HAPPY FOURTH!….So how did Private Eli Drum, my great-grandfather, celebrate the Fourth of July in 1863? According to his diary he was assigned an exciting morning of camp guard in Glasgow ? where he and the Illinois 107th were waiting for Burnside to get off his butt and start marching for Knoxville ? followed by the news that General Grant had taken Vicksburg. Thanks to the telegraph station in his camp, he heard the news before Lincoln did.

(Oddly, there’s no mention of Gettysburg in the July 3 entry. Then again, there isn’t a July 3 entry, perhaps explained by the June 30th entry that “news is scarce and I will write no more until I hear of something to write.” This is advice that many of us bloggers could profit by, although it strikes me that the Battle of Gettysburg really should have qualified as news.)

Anyway, have a great Fourth of July, everyone ? even all you foreigners who beat the American contingent at Wimbledon. And remember, if you don’t overeat the terrorists have won!

UPDATE: And here’s some classic catblogging action for you: patriotic cats on Independence Day 2003!