Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Today's Tidbit - America's Shortest War

Here's hoping our latest military action is a short one...they never seem to turn out that way...

What was the shortest war ever fought by the United States and who was it against?

 Answer:  The shortest war fought by the United States took place in 1867, and lasted only one day!... And the "enemy" was a self-styled "independent" republic in eastern Texas, which called itself the Free State of Van Zandt...  (tell me more!)...It seems the citizens of Van Zandt county would not accept Federal military rule after the Civil War, so they voted to secede (since that had worked so well for the Confederacy!).  U.S. General Philip Sheridan in New Orleans, when he heard the news, sent a cavalry unit to put down the rebellion.  The citizens of Van Zandt, when they heard the news, declared war vs. the United States, and then rushed to the county line with shotguns and rifles, and ambushed the cavalry unit!  The cavalrymen, who were expecting a casual ride into the country, retreated - mostly in surprise.  The Van Zandters, jubilant at their "victory", raised a mighty "Huzzah" - and then retreated to a tavern at Canton, Texas to celebrate...(And did they ever celebrate!).  The now more serious U.S. Cavalry unit returned that night, marching unopposed all of the way to Canton - to find the now less serious (and very drunk!) "victors".  The 100 or so rebels were arrested and put into a crude stockade.  But after 2 nights as captives, all of them were able to escape out of the stockade - and fled into western Louisiana - where they were never caught!  No one was ever arrested or tried for treason - the affair was quickly forgotten.  Except in Texas - today you can still see a sign on the highway leading into Canton, which reads: YOU ARE ENTERING THE FREE STATE OF VAN ZANDT.

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