Maori Tattoos
Hessian Mercenaries
The American
Civil War

Subject: Maori Tattoos

Thanks, great pictures.

Would it be offensive to anyone if I made, by hand, a quilt, using some motifs from the moko as a basis for my design? They have always had a great appeal to me.

--- Anne Woolfrey

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that inspired this letter

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Our reviewer replies:

We were thinking that the Maori, a gentle people, would not be offended, but then we went to New York Times ABOUT website, at

and amidst about fifty flashy and annoying ads, were advised that

    Copying a Maori's Ta Moko is nothing less than identity theft. It's disgraceful and it's immoral. The only difference is that the Maori really don't have any recourse against anyone who is thoughtless enough to rape them of their individuality. Ta Moko is as unique to the wearer as your own fingerprints - how would you feel if someone stole those from you?

So there you go. About thinks you would be immoral, not unlike a rapist.

So much for the gentle Maori.

--- Ed


Thanks for that --- I shall see myself in a new light from now on, but am absolutely sure that, by the tie I have worked out just what I want for my quilt and my husband has drawn it up for me, it won't be stealing anyone's identity.

Does make me wonder just how many people have enjoyed the tattoos and simply copied them, thinking they were being complimentary?

Thanks again and best wishes

--- Anne Woolfrey

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I need proof that Hessian mercenaries were used in the Civil War as well as the Revolutionary War to counter a friend who denies their existence since he is a self-proclaimed authority on American History.

Thanks for your help.

--- Ron Longarelli

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Hessian Mercenaries in the American Civil War

It is a little known fact that Hessian mercenaries took part in the American Civil War as well as in the American Revolution (1).

In the earlier, revolutionary struggle, General Burgoo, commander-in-chief of the Redcoats, had ordered his Hessian mercenaries to dig trenches.

The Hessians didn't understand much English, and instead occupied Trenton, New Jersey.

Their descendants were still living in Trenton at the time of the Civil War.

In this conflict, the Hessians contributed a battalion of Grenadiers to the 2nd New Jersey Division, and distinguished themselves in the third Battle of Crampton's Gap in 1863 (2).

McClellan's Union forces, facing General Beauregard's Confederates, were drawn up in a classic echelon surrounding a muster, with the Hessian Grenadiers deployed on the right flank.

At a critical moment, the Hessians were ordered to enfilade General Beauregard's salient, but they misunderstood the order and instead they traversed his sally-port.

As a result, the Confederate left wing was free to mount a skirmish behind flying saps, and the Union center was invested.

As the surviving Union forces slunk away in the Seven Day's Retreat, the Hessian commander approached General McClellan and said: "Es tut mir leid". To which, General McClellan replied "In God's name, go back to Trenton."

The Hessians immediately took their shovels out of their haversacks, and dug trenches.

(1) See, you didn't know this fact, did you?

(2) Also known as the Second Battle of the Big Hatchie, or Next-to-Last Bull Run.

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