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Just Another Wednesday

Here’s some trivia. Who was the highest ranking Union soldier to die during the Civil War? Answer: Major General John Sedgwick. IMG_0129

Unfortunately, his death was the result of false confidence, bad planning and bad leadership. Part of the reason for his confidence was probably because he had previously been wounded in the Battle of Glendale and then shot three times during the Battle of Antietam. I’m guessing he started to believe that he was untouchable. Unfortunately, here’s how history records his death.

      Major General Sedgwick chastised his men for acting scared of nearby Confederate sharpshooters. He had directed the soldiers in placing ammunition and artillery around them in preparation for what later would be known as the Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse.  It irritated him that they were acting so squeamish.

With Confederate sharpshooters only about  1,000 yards away from them, the soldiers kept running for cover every time a bullet would be fired.

History tells us that Major General Sedgwick walked right out in the open and was quoted as saying, “What? Men dodging this way for single bullets? What will you do when they open fire along the whole line?” Apparently, his confidence did nothing to calm the soldiers, which only incensed him more.

He then hollered, “Why are you dodging like this? They couldn’t hit an elephant at this distance.” (From the book Who’s Who in the Civil War and historian Gordon Rhea)  Reports then say that he was shot moments later, under his left eye. There, he fell down dead from a sharpshooter’s bullet. Despite being on the opposing side, even General Robert E. Lee expressed sadness over losing his old friend.

And for pic o’ day, just taking it easy… or something like that:

summer day

Ruse of the Empty City

Recently a trial lawyer reminded me of a Chinese literature story called “The Ruse of the Empty City”. He tried to explain it in the context of a jury trial strategy. I completely missed the metaphor but thought that the story did demonstrate good strategy. I just was not sure how to apply it until I decided that it would be good for the blog. Hence, my strategy!

As an enemy army of about 150,000 men reached the city that was being defended by general Zhuge Liang, and his 5,000 defenders.  General Zhuge Liang realized that he needed to come up with a strategy that could defend the city without causing them all to be killed.  He ordered half of the soldiers to leave the city. Most of the remaining soldiers were instructed to hide out of sight. He dressed some soldiers in civilian clothes and had them casually sweep streets near the gates to the city where they could be seen by the enemy soldiers,  while going about daily city activities. The General then ordered all the gates of the city  to be wide open.

The General then positioned himself at the entrance of the main gate where he was clearly visible. He dressed in his finest clothes and had two children with him. One of the children lit incense and candles while the other used a fan to to cool the General while he reclined on a couch. He played an instrument in full sight of the opposing army.

His own soldiers began to worry about their General as well as their own lives, and they were completely mystified by his actions. Meanwhile, The other general of the 150K enemy soldiers, watched the activity of the city before launching attack. Instead of attacking, he immediately ordered his army to not invade the city; but instead to leave the area quickly, saving the city and Zhuge Liang’s army from sure defeat.

Afterward, Zhugis Liang explained to his soldiers that  the enemy general was a man of suspicious calculation who also considered Zhuge Liang’s cautious nature in battle, as well as one who rarely took risks of any kind. The other General also knew that  Zhuge Liang employed misdirection and ambushes as a tactic of war;, causing him to conclude that this was a well laid out trap and ambush.  For this reason, the enemy General assumed that he and his 150K men were being tricked and led to certain defeat.   The battle was won without fighting a war.

DID YOU KNOW that Pepsi changed its colors to red, white and blue during World War II to show its patriotic support. Since then, they have not changed it back which means, if you do find a Pepsi bottle that is only red and white… time to cash in!

And for pic o’ day, I am posting one that could have a bunch of captions. Maybe “Friends” or “Support” or just downright “confusion”.


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