What’s in a translation?

image53I just read a fascinating article about the history of Bible translations, in a Bible I bought at the Stowe Library book sale (The New Oxford Annotated Bible).

The original Old Testament was written in Hebrew and the New Testament was written in Greek. Apparently most English translations of scripture up till the 20th century owe much of their approach, if not their word choice, to a 16th century translator named William Tyndale. The King James and other later translations used much of his word choice, sentence structure, interpretation of meaning, etc.

Oh, and there’s this: “Tyndale was bitterly opposed. He was accused of perverting the meaning of the Scriptures, and his New Testaments were ordered to be burned as ‘untrue translations,’ intended ‘for the advancement and setting forth of Luther’s abominable heresies.’ He was finally betrayed into the hands of his enemies, and in October 1536, was executed and burned at the stake.”

One problem with so many translations is that the original Hebrew or Greek words had multiple possible meanings and, for instance, the council that executed the King James version made word choices that, according to this article, were “often determined by a marvelously sure instinct for what would sound well when read aloud.” In other words, translation choices were sometimes made for literary reasons.

While this gave the KJV merit as a literary work, it also meant that certain subtle meaning might get perverted.

So where the earlier Geneva Bible translated Proverbs 3:17 as “Her wayes are wayes of pleasure and all her paths prosperitie,” the King James Version went along with previous translations (the Great Bible, the Bishops’ Bible, etc) and presented it as “Her wayes are wayes of pleasantness and all her pathes are peace.”

I’m seeing that this is why a concordance is necessary. When there’s a verse that doesn’t quite ring true, a concordance gives you the multiple shades of meaning in the original language. Subtle, seemingly insignificant words (like, oh, say, “pleasure” and “pleasantness”) can change the entire meaning of a passage.

As Mark Twain said, it’s often the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.

And, of course, as Neville Goddard pointed out repeatedly, understanding the work not as literal history (“The Bible is not about any person or thing that ever existed”) but as a metaphysical document written in symbolic language changes its meaning as well. This is the approach that 20th century translators such as James Moffatt and George Lamsa took. 

To be continued…

In the groove with vinyl…

f0ea4a04f9ca2a1c03de2604e599706e--city-sunset-vinesI follow several record collecting groups and pages on Facebook, and one topic that comes up occasionally is: do we think that vinyl is ever going to “come back” at the level it did in the pre-digital days?

My answer is always the same.


As I posted in reply to the latest iteration of this yesterday…

Most pop music consumers are wed to digital, and a true “comeback” of any physical format would require them to not only change their listening habits but to invest financially in all sorts of technology that simply isn’t compatible with their lifestyle-current tech.

Translated: in the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s, most kids (or at least most homes) had a home stereo with a turntable-CD player-tape deck. Those physical devices were not only wed to the “music as object,” but they required a physical place to use them. Portability (car stereo, walkman, boombox, etc) was always a goal but took a long time to integrate into the “music as physical object” system. 

Today, most kids either download music (by purchase or fileshare) or skip the acquisition and stream music without buying it. And they can take that music anywhere without adding in a tape deck or CD burner or whatever. So the problem of portability has been solved.

We should just be happy that 45s and albums have not been deepsixed altogether. They’re a boutique item now, and that’s OK.

A little bit further down the thread, someone commented that “I would like to thank RSD (Record Store Day) for ruining the 7″ single, just because of the ridiculous prices. What seemed like a good idea when they started. Ended up in a giant cash grab.”

I’m not sure how Record Store Day “ruined” the 7 inch single. As I replied to this person, Record Store Day hasn’t ruined anything for me. I still go to the same places I always went to find records: flea markets, yard sales, thrift shops, library book sales. Usually, I find stuff I didn’t even know I wanted for less than I would have paid if I’d proactively sought it. And when I proactively seek something, the internet gives me far more options than I had even 20 years ago. I’ve never participated in RSD, although –tying into what I typed above– I’ve found several great RSD releases marked down after the dust cleared.

“So,” I concluded, “I guess I’m happy with the way things are.”

Here’s a further case in point:

DSCN8505Recently, on one of the jazz stations I listen to online, they played “Misty” by Richard Groove Holmes.

Thirty years ago, my only option would have been to go to a record store and either pay full price for a new LP or cassette, or go to Goldmine (a record collector’s magazine which in its heyday was the best place to find used records) or some other source (flea market, used record store) hoping to score a used copy (at who knows what price?).

However, NOW I had these options:

* Download album or individual track from Amazon or iTunes (30 years ago, I would have had to buy the whole album)

* Stream the album or track online

* Order a new or used CD online

* Order a new or used LP online

* Download illegally via a fileshare site.

If I’d wanted, I could have gotten an MP3 of the whole album immediately … free, if my conscience permitted. For slightly more, I could have scored a physical disc (and not expensive, either: a mono original press in VG condition was listed on eBay for $3.99 plus shipping). If I didn’t want to buy, I could stream it free on multiple sites (which I did via YouTube).

And now, here’s the kicker:


Groove screenshotWhen I was a DJ a couple years back, I downloaded via fileshare a TON of classic jazz for airplay, including a zip file of a dozen Richard Groove Holmes albums in 320 kbps MP3 format!!! I own so much music that I lost track of it.

I’m eventually going to buy a used vinyl of it on eBay, but my point is… why do we pretend that the current system and the options it affords us isn’t better than anything we could have designed deliberately?

So really, the question is not “will vinyl ever ‘come back'”?

The question is “Why would we WANT it to?”

Assumptions and reality

Meme - Ramana - Assumptions

From a talk by A. Ramana entitled “Water Into Wine.”

Let me urge you to use these processes, to use these principles that work, and have been working in your life… and from my point of view, I can see it with humor that whatever it is you’re now assuming to be the way that it is for you…wonder why it’s that way? Would you think that your assumptions would have anything to do with it? (laughter)

A mind filled with concepts, opinions, beliefs, is going to manifest those concepts, those opinions and those beliefs. It may look to you as though events outside of you are doing it. But events outside of you do not have any effect on you unless you assume them to have an effect on you, and draw conclusions with regard to them.

Where did the definition of the event… where did the classification of the event… where did the naming of the event as being this or that… where did it come from? To whom is it occurring?

Can it even BE there apart from the ‘I’ that is seeing it?

How would you know that it is there apart from the ‘I’ that is assuming it to be there the way it appears to be?

And it doesn’t matter what it is. You may have a mind that is filled with all kinds of reasons why it ought to be this way or that way… your doctor told you so, your accountant told you so, your attorney told so, your mother-in-law told you so.

But without YOU there as being the one that is conscious of that, acknowledging that in the way you are acknowledging it to be, tell me how it could have any effect upon you without you being there GIVING it the effect that it is having upon you by your assumption of it being the way you’re assuming it to be, or you’re seeing it to be? In other words, the way you’re THINKING it to be.

You see, our thought is what creates our reality… our IMAGINING is what creates our reality. Not from the past. Our IMAGINING. Our ASSUMPTIONS… our felt and held assumptions is what creates the manifestation of our apparent reality.

That’s my realization. That’s not my belief, that’s not my theory, that’s not my opinion… that is my REALIZATION… this is simply the way it is, and I am only here to share it with you.

If you want to ARGUE with me about it… OK. I’m not going to argue with you about it. If you have legitimate questions and doubts I will be with you in your questions and your doubts but I am not here to argue with you. I ALREADY know the way it works. I have no questions. I have no doubts.

If you want to live in the limitation of your conditioned mind, and you’re the one who has accepted it to be that way, then you’re the one who has to suffer the consequences of that, but you CAN revise… you CAN transform your life. You can revise your life and transform your life IF YOU CHOOSE TO. Are you with me?

The question is: are you ready? Do you choose to?

Or would you rather be “right” and suffer?

“They’re really dialogues…”

From Neville Goddard’s lecture “The Coin of Heaven”:


“If a man could only control his inner dialogue, he would find the most rewarding of all conversations.

“Oh, it’s so easy, as Shakespeare said… it’s so easy to teach others, to teach twenty what was good to be done, then he finds it so difficult to be one of the twenty to follow his own teaching.

“For all day long man is thinking. And if he thinks, he thinks in words. And he’s talking… he’s carrying on inner conversations with himself. But they’re really dialogues. It’s not a monologue. He is conjuring people in his mind’s eye… two or more. And then he carries on these dialogues, all through the day, all into the night. And he’s arguing.

“If you and I, this very night, could decide what we want to be in this world– I don’t care what it is– and then carry on these inner conversations from that assumption– that we are already the man or the woman that we want to be– and then not waver in that assumption, we would really be imitating God as dear children.

“So I would say to everyone here: test it. Try it to the very limit.”

Neville From My Notebook


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Read Book One of “Meeting Dennis Wilson” FREE…

“Today marks the day that I officially add Meeting Dennis Wilson to my ‘Favorite Coming of Age Books’ list. I adore John Green and his work [and] I fell in love with this book just as easily as I fell in love with Paper Towns or An Abundance of Katherines. Meeting Dennis Wilson can easily be compared to a teenager who’s just coming of age: awkward, quirky, hilarious, and loads of fun to be around. Meeting Dennis Wilson is incredibly comical, sweet, and ultimately feel-good.” (The Literary Connoisseur)

The first book of my seven-volume serialized novel, Meeting Dennis Wilson, is now available for FREE download in e-book form.


Cover_1_v200115-year-old Beach Boys fan Margo LeDoux has a crush on Dennis Wilson and she wants to meet him… except… her boyfriend Scott doesn’t really like the idea: “I don’t want you runnin’ off and bein’ some groupie!” (“So?” replies Margo.)

Meanwhile, Margo’s best friend (and our narrator) Brian Pressley and his girlfriend, Christy Kelly, decide that they’re going to “take steps” toward going all the way, steps which seem to get them into trouble no matter how careful they are.

And then there’s Christy’s big sister Kathy, who’s stricken with a bad case of senioritis and a boyfriend who’s avoiding her just weeks shy of the senior prom… and Brian’s buddy Marty, a shy kid with a Beatles obsession and a crush on Margo… and Margo’s softball catcher Tara Longbaugh, whose parents have a connection that could get Margo closer to meeting her heartthrob… not to mention parents, brothers, sisters, classmates and teachers who just seem to make life harder, not easier.

In Margo’s words: “How do we put UP with all these people?”

And how can a girl with a rockstar-sized crush meet the drummer of her dreams?

Meeting Dennis Wilson is a coming-of-age novel about love and friendship and growing up, and mostly about the things we do to put distance between ourselves and the things– and people– we love and want most.

And music. You can almost hear the car radio playing.

Get the freebie!!

Start now on Meeting Dennis Wilson by downloading and reading an e-book of Book One FREE.

FREE PDF — The free PDF is available through my seller page at It’s listed as a “pay what you want” title, which means you can get it free. (If you want to pay for it, that’s up to you, but if you want the freebie, just enter $0.00 as the price when you check out.) CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE PDF.

And when you finish Book One, check out my Selz page for the remaining installments in the series. The PDFs of Books 1, 2, and 3 are available now, and the remaining books in the series will be uploaded and available in PDF format by the end of July.

Thanks for your interest, and I hope you enjoy Book One of Meeting Dennis Wilson.


“A kindergarten for image-making”

Meme - Neville - kindergarten

From Neville Goddard’s book The Law and the Promise

“We must use our imagination to achieve particular ends, even if the ends are all trivia. Because men do not clearly define and imagine particular ends, the results are uncertain, while they might be perfectly certain. To imagine particular ends is to dsicriminate clearly. ‘How do we distinguish the oak from the beech, the horse from the ox, but by the bounding outline?’ Definition asserts the reality of the particular thing against the formless generalizations which cloud the mind.

“Life on earth is a kindergarten for image making. The bigness or littleness of the object to be created is not in itself important. ‘The great and golden rule of art, as well as of life,’ said (poet William) Blake, ‘is this: That the more distinct, sharp and wirey the bounding line, the more perfect the work of art, and the less keen and sharp, the greater is the evidence of weak imitation. What is it that builds a house and plants a garden but the definite and determinate? … leave out this line, and you leave out life itself.”

Neville From My Notebook


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Two collections of quotes, passages and lectures from the mystical teachings of Neville Goddard, available now as e-books.

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“Would you believe in a love at first sight? Yes, I’m certain that it happens all the time.”

Here’s the opening passage of my novella Meeting Margo, where narrator Brian Pressley describes his (their) moment of First Sight…


h-armstrong-roberts-1960s-elementary-classroom-children-at-desks-writing-studyingI love Margo LeDoux. I always have and I always will. I loved her, really, from the moment I set eyes on her: Tuesday morning, August 28, 1967, in Miss Peterson’s second grade class, General John F. Reynolds Elementary School, Quaker Valley, PA.

Miss Peterson sat us all down in her horseshoe-shaped desk arrangement, and as she read the roll, I could feel someone watching me… and I felt like I knew who it was –who she was– but every time I looked at her, she looked away: down at her desktop, or up at Miss Peterson, or beyond her at the blackboard. She was cute: full pink lips and high cheekbones that seemed to suggest a perpetual smile; a round nose; a shimmering sheet of straight, honey-blonde hair that fell over her shoulders and onto her chest; and sparkling turquoise eyes that didn’t tell me she was up to something as much as they seemed to say that she knew what was going on.

MARGUERITE LE DOUX, the pink-for-girls-construction-paper nameplate on her desktop read.

I didn’t recognize the name, but I could’ve sworn I knew her from someplace. She looked familiar, and as I tried to remember where I’d met her before (The pool? Church? Day camp? The playground?) our eyes finally met, and in that instant of meeting, I felt a rush of familiarity and knowing from the top of my head in a jolt down to the center of my chest. I never felt anything like it before, and I haven’t felt anything that strong, certain or pure since.

I had to look down, and so did she, both of us smiling.

In that instant, that flash, I felt not only like I knew her from someplace else, but like we’d been best friends before and we’d agreed to meet up again someday, some time, but we’d forgotten about it, and now, in those two desks in that second grade classroom, there we were.

There she was.



About Meeting Margo

A prequel to my coming-of-age novels You Don’t Think She Is and Meeting Dennis Wilson, Meeting Margo tells the story of how seven-year-old Brian Pressley met and became best friends with Quebecoise tomboy Margo LeDoux.


Meeting Margo was published this past winter as a Kindle short, and will be published in a print edition in summer 2017, along with a followup novella entitled Margo Moves In. These two novellas will take the reader up to the beginning of You Don’t Think She Is.

A PDF version of Meeting Margo and Margo Moves In is now available for purchase and download via my Selz page.

Click here for more information and to order!



Vermont at Gettysburg


The Vermont State Monument and 13th Regimental Monument overlooking the part of the field where Stannard’s Vermonters helped to turn back Pickett’s Charge.

This article was originally published in the June 29, 2013 issue of The Bridge, a weekly community newspaper in Montpelier, Vermont. My hope is to eventually expand this to book length, but in the meantime…



It could be said that the Battle of Gettysburg began and ended with Vermonters. Soldiers from the Green Mountain state played a role in key engagements before the battle, a Vermont native fired the first shot and three Vermont regiments not only defended against, but twice repelled, Confederate attacks on the heart of the Union line. Had it not been for Vermonters at Gettysburg, the battle—indeed, the Civil War—would have played out much differently.

Why Gettysburg?

Writer Shelby Foote told of a southern soldier who, when asked by one of his Union counterparts, “What are you Rebs fightin’ for, anyway?” replied with “We all are fightin’ because YOU all are down here!” For the first two years of the Civil War, nearly every engagement of the war took place south of the Mason-Dixon line, particularly in Virginia, and in spring 1863, General Robert E. Lee, weary of the ravages that had been inflicted upon his home soil, decided to take the war “up there” to the North. Lee believed that invading the North would, among other things, make the North’s “friends of peace . . . become so strong” that the Union would have no choice but to sue for peace.

In June 1863, Lee sent J. E. B. Stuart’s cavalry north along the Monocacy River, which splits into tributaries near the Pennsylvania-Maryland line. Stuart’s objective was to gather provisions while getting a sense of the Union army’s strengths and weaknesses. It was not long after the Confederates crossed into south central Pennsylvania that they ran into trouble. On the morning of June 30, the Union cavalry, including 840 soldiers of the First Vermont, rode north into Hanover, Pennsylvania (about 14 miles east of Gettysburg). According to Sergeant Henry Ide, “Flags waved everywhere. Bells were ringing. Hundreds of schoolchildren stood in the market square singing songs of welcome.”

At about 10 a.m., though, explosions sounded through the town. The soldiers at first thought that it was a salute from the townsfolk, but, according to Ide, when a shell burst nearby, “We came to the conclusion that people didn’t normally fire (live ammunition) for a salute.” The advancing Union cavalry had caught up with Stuart’s column, and the Rebels had chased the Union cavalry back into town. In the ensuing scrap, Major John Bennett’s Vermont cavalrymen were key in “repelling the enemy by a vigorous charge,” according to historian Joseph Collea, “capturing about 20 men.”

The engagement at Hanover was a prelude to what followed in Gettysburg, and one of the results was that, for the next three days, Stuart’s men rode far out of their way to avoid a second confrontation with Union forces. One of Lee’s complaints when Stuart finally reached the field on the evening of the second day was that, in Stuart’s absence, Lee had been “deprived of his eyes and ears.” That absence could in part be attributed to his run-in with the Vermonters and Union forces at Hanover.

100_8314-First-shot-marker-closeup1First shot from a Vermonter

While Stuart’s cavalry rode a loop northeast from Hanover to York and then west to Carlisle, Confederate infantry came north along the mountains through Chambersburg, shelling Carlisle (about 25 miles north of Gettysburg) before heading south to seek provisions. Union forces were pursuing them from the south, and their meeting point was Gettysburg, a small town that was the convergence point of 11 different roads. As has been noted so many times, the Confederates came into the town from the north, while the Union entered from the south.

Among those Union troops were five Vermont regiments belonging to the First Corps of the Army of the Potomac. The Vermonters had marched over 100 miles in the six days leading up to the battle, and two of those regiments (the 12th and 15th) stayed in Maryland to guard wagon trains, but the other three—the 13th, 14th and 16th—continued north, arriving at Gettysburg during the afternoon of the second day, July 2.
However, some Vermonters were already on the field of battle, and one of them is widely credited with firing the first shot. Lieutenant Marcellus Jones, a native of St. Albans who had moved to Illinois, was west of the town in a small group of men called a vidette post. Their job was to “feel out the enemy,” and on the morning of July 1, around 7:30 a.m., one of Jones’s four men noticed what looked like dust clouds about 700 yards away on the Chambersburg Pike.

The soldier raised his carbine to fire a shot, but Lieutenant Jones reportedly said, “Hold on, George . . give me the honor of opening this ball.” Jones steadied the soldier’s gun on a fence rail, aiming at a distant Rebel officer on a gray horse. The carbine had an effective range of about 300 yards, but the point was not to hit the officer; when Jones fired, the Rebels knew that they’d met up with the opposing army, and the battle of Gettysburg was soon underway.


“I saw a fine body of Vermonters”

The key to a tactical understanding of both the Battle of Gettysburg and the battlefield at Gettysburg can be found in the Union line, which formed on high ground called Cemetery Ridge, stretching from north to south between two sets of hills: Cemetery Hill and Culp’s Hill on the northern edge of the town and Little Round Top and Big Round Top south of the town. Between those high points, the Union occupied and fortified their defenses, from which they looked down on the Confederate positions. The line was roughly fishhook shaped, with the eye at the north, and the curve and barb at the south. The Confederates’ hope, repeatedly, was to break that line either at the ends (one of the goals of the repeated attacks on Culp’s Hill and the famous attack on Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain’s 20th Maine at Little Round Top) or in the middle (the goal of Pickett’s Charge).

Beyond that Union line, Confederate commanders told their men, “lies Virginia and home.”

When the 13th, 14th and 16th Vermont infantry reached Gettysburg late in the afternoon on July 2, they camped at the base of Cemetery Hill, behind the Union lines, near General George Meade’s headquarters, and had little time to recover from their long march before they were called to action.

The Confederates had been attacking the ends of the hook-shaped Union line, but late in the day, Georgia Brigadier General Rans Wright spotted what he thought was a weakness in the center along Cemetery Ridge, the north–south high ground that the Union forces were fortifying. He ordered an attack, and the Georgians, he wrote, “charged up to the top of the crest” of Cemetery Ridge “and drove the (Union) infantry . . . some 80 or 100 yards in rear of [their] batteries. We were now complete masters of the field, having gained the key, as it were, of the enemy’s whole line.”

Unfortunately, Wright’s advancing men were alone, without support, and Wright quickly realized that “my advanced position and the unprotected conditions of my flank invited an attack.” On the other side of the line, Union captain John Tidball reported this dilemma to General Meade, as well as a solution. “If you need troops” to close the line, he told Meade, “I saw a fine body of Vermonters a short distance from here.” Those Vermonters were the 13th, 14th and 16th, and Union General Abner Doubleday (who, stresses writer Howard Coffin, “did NOT invent baseball!”) ordered the three regiments forward to plug the gap and drive back Wright’s Georgians.

“A large brigade advanced from (a) point of woods on my left,” reported Wright, and “we were now in a critical condition.” The Vermonters effectively surrounded Wright’s men, the “converging line . . . rapidly closing upon our rear. A few more moments and we would be completely surrounded.” Wright’s men retreated, and “with painful hearts abandoned our captured guns.”

Wright’s unremarkable description of the “abandoned guns” downplays one of the most dramatic incidents of the second evening. Union General Winfield Scott Hancock spotted Wright’s men retreating with four Union cannons in their clutches, and asked Colonel Francis V. Randall if his Vermonters could recapture the guns. Randall’s reply, according to Coffin, was, “Goddamn, we can if you let us!” Hancock “let” him, and Randall rode to the front of the regiment to lead the reconnaissance.

“We had not gone ten yards,” recalled Vermont sergeant George Scott, “ere Randall’s horse fell shot through the neck,” leaving Randall struggling to free his leg, which was caught in the stirrup between the fallen horse and the ground. “Go on, boys!” Scott recalled Randall shouting. “I’ll be at your head as soon as I get out of this damned saddle!” Several soldiers rolled the horse off Randall’s leg, and Randall went to the front of the unit on foot, reported Scott, “limping badly, his hat off, his sword swinging in the air.” The Vermonters charged forward to the stolen cannons and, said Scott, “the enemy did not await us. They abandoned the guns and fled.” As the Vermonters rolled the retrieved battery back to the Union line, a soldier from another unit asked where the regiment was from.

“Green Mountain Boys!” several Vermonters called out in response.

“I thought you must be green,” the soldier replied, “or you would’ve never gone in there.”

Site of the Rogers House on Emmitsburg Road, with a witness tree (tree that was standing during the battle in 1863).

The four cannons were back behind Union lines, but Randall and some of his men were still in the field, moving toward Rogers House, a farmhouse on Emmitsburg Road where Confederate snipers were holed up. Randall ordered Captain John Lonergan’s Irish Company to “drive those damned Rebels out of those buildings or kill them– about face, charge!” Lonergan’s men charged toward the house, and “the Confederates came tumbling out . . . Each man laid down his gun, until I had a considerably larger number of . . . prisoners than I had [soldiers] in my entire company.”


Randall initially reported 200 captured Rebels, but, says Coffin, “he had a tendency to overstate.” The actual number was around 80, which still meant that they outnumbered their Vermont captors two to one. The prisoners included about 50 Rebels who tried to run for the woods behind the house, until Randall yelled “Halt!” and then, more emphatically, “God damn you boys, stop that running!” at which point the 50 threw down their guns and surrendered. The gap in the Union line was closed, the Union position was strengthened, the sharpshooters were silenced and the captured cannons were retrieved, all by the Vermonters.

“We propose resting on our arms,” Randall told an aide to Vermont General George Stannard when he returned to the line, “until [Stannard] acknowledges our achievements.”


“Glory to God! See the Vermonters go at it!”


View of the section of the battlefield where the 13th Vermont encamped on the second night of the battle, and where, on July 3, they engaged Confederate troops during Pickett’s Charge. The Vermont State monument is the tall column at the right side of the picture along the road.

Night fell on the second day, and according to Vermont soldier Wheelock Veazey (as quoted in Coffin’s book Full Duty), “it was the saddest night on picket that I ever passed. The line ran across the field that had been fought over the night before, and the dead and wounded of the two armies, lying side by side, thickly strewed the ground. The mingled prayers and imprecations of the wounded . . . were heart-rending . . . Scores of wounded men died around us in the gloom, before anyone could bring relief or receive their dying messages.”


The Union forces had strengthened their position on the ridge, and Lee was planning an attack. Historians have argued for years about why Lee would send his infantry on a charge one mile across an open field toward the heart of a fortified Union line, but some historians now believe the charge was part of a coordinated two-part attack, the other element of which was Stuart’s cavalry attack on the Union rear. (That assault was repulsed by Union cavalry commanded by, among others, General George Custer.)

At about 1:30 p.m., Confederate cannon opened fire on the Union line. According to soldier George Benedict, “The air seemed to be literally filled with flying missiles. Shells whizzed and popped on every side. Spherical case exploded over our heads and rained iron bullets over us . . . and round shot plowed up the ground before and around us.”

Added soldier Ralph Sturtevant, “The passing of each minute seemed a lifetime.” The Vermonters occupied the position closest to the Rebel line, and that, ironically, may have saved them: According to Coffin, the shells were mostly flying over the Union line to the rear of the ridge, so that “the closer the soldiers were to the Confederates, the less likely they were to be struck.”

After about 90 minutes, the artillery barrage stopped, and according to a soldier quoted by Coffin, “someone with a glass to his eye says, ‘There they come,’ and just emerging from the rebel lines you can see the long ranks of grey, the shimmering of steel in the July sun.” The Union forces waited until the gray lines came within range and then opened fire, tearing gaps in the Rebel ranks as soldiers fell. The Confederates closed ranks as they pushed forward, toward a central “clump of trees” about 300 yards north of where the Vermonters were waiting. But as the Rebel infantry approached the 14th Vermont’s position, they suddenly changed direction and started moving across the 14th’s front. As Benedict put it, “it was a terribly costly movement for the enemy. The 14th at once opened fire with very great effect. The 13th joined its fire . . . and a line of dead rebels at the close showed distinctly where they had marched across the front of the Vermonters.”

Enter a View across the field of Pickett’s Charge from one of the 13th Vermont’s flank markers at Gettysburg. caption

It was clear to both Hancock and Stannard that a flanking movement was called for—Stannard issued the order himself shortly before Hancock asked him to issue the same order—and Stannard ordered the 13th and 16th regiments to, in Benedict’s words, “swing out at right angles to the main [Union] line, close upon the flank of the charging [Rebel] column, and open fire.” The two regiments marched north about 200 yards, then turned a full 45 degrees so that they were facing the Confederate forces right at the “clump of trees.” The 16th then did an about-face and moved back toward units of Florida and Alabama troops who were still advancing. “Glory to God, glory to God,” Doubleday called out, “see the Vermonters go at it!”


According to Benedict, this maneuver proved “more than the Rebels had counted on. They began to break and scatter from the rear in less than five minutes, and in ten more it was an utter rout.” Added Veazey, “The movement was so sudden and rapid that the enemy could not change front to oppose us . . . A great many prisoners were taken . . . They were sent to the rear without a guard [but] none were needed, as the prisoners were quite willing to get within the shelter of our lines.”

Pickett’s Charge had been broken, with Vermonters at the center of the victory. Confederate prisoners later told Doubleday that “what ruined them was Stannard’s brigade on their flank. They found it impossible to contend with . . . and they drew off in a huddle to get away.”


A final, futile attack


Plaque depicting Farnsworth’s cavalry charge.

Pickett’s Charge is often called “the high water mark of the Confederacy,” not only because its failure ended the Battle of Gettysburg, but because the Confederacy never came so close to victory again during the remaining 22 months of the war. Pickett’s Charge was not the last Vermont action at Gettysburg, though. Near the base of two hills on the southern end of the field, Little Round Top and Big Round Top, Union Cavalry General Judson Kilpatrick feared that the rebel cavalry might regroup if given too much time. “All we have to do is charge,” he told a subordinate, “and the enemy will throw down their arms and surrender.”


The rocky ground over which Vermont General Elon Farnsworth was ordered to lead a cavalry charge late in the afternoon of the third day of battle.

Kilpatrick ordered Vermont cavalrymen commanded by General Elon Farnsworth to attack a group of Rebel horsemen. Farnsworth looked at the rocky, rough terrain and said that no cavalry attack on that ground could succeed, to which Kilpatrick, who once argued that a cavalry attack could succeed anyplace except the open seas, responded by calling Farnsworth a coward.


Farnsworth followed Kilpatrick’s orders and took his men in, and it was a rout. The Vermonters rode through a line of Texas cavalrymen into a hornet’s nest of fire from Alabama cavalry. Farnsworth was surrounded and shot through the chest five times, and by the time the Vermonters retreated, 13 of their men were killed, 25 were wounded, and another 27 were missing. It was a futile, ill-conceived attack, one which had no effect on the outcome of the battle. The retreating Confederates were already preparing to head south, and the Vermonters and the rest of the Union forces would soon follow them.

The Battle of Gettysburg had ended, and the war would rage for almost two more years, and while many of the Vermont soldiers at Gettysburg would soon be mustered out (they were near the end of their nine-month service when the battle started), their contribution to the victory at Gettysburg was seen by some as the most important of all Union troops. As Doubleday later said, “You ask what I think of the valor of the Vermont troops [at Gettysburg]. I can only say they performed perhaps the most brilliant feat during the war. For they broke the desperate charge of Pickett, saved the day and with it, the whole North from invasion and devastation.”

The writer wishes to thank the following for their assistance and support in writing these articles: Howard Coffin; Bill Greenwood (Green Mountain Tours); John Heiser (Gettysburg National Military Park Library); and his parents, Marjorie and Larry Shenk, who live in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and provided support of all kinds while he researched and wrote this piece.

Vermont’s section at the Gettysburg National Cemetery

“There is no one to turn to but self”

Meme - Neville - No one to turn to but self

From Neville Goddard’s lecture “Faith In God.”

In the Hebraic world, the rabbi is the father of his congregation. (The apostle) Paul called his followers his little children, saying: “Although you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. I became your father in Jesus Christ through the gospel. I urge you then to be imitators of me”

Defining Christ as “the power and wisdom of God,” Paul tells us we have many guides. In fact, there are as many guides to your success as there are people in the world. Ask someone how to get a job and he will say you must know the right people. Another will tell you that you must have an education, and still another that you must join the right club, or live on the right side of the street. You will be given as many directives towards your objective as there are people you ask.

Although our guides in the operation of this law are countless, as we apply it our creative power will become personalized and take on form, as it did in Paul. And when that happens there is no one to turn to but self.

That is why Paul urges everyone to test himself, otherwise he will not realize that Jesus Christ is in him and fail to meet the test.

Paul tells us that the world was created by the word of God, and John says Jesus Christ is that word. (Revelation 19) Jesus Christ is he who created the world and all things within it, be they good, bad, or indifferent. And who is He? Your own wonderful Human Imagination! God’s creative power – as pure imagining – works in the depth of your soul, underlying all of your faculties, including perception. He streams into your surface mind least disguised in the form of creative fancy.

This is what I mean when I ask you to test Him.

Click here to download or read a PDF of this lecture.

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Eva reviews: “Mammals”

mammals-zimGoldenGuideMammalsMammals by Herbert Zim

The publisher says… An accurate and fascinating introduction to more than 200 of the most common species of mammals in North America, including information on habits and habitats, family trees, raising young, foods, enemies, and more. Full-color illustrations accent features that help you to recognize each animal in its natural environment. Range maps show where various species can be found.

Eva says… MIMI always gets me the best books and this one is PERFECT. It’s a fact book and you know, just the pages about FOXES told me more than I knew already about those guys. But there’s other animals in here too. There’s maybe 200 different animals in here and they’re all MAMMALS, which means they drink milk from their moms. And this book shows you where you can see these guys, and whether they’re in Vermont or not, so that’s real useful.

This one is written like a grown-up book but it’s not hard, and it also has lots of pictures so kids can use it, too. And what makes it great for kids too is that it’s LITTLE, so you can carry it around and read it anywhere. And that’s what I’m doing. So in case I see any of these guys I can read about them.

So this is a good one.

So thank you, MIMI!!!

Eva’s rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ (out of five)

(Mammals by Herbert Zim. A Golden Guide. Published by St. Martin’s Press. ISBN 978-1582381442)

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120+ children’s book reviews written by five-year-old avid reader Eva Kelly (with help from her parents and author Max Harrick Shenk).

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