February 15, 2005

Smallpox mail

From Hank M, on my smallpox post a few entries down:

The claim for the Army spreading small pox at Fort Clark in the Dakotas did not sound right. As I remembered my military history the in the 1830's the Army did not have any permanent forts of the Mississippi river except Fr Leavenworth in Kansas., and several on the west bank of the river itself, i.e Jefferson Barracks and Ft Snelling.) The Army only ran very rare exploratory expeditions into the Dakotas during that period.

Ft Clark was a private trading post. In 1837 a river boat docked with smallpox on board. The sources did not say if any one deliberately gave an Indian something infected, the post depended on good relations with the Indians so it would have been stupid to do so. Given the nature of those small trading posts, once the infection was there, it would have been impossible to stop the spread to the Indians.

More here. I suppose it's possible that Ward Churchill, American historian, got confused about the U.S. Army being involved because he didn't know the difference between an army fort and a trading fort... but I doubt it.

Posted by BruceR at 02:46 PM

Important leak from MND's office

I'm told this story was practically a plant right from the highest levels:

The [major defence review] document was peppered with references to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, said the officials.

"The theory was: "If you throw in 18 references to 9-11, people will think it's an innovative defence policy."

"It was a train wreck waiting to happen."

(UPDATE: Broken link. Thanks to Jay for noticing it.)

Posted by BruceR at 02:45 PM

Books With Wings

This is a commendable initiative. Not sure where the "Army of Ontario" tagline for Land Force Central Area originated: "The Army in Ontario" would seem to be a better phrase.

Posted by BruceR at 12:54 PM