Vietnam Graffiti Project (X sucks, etc.)
James A. Landau
JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Mon Oct 24 14:55:40 UTC 2005
Civil War buffs will be surprised to find that somebody named a TROOPship
after General John Pope, who so spectacularly lost the Second Battle of Bull
ADS-L might be surprised to find that General Pope himself made a couple of
contributions to American English.
First is the expression "as big a liar as John Pope", commemorating the
General's boastfulness before the Second Bull Run. This expression is not QUITE
forgotten---29 hits on Google.
Second, General Pope was the "butt" of a joke about human posteriors. He
signed his dispatches "Headquarters in the Saddle", which led Abraham Lincoln
to comment "he puts his headquarters where his hindquarters should be."
It is possible that General Pope was responsible for a much more enduring
addition to the English language. In 1862 it was customary for the man whom we
now call the "chief of staff" to have as his title "Assistant
Adjutant-General", a custom that goes back a ways (it was the title held by Major John
Andre at the time of his fatal mission to West Point). In Pope's army the man
who held that position signed himself as "Geo. D. Ruggles, Col. A. A.-G. and
Chief of Staff". Except for an 1862 English translation of Jomini's _The Art
of War_, I have been unable to find an earlier usage of the phrase "chief of
- James A. Landau
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