branches provide insight into their responsibilities.

The military fights under the authority of the United States Department of Defense. The Department of Defense is responsible for providing the military forces needed to deter war and protect the security of our country. The major elements of these forces are the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force, consisting of about 1.7 million men and women on active duty. During the Civil War, the department was called the War Department.  It obtained its new name the “Department of Defense” on  August 10, 1949.

The mission of the United States military is to preserve peace and security and provide for the defense of the United States, the Commonwealths and possessions, and any areas occupied by the United States, support national policies, implement national objectives, and overcome any nations responsible for aggressive acts that imperil the peace and security of the United States

The Marine Corps mission statement describes the corps as “America’s expeditionary force in readiness since 1775. We are forward deployed to respond swiftly and aggressively in times of crisis. We are soldiers of the sea, providing forces and detachments to naval ships and shore operations.”

The United States Army’s mission statement is to preserve peace and security and provide for the defense of the United States, the Commonwealths and possessions, and any areas occupied by the United States. This mission charges the Army with supporting national policies, implementing national objectives, and overcoming any nations responsible for aggressive acts that imperil the peace and security of the United States.

The U.S. Navy recognizes that the United States is a maritime nation. The Navy’s mission is to protect America at sea. Alongside our allies and partners, the Navy defends freedom, preserves economic prosperity, and keeps the seas open and free. Our nation is engaged in long-term competition. To defend American interests around the globe, the U.S. Navy must remain prepared to execute our timeless role, as directed by Congress and the President. 

The one unifying task in these mission statements is defense. The military is charged with protecting, preserving peace, providing security, defending freedom, supporting national policies, implementing national objectives, and overcoming nations responsible for aggressive acts that endanger the peace and security of the United States. There is no mention of making war or defeating an enemy of the United States.

I salute your bravery in protecting Americans and our allies in Afghanistan and around the world. Your achievements bestow upon you honor and respect. Thank you for your service.

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Remembering Cary Maguire

See the source image
Cary M. Maguire Spirit of Ethics Award Announced (Courtesy of ntethic.co)

Dallas businessman and philanthropist, Cary M. Maguire passed away at age 93 on August 10, 2021. Mr. Maguire was born in Ardmore, Pennsylvania on May 30, 1928. He attended the Landon School and graduated from the Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania with a BS in Economics in 1950. After college, he joined his father in the oil business and moved to Wichita Falls, Texas in 1951 to open a Texas office. Cary married Ann Thompson Maguire on February 27, 1960.

It is difficult not to associate Mr. Maguire with Southern Methodist University. Cary was a major benefactor of the University and served on SMU’s Board of Trustees. A building at the Cox School of Business bears his name. In 1974, Cary founded the Maguire Oil and Gas Institute and established the Maguire Chair in Oil and Gas Management in the Cox School. His commitment to ethics led him to establish the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility at SMU. The Center offers University-wide ethics-related education and activities to students and faculty. He founded the Cary and Ann Maguire Chair in American History and Ethics at the Library of Congress and funded the Maguire Fellow in Applied Ethics at The American College.

I met Mr. Maguire in 1990 when I was appointed Director of the Maguire Oil and Gas Institute. Cary was a hands-on benefactor and served as Chairman of the Institute’s Board of Advisors. During my time as Director, under Cary’s direction and support, the Institute launched a web page containing numerous oil and gas industry statistics and news. I established an oil and library in the Cox School to provide access to students and faculty. I also published an Institute newsletter with industry stories and an editorial column.  The Institute began a series of conferences on various issues facing the energy industry. We also established the Oil and Gas Education Initiative to explain various parts of the oil and gas industry to academics, government employees, and journalists. It may seem to be bragging, but these accomplishments are more a tribute to Mr. Maguire’s guidance and support. When I suggested to Mr. Maguire that we should rename the Institute The Maguire Energy Institute, Cary liked the more inclusive name.

Some of my colleagues at SMU felt Cary was too demanding. I never saw this side. If you said something would be done, Cary expected you to get it done and get it done right. Cary had a dry sense of humor which I enjoyed over lunches at the Dallas Petroleum Club. However, more than any other trait, Cary was an ethical man who believed that ethics is the foundation of personal integrity.

It’s been over twenty-five years since I talked to Cary, but his lessons of hard work, commitment, honesty, and ethics have been the essence of my creed. Thank you, Mr. Maguire.

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Inside the Rash of Unexplained Deaths at Fort Hood by May Jeong

May Jeong has written an in-depth analysis of the rash of unexplained deaths at Fort Hood. The story appears in the July/August 2021 issue of Vanity Fair. I enthusiastically recommend this article.

I played a small role in the story by providing some background information on Confederate General John Bell Hood.

I have sponsored a a Change.org listing advocating renaming the post after Oveta Culp Hobby. I hope you will add your name to the list.

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The Third Rebellion

The Battle of Fort Donelson
The Battle of Fort Donelson

The Third Rebellion is a novel about political and social unrest in the United States of America. The Third Rebellion is not a prediction of future events, political manifesto, condemnation of American society, denunciation of a political party, or call to action. It is a story about an American revolution or rebellion which the author created from personal observations during the past ten years.

As I considered writing a novel about a possible third Civil War, I sought events that could lead to such an uprising. There are many incidents in the United States including: increased violence, widespread racism, restriction of voting rights, decreased gun control, limitation of women’s rights, anti-immigrant polices, police violence on Blacks, refusal to accept voting results, and unconstitutional measures limiting free speech and voting rights. The combination of these occurrences could lead to rebellion as predicted by leaders and historians.   

If we are to have another contest in the near future of our  national existence, I predict that the dividing line will not be Mason and Dixon’s but between patriotism and intelligence on one side, and superstition, ambition and ignorance on the other.

Ulysses S. Grant

… if destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of free men we will live forever or die by suicide.

Abraham Lincoln

If a separation of the states ever should take place, it will be on some occasion when one portion of the country undertakes to control, to regulate and to sacrifice the interest of another.

H. W. Brands

If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation”

Abigail Adams

Please check future posts for more information on The Third Rebellion.

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Thank You for Your Service

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April 18 – National Columnists Day

Today April 18 is National Columnists Day. Dallas Morning News columnist Dave Lieber picked the date. On that day in 1945, the “finest columnist of the 20th century” was killed in battle. Lieber celebrated the day and the man in his column in today’s edition of the News.

Ernie Pyle
(Library of Congress)

Ernie Pyle began writing about World War II in England. In 1940, he covered the Battle of Britain. He returned to Europe in 1942 as a war correspondent for Scripps-Howard newspapers. Beginning in North Africa in late 1942, Pyle spent time with the U.S. military during the North African Campaign, the Italian campaign, and the Normandy landings. He was assigned to cover the Asiatic-Pacific Theater in January 1945. Pyle was covering the invasion of Okinawa when he was killed in April 1945.

As a war correspondent, he wrote from the perspective of the common soldier; explaining how the war affected the men instead of reporting on troop movements or the activities of generals. His descriptions of or reactions to an event in simple, informal stories are what set Pyle’s writing apart and made him famous during the war.

Mr. Lieber wrote about Pyle’s personal difficulties with his wife. She suffered with mental problems and was subjected to shock treatments.

In contrast, Lieber described his 26-year marriage partnership. His wife accompanied him on assignments often under cover to obtain the information Lieber used in his columns. She also checked his writing before it was sent to the paper.

When I read about Dave’s marriage, I noted the 54-year partnership with my own wife. She has accompanied me to over 150 American Civil War sites, proof-read my manuscripts and blogs, helped me at book signings, and provided much needed comfort and understanding of my frustration with computers, publishers, politicians.

Thank you Dave, for reminding me of how much my bride has supported me all these years.

And, yes she proofread this document and corrected three of my errors.

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Ebenezer Allen and Texas Annexation

I am pleased to announce that the Texas History Blog has published my post on Ebenezer Allen’s role in Texas’ annexation to the United States. The post explains Allen’s work as Secretary of State ad interim in Anson Jones’ cabinet.

Please visit Texas History Blog to read the blog. You can learn more about Mr. Allen by visiting Ebenezer Allen – Statesman, Entrepreneur, and Spy

Please see Ebenezer Allen – Statesman, Entrepreneur, and Spy to order book.

Please visit The Texas History Blog to learn more about the Republic’s and State’s history. The blog is managed by James Aalan Bernsen. James is an eighth-generation Texan, He was born in San Antonio, within a mile of the Alamo. He received his B.A. in Journalism and German from Texas A&M University and his M.A. in United States History from Texas State University.

We welcome blog suggestions or submissions from other historians.

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Ebenezer Allen Day – April 8, 2021

Ebenezer Allen was born on April 8, 1804, in Newport, New Hampshire. He was the first child of David and Hannah Allen. David Allen moved to Newport from Killingworth, Connecticut around 1800. Allen was born on May 13, 1777, in Killingworth. Around 1803, David married Hannah Wilcox who July 12, 1780. The Allens lived on a large farm on the Goshen Road in Newport. Mr. Allen ran an inn and tavern, which were popular stops when the Croydon Turnpike[1] was an important commercial road.

Old Allen Homestead in Newport, New Hampshire
(Judith M. Johnson, Johnson-Morrow Family Tree, Ancestry.com)

Other children joined the Allen family several years after Ebenezer. David Allen Jr. was born in 1806, Uriah Wilcox Allen in 1807, and Elvira Allen in 1809. The 1810 census lists nine people in the David Allen household. There were three males under ten: Ebenezer (6), David (4), and Uriah Wilcox (3); one white female under 10: Elvira (1); one white male 16-25, one white female 16-25, one white male 26-44: David Allen, one white female 26-44: Hannah; and one white female over 45.[2]  The Allen family continued to grow with the births of Nahum Wilcox Allen in 1812, Hannah Cordelia Allen in 1814, Roxanna Allen in 1817, Samuel Johnson Allen in 1819, Harriet Allen in 1821, Albert G Allen in 1823, and William Allen in 1825. By 1830, Ebenezer had four sisters and six brothers.[3]

As the eldest child, Ebenezer had many responsibilities in the Allen farm and businesses. Farm parents expected their children to contribute to the family’s productivity. Small children helped with simple, unskilled tasks. As the children grew and gained skills, their work became more difficult. Farm boys always had work because of the daily need for firewood and water. Boys cared for the livestock and guarded the animals in the pasture. The children assisted their parents in preparing the fields for planting and sowing the seeds in the furrows. At harvest, they helped gather the crops. Boys hunted and fished for recreation and to supply food for the family. Like other oldest sons, Ebenezer was “early made acquainted with labor.”[4]

David and Hannah Allen believed in education and their children attended the “common schools”[5] in Newport. The Allens enrolled their children in the Newport Academy after the school opened on June 24, 1819. The citizens of Newport and neighboring towns organized the school to give their children a “more advanced education than was to be had at our common schools” and “to fit them for college.”.[6] The school had “ample rooms nicely fitted up.”[7]

After school and their chores, the Allen children may have played Copenhagen, button, hunt the slipper, blind man’s bluff, and the grace-hoop.[8]

Most of Ebenezer’s brothers and sisters stayed in New England. David Allen, Jr. became a lawyer. Uriah W. Allen moved to Stonington, Connecticut, where he was a farmer. Uriah was married twice and had one son, Albert. Alvira Allen married Philo Fuller a “manufacturer” from Newport. The Fullers had five children Eugene, Nelson, Allen, Ellen, and Edith. Nahum W. Allen went west as a teacher and became a clergyman. He had a daughter, Harriet.

On April 8, 2021, the City of Allen Texas celebrated the 217th birthday of its namesake Ebenezer Allen.

Proclamation by Allen, Texas Mayor Kenneth Fulk

[1] The Croydon Turnpike Road was incorporated on June 21, 1804. The road went from Lebanon to, Grantham, Croydon, Newport, and Lempster. The road connected to the Second New Hampshire Turnpike in Washington, 34 miles, at an expense of $35,948. The Second New Hampshire Turnpike was chartered in 1799 and completed in 1801. This was the connecting route between Boston and Vermont. accessed February 6, 2017, New Hampshire’s Turnpike History, http://www.cowhampshireblog.com/2006/08/23/new-hampshires-turnpike-history/.

[2] Year: 1810; Census Place: Newport, Cheshire, New Hampshire; Roll: 23; Page: 201; Image: 00144; Family History Library Film: 0218684, accessed May 20, 2016.

[3] Descendants of Gideon Allen, Courtesy of Judith M. Johnson, Johnson-Morrow Family Tree, accessed May 20, 2016, Ancestry.com.

[4] James M. Volo and Dorothy Denneen Volo, Family Life in 19th-Century America. (Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2007), .

[5] A common school was a public school in the United States during the nineteenth century. Horace Mann (1796−1859) was a strong advocate for public education and the common school. In 1837, the state of Massachusetts appointed Mann as the first secretary of the State Board of Educationwhere he began a revival of common school education, the effects of which extended throughout America during the 19th century. Wikipedia contributors, “Common school,” Wikipedia contributors, “Common school,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Common_school&oldid=871899693 (accessed August 21, 2019).

[6] “Historical Chronology of  Newport New Hampshire,” accessed May 19, 2016, http://www.newportnh.net/aynnyd/uploaded/pdfs/history_of_newport_20101019.pdf, 17-18.

[7] Wheeler, Edmund. The History of Newport, New Hampshire from 1776 to 1878 with a Genealogical Register with Steel and Wood Engravings. Concord: Republican Press Organization. 1879 , 162-163.

[8] Wheeler, 221-222.

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Places to Buy Ebenezer Allen – Statesman, Entrepreneur, and Spy

Several people have asked where they can purchase a copy of Ebenezer Allen – Statesman, Entrepreneur, and Spy. I have compiled the following list for your information.

Ebenezer Allen – Statesman, Entrepreneur, and Spy is now available at these stores:

Places to buy Ebenezer Allen biography

Barnes & Noble – $19.95 free shipping

Second Sale – $20.67

Amazon – Kindle – $8.99

Amazon Paperback – $19.95 free shipping with Prime or orders over $25

Ebay Bargain Bookstores – $23.38

Walmart – $19.95 free shipping

Mercari – $17.00 free shipping

Signed Copy – $17.00 free shipping

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