Epilogue

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Wry Catcher, Jun 18, 2012.

  1. Wry Catcher
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    Wry Catcher Platinum Member

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    A SOLDIER’S LIFE.

    ON June 3, 1847, young Thomas Wood enlisted for the Mexican war. He was honorably discharged July 13, 1848. He reenlisted at various times for various terms, never remaining out of the army more than a few days until 1870. After serving through the war of the Rebellion, he was discharged in 1865, reenlisted for five years and received his last honorable discharge from the army October 30, 1870. This last certificate of honorable discharge, found in his pockets with all the others, is countersigned, “Character very good.” On December 21, 1870, he first enlisted in the marine corps of the navy, at the Navy Yard, in Washington, D. C. His last two honorable discharges from the marines are countersigned, “Character excellent.” All of the certificates state that the honorable discharges are granted for expiration of term, except the last, dated Mare Island, November 27, 1881, which states that the discharge is granted upon report of “Board of Medical Survey.”

    After thirty-five years of continuous service, —— or old hulk, worn and battered by campaigns and cruises, by battle, and action, and ——; the poor old hulk, condemned after over a third of a century of service, is supplied with a parchment certificate of good character, and sent adrift, and old hulk, indeed, it were better if he had been, for the craziest old worthless hulk in the navy, after years of service, is laid up in ordinary, and kept, if not in decent repairs, at least from going to pieces.

    The Board of Medical Survey condemned him as too much worn for further effective service, and knowing no way, at his time of life, to earn a living, having given his youth and middle-age to his country, he drifted to this city, without occupation, home or friends. He had in the world $25 and the red tape certificate of the Board of Medical Survey, that, having worn out in thirty-five years honorable service for his country, the honorable Board had cut him adrift.

    At the Morgue, the hotel man, with whom Wood had deposited all his money, told the rest of the story. It is simple. Wood was temperate; drew only such money as we necessary for a bare cheap living, and when his money was all gone and no more to come, the old man, rather than find himself a penny in debt, or ask for a penny he did not earn, poisoned himself.

    In his pockets were his bundle of honorable discharges, nicely tied with red tape, and a number of affectionate letters from a married daughter living near the old home, back in old Virginia.

    The Coroner’s deputies, accustomed as they are to stories of hopeful or faithful lives, miserable ended, saw something in this which appealed to fraternal sympathy and to the fraternities of veterans of various titles. To the navy and army department offices they appealed while the body remained at the morgue, but in vain.

    The burial could be delayed no longer. The dead wagon carried away the old private’s body, and the burial, according to stipulations, took place at a cost of $2.60 to the City and County of San Francisco.

    The dead wagon drove over the field where the sage brush battles with the sand, to the sand dune beyond the tumble-down fence. The contract box, with the old soldier’s body, was dumped into grave 1,116, and the sand from graves 1,117 and 1,118 was shoveled over the box, with no one by to say even the poor words “dust to dust, ashes to ashes!”

    The Superintendent field away the permit to inter, which alone shows, that Thomas W. Wood, thirty-five years a soldier and marine, lies beneath the white sand in grave 1,116.

    Source: San Francisco Call, 18 February 1882.
     
  2. Warrior102
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    Warrior102 Gold Member

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    A "bundle of honorable discharges?"
     
  3. Wry Catcher
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    Wry Catcher Platinum Member

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    Do you have a question?

    The OP was the epilogue. If there is any interest I'll post the rest of the story. Note the date at the bottom.

    And yes, there is an 'agenda' on my part.
     
  4. Wry Catcher
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    THE SOLDIER’S GRAVE.

    The path led through a field in which a few sturdy sage-brushes were beginning a war on the prevailing sand dunes. On the opposite side of a broken-down fence stood a black dead-wagon and a mournful-looking, dirty, white horse. Beyond the dead-wagon a man stood in a put up to the waist, digging a grave in the soft, find sand. He threw the sand into a half-filled grave, separated a foot from the one he was digging. The half-filled grave was marked by a plank, painted a rusty white, and numbered, in black figures, “1,118.” Another next beyond was “1,117.”

    “That’s Wood’s,” the Superintendent said, pointing to the third grave from the digger.

    He pointed to a rusty white plank, nearly buried in the drifting sand, marked “1,116.” There was no mound, no grass, no fence or flowers. There was a drifting waste of white sand, studded with four thousand one hundred and eighteen rusty-white and weather-beaten planks.

    “Have you put in this morning’s two?” the Superintendent asked of the half-buried gravedigger.
    “Yes sir,” the man said, nodding out of the sand between him and No. “1,116.” Then he bent over his work and threw more sand from the half-made grave into the half-filled grave, marked with plank No. “1,118.”
    “The two brought out this morning have been buried,” the Superintendent said to the reporter.
    “Why is he digging another grave, then?”
    “Oh, it saves work. A grave has to be filled up, and it may as well be filled with the sand from the next grave made.”
    “But the drifting sand may fill this before it is used.”
    “It won’t have time. We average forty a month. That’s more than one a day. Two to-day.”
     
  5. Wry Catcher
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    Wry Catcher Platinum Member

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    Where in the Constitution of the United States does the government have the authority to care for those who served?

    Was the "Bonus Army" a proper and necessary response?

    Maybe, we ought to look at what the Constitution means, in terms of its Spirit? Or is that a radical idea?
     
  6. Warrior102
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    Warrior102 Gold Member

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    What are you babbling about?
     
  7. Wry Catcher
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    Wry Catcher Platinum Member

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    A real issue, not the bullshit you always post which, BTW, has become the norm for this message board. I don't know if you're dumb, you are clearly a self righteous asshole - but I suspect on some level you know that.

    I do find it interesting that someone who claims to be a vet doesn't see the issue which a reporter in the 19th Century felt was (at least) a human interest story. I see the story as poignant and timely in terms of the Tea Party Mentality (a misnomer for sure). Of course that is way above your head.
     
  8. Skull Pilot
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    Skull Pilot Platinum Member

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    No one forced the guy to serve all those years.

    He was never promised a pension

    So the point you're trying to make is moot
     
  9. Warrior102
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    Warrior102 Gold Member

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    Well, at least he served, asswipe.

    Why don't you enlist?
     
  10. Wry Catcher
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    Moot? Not likely, your post proves the issue debatable.

    Does our government or any government have a duty to those who serve? GWB, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter and George H. W. Bush (I presume) still receive Secret Service protection. Where in the Constitution is such a cost to a private citizen authorized?
     

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