September 22nd, 2008

US civil war; gentlemen, and non-white soldiers

Two queries, both concerning the Confederate States of America, in 1863-1864.

The first query is a bit hard to Google, although I tried a few searches using "gentleman" and "American Civil War" or the date as searches; they've given me some information but my question is about something fairly nuanced (is "nuance" a ver these days? Everything else seems to be!), so I could do with an opinion from some USAns. At that time, did the term "gentleman" carry any specific social meaning? In England, a gentleman was, quite specifically, someone of respectable family and probably a landowner, so while one might, either jocularly or out of respect, refer to a working man as a "gentleman", most people would have been very aware that a working man was not _really_ a gentleman, and also that one didn't really _become_ a gentleman. Did it have those same nuances in America? The searches I've done suggest that a distinction was made between gentlemen and ordinary men, but I just want to check that it's not incongruous for someone to be aware of the social gap between ordinary people and the "upper classes" (I'm aware that the American class system even back then wasn't quite like the English one, but there were nonetheless strata of respectability), and to feel uncomfortable with someone referring to common men as gentlemen?

My second query is also a bit hard to Google; again, I've given it a go with a few search terms ("American civil war", "non-white soldiers", "native troops" and so on), but again, some confirmation would be helpful, partly because I'm not sure what the appropriate terms are; my apologies if the terms I'm using here are inappropriate! I need to know whether there were non-white soldiers (either black or, more probably, Native American) fighting in the Confederate army in 1863. My current understanding is that there were some African-American soldier fighting for the Confederates early on in the war (although the jury seems to be out on that), but that most of those who survived deserted fairly early on. There would also have been some African-Americans in non-combat roles (probably slaves), but by 1863, probaly not many were fighting for the Confederates (although there were many fighting for the Union.
With Native Americans, my understanding is that some tribes kept slaves (I'm not clear on whether the slaves were African-American, or Native, but it doesn't really matter for my purposes), and therefore joined the Confederates in the fighting. This being the case, were they still fighting by late 1863 or 1864, and if so, approximately where? Obviously the Confederate armies moved around, but if anyone knows of any specific battles in which both white and Native American troops fought for the Confederates, that would be hugely helpful to me!

Many thanks for any pointers!

Edited to add; Huge thanks to everyone who's responded, you've given me some excellent leads to follow up!

Leptospirosis, infectious disease

Hi everyone,

this question is about an infectious disease. The place is England, near London, the time is 1748.
I googled Leptospirosis and Morbus Weil.

So, in my story there's a robber who is wounded and tries to escape through the sewer system. However, a policeman catches up with him and, when the robber is lying on the ground, puts his foot on the wound. In the end, the robber can escape, but he's been infected with Leptospirosis through the (very likely) contaminated water.

So, researching Leptospirosis, I found that German sites say there's more than one version of Leptospirosis, some fairly harmless, and one extremely dangerous - that'd be Morbus Weil.
However, in English Leptospirosis and Morbus Weil/Weil's disease seem to be used synonymously.
Now, my problem is, I want the robber to survive and suffer no longterm effects (minor inconveniences would be okay, but nothing serious), and with the hygienic and medical conditions of the 18th century, this seems highly unlikely if he actually gets Weil's disease. Also, he can't really get proper medical attention since that would mean he would have to leave his hiding place. He does have medically untrained friends who try to help him though.

So, do you think there's a way he can get ill and recover without any medical attention?
How much longer would it take for him to recover?

I'd be extremely grateful for any help!

X-posted to science_beta and little_details

Gasoline Pumps on Ranches

I've Googled, Dogpiled and searched but I'm having trouble finding my answers. Does anyone know the legality of underground gasoline tanks and gasoline pumps on private land of approximately three to five acres in both Montana and Pennsylvania? Also interested in a ballpark figure for installing same and alternatives to a standard pump (that requires electricity).

Thanks!
Tags:

minnesota quirks


i've been trying to find some quirks that go with living in minnesota, outside of the twin cities area. i've tried googling 'you know you're from minnesota' and related ideas like that, and i've looked on facebook at groups of that nature, but i haven't really found anything. most of what i've found is just refuting the movie fargo, which apparently, didn't show what real minnesota was like, haha.

what i'm looking for is the little details. for example, i'm from upstate ny. we say 'wicked'. we shop at wegman's. things like that. what do people from minnesota say? what are things specific to that area? i've never been to the area, and i'd like to add a little bit of atmosphere to the story i'm writing. anything at all, no matter how small, would be seriously seriously appreciated.

edited to say: wow. i am overwhelmed, and this is absolutely amazing, thank you so much!
Tags:

Hills

This might not even be possible but I'm desperate. Are there any urban legends about mountains or hills that have to do with no reception or signals?

I've looked up everything on google about Hills, urban legends, mountains and urban legends. So far all I've come up with are magnetic hills like the ones in Florida and New Jersey.

Any help is greatly appreciated, thanks!

taking down a charging horse

Setting: victorian/steampunkish; they have flintlock muskets/pistols and rapiers, and conceivably things like clubs or knives or caltrops.

The characters are staging an ambush in a fairly narrow street, and will have been planning on having to neutralize enemies on horseback; these would be trained chargers; vicious horses that bite so just unhorsing the enemies is not necessarily ideal. At one point two cavalry will charge them, and I'd like to have them whip out something to cripple the horses (I like horses and all, but these characters aren't squeamish about maiming them, fatally or no.)

I have several ideas. I don't think a rope across the road would be practical, and I'm not sure exactly how a horse would react to caltrops; if they'd go straight down on the ground or just stop and limp, and I'm going for tripping them. Guns would have to hit just right to take the horse down right away, I think, and aren't really accurate at this stage of development, plus moving target. Someone else suggested a bola, but I don't think a bola fits the setting, it would be too specialized a skill for the characters. Hamstringing would be ideal, but I don't think a rapier would do it, since it's a stabbing weapon, and a knife is more for close quarters and would be risky, since the horse is likely going to try and kick on the way by. A poleaxe would probably work, except that it's not easily concealed under a cloak. I'm thinking a regular axe might work, but I'm wondering if there's something I'm missing?