Big F-Word breakthrough. Or...

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Sat Aug 5 21:18:13 UTC 2006

The Navy outlawed flogging in 1851, largely through the efforts of Commodore Uriah P. Levy, a nearly forgotten figure who was also responsible for the restoration and preservation of Monticello.

  For some reason, the Army kept on flogging for another ten years, abolishing the practice not long after the Battle of Bull Run.

Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
  ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: Wilson Gray
Subject: Re: Big F-Word breakthrough. Or...

Well, I'm convinced. There was many a time when I wanted to say much
the same thing, but I didn't care to suffer the probable consequences.
It's quite surpising that, back in those days, McKnight was merely
docked a month's pay. That reads like twenty-lashes' worth of
insubordination to me.


On 8/4/06, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender: American Dialect Society
> Poster: Jonathan Lighter
> Subject: Big F-Word breakthrough. Or...
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Or too good to be true ?
> Well, it certainly seems to be the real McCoy.
> David M. Sullivan's four volumes on _The United States Marine Corps in the Civil War_
> (Shippensburg, Pa.: White Mane, 1997-2000) is the standard work on that subject. Volume 3 contains the following information (267):
> "After being relieved from guard duty on Folly Island on October 31, 1863, Pvt. Robert McKnight did not report himself with his detachment for inspection by the orderly sergeant as required by standing orders....When Sgt. Thomas Buckley called McKnight to fall in...there was no response. Buckley called a second time, and a third. Finally, McKnight emerged from his tent and, in a loud voice, said, 'What the bloody Hell is wanted now? This is a fucked up company anyhow, and always has been since the guard came on shore. To Hell with such a company and all connected with such a damned concern!'"
> Not surprisingly, McKnight was soon standing trial at court-martial, charged with "disobedience of orders and scandalous conduct tending to the destruction of good morals." The court found him guilty on the charge of disobeying orders but not guilty on that of subverting good morals. His otherwise sterling record, including volunteering for hazardous duty during operations against Battery Wagner (an Army assault on which features in the film _Glory_), saved McKnight from a brig sentence, and he wound up with no more than loss of a month's pay (268).
> The surly question, "What the bloody Hell is wanted now?" suggests that McKnight may have been a British or Irish immigrant, many of whom fought in the Civil War. (" wanted..?" provides the hint rather than "bloody," which HDAS 1 shows, perhaps to an extreme, to have been a transatlantic cuss-word for a long time.)
> "Fuck up/ fucked up" reappears in the known lexical evidence not till 1929, in Australian Frederic Manning's largely autobiographical novel of the British army in the Great War, _The Middle Parts of Fortune_ (Hemingway said he read it once a year). The U.S.A. provided the Reconstruction Era specimen of the vaguely related "fuck out of" (swindle out of), also in HDAS along with one metric ton of previously uncollected and/or uncollated related material.
> Sullivan cites "Records of the Judge Advocate General (Navy), Case 3401, Pvt. Robert McKnight" as the contemporaneous source of McKnight's remarks (334).
> JL
> __________________________________________________
> Do You Yahoo!?
> Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have
found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be
imposed upon them.

Frederick Douglass

The American Dialect Society -

See the all-new, redesigned  Check it out.

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list