02 June 2018

Lucifer and Jesus

Why do Christians these days
Give Lucifer such a bum rap
Laying all their sins
At his feet and at his door
How would you like to be the Devil
Hearing what they say?

A story in the Talmud teaches
That Lucifer is God's most loyal servant
Testing the faith of his children
By tempting them to sin
Courting ridicule, scorn, and outright hatred
And by offering them a choice
Making real their gift of free will
Courting ridicule, scorn, and outright hatred
Like the prostitute hired by the king
To test his heir and find out his worth

No, it's not false witness that they fear
Coming from the "Father of Lies"
But rather that he'll tell the truth
So they would condemn the Accuser
Who holds up the mirror
Showing them their true selves

Come on, people, grow up
Take some fucking responsibility
Don't scapegoat another, even Auld Hornie
After all, the serpent in the Garden
Was the only one who told the truth

I remember a quote from Isaiah's Song
"He was despised and rejected by men
Wounded for our transgressions
And bruised for our iniquities"
And I get a way far out idea
About an intriguing possibility:
If good and evil are really the same thing
Created by God when he formed light and darkness
Since that quote could apply with equal truth
Though perhaps for different reasons
To Lucifer, son of the morning
Or to Jesus, bright morning star
Maybe, just maybe
They're the same person



28 May 2018

Fuck Robert Reich and the Sickly Pale Horse He Rode in On


Welcome back to the rabbit hole from your clever commie cunt in Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA, author of the blog Notes from the Ninth Circle.  Just call me Chuck.

I used to call America Neverland, after the world of Peter Pan in which no one ever grows old so that no one ever grows up, meaning that, since the essence of life is change and evolution, no one there (in Peter’s Neverland) ever really lives because that which is static is not living.

I also formerly began with “welcome to another trip down the rabbit hole” as if I were going on a trip with the audience and not a permanent resident of the world to which it leads.

Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor, rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief.  Tinker, tailor, soldier, spy, stick a needle in my eye.  If I should die before I wake, give them to my brother, Jake.  What’re “them”, you ask?  The bag of peanuts at my feet as I laid me down to sleep.

Tingle, tingle, tangle toes, she’s a good fisherman, catches hens, puts ‘em inna pens...wire blier, limber lock, three geese in a flock, one flew east, one flew west, one flew over the cuckoo’s nest...O-U-T- spells out...goose swoops down and plucks you out.

That last rhyme inspired the title for Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, which led to the 1975 movie of the same name starring Jack Nicholson, considered one of the greatest films of all time. 

The novel was published at the beginning of the policy trend away from keeping all those with psychological and psychiatric issues locked inside institutions where every aspect of their lives could be totally controlled toward deinstitutionalization in which they were released into into society and the care of community mental health services regardless of their individual ability to cope with a world outside which they were in but not necessarily of.  Believe it or not, that was all one sentence.

As much good as that policy was and as much good as it did for many, since it became a point of doctrine for an almost religious ideology that took no thought for the morrow, it also aided and abetted Ronnie Raygun’s mass dump of mental patients onto the streets with no resources.

Hickory dickory dock, three mice ran up the clock.  The clock struck one, and the other two got away with minor injuries.

The movie starring Nicholson and introducing the trope or motif of Nurse Ratched through the stellar performance Louis Fletcher focused more on resistance against The Man, The System, or The Combine as the novel’s narrator The Chief puts it, by the lone individual rather than by the collective many.  In much the same way the graphic novel V for Vendetta casts his protagonist’s struggle against The Man, The System, The Combine, a lone solitary effort which he passes on to his protégé, Evey Hammond, versus the movie, in which the struggle of the one becomes the struggle of the many.

Remember, remember, the Fifth of November, the gunpowder treason and plot.  Voila!  In view humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of fate.  This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the “vox populi” now vacant, vanished.  However, this valorous visitation of a bygone vexation stands vivified, and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin, vanguarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition.  The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta, held as a votive not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous.  Verily this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me simply add that it’s my very good honour to meet you and you may call me V.

That is neither, or is it neither, here nor there, nor is it now or then.

Kesey saw himself  and his fellow Merry Pranksters throwing Electric Kool-Aid Test parties and travelling throughout America on their wheeled yellow land submarine magic school bus actually named Sunshine to the destination Further as the link between the Beatniks of the 1950s and the Hippies of the 1960s.  Some truth to that, if a bit narcissistic, since he saw himself not as “a” link but “THE” link.

That segment of the Boomers reflects the later Generation Jones, a grouping that straddles the last years of the Baby Boomers and the early years of Generation X, which most profoundly illustrates the switch from change the world to greed is good, from yippie to yuppie.  In fact, the seeds of that kudzu were there when the New Left forsook the actual working class for the imaginary working class of their soteriological pseudo-revolutionary imaginations.

Rocking my heart, rocking the rez’; we miss you, John Trudell.  You’ve walked on, but we’re still here, fighting the rich man’s war.  What becomes of the broken-hearted?

I forgot to mention the title of this piece, by the way; it’s called “Fuck Robert Reich and the Sickly Pale Horse He Rode in On”.  That honor comes from his most recent pathetic defense of liberal centrism and smug admonition for progressives to vote for regressive liberals rather than actual progressives as the best way to stop retrogressive conservatives and reactionaries, so shame on us for voting for what we believe in.  To which I can only reply, “Look, you smug, arrogant, pig-fucking cunt; you and your ilk gave us Trump with your support, insistence, and coronation of Hillary two years before campaigning even began.  So, fuck y’all. 

Hell, if I thought a bland, boring, tasteless, shallow, superficial, spin-doctored, focus-grouped specimen of the hated establishment such as the self-anointed Christa Regina proponent of the status quo would have had a snowball’s chance in the sites of the sun of defeating that spoiled child who now sits on the tarnished throne, I would’ve supported her.  But in 2016, she was the worst candidate the Democratic Party could possibly come up with.  So much for your smug bullshit about pragmatism and doing the rational thing.  If that’s what any of you were acting on and not your stingy self-interest, you would have supported Bernie that year, not someone who was, is, and every shall be the epitomy of everything we hated, hate, and will hate, world without end, Amen.  God save the Queen, she ain’t no human being.

Deficits don’t bring down empires; economic inequality does.  It wasn’t social spending which bankrupted the Imperium Romanum; it was tax breaks to the wealthy which left coffers to promote the general welfare empty.  Here’s another historical truth an establishment approved curriculum would have ignored or deflected: serfdom in Europe was not a creation of the so-called Middle Ages.  It was, in fact, born in the 3rd century of the Common Era, begotten and given birth to by the Roman Empire itself, the great Imperium Romanum, an asexual conception and birth that fucked all commoners in the ass without lube.

Insurance companies began with people wanting to spread out costs among the masses to make more affordable for all, operating under the theory that more people contributing to a single general cost would do that.  Instead, what capitalists did was create artificial scarcity and drive up the price the more people that paid.  Like De Boers did with diamonds, only with our health and with our lives and with our general welfare.

Capitalism cannot be reformed.  Putting lipstick on a pig is all any attempt to do that really is.  That does not mean that we should not support any change that makes life more bearable for the poor and the upper and lower working class yet falls short of the ultimate goal, but it does mean that we should never accept such concessions as anything other than a start.  The only way to reform The Combine, The System, capitalism, is to set it on fire and watch the motherfucker burn, all the way to the ground, then use its ashes to fertilize a new world where the need of the many outweighs the greed of the few.

By the way, series 3 of the Channel 4 show Humans is now showing.

I am a Terran, a citizen of Earth.  The whole world is my home, and all its people my brothers, sisters, and cousins, regardless of synthetic or organic origin.  Like our distant cousins on other planets across space and throughout time, we are all children of the ‘Verse.

Be the darkness that illuminates.  Be the silence that resonates.  Be the stillness that agitates.

Our day will come, inshallah.  Keep the  faith.  May the Aught be with y’all.  Peace out.

20 May 2018

Known Lynchings in Hamilton Co., TN


The following are the six instances of lynching known from available news accounts that took place in Hamilton County, Tennessee, in the later 19th and early 20th centuries.  Five of the victims were Afro-American and one of the victims was white.

In the latter case, the perpetrators were members of a vigilante movement that began in Indiana in 1887 and quickly spread across the county known as White Caps.  A movement rather than an organization, its various cells operated on widely varying methods, goals, and “principles”, with the majority claiming to be enforcing community standards and Christian principles.  By the end of the first decade of the 20th century, harsh laws had all but suppressed the White Caps, but it served as more of a precursor to the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan founded in 1915 than was the organization that group claimed as predecessor, the post-bellum Ku Klux Klan.

Elridge Merrill, 1873

On 7 October 1873, Elridge Merrill, an Afro-American from the Gambletown section of St. Elmo in Hamilton County, then well outside the city limits of Chattanooga, was brutally beaten, whipped, tortured, and lynched from a corn crib in St. Elmo by a mob of white men angered over his cohabitation with a white woman named “Dink” Norris.

Charles Williams, 1885

On 7 September 1885, Charles Williams, an Afro-American accused of murder for shooting a street car driver who tried to enforce Chattanooga’s segregated seating ordinance, was lynched from the rafters of the third floor of the Hamilton County Jail the day after his arrest.

Thomas Gailiff, 1889

On 24 July 1889, Thomas Gailiff, probably white, was dragged out of his dwelling in East End, Tennessee (west and north of East Lake along the lower end of Rossville Road), in Hamilton County by White Caps who then hung him from a tree in the yard for being a “traducer of women”.  He managed to escape, but was caught and hung again near Ross’ Gap.

Alfred Blount, 1893

On 14 February 1893, Alfred Blount, an Afro-American migrant laborer living in a boarding house at the south end of Maple Street (at the mouth of the gully between Terrace Hill and College Hill) was accused of sexually assaulting a white woman.  He was dragged from the Hamilton County Jail and hanged from the southernmost (first) span of the County (Walnut Street) Bridge.  He had not even been formally charged because the victim denied he was the perpetrator.

Charles Brown, 1897

On 25 February 1897, Charles Brown, an Afro-American of Bakewell (aka Retro), Tennessee, was lynched from a bridge over North Chickamauga Creek near Soddy, Tennessee, after being accused of molesting a local white woman.

Ed Johnson, 1906

On 19 March 1906, Ed Johnson, an Afro-American of the Higley Row section of South Chattanooga near Hooterville, had been convicted of rape of a white woman in St. Elmo but had his execution stayed by both the governor and by the U.S. Circuit Court.  An enraged mob dragged him from his cell in the weakly defended Hamilton County Jail, dragged him to the second span of the County Bridge, and hung him from one of its beams for about two minutes before shooting him with more than fifty bullets.

19 May 2018

Hamilton Co., TN Forts, War of the Rebellion


I’ve done a piece on forts in Chattanooga during the War of the Rebellion and one on the Federal Military Occupation of Chattanooga that included much of the information below.  Since then, however, I have come across additional information that supplements or corrects (in minor details) what I’ve put out before.  In addition, some of the fortifications listed in the second work lay beyond the boundaries of Hamilton County, to which the work here is restricted in scope.

(Citico Mound and blockhouse) 

Instead of dividing these fortifications into two separate major categories of Union and Confederate, as before, here I’m going to list them chronologically in periods of which army occupied them.

EARLY YEARS OF THE WAR

Fort Clift – Located at Sale Creek Camp Ground in the north part of the county west of the Tennessee River, this was home to the 7th Tennessee Federal Militia in the fall of 1861.  Led by staunch Unionist Col. William Clift, the unit was based upon Hamilton County’s pre-war 7th Tennessee Militia.  First begun as a refugee camp for Unionist refugees, the fort was composed of earthworks and wooden breastworks.  It never faced an assault and was dismantled by Confederate troops following the dissolution of the 7th Tennessee Federal Militia on 13 November 1861.  Former members organized under Capt. William Robins as Company I, 2nd Tennessee Volunteer Infantry (Union) on 27 November 1861, relocating to Kentucky.

Fort Snow – Built around the plantation home of pro-Confederate Capt. William Snow in the community known as Snow Hill, west of the crossroads of Rabbit Valley (Ooltewah-Georgtown) Road and Mahan Gap Road north of Ooltewah.  It served as the base for the irregular cavalry unit (guerrillas or bushwhackers) which Snow organized as after he was rejected for regular military service due to his age, 55 (much younger than Col. Clift, mind you), known as Snow’s Scouts.  Their main actions involved terrorizing Unionist neighbors.  The fort was apparently quite substantial, since it successfully withstood a Union assault that included cannon in 1864. 

Joe Ritchey - In the latter days of the war in the spring of 1865, Snow and most of his Scouts were driven off by one of their victims, Joe Ritchey, Hamilton County’s most famous desperado of the later 19th century.  At the time and for decades afterwards, Ritchey was one of the most notorious post-war outlaws in the South, rumored to have killed seventeen or more men.  Most of Ritchey’s victims were said to have been former Snow’s Scouts, though one of the documented victims was a sheriff in Georgia who’d arrested him for horse-stealing.  He was widely credited with driving the Snow’s Scouts, including Capt. Snow and his family, from that area of the county, some even leaving the state.  Contemporaries ranked Ritchey with such outlaws as Jesse James and Billy the Kid.

HQ, CONFEDERATE DEPARTMENT OF THE WEST

On 12 November 1862, Department No. 2, covering everything west of the Appalachian Mountains to the Mississippi River, was reorganized as the Department of the West, Gen. Joe Johnston, commanding.  Despite the name change, it continued to be called Department No. 2, even in military dispatches.  Johnston made his headquarters at Chattanooga.  Under his new command were the Army of the Mississippi (soon to become the Army of Tennessee after absorbing the forces of the Department of East Tennessee) under Gen. Braxton Bragg, the Army of Mississippi under Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton, and all those under the various regional departments in that geographic area.

On 26 January 1863, Maj. James Noquet, chief engineer for Johnston’s department, sent his commander a proposal for several defenses of the town of Chattanooga.  Accompanied by a map that has since been lost, he numbered these forts Nos. 1-14.  Essentially, these were laid out along the same lines as those in the later occupied by the Union army during the Siege of Chattanooga and the Federal Military Occupation.  In his message, Maj. Noquet broke these down into three groups, guarding three different approaches he identified from which the Union army could approach the town.  All the forts with the exceptions of Nos. 13 and 14 were to be located south of (or, rather, on the left bank of) the Tennessee River.

To guard against the approach from Walden’s Ridge, essentially along what is now Dayton Pike, Noquet designated Forts Nos. 1, 2, 3, and 4.  To support these, he further recommended two more forts on the hills north of the river which he designated as Forts Nos. 13 and 14; most likely these were the same as the later Fort Wilder and Fort Hill.

To guard against an approach from the direction of Harrison and Cleveland  to the east and northeast, Noquet designated Forts Nos. 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10.

To guard against an approach from Kelly’s Ferry via Lookout Mountain, Noquet designated Forts Nos. 11 and 12, which he placed on the “flanks” of the mountain, adding that Forts Nos. 8, 9, and 10 could provide support.

That these were built, some of them, at least, there is no doubt.  The Army of the Cumberland occupied them after their route following the Battle of the Chickamauga, there being mention in contemporary sources of Forrest’s cavalry being stopped before one of the redoubts on 22 September 1863, in one of the post-battle skirmishes.

No names are known for most of the forts, but records of a few survive.  According to Zella Armstrong, Fort Cameron was one of the forts in Chattanooga built by the Confederates.  Official correspondence name another of these as Fort Cheatham, but not the redoubt later known by that name near Missionary Ridge that gave its name to one of the city’s early suburbs.  This Fort Cheatham was the same later called Fort Negley by the Union army (though its officers continued to use the original name, even in official dispatches), which was later renamed Fort Phelps.  Battery Smartt stood at the later site of the George Hunter mansion, now Hunter Museum.  Forts Nos. 13 and 14 across the river were built also.

In addition, reports state the Confederates built twelve blockhouses along the Chickamauga River (South Chickamauga Creek) in Hamilton County, most likely to guard the railroad bridges that crossed over it.  That is something that they would have obsessed on the experience with the East Tennessee Bridge Burnings in November 1861.

OCCUPATION, CONFEDERATE ARMY OF TENNESSEE

The Army of Tennessee bivouacked in Hamilton County from 4 July 1863 to 9 September 1863 after the end of the Tullahoma Campaign.  They abandoned the town and county when Wilder’s artillery on Stringer’s Ridge forced Bragg’s army from their forts, breastworks, rifle pits, and camps, beginning the cat-and-mouse games that led to the Battle of the Chickamauga.  During their stay, the troops almost certainly improved the defenses that were already built.

The division of Irish-American Maj. Gen. Patrick Cleburne spread out across Hickory Valley in the central southern part of the county, on the east side/right bank of Chickamauga River (South Chickamauga Creek).  The valley runs from the old county seat of Harrison to Chickamauga River just south of Concord Ridge, which forms the eastern boundary of the valley.  Here his troops built five square redoubts in addition to more minor fortifications.  The designations in this case are purely my own.

One of these redoubts guarded the county seat.

Cleburne Fort No. 1 – This redoubt was built his troops to guard the county seat of Harrison, now submerged beneath Harrison Bay.  With no railroad to guard, the redoubt was probably located in the center of town.

The next two redoubts guarded Tyner Station on the East Tennessee & Georgia Railroad (ET&G), known locally as the Chattanooga & Cleveland Railroad.

Cleburne Fort No. 2 – This redoubt stands north of the tracks in the center of what was once the village of Tyner.  Cleburne made one of the houses there his headquarters.  Woods now possess the land where the village once lay, across Hickory Valley Road from Heritage Baptist Church (formerly Tyner Baptist Church, founded 1838 as Good Springs Baptist).  The remains of this redoubt are largely intact, and the whole could easily be restored.

Cleburne Fort No. 3 – This redoubt stood to the south of the tracks on the crest of Tyner Hill, and was demolished in the early 20th century to build Tyner High School.  The high school moved across the road after it burned, and a junior high of that name was built in its place, now Tyner Middle Academy.

The next two redoubts guarded Chickamauga Station of the Western & Atlantic Railroad (W&A) from the nearest elevation, Milliken Ridge to the east, which formed the western boundary of Hickory Valley.  At the time, a road from Chickamauga Station to Hickory Valley and the community of Concord (now East Brainerd, but a much smaller version than what many now consider that to take in), crossed Milliken Ridge, and the two redoubts were placed to the north and south of that road.

Cleburne Fort No. 4 – This redoubt once stood at the top of the high point of Milliken Ridge north of the road known locally as Dupree Hill, overlooking Chickmauga Station to its southwest and the Shepherd mansion named Altamede to its east.  It was located where Grace Works Church is now, and was demolished by the last owner of Altamede, who sold it and the rest of the hill for fill dirt.

Cleburne Fort No. 5 – This redoubt once stood at the top of the high point of Milliken Ridge south of the road known locally as Stein Hill, overlooking Chickamauga Station ot tiw northwest.  It’s location does not have to be estimated because the water tower overlooking TN Highway 153 where it passes over the ridge at this point sits smack dab in the middle of it, and the outlines of its base and remains of the surrounding rifle pits are clearly visible, even on Google Maps.

SIEGE OF CHATTANOOGA

Upon retreating into Chattanooga, the Army of the Cumberland occupied the system of forts built under the auspices of the Confederate Department of the West.  They later improved these and built others.  At least one retained the name of the Confederate general for whom it was named; Fort Cheatham—not the same as the later redoubt so known locally—continued to be used as a name by the Union army even after it had been renamed Fort Negley.

Besides rifle pits and other siege works, the Army of Tennessee built forts on the surrounding heights of Missionary Ridge and Lookout Mountain and one in Chattanooga Valley.  How substantial these were is a matter of debate, but Union sources mention all of these in reports and maps from the Battles of Tunnel Hill, Tn., and of Missionary Ridge.  These designations may have been given by Union officers rather than by those who built them.

Fort Stevenson, named for Maj. Gen. Carter Stevenson, was a redoubt atop Lookout Mountain inside what’s now Fort Circle.  The Army of the Cumberland later named it Fort King, then renamed it Fort Stanley.

Fort Breckenridge, named for Maj. Gen. John Breckenridge, was a substantial four-sided redoubt that stood on the floor of Chattanooga Valley near Missionary Ridge, in the later suburb of Fort Cheatham, so-called after someone mistakenly gave that name (“Fort Cheatham”) to the redoubt.  The area of that suburb is bounded by Missionary Ridge, Interstate-24, East 28th Street, and 4th Avenue, and the redoubt stood within it until at least the early 20th century.

Fort Bragg, named for Gen. Braxton Bragg, lay atop Missionary Ridge at the current Bragg Reservation next to where Mission Ridge Elementary School used to be.  It may have been a redoubt or a lunette or even a redan.

Fort Hindman, named for Maj. Gen. Thomas C. Hindman, stood about halfway between Forts Bragg and Buckner.  According to Union dispatches, its artillery contingent was substantial and very effective.

Fort Buckner, named for Maj. Gen. Simon Bolivar Buckner, was a redoubt that, according to a map drawn by Maj. Gen. Oliver O. Howard, stood on the hill of Missionary Ridge south of Whiteside Tunnell and the tracks of the East Tennessee & Georgia Railroad.  Others accounts, perhaps less knowledgeable, used this designation to refer to the earthworks built by the men of Clebrune’s Division on Trueblood Hill, the local name for that which is called Tunnel Hill in both Confederate and Union sources.  Now the site of the somewhat misnamed Sherman’s Reservation of the National Park.

FEDRAL MILITARY OCCUPATION

At the time of the War of the Rebellion, the boundaries of the town of Chattanooga were the Tennessee River in the north and a line that ran south down Baldwin Street until it met what was 23rd Street and is now the freeway (I-24).  Geographically, the town (and still the official downtown of the city) was framed by the Tennessee River to the north and on the west and east by two large hills.  The western hill’s most common name is Cameron Hill, which runs north to south, and the eastern hill’s most common name is Brabson Hill, which runs west to east. 

Cameron Hill at one time had the form of a miniature Lookout Mountain, bound in the north by the Tennessee River and in the south by Riverside Drive.  Other “hills” on the West Side—Hawk Hill, Academy or College Hill, Terrace Hill—are but spurs of the main Cameron Hill.

Brabson Hill runs from the downtown area, from Market Street east to and past Central Avenue, north of East MLK Boulevard.  Because of the cut made through it by the East Tennessee & Georgia Railroad, many count it as two hills—Brabson Hill and Fort Wood Hill—but in reality its is all one geographic feature.

All of the military officers for whom the fortifications listed below were named belonged to the Army of the Cumberland, with the exception of Maj. Gen. Sherman.

Interior forts

A two-mile long parapet stretched across the line from upriver to down river, anchored by Fort Sherman, Battery Taft, Battery Erwin, Fort Jones, Fort Lytle and Fort Crutchfield.  These are the fortifications inside or part of that line.

Chattanooga Magazine ran along the east side of Cameron Hill, dug deep into its surface.

Fort Carpenter, a redoubt named for Maj. Stephen D. Carpenter, 19th U.S. Infantry, who was killed at the Battle of Stones River on 31 December 1862, sat atop the spur known as Hawk Hill (later known as Reservoir Hill, then Kirkman Hill).

Signal Point, the garrison’s most important communications post, stood at the apex of Cameron Hill.  About the same area now occupied by the miniscule remnant of Boynton Park which once crowned the entire hilltop, spreading out over ten acres.

Fort Cameron, probably so designated by the Confederates because of the hill upon which it sat and by the Union named for Unionist supporter James Cameron at the request of his wife, Emma S. Cameron, stood on the crest of Cameron Hill about a block south of Signal Point, right in the middle of the current Blue Cross-Blue Shield complex.

Fort Coolidge, a redoubt named for Maj. Sidney Coolidge, 16th U. S. Infantry, who was killed at the Battle of the Chickamauga on 19 September 1863, occupied the current intersection of West MLK Boulevard and Boynton Avenue on a knoll above Blue Goose Hollow.  It was originally called Fort (or Battery) Rousseau for Maj. Gen. Lovell Rousseau (Post of Nashville, formerly 1st Division, XIV Corps).

Fort Mihalotzy, named for Col. Geza Mihalotzy, 24th Illinois Infantry, who was killed at Dalton on 25 February 1864, stood at the former 221 Boyton Terrace on the southern spur known as Terrace Hill, roughly at the intersection of West MLK Boulevard and Gateway Avenue.  It was originally called Fort Brannan after Maj. Gen. John M. Brannan (Chief of Artillery).

Fort Crutchfield, a redoubt named for outspoken local Unionist William Crutchfield, stood at at the former 1219 East Terrace on the spur known as Terrace Hill about where the Boynton Towers now stands.  It was originally called Fort Sheridan after Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan (3rd Division, XX Corps).

Fort Lytle, named for Brig. Gen. William H. Lytle (1st Brigade, 3rd Division, XX Corps) who was killed at the Battle of Chickamauga on 20 September 1863, took up around four city blocks on the spur known as Academy Hill in the center of College Hill Courts.  Its massive walls were twenty feet high and several feet thick.  It was originally called Star Fort after its shape, a name which persisted despite the official designation.

Signal Hill, the garrison’s second-most important communications platform, lay roughly in the center of the parking lot of what is now Hunter Museum.  In official correspondence, Union officers referred to the entire eminence on the east side as Signal Hill.

Fort Sherman, named for Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman, Military Division of the Mississippi, stretched from East 3rd Street to East 5th Street between Georgia Avenue and Lindsay Street and beyond.  The Brabson House stood in the center of the line of works.  Levelled in 1880.

Fort (or Battery) Bushnell, a redoubt named for Maj. D. L. Bushnell, 13th  Illinois Infantry, who was killed in the Battle of Chattanooga on 25 November 1863, anchored the east end of Fort Sherman at the northeast corner of East 4th Street and Lindsay Street.  Levelled in 1885.

Lunette O’Meara, named for Lt. Col. Timothy O’Meara, 90th Illinois Infantry, who was killed at the Battle of Chattanooga on 25 November 1863, stuck out from the center of Fort Sherman at the southeast corner of East 5th Street and Lindsay Street.  Levelled in 1880.

Fort Putnam, a redoubt named for Col. Holden Putnam, 93rd Illinois Infantry, who was killed at the Battle of Chattanooga on 25 November 1863, anchored the right end of Fort Sherman at the southeast corner of Walnut Street and East 5th Street.  Levelled in 1886.

Battery Taft, an artillery embrasure in the parapet connecting the interior forts named for Lt. Col. J. B. Taft, 73rd Pennsylvania Infantry, who was killed at the Battle of Chattanooga on 25 November 1863, lay south of East MLK Boulevard between Lindsay Street and Houston Street (200 block of E. MLK Blvd.).  Despite the official designation, it never have served its intended function, hosting garrison infantry soldiers instead of guns.

Battery Erwin, an artillery embrasure in the parapet connecting the interior forts named for Maj. S. C. Erwin, 6th Ohio Infantry, who was killed at the Battle of Chattanooga on 25 November 1863, was in the southeast corner of East 8th Street and Mabel Street, where First (formerly Shiloh) Baptist Church is now.  The unit also occupied a line along the west side of Houston Street between McCallie Avenue and Vine Street as well as a forward position at the northeast corner of East MLK Boulevard and Peeples Street.

Fort (or Battery) Jones, named for Col. William G. Jones, 36th Ohio Infantry, who was killed at the Battle of the Chickamauga on 19 September 1863, stood where the U.S. Customs House (formerly federal courthouse) is now at 120 East 10th Street, across from the current city hall.  It was originally called Stone Fort after the rocky outcropping upon which it stood, another designation which persisted.  Levelled in 1880.

Union Depot blockhouse – This huge  two-story structure guarded Union Depot which once stood at the site where Union Square and the Public Library are now.

Outer forts

Forward positions outside the parapet, joined together by breastworks and rifle pits, included the following:

Battery McAloon, named for Lt. Col. P. A. McAloon, 27th Pennsylvania Infantry, who was killed at the Battle of Chattanooga on 25 November 1863, sat on the Tennessee River near the end of Houston Street, forward of Battery Bushnell and above Citico Creek, giving its name to Battery Place neighborhood.

Fort Creighton, a bastion with a blockhouse keep named for Col. William R. Creighton, 7th Ohio Infantry, who was killed in the the Battle of Ringgold Gap (commanding 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, XII Corps) on 27 November 1863, occupied the area west of Fort Wood Place between Vine Street and Clark Street.  Its eastern wall is still clearly visible.  It was originally called Fort Wood after Brig. Gen. Thomas J. Wood (3rd Division, IV Corps).

Fort Palmer, named for Maj. Gen. John M. Palmer (XIV Corps), sat atop the knob of Chattanooga’s eastern hill where Park Place School is now.  It was originally called Fort Jef. C. Davis after Maj. Gen. Jefferson C. Davis (1st Division, XX Corps).

Fort Phelps, a bastion with a blockhouse keep named for  Col. E. H. Phelps, 38th Ohio Infantry, killed at the Battle of Chattanooga (commanding 2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, XIV Corps) on 25 November 1863, stood at 1706 Read Avenue.  First built by the Confederates, it was originally called Fort Cheatham after Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Cheatham, and continued to be called that even after it was renamed Fort Negley for Maj. Gen. James S. Negley (2nd Division, XIV Corps until after the Battle of the Chickamauga).  Levelled in 1885.

Trans-river forts

These are the fortifications on the north side/right bank of the Tennessee River directly north and west of Chattanooga.

Meigs Allee – To facilitate communications and supply, the Pioneer Brigade of the Army of the Cumberland built the first permanent span connecting the right and left banks of the Tennessee River to replace the pontoon bridge built during the siege.  It was one of the more impressive feats of these combat engineers, assisted by soldiers of the 21st Michigan Infantry.  Its north end touched land at what is now Renaissance Park.  It collapsed in 1867.

Meigs Alle blockhouse – This stood on the north side/right bank of the Tennessee River in the current Renaissance Park, where its foundation remains, guarding its northern end.

Fort Hill, named for an otherwise unknown Union officer surnamed Hill, was first built by the Confederates as one of Maj. Noquet’s Forts Nos. 13 and 14, stood atop the hill in Normal Park upon which Valentine Circle now runs.

Fort Wilder, named for Col. John T. Wilder (1st Brigade, 4th Division, XIV Corps), was first built by the Confederates as one of Maj. Noquet’s Forts Nos. 13 and 14.  It stood on the spur of Stinger’s Ridge overlooking Hill City, a thousand feet east of the trolley stop for Vallambrosa.  Though the community of that name  spread west of Stringer’s Ridge, the stop, the end of the Chattanooga and Northside Railway, sat directly over where the tunnel now pierces the ridge.  Vallambrosa Station included a large pavilion and picnic areas that overlooked the river and the city to the south and Dry Valley to the north, and was one of the more popular destinations in the county in the late 19th, early 20th centuries.

Stringer’s Ridge blockhouses – Four wooden blockhouses lined the crest of the ridge covering the area from Fort Wilder to Fort Whitaker at the southern tip of the ridge on Moccasin Point.  

Fort Whitaker, named for Brig. Gen. Walter C. Whitaker (2nd Brigade, 1st Division, IV Corps), occupied the southern tip of Stringer’s Ridge at the big toe of Moccasin Point.  It was built during the Siege of Chattanooga, initially as a position from which to mount an artillery assault against the northern tip of Lookout Mountain.  The foundation and several of its gun emplacements still exist.

Lookout Mountain and Valley

Fort Stanley, probably named for Col. Timothy R. Stanley (Engineer Brigade), was the redoubt at Point Lookout atop the same-named mountain, inside what’s now Fort Circle.   Confederates built it originally during the Siege of Chattanooga as Fort Stevenson for Maj. Gen. Carter Stevenson.  The fort was supported by two blockhouses.

Fort Hooker, named for Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker (of a sizable detachment from the Army of the Potomac), was the redoubt anchoring the line of parapets, breastworks, and rifle pits stretching from the Tennessee River to Raccoon Mountain.  All of this protected the western approach to the critical Brown’s Ferry and Brown’s Landing in lower Lookout Valley, at least through the Battles of Chattanooga.

Brown’s Ferry blockhouses – These guarded the landings at this vital crossing on both the east side/right bank and west side/left bank of the Tennessee River.

Wauhatchie Station defenses – Being the junction of U.S. Military Railroads’ (see below) Trenton Branch Railroad and the united line of its Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad and its Memphis & Charleston Railroad (Eastern Division), this depot likely had a blockhouse, possibly two, and maybe a redoubt.

Chattanooga Valley

In this case, Chattanooga Valley means everything beyond the outer line of defenses from Fort Wood to Fort Negley, inclusive of Fort Palmer, though geographically that designation includes everything between Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge.  Several contemporary sources mention that nearly every height in the valley—knob, knoll, hill—had at least a small blockhouse on it.  So, let’s take a look at what these heights are.

Citico Mound – Center of the Middle Mississippian era town that once thrived here in the 13th and 14th centuries, this eminence we know hosted a (small) blockhouse because photographs of it exist.  At 145 feet long by 110 broad and once 28 feet high, it stood in the vicinity of what is now Boathouse Rotisserie and Raw Bar on Riverside Drive.   Mostly levelled in 1914 during the construction of Dixie Highway, despite efforts to save it.

Brushy Knob – The Union name for the hill in the center of the National Cemetery, captured on 23 November 1863.

Indian Hill – The name of the hill upon which grew the suburb of Highland Park, captured on 23 November 1863.

Orchard Knob – The hill of the Orchard Knob Reservation of the National Park, captured on 23 November 1863.

Clifton Hill – The hill upon which sat Oakland, the Daniel Cocke mansion that was the center for the largest antebellum plantation in Hamilton County, is topped today by Clifton Circle.

Hawkins Ridge – The small ridge paralleling Lookout Mountain that separates St. Elmo and Mountain Junction (aka South St. Elmo) from Alton Park and Poeville (aka East St. Elmo, aka South Alton Park).

U.S. Military Railroads

Before the war and through the Siege of Chattanooga and the battles that ended it, the five  railroads which came into the hub at Chattanooga were:  Western & Atlantic Railroad (W&A), East Tennessee & Georgia Railroad (ET&G; known locally as Chattanooga & Cleveland Railroad), Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad (N&C), Memphis & Charleston Railroad (M&C), and Wills Valley Railroad (WV). 

Under the U.S. Military Railroads (USMR), these railroads became Chattanooga and Atlanta Railroad, Chattanooga and Knoxville Railroad, Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad (remained the same), Memphis and Charleston Railroad (Eastern Division), and Trenton Branch Railroad.

Chickamauga Junction – The USMR’s engineers built a junction of the Chattanooga and Knoxville Railroad with the Chattanooga and Atlanta Railroad just west of Chickamauga River at about the later McCarthy Station.  By rerouting the latter to enter Chattanooga Valley via the Whiteside Tunnel through Missionary Ridge, this shortened the path into town of the latter by ten miles.  They gave the junction this name.

Railroad blockhouses

One of the chief duties of the garrison at Chattanooga during the Federal Military Occupation was guarding the vital supply lines of the five railroads that came into Chattanooga.  The defenses at Wauhatchie Junction have already been covered, and the fortifications listed here came from a memo specifically dealing with the railroads east of Missionary Ridge.

Blockhouse No. 1, shared by the USMR’s Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad and its Chattanooga and Knoxville Railroad, was at Chickamauga Junction. 

Blockhouse No. 2, also shared by those two railroads, guarded their bridges over Chickamauga River one-third of a mile out from Blockhouse No. 1. 

From here, the designations followed numerically for the two separate rail lines.

USMR Chattanooga and Atlanta Railroad

Blockhouse No. 3 on the USMR’s Chattanooga and Atlanta Railroad stood at Chickamauga Station, which stood across the road from the modern airport until 1955.

Blockhouse No. 4 on the USMR’s Chattanooga and Atlanta Railroad stood between its two bridges over Chickamauga River in the Concord (now East Brainerd) area. 

Blockhouse No. 5 on the USMR’s Chattanooga and Atlanta Railroad guarded the town of Graysville, Georgia, from inside its streets. 

Blockhouse No. 6 on the USMR’s Chattanooga and Atlanta Railroad guarded the bridge of the Lafayette Road over the Chickamauga River at Graysville from the river’s south side/left bank. 

Blockhouse No. 7 on the USMR’s Chattanooga and Atlanta Railroad covered its bridge over the Chickamauga River just above the town of Graysville from the river’s south side/left bank.

USMR Chattanooga and Knoxville Railroad

Blockhouse No. 3 on the USMR’s Chattanooga and Knoxville Railroad guarded Tyner Station.

Blockhouse No. 4 on the USMR’s Chattanooga and Knoxville Railroad protected Ooltewah Station on the northeast side of town.

10 May 2018

Privilege is...



In his 1999 show Bigger and Blacker, Chris Rock explained white privilege this way:  “There ain’t a white man in this room that would change places with me.  None of you.  None of you would change places with me, and I’m rich!  That’s how good it is to be white.”

There’s a line from the Bruce Hornsby song The Way It Is that describes perfectly the interplay, internal if not verbal, between the privileged and the un- and underprivileged.  “Man in the silk suit hurries by; as he catches the poor old lady’s eyes, just for fun he says, ‘Get a job’.”

Privilege is Israeli Jews sitting on a hillside in lounge chairs and couches to spectate over the bombing of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Ghetto and cheering each explosion.

Privilege is serving the greed of the few to the detriment of the needs of the many.

Privilege is the white liberal who, in the words of Dr. King, “…is more devoted to order than to justice; who prefers the absence of tension to the presence of justice; who constantly says: ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action’; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a ‘more convenient season’”.

Privilege is white liberals and older Afro-Americans who say the same things to the Movement for Black Lives and their allies about their civil disobedience in the response to massive and growing police brutality and murders by police.

Privilege is Madelaine Albright telling us that there is a special place in hell for women who don’t support each other in reference to Hillary Clinton in 2016 when she herself supported Edmund Muskie in the 1972 Democratic primaries, the same in which Shirley Chisholm and Patsy Mink were also running.  Of course, those two contenders were Afro-American and Japanese-American, respectively, so perhaps for Albright they don’t count.

Privilege is Gloria Steinem and others like her campaigning to shame sex workers in order to cover up the fact that their brand of feminism is mostly for affluent white women.

Privilege is Noam Chomsky condemning the antifascist movement known as antifa in language that validates their equation with Nazi thugs by Trump, aka Agent Orange.

Privilege is when someone uses phrases like “look at the big picture”, ‘be a team player”, and “accept things the way they are” to bully, manipulate, and shame you into belaying or putting aside your own needs in deference to their desires.

Privilege is when lesser mortals clear the streets of Windsor and Maidenhead of their homeless to make everything pretty for a royal wedding.

Privilege is waxing eloquent about global overpopulation and how people need to have fewer children shortly after the birth of your third child in a country where the poor on benefits are penalized for the same thing.

Privilege is when an all-male panel pontificates on women’s issues, whether they happen to be U.S. Congressmen or Scottish champagne socialists.

Privilege is the often patronizing and paternalistic manner with which the middle class treats the working and pauper classes.

In truth, what we today call the middle class is nothing other than an upper working class that is desperate to distinguish itself from the lower working class and to maintain that distinction by any means necessary.  Oblivious to the fact that being a house slave makes them no more free and no less exploited than the others in the fields, they carry out almost by instinct the will of their masters of the 1% and their overseers of the 10%.

Privilege is when Yanks, Brits, Aussies, Kiwis, Canucks, and other white westerners travel to or live in foreign countries belonging to brown people and treat their hosts as lesser beings, committing social incest in their golden ghettoes.  Of course, this same principle operates in their own countries between classes and even in those afore-mentioned non-white majority countries.

When I with the Navy at Clark Air Base in the Philippines, there was this lower enlisted guy in our unit who often had to do escort duty with local, uncleared contractors, meeting them at the gate to the compound and then sitting watching them work all day.  Often he would spend the time reading, pretty sure none of the workers were equivalent to the Vietcong.

After about a week, the Air Force security police at the gate began wanding the work crew for weapons.  At first, they began to refuse, until our enlisted guy told the guards to do him first, to show it was okay.  In fact, he did so for the next few days until the guards got tired of or too embarrassed about subjecting one of their own to the same treatment inflicted on the locals.

In many ways, the middle class, the upper working class rather, is the biggest obstacle to the general welfare of the working, or lower working, and pauper classes.  Mostly because those in it go along to get along.  Its members don’t even think of being afraid of rocking the boat because doing anything that might alter their fortunes is beyond conception.  So they assuage their consciences with thoughts of the rewards for their complacency and their complicity.  And continue to do so even when that course will bite themselves in their own arse.

Something antagonist Lindsey McDonald said to protagonist Angel in the episode “Underneath” paints a good picture of this:  “Every day you sit in your big chair behind your big desk, and you sign your big checks, and you learn a little more how to accept the world for the way it is.  Well, here’s the rub: good people don’t do that.  Good people don’t accept the world the way it is.  They fight it.”

So stand up.  Fight.  Be the change you wish to see in the world.  Live as if the world is as it should be to show it how it can be, and remember that the smallest act of kindness can be the greatest gift in the world.

Fight in ways against which there is no defense but which do no harm.  Be the darkness that illuminate.  Be the silence that resonates.  Be the stillness that agitates.

I am a Terran, a citizen of Earth.  The whole world is my home, and all its people my brothers, sisters, and cousins, regardless of synthetic or organic origin.  Like our distant cousins on other planets across space and throughout time, we are all children of the universe.

May the Aught be with you.  Our day will come, inshallah.  Keep the faith.  Peace out.