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Back From The Wilderness....

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  • alaidh@yahoo.com
    Howdy, folks, After a long hiatus away from the US in general and NH in particular, i have finally wandered back in from the wilderness. Reading over the
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 5, 2001
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      Howdy, folks,

      After a long hiatus away from the US in general and NH in particular, i
      have finally wandered back in from the wilderness.

      Reading over the archives, ir seems that there are a lot of interesting
      threads I missed out on, so if I ask a question, request a
      clarification, or comment on something several months old, please bear
      with me.

      Two interesting things I delved into since my return nine days ago
      might be of interest.

      1. I spoke to Mike McAffey, curator of the Museum of Military History
      at West Point today, by phone (845-938-4011, ask for the museum and
      then ask for him, very helpful fellow, and willing to answer questions)
      and we discussed the USLD. I mentioned my concerns about the plume
      placement in the 1814 dragoon helmet shown in the Osprey, and he told
      me some things I'll share with you. First, the helmets at the
      Smithsonian (and elsewhere) are incomplete, and should not be taken as
      the final word. Secondly, the Smith drawing of an officer with the
      plume attached to the front of the crest shows a small metal attachment
      for holding the plume in place, absent on both the remaining helmets
      and the Osprey plate. Third, he thinks that the helmet with the plume
      in front in the Smith drawing my be simply of what that one officer
      prefered - apparently, officers bought their own uniforms, and had the
      providers add personal touches as a regular thing. Mr McAffey believes
      that all issued helmets were shipped with plumes seperate, and is off
      the opinion that it would have been cheaper, and easier, for an
      enlisted dragoon to hand-sew on a leather socket for the plume on the
      left side, than to acquire (or fabricate) a metal attachment. He agrees
      whole-heartedly that just sticking it into the front of the crest would
      not have secured it for very long - a couple of minutes at canter or a
      good stiff breeze and - gone! He aslo said that there were other
      sketches by Smith that showed enlisted dragoons, and there were none at
      the front of the crest.
      On the other hand, he also said that there were some notable errors in
      a number of Smith's sketches, so whatever you see by him should be
      taken under serious condition when it comes to uniform details. He did,
      however, feel that H.Charles McBarron's illustrations should be
      considered to be about as good as its going to get when it comes to
      uniform details, said works viewable at West Point, or in Vol.2 of the
      series published by the Company of Military Historians (long out of
      print, but I can supply the name of a military bookseller who
      occasionaly gets one in, used - ask me off list.

      Secondly, I participated in an ongoing search for the site of the block
      house near Pittsburg Landing, NH, on the Connecticut River, just south
      of the Canadian border. It was supposedly a log structure erected in
      1813 by the local militia. No luck finding the site, but I did get to
      talk to an 87-year-old man who says his grandfather used to play in its
      ruins as a child. That would have been sometime around the end of the
      1860's. If it (the site) ever is located, a few of us a planning to go
      over ther area with metal detectors to see if we can find artifacts or
      the midden.


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