A Window Into the Past

This well-worn three-page letter is not perhaps that remarkable as far as such things go. It is not in the hand of the great or famous, nor does it recount some historic deed or event. The contents are in fact rather mundane in nature, consisting of the thoughts of an otherwise forgotten soldier of the queen put to paper for the benefit of his brother and sister. One might consider the most remarkable thing is that these three small, yellowed and tattered pages survived at all after almost 150 years, but perhaps, more importantly, the letter opened a larger window onto the life of its sender.

shaw letter 1 copy

Above: The first page of then Corporal Thomas Shaw of the 6th Regiment of Foot to his brother and sister, probably while still posted to Ireland with the regiment’s 2nd Battalion. Source: Collection of Edward T. Garcia/soldiersofthequeen.com.

Dated February 9, 1874, the letter was written by the newly promoted No. 205 Corporal William Shaw of “A” Company, 2nd Battalion, the 6th Regiment of Foot to his Brother and sister from Belfast, Ireland. Shaw begins his letter in the most of traditional of manners:

“Dear Brother & Sister, It is with pleasure I’ve now sit down to write to you hoping these will find you all at home enjoying good & perfect health…”

I will not offer a complete or verbatim transcription of Shaw’s letter but he writes about events that today would be related via a phone call or even text messages. He mentions his recent promotion to corporal, inquires after other family members including his father, uncles, aunts and various children.

“I am promoted corporal & left the drummers & gone to my duty and that we are now getting on very nicely…”

shaw letter 2 copy

Above: The second page of Shaw’s February 1874 letter home. Source: Collection of Edward T. Garcia/soldiersofthequeen.com.

While Shaw’s letter consists primarily of familiar small talk, the mention of his regiment, and service number led to the discovery of his January 1878 discharge papers. These offer us a view of his life with the “colours” as well as a rather sad end to his military service.

Born about 1838 at St. Mark’s, Lincolnshire, Shaw attested with the 2/6th on 4 November 1857. He was appointed drummer on 1 October 1865 and then corporal (for the first time) on17 May 1868. On 11 July 1868 Shaw was reduced to private after being convicted by courts-martial for being drunk on duty. He was reappointed drummer on 1 September 1868 and promoted corporal for the second time (his promotion mentioned in his letter) on 3 February 1874. Promoted sergeant on 1 March 1876, Shaw was detached from duty with his regiment for service with the 3rd Warwick Militia on 25 May 1876. He would be discharged from service due to “Being found unfit for further military service” on 17 February 1878.

Although Shaw did not serve actively in any campaigns, he did see a bit of the empire, being stationed overseas: at Gibraltar for a bit more than four years, the Ionian Islands for just under two and the West Indies for almost four. In spite of his 1868 court-martial and resulting demotion, towards the end of his career, he was awarded the Long Service & Good Conduct Medal.

Being found unfit for further military service was not an uncommon happenstance in Victoria’s army. A long-serving soldier could be rendered thus as the result of wounds received in battle, from injuries acquired performing garrison duty or any of the sicknesses or diseases found both at home and the far-flung corners of the empire. For Shaw, it was something more ominous. One the second page of his discharge papers giving the reason for his leaving the army, boldly in red ink is the word “Insane”.

On his medical report sheet, a more specific diagnosis is given as “Paralysis of the Insane”. This is an archaic medical term that apparently most often referred to serious mental decline brought on by previous syphilitic infections. The condition almost always resulted in death of the patient, often quite soon after diagnosis. Interestingly Shaw’s medical history sheet lists the cause of his condition as “climatic conditions” and as the result of “Long service in the Mediterranean and W. Indies where he was much affected by the sun.” Shaw’s cause of Shaw’s diagnosis was not the usual one and this is further reflected on his medical sheet by his regimental surgeon who wrote: “A hopeful case. Is partially able to his own support.

In any event, upon discharge Shaw was committed to the hospital at Bow (probably St. Clements) for a period of 12 months. Former Sergeant Thomas Shaw disappears from the records after this. His fate remains unknown as does his family origins.

shaw letter 3 copy

Above: The third page of Corporal Shaw’s to his brother and sister. Throughout the letter, Shaw seems to address himself in the plural “we” form, but in fact, it appears that his sister Elizabeth was living with him while posted to Ireland. Source: Collection of Edward T. Garcia/soldiersofthequeen.com.

Postmark USS Arizona Part II

Not long ago while perusing a well-known online auction website, I came across this used postal cover from 1935. It was originally mailed to Miss Marjorie Ogle of Glendora, California and was postmarked onboard the tragically fated battleship USS Arizona. Postal covers postmarked on the Arizona (as well as other US warships of the time) are not uncommon since commemorative covers were available by subscription service to collectors. I posted an article regarding on one of these commemorative Arizona covers here.

Schuman Arizona Cover Front

Above: Addressed to his future bride to be Marjorie Ogle, the envelope to Storekeeper 1st Class Herman Lincoln Schuman’s letter is postmarked March 7, 1935, on board the USS. Arizona. Source: Collection of Edward T. Garcia

Two things caught my eye with this cover. One was the hometown of the addressee Marjorie Lois Ogle which also happens to be where I live – Glendora, California. The second was the fact that it was not a commemorative/souvenir issue but a cover from a personal letter sent by a member of the crew of the Arizona apparently to his girlfriend or fiancé on March 7, 1935. At the time the Arizona was moored at San Pedro, California with the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Battle Fleet.

The cover (and sadly now missing letter) was mailed by Storekeeper First Class (SK1/c) Herman Lincoln Schuman and needless to say I began investigating his story even before purchasing the cover. The uneasy question in the back of my mind was as to whether Schuman was still aboard the Arizona six years later at Pearl Harbor on the Day of Infamy.

Schuman Arizona Cover Back

Above: The reverse side of the envelope which one held Schuman’s letter to his future wife identifying the sender as a member of the ill-fated battleship’s crew. Source: Collection of Edward T. Garcia

Herman Lincoln Schuman was born in Connecticut on February 12, 1912, to Otto and Elizabeth Schuman. Herman had two younger sisters, Grace (born about 1916) and May (born about 1919). Little can be known about Schuman’s early life and schooling. Scant records indicate that Schuman enlisted in the navy on March 9, 1935, and reported aboard the Arizona on the 23rd of that month – not long after James Cagney and company took over the ship during the filming of Here Comes the Navy. The very short time between enlistment and assignment implied that most of Schuman’s training took place actively onboard ship.

In the later part of 1935 Schuman would have taken part in fleet exercises and made port at Balboa, Panama. Budget cuts led to the ship being held in port for good portions of 1936 -1938 and in 1937 Schuman would marry Marjorie Ogle. The new couple took an apartment in Long Beach, California.

Schuman’s new bride was born at Enders, Nebraska on July 24, 1917, to George Washington Ogle and Orrilla Vennie Cooney. The Ogle family headed west in the early 1920s, settling in Glendora.  Marjorie’s mother died on May 5, 1923. Exactly how a blue water sailor like Herman Schuman and Marjorie, a girl from the orange growing inland town of Glendora came to meet is for now part of the story lost to history.

Schuman Arizona Report of Changes

Above: A section of the USS Arizona’s Report of Changes (ship’s muster book) for March 31, 1939. Herman L. Schuman is listed along with his service number – 375 50 95 – as well as his date, and place of enlistment – March 9, 1936, at San Pedro, California. His then rating is also given – Storekeeper 2nd Class (SK2c). Source: National Archives.

Fleet exercises took Schuman and the Arizona to Hawaiian waters in 1938 and again in 1940. It was then on to Bremerton, Washington for a long-needed overhaul which was completed in January 1941. The Arizona would make one final visit to Long Beach, California in June – July 1941. While Herman and Marjorie would have had a long overdue reunion, little did the couple know it would be the last time they would ever see one another.

The Arizona returned to Pearl Harbor and took part in additional training exercises in prelude to a war most knew was inevitable. Inevitable as the coming was seemed to be, the Japanese attack in the early morning hours of December 7, 1941, took a sleeping Pearl Harbor by total surprise. Soon after the beginning of the attack, the Arizona beat to quarters and battle stations were quickly manned. The crew’s gallant efforts came to naught. I rapid succession the Arizona was hit by eight bombs from Japanese warplanes. One bomb glanced off turret no. 2, pierced the deck and detonated in the forward magazine. The resulting explosion and fire instantaneously destroyed the forward half of the ship and the lives of 1,177 of the crewmen on board her snuffed out. In the immediate aftermath of the attack and during later salvage operations on the wreck many bodies were recovered but some 900 were declared unrecoverable. The ship would become their tomb. SK1/c Herman Lincoln Schuman is among those 900 whose still rest beneath the waters of Pearl Harbor.

Schuman’s widow Marjorie would remarry during the war to another navy man. She passed away at Benson, Arizona in 1998.

Above: A wartime film that combined a recreation of the attack on Pearl Harbor with actual newsreel film of the event including the massive explosion which destroyed the USS Arizona. Source: The National Archives/YouTube.

Researching Herman Lincoln Schuman has been problematic due to the paucity of military records. Only a few pages of ship’s musters have been found for the Arizona that mentions him with these being for between 1939 and December 31, 1941.  Not much can be gleaned from these other than him being on the ship on a given date and his then given rating and his service number – 357 50 94. An inquiry made to the National Archives several months ago regarding acquiring copies of his service records has so far gone unanswered. Service records would provide much in-depth information relating to Schuman’s naval career. Additionally, after exhaustive searches, no photograph of Herman Lincoln Schuman has been found. Again, Schuman’s service records probably contain a photograph of him.

Note: In 2015 an extensive research project was initiated at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri into the service jackets (service records) of the officers and crewmen who died on the Arizona on December 7th. The project included digitally scanning the contents of all 1177 service jackets of those that died on the Arizona.  As of May 2016, the USS Arizona Casualty Project was supposed to be completed in one and a half years and the results made public. As of this posting I have not been able to find any information online as to the current status of the project. A message to the Pacific Historic Parks – USS Arizona Memorial Facebook page as to the status of the project may answer the question as to the availability of Herman Schuman’s naval records.

 

The Wartime Odessey of Yang Kyoungjong

When the photograph below appeared in the American press not long after D-Day the soldier in question gave rise to the belief that Japanese soldiers where fighting alongside their German allies on the beaches of Normandy. While this possibility had long been pondered (as far back as 1941 some U.S. Naval personnel swore they saw Nazi planes over Pearl Harbor) the actual story behind this photo and the unlikely soldier in question – Korean-born Yang Kyoungjong – is in reality much more remarkable if not downright improbable.

Yang-Kyoungjong

Above: A U.S. military press photograph taken at Normandy not long after the June 6, 1944 landings depicting a rather disheveled and forlorn looking POW in German uniform. Although unidentified in the original photograph, some believe that the man may be Yang Kyoungjong. Others postulate that this soldier may have been a POW from Soviet Asia who had been pressed into German service. The photo’s original caption incorrectly identifies the subject as Japanese. Photo: National Archives and Records Administration.

Born on March 3, 1920, in what is today’s North Korea, Yang Kyoungjong was sent as a laborer to Manchuria by the Japanese occupiers of Korea in 1938. Once there he was conscripted into the Japanese Kwangtung Army which had set up a puppet regime of Manchukuo in the Chinese province. At the although officially at peace the Soviet Union and Japan were in fact in a low-grade shooting war. The confrontations escalated to the point of several pitched battles, during one of which – Khalkhyn Gol – Yang Kyoungjong found himself captured by Soviet Forces. The year was 1939.

Yang Kyoungjong was sent to a Siberian gulag – a virtual death sentence – along with other Japanese POWs. Yang would receive a reprieve of sorts after Hitler ordered the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941. Initial Soviet defeats left Stalin so hardpressed for troops that he offered pardons the prisoners provided they volunteer to military service against Germany. Yang Kyoungjong volunteered for service in the Soviet army probably more to escape death in a gulag than anything else but his previous experiences in fighting along the Manchurian border would have ill-prepared him for the unimaginable carnage of Europe’s eastern front.

Yang Kyoungjong would have found himself packed like cattle along with thousands of other unwilling Soviet conscripts headed west along the Trans Siberian Railroad. The 2011 Korean film My Way depicts Yang Kyoungjong taking part in the Battle of Stalingrad but I have found no information confirming this. He apparently took part in the Third Battle of Kharkov in the eastern Ukraine (1943) where he was captured by the Germans.

By this time Nazi Germany found itself in the same predicament that the Soviet Union had just a couple years earlier – suffering from a dire shortage of troops and she resorted to the same dubious solution to the problem. Soviet, as well as other Eastern European prisoners, were conscripted for service in the Wehrmacht. Many of these troops – volunteers and otherwise – were organized into Ost-Bataillonen (Eastern Battalions) with the intent that they perform labor duties in occupied territories freeing up regular German units for more important frontline service. Once again Yang Kyoungjong found himself in a new uniform of another army.

Above: Of related interest in the 2011 Korean film My Way which is loosely based on Yang Kyoungjong’s wartime experiences during World War Two.  Here is a link to a trailer for the film which makes for some pretty spectacular viewing even if it is filled to overflowing with some big-time anachronisms such as the Iowa class battleship USS Missouri bombarding the Normandy beachhead.

Yang Kyoungjong along with the rest of his fellow Ost-Bataillone members were apparently deployed to the area around the Cotentin peninsula, close by Utah Beach in Normandy, France sometime prior to the Allied landings on D-Day.  Uninspired and completely unprepared for battle the Ost-Bataillonen not surprisingly contributed virtually nothing to the German defense of Normandy. Yang appears to have surrendered to American forces not long after June 6.

Interestingly a wartime account made by Lieutenant Robert Brewer, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (of Band of Brothers fame) mentions his regiment capturing four Asian soldiers in German uniform not long after D-Day. Could one of these four men have been Yang Kyoungjong? In any event, Yang was reportedly sent to an American POW holding camp in England prior to being shipped to a permanent camp on the United States where he remained until 1947. One might guess that Yang was surprised not to have been shoehorned into an American uniform and deployed to fight the Japanese in the Pacific. Had that happened this remarkable journey would have indeed gone full circle.

After release, Yang declined repatriation to Korea and settled in Illinois. He is said to have passed away there on April 7, 1992.

So that is the remarkable story of Yang Kyoungjong. Remarkable? Yes, but is the story true? I was rather disappointed when after considerable research I was, and have been unable to find any verifiable/primary sources confirming the tale. For example, I can find no newspaper mention of Yang Kyoungjong with the exception of a 2012 review of the book The Second World War by Anthony Beevor. One might assume that given Yang’s notoriety an obituary might have been published in a local or national paper. None have been found. Versions of Yang’s life appear online in dozens of places, and while remarkably similar in detail, none provided any links to reliable and verifiable primary source material. Even a 2005 investigative documentary by the Seoul Broadcasting System found no evidence that Yang Kyoungjong ever existed.

It appears to this reporter at least that Yang’s story is one of the better peices of World War Two apocrypha. While it does not seem to be true, it is one tale that I wish could be verified.

image

Above: A group of Asian POWs in German Army uniforms under guard on board a U.S. Navy vessel sometime after D-Day. Being transported to a POW camp in England, many if not all of these men were probably Ost-Bataillonen conscripts from the eastern reaches of the Soviet Union, some may have indeed been Korean and whose forgotten tale parallels that of Yang Kyoungjong. Photo: Photo: National Archives and Records Administration.

 

 

 

A Map of Barsoom: Or Mars as John Carter knew it.

Returning to the Red Planet – or more properly one man’s vision of that same Red Planet, I present to you A Geographical Chart of the Planet Barsoom as beautifully drawn by Larry Ivie in 1962. This map was intended to illustrate the locals visited by Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter in his adventures which began in A Princess of Mars. This 11 inch by 17-inch map was included as a supplement to The Reader’s Guide to Barsoom and Amtor by David G. Van Arnam “and others” (1963). An unbound 84-page “fanzine”, the Guide is something of a “Holy Grail” for Edgar Rice Burroughs fans and is not commonly encountered in today’s collector’s market. Perhaps it is best to describe the Guide as quite rare. Two editions were published with the first numbering 500 copies of which 200 were signed and numbered. Signed first printings can sell for upwards of $500.00 USD. The unsigned the second printing also produced in a very limited run. This map comes from a copy of the second printing.

Barsoom Map

Above: Larry Ivie’s map of Barsoom (Mars) which was included as a supplement in The Reader’s Guide to Barsoom by David G. Van Arnam (1963).  11 inches by 17 inches, Source: Collection of Edward T. Garcia.

The map is in many ways the culmination of John Carter fans attempts at overlaying Burroughs’ Barsoom (the name given by Burroughs’ Martians to their home planet) with the geographical features of the real planet Mars. Naturally, this process has met with mixed results at best given the ever-changing amount of knowledge available on Mars itself. In 1963 when this map was created Mars was still that canal-crossed planet that captured Percival Lowell’s imagination some 80 years earlier.

Barsoom Map Detail

Above: A detail from Larry Ivie’s map of Barsoom depicting Burroughs’ hero John Carter along with one of the huge multi-armed green Martians to the left of Carter’s and at right Carter’s ever faithful pet calot named Woola. Source: Collection of Edward T. Garcia.

Barsoom Map Detail 2

Above: A detail of the main portion of A Geographical Chart of the Planet Barsoom. Source: Collection of Edward T. Garcia.

ERB-In-His-Office

Above: John Carter creator Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950) in his office with another of his wildly successful creations Tarzan. As a young man, Burroughs would serve as a trooper in the 7th U.S. Cavalry at Fort Grant, Arizona Territory before receiving a medical discharge in 1897. He would then launch himself into a career as one of the great science fiction/fantasy authors of the early 20th Century. Image: thejohncarterfiles.com

While several dozen maps of Barsoom have been published at various times and places – Burroughs created the first himself – none have been able to reconcile the real and imagined versions of the planet with any great success. The reason for this is quite simple – Burroughs wrote The Princess of Mars in 1917 when almost nothing was known about the actual surface of the planet. In a way, this worked out quite well for the author since he was in no way constrained by actual planetary science and could give his fertile imagination free reign to create at his own whim which he did with great abandon. A good example of his sidestepping what one might have considered major technical issues, Burroughs had his hero John Carter fall asleep in an Arizona cave and simply wake up on Barsoom. He would later return to Earth in much the same manner.

Barsoom Map Krenkel

Above: The special title plate by illustrator Roy G. Krenkel which was included in the Guide. 8 1/2 inches by 11 inches, Source: Collection of Edward T. Garcia. 

Barsoom Map Preface

Above: The Guide’s preface by Dick Lupoff gives an excellent impression of the publication’s overall look and handmade quality. Mostly typewritten, the Guide’s 85 pages were unbound and mailed to subscribers looseleaf in a large envelope. In a nod to fans, Lupoff signed and dated the preface from “New York, Jasoom”. Jasoom being the Martian name for Earth in the John Carter stories. 8 1/2 inches by 11 inches. Source: Collection of Edward T. Garcia.

 

 

All Aboard for Mars!

I am an avid collector of memorabilia connected with the planet Mars and the following pages of correspondence are probably the strangest Mars-related items in my possession. The following handwritten letter typed lyrics and music manuscript was sent sixty years ago to Professor Charles E. Waring in 1958 by a Mrs. Beatrice O’Malley of Dublin Ireland while he was head of the chemistry department at the University of Connecticut.

Mrs. O’Malley seems to have been enamored with the budding U.S. space program and sent her song and accompanying music to Professor Waring after reading about what must have been a hypothetical mission to Mars. The song originally titled The Satellite Song and then updated to All Aboard for Mars by Mrs. O’Malley when she read about the proposed trip to Mars. Mrs. O’Malley states that the lyrics were her original work and noted on the back of the sheet music that the tune was the work of a Mrs. Madge Carroll. Mrs. O’Malley dedicated the song to the U.S. Army.

Mars Song Letter

Above: Beatrice O’Malley’s 1958 handwritten letter to Professor Charles Waring of the University of Connecticut. She appears to have originally written the enclosed song and music to commemorate the successful launch of America’s first satellite Explorer I in January 1958. Mrs. O’Malley apparently updated her song and music after reading an erroneous news article about an impending U.S. manned mission to Mars. Why she chose Professor Waring as the recipient of her musical endeavor is unknown. Source: Collection of Edward T. Garcia.

Mars Song Lyrics

Above: Beatrice O’Malley’s annotated typed lyrics for the Satellite Song, retitled by her as All Aboard for Mars. She dedicated the lyrics to the U.S. Army which oversaw the Explorer I program. Source: Collection of Edward T. Garcia

Mars Song Music

Above: Beatrice’s music manuscript for All Aboard for Mars. I have made no attempt to have the music played. Source: Collection of Edward T. Garcia.

Professor Waring wrote back a kind letter to Mrs. O’Malley and seemed to be rather impressed with the music (I have never asked anyone to play it so am unable to offer my opinion on the matter) and suggests that she copyright her work.  He also mentions his time in Ireland during World War II and his affection for the country and the Irish people.

Mars Song Response

Above: Charles Waring’s file copy of his thoughtful response to Beatrice O’Malley’s letter of 12 June 1958. Source: Collection of Edward T. Garcia.

The following biography of Charles Waring by John Tanaka, Emeritus Professor of Chemistry, at the University of Connecticut where Waring’s papers are held:

Charles E. Waring was born in Philadelphia, PA, in 1909 and attended Muskingum College for his undergraduate work (B.Sc., 1931). He then went to Ohio State University where he earned the Ph.D. in 1936. While at Ohio State, he met Geraldine Howald. On December 19th, 1936, Waring with a bright new Ph.D. also acquired a wife, Geraldine. In 1936, Waring was hired as an instructor of chemistry at the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn. In 1939, he was one of five to be awarded the Lalor Foundation award for proficiency in chemical research. He chose to carry on his research at Oxford University, England, in collaboration with the internationally famous authority on chemical kinetics, Dr. C. N. Hinshelwood.

In the period 1936 to 1946, he rose from instructor to assistant professor at Brooklyn Poly. It was during this period that he initiated his research in the fields of kinetics and mechanism of gas and liquid phase reactions and free radical reactions; kinetics of fast reactions at ultra-high pressures; kinetics and thermodynamics of solid and liquid propellant systems; and combustion mechanisms of high energy fuels.

In 1946, Waring joined the faculty at the University of Connecticut as Head of the Chemistry Department. There were eight on the teaching staff in the department at the time. When he relinquished his administrative duties in 1966 to return to full-time teaching, the department had grown to 22 members. Waring was able to carry on a full research program in addition to his administrative duties. During his tenure at the University, he served as an adviser for 24 Ph.D. students and nine M.S. students. It was under Waring’s leadership that the department was one of the leaders in the University to institute the Ph.D. program.

In addition to the academic research carried on in his research laboratories, Waring was very much involved in the application end of the science. From 1942 to 1946, he was a member of London Mission, OSRD (Office of Strategic Reseach Development). From 1946-1966, he was a Technical Aide, Division 16, NDRC. He spent the summers of 1951 to 1953 in Europe and England on a scientific and technical assignment for the U.S. Government. In 1961, while on leave from the University, he served as technical director and head of the Research Department, Naval Ordnance Test Station, China Lake. For his wartime service, he was awarded the Presidential Citation for Merit (WWII) for contributions in the field of physics, optics, and technical intelligence.

Charles Waring died on February 16, 1981.

Above: Not all past visions of Mars were kindly. In this apocalyptic telling of H. G. Wells’ War of the Worlds titled The Great Martian War the Martians launch their invasion of Earth while we humans are in the midsts of World War One. Source: www.history.ca

Signing Bonus – 1864

Private Tigle Milburn, “D” Company, 30th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry

During the American Civil War cash bounties were offered as an incentive for volunteer enlistment into the army in much the same way signing bonuses are offered to modern sports figures. The volunteer boom which followed the beginning of the war had long since passed and the ongoing and increasing carnage made finding willing recruits a questionable proposition.

The draft was introduced in 1863 by federal authorities and proved so unpopular that massive and very deadly riots resulted in a place like New York City. Bonuses had been offered since the beginning of the war and had initially been awarded at the time of enlistment. This led to a problem. Men would enlist, collect their bonus, promptly desert, then proceed to the next enlistment office and repeat the process. Some became a going concern.

It should be noted that when the draft was implemented, African Americans were specifically exempted from its provisions. Of the approximately 180,000 who served in the Union Army (another 20,000 served in the navy) all were volunteers.

Tigle Milburn

Above: Private Tigle Milburn’s $50.00 bounty application issued by the State of Maryland. Although not filled out completely, the document contains enough information to form the basis for further research into his wartime service and life after the war. 10 1/4 inches by 19 inches (25.5cm x 40.5cm) November 5, 1866. Source: Collection of Edward T. Garcia/soldiersifthequeen.com

To remedy the problem it was decided to award the bonuses after the completion of the agreed-upon term of service. It was under this type of agreement that 38-year-old Tigle Milburn enlisted in “D” Company, 30th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry on March 31, 1864, at Baltimore, Maryland for a term of three years. The bounty offered by the state on Maryland was $50.00.

Dated November 5, 1866, Milburn’s post-war bounty claim list some particulars of his service and makes his formal claim to the $50.00 bounty promised him at the time of his enlistment by the state of Maryland. It also appoints George W. Fish to act as his attorney in the matter. Unfortunately, Minburn’s bounty application fails to note as to whether his request was honored or not.

Tigle Milburn Detail 1

Above: A detail of the upper portion of Private Milburn’s bounty application.

With the information on this document and copies of Milburn’s compiled service records found in the National Archives, Washington D.C. a brief outline of his life and service history is possible.

Tigle Milburn was born about 1826 in Dorchester County, Maryland. At the time of his enlistment, he stated that he was “born free” and although his parent’s names have not been found one might assume that they must have been free also for at least some portion of their lives.

Tigle Milburn Detail 2

Above: The signature block of Milburn’s bounty application. The fact that Milburn was not able to read or write is indicated by him have made his mark, an “X” between the first and last name of the signature. 

Milburn would have seen action with his regiment around Petersburg and at the infamous Battle of the Crater as well as other mostly forgotten actions such as Weldon Railroad, Poplar Grove Church, Boydton Plank Road, and Hatcher’s Run. His last battle was probably at Fort Fisher, North Carolina from December 7 to December 27, 1864.

The Crater

Above: A sketch of the Battle of the Crater at Petersburg by Alfred Waud. c. 1864. Source: Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs Division.

In January 1865 Tigle Milburn was taken sick and confined to Wilmington Hospital until July 1865 by which time the war had come to an end. No mention is given in his service records as to the nature of Milburn’s illness.

After returning to duty Milburn took part in various occupation duties with his regiment in North Carolina until the unit was mustered out of service on December 10, 1865, at Roanoke Island, North Carolina.

African American Soldier

Above: Although no known photographic representations of Tigle Milburn exist, this 1/6th plate tintype of an unidentified African American Union Army private gives an excellent impression of how he would have been uniformed and equipped. c. 1864 Source: Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs, Library of Congress.

With the war’s end Milburn settled at Deal Island, Maryland and in the U.S. Census for 1880 he was listed as married with his wife’s name being Elizabeth. The couple had been married since before the war and had five children: John (born about 1858), Francis (born about 1860), Julia (born about 1862), Oscar (born about 1864) and Alice (born about 1866). By 1870 Milburn and his three sons had taken to the sea and were all listed in the census as sailors by trade. The 1890 census shows them to have been specifically employed as oystermen. Milburn died sometime around 1901 with his widow, Elizabeth filing for his pension on May 25 of that year. In these later documents, his name is given as Teagle Milbourne or Milbourn.

Come Fly With Me…

…or Stories of Adventure of the land, Sea and in the Air. I have always been fascinated by early examples of “Science Fiction”, especially examples from before the genres we know it today actually existed. Although classic works by the likes of Jules Verne and H. G. Wells were quite well known and highly considered as literature I have always been attracted to the more obscure and mostly forgotten examples that cropped up in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. The weekly pulp adventures of Frank Reade Jr. and his amazing airships are a case in point.

Frank Reade 1903

Above: The August 21, 1903 issue of Frank Reade Weekly Magazine. This still sealed example never found its way into the youthful hands of an eager reader more than a century ago. Issues of the magazine measured 8 inches by ll inches (approximately 20.3cm x 28cm). Source: From the collection of Edward T. Garcia.

The Frank Reade Jr. magazines were in some ways a bridge between the so-called dime novels that glamorized such things as America’s Wild West in the late 1800s and the comic book which burst into the popular consciousness in the 1930s. In these stories – inevitably penned by the anonymous author “Noname” who in name was actually Cuban born Luis Philip Senarens (1863–1939) – followed the exploits of Frank Reade Jr. in a series of remarkable airships in journeys that took them around the world and into and out of all the exotic perils that the publication’s adolescent readers could hope for. Frank Reade did not limit himself and his friends to adventures in just airships but found himself on board submarines, steam-powered landships or becoming involved with similarly powered robots. The 16 page Frank Reade, Jr. adventures were published in New York by Frank Tousey between the 1890s and first decade of the 20th Century.

The well-preserved example shown above dates from August 21, 1903, just a few months before the Wright Brothers first powered flight. Naturally, Frank Reade’s airship was far more advanced than that which would soon fly at Kittyhawk and certainly much more elegant and stylish than the flying cars we had all been promised would be gracing our own 21st Century skies. The cover illustration brings the action of the inside text to life and shows Reade and several of his friends fighting off a group of mounted Tartars while the good airship Orbit comes to a timely rescue. This particular example is still sealed – each issue had to have its covers cut open in order to read the inside content. This was done to prevent people from reading the magazine at the newsstand to avoid paying for it.

R17-00018-000-001-cover

Above: An earlier issue of the Frank Reade Library magazine from September 24, 1892, featured the adventures of Frank Reade, Jr. and “his new steam man. These earlier issues lacked the full-color covers of the later issues: Source: University of South Florida Libraries.