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In “Buccaneers’ Breakout at Maracaibo” in the March 2006 issue of Military History, P. 33 shows what is described as “An 1864 English map.” The caption should have read “1684,” as this map has the hand-drawn flair of that earlier time. Great article, wrong map date.

Artwork used in any historical article can offer the reader a higher level of understanding and sometimes an extra smile. On P. 43 of the January/February 2006 issue, a black-and-white copy of Massimo Taparelli’s Battle of Thermopylae 480 BC is used in the feature “Spartan Stand at Thermopylae.” If you look at the bottom left of the painting you’ll see two large horses upside down in the water and helmeted soldiers clambering to get out from under them. What is interesting is that this section of the painting was sketched in but never completed. If you look at it under a magnifying glass, one of the soldiers neck-deep in water is waving at the viewer with his left hand—and looks to be smiling!

As a longtime subscriber, I relish the variety in each issue of MH and devour it upon arrival. Keep up the good work.

G.L. Strand

Springville, Iowa


In defense of my deceased brethren of the Civil War, I wish to respond to the opening paragraph of Wayne Austerman’s “Perspectives” piece on amputees in the March 2006 issue, stating that “in a few cases the wounded man might survive.” As described in great detail by Dr. Alfred Bollet in his excellent book Civil War Medicine: Challenges and Triumphs, Data from the Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion, patients survived the procedures at rates of more than 75 percent. Death rates from secondary infections were substantially higher when amputations were delayed, at 34.8 percent. Surgeons’ retrospectives often state that they were initially too conservative in their approaches, and the first years of the war taught them that amputations were not only life saving but were the only viable options in the “mass casualty” chaos of the Civil War battlefield.

Major R.D. Caldroney, M.D.

U.S. Army Reserves

Lexington, Ky.


In regard to “An American Traitor’s Homecoming” in the April 2006 issue, I am not sure Bruce Trinque is correct in saying that Benedict Arnold’s remains “lie in an unmarked coffin, lost beneath a parish church on the bank of England’s Thames River.” The church is St. Mary’s, Battersea, in London, where a plaque marks Arnold’s crypt. The church also boasts a memorial window to Arnold that shows his portrait and, curiously, George Washington’s coat of arms. On a visit there some years ago, I was told that Arnold lies in his Patriot uniform because, on his deathbed, he repented his betrayal.

Bernard Cornwell

Chatham, Mass.

I enjoyed the editorial “Circumstance can make for strange military bedfellows” in the April issue, but please correct the spelling of our island in Lake Champlain. History books refer to Brig. Gen. Benedict Arnold’s engagement there as the Battle of Valcour, not Balfour, Island. By this fall, a new chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution, to be known as the Valcour Island Battle Chapter, will be formed in Plattsburgh, N.Y. As to Arnold’s later actions, we sympathize with our neighbors in Connecticut.

Bruce Trinque’s “An American Traitor’s Homecoming” in the same issue was also excellent, but there is an error concerning Arnold’s burial site. On October 7, 2003, St. Mary’s Anglican Church in Battersea, London, approved a 22-by-31-inch engraved memorial stone for Arnold, exactly 226 years after he led Americans at Bemis Heights near Saratoga. Installed in May 2004, the Vermont granite memorial, featuring a wreath with crossed flags of the United States and Britain, is Arnold’s first gravestone since his death on June 14, 1801.

The memorial reads, “In this crypt lie the bodies of Benedict Arnold, sometime general in the army of George Washington, and of his faithful and devoted wife, Margaret Shippen Arnold, and of their beloved daughter, Sophia Matilda Phipps. The two nations whom he served in turn in the years of enmity have united in this memorial as a token of their enduring friendship.” The Reverend Paul Kennington, rector of St. Mary’s, explained, “Now we can focus on our friendship and reconciliation, which is the work of the church.”

Major G. William Glidden

New York Army National Guard (ret.)


I have been following Military History for almost two years now, and it’s the only magazine I read that doesn’t survive the week of its arrival because it’s so captivating. The April 2006 issue had two articles focusing on Turkish military history, one by Gary L. Rashba on Sultan Selim’s march to the east, and James Reid’s covering the siege of Kars. They were both very well written, very accurate, and I think the two articles are complementary; one shows how an empire achieved victory by embracing modern technology, while the other shows how the same empire suffered because of its ignorance. When one considers the “dream teams” of European and even U.S. soldiers that have advised the Ottoman sultan’s army, it’s hard to believe that none could make a substantial improvement. The corruption and conservative religious leadership were not easy to overcome. But once the old Janissaries were destroyed by Mahmud II, who patiently waited under their glance while secretly amassing a European-style army, the wave of reform was unstoppable.

Ibrahim A. Kubilay

Rolla, Mo.


Originally published in the August 2006 issue of Military History. To subscribe, click here