Jun 5, 2012

The Galvanized Yankee

(NYTimes) It is unlikely that Henry Stanley knew, upon joining an Illinois artillery unit on June 4, 1862, that his action validated a central Darwinian principle — namely, that it is not necessarily the biggest and strongest that survive, but the most adaptable.
Stanley was a Confederate soldier who had been captured at the Battle of Shiloh and imprisoned at Chicago’s Camp Douglas, a cesspool of a prison where over 200 of the 8,000 prisoners died in the first week. Later he would write of camp conditions: “It was lavish and wasteful of life…a stupid and heartless age guilty of enormities that would tax the most saintly to forgive.” He took the first way out, even if it meant fighting for the other side.
By switching sides Henry became one of the first of 6,000 so-called Galvanized Yankees to switch from wearing gray to blue. Continued