Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Just wanted to show the 2 knife sheaths Joe Garza in Texas is making for the knives i got in the Philippines.
The top knife sheath is a plains Indian style, the lanyard and throwing knife were made by my good friend "Guns" in Cebu, Philippines.
The Bottom Knife sheath is for my "Mini Rambo" as this style of knife is called in the PI. The knife cost me 300 pesos(about $8.00) and was custom made for me at a knife makers shop near Cebu city.
I look forward to getting my knives with their new sheath back so I can use them in the woods.
See you on the trail.
Tomahawk - Scouts Out!
Sunday, February 19, 2012
I just wanted to post a couple of pictures of a cool little Filipino Bolo Knife. This blade was given to me by "Guns" Beltran in the Philippines, to pass on to my friend Matthew AKA "The wildcat missionary". "Guns" told me that it is a good throwing knife, was made in the WW2 era, and has had several handles over the years - probably due to folks throwing it.
It is about 12" over all, has a wooden sheath,a plastic string belt, with an obsolete Filipino coin as a keeper on the string belt.
Anyhoo, I passed it on to Matt and he loves it as a cherished addition to his collection of unique blades from around the world.
Tomahawk - Scouts Out! (Wild cat Missionary photos)
Here is another great story from Patrick Falterman AKA "The Modern Nomad". He is currently in Brazil. you can follow TMNs adventures on his site at ;
Tomahawk - Scouts Out!
Swimming in December
Posted on 09/12/2009
Lagos de Moreno, Jalisco, Mèxico
Hello all! Just here to give you the latest update on my adventure! I am now in Lagos de Moreno, which is a few hours northeast of Guadalajara in the Mexican state of Jalisco. As usual, much has happened since my last note.
Once I was kicked off of the computer that I was using in the hotel in Zacatecas (for not being a customer) I set off to find a place to sleep. After about two hours of searching, I was able to find a nice little cow pasture a few kilometers outside of the downtown area. Since it had been raining all day, I was hoping that it would clear up in the night so that I wouldn´t have to be soaking wet. No such luck. By the time I woke up, everything was wet. Sleeping bag, cot, pack, everything. Grumbeling soggily, I packet up my soaked things and set off.
I walked for about two hours along the freeway in this nasty, heavy mist rain. Finally, a guy (who was a flower delivery man) picked me up and took me about twenty kilometers. After that, my day began to get better.
About fifteen minutes after Flower Guy dropped me off, a group of people consisting of three women and a young boy in a white pickup stopped for me and took me to the next town down the road, Villanueva. After dropping me off at the end of town, I stopped at a Pemex (the only type of gas station that there is in Mexico) and got some fresh water. After setting off again, I was able to get another ride in about five minutes, again in the back of a pickup. Thankfully, the rain gods had grown tired of soaking the earth, so at least I was starting to dry out a little bit. The pickup took me about thirty kilometers, and dropped me off in the middle of nowhere. The good thing about hitching it in the middle of nowhere is that people see you way out there and they think, well, theres someone who really needs a ride. Consequently, I got a ride with the next car that came by. Ít was a family of three, a father, mother, and a daughter of about eighteen. They took me about forty kilometers and gave me two hundred pesos! (about twenty dollars) I used this to gorge myself on Pemex snacks, and, once I got into the next town (Jalpa) to get a beer and a pack of smokes.
A few rides later, at about four o´clock, I was in the tiny town of Moyahua. Feeling the pangs of hunger and that roughly one hundred and seventy five pesos burning a hole in my pocket, I stopped at a roadside restraunt and got three burritos (mystery meat) and another beer. One thing I love about Mexico, everything is DIRT cheap. Those three burritos and a beer cost me thirty five pesos…three-fifty.
Once leaving Moyahua, I was able to hitch a ride all the way to Guadalajara with a funny little man named Jesus…no not the Messiah. He was on his way the Guadalajara to go to a funeral of some sort. He chain smoked Marlboros and talked about working in the United States. Once we got to Guadalajara, he drove through this shady part of town where there were people on the side of the street shouting`Medicina!` to passing cars. Apparently, they sell all sorts of perscription drugs for next to nothing on the street, and it is perfectly legal. Jesus bought eight pills of Cialasis, citing the fact that `he was getting old.`I found this privatly hilarious.
Once getting dropped off, I proceeded to try to find a place to sleep in the busteling city. Deciding to walk until I found some sort of relitively private field or something, I followed the main road (Av. Relovution) until I finally reached the freeway leading to Mexico City. This took roughly three hours. However, when I reached the freeway, I found the outskirts of town just as populated as the rest of it. I scouted several vacant lots, turning them all down because of excessive litter and chest-high grass. Finally, I saw I promising place, a field around a church. the only problem was, there was a fifteen foot fence all around it, with barbed wire at the top. This was my first tip that this wasn´t the best part of Guadalajara for a gringo to be wandering around in at night. My next tip was the excessive graffiti, and my last tip was the sound of gunfire. Well, I thought it was gunfire, but I later learned that it was fireworks (apparently, every day in Mexico is a day worth celebrating) After trying unsucessfully for about half an hour to find a way into the church lot, I settled on a almost as good place…an old, abandoned semi-truck trailer junkyard. I darted through a hole in the fence, made camp under an old trailer, and was lulled to sleep by the sound of popping firecrackers. Or maybe shotguns.
The next morning, I was awoken by the sound of voices. I realized with a lurch that maybe this junkyard wasn´t so abandoned after all. Not twenty feet from me was a few people working on the engine of a semi. I lay perfectly still for a solid hour, willing myself to be part of the grass. Finally, the men cranked up the semi and drove off. I packed up camp as quickly as I could and hightailed it out of there before they could come back.
After walking along the freeway for about thirty minutes, I was picked up by a younger guy named Alejandro. He told me he love to hitchhike, and that he couldn´t pass up the oppertunity to pick me up. he drove me about fifty kilometers, gave me his email, and was off. I walked for another hour before I was picked up by a car with Illinois plates containing a guy named Angel. He was from Chicago, heading to Lagos de Moreno to visit his mother, and agreed to take me there and let me use the shower, since I was smelling quite rank by now. We arrived, I bathed, ate some burritos, and had a smoke. It was a bright and sunny day and very warm out, so Angel and I decided to go for a swim in the local pool. Finding it suprisingly warm, we chilled there for about four or five hours. Afterward, we went and got some delicious Mexican seafood and drank some wierd tasting beers. Upon our return to his home, he offered a bed (a REAL bed) so as I could recharge after my travels, and I thought, why the hell not. I needed some good REM sleep undisturbed by fireworks or rain.
So that evening in the downtown, there was a HUGE celebration in honor of the Lady of Guadalupe or some lady like that, and there was a big party in the streets. That´s what I love about Mexico…Tuesday night, and everyone´s out until 2 AM using the church as an excuse to get sauced. There were venders all around the city square , selling everything from food to trinkets to little whistels that you put in your mouth that made you sound like Daffy duck.
There was even a stand selling ripped DVD´s (everything from old movies to unreleased pictures like 2012 and New Moon) for about twenty pesos each. So illegal, I´m sure.
Later, there were traditional Mexican dances where people had extravagent costumes and wore masks.
Loud, live bànde music played loudly throughout the celebration, and people danced the night away.
Around eleven thirty, they set off this HUGE grand fireworks celebration, launching off things that looked like morters and sounded just like them high into the sky until they exploded with sonic booms into exciting and colourful shapes. Then, they had this big tower that was all wired with fireworks, and when they set it off, the shapes of doves, cups and chalices, butterflies and even a pecock that unfurled it´s tail upon being set off spun around in the air fueled by whisteling little rockets. Once the tower was done, there was the grand finale, where they set off about twenty five different fireworks into the sky at once, sounding like WWIII and sending sparks and bits of flaming paper showering down on to the massive crowd, who scrambled around like ants in a rainstorm trying to avoid being set on fire. Then it was over, and I wittnessed the sight of about ten thousand people trying to leave a relatively small city square all at once. Bottelnecking to the max.
Now I remain in Lagos for the rest of today, getting some high quality R&R. Tomorrow, I set off for Uraupan, Acapulco, and Oxaca. I hope to cross the border into Guatemala in one to two weeks. Wish me luck traveling in the dangerous Central America, and I shall write a new note in three to eight days, depending on whatever.
Over and out,
The Modern Nomad
Saturday, February 18, 2012
This Guy is a definite 1st rate explorer and worthy of a spot on this blog. I have always admired the old school Explorers.
Tomahawk - Scouts Out!
Kazimierz Nowak (January 11, 1897 – October 13, 1937) – was a Polish traveller, correspondent and photographer, born in Stryi. After the First World War he lived in Poznań.
From 1931 to 1936, he traveled alone, on foot and by bicycle across Africa, covering a distance of 40,000 km: from Libya to South Africa (Cape Agulhas) and back to Algeria. He seems to be the only man in the world to do this. His accounts of the travel were first published jointly as late as in 2000, as a book entitled Rowerem i pieszo przez Czarny Ląd (By bicycle and on foot across the Black Continent). He died in Poznań from pneumonia as a consequence of emaciation of the body due to the travel, malaria and a leg surgery.
Commemorative plaque in Poznań:
On the 25th of November 2006 in the Hall of Poznań Main Railway Station, where Kazimierz Nowak began and ended his travel, Ryszard Kapuściński unveiled a commemorative plaque dedicated to him. In his speech accompanying the ceremony he described Nowak as follows:
Through his accomplishment, Kazimierz Nowak deserves a place in dictionaries and encyclopedias and a mention among such names as Stanley and Livingstone. He was a man of great imagination and courage, a man who knew no fear. He showed that a lonely white man, with no means to protect himself, carrying no weapons but only his faith in another human being, can cross alone a vast continent. He did all this in the times when Europe was only beginning to discover the Third World. He taught us as early as in the 1930s how to treat the Third World and its inhabitants.
Only those who know the regions through which Kazimierz Nowak travelled and the way he did it can really appreciate that heroic courage joined with extraordinary modesty. He did not boast, he simply described what he saw.
OK, I have been a little lazy over the past coupla weeks about posting. I was in Thailand and Cebu, Philippines visiting my knife and gun maker friends, banging bitches, getting drunk and generally having a good time. I picked up a few knives for friends in the USA.
Im back in Arizona now getting ready to head out again in a few days.I plan to camp in the Huachucas, Chiricahuas, and the Perilla Mountains before heading over to visit Hippy Doug near Silver City, NM. Then up around Taos to visit my good friend Alan Lackey on his organic Cattle ranch.
Anyhoo, here are a few pics from Thailand and the Philippines for your viewing enjoyment.Oh! there are a couple pics of a metalsmith at the Carbon Market in Cebu, PI making me 2 rings from a 1 Peso coin.
Tomahawk - Scouts Out!
Sunday, February 12, 2012
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
I just wanted to start posting stories from my friend Patrick Falterman about his Hitch hiking trip from the USA to Tierra Del Fuego in South America. I think you will enjoy his stories as much as I do.
Tomahawk - Scouts Out!
I randomly find myself in Mèxico
Posted on 06/12/2009
From La Paz, Bolivia
October 2, 2010, 1 Year Anniversary of Nomading
A simple note the author implores the reader to peruse before delving merrily into the posts:
The traveler is a constantly evolving creature who daily tweaks his techniques and processes in order to accomplish two things:
1. To survive
2. To achieve his objective as a traveler, whatever that may be.
When the author first officially started his journey by abandoning his apartment on October 2, 2009 and heading west to California with no plan to speak of, he knew nothing at all about how to live honorably with little to no money. Consequently, his first eight months of traveling (from October to roughly June) were spent learning, by trial and error, techniques of how to acquire the necessary means for survival, i.e., food, safe lodgings, and other convenient and necessary things. A number of the techniques used to secure these things mentioned in the first fifteen to twenty posts are decidedly sneaky, tricky, and underhanded.
However, the author does not wish to omit these shameful acts, primarily because he believes that to do so would be to cherry-pick the ‘good bits’ only to make himself look good. Additionally, he feels that the inclusion of these techniques helps show the reader how he has evolved from a sneaky little bastard who nonetheless had good intentions to the decidedly much more honorable and honest person he feels he has become today.
Of course, the author does not wish the reader to believe that he currently thinks himself a perfect saint; on the contrary, he recognizes his many faults (the most frequently surfacing being narcissism and rampant impulsiveness), and works hard to nonetheless remain a man with a few shreds honor and self-respect. Sometimes he finds himself, despite his efforts, slipping up in some small way; he is, after all, only human.
However, we note that his mentality has changed decidedly from ‘I’ll do whatever it takes to get what I need,’ to ‘I’ll do everything it takes to get what I need, as long as it doesn’t involve sneakiness, cheating, manipulating, or the general “using” of kind-hearted people.’
The author implores the reader not to judge the writer of the early posts too harshly; he can say with absolute certainty that his past self assuredly ment well, but sometimes perhaps got a bit caught up in the moment. The reader will notice how the writer, in his early posts, delights in his own cleverness as he traipses about mooching off the hospitality of locals. Please note the at the present time, the author is deeply ashamed of his actions, and works hard daily to rectify his errant misbehavior of the latter-day.
That being said, there are many interesting things written in the early posts that will no doubt amuse the reader, and the author wishes to state once again that while he was at times without honor, there were many occasions in which he believes he did the right thing. This preface is simply to prevent the reader from stumbling across something contemptible and forming rapid generalizations about the author’s present state of character.
The author states that, one year later, he harbors no regrets for starting his journey, and believes he has learned much about the beauty of other cultures and the kindness of humanity in general, as well as innumerable and invaluable lessons about life in general.
In addition to this, the author wishes the reader to excuse the hastily written extremely early posts of Mèxico, which lack proper descriptive passages and other literary elements that make a piece of writing enjoyable to read. The author did not begin to put a serious effort into his writings until he reached Guatemala, when he realized he may be doing this for a very long time.
The author now frees the reader from this boring disclaimer of a preface and releases him into the pages of his writings.
Hello all! After four and a half days of surprisingly pleasant hitch hiking, I have made it from the small beach town of Imperial Beach, California, all the way to the city of Zacatecas, Mexico! It has been a journey full of fun and surprises. I’ve gotten rides from so many different people, all of them very pleasant and eager to help me on my grand adventure.
The first day I made it from Imperial Beach CA to Tecate, Baja California. My first ride came not two minutes after I stepped off the sand and on to the road from three gentlemen in a van, all dressed in white. They drove me to the border and spent the entire time telling me of how the second coming of Jesus has arrived, and that they are some of the few that know about it. Their mission was to spread the word of God to the heathen populous, of course. Despite their radical ideas, they were very nice and they bought me a couple of dollar cheeseburgers at McDonalds.
Once I crossed the border into Tijuana, I spent about half an hour trying to locate a map of Baja California. I was finally pointed to a hotel, where I inquired to the clerk in what I’m sure was awful Spanish about a map. He gave me one, and I told him that I was headed to Guatalajara, and I needed to find the best route. He told me in broken English to take the bus. I told him, la autobus es no divertido! He laughed, and pointed to a road that paralleled the border, heading east. I thanked him, and went on my way.
I’m not gonna lie, I got LOST in Tijuana. Two hours after leaving the hotel, I found myself in what I was sure was the wrong neighborhood for a gringo with a giant backpack to be in. After inquiring to the location of the freeway to many people and receiving unintelligible replies, I finally found someone who spoke a little English. I followed him for about twenty minutes, and he took me to the airport, and, thankfully, the freeway. I thanked him, bummed a smoke off him, and was on my way.
Hitchin’ a ride in Mexico is REALLY easy. I was walking down the freeway and I passed some construction workers digging a hole. They noticed my pack and outstretched thumb, and offered me some water. I took it, and was just shooting the shit with them for about five minutes, telling them where I was going and stuff, and this random person pulls up and asks me where I’m headed. I tell him Tecate, and he motions for me to hop in. He is a nice fellow, and he drives me to the outer city limits of Tijuana. He gives me forty pesos (about four dollars) and a business card, telling me that if I ever get into trouble in Mexico, to give him a call and he will make it go away. Good guy, I figure he’s either a lawyer or a gangster.
I walk out of Tijuana. Soon, I pass a toll booth (I am soon to learn that every road in Mexico is a toll road) and the guy running it says I can stand past the booth and try to hitch a ride there. I take his advice, and after about forty minutes of standing on the side of the road with an outstretched thumb and an old cardboard beer box (Tecate…I was too lazy to make my own sign) a small beat up pickup pulls over, and the fellow driving tells me to hop in the back. I do so, and about forty minutes later, I am in Tecate! I thank the man for the ride, and, since it is getting a bit late, begin looking for a place to camp. As I am looking, another truck stops and again, asks me where I’m headed. I tell him the next town over. He tells me he can take me to the other side of town, but that is all. I tell him, esta bien, amigo, and hop right in. We arrive in about fifteen minutes (we had to stop so as he could siphon gas out of an old milk jug into his tank…apparently he no neccito gas stations) and I make camp under a tree. I have about five pesos, and I am hungry, so I walk back into town, go to a small small store on the outskirts. I show the lady my five pesos, tell her it is all my money, and that I need as much food as I can get with it. I leave the store with a pack of powdered donuts, some weird Mexican candy, a bunch of cookies, and some strange fruit drink. Then, I sleep…
The next day, I wake up with the sun as usual, pack up camp, and head to the road. As soon as I get there, I notice another small, beat up pickup on the shoulder idling, and I walk up to him and ask him if he can take me to Mexicali. He says he is not going that far, but he is going to La Rumorosa, which is a tiny tiny town in between Tecate and Mexicali. We arrive there in about an hour, (I get to ride in the cab this time, which is good, because it’s damn freezing out in northern Mexico this time of year) and he stops at a small roadside cafe. He tells me that his mother owns it, and would I like some breakfast (I can’t make a right side up question mark on this strange Mexican keyboard) I tell him of course I would, and I am fed a rich, delicious Mexican breakfast, free of charge. His mother even gave me a bunch of burritos, por otra dias, of course :)
After breakfast, I head back to the freeway. I walk a few miles down it, trying all the time to hitch another ride, and soon come to a roadside burrito stand. I talk with the vendor for awhile (my Spanish having markedly improved to casual conversation mode) and after hearing my story, the vendor practically insists that I have a burrito or three. I oblige, of course. After my burritos, I stand about a hundred meters in front of the stand and try for about an hour and a half to hitch a ride. Finally, a man in a small red car pulls over, and takes me to Mexicali. His name is Fransisco, he is from Gualatajara, and he is going to Mexicali to pick up his amigo who is getting out of prison after eleven years, having attempted to smuggle a few kilos of blow across the border. He offers me a cerveza, and, figuring it to be impolite to refuse, I take it.
One cerveza later, we arrive in Mexicali. Fransisco offers to buy me some Mexican Burger King. Not one to turn down free food, I get me a whopper (thirty-five pesos) and some fries. Fransisco leaves to collect his friend, and wishes me buen viaje.
I spend pretty much all of my daylight trying to locate the freeway to the next town, San Luis Rio de Colorado. I finally am able to hitch a ride to the freeway from a nice couple with a staring little boy. They give me fifty pesos, which, since I am overloaded with burritos, I spend on a pack of cigarettes. Cigarettes are dirt cheap in Mexico, twenty five pesos for a pack, or about two fifty. Hell yeah.
Since I am still in the town of Mexicali and it is getting dark, I decide to walk along the freeway until I can find a suitable place to camp. As I am walking, yet another beat up pickup stops and asks where I am headed. I tell him San Luis, and he offers to take me as far as his house. I talk to him for awhile, tell him of my travels, and he becomes very excited and insists that I come to his house for tacos, followed by church. I said sure why not, and we head away from the freeway to his tiny house in a small farming town. I meet his hairdresser wife, his young daughter, and impossibly small chihuahua. We eat tacos, take showers, and then head to church.
I was totally expecting a Catholic church, but it was not. I can only describe it as “Mexican Baptist.” There was much singing and shouting, though no speaking in tongues (unless you count Spanish) and by the end of the service many people were crying. After it was over, my friend insisted on a blessing for my safe travels, which I graciously accepted. We returned to his house, and he then offered to take me to San Luis. Accompanied by his wife, we go.
On the way to San Luis, I see my first real dead guy. Up ahead on the freeway, we see lots of cops. As we slowly drive by, I notice the street is covered with blood and bits internal organs. Then, I see the corpse, or what was left of it. Apparently the poor fellow had been hit by a semi, and there was nothing left of the top half of him. His lower torso and legs lay on the road like, well, roadkill. Esta no bueno.
We arrive on the outskirts of San Luis, and the border of the Mexican state of Sonora. My friend drops me off there, and I make camp about two hundred meters from the freeway under a small tree. Then, I sleep…
The next day I walk into town and find a ride to the small desert town of Sonoria in about an hour and a half. Two men, (again, in a small beat-up pickup) take me across the desolate and barren Sonoran desert. We arrive in Sonoria in about two hours. Sonoria (population 2,342) is right on the Mexico side of the USA-Mexico border, next to the Joshua Tree Cactus National monument in central-south Arizona. It is the most remote town ever. I walk to the other side of town, about a half a mile, and begin trying to hitch another ride, either to Caborca, Altar, or Santa Ana. After trying for about an hour with no success, there being not too much traffic going out of Sonoria, A random guy walks up to me and I talk to him for a bit. After awhile, we head to his “house,” which is an old school bus on bricks, and drink a few beers. After that, he tells me that there is a truck stop about two kilometers down the road that is a good place to get a ride. I thank him for the beer, and head there.
After about ten minutes at the truck stop, I hitch my longest ride ever. A REALLY nice fellow named Homberto driving a yellow semi picks me up, and offers to take me all the way to the border of the Mexican state of Zacatecas. I tell him esta MUY bien, and we are off. I learn a lot of Spanish from Homberto, and he is anxious to learn English as well. He lives in Tijuana, has three children and a very pretty wife. He tells me that when he drives, he listens to learn-English CD’s. I tell him, fuck the CD’s, I’m the real thing! We drive for a loooong ways, through the freezing cold Mexican state of Chihuahua (there is snow there!) and Durango. He lets me sleep on one of the bunk beds in his truck, and buys me lots of food. I learn SO MUCH Spanish from Homberto, more then I ever learned in fat and smelly (gordo y oloroso) Chesson’s class.
Las estreyas il cielo son bonito is the stars in the sky are beautiful
Estoy buscando el camino para Gualatajara is I am looking for the way to Gualatajara
Me regales un cigaro por favor is can you give me a cigarette please
And much much more!
Last night, after about thirty or thirty five hours with Homberto, I am dropped off near the southern border of the state of Durango and the northern border of the state of Zacatecas at a truck stop. I trek through painful cactus’s in the dark to a small rock outcropping to find a place to sleep. I have a smoke, and pass out.
Today, I woke up to find myself nearly falling off the rock outcropping. It is good I didn’t fall, because it was about a fifteen foot drop to a big patch of cactus at the bottom. I pack up camp, walk back to the truck stop, and find a ride to the city of Zacatecas (in the state of Zacatecas) via yet ANOTHER small beat up pickup towing a small Plymouth car. I get to ride in the car, with a man named Cesar. He tells me all about how he used to “robo muchos bancos en Estatos Unidos y Mexico” but that he spent ten years in a Mexican prison for his troubles and he “no mas robos los bancos.” I figured that was a good thing.
So now I am in Zacatecas. It is raining, a bit chilly, I have no place to sleep, and am having the time of my life! So, until I can access the Internet again, adios, my friends and family! Tomorrow I head south, bound for Central America! Wish me luck!
Patrick, AKA The Modern Nomad
Got permission from the maker and owner/poster of this video to post it here on my blog. I like this young mans vids and his manner of speaking.
The information contained is helpful and informative. Im sure you Blog followers will like it also. This information goes along with my Grey man info from last month - (check archives).
See you on the trail.
Tomahawk - Scouts Out!
Posted by pathfindertom at 5:20 AM
Sunday, February 5, 2012
Ok, this is my last post this month on Old school Adventurers and Mercenaries. These old stories are great to read and ponder over. Just goes to show you that adventurers have always been around and always will be. C.F. Henningsen is an Englishman who worked his way around the world as a Mercenary,munitions expert, writer and a few other things.
My kind of guy and certainly worthy of a mention on this blog.
Check out the info if you feel like it.
Tomahawk - Scouts Out!
Charles Frederick Henningsen:(1815 — June 14, 1877) was an Anglo-American writer, mercenary, filibuster, and munitions expert. He participated in civil wars and independence movements in Spain, Nicaragua, Hungary, and the United States. His parents were Swedish, but he was born in England.
He fought in the First Carlist War, after entering as a volunteer in the service of Don Carlos in 1834. Henningsen rose to be captain of bodyguard to the Carlist general Tomás de Zumalacárregui. After the signing of the Lord Eliot Convention in April 1835, at which he was present, Henningsen returned to England.
However, Henningsen soon returned to Spain with the rank of lieutenant-colonel and joined the Carlist expedition that threatened Madrid from Aragon.
He fought at the Battle of Villar de los Navarros (August 24, 1837), a Carlist victory, earning the rank of colonel. He headed the Carlist lancers and was attacked outside of Madrid by Liberal (Isabeline) forces. He led a column against these forces, capturing the outer fortifications of Madrid. He held them for several hours, until notified that Don Carlos could send him no reinforcements.
However, he was subsequently taken prisoner, and released on parole. He did not to serve again in this war. He later recorded his experiences in Spain in the book The Most Striking Events of a Twelvemonth's Campaign with Zumalacarregui, which he dedicated to Lord Eliot. The work created controversy in Britain because it glorified Zumalacárregui and supported the Carlist position.
Russia and Hungary:
Henningsen subsequently fought against the Russian army in Circassia during the Russian-Circassian War, and wrote up a military report on Russia, also later writing the book Revelations of Russia. This was translated into French by Cyprien Robert and published in Paris (3 vols. 1845).
He then became involved in the revolution in Hungary led by Lajos Kossuth, and was also involved in the planning of the military campaign against enemy Austrian forces.
He proposed a military plan of campaign that was well-received by Richard Debaufre Guyon and other leaders; as a result, Henningsen was to be appointed military and civil commander of the fortress of Komárom (Komorn). However, the Hungarian Revolution was suppressed, and Henningsen later visited Kossuth at Kütahya in 1850, where the Hungarian leader had been detained.
Henningsen then traveled from Constantinople to Albania, and then crossed the Adriatic Sea to Italy.
In 1851, Henningsen traveled to the United States shortly after Kossuth arrived in that country. He remained in the United States as a representative of Hungarian interests. Henningsen served under William Walker in Nicaragua from October 1856, and was appointed major-general, commanding Walker's artillery.
He directed the defense of Rivas on March 23, 1856 and during the Second Battle of Rivas (April 11, 1856).
He was second in command at the Battle of the Transit (November 11, 1856) and at the Battle of Masaya.
He commanded the Battle of Obraje and was second in command at the 3rd and 4th battles of San Jorge.
Henningsen was responsible for burning Granada, Nicaragua, at the time the capital of Nicaragua, on December 14, 1856. During this incident, he had taken refuge at Granada with 416 persons, 140 of whom were women, children, and wounded. Henningsen was surrounded by some 4,000 Salvadoran and Guatemalan troops, so he decided to burn the city, fighting his way to Lake Nicaragua with a loss of 230 killed, wounded, and those killed by cholera. Nothing of the city was left but a smoking ruin; when Henningsen withdrew, he left an inscription on a lance reading, in Spanish, Aquí fue Granada ("Here was Granada").
At the lake, he was joined by a reinforcement of 130 men, and routed the Salvadoran and Guatemalan forces.
On May 1, 1857 Henningsen, along with Walker, surrendered to Commander Charles Henry Davis of the United States Navy and was repatriated.
He became a citizen of the United States and was married to a niece of John M. Berrien, U.S. Senator from Georgia. Henningsen continued to pursue filibuster schemes and fought in the American Civil War for the Confederacy for a year, being made brigadier-general, and frequently had command of the defenses of Richmond.He was involved in the Battle of Elizabeth City. After the war he took up his residence in Washington, D.C., and was involved in the movement to liberate Cuba from Spanish rule. During his declining years, he lived in straitened circumstances, but was supported by friends such as Colonel Albert Pike.
His 1877 obituary in The Evening Star described him as a “man of striking appearance, being tall, erect, and soldier-like in his bearing. He was gentleman of scholarly attainments, and spoke the French, Spanish, Russian, German, and Italian languages with the fluency of a native.” Another source states that "he died in 1877 without ever winning any of the causes for which he fought."
He is mentioned in Ernesto Cardenal's poem Con Walker en Nicaragua ("With Walker in Nicaragua"):
And then came that Englishman, C. F. Henningsen,
who'd fought against the Czar and in Spain and for the independence of Hungary.
After he read a previous post on Gen Fred T. Ward, My good friend Jim Reser reminded me to do a post on William Walker, who was a was a US lawyer, journalist, Mercenary and adventurer in the 1800s.
Walker is kind a of a cool guy also and went around setting up English speaking colonies in Latin America back in the day.
He ended up being killed in Honduras but what the hell?, he had a heck of a run of luck and many adventures.
I have posted some stuff from Wikipedia below because Im too lazy to look up anything else or rewrite it into my own words.
anyhoo, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did.
Tomahawk - Scouts Out!
William Walker (May 8, 1824– September 12, 1860) was a US lawyer, journalist and adventurer, who organized several private military expeditions into Latin America, with the intention of establishing English-speaking colonies under his personal control, an enterprise then known as "filibustering." Walker became president of the Republic of Nicaragua in 1856 and ruled until 1857, when he was defeated by a coalition of Central American armies. He was executed by the government of Honduras in 1860.
Walker was born in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1824 to James Walker and his wife Mary Norvell. His father was a son of a Scottish immigrant. His mother was a daughter of Lipscomb Norvell, a Revolutionary War officer from Virginia. One of Walker's maternal uncles was John Norvell, a US Senator from Michigan and founder of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
William Walker graduated summa cum laude from the University of Nashville at the age of fourteen. He spent the next two years in Europe, studying medicine at the universities of Edinburgh, Heidelberg, Göttingen, and Paris. The revolutions of 1848 took place during his stay in Europe; the political minds of the time, which include Garibaldi, Marx, Mazzini, Feuerbach, and Blanc, influenced his filibustering aspirations. At the age of 19, he received a medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania and practiced briefly in Philadelphia before moving to New Orleans to study law.
He practiced law for a short time, but quit to become co-owner and editor of the New Orleans Crescent. In 1849, he moved to San Francisco, California, where he was a journalist and fought three duels, in two of which he was wounded. Walker now conceived the idea of conquering vast regions of Latin America, where he would create new slave states to join the federal union. These campaigns were known as filibustering or freebooting.
Expedition to Mexico:
In the summer of 1853, Walker traveled to Guaymas, seeking a grant from the government of Mexico to create a colony that would serve as a fortified frontier, protecting US soil from retaliations by Native Americans. Mexico refused, and Walker returned to San Francisco determined to obtain his colony, regardless of Mexico's position. He began recruiting from amongst American supporters of slavery and the Manifest Destiny Doctrine, mostly inhabitants of Kentucky and Tennessee. His intentions then changed from forming a buffer colony to establishing an independent Republic of Sonora, which might eventually take its place as a part of the American Union (as had been the case previously with the Republic of Texas). He funded his project by "selling scripts which were redeemable in lands of Sonora."
On October 15, 1853, Walker set out with 45 men to conquer the Mexican territories of Baja California and Sonora. He succeeded in capturing La Paz, the capital of sparsely populated Baja California, which he declared the capital of a new Republic of Lower California, with himself as president and his partner, Watkins, as vice president; he then put the region under the laws of the American state of Louisiana, which made slavery legal. He moved his headquarters to Ensenada to maintain a more secure position of operations. Although he never gained control of Sonora, less than three months later, he pronounced Baja California part of the larger Republic of Sonora.
Lack of supplies and unexpectedly strong resistance by the Mexican government quickly forced Walker to retreat. Back in California, he was put on trial for conducting an illegal war, in violation of the Neutrality Act of 1794. In the era of Manifest Destiny, his filibustering project was popular in the southern and western United States and the jury took eight minutes to acquit him.
Conquest of Nicaragua:
Since there was no inter-oceanic route joining the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans at the time, and the transcontinental railway had not been completed, a major trade route between New York City and San Francisco ran through southern Nicaragua. Ships from New York would enter the San Juan River from the Atlantic and sail across Lake Nicaragua. People and goods would then be transported by stagecoach over a narrow strip of land near the city of Rivas, before reaching the Pacific and being shipped to San Francisco. The commercial exploitation of this route had been granted by Nicaragua to the Accessory Transit Company, controlled by Wall Street tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt (see also Nicaragua Canal).
In 1854, a civil war erupted in Nicaragua between the Legitimist party (also called the Conservative party), based in the city of Granada, and the Democratic party (also called the Liberal party), based in León. The Democratic party sought military support from Walker who, to circumvent U.S. neutrality laws, obtained a contract from Democratic president Francisco Castellón to bring as many as three hundred "colonists" to Nicaragua. These mercenaries received the right to bear arms in the service of the Democratic government. Walker sailed from San Francisco on May 3, 1855, with approximately 60 men. Upon landing, the force was reinforced by 170 locals and about 100 Americans, including the well-known explorer and journalist Charles Wilkins Webber and the English adventurer Charles Frederick Henningsen, a veteran of the First Carlist War, the Hungarian Revolution, and the war in Circassia.
With Castellón's consent, Walker attacked the Legitimists in the town of Rivas, near the trans-isthmian route. He was driven off, but not without inflicting heavy casualties. On September 4, during the Battle of La Virgen, Walker defeated the Legitimist army. On October 13, he conquered the Legitimist capital of Granada and took effective control of the country. Initially, as commander of the army, Walker ruled Nicaragua through puppet President Patricio Rivas. During Walker's rule, the country became known as "Walkeragua." U.S. President Franklin Pierce recognized Walker's regime as the legitimate government of Nicaragua on May 20, 1856.
Meanwhile, C.K. Garrison and Charles Morgan, subordinates of Cornelius Vanderbilt's Accessory Transit Company, provided financial and logistic assistance to the filibusters in exchange for Walker, as ruler of Nicaragua, seizing the Company's property (on the pretext of a charter violation) and turning it over to Garrison and Morgan. Outraged, Vanderbilt successfully pressured the U.S. government to withdraw its recognition of Walker's regime.
Walker had also scared his neighbors and potential American and European investors with talk of further military conquests in Central America. Juan Rafael Mora, President of Costa Rica, rejected Walker's diplomatic overtures and instead declared war on his regime, the Campaign of 1856–1857. Walker sent Colonel Schlessinger to invade Costa Rica in a preemptive action, but his forces were defeated at the Battle of Santa Rosa in March 1856. In April 1856, Costa Rican troops penetrated into Nicaraguan territory and inflicted a defeat on Walker's men at the Second Battle of Rivas, in which Juan Santamaría, later to be recognized as one of Costa Rica's national heroes, played a key role.
From the north, President Jose Santos Guardiola sent Honduran troops to fight William Walker under the leadership of the Xatruch brothers. Florencio Xatruch was named General in Chief of the Allied Armies of Central America. He also led the combat against the filibusters in la Puebla, Rivas. Later, for political reasons, Juan Rafael Mora was left in charge. Several Central American countries recognized Xatruch as Brigade and Division General. On June 12, 1857, Xatruch made a triumphant entrance to Comayagua, which was then the capital of Honduras, after Walker surrendered. The nickname by which Hondurans are known popularly still today, Catracho, is derived from Xatruch's figure and successful campaign as leader of the Allied Armies of Central America. As the general and his soldiers returned from battle, some Nicaraguans would affectionately yell out ¡Vienen los xatruches!, meaning "Here come Xatruch's boys!" However, Nicaraguans had so much trouble pronouncing the general's last name (a Catalan last name) that they altered the phrase to "los catruches" and ultimately settled on "los catrachos".
Walker took up residence in Granada and set himself up as President of Nicaragua, after conducting a fraudulent election. He was inaugurated on July 12, 1856, and soon launched an Americanization program, reinstating slavery, declaring English an official language and reorganizing currency and fiscal policy to encourage immigration from the United States. Realizing that his position was becoming precarious, he sought support from the Southerners in the U.S. by recasting his campaign as a fight to spread the institution of black slavery, which many American Southern businessmen saw as the basis of their agrarian economy. With this in mind, Walker revoked Nicaragua's emancipation edict of 1824. This move did increase Walker's popularity in the South and attracted the attention of Pierre Soulé, an influential New Orleans politician, who campaigned to raise support for Walker's war. Nevertheless, Walker's army, weakened by an epidemic of cholera and massive defections, was no match for the Central American coalition. On December 14, 1856 as Granada was surrounded by 4,000 Honduran, Salvadoran and Guatemalan troops, Charles Frederick Henningsen, one of Walker's generals, ordered his men to set the city ablaze before escaping and fighting their way to Lake Nicaragua. An inscription on a lance reading Aquí fue Granada ("Here was Granada") was left behind at the smoking ruin of the ancient capital city.
On May 1, 1857, Walker surrendered to Commander Charles Henry Davis of the United States Navy under the pressure of the Central American armies, and was repatriated. Upon disembarking in New York City, he was greeted as a hero, but he alienated public opinion when he blamed his defeat on the U.S. Navy. Within six months, he set off on another expedition, but he was arrested by the U.S. Navy Home Squadron under the command of Commodore Hiram Paulding and once again returned to the U.S. amid considerable public controversy over the legality of the Navy's actions.
Death in Honduras:
After writing an account of his Central American campaign (published in 1860 as War in Nicaragua), Walker once again returned to the region. British colonists in Roatán, in the Bay Islands, fearing that the government of Honduras would move to assert its control over them, approached Walker with an offer to help him in establishing a separate, English-speaking government over the islands. Walker disembarked in the port city of Trujillo, but soon fell into the custody of Captain Nowell Salmon (later Admiral Sir Nowell Salmon) of the British Royal Navy. The British government controlled the neighboring regions of British Honduras (now Belize) and the Mosquito Coast (now part of Nicaragua) and had considerable strategic and economic interest in the construction of an inter-oceanic canal through Central America. It therefore regarded Walker as a menace to its own affairs in the region.
Rather than return him to the US, Salmon delivered Walker to the Honduran authorities in Trujillo, who executed him near the site of the present-day hospital by firing squad on September 12, 1860. Walker was 36 years old. He is buried in the Cementerio Viejo, in Trujillo.
Friday, February 3, 2012
General Frederick Townsend Ward, American soldier of fortune/Mercenary from the 1850s/60s, is yet another interesting rascal from American history you rarely - if ever hear about. This guy was back in the mid 1800s , yet, reminds me of many similar rascals, scallywags,roustabouts,and bacon chawin' sons of bitches I know around the world now. It just goes to show you that "red blooded American boys" have always been here and always will be.
There is some pretty good information about General Frederick Townsend Ward on the net, in places like wikipedia and others, you just got to dig a little. In fact you may recognize the name from my earlier post about the American Legion Post China post 1 - it was originally named after Fred T. Ward.
This info is a pretty interesting read and I hope you enjoy it.
Tomahawk - Scouts Out!
Frederick Townsend Ward was born in Salem, Massachusetts on November 29, 1831. Ward was rebellious in his youth, so his father removed Ward from High School 1847 and found him a position as second mate on the Hamilton, a clipper ship commanded by a family friend. Another version is that Ward demanded to leave high school.
Life at sea was tough. Ward was given authority over many “old salts”. He was thrown overboard after complaints that he gave too many orders for a youth. Captain William Allen recalled that Ward possessed traits of “reckless daring”, but was on the whole a valuable officer.
On the Hamilton, Ward sailed from New York to Hong Kong in 1847, but probably saw little beyond the port city because the Qing Dynasty forbade foreigners from venturing inland (Hong Kong Island had become a British Crown Colony in 1842, at the end of the First Opium War).
In 1849 Ward enrolled at the “American Literary, Scientific and Military Academy”, now Norwich University, in Vermont, where the curriculum included military tactics, strategy, drill and ceremonies. He attended for only a few months, before he left school and never returned. In 1850 he shipped out as first mate of the clipper ship Russell Clover. His father was the captain.
Frederick Townsend Ward in the 1850s:
1850 First Mate, clipper ship Russell Clover, New York to San Francisco. Visits Gold Fields (?) Meets Giuseppe Garibaldi in Panama or Peru (?)
1851 First Mate, trading barque, San Francisco & Shanghai. Sailor, coastal cargo ships, China coast
1852 Sailor, coastal cargo ships, China coast, First Officer (XO), cargo ship Gold Hunter, carrying coolie labor to Mexico. Debarks in Tehauntapec, Mexico. Meets William Walker, joins Walker forces as filibuster.
1853 Part of Walker's Sonora Filibuster Invasion of Mexico, resigns sometime in 1853 or 1854, remains in Mexico
1854 Mexico, scrap metal business. Venture fails, travels to San Francisco by mule. First Mate, Westward Ho! clipper ship, San Francisco – New York – Hong Kong. Refuses to filibuster for Taiping's (?) Manchu Government unwilling to employ Westerners. Ward returns to New York, enlists in French Army, Enters Crimean War
1855 Ward in Crimean War, allowed to resign after insubordination to superior
1856 Whereabouts unknown
1857 China, First Mate on coastal steamship Antelope
1858 Mercenary for Juarez in Mexico(?) Texas Ranger (?)
1859 New York City, clerk in father's shipping agency office. Travels to San Francisco en route to Shanghai (accompanied by brother Harry)
1860 Arrives in Shanghai, (never to return to United States). XO on the Confucius, armed pirate suppression river steamer. Commander, Foreign Army Corps.
Aside from working as a sailor during the 1850s, Ward found employment, as a “filibuster”. “Filibustering” is “raising private mercenary armies and leading them into other countries to advance either [one's own] schemes or those of wealthy sponsors”. Ward worked for the infamous “King of the Filibusters”, William Walker, in Mexico, where he learned how to recruit, train, and command mercenary troops.
Ward also learned to avoid some of Walker's practices and behaviors. Walker has a reputation for being “excessively vain, weak minded and ambitious…his weakness renders him cruel…”. During Ward's later time in China, he displayed respect and concern for the Western and Chinese troops under his command, whom he referred to as “my people”.
Ward learned about practical warfare during his “filibusteresque” experience in 1854 and when he served as a lieutenant with the French Army in the Crimean War. He learned about weapons, tactics, using riflemen in mobile platoons rather than in fixed firing lines and siege techniques. Ward also learned that the frontal assault was of limited value against disciplined long range firepower, and he gained experience under fire. He did not serve throughout the entire war, because he was 'allowed' to resign after being insubordinate to a superior officer.
In 1857, Ward sought work as a mercenary, but when he didn't secure such work, he served as the first mate on a coastal steamship in dangerous waters. He worked as a shipping agent in his father's New York City office alongside his brother in 1859.
At the end of the 1850s, Ward's life bears some similarity to U.S. Grant's life. Both were former soldiers with uncertain prospects, who worked in offices for their fathers, with their brothers. It is unlikely that they knew each other. However, U.S. Grant stated that he did not anticipate his role in the Civil War, while Ward was saving money, and planning military activity, this time for Imperial China.
According to a contemporary account written in early 1862, Ward and his brother arrived in Shanghai, China in 1860 for the purpose of trading, perhaps as an extension of their father's New York office. This may be true, but given Ward's activities in the 1850s it is almost certain that Ward had ulterior motives for his return. We can be sure he had little respect for the Shanghai business practices, which he dismissed as “lying, swindling and smuggling”. Their arrival coincided with a buildup of the forces of the Taiping Rebellion in the area.
While Ward's brother set up a trading business in Shanghai, Ward himself took up customary employment as the executive officer on the “Confucius”; an armed riverboat commanded by an American, employed by the “Shanghai Pirate Suppression Bureau”. The Bureau was organized by Xue Huan and Wu Xu, Shanghai governmental officials who took pains to shield explicit imperial association with Western mercenaries and military, and primarily funded by Yang Fang, a prominent Ningbo banker and mercantilist.
Ward's show of bravery and initiative onboard the “Confucius” reflected great credit upon him, and the prominent men of Shanghai took notice. His exploits, previous military experience, ability to rise above racism and empathize with local populations, and his stated mercenary intentions, made him an attractive candidate to lead a force of Foreign Nationals in defense of Shanghai against encroaching Taiping forces.
Wu Xu and Yang Fang both increasingly recognized that such a force was necessary, as Imperial forces, frequently staffed by Confucian scholars and conscripts, rather than experienced commanders and soldiers, had all too often proven unequal to the task of defeating Taiping forces.
Through their contacts with the Western business community, and Ward's own relentless self promotion, in the spring of 1860 Xu and Fang reached out to Ward and became his employers. Ward then began scouring the wharves of Shanghai for every Westerner, sober or otherwise, capable of firing a weapon. With this, the “Shanghai Foreign Arms Corps” was born, which in defeat, would form the nucleus for the “Ever Victorious Army”.
Shanghai Foreign Arms Corps:
It may be surprising to modern American and Chinese readers to learn that in 1860, both Chinese and Westerners would place more faith in a small, motley group of mercenaries than readily available local citizenry, but one must realize that the average Chinese of the time had little understanding of marksmanship, nor much impetus to defend the Manchu throne. Further, with Taiping armies edging closer to Shanghai, there was no time to train native peasants in either conventional Chinese or Western warfare.
On the Shanghai docks, however, Westerners with diverse military experience existed as “discharged seamen, deserters, and other drifters who made Shanghai their temporary home, and even the gainfully employed could be tempted by the prospect of adventure, high pay, and loot.”
This weapon, already forged, was used by Ward against the Taipings, with the backing of local Shanghai ministers and merchants, in a highly charged political atmosphere in which the Manchu Imperial forces had no desire to show their reliance upon Western powers. By the same token, the diplomats and military men of the Western powers discouraged foreign involvement in domestic Chinese matters, even by Westerners in Chinese employ. The Western powers’ concerns did not relate to principle – they were most concerned about the power of the Taipings to block trade downriver from the interior to Shanghai if neutrality were violated.
By June 1860, Ward's had a polyglot force of 100 Westerners, trained in the best small arms (including Colt revolvers) and rifles available for purchase in Shanghai. Protesting that his forces were not fully trained, Ward was forced by his Shanghai backers to take his men into action alongside Imperial forces probing Taiping advances, retaking two captured towns. They were then forced by circumstances (and the urging of their Shanghai backers) to assault the Taiping occupied and fortified city of Songjiang, without artillery – a near-impossible task.
The attack failed, sending the thoroughly defeated force back to Shanghai. However, by mid-July, Ward had recruited additional Westerners and over 80 Filipino "Manilamen", and purchased several artillery pieces, and once again, his forces assaulted Sung-Chiang. They were successful, but at enormous cost. Out of a force of roughly 250 men, 62 were killed, and 100 were wounded, including Ward himself.
Ward and his forces now gained a notoriety that attracted new recruits (for the pay was attractive, even if looting was discouraged by Ward), and enraged local Westerners who saw Ward as an inflammatory, filibustering element sure to force the Taipings to stop the flow of trade. More disconcertingly, the Taipings themselves were now aware of a new and potent force against them.
On August 2, 1860, Ward led the Foreign Arms Corps against Chingpu , next town from Sung-chiang on the approaches to Shanghai, and this time the Taiping were prepared. As the Corps stormed a garrison wall, Taiping forces lying in ambush waited for the optimum moment and then delivered a withering barrage of close-range musket fire. Within 10 minutes, the Foreign Arms Corps had suffered 50% casualties, and Ward himself was shot in the left jaw, with an exit wound in the right cheek, scarring him for life and leaving him with a speech impediment.
The force retreated and Ward returned to Shanghai for medical treatment and to attempt to recruit more forces and buy additional artillery. Within several days he and the remnants of the Foreign Arms Corps laid siege to Chingpu and bombarded it with artillery. By this time, the Taiping's best military leader Li Xiucheng, called Zhong Wang or “The Faithful King”, dispatched 20,000 troops downriver to break the siege, sending the Foreign Arms Corps fleeing back to the Songjiang area, where Ward's second-in-command, Burgevine, held the Corps briefly together, but it soon "ceased to function as an organized entity"
Ward returned to Shanghai for further treatment of his injury, and was there while the Zhong Wang's forces laid siege, and were beaten back by Western and Imperial forces within the City. Ward left Shanghai (apparently secretly) in late 1860 for further treatment of his facial wound, while the remnants of the Corps remained more or less under the command of H. A. Burgevine, another American fortune seeker. Burgevine could not get along with the Imperial Chinese superior and started in house fighting. He was arrested and died in a firearm accident.
It is unclear as to whether Yang was still funding the Corps in the late fall of 1860, but upon Ward's return in spring 1861, Ward was able to attract desired elements of the Corps back to his employ. After his return, Ward tenaciously began to recruit and train replacements for the Foreign Arms Corps, offering terms attractive enough to cause desertion among the many British warships in port. Ward, facing arrest and numerous political difficulties arising from the Western governments’ desire to remain neutral, opted to become a Chinese subject, stymieing efforts by the British navy and other Western forces to stop him.
In May 1861, Ward once again led the Foreign Arms Corps into battle at Chingpu, and once again, the assault failed, with heavy casualties. This was the last major engagement of the Foreign Arms Corps in its “primarily Western” configuration.
Judgments as to the effectiveness of the Foreign Army Corps vary depending upon the sympathies of the author. The most recent Ward biographer, Caleb Carr, seems fairly generous in his estimation of Ward's accomplishments in his 1992 work. However, perhaps the most authoritative judgment was rendered by Richard J. Smith, who stated:
“Repeatedly sent into the field without adequate preparation by Ward's frantic sponsors, the poorly trained and ill-disciplined contingent stood virtually no chance of success against Li Xiucheng's seasoned troops. Sometimes drunk and always disorderly, the Foreign-Arms Corps depended primarily on the element of surprise and the superiority of Western weapons to obtain victory."
Ward clearly recognized the harsh truth of this statement. He soon embarked upon a new vision, in which he would reform the more reliable elements of the Corps into the nucleus of an effective fighting force, composed primarily of local Chinese.
Commander of the Ever Victorious Army:
Credit for the concept of training Chinese in Western military tactics and arming them with the best available weaponry is sometimes given to Ward, other times to Li Hongzhang, a local Imperial commander “ordered to cooperate with—and keep an eye on—Ward's unruly contingent” and other times to Burgevine, who according to some began the training while Ward was recuperating, having been inspired by the sight of a Chinese gun crew acting under French direction.
Perhaps another factor in the reconsideration of local Chinese troops was the changing mood of the local peasantry. Where before they had been unwilling to fight for Manchu primacy, they were now constantly threatened and in some cases occupied by Taiping forces that were, despite their “heavenly” origin, ruthless in their treatment of local populations. Indeed, in many cases informal militias were formed to drive Taiping forces out, and conduct guerilla operations.
Regardless of the concept's true origin, Ward became its champion and after his untimely death, no other commander could quite repeat his success. Ward's decision to turn to local Chinese forces would ensure his place in history, and help to end the Taiping rebellion.
By the summer of 1861, a training camp was established by Xue Huan's “right hand man” Wu Xu, where Ward set up operations. Working with the best of the survivors of the Foreign Arms Corp, and supported by a strong Headquarters staff, Ward trained an increasing number (see below) of Chinese in western small arms, gunnery, tactics, customs and drill and ceremonies. Particular care was taken to train the Chinese to hold their fire until their targets were within effective range. Chinese troops, both Taiping and Imperial, “had a lingering faith…in the intimidating power of noise”.
He even trained them to respond to western bugle calls and verbal commands, and most strikingly, outfitted them in Western-style utility uniforms, color-coded for branch of arms (Infantry or Artillery), with Indian “Sepoy” style turbans. This garb, at first distressing to the Chinese troops, earned them the nickname “Imitation Foreign Devils” among the local populace, as well as a fair share of mockery. In time, as the troops proved themselves the equal of their European counterparts, both on the parade ground and the battlefield, their distinct uniforms would become a point of pride.
Another point of pride was their pay, which was both high and consistent by Chinese standards – a strong recruiting driver that trumped most discomfort over unfamiliar uniforms. The pay was high in part to attract new recruits to dangerous work, but also to compensate for the lack of “looting” opportunity. Ward strongly discouraged looting, as he knew the practice turned local populaces against their “liberators”. Other benefits offered to Ward's men included better rations, billets, and of course, better chance of survival in combat.
By January 1862, with about one thousand Chinese soldiers trained and ready, Ward stated that his unit was ready for the field – much to the relief of his Shanghai backers, particularly Xuan Yang, who had significantly invested both government and private funds into the force's recruitment, arms and supplies. This was timely, as within the same month, the Chung Wang's forces reentered that region with over 120,000 troops, in an attempt to first cut off, and then enter and occupy Shanghai.
Ward, ever hungry for glory and no doubt seeking redress for his facial injury, welcomed the conflict, and was absolutely confident in his troops' ability to defend his Songjiang headquarters, while simultaneously operating as “flying columns” to be directed to strategic areas and Taiping vulnerabilities. He soon had several opportunities to test this confidence.
In the middle of January, about 10 miles north of Shanghai in Wu-Sung, and over 25 snow-covered miles from their own headquarters, Ward lead his new army into action, under a banner carrying a Chinese rendering of his own name reading “HUA”. His forces drove the Taipings from their entrenched positions, despite greater rebel numbers. A week later, after a return march, Ward's forces struck at the city of Guangfulin, occupied by over 20,000 Taiping troops, just five miles from Ward's own headquarters.
Ward, at the head of five hundred men, attacked the city without artillery support. The defenders, seeing the strange attire, military skill and foreign leadership of their own countrymen, wavered and “were filled with dismay and fled precipitately”.
In February, again facing Taiping forces moving near his training area, Ward took five hundred troops and in joint operations with local Imperial commanders, drove the rebels from Yinchipeng, Chenshan, Tianmashan, and other areas around Songjiang. In the course of these actions against superior numbers, thousands of Taiping were killed or wounded, while Ward himself suffered five wounds, including the loss of a finger to a musket ball.
Li Xiucheng, enraged at this foreign irritant, had a force of 20,000 attack Songjiang, defended only by Ward's force of about 1500 men . Upon approach, rebel forces came under the fire of camouflaged artillery and lost over 2000 men. Immediately thereafter infantry struck out of the city at the rebels, and cut off and captured another 800, while capturing a large number of boats bearing Taiping supplies and arms.
The Taipings beat a hasty retreat, rather than lay siege to such a hornet's nest. It was this moment, perhaps, that secured Ward's reputation among all the peoples of the Shanghai area; Chinese, Western and Taiping alike. From this moment on, the key Western commanders and politicians would support him, funds for troops would flow relatively freely from Imperial coffers, and his decisions would no longer be second-guessed by his backers in Shanghai.
By March 1862, Ward's force would be officially named by the Qing government, and to history, as “The Ever Victorious Army”, and Ward himself would be made first a 4th-rank, and then a 3rd-rank mandarin, high honors from the Manchu court for a Barbarian.
Through the course of 1862, “The Ever Victorious Army” would essentially live up to its name, again and again defeating numerically superior opponents, often in entrenched positions. Further, its presence on the battlefield and example of effective Chinese soldiering served as a “force multiplier” for Imperial Anhui units commanded by Li Hongzhang, between whom and Ward mutual respect grew during joint operations.
During the summer, Ward's “duckfoot” background found immediate application to the problems of land warfare. The Chung Wang's growing Taiping forces in the area, led to multiple threats at multiple points across the region. Clearly, mobility was needed for Ward's limited forces, but the road system was inadequate.
While another commander might have tried to solve the problem through additional wagons and horses, Ward saw the rivers and canals criss-crossing the region not as obstacles, but as passageways. He quickly secured the use of several river steamers, fitted them out as mobile artillery and troop transports, and increased his army's effectiveness several times over. Li Xiucheng himself later “attributed his defeats in the Suzhou area to Western steamers. Taiping land forces could contend with "foreign devils", he believed, but rebel water forces could not.”
Throughout this time, Ward's reputation continued to grow. Ward himself, outwardly caring little for public adulation, still sought to quench some inner need for further glory, and hoped to participate in an eventual strike against Nanjing, the Taiping capital, but this would not be. The Manchu court, suspicious of Ward from the beginning, grew even more concerned that as time passed, he refused to shave his forehead, wear a queue or even appear in his fine Mandarin robes. These and other comments regarding his ambitions led the court to limit the size of his unit far beneath his potential to recruit for it, and to give Ward far less rein than they would have to a commander with more Confucian leanings.
By September, the Ever Victorious Army would number over 5,000 men, organized in four battalions as well as an artillery corps, with several riverboats used for transport and mobile artillery.
Death in battle:
Ward was mortally wounded in the Battle of Cixi, about 10 miles from Ningbo on September 21, 1862, when he was shot in the abdomen. Cixi is a location no relation to the dowager. One version is that he was wounded at the base of the city wall. Ward survived 14 previous battlefield injuries.
Ward lingered for a day. During that time he dictated a will ensuring his brother, sister and Chinese wife would be cared for before expiring on the morning of September 22, 1862. He died at the height of his fame, leaving an unusual, original army forged by an even more unusual commander.
In modern memory:
Just as the events of the American Civil War overshadowed Ward's accomplishments in China during his life, his reputation after his death was overshadowed by Charles George Gordon, aka "Chinese Gordon", a British Army officer. After Ward's death, the command of the Ever-Victorious Army passed to his second in command, E. Forrester, Henry Andres Burgevine and later to Gordon. Gordon biographers diminish or disregard that Ward creation, the Ever Victorious Army, an original and unique military development which made Gordon's famed success in China possible. Today, Chinese Gordon is remembered, while Ward is largely forgotten. Some of Gordon's fame is due to his dramatic death in Khartoum years after the Taiping Rebellion.
There have been several books on Ward and the Ever Victorious Army by Ward's contemporaries and biographers published in the century since his death that seek to acknowledge Ward's contributions. The bestseller, The Devil Soldier(1992), by renowned historian and novelist Caleb Carr, was optioned for a motion picture soon after publication. Actor Tom Cruise and director John Woo were developing a movie scripted by Carr, but the project was never completed.
Some speculate that Ward might have become a great military leader in the Civil War if he had not gone to China, or if he had survived his injury and returned to the U.S. Instead, Western historians remember Ward as a great military leader in China, and credit him with saving Shanghai.
Physical remains and monuments:
There are just two U.S. memorials to Ward, both in Salem, MA: a headstone at an unfilled grave; and a collection of materials detailing his life and times by the Essex Institute. Caleb Carr explains that “Ward's remains were dug up, and his grave site and shrine were destroyed and paved over. The whereabouts of Ward's bones today are unknown. They have almost certainly been destroyed. A plain headstone over a cenotaph in Salem, is the only memorial to this most noteworthy of nineteenth-century American adventurers”.
Ward is also remembered in a Songjiang Roman Catholic Church, and in a Nanjing museum. One visitor wrote “The grave of Ward, a Protestant, revered as a Chinese Confucian hero, with a temple in his honour, now lies under the altar of a Roman Catholic church [built in 1982], whilst the land itself is the property of the local Buddhist monastery in a Communist state…Ward has not been forgotten in Songjiang and local memory still has Ward's bones under the high altar of the Catholic church”. Ward accomplishments are documented in the Taiping Rebellion Museum in Nanjing. One visitor remarked “To my surprise I saw, in a museum in Nanjing, a tribute to Ward—a large headstone bearing Ward's name, put in place by the American Legion on May 29, 1923.“
This page is kinda cool. I like the info put out on this blog and companion videos by "The road warrior". Im not much of a video oriented guy and find it a little to boring to sit through more than 30 seconds of video, and so, for me, it is a stretch to sit through 15 to 17 minutes of someone talking about gear - moreover, I think his manner of speaking is a bit condescending , but its just my opinion. Some folks will like and enjoy the videos Im sure.
I do like to read the Info I found on survivalthinktank.com about the overseas bug out bag and another about being the grey man. I dont agree with the importance The road warrior puts on "Comms" equipment. Personally, I dont have anyone to call now! I certainly wouldnt have need to call anyone in a PAW.
Id rather carry more Ammo, food and water. And, I do carry a Hennessey hammock for shelter , these rascals are very versatile and comfortable for sleeping in a warm environment. I have packed this type of hammock for several years and have only experienced 1 time that I simply could not find trees to sling it between.
All in all , pretty good site and I suppose youtube channel too. Check them out Im sure you will like survivalthinktank.com and the youtube videos;
see you on the trail.
Tomahawk - Scouts Out!