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Don’t throw dice on Patrick’s watch

New York-born Marsena Rudolph Patrick (USMA 1835) spent 15 years in the Army, fighting against Mexico and in the Seminole campaigns, resigning to head to the private sector after reaching the rank of captain in 1850. When the Civil War came, he was quickly made New York state militia’s inspector general and by 1862 was a brigadier of volunteers from the Empire State.

After seeing service at Antietam, Joe Hooker made him a sort of spymaster general, as head of the Bureau of Military Information, and was later head of the provost marshal forces in NoVA, leaving the service again as a Maj. Gen (Volunteers), in June 1865.

Culpeper, Va.: Provost Marshal General Marsena R. Patrick (center) and staff, Sept. 1863 by Brady photographer Timothy O’Sullivan, LOC LC-B8171-7075

Patrick did not abide fools and his punishments were legion. The below drawing by Alfred R. Waud in October 1863, now in the Library of Congress, shows men of the 96th New York playing endless games of dice, Patrick’s detail for those caught gambling.

LC-DIG-ppmsca-21212 (digital file from original item) LC-USZC4-4185 (color film copy transparency) LC-USZCN4-278 (color film copy neg.) LC-USZ62-14781 (b&w film copy neg.) LC-USZ62-6977 (b&w film copy neg.)

The night the lamps came back on across Europe, 100 years ago

William Nicholson – Armistice Night, 1918.

And to remember this nearly forgotten generation who changed the map of the globe forever, here is the roll call of “the last” of the lost, courtesy of Al Nofi.

  • 1993 September 24: Danilo DajkoviÄ, at 98 the last known Montengran veteran.
  • 1995 September 6: Matsuda Chiaki, at 99 the last Japanese veteran of the war, in which he served as a naval cadet and then a junior officer, but did not see combat duty. In later life, he commanded the battleship Yamato and rose to rear admiral.
  • 1998 March 14: Zita of Bourbon-Parma, sometime Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary (1916-1918), 96, the last political figure from the war.
  • 1998 June: Saci Ben Hocine Mahdi, 100, in France, the last surviving tirailleur algerienne
  • 1998 October 11: Abdoulaye N’Diaye, 104, in Senegal, the last surviving tirailleur sénégalais.
  • 1999 April 11: Wallace Pike, 99, last veteran of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment who served at the Somme and the last Newfoundlander to have served in the war.
  • 2000 March: Norman Kark, 102, the last South African veteran.
  • 2001 June 22: Bertie Felstead, 106, formerly of the Royal Welch Fusiliers, the last known English survivor of the Christmas Truce of 1914.
  • 2002 January 12: Robert Francis Ruttledge, 103, the last British veteran of the Indian Army.
  • 2003 February 12: Bright Williams, 105, the last New Zealand veteran, of the 3rd Battalion, New Zealand Rifle Brigade.
  • 2003 March: George Blackman, 105, in Barbados, the last veteran of the West India Regiment
  • 2003 May 5: José Ladeira, at 107, the last Portuguese veteran.
  • 2003 August 9: Alois Vocásek, 107, the last veteran of the Czechoslovak Legion.
  • 2003 August 9: Charlotte Louise Berry Winters, 109, the last U.S. Navy “Yeomanette” and the last American woman veteran of the war.
  • 2003 October 9: Yod Sangrungruang, 106, the last veteran from Siam.
  • 2004 June 22: Aleksa Radovanović, at 105, the last veteran of the Serbian Army, and apparently the last veteran of the Salonika Front.
  • 2004 September 16: Cyrillus-Camillus Barbary, who died in the U.S. at 105, was the last Belgian veteran.
  • 2005 October 18: William Evan Crawford Allan, at 106, sometime Royal Australian Navy (1914-1948), the last Australian veteran to have seen active service in both world wars.
  • 2005 November 21: Alfred Anderson, 109, a veteran of the Black Watch, he was the last survivor of the Christmas Truce of 1914, the last Scottish veteran of the war, and the oldest man in Scotland.
  • 2006 March 4: August Bischof, 105, the last known veteran of the Austrian Empire.
  • 2007 January 9: Gheorghe Pănculescu, 103, the last Romanian veteran of the Great War, though he did not see frontline service; he later rose to general.
  • 2007 March 29: Lloyd Brown, at 109, the last US Navy veteran.
  • 2008 January 1: Erich Kästner, at 107 the last German veteran of the Great War and the last Central Powers veteran of the Western Front.
  • 2008 January 12: StanisÅ‚aw Wycech, 105, the last veteran of the Polish armed forces.
  • 2008 April 2: Yakup Satar, at 110 the last veteran of the Ottoman Army.
  • 2008 May 7: Franz Künstler, who died at 107 in Germany, was the last veteran from the erstwhile lands of the Crown of Hungary, the last Austro-Hungarian veteran, and last Central Powers veteran of the Great War.
  • 2008 March 12: Lazare Ponticelli, who died in France at 110, was the last French Foreign Legion veteran of the war (1914-1915), the next-to-last Italian veteran (1915-1918) and probably also the last “Boy Soldier” of the war, having enlisted at 16.
  • 2008 October 6: Delfino Borroni, at 110 the last know Italian Great War veteran, the last veteran of the Alpine Front, and at his death the oldest man in Italy.
  • 2008 November 20: Pierre Picault, at 109 the last French veteran of the war, and at his death the oldest man in France.
  • 2008 December 26: Mikhail Efimovich Krichevsky, who died in Ukraine at 111, was the last veteran of the Russian Imperial Army to have served in the war.
  • 2009 July 18: Henry Allingham, 113, the last Jutland veteran, the last veteran of the Royal Naval Air Service, the last original member of the RAF, and the oldest man in the world.
  • 2009 July 25: Henry John “Harry” Patch, at 111 “the Last Fighting Tommy”, the last known veteran of the Western Front, and the oldest man in Europe.
  • 2010 January 18: John Henry Foster “Jack” Babcock, at 109 the last known Canadian veteran of the Great War, though he had not seen combat.
  • 2009 June 3: John Campbell “Jack” Ross, 110, the last Australian to have served during the war, though he had never left the Commonwealth.
  • 2011 May 5: Claude Stanley Choules, who died at 110 in Australia, was the last known combat veteran of the Great War, the last veteran of the Grand Fleet, the last naval veteran of the Great War, and the last veteran to fight in both World Wars.
  • 2011 February 27: Frank Woodruff Buckles, at 110 the last veteran of the American Expeditionary Forces in the First World War, an ambulance driver.
  • 2012 February 4: Florence Patterson Green, who died at 110, was the last veteran of the Women’s RAF, 1918-1919, and the last person known to have served in World War I.

More on the Armistice of Compiègne itself in the below special from France 24, and what became of Foch’s famous railway carriage.

Harrier II at 40

Prototype AV-8B Harrier II pictured in front of a hangar at McDonnell Douglas in St. Louis, Missouri. Offering double the payload and combat radius of its predecessor, the AV-8B made its maiden flight on 9 November 1978, some 40 years ago today.

The above model was one of two generations and six main variants of the “jump jet” produced between the prototype Hawker Siddeley P.1127 first flew in 1960 and the Harrier II ended production in 1997. With less than 900 of all types produced, a Harrier in any condition is a rare bird indeed.

early Harrier Kestrel

While Harriers once served with the Indian Navy, Italian Navy, Royal Air Force, Royal Navy, Royal Thai Navy, Royal Spanish Navy, and U.S. Marine Corps, just the Corps (124) and the Italians (30) still operate late-model aircraft refurbished in the 2000’s.

A U.S. Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier II aircraft assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 166 sits on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) in the Arabian Sea Oct. 20, 2013. The Boxer was underway in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts. (DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class J. Michael Schwartz, U.S. Navy/Released)

They are expected to be replaced by the Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II within the next decade.

Warship Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018: The first steamer-on-steamer scrap

Here at LSOZI, we are going to take off every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1833-1946 time period and will profile a different ship each week. These ships have a life, a tale all of their own, which sometimes takes them to the strangest places.- Christopher Eger

Warship Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018: The first steamer-on-steamer scrap

“Battle of the steam-frigate Vladimir with the Turkish steam frigate Pervaz-i Bahri on November 5, 1853, by Alexey Petrovich Bogolyubov. 1850s Canvas, oil. via wiki commons.

Here we see the British-built steam frigate Vladimir of the Russian Imperial Navy who, 165 years ago this week, won the first naval battle between two steamships.

While steam-powered warships started to appear in numbers on all sides during the Crimean War and then became standard in the U.S. Civil War, they had an earlier start when the floating steam-powered battery Demologos was built in the U.S. during the War of 1812 to defend New York City. The Royal Navy commissioned the early paddle sloop HMS Medea in 1833. Not to be outdone, the Tsar ordered the 28-gun paddle frigate Bogatyr in 1836 (predating the U.S. Navy’s own inaugural paddle gunboat USS Fulton by a year) and over the next 20 years Russia picked up almost two dozen more of these early steamships before moving on to screw-driven vessels.

Steam frigate Bogatyr by Russian maritime artist Vladimir Emyshev

Paddle frigate Gremyashchy built in 1849-1851 by Russian shipbuilder Ivan Afanasyevich Amosov at the Okhta shipyard

One of these was Vladimir, ordered from the private shipyard of Ditchburn & Mare’s, Blackwall, after a design of Mr. Burry & Co, Liverpool.

Some 179-feet long at the waterline, she was an iron-hulled paddle frigate capable of making 10.5-knots on her Rennie of London 1,200 ihp steam engine by design. She made a trials voyage from Plymouth covering 154 miles in just 13 hours, at a sustained rate of 11.75-knots, belching smoke from her twin stacks. It was all pretty impressive for the era.

Paddle frigate Vladimir by naval artist A.N. Ivanov

In fact, she was handier than some of the British Admiralty-built vessels in the RN, and at a cheaper price– a fact not lost on the Mechanic’s Magazine of 1848.

The 758-ton vessel mounted a 9.65-inch shell gun as well as four 24-pounder gunnades, although this was later upped to 13 guns including two 10-inch shell guns, three 68-pounders, six 24-pounders and a pair of 18-pound chase guns.

Sailing for the Russian Black Sea Fleet in 1848, the Vladimir became the flagship of VADM Vladimir Kornilov and, by 1853, the country was at war with their traditional enemy in the area, Turkey.

With LCDR Grigory Butakov in command of the Russian paddle frigate, she met the 10-gun Turko-Egyptian armed steamer Pervaz-i Bahri (Lord of the Seas) on 5 November. Spotting her around 8 in the morning at a distance, Butakov laid on the coal and closed by 10 a.m.

Butakov soon assessed that the Turk had no stern-firing guns and, after delivering an initial salvo broadside, moved to that exposed quarter. With her shell guns firing over the bowsprit, Vladimir soon disabled the steering of the enemy steamer, destroyed her observation deck, knocked away her stack, and then, closing with the wounded ship, started to rake her decks with canister.

The slaughter was kept up for two hours.

Her skipper killed along with 58 of her crew, Pervaz-i Bahri struck her colors by 1 p.m. and was taken as a prize by a Russian boarding party who renamed her Kornilov in honor of their admiral.

Butakov lost just two men in the action and was quickly promoted to Captain 2nd Rank, and knighted in the Order of St. George.

As for Vladimir, the Crimean War was her downfall, being trapped in the harbor at the siege of Sevastopol. Butakov did, however, according to Russian sources, try out a new tactic then of taking on ballast to one side, increasing the elevation of his guns to extend the range to hit British and French infantry outside of the besieged city.

As the Allies moved in, the steamer was scuttled 30 August 1855.

The destruction of Vladimir

Adm. Kornilov had already been killed on Malakhov Hill the previous October during the first bombardment of the city by Anglo-French troops.

Vladimir‘s cannons were later salvaged by divers and she was raised after the war in 1860 by an American firm, though found to be too damaged to repair and turned into a floating workshop for the naval base. In the end, she was sunk as a target ship for good in 1891.

As for Butakov, he later rose to admiral in 1878.


A number of flags from the ship as well as caps and epaulets from Butakov and Kornilov’s telescope are maintained in the Central Naval Museum in St. Petersburg. It seems the Communists couldn’t bring themselves to get rid of them post-1917.

The battle, vessel, and her skipper have been commemorated in a series of models, stamps, and paintings.


Displacement: 758-tons
Length: 200 ft oal, 179 wl
Beam: 35.9 ft.
Draft: 14.5 ft.
Machinery: Rennie, London four-boiler steam plant, 1,200 ihp, twin paddlewheels
Speed: 10.5 kts, 2,000-mile range at 8
Crew: 150
9.65-inch shell gun
4x 24-pounder gunnades,
2x 10-inch shell guns,
3x 68-pounders,
6x 24-pounders
2×18-pound chase guns.

If you liked this column, please consider joining the International Naval Research Organization (INRO), Publishers of Warship International

They are possibly one of the best sources of naval study, images, and fellowship you can find.

The International Naval Research Organization is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the encouragement of the study of naval vessels and their histories, principally in the era of iron and steel warships (about 1860 to date). Its purpose is to provide information and a means of contact for those interested in warships.

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I’m a member, so should you be!

Combat Gallery Sunday: A Dear Visit

Much as once a week I like to take time off to cover warships (Wednesdays), on Sundays (when I feel like working), I like to cover military art and the painters, illustrators, sculptors, photographers and the like that produced them.

Combat Gallery Sunday: A Dear Visit

Maximilian Franz Viktor Zdenko Marie Kurzweil was born 12 October 1867 in the small Moravian town of Bisenz (Bzenec)– then in the Austro-Hungarian Empire now in the Czech Republic– the son of a failing sugar manufacturer. Once the family business tanked altogether, young Max relocated to Vienna where he attended school and later, with an eye for painting, the esteemed Academy of Fine Art (Akademie der bildenden Künste), an institution that famously twice-rejected young Adolf Hitler for lack of talent.

Obligated to perform his military service to Kaiser Franz Josef, Max in 1891 enlisted in the Imperial Army as what was termed a “one-year-volunteer” or Einjährig-Freiwilliger. A curious practise at the time in Central Europe (also mimicked in France and Russia), such a volunteer– typically an educated young man of means– paid for their own room, board, uniforms and personal equipment while serving (for free) with an active duty regiment as a nominal cadet corporal, filling their spare time studying military textbooks. At the end of the year, providing they were found to be of officer material after a review and examination administered by a board, these volunteers would pass into the reserve as a subaltern.

Max was accepted as an EF with the famous k.u.k. Dragonerregiment Nr. 3, which dated back to 1768 and had covered itself in glory during the Napoleonic Wars. Based in Stockerau on the outskirts of Vienna, the German-speaking unit was typically referred to as the “Saxon Dragoons” (Sachsen Dragoner) due to the fact that the honorary colonel-in-chief of the unit was the king of Saxony. Serving from June 1891 to June 1892, Kurzweil passed his review and moved to the regiment’s reserve list as a lieutenant, fulfilling his obligation to the Kaiser by 1902, at which point his name was put on the retired list.

It was just after he left active duty that Max painted what I feel was his most endearing work. Ein Lieber Besuch (A dear visit), is an oil painting he finished in 1894 showing a young man, surrounded by Austrian dragoons which you take to be his comrades, in hospital being visited by what is perceived to be his warhorse. It was no doubt very familiar to the artist in many ways.

It was an early footnote in Max’s career, as he returned to Vienna, moved in the same circles as Klimt, summered on the Dalmatian coast and in Brittany, spent lots of time in Paris, helped found the Secessionist movement at Vienna’s Künstlerhaus, took a French wife, and fell in love with a pupil– Helene Heger.

Then came war.

At 46, Kurzweil, childless, listless and moody (his wife had been separated from him as she was in France when hostilities began) he was too old to lead a cavalry troop but was nonetheless recalled to active duty. Assigned to work on the Serbo-Montenegrin Front as a war artist, he returned to Vienna on leave in May 1916, where he met his lover one last time at his studio and entered into a suicide pact using his service pistol. He is buried in Vienna’s Hütteldorfer Cemetery.

A self-portrait

However, his simple but poignant horse painting had become a very popular postcard in war-torn Austria, surely evoking memories of love and loss to many.

As for the 3rd Dragoons, stationed in Krakow, then on the Austrian frontier, in 1914 as part of 3. Kavallerietruppendivision, they fought the Russians on the Eastern Front and, late in the war, lost their horses, converting to foot infantry. In 1919, they were disbanded, although, in 1967, Panzerbataillon 33 of the reformed Austrian Army adopted the old regiment’s lineage. Today, PzB 33 uses Leopard 2A4 tanks.

Ein Lieber Besuch since 1965 has been in the collection of the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere in Vienna, who have several of Kurzweil’s works. He is considered today to be one of the most important Austrian artists of his era. Additionally, his art is in the American Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco and the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia

Thank you for your work, sir.

Jolly Roger, hell-for-leather edition

From the collection of the Musée de l’Armée is this French M1816 light cavalry saber, for your entertainment.

You know you like it

(mechanically translated)

The 19th century experienced a certain craze for the occultism whose followers, rejecting materialism and bourgeois morality, seek to reveal the secrets of nature and man through the practice of the occult arts (magic, divination, alchemy). This vogue sees the production of literary, graphic and artistic works related to these practices. Private gunsmiths then put on the market decorative weapons, mainly daggers, which we call today “romantic”. The blades are often of recovery and are provided with a handle molded with the motives of devils or allegorical figures.

Perhaps inspired by Masonic rituals that require the use of a sword, this sword was made from a light cavalry saber blade model 1816. The guard represents a skeleton, whose skull serves as a pommel and the body grows on guard, fighting against a snake. As for the meaning of this decoration, only the initiates will appreciate it …

This sword also dates from the time that the French were fresh off the disastrous massed cavalry charge at Waterloo, led by Ney, that crashed on the squares of British infantry without carrying the day.

Nonetheless, they continued to maintain significant horse-mounted units for more than 130 years after.

French Cuirassiers handing over a paper (billet) to inform a family that they, the soldiers, are to be billeted in the farmhouse. c.1911. Colorized by Doug Ralston.

Halloween is nearing, and some ghosts are real

There are some things that are scarier than witches, goblins, and vampires.

“Ghost Trail,” by Kerr Eby; 1944.

Drawing, Charcoal, and Pastel on Paper; Framed Dimensions 29H X 46W NHHC Accession #88-159-DZ as a Gift of Abbot Laboratories

“Specter-like in the dark gloom of the Bougainville jungle, Marine riflemen slog up to the front lines during the bitter campaign for the tropic stronghold.”– official description.

Erby was Canadian-born illustrator best known for his renderings of soldiers in combat in the First and Second World Wars. In the prior, he served in the Army as camoufleur to the 40th Engineers in France. In the latter, Eby, then aged 51, tried to enlist but was turned down because of his age. Serving in the combat artist program, he traveled with Marines in the South Pacific and witnessed some of the fiercest fighting of the war, landing with the invasion force at Tarawa and living three weeks in a foxhole on Bougainville.

While on Bougainville he became ill with a tropical disease, one which weakened his health, passing away in Norwalk, Connecticut in 1946.

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