Wednesday, September 2, 2009



A bold look at the history of America at war.

A warning to those that would attack us

. . . the essential decency of the American fighting forces -- a fact we need to affirm unapologetically today in the face of jihadist propaganda, and as one principal manifestation of the superiority (yes) of the culture and civilization that we are defending."

--Robert Spencer

In support of of the previous post, "WHO IS TAKING THE BRUNT OF ISLAM'S ATTACK ON THE WEST? "

I am reprinting this here.
--Leslie White
* The Gadsden Flag is an instant reminder of the American Colonial period. Since colonial days, the rattlesnake has been used to portray the spirit of Americans. In 1751, Benjamin Franklin published a political essay describing the 13 American colonies as a snake divided reminding us of the danger of disunity.


In 1774, Colonel Gadsden of the Revolutionary Army emphasized this by printing the legend "DONT TREAD ON ME" on his flag.

The birth of the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps

By 1775, the snake symbol wasn't just being printed in newspapers. It was appearing all over the colonies ... on uniform buttons ... on paper money ... and of course, on banners and flags.

The snake symbol morphed quite a bit during its rapid, widespread adoption. It wasn't cut up into pieces anymore. And it was usually shown as an American timber rattlesnake, not a generic serpent.

We don't know for certain where, when, or by whom the familiar coiled rattlesnake was first used with the warning "Don't Tread on Me."

We do know when it first entered the history books.

In the fall of 1775, the British were occupying Boston and the young Continental Army was holed up in Cambridge, woefully short on arms and ammunition. At the Battle of Bunker Hill, Washington's troops had been so low on gunpowder that they were ordered "not to fire until you see the whites of their eyes."

In October, a merchant ship called The Black Prince returned to Philadelphia from a voyage to England. On board were private letters to the Second Continental Congress that informed them that the British government was sending two ships to America loaded with arms and gunpowder for the British troops.

Congress decided that General Washington needed those arms more than General Howe. A plan was hatched to capture the British cargo ships. They authorized the creation of a Continental Navy, starting with four ships. The frigate that carried the information from England, the Black Prince, was one of the four. It was purchased, converted to a man-of-war, and renamed the Alfred.

To accompany the Navy on their first mission, Congress also authorized the mustering of five companies of Marines. The Alfred and its sailors and marines went on to achieve some of the most notable victories of the American Revolution. But that's not the story we're interested in here.

What's particularly interesting for us is that some of the Marines that enlisted that month in Philadelphia were carrying drums painted yellow, emblazoned with a fierce rattlesnake, coiled and ready to strike, with thirteen rattles, and sporting the motto "Don't Tread on Me."

Benjamin Franklin diverts an idle hour

In December 1775, "An American Guesser" anonymously wrote to the Pennsylvania Journal:

"I observed on one of the drums belonging to the marines now raising, there was painted a Rattle-Snake, with this modest motto under it, 'Don't tread on me.' As I know it is the custom to have some device on the arms of every country, I supposed this may have been intended for the arms of America."

This anonymous writer, having "nothing to do with public affairs" and "in order to divert an idle hour," speculated on why a snake might be chosen as a symbol for America.

First, it occurred to him that "the Rattle-Snake is found in no other quarter of the world besides America."

The rattlesnake also has sharp eyes, and "may therefore be esteemed an emblem of vigilance." Furthermore,

"She never begins an attack, nor, when once engaged, ever surrenders: She is therefore an emblem of magnanimity and true courage. ... she never wounds 'till she has generously given notice, even to her enemy, and cautioned him against the danger of treading on her." Finally,

"I confess I was wholly at a loss what to make of the rattles, 'till I went back and counted them and found them just thirteen, exactly the number of the Colonies united in America; and I recollected too that this was the only part of the Snake which increased in numbers. ...

"'Tis curious and amazing to observe how distinct and independent of each other the rattles of this animal are, and yet how firmly they are united together, so as never to be separated but by breaking them to pieces. One of those rattles singly, is incapable of producing sound, but the ringing of thirteen together, is sufficient to alarm the boldest man living."

Many scholars now agree that this "American Guesser" was Benjamin Franklin.
The foregoing from

There is a book titled

Don't Tread on Me: A 400-Year History of America at War, from Indian Fighting to Terrorist
Hunting by H.W.W Crocker

Robert Spencer, director of Jihad Watch

says the following about the book:

"Because the global jihad is advancing on many fronts, not all involving terrorism or violence, a strong military is not the only thing we need to defeat it. But it is -- especially when properly deployed -- an indispensable prerequisite. I have been reminded of this while reading Don't Tread On Me: A 400-Year History of America at War, from Indian Fighting to Terrorist Hunting by H. W. Crocker.

This book is not only briskly and brightly written, as are all his books, but it underscores the essential decency of the American fighting forces -- a fact we need to affirm unapologetically today in the face of jihadist propaganda, and as one principal manifestation of the superiority (yes) of the culture and civilization that we are defending.

posted by Robert at September 20, 2006 08:42 AM

Other reviews:

Don't Tread on Me: A 400-Year History of America at War, from Indian Fighting to Terrorist
Hunting by H.W.W Crocker

Fast-paced and riveting, Don’t Tread on Me is a bold look at the history of America at war.

Also available as an eBook


“Talk about politically incorrect! Don’t Tread on Me is the best, most entertaining account of the American warrior I’ve ever read. Crocker gets it! So will you.”
—Lt. Col. Robert “Buzz” Patterson, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), former military aide to the president, bestselling author of Dereliction of Duty and War Crimes

“Robust and provocative, Don’t Tread on Me is a unique addition to any library of American history—and it might try to annex your neighboring volumes.”
—Tony Blankley, McLaughlin Group panelist, bestselling author of The West’s Last Chance

“In Don’t Tread on Me, Crocker writes manfully of our nation’s proud martial spirit that is assailed on so many sides today. I was ready to head to the nearest armed forces recruiting office after reading it.”
—Steven F. Hayward, author of Churchill on Leadership and The Age of Reagan, 1964–1980

“The central thrust of Harry Crocker’s sparkling book is that a nation’s very essence is reflected in the character of its military, that its history is written in the blood and courage of its fighting men. In prose as unblinking as it is fast-moving, he tells the story of the creation of the ‘American Empire.’ This book is a true one-of-a-kind; its power flows from Crocker’s focus on the dauntless warriors who forged and safeguarded the United States of America.”
—Lt. Gen. Dave R. Palmer, U.S. Army (Ret.), former superintendent of West Point, author of George Washington and Benedict Arnold: A Tale of Two Patriots

“Don’t Tread on Me is that rare but admirable thing—a book written from a Tory, Imperialist, Southern Gentleman’s perspective. Winston Churchill and Andrew Jackson would both be proud. A rousing read through the rattling good tales of American history.”
—John O’Sullivan, editor-at-large for National Review

“A book as dashing, formidable, and triumphant as the American fighting man it describes.” —Bernard Cornwell, author of Sharpe’s Fury and the bestselling Richard Sharpe series

Book Description
• Did America win its independence because British generals were too busy canoodling with their mistresses?

• Should America have annexed Mexico—all of it—and Cuba too?

• Did 1776 justify Southern secession in the nineteenth century?

• Should Patton have been promoted over Eisenhower?

• Did the U.S. military win—and Congress lose—the Vietnam War?

• Was it right to depose Saddam Hussein—and is it wrong to worry about a possible Iraqi civil war?

The answer to these questions is a resounding yes, says author H. W. Crocker III in this stirring and contrarian new book.

In Don’t Tread on Me, Crocker unfolds four hundred years of American military history, revealing how Americans were born Indian fighters whose military prowess carved out first a continental and then a global empire—a Pax Americana that has been a benefit to the world.

From the seventeenth century on, he argues, Americans have shown a jealous regard for their freedom—and have backed it up with an unheralded skill in small-unit combat operations, a tradition that includes Rogers’ Rangers, Merrill’s Marauders, and today’s Special Forces.

He shows that Americans were born to the foam too, with a mastery of naval gunnery and tactics that allowed America’s Navy, even in its infancy, to defeat French and British warships and expand American commerce on the seas.

Most of all, Crocker highlights the courage of the dogface infantry, the fighting leathernecks, and the daring sailors and airmen who have turned the tide of battle again and again.

In Don’t Tread on Me, still forests are suddenly pierced by the Rebel Yell and a surge of grey. Teddy Roosevelt’s spectacles flash in the sunlight as he leads his Rough Riders charging up San Juan Hill. American doughboys rip into close-quarters combat against the Germans. Marines drive the Japanese out of their island fortresses using flamethrowers, grenades, and guts. GIs slug their way into Hitler’s Germany. The long twilight struggle against communism is fought in the snows of Korea and the steaming jungles of Vietnam. And today, U.S. Navy SEALs and U.S. Army Rangers battle Islamist terrorists in the bleak mountains of Afghanistan, just as their forebears fought Barbary pirates two hundred years ago.

Review by a reader: Thought provoking

M. Lynch (Chicago, IL USA)
Freedom isn't free, and whether it was at Valley Forge or Pearl Harbor, the United States has had to fight for the right to remain an exceptional nation. H.W. Crocker's story is a great tribute to the men and women who have served in uniform and defended our borders. Needless to say, in these uncertain times, "Don't Tread on Me" is an important reminder that we Americans cannot take our freedoms for granted.

More reader reviews can be found at the website:

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