Snatching [victory/defeat] from the jaws of [defeat/victory] (UNCLASSIFIED)

Mullins, Bill AMRDEC Bill.Mullins at US.ARMY.MIL
Fri Apr 3 15:52:16 UTC 2009

Classification:  UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE

A precursor:

"Communication Letters from Gen. Wincheste" _Daily National
Intelligencer_, (Washington, DC) [Saturday], [April 26, 1823]; p. 2 col

"General Jackson is entitled to more credit for his attack on the
British army on the night of the 23d of December than for his subsequent
defence of New Orleans on the 8th of January:  it was one of those
masterly movements which, like that of Napoleon at Marengo, wrested the
laurel of conquest from the very jaws of defeat; and Commodore Perry is
entitled to more untarnished renown, more individual and indivisible
glory, for that almost unprecedented manoeuvre in the Niagra, which
secured a naval victory on Lake Erie, and extinguished the hostility of
the Northwestern Indian tribes, than is justly due to any commander of
the land forces on that frontier."

> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On
> Behalf Of Bonnie Taylor-Blake
> Sent: Thursday, April 02, 2009 7:48 PM
> Subject: Snatching [victory/defeat] from the jaws of [defeat/victory]
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> --------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Bonnie Taylor-Blake <taylor-blake at NC.RR.COM>
> Subject:      Snatching [victory/defeat] from the jaws of
> [defeat/victory]
> --------
> It's hard to keep up with what Fred Shapiro and others have found with
> regard to "snatch [victory/defeat] from the jaws of [defeat/victory],"
> which
> has come up on the list before, but what follows may be among the
> earliest
> appearances noted so far.
> -- Bonnie
> -----------------------------------------------
> 1.  "Snatched victory out of the jaws of defeat" [1845]
> All this we learn from Colonel Napier, writing the general history of
> the
> war:  and all this, at least, should have been contained in any
> biography
> which was to do full justice to Lord Hill, and to show the British
> with
> what intuitive promptness he could meet those sudden emergencies in
> which
> the indecision of a moment might have cost the loss of a battle, and
> with
> what varied resources both of prudence and daring he could bear up
> against
> apparently overwhelming dangers, until at length he compelled
> Fortune to his standard, and snatched a brilliant victory, as it were,
> out
> of the very jaws of defeat.  [p. 291]
> (From "Article II," a commentary on _The Life of Lord Hill, G.C.B.,
> Late
> Commander of the Forces,_, *North British Review*, August 1845, pp.
> 290-317.)
> (But "encountered victory in the jaws of defeat," which seems to fail
> when
> it comes to strength of imagery, can be traced to 1831.)
> But "the best laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft ajee," and it is
> curious
> to observe, how the lucky man will stumble on what is good despite of
> himself, even as Sir Frizzle Pumpkin encountered victory in the jaws
> defeat.
> (From "Literary Criticism," a review of _The Club-Book; being Original
> Tales_, *The Edinburgh Literary Journal* August 1831, p. 78.)
> -----------------------------------------------
> 2.  "Snatch defeat from the jaws of victory" [1874, 1877]
> The White Stockings yesterday earned their third defeat for the
> They were badly self-whipped, and in this lies their humiliation.
> they
> fairly defeated after having played a creditable game there would be
> censure for them; but when they snatch defeat from the jaws of victory
> there
> can be little sympathy for their deserved misfortune.
> (From "Sporting News," *The Daily Inter-Ocean* [Chicago], 24 May 1874,
> Pg.
> 8.)
> The Cincinnatis narrowly escaped victory yesterday; in the seventh
> inning,
> by such a series of plays as has become characteristic of them only,
> they
> snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
> [From "Base Ball; Hartfords, 5, Cincinnatis, 4," *The Cincinnati Daily
> Gazette*, 24 May 1877, Pg. 8.]
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -
Classification:  UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE

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