Preparedness Notes for Sunday — January 17, 2021

On Jan. 17, 1920 the 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution went into effect, establishing Prohibition. By one account, 286 distilleries, 992 breweries, and more than 300,000 bars and saloons were closed.

This is also the anniversary of the Battle of Cowpens in 1781. This small battle was the turning point of the American Revolution in the South. In it, the best battlefield tactician America produced, the backwoodsman Daniel Morgan, decisively and utterly defeated the most arrogant, bloody and successful field grade officer in the British Army, Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton. The battle set in motion the chain of events that led directly to the decisive siege at Yorktown and the British decision to give up on the war.

On this day in 1994 the 6.7 magnitude Northridge Earthquake struck Los Angeles. It caused about $20 billion in damage and killed 61 people.

Because we are still having some severe Internet access problems — following a huge windstorm —  I wasn’t able to edit a feature article for today’s blog. My apologies. Hopefully our local Internet Service Provider will be back to normal connectivity within a few days. But presently I can only get to our server for a few minutes at a time. Again, my apologies!


  1. Good morning all,
    I hope everyone in the path of the NW windstorm came out of it without too much damage. We lost power Tuesday night and it came back on later in the day, yesterday.
    Like many in such situations I was able to see the holes in my preps/systems during our 3 1/2 day power outage. We have to run into town Monday for a drs. appointment so I’ll hit a couple of stores to remedy that.
    On one hand the situation was peaceful and calm. No news, no politics. On the other, we were kept busy keeping up maintaining potable water. Those games of checkers and Chinese checkers sure came in handy once the sun went down. I was so grateful to the Lord that we had what we had and were as prepared as we were knowing so many others were sitting in their useless, without modern conveniences, houses.
    I heard this letter sign off and it struck me as something I should strive for so I’m going to use it.
    All for the King,

  2. I’ve been considering building a parabolic reflector that can start a fire on one side, and a low power radio transmitter on the other, with a compass, all epoxied together.

    (Completely sealed except perhaps a radio jack, solar powered, with photoelectric buttons, allowing the system to be completely waterproof, durable, and small)

    Would anyone be interested in something like this? It would take a fair amount of work, but I could build several to offset cost.

  3. JWR,
    No problem on posting another feature article for today’s blog! I needed the day to catch-up on articles and posted comments anyway. Thanks for all you do, and take care of the homestead and family!

    As always, hoping we all…
    Seymour Liberty

  4. While Cowpens was undoubtedly an important battle, the war in the South had been going badly for the British for some time by then. They’d had no significant victories since Camden 5 months earlier, and various partisan leaders such as Thomas Sumter and…ahem…a couple of other notables had wreaked havoc on British supporters and logistics during that time. King’s Mountain had pretty much destroyed any chances of a Loyalist uprising a few months earlier, and the use of Loyalist Militia was key to the overall British strategy, since the entry of France into the war had forced them to reallocate forces. Cowpens was simply one more nail in the coffin. The British Southern campaign provides an excellent example of how NOT to conduct a counter-insurgency.

    1. Oh, and you’ll understand if I respectfully disagree with your assessment of Morgan. While an outstanding leader and tactician…he and Arnold had been key to the success at Saratoga, in spite of Gates’s pathetic performance…I tend to be a bit partial to one other individual.

      1. So name us three other Yankee commanders who completed double envelopements of British Field Grade Officers in our Revolutionary War besides Dan Morgan?

        Anecdotally, my surname family came over in 1636. We had plenty of family on all three sides in the Revolution: Rebel, Tory, and Playing the Middle Ground. One member was with the winners at Kings Mountain.

        I loved the story of Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox as a kid. It’s sobering as an adult to realize all the sacrifices the leaders made, including ruined health before war’s end for both Col Dan and the Swamp Fox.

        I loved the Cowpens Battlefield. I got my first copy of Joshua Plum Martin’s book there.

        1. Trick question :-). Cowpens was the ONLY double envelopment of the entire war, by either the Americans or the British. However, it was accomplished as a result of the disciplined initiative of 2 of his subordinate commanders…I believe William Washington was one, though the other one escapes me at the moment…acting independently, rather than as a result of Morgan’s tactical prowess.

          From what we’ve gleaned, my own ancestors, at least from the four main maternal and paternal lines, were all over here prior to the Revolution. I know of one who served as a private in the Continental Army, and another branch provided significant logistical support to the Patriots in the South.

          I participated in a staff ride of Cowpens as a young cadet, many years ago. Later, while pursuing my master’s degree, one of my courses was on the Revolution, and I used a Staff Ride Guide, ironically written by my former Professor of Military Science, as a reference in my final paper.

          I’m blessed to live in the middle of Revolutionary history, and have been able to tour not just Cowpens, but Camden, King’s Mountain, Fort Moultrie, and a few other significant sites.

          You may enjoy John Oller’s book on Marion (THE SWAMP FOX). It presents a fairly objective study on his life, including his early and later years, warts and all. It was out of respect and admiration for this little, humble Patriot that I chose my pseudonym. I fear he, along with Morgan and many others, is spinning in his grave right now at the condition of our Republic.

    2. I remember reading a short piece on Francis MArion, how he would recruit men for a raid. He would put the word out and conduct the raid with whoever showed up. That bit of trivia helped when I was managing a community garden and folks who had promised time and work were absent.

      Then there is this:
      It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them. Ralph Waldo Emerson

      Carry on

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