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Osprey - American Army 1812-14

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  • mmathews@VAX2.WINONA.MSUS.EDU
    Good day one and all, I just picked up a copy of the book above, cheap. Knowing that Osprey books typically contain an error or two or three, I wondered if
    Message 1 of 9 , Jan 11, 2001
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      Good day one and all,

      I just picked up a copy of the book above, cheap. Knowing that Osprey
      books typically contain an error or two or three, I wondered if any of you
      might point out issues you have with either the text or illustrations. I
      mostly bought it as a painting guide for my miniatures.

      Thanks in advance,
      Michael, lotsa different coats

      Michael Mathews -- Winona State University
      Voice: (507) 285-7585 Cel: (507) 450-3535 Fax: (507) 280-5568
      ------------------------------
      "I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have."
      - Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)
    • Fitzhugh MacCrae
      ... There are two errors/contradictions that jump out - 1. The author states that only the 1st-7th Infantries had white crossbelts, the rest had black - and
      Message 2 of 9 , Jan 15, 2001
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        --- mmathews@... wrote:
        > Good day one and all,
        >
        > I just picked up a copy of the book above, cheap.
        > Knowing that Osprey
        > books typically contain an error or two or three, I
        > wondered if any of you
        > might point out issues you have with either the text
        > or illustrations. I
        > mostly bought it as a painting guide for my
        > miniatures.
        >
        >

        There are two errors/contradictions that jump out -

        1. The author states that only the 1st-7th Infantries
        had white crossbelts, the rest had black - and then
        shows a color plate of someone from the 21st with
        white. I will leave it to others to judge which part
        was the error.

        2. The color plate of the later dragoon shows a helmet
        with the plume attached to the peak of the crest - to
        the best of my knowledge, ther only source for this is
        the Charles Hamilton Smith sketch of a dragoon officer
        in 1816.

        There are several things wrong with this.

        First of all, the sketch was done in 1816....the
        dragoons were disbanded in late 1815. Who, then, did
        he sketch? Keep in mind that Smith was more interested
        in sketching the fortifications that invariably appear
        in the background of most of his sketches than in the
        uniforms he was supposedly drawing - resulting in a
        number of known errors in that particular folio
        (uniform errors, that is - the fortifications were
        drawn with painstaking correctness), and said folio
        being politely but firmly impounded just as he was
        about to board ship and split. He has been referred to
        frequently as "artist-spy", for apparently good
        reason.

        Secondly, the plume is attached in the same manner as
        an aigrette on a French helmet - which requires a
        seperate fitting, which the photo of the helmet
        clearly shows is lacking. Nor is there any indication
        that it ever had such an attachment.

        Thirdly, a close examination of the photos showing the
        cap badge on the front of both helmets (and sketched
        in Chartrand's book) does not show any such plume on
        the portrayed rider.

        It is my understanding that the helmets were made (and
        found in a warehouse) in Philadelphia. I do not know
        if the cap badges were already affixed, or attached
        later for display purposes. I suspect the latter, as I
        have seen photos of both sides of that particular
        helmet, and there are no attachment for a plume
        anywhere at all - which is exactly the style of helmet
        worn in Pennsylvania by, among others, the
        Philidelphia Troop of Light Horse in 1813...

        If the dragoons in question were on active duty rather
        than parade dress, their trousers would have been dark
        blue instead of white. Finally, I'd like to think that
        the mustache is accurate, but.....ask Tim his opinion
        on that one. It's too close to call for me.

        Fitz


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      • fullerfamily@sprintmail.com
        ... Is this referring to the recent book by Jim Kochan? In the interest of scholarship, I could send this post to him, and see what he says. Maybe he ll even
        Message 3 of 9 , Jan 15, 2001
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          --- In WarOf1812@egroups.com, Fitzhugh MacCrae <alaidh@y...> wrote:
          >
          > --- mmathews@V... wrote:
          > > Good day one and all,
          > >
          > > I just picked up a copy of the book above, cheap.
          > > Knowing that Osprey
          > > books typically contain an error or two or three, I
          > > wondered if any of you
          > > might point out issues you have with either the text
          > > or illustrations. I
          > > mostly bought it as a painting guide for my
          > > miniatures.
          > >
          > >
          >
          > There are two errors/contradictions that jump out -
          >
          > 1. The author states that only the 1st-7th Infantries
          > had white crossbelts, the rest had black - and then
          > shows a color plate of someone from the 21st with
          > white. I will leave it to others to judge which part
          > was the error.
          >
          > 2. The color plate of the later dragoon shows a helmet
          > with the plume attached to the peak of the crest - to
          > the best of my knowledge, ther only source for this is
          > the Charles Hamilton Smith sketch of a dragoon officer
          > in 1816.
          >
          > There are several things wrong with this.
          >
          > First of all, the sketch was done in 1816....the
          > dragoons were disbanded in late 1815. Who, then, did
          > he sketch? Keep in mind that Smith was more interested
          > in sketching the fortifications that invariably appear
          > in the background of most of his sketches than in the
          > uniforms he was supposedly drawing - resulting in a
          > number of known errors in that particular folio
          > (uniform errors, that is - the fortifications were
          > drawn with painstaking correctness), and said folio
          > being politely but firmly impounded just as he was
          > about to board ship and split. He has been referred to
          > frequently as "artist-spy", for apparently good
          > reason.
          >
          > Secondly, the plume is attached in the same manner as
          > an aigrette on a French helmet - which requires a
          > seperate fitting, which the photo of the helmet
          > clearly shows is lacking. Nor is there any indication
          > that it ever had such an attachment.
          >
          > Thirdly, a close examination of the photos showing the
          > cap badge on the front of both helmets (and sketched
          > in Chartrand's book) does not show any such plume on
          > the portrayed rider.
          >
          > It is my understanding that the helmets were made (and
          > found in a warehouse) in Philadelphia. I do not know
          > if the cap badges were already affixed, or attached
          > later for display purposes. I suspect the latter, as I
          > have seen photos of both sides of that particular
          > helmet, and there are no attachment for a plume
          > anywhere at all - which is exactly the style of helmet
          > worn in Pennsylvania by, among others, the
          > Philidelphia Troop of Light Horse in 1813...
          >
          > If the dragoons in question were on active duty rather
          > than parade dress, their trousers would have been dark
          > blue instead of white. Finally, I'd like to think that
          > the mustache is accurate, but.....ask Tim his opinion
          > on that one. It's too close to call for me.
          >
          > Fitz


          Is this referring to the recent book by Jim Kochan? In the interest
          of scholarship, I could send this post to him, and see what he says.
          Maybe he'll even send something back to put on the list (?)

          Let me know, and I'd be happy to forward it to him.

          Roger
        • Fitzhugh MacCrae
          ... snip ... Plese do! I would love to enter into a converstation with him on this. Back when Phil Katcher s book came out (The American War...another Osprey
          Message 4 of 9 , Jan 16, 2001
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            --- fullerfamily@... wrote:
            > --- In WarOf1812@egroups.com, Fitzhugh MacCrae
            > <alaidh@y...> wrote:

            snip

            >
            > Is this referring to the recent book by Jim Kochan?
            > In the interest
            > of scholarship, I could send this post to him, and
            > see what he says.
            > Maybe he'll even send something back to put on the
            > list (?)
            >
            > Let me know, and I'd be happy to forward it to him.
            >
            > Roger
            >
            >

            Plese do! I would love to enter into a converstation
            with him on this.

            Back when Phil Katcher's book came out (The American
            War...another Osprey title(Ihave both additions and
            the colorplates are completely different between the
            two)), I called Phil up on the phone and we discussed
            his USLD plate. eventually, he conceeded that the
            long-tailed cdoat with white button lace on he front
            was conjectural, and based on a modern-contemporary
            black and white sketch done as some else's
            interpretation (anyone who has examined the period
            issued instructions and patterns in Chartrand's
            excellent book is aware that that the coat shown in
            Katcher's book is completely in error).

            IMHO, the best and most accurate plate showing helmet
            and uniform details of USLD is the McBarron plate in
            "Years of Growth" by the Company Of Military
            Historians (Vol.2 of the set)

            A plate from one of the Fred and Lillian Funken books,
            published in Belgium is reproduced in Elting's
            "Amateurs To Arms", and also shows the plume on the
            side of the helmet (British style) rather than the
            peak of the crest (a la aigrette francaise).

            The Blandford book on US Cavalry shows the plume in
            the front on the 1810-1812 helmet, as does Kochan's
            book, but shows the plume on the side on the 1812-1815
            helmet,, as does McBarron, Funken, and Katcher (not to
            mention Imrie Risley, who are generally conceeded to
            get such details right)

            It is, of course, poossible that the person who posed
            for Smith was a former officer who, in the way of most
            officers in those days, had made personal
            modifications to his uniform. But from a practical
            point of view, the plume would not have stayed in if
            it was simply stuck into a half-inch wide gap in the
            front of the crest - that is why the brass aigrette
            attachments on the European helmet. Picture trying to
            keep the plume attached to your helmet without such an
            attachment, while galloping along at a merry 15 miles
            an hour, and bouncing up and down to boot! The gallop
            is creating a 15 mph wind against the plume, trying to
            blow it away...if it isn't securely fastened, its
            gone.

            Fitz

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          • Larry Lozon
            From: fullerfamily@sprintmail.com Is this referring to the recent book by Jim Kochan? In the interest of scholarship, I could send this post to him, and see
            Message 5 of 9 , Jan 16, 2001
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              From: fullerfamily@...
              Is this referring to the recent book by Jim Kochan? In the interest
              of scholarship, I could send this post to him, and see what he says.
              Maybe he'll even send something back to put on the list (?)
              Let me know, and I'd be happy to forward it to him.


              Roger, why not let's see what he has to say!



































              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • BritcomHMP@aol.com
              In a message dated 1/16/2001 7:56:13 AM Central Standard Time, alaidh@yahoo.com writes:
              Message 6 of 9 , Jan 16, 2001
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                In a message dated 1/16/2001 7:56:13 AM Central Standard Time,
                alaidh@... writes:

                << A plate from one of the Fred and Lillian Funken books,
                published in Belgium is reproduced in Elting's
                "Amateurs To Arms", and also shows the plume on the
                side of the helmet (British style) rather than the
                peak of the crest (a la aigrette francaise).
                >>

                A couple of helmet points here just to be accurate. The small shaving brush
                at the front of the crest (cimier [Fr.]) is not called the aigrette but the
                houpet (sp?). An aigrette is a type of plume worn by senior officers, on the
                side of the helmet, made of egret feathers (hence the name).

                If you look at the picture of the helmet top right of page 23 in Chartrands
                book it appears to have a plume on the left side however the picture below it
                seems to show it stuck in behind the leather front of the helmet (though it
                is very difficult to see against the dark background). If this is the case,
                that a plume was worn in the front of the cap, it would certainly appear as
                an houpet to someone like Hamilton Smith who was used to seeing that sort of
                thing.

                PS have you noticed that the profiles of Jacint Laval and Wade Hampton are
                virtual mirror images of each other? Even the plume swaps sides on the helmet
                :-)

                Cheers

                Tim
              • Fitzhugh MacCrae
                ... As a maater of fact, I brought the iossue of mirror-image paintings up with someone who actually knows about that sort of thing - Virginia Richards-Taylor,
                Message 7 of 9 , Jan 17, 2001
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                  --- BritcomHMP@... wrote:
                  > In a message dated 1/16/2001 7:56:13 AM Central
                  > Standard Time,
                  > alaidh@... writes:
                  >
                  > << A plate from one of the Fred and Lillian Funken
                  > books,
                  > published in Belgium is reproduced in Elting's
                  > "Amateurs To Arms", and also shows the plume on the
                  > side of the helmet (British style) rather than the
                  > peak of the crest (a la aigrette francaise).
                  > >>
                  >
                  > A couple of helmet points here just to be accurate.
                  > The small shaving brush
                  > at the front of the crest (cimier [Fr.]) is not
                  > called the aigrette but the
                  > houpet (sp?). An aigrette is a type of plume worn by
                  > senior officers, on the
                  > side of the helmet, made of egret feathers (hence
                  > the name).
                  >
                  > If you look at the picture of the helmet top right
                  > of page 23 in Chartrands
                  > book it appears to have a plume on the left side
                  > however the picture below it
                  > seems to show it stuck in behind the leather front
                  > of the helmet (though it
                  > is very difficult to see against the dark
                  > background). If this is the case,
                  > that a plume was worn in the front of the cap, it
                  > would certainly appear as
                  > an houpet to someone like Hamilton Smith who was
                  > used to seeing that sort of
                  > thing.
                  >
                  > PS have you noticed that the profiles of Jacint
                  > Laval and Wade Hampton are
                  > virtual mirror images of each other? Even the plume
                  > swaps sides on the helmet
                  > :-)
                  >
                  > Cheers
                  >
                  > Tim
                  >

                  As a maater of fact, I brought the iossue of
                  mirror-image paintings up with someone who actually
                  knows about that sort of thing - Virginia
                  Richards-Taylor, an artist who also does Early
                  federalist (as the style is called). She showed me
                  dozens of similar examples in her books..it seems that
                  most of such portraits done in those days was done by
                  itenerant artists, who were expected to get the
                  likeness down in a single day -- the result was a very
                  stylized approach. both Laval and Hampton were fron
                  the deep south, both were prominant citizens (Laval
                  used to be the sheriff in those parts before his
                  military career) - I suspect one saw the painting of
                  the other, hired an artist and told him, "Do one for
                  me like that, too!"
                  Virginia also mentioned that it could be possible that
                  one painting faced one way, the other one the other
                  way, because one of them was supposed to be opposite
                  another painting - a wife, perhaps. This kind of
                  switching was also common.
                  BTW, if you want any Early Federalist or Early
                  American paintings for your home, Virginia is the
                  person to talk to - if, for instance, you so wished,
                  she could paint you in a British Major General's
                  uniform, simply by painting your likeness (and the
                  proper rank) onto a copy of someone else's portrait
                  (that was the way it was done). If you (or anyone
                  else) is interested, back-channel me for her e-mail
                  address.

                  Fitz


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                • marspubs@earthlink.net
                  This website has just been brought to my attention by Roger Fuller and I noted Mr. Mathews comments, re: my recent book, US Army 1812- 1815 published by
                  Message 8 of 9 , Jan 30, 2001
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                    This website has just been brought to my attention by Roger Fuller
                    and I noted Mr. Mathews comments, re: my recent book, US Army 1812-
                    1815 published by Osprey. I would like to made a short response to
                    Mr. Mathews comments and critiques of information presented therein:

                    No where in the book do I state that only the 1-7 Infantry received
                    buff belting. If Mr. Mathews had carefully read the passage on page
                    40 "....by and large, most wartime raised units were furnished with
                    black crossbelts. The seven "old" infantry regiments, as well as
                    most of the artillery and a few select units, had buff belting...."
                    This information is drawn from requisitions, supply orders, issue
                    records and correspondence in the QMG papers at NA>

                    re: dragoon uniforms and headgear:

                    If Mr. Mathews had again read the body of the text, as well as the
                    plate narratives, he would have found mention of the issue of both
                    blue and white pantaloons ("overalls") to both regiments of dragoons,
                    as well as the attempts to get white buckskin pantaloons (failed.
                    Officers, however, purchased their own uniforms and as I note in the
                    plate text, the officer is portrayed in full dress. The use
                    of "mustachios" by dragoons are verified in Two Campaigns of a
                    Subaltern.... Regarding the "pompom" or "plume" which are the two
                    terms used by American troops for their embellishment (despite what
                    the English or French may have called them): the mounting of the
                    pompom on the front of the crest is borne out by the actual
                    configuration of the 1813 pattern cap,not merely the Hamilton Smith
                    watercolor (which, incidentally, is far more accurate than Mr.
                    Mathews gives credit). The late Hugh McBarron, which whom I prepared
                    a number of articles on 1812 dress, did his two plates showing
                    dragoons uniforms in the 1960s and early 1970s (the latter one
                    reproduced in the Chartrand book). Hugh worked from a photograph of
                    one of the extant helments in the Smithsonian, which he never had
                    occasion to personally examine in great detail. I happen to own one
                    of these regular army dragoon caps and have personally examined most
                    of the other surviving examples. There is no provision for a plume
                    socket on the side, instead, the horsehair crest is stepped or
                    staggered back to allow the plume to be mounted on the front of the
                    comb, as shown by Hamilton Smith (this feature can be clearly seen on
                    the photo of the dragoon cap in Don Troiani's collection on page 35.
                    Incidentally, all of these caps were found in an old Army
                    quartermaster cache at Fort Snelling, MN, not Philadelphia.

                    Re: the 15th Infantry. Not only did the 3rd rank of the 15th carry
                    pikes, swords and shortened muskets in action, Pike had attempted to
                    replace the shortened muskets with pistols, but died at York before
                    ever succeeding in this endeavour. After Pike's death, the
                    experiment with pikes was laid aside and the 15th soon were armed as
                    most other regiments. I believe that Mr. Mathews has also misread
                    Rene Chartrand's passage in his book on the subject, which also
                    confirms the use of the pikes in action.

                    Sadly, Osprey books do not allow for footnoting of sources, but I
                    attempted to alleviate this to some degree by citing the primary
                    sources I examined in the preparation of this work at the back of the
                    volume. As to Lillian and Fred Funcken as a reliable source, I would
                    strongly urge anyone to avoid their finding on American military
                    dress, as they are full of errors.

                    One error, introduced by the editor, is in a caption he changed for
                    the 3rd Model Brown Bess, which said it was "captured from the
                    British"--while many 3rd Models were captured, they had been in use
                    by the artillery and Marines prior to the War of 1812 and most of
                    these had been imported from Europe to the American market.

                    Another error, introduced by the artist during final coloring and not
                    caught until the book was released (now corrected on the original
                    artwork) is the officer's Starr saber, in which the P-guard is too
                    pronounced and the blade is shown with a wide fuller, when it is
                    actually flat (no fuller)--see orig. photo on p. 33. While we took
                    great pains to ensure the highest degree of accuracy, I am sure that
                    if we did the book again 10 years from now, I would change many
                    things based on new information (I am still not done mining the
                    sources at the Nat. Archives, much less elsewhere, even after 20
                    years at it) and new interpretation of existing information. Note,
                    for example, that the pikeman of the 15th in the Osprey book is now
                    interpreted with an all-grey coat, rather than witih red facings as I
                    had Don Troiani paint it only 2 years previously!! New research--new
                    interpretation.

                    Yours sincerely,

                    Jim Kochan




                    --- In WarOf1812@y..., Fitzhugh MacCrae <alaidh@y...> wrote:
                    >
                    > --- mmathews@V... wrote:
                    > > Good day one and all,
                    > >
                    > > I just picked up a copy of the book above, cheap.
                    > > Knowing that Osprey
                    > > books typically contain an error or two or three, I
                    > > wondered if any of you
                    > > might point out issues you have with either the text
                    > > or illustrations. I
                    > > mostly bought it as a painting guide for my
                    > > miniatures.
                    > >
                    > >
                    >
                    > There are two errors/contradictions that jump out -
                    >
                    > 1. The author states that only the 1st-7th Infantries
                    > had white crossbelts, the rest had black - and then
                    > shows a color plate of someone from the 21st with
                    > white. I will leave it to others to judge which part
                    > was the error.
                    >
                    > 2. The color plate of the later dragoon shows a helmet
                    > with the plume attached to the peak of the crest - to
                    > the best of my knowledge, ther only source for this is
                    > the Charles Hamilton Smith sketch of a dragoon officer
                    > in 1816.
                    >
                    > There are several things wrong with this.
                    >
                    > First of all, the sketch was done in 1816....the
                    > dragoons were disbanded in late 1815. Who, then, did
                    > he sketch? Keep in mind that Smith was more interested
                    > in sketching the fortifications that invariably appear
                    > in the background of most of his sketches than in the
                    > uniforms he was supposedly drawing - resulting in a
                    > number of known errors in that particular folio
                    > (uniform errors, that is - the fortifications were
                    > drawn with painstaking correctness), and said folio
                    > being politely but firmly impounded just as he was
                    > about to board ship and split. He has been referred to
                    > frequently as "artist-spy", for apparently good
                    > reason.
                    >
                    > Secondly, the plume is attached in the same manner as
                    > an aigrette on a French helmet - which requires a
                    > seperate fitting, which the photo of the helmet
                    > clearly shows is lacking. Nor is there any indication
                    > that it ever had such an attachment.
                    >
                    > Thirdly, a close examination of the photos showing the
                    > cap badge on the front of both helmets (and sketched
                    > in Chartrand's book) does not show any such plume on
                    > the portrayed rider.
                    >
                    > It is my understanding that the helmets were made (and
                    > found in a warehouse) in Philadelphia. I do not know
                    > if the cap badges were already affixed, or attached
                    > later for display purposes. I suspect the latter, as I
                    > have seen photos of both sides of that particular
                    > helmet, and there are no attachment for a plume
                    > anywhere at all - which is exactly the style of helmet
                    > worn in Pennsylvania by, among others, the
                    > Philidelphia Troop of Light Horse in 1813...
                    >
                    > If the dragoons in question were on active duty rather
                    > than parade dress, their trousers would have been dark
                    > blue instead of white. Finally, I'd like to think that
                    > the mustache is accurate, but.....ask Tim his opinion
                    > on that one. It's too close to call for me.
                    >
                    > Fitz
                    >
                    >
                    > __________________________________________________
                    > Do You Yahoo!?
                    > Get email at your own domain with Yahoo! Mail.
                    > http://personal.mail.yahoo.com/
                  • mmathews@VAX2.WINONA.MSUS.EDU
                    ... Time out. While I m big enough (at 5 5 ) to accept blame for carelessness or error whien I m at fault, this is not the case here. As you will note, each
                    Message 9 of 9 , Feb 1, 2001
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                      >This website has just been brought to my attention by Roger Fuller
                      >and I noted Mr. Mathews comments, re: my recent book, US Army 1812-
                      >1815 published by Osprey. I would like to made a short response to
                      >Mr. Mathews comments and critiques of information presented therein:
                      >
                      >No where in the book do I state that only the 1-7 Infantry received
                      >buff belting. If Mr. Mathews had carefully read the passage on page
                      >40 "....(big snip)

                      Time out. While I'm big enough (at 5'5") to accept blame for carelessness
                      or error whien I'm at fault, this is not the case here. As you will note,
                      each time a message is responded to you get an additional carrot (sp?). So
                      your message now has one set, mine has one plus one from Fitz and one from
                      this posting, and Fitz's comments have two. Plus the signiture at the end.
                      My only posting regarding your book was the question stated below.

                      Thanks for adding to the discussion and providing those corrections and
                      clarifications.

                      Regards,
                      Michael

                      >--- In WarOf1812@y..., Fitzhugh MacCrae <alaidh@y...> wrote:
                      >>
                      >> --- mmathews@V... wrote:
                      >> > Good day one and all,
                      >> >
                      >> > I just picked up a copy of the book above, cheap.
                      >> > Knowing that Osprey
                      >> > books typically contain an error or two or three, I
                      >> > wondered if any of you
                      >> > might point out issues you have with either the text
                      >> > or illustrations. I
                      >> > mostly bought it as a painting guide for my
                      >> > miniatures.
                      >> >
                      >> >
                      >>
                      >> There are two errors/contradictions that jump out -
                      >>
                      (big snip)
                      >>
                      >> Fitz

                      Michael Mathews -- Winona State University
                      Voice: (507) 285-7585 Cel: (507) 429-5945 Fax: (507) 280-5568
                      ------------------------------
                      "I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have."
                      - Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)
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