History

 

William Carney, African American Hero In The American Civil War

William Carney was born a slave in Norfolk, Virginia in 1840. His father, William Sr, escaped North via the Underground Railroad and after working hard, was able to buy freedom for the rest of his family. They settled in Massachusetts where young William learned to read and write, planning to become a minister.
   However, in 1863, 23 year old William Carney joined the 54th Massachusetts Black Regiment. He was now a soldier in the American Civil War.
   In July of that year, the 54th had joined other Union forces outside Charleston, South Carolina to take part in the assault on Fort Wagner, one of the installations guarding Charleston Harbor.
   On the 18th, the 54th was taking cover behind sand dunes about 1000 yards from the fort. When nightfall arrived, orders were passed down the line. The 54th was leading the attack on Fort Wagner.
   After dressing their lines, the regiment advanced across open ground under withering cannon and musket fire. Seeing the color bearer start to fall, Carney quickly dropped his gun and grabbed the flag moving to the front of the line. He and the 54th continued forward through a storm of bullets and artillery fire. Soldiers fell with terrible wounds but the regiment kept going with Carney at the front holding the American flag aloft.
   He crossed a ditch and clambered up the fort’s earthen wall. When Carney arrived at the top and looked around, he realized he was the only one standing as wounded and dead soldiers surrounded him.  
   Seeing Confederate forces moving in on him, Carney worked his way back down the wall through the carnage and made it to the ditch that was now waist deep in water. Crouched down, he thought about the best course of action. As he rose up to get a look around, William Carney was shot. A second bullet struck him shortly after. While Carney was painfully pushing his way towards friendly lines, a soldier from another regiment spotted him and asked if he was wounded. As Carney responded, a third bullet grazed his arm. The Union soldier helped him, and together they struggled back to Union lines during which a fourth bullet grazed Carney’s head.
   When they made it back, he refused to give up the flag to anyone except another member of his regiment. Once they reached survivors of the 54th, Carney said, “Boys, the old flag never touched the ground.”
   In 1900, William Carney was awarded The Medal of Honor.

The Story Of Rin Tin Tin

   I wonder how many people know the true story of Rin Tin Tin. Sadly, these days, most probably don’t even know who he was. But in his day, Rin Tin Tin was a movie star!
   A canine movie star!
   Yep, you heard me right!
   It all started during the horrors of World War 1.
   The year was 1918 in the Lorraine part of France. Corporal Lee Duncan was an American soldier caught up in the bloody conflict. On September 15, his unit was investigating a bombed out kennel when they discovered among the wreckage a German Shepherd mother with a litter of 5 puppies.
   Duncan took two of the puppies, naming them Rin Tin Tin and Nanette, after a couple of puppets popular with French children. Sadly the others didn’t survive.
   Duncan realized how intelligent Nanette and Rinty (Rin Tin Tin’s nickname) were. He sought out the German Army Kennel Master, who had been captured, to learn more about the two and German Shepherds as a breed.
   Duncan started training them and was impressed with how quickly they took to it. After the war came to an end, Duncan was sent home aboard a ship across the Atlantic Ocean. Unfortunately, Nanette came down with distemper during the voyage and died.
   Only Rinty was left.
   Duncan took him back to Los Angeles where in 1922, Rinty began his movie career.
   He starred in some 2 dozen movies and is credited by many with saving Warner Bros Studio from bankruptcy. He also received the most votes for Best Actor for the First Academy Awards, though it was decided to give the award to a human instead.
   Rin Tin Tin passed away on August 10, 1932 in his front yard in the arms of famous actress Jean Harlow, who lived in the same neighborhood.

Fast Food In The Ancient Roman World

Thermopolium in Herculeaneum

12-27-20
   A fast food place (known as a thermopolium) uncovered at Pompeii, Italy gives us a glimpse of everyday life in the Ancient Roman world.
   Thermopolia were quite common in Roman towns and cities. There are over 80 in the ruins of Pompeii alone. They were places where people could stop by to get hot food and drink. While some thermopolia had a room in back for people to dine in, many did not. So it appears that these places were often used as take out.
   This particular thermopolium has the typical counter whose top contains a row of sizable holes. These holes are the tops of embedded jars called dolia. Since the dolia were built in, they probably held dried foods such as nuts because cleaning them out would have been clearly problematic otherwise.
   Thermopolia served a variety of things such as wine, meats, cheeses, fish, lentils, and nuts. A sauce made of fish guts called garum would have often been involved since it was commonly used back then, similar to how something like ketchup is today.
   While the wealthy may have gone to Thermopolia on occasion, it was probably ordinary people on the lower end of the financial spectrum who frequented these establishments the most because the majority of lower or middle class Romans who were in towns and cities lived in apartment buildings called insulae. The apartments (especially those for the poor) were often small, cramped, and without a private kitchen. As a result, the lower classes would often frequent thermopolia for prepared meals.
   Decorations in thermopolia varied. For some, they would have been quite simple while others more elaborate. This particular thermopolium has multiple frescoes whose subjects include one with two mallard ducks, one of a rooster, and another of a mythological figure. A fresco of a dog was discovered which is unique in that a person(s) of the time had scratched some graffiti along its edge insulting someone, possibly the proprietor of the establishment.
   While there are certainly major differences between our time and the ancient Roman world, there are similarities too. They were human beings trying to live their lives.
   Check out the links below for more information and photos, including about the thermopolium discussed in this piece.

http://pompeiisites.org/en/comunicati/the-ancient-snack-bar-of-regio-v-resurfaces-in-its-entirety-with-scenes-of-still-life-food-residues-animal-bones-and-victims-of-the-eruption/

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/romans-loved-fast-food-much-we-do-180971845/