Saturday, September 15, 2018


I celebrate the fourth of July, every year. But I also be celebrate the fifth of July, because on the fifth of July in 1883 the U.S. government granted patent #278967 for a formula of something that had never existed under the sun before. The patent was granted for an invention that every one reading this has probably used at least once in the past year, and if you haven’t used it in the past year, you have cheated yourself. It was the brainchild of an energetic young marketing genius with some help from his brother, and the invention made them both rich – even though their original idea was pretty much a bust.
The story begins with a pharmacist in London named Gustave Mellin. Like many other pharmacists of his day, Gustave was looking for a magic elixir that might make people healthy but which would surely make him rich. In the second half of the nineteenth century, all over Europe and America, ambitious young men were throwing chemicals into pots and kettles and selling the resultant concoctions to unsuspecting guinea pigs (aka customers). Some of these latter day alchemists just made people ill. A few killed people. And a very few got very rich.
It was an Atlanta pharmacist, Dr. John Pemberton, who cooked up Coke-a-Cola in his back yard in 1886. And Caleb Bradham of New Bern, North Carolina invented Pepsi Cola in his pharmacy during the summer of 1893. In Cincinnati in 1886 Robert Johnson, who had worked as a pharmacists’ apprentice, joined with his brothers James and Mead in forming Johnson and Johnson, to sell their inventions of band aids and first aid kits. But the guiding light for Gustave Mellin was Henri Nestle, a Swiss citizen who in 1867, made his reputation and his fortune by saving a premature infant with a recipe of powdered milk and ground up wheat. Nestle's formula released the proteins trapped in wheat by grinding it into a powder, and thus making them easier for the baby to digest. And, though Nestle and Mellin did not realize it yet, this also made it possible to transport the wheat proteins over vast distances and store them for long periods.
Nestle sold his product by warning first time mothers that “impure milk is one of the chief causes of sickness among babies.” Which was absurd. Babies get sick because their immune systems aren't fully functional, yet. But we're talking marketing, here, not science. And in London that other Swiss citizen, Gustav Mellin began selling his own version of Nestle's formula, which he inventively called “Mellin’s Food”.  Mellin marketed his product with free samples, and a pseudo-scientific booklet convincing new mothers his formula was better for their babies than breast milk. God only knows how humans survived for the previous 2 million years without the powder.  Anyway, within a few years Mellin became Nestle’s principle competitor. And the success of Mellin attracted the attention of a young, dashing, handsome, ambitious and driven Englishman from the tiny village of Ruardean, in Gloucestershire.
James Horlick (above) began as an apprentice at the feet of the master, and what he learned from Mellin was that marketing was at least as important as the invention itself.  Probably more. But working for somebody else was no way to get rich, and in 1873 James quit his job and immigrated to America, to join his younger brother William (below) in Chicago. And James took with him a little something he had been working on.
In 1860, for the last time in history, the value of American agricultural goods was greater than the products from her factories. And amazingly this shift happened at same time that American farms were becoming the breadbasket of the world. Chief among this new bounty which was flooding the world markets was American wheat and rye. And that is why James and William Horlick had emigrated to America. See,  most of the world's capital for investment was still in England, but most of the world's plant protein was now in America. And within weeks after James arrived in Chicago the brothers set up J and W Horlicks to market their new wonder baby food, “Diastroid”.  Okay, the name needed a little work.
First, what William and James needed to make their wonder food was a community with cheap property values, a ready supply of clean water, an already industrialized work force, and easy access to their raw materials (wheat and rye) and to shipping routes, to get their product to their customers. They found just what they were looking 60 miles north of Chicago, where the Root River enters Lake Michigan, in Racine, Wisconsin.
The city had been incorporated in 1848 with a population of 3,000, and by 1870 was approaching 30,000, filling up with English, Danes, Czechs, Swedes and Norwegians. The foundation of the economy was the town’s harbor and rail connections.  Early on, Fanning Mills built heavy farm equipment here, including machines to separate the wheat and barley from its chaff, the slurry of which is called a malt. That created a pool of trained factory workers and the machines they used, which attracted Jerome Case who built his heavy equipment factory there, and S.C. Johnson who established his cleaning products factory in Racine.
So, in 1877 the Horlick brothers opened their single story factory in Racine, making "Horlick's Infant and  Invalids Food" and got ready to greet success. Okay, it was a little slow in coming. Oh, the baby formula business was doing okay, but it was by now a very competitive market and not the rocket to success that James had dreamed of along the banks of the River Wye, back in England. Still, in 1883, James’ preeminence in the field of baby food had been confirmed with a new patent, thus effectively limiting their competition in America.
In 1890 James returned to England to be closer to the money, and to handle the European marketing of their slowly growing infant cuisine empire. In 1908 Horlick’s opened a new, much larger plant in Racine (above). And they just kept plugging away, searching for that marketing angle that would make them rich beyond their wildest dreams.
They thought they had hit the mark in 1909 when explorers Robert Peary (above), Amundsen and Scott all three pick Horlick’s product to supply protein for their assaults on the North and South Poles. Overnight Horlick's was in the forefront of the "health food" craze. And it remains a popular health food item to this day. That same year, 1909, the brothers opened a new plant in New Zealand, to supply mothers and explorers down under with portable protein. But that was not the advancement that changed human life, and made the brothers filthy. filthy rich.
That revolutionary event happened a few years later, It’s unclear who did it first, but my bet is that it was the new player on the stage. They were called "soda jerks" because in the early years they were required to jerk on the levers to dispense the carbonated water that was the main ingredient of their trade - soft drinks, as opposed to hard liquor.
But some conservative Christians even objected to young men and women spending their Sunday afternoons consuming "soft drinks" and frowned on the consumption of carbonation and caffeine on "the lords day", which is why the Ice Cream Sundae was invented, and the Malted Milk Shake - shaken not carbonated.  I doubt that it was an employee of Horlick who first made the discovery of the latter, else their name would have been enshrined in company legend. Besides, after all, it was a small step and may have been taken in several places at about about the same time.
Remember the Horlick formula was a concoction of dried ground wheat,  just-sprouted barley malt and powdered milk, which was then mixed in water or liquid fresh milk at the point of use.
So let us just accept that some unknown genius added ice cream. After all, everything tastes better with ice cream, doesn't it? Except maybe green beans. And thus was born the malted milk shake.
I doubt that most people today realize that everything “malted” can only be made under license from Horlick’s, including malted milk, malted milk balls, malted tablets or disks and malted “shakes”. Malted is a flavor that is owned. It was invented. It does not appear anywhere in nature.
It started out as baby food, then became a health food before it became an unhealthy treat of magical proportions. And it gave all those soda jerks something to serve with the ice cream Sundaes they had invented, because in the conservative core of middle America carbonated water was considered too racy a drink to be served on a Sunday.
But surely, before the judgment of God, the invention of the cold, frothy and thick Malted Milk Shake will count on the plus side for humanity come the judgment day.  I refuse to believe in a God who does not love malted milk shakes.
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Friday, September 14, 2018


I would say that Bertrand Snell is a shinning example of the “Peter Principle”. Bertrand (above, with his ideological opponent, FDR) started out life as a bookkeeper. Then he successfully ran a cheese factory, and then a lumber company in upstate New York.  For awhile he was the president of a small college. in 1915,  Bertrand was elected to congress as a Republican.  In 1931 he became the Chairman of the Republican National Committee. That led, in 1932, to his being elected Minority Leader in the House of Representatives. And that made him one of the primary architects of the disaster which befell the Republican Party in 1936, the first time they ran against the brand new Social Security program of the New Deal. In short, it was Bertrand Snell’s fault. Of course, he had some help.
Herbert Hoover had not only lost the 1932 Presidential Election, he lost it by almost 18 percentage points. His ineffectualness at dealing with the Great Depression (the stock market crash had occurred just 6 months after he first took office) was so obvious that Herbert won only 6 states – Pennsylvania, Delaware, R.I., Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. And yet Herbert still had hopes he could engineer a come back. Yes, FDR’s New Deal had already created six million jobs, and had doubled industrial production and sent corporate profits from a $2 billion loss under Hoover to a $5 billion profit under Roosevelt. But there were still 8 million Americans unemployed, and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) was charging that the new Social Security Administration was part of a fascist/communist take over of the federal government. Does any of this sound familiar?  Anyway, back to our story...
On Tuesday, 9 June, 1936, Herbert addressed the Republican National Convention in the Public Auditorium in Cleveland, Ohio, and did his very best to rally the faithful to his cause. As Time Magazine detailed, “After 15 minutes (of) yelling, shrieking (and) hooting, (Hoover) was allowed to begin."
He warmed up quickly. According to Time, Hoover told the faithful, "Fundamental American liberties are at stake. Is the Republican Party ready…to cast your all upon the issue?" "Yes!" roared the crowd….".. have you determined to enter in a holy crusade for freedom which shall determine the future and the perpetuity of a nation of free men?" "Yes!" roared the crowd in ecstasy.” The faithful went on chanting “Hoo-ver, Hoo-ver, Hoo-ver,” long after Herbert had left the stage.
Noted Time; “The demonstration could not be stopped for half an hour, even when Speaker Snell tried to introduce a little old lady, surprisingly pert for her 77 years, the widow of President Benjamin Harrison.” Finally Bertrand banged his big gavel and informed the crowd that Herbert would not be coming out for a curtain call because he had already boarded a train for New York. Stunned, the floor demonstrators paused for a breath, and in vague confusion the demonstrations petered out. 
Except, Herbert had not even left the building. He was in fact, just off stage, waiting to be recalled by the carefully prepared demonstrations, and proclaimed the nominee by acclamation. That was his plan, anyway. But Bertrand had already determined that the party nominee would not be Hoover. It would be Governor Alf Landon, known affectionately to the faithful as “The Kansas Coolidge”. The party chairman had cut the ground right out from under Hoover.
Alf was the only Republican governor re-elected in 1934. He had a reputation as a fiscal conservative who cut taxes and balanced the state budget. That made him the Republican wonder-kid, the perfect man to oppose the “tax and spend” Roosevelt.
Alf's candidacy had a few problems, of course. What candidate does not? First; Landon had balanced the Kansas budgets because Roosevelt's New Deal had kicked in millions of dollars to offset the state's deficits. Second; Alf publicly supported so many parts of the New Deal, including Social Security, that he was at odds with the Republican party platform. Third; Alf was a terrible public speaker. He mumbled. And like any good mid-westerner, even when speaking clearly he didn’t blow his own horn very much. As H. L. Mencken noted, he "simply lacks the power to inflame the boobs."
The party platform that Alf was going to have to stand on had been engineered by Chairman Bertrand and forty-four year old John Daniel Miller Hamilton (above), the “crinkly haired” “jut-jawed” G.O.P. general counsel, who reeked of “animal vigor.” Hamilton was paid $15,000 a year to be the party's  attack dog. He was described by one fellow Republican as having, “…a seven-devil lust to live and shine under the blessings of the rich”.  Both Bertrand and Hamilton were Alf’s front men, and Hamilton had even nominated the Kansas Governor. And to seal the deal, in his nominating speech Hamilton had read a telegram from Governor Landon promising to support the anti-New Deal anti-Social Security platform. 
Said the Republican platform; “For three long years the New Deal Administration has dishonored American traditions…has been guilty of frightful waste and extravagance, …has created a vast multitude of new offices, …set up a centralized bureaucracy, and sent out swarms of inspectors to harass our people. It has bred fear and hesitation in commerce and industry, thus discouraging new enterprises, preventing employment and prolonging the depression…We pledge ourselves: To preserve the American system of free enterprise, private competition, and equality of opportunity...We advocate: Abandonment of all New Deal policies that raise production costs, increase the cost of living, and thereby restrict buying, reduce volume and prevent reemployment. …”.  Sound familiar? It should. Basically, this has been the Republican Party Platform for the last ninety years!
But the platform saved its most vicious criticism for that newest New Deal program, Social Security. It was Social Security that had "energized the base".  As it was initially passed the program did not cover farm workers, the self employed, state, federal or local government workers, railroad workers, or domestics. There was no aid for the disabled, and there were no cost of living alliances. Still, the Republican platform for 1936 charged the New Deal, "...while purporting to provide social security, have, in fact, endangered it", and claimed that "the fund will contain nothing but the government's promise to pay" and is "unworkable".  Again, does any of this sound familiar? 
Bertrand had a master plan for victory, funded by a $14 million war chest (equal to $207.5 million today), with over a million of that coming from just three families – DuPont, Pew and Rockefeller – and the rest almost entirely from business leaders anxious to prevent further Federal regulations of their business. 
And then there was “The Liberty League,” described by one historian as “…the best-financed and the most professionally run…anti-big-government organization ever to come down the pike.” Before the Tea Party, that is. The League was the original "Astro-turf" - a pesudo-grassroots organization. It raised and spent as much cash as the two established parties combined (30% of it coming from the Koch brothers of the day,  the DuPont family). The League's  national headquarters occupied 31 rooms in the National Press Building, and there were 20 state branches. Hamilton confessed later, "Without Liberty League money we (the GOP) wouldn't have had a national headquarters."
The campaign that followed saw the constant repetition of the extremist scare tactics. The New Deal became “The Raw Deal”. Franklin Delano Roosevelt became “Stalin Delano Roosevelt”. William Randolph Hearst asserted in a pro-Landon editorial, “The Bolshevist tyranny in Russian has ordered all Bolshevists, communists and revolutionaries in the Untied States to support Roosevelt!" It all sounds so familiar in the anti-Obama Care anti Hillary world of 2012 - 2016
In late October 1936 the Republican National Committee sent checks for $5.00 to 400 black pastors in Maryland, along with a letter, which began, “Dear Brother,” and then argued that the G.O.P. had always done more to help blacks than the Democrats had. Of course, not  since reconstruction, but it was the thought that counted, right?  And $5.00 wasn't small enough in 1936 to seem like an insult, right?
The Young Republicans were founded during this election to get out the "youth" vote. And to encourage women to vote Republican, fashion shows were staged.  Every show would start with a woman wearing a wooden barrel on suspenders, marked, “If The New Deal Wins”, followed by lovely models in Paris designs, marked “If Landon Wins." Women were expected to be swayed by such "fashion politics".
A few weeks before the election, tens of thousands of workers opened their paychecks to find what looked like an official government notice. In fact it was from their bosses and the Republican Party, warning workers that if Roosevelt were re-elected, come January they would all suffer a 1% pay reduction because of the socialist Social Security Program. This prompted the head of the Social Security Board, a life long Republican, to issue an immediate response, asserting that ""Any political message in a worker's pay envelope is coercion. It is a new form of the old threat to shut down the mill if the employer's candidate isn't elected. We're supposed to be beyond that in this country."  Well, we are approaching a century later and we still aren't!
Finally, Landon himself was coaxed into actually speaking out against Social Security, and joining the anti-Social Security bandwagon. In a Milwaukee speech, he called the program ""unjust, unworkable, stupidly drafted and wastefully financed."  It was socialism, communism, and an attempt at the redistribution of wealth. And it would bankrupt the nation in a year. Or maybe two. Almost a century later, and the Republicans are still predicting its immanent demise.
However, it appears that most Americans saw all of this Republican effort in the same light as that expressed by one voter,  who said that Roosevelt was "the first man in the White House to understand that my boss is a son-of-a-bitch"   In 1936 the Democrats came out swinging, including FDR, as illustrated in a speech he delivered in Boston, and which he wrote himself. “In the summer of 1933", said FDR, "a nice old gentleman fell off a pier. He was unable to swim. A friend ran down the pier, dived overboard and pulled him out. But his silk hat floated away with the tide. After the old gentleman was revived he was effusive in his thanks. He praised his friend for saving his life. Today, three years later, the old man is berating his friend because the silk hat was lost.”
The election of Tuesday, 3 November, 1936 was the most lopsided since James Monroe ran unopposed in 1820.  Eighty-three percent of eligible voters showed up at the polls and Roosevelt won almost 61% of their vote.  He carried every state in the union except Vermont and Maine, giving rise to the Democratic twist on the old adage, “As Maine goes, so goes Vermont”. 
Roosevelt won 532 electoral votes to Landon’s 8.  Seventy-one percent of Americans of African decent voted Democratic, as well as 57% of women, 63% of men, 76% of low income voters, 80% of Catholics and 86% of Jewish voters. After the election the Democrats held the Senate, 75-16, and the House, 332 to just 88 Republicans.
Landon would admit that his attack upon Social Security had been a mistake, and henceforth he publicly opposed any attempt to dismantle this New Deal program. John D. Hamilton would say after the election, "The Lord himself couldn't have beaten Roosevelt in 1936, much less the Liberty League." Maybe; but the election was the death knell of the Liberty League. They lingered into 1940, when the DuPont family finally pulled their funding, and the group then quietly died. Long before that John Hamilton had his own reactionary reckoning. 
In 1937 Hamilton's wife sued him for divorce, on the grounds of “gross neglect of duty, abandonment and extreme cruelty.” That same year Alf Landon had Hamilton removed as Party Chairman, as Landon tried to rebuild the party in his own Midwestern less reactionary less-ideological image.
Under Landon's non-red baiting non-FDR hating conservative guidance the party stopped trying to overturn all of the New Deal all at once and began to climb its way back. The Republicans would gain strength until 1948 when it looked like they were certain to regain the White House. But late in that campaign they gloated too publicly about finally eliminating Social Security,  and that handed Harry Truman his come-from-behind re-election. It was not until Ronald Reagan in his 1981 inauguration speech that the G.O.P again openly called for overturning substantial parts of New Deal programs. But even Reagan knew better that to attack Social Security. 
The election left Bertrand Snell, the leader of smallest Republican Minority in the House of Representatives since the Civil War.  He was one of the few Republicans re-elected in 1936. But he did not run again in 1938.  Instead, he went into the newspaper business. He published the "Potsdam, New York Courier-Freeman" and ran it until 1949. He also became the owner of the New York State Oil Company. He was ably qualified for both of those jobs. He died in 1958, while a Republican occupied the White House. That Republican was Dwight D. Eisenhower, He was a national hero, born and raised in Kansas, and a product of the Landon influence. But the conservative wing of the GOP charged that "Ike"was a Republican In Name Only, and his administration was nothing better than a "little New Deal" administration. 
It seemed that with time, the Grand Old Party is determined to forget the lesson Bertrand Snell had sacrificed himself to teach them, and which Alf Landon had given so much to drive home to the party faithful. Running against Social Security is political suicide. And now so is the Affordable Care Act. Republican ideology is so convinced it is evil, they have become blind to the advantages it gives middle class Americans.  And that isolates them as they have not been since 1936.
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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

VICKSBURG Chapter Eighty-One

The pro – Union newspaper, the Memphis Evening Bulletin,  had only publishing for a few weeks when the Civil War broke out. Editor Ralphael Semmes was hoping to build circulation with a series of articles investigating corruption surrounding Tennessee's Democratic Senator Andrew Johnson. Then, abruptly, Semmes was replaced by his business partner James Brewster Bingham, and the paper began supporting Johnson. The reason for the sudden editorial shift could be explained in two words – Abraham Lincoln.
The 51 year old Democrat Andrew Johnson (above) was the only senator from a succeed state to remain in Washington after the war broke out. That made him a favorite of Republican President Lincoln. And first among the favors bestowed upon Johnson was the sudden retirement of Ralphael Semmes. The biggest problem was that Johnson's term in the senate was set to expire in January of 1863, which would limit his usefulness.  Before that happened, Nashville and Memphis were captured by Federal troops and in November of 1862, Johnson was named Tennessee's Military Governor. To further assist Johnson, Lincoln even exempted Tennessee from the Emancipation Proclamation.
But if he was to be effective at helping Lincoln hold the states together (above) Andrew Johnson needed to broaden his own base of support. And this was one of the reasons editor James Bingham decided on 10 June, 1863, that the Memphis Evening Standard would be one of the first newspapers to publish Illinois Democrat Major General John Alexander McClerand's General Order Number 72 – his version of the failed federal assaults of 22 May.  Bingham thought he was doing McClernand a political favor. In fact he was laying down the fuse to a bomb that would blow up McClernand's political dreams.
It was General Francis “Frank” Preston Blair junior who ignited that fuse, and Lincoln needed the powerful Blair family much more than he needed Andrew Johnson. Newspaper owner Francis Preston Blair (above)  had helped Lincoln win the Republican nomination in 1860. His eldest son Montgomery Blair was Lincoln's Postmaster General. Together with younger brother Frank, they had delivered Missouri solidly into the Union camp at the very outset of the war.
By the summer of 1863 General Frank Blair (above) was commander of the 2nd division in William Tecumseh Sherman's XVth Corps, which was pressing the northern flank of Vicksburg. And on Tuesday, 16 June, 1863, Blair read McClernand's tortured version of the assault on the Railroad Redoubt as published by the Memphis Evening Standard. McClernand claimed not only to have captured the redoubt, he added, “...assistance was asked for...(which) would have probably insured success.”
McClernand's account made it seem Grant and the rest of the Union army had abandoned the XIII corps on the edge of victory.  But General Blair knew McClernand had not captured the redoubt. He knew McClernand's men had barely dented its defenses. And Blair was fully aware of his own men's sacrifices in supporting the already failed XIII corps assault. The Missourian immediately stormed off to Sherman's headquarters with a copy of the newspaper clenched in his tightly balled fist.
Sherman was just as outraged as his subordinate, but he wisely and somewhat uncharacteristically let his temper cool until Wednesday, 17 June, before dispatching the newspaper up the chain of command to General Grant.  And in a display of political legerdemain Sherman rarely possessed, he now pretended to doubt McClernand “ever published such an order officially to his corps. I know too well that the brave and intelligent soldiers and officers who compose that corps will not be humbugged by such....vain-glory and hypocrisy.”
That evening an almost carbon copy of Sherman's letter, this one allegedly written by XVII corps commander Major General James Birdseye McPherson (above), was delivered to  Grant's headquarters. “I cannot help arriving at the conclusion,” wrote McPherson, that McClernand's offending missive, “...was written more to influence public sentiment....with the magnificent strategy, superior tactics, and brilliant deeds of [McClernand]...” McPherson then went on to add, “It little becomes Major General McClernand to complain of want of cooperation on the part of other Corps... when 1218 men of my command...fell... If General McClernand’s assaulting columns, were not immediately supported...it most assuredly was his own fault.”
Two letters, representing two thirds of his command staff, had now been filed, both questioning the motives and accuracy of McClernand's public version of events. Grant (above) immediately forwarded a copy of the Memphis Standard's article to General McClernand, along with a short note. “Enclosed I send you what purports to be your congratulatory address to the XIII Army Corps. I would respectfully ask if it is a true copy. If it is not a correct copy, furnish me one by bearer, as required both by regulations and existing orders of the Department.”
McClernand replied immediately, and claimed to be blindsided. “The newspaper slip is a correct copy of my congratulatory order, No 72. I am prepared to maintain its statements. I regret that my adjutant did not send you a copy promptly, as he ought, and I thought he had.”
Whether the letters protesting General McClernand's boasting were ghost written or not was now beside the point. Months ago, Grant (above) had ordered all communications within the Army of the Tennessee must be presented to his headquarters before they were published by the corps commanders, and no orders were to be released to the public except by Army headquarters. And with the army now stationary outside of Vicksburg, with Grant's star supreme in the west, with permission to fire McClernand from General-in-Chief Henry Hallack, still in his pocket, and having maneuvered McClernand into a written admission he had violated orders, Grant was now ready to act.
About 1:00a.m. on Thursday, 18 June, 1863, Grant signed the order. “Major General John A. McClernand is hereby relieved of command of the XIII corps. He will proceed to any point he may select in the state of Illinois and report by letter to Headquarters of the Army – meaning Army of the Tennessee - for orders.” 
The words were those of Grant's chief of staff, Major John Aaron Rawlings (above).  Rawlings then gave the order to the 25 year old Inspector General of the Army, Lieutenant Colonel James Harrison Wilson, with instructions to deliver it first thing in the morning.
An historian has described the young James Wilson (above) as “....ambitious, impatient, outspoken...(and) a stranger to humility and self-doubt”.  In short, a younger version of McClernand. A West Point graduate, Wilson had briefly been an acolyte of General McClernand, but only used him to finagle his way onto Grant's staff.  And Wilson urged that he be allowed to deliver the message immediately. Rawlings was a stickler for protocol and offered half- hearted resistance. But he also despised McClernand, and finally released the vengeful Wilson into the night. 
The colonel arrived at XIII corps headquarters about 3:00 a.m. Thursday morning, accompanied by a provost marshal and a squad of soldiers. He was told McClernand was asleep, but insisted the orderly awaken the general.
It must have been obvious to McClernand that he was in some trouble, because he took the time to put on his dress uniform. He received Wilson in his office, the room illuminated by a pair of tall candles and his sheathed sword symbolically lying across the table. Wilson saluted and informed McClernand, “General I have an important order for you which I am directed to deliver into your hands.” 
Wilson handed the envelope to McClernand, who dismissively tossed it unopened onto the desk. Wilson then added,”I was to be certain you had read the order in my presence, that you understand it, and that you signify your immediate obedience to it.”
Troubled by Wilson's tone, McClernand put on his reading glasses, opened the order, and read it. The shock was immediate. Obviously it had never occurred to him that he was about to loose his command. 
And McClernand could not help but notice the second half of the order actually named his successor to command of the XIIIth Corps - Major General Edward Otho Cresap (O.C.) Ord.  He had been  recovering from a head wound, but the inclusion of his appointment made it clear Grant was not acting on an impulse. 
McClernand blurted out, “Well, sir! I am relieved!” Then seeing the smile on Wilson's face, McClernand said, “By God, sir, we are both relieved.!” McClernand then sat, and pugnaciously announced that he “very much doubted the authority of General Grant to relieve a general officer appointed by the President.”  It might have been a telling point in a legal debate. In the reality of the moment it was meaningless.
Later that morning McClernand expanded his opinion in writing. He told Grant, “Having been appointed by the President to command...under a definite act of Congress, I might justly challenge your authority...but forbear to do so at present.” Clearly over the intervening hours, it had been explained to McClernand that Grant would not have acted if he did not hold all the cards. Grant ignored the latest missive, but did now respond to McClernand's General Order Number 72, saying it contained “...so many inaccuracies that to correct it...would require the rewriting of most of it. It is pretentious and egotistical..."
Then, since technically he was now in Mississippi illegally, Major General John Alexander McClerand rode through the stream of reinforcements pouring into the Vicksburg lines, and boarded one of the steamboats returning nearly empty to Memphis and points north.
By Wednesday 23 June – 4 days later – and from Illinois - McClernand sent a telegram to his doppelganger,  President Abraham Lincoln. “I have been relieved for an omission of my adjutant. Hear me.” But it turned out that at the moment, with a 45,000 man rebel army invading the the state of Pennsylvania,  not even Lincoln, the ultimate politician, was interested in anything else John McClernand had to say.
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