Driven with Slaughter (Saturday Simmerings)

I guess the biggest news for me this week is that I finally finished my (nearly) five-year Civil War blogging project! This is pretty important for me. I started it in the summer of 2010 and just wrote the last post on Thursday (which will appear on May 30th). The object was to take each day of the conflict and write 1,000+ words about what happened on that day, 150 years before. It was incredibly difficult and rewarding. Also, it was time consuming, taking up about two hours each day to research and write the posts.

It should come as no real surprise that one of the biggest impediments to its completion was my discovery of Tolkien after about a year into it. Sure I had read The Hobbit and seen the Jackson movies multiple times, but I had never really delved into the stories at all.

When I finally got around to Tolkien, I read everything that I could. And when I got to Unfinished Tales, and read some of the pieces describing war and battle, I really wanted to incorporate some of Tolkien’s phrasing into the Civil War blog.

I always tried to maintain a fine writing style over there, and I thought throwing in phrases that Tolkien used to be a good idea. And so I went through Unfinished Tales and a few other books, I bet, jotting down phrases as I found them.

Here are some of them. I have no idea if they’re verbatim or where exactly they came from within Tolkien’s works.

-Encountered their vanguard and scattered it with loss.
-The main strength (meaning the main body of the army)
-Brought to a stand and was almost surrounded
-Descried other forces hastening forward, though their strength could not be guessed.
-Stiffened with reinforcements
-With reckless ferocity and slashing
-Came to a stand on a low rise
-Heedless and set no guard
-Massing but not yet arrayed
-Hurled a great mass
-Piles of the fallen
-Victorious, though not without great loss
-Assailed the enemy in flank and rear
-Taking care that their approach should be well known to the enemy
-At length, the battle was joined
-Driven with slaughter

9656994201_9303a52867_bOf course, I didn’t use them word-for-word, I didn’t plagiarize. I just wanted fresh idea for how to put things. Tolkien gave me that. Also, I used the word “espied” every chance I got.

Actually, the lack of this is what turned me off to the Silmarillion when I first read it. Lord of the Rings had it in many parts, but the Silm didn’t. Unfinished Tales, however, did (as did part of the Children of Hurin.

I really can’t remember which phrases were used, though I think I managed to sneak in something like “the regiment was heedless and set no guard”. Many of the phrases (or something quite similar) were used with frequency in the official reports written by many of the officers. “Assailed the enemy in flank and rear,” for example, was pretty common.

So anyway, with that project at an end, I’ve got myself a whole mess of free time. I’m going to do everything in my power to enjoy that. For now, this blog will remain as it is, posting on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday – with a bit of something on the weekends. With summer quickly approaching (in the Pacific Northwest) my photography blog will get busier, though. Feel free to follow me there, if you like.

In other news (meaning pizza), I’ve had a few weeks of bad luck. I’ve found a new recipe, though, and hope to make that tomorrow. If it turns out well, you’re all invited to a pizza party in Seattle. Huzzah!

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14 thoughts on “Driven with Slaughter (Saturday Simmerings)

  1. That’s a huge accomplishment! I should hop over there and read some of the things you’ve posted this summer (since I won’t have the constant mountain of student papers to grade then : ) ). I feel a connection to it since so many members of my family fought and died in it. My mom even has two photographs of two of my relatives (great-great-great… uncles, I believe) in their uniforms.

    • Oh neat! Do you remember which regiments they belonged to? I had family on both sides, but the nearest was with the North from Pennsylvania.

      • Pennsylvania? That’s too funny! That’s where all of mine (that I know of) were from. I think my mom has more written down somewhere, but one of them has a distinctive enough name for me to find on the database. He was in the 102nd Regiment (Infantry) from PA. I know he was among the casualties, but I can’t remember which battle it was. He had five or so brothers (only one of whom survived), so they all blend together a bit.

        • That’s the Sixth Corps. They were one of the regiments mustered in the last summer of 1861. Western Pennsylvania, I see.

          Only one of the brothers survived the war? That’s really rough. Wow.

          Mine were central, but still Army of the Potomac – 51st Penna. And 150th. All survived, though one was wounded and another captured in the last full year of the war.

          • That’s awesome to know. 🙂 And, yes, definitely Western PA. I promise I’m related to at least half of the population of Pittsburgh.

            How awesome that all of yours survived. If I remember correctly, the only surviving brother from that part of the family was in the reserves. I wish I had the list my great-grandmother made of where all of the others were killed. I know there was one at both Battles of Bull Run, which made it even more surreal when we visited years ago.

            • They survived, and there are some interesting stories. However, I did catch one in a lie about Gettysburg. He claimed to watch his best friend die in the Wheatfield, but his regiment wasn’t in the Wheatfield, and it’s very possible he wasn’t even at the battle.

              And another was in one of the 30-day regiments called up at the time of Gettysburg. He brought back a sword and it was family legend that he either used it in the battle or captured it from a Confederate. In truth, his regiment was assigned clean up duty at Gettysburg after the battle. He just brought home a souvenir. Can’t blame him. I would have done the same.

              I used to have a list, but I’ve lost it and now have to rely on my memory, which is bad. I don’t think there are any photos.

            • Wow, I love the stories! I think I would do the same too. Maybe not make up a story about it, but definitely grab one.

              There aren’t too many stories from my family (that I know). I found a book once that discussed a few of the men from another part of my mom’s family. One was a minister, and he was among the dead. He might be one of the ones we have a photo of. Two relatives of his were a little less scrupulous. Supposedly they enlisted in a few different places to get the benefits. Knowing that side of the family, it’s not that surprising. 🙂

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