Yearly Archives: 2013

  • / Comments Off on Former Army Captain Receives Medal of Honor

Former Army Captain Receives Medal of Honor

By Lisa Ferdinando

Army News Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 16, 2013 – President Barack Obama presented the Medal of Honor to former Army Capt. William D. Swenson in a White House ceremony yesterday, citing Swenson’s heroism during a six-hour battle that followed a deadly Taliban ambush in Afghanistan four years ago.

William D Swenson - hi rezPresident Barack Obama presents the Medal of Honor to former Army Capt. William D. Swenson during an Oct. 15, 2013, White House ceremony. Swenson was honored for his valor during a Sept. 8, 2009, battle in Afghanistan’s Kunar province. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Michael Mulderick.

Swenson is the first Army officer to receive the nation’s highest military honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Guests at the White House ceremony included other Medal of Honor recipients, soldiers and Marines who fought alongside Swenson, and the families of service members who died in the battle. Army Secretary John M. McHugh, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno and Army Undersecretary Joseph W. Westphal also attended.

Before draping the medal around Swenson’s neck, Obama recounted Swenson’s heroic actions in saving more than a dozen lives during the Sept. 8, 2009, Battle of Ganjgal in Afghanistan’s Kunar province.

Swenson is the second service member to receive the Medal of Honor for that battle. Dakota Meyer, a Marine Corps corporal at the time, was honored two years ago.

The president said Swenson is a remarkable example to the nation of the professionalism and patriotism that everyone should strive for.

“Capt. Will Swenson was a leader on that September morning,” Obama said. “But like all great leaders, he was also a servant — to the men he commanded, to the more than a dozen Afghans and Americans whose lives he saved, to the families of those who gave their last full measure of devotion on that faraway field.”

Learn what Captain Swenson did…


  • / Comments Off on New Orleans: Murder on the Levee?

New Orleans: Murder on the Levee?


When the Union Fleet of warships arrived in New Orleans on a rainy Friday in April 1862, gunfire broke out in the

Mississippi River East Bank Levee at New Orleans

Mississippi River East Bank Levee at New Orleans

crowd watching from atop the East Bank levee along the Mississippi River.  A banker died.  Was the gunfire a protest against anyone so bold as to cheer the arrival of the hated Yankees?  Or, was it murder concealed within a diversion?

A Black and White Spy is the working title of a new espionage novel (coming February 2014) set in 1862 New Orleans.  The hero in this sleuth and Detective Lieutenant Culombo-like thriller is native New Orleanian Francesca Dumas, who first appeared in the novel First Dark: A Buffalo Soldier’s Story.


© 2013 by Bob Rogers



Selected New Orleans scenes in A Black and White Spy.

 House in Treme Home in Faubourg Treme
 St Augustine Church St. Augustine Catholic Church in Faubourg Treme
 ballroom Old Orleans Ballroom (where quadroon balls were held) and rear of St. Louis Cathedral in background
 Prytania & Comer Banker’s home in the Garden District
 Levee View from head of Bienville St D View of Slaughter House Bend, Mississippi River as seen from New Orleans’ East Bank
© 2013 by Bob Rogers


  • / Comments Off on New Orleans Hero

New Orleans Hero


Henriette Delille made herself a servant of slaves, uneducated free people of color, and impoverished nonwhites.  In

Henriette Delille

Henriette Delille

1826 at the age of fourteen, Henriette began her teaching and caring career, though it was illegal at the time.  Her work gave education and hope to young Creole girls while she also labored to provide hospice-like care for the aged in New Orleans.  By 1836, she had sold all of her property and used the proceeds to found a small unrecognized congregation or order of nuns, the Sisters of the Presentation to carry on her self-determined mission of service.  In 1842, she founded the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family.[1]

Henriette Delille was born into a New Orleans, Louisiana common law family of means and privilege in 1812.  She was the youngest of three children born to Marie Josef Dias, a free woman of color, and Jean Baptiste Delille-Sarpy, a white man of French descent, who never married but lived in a plaçage (concubinage) arrangement with Marie.  Though Henriette was a quadroon (one quarter black) and could have passed for white, she, unlike her siblings, chose to be known as nonwhite.  Against her mother’s wishes, Henriette rejected the plaçage life she had been taught.[2]

Beyond the challenge of plaçage, Henriette Delille faced the resistance of the ruling white population to the idea of a black religious congregation;  lack of finances to more fully serve those in need; taunts and disbelief of people in her mission; lack of support from both the church and civil authority and poor health.[3]

Henriette died November 17, 1862, a year and a half into the American Civil War.  Her funeral was held at St. Augustine Catholic Church.  Her obituary read in part, “…Miss Henriette Delille had for long years consecrated herself totally to God [and] without reservation to the instruction of the ignorant and principally to the slave…” “…Worn out by work, she died at the age of 50 years…”  According to an article on the Sisters of the Holy Family web site, “The crowd gathered for her funeral testified by its sorrow how keenly felt was the loss of her who for the love of Jesus Christ had made herself the humble servant of slaves.”


Henriette Delille is a non-fiction character in a forthcoming novel (spring 2014) by Bob Rogers set in 1862 New Orleans.

© 2013 by Bob Rogers

[1]Henriette Delille: Servant of Slaves, Witness to the Poor; Davis, Cyprian, 2004, Archdiocese of New Orleans.


[3] Sisters of the Holy Family web site, About Us, Venerable Henriette Delille.



  • / Comments Off on Veterans Day

Veterans Day

Welcome to BSSE’s new blog site.

Veterans Day is Monday, 11 November 2013.

Salute our comrades in arms of today and yesterday.


  • / Comments Off on BSSE Salutes an American Hero

BSSE Salutes an American Hero

Sergeant Monica Lin Brown

Sergeant Monica Lin Brown

BSSE salutes: Sergeant Monica Lin Brown

Then-Spc Monica Brown, recognized for her gallant actions during combat in Afghanistan in 2007, is the second female soldier since World War II to receive a Silver Star, the third highest award given for valor in enemy action.  Read her heroic story.

  • / Comments Off on Got Heroes?

Got Heroes?

Got heroes?

Speaking of heroes, here are a few from different centuries you will

Isaac Rice

Isaac Rice

recognize: Kunta Kinte, Luke Skywalker, Jackie Robinson, W.P. Inman, Edmond Dantès, and Moses.  To this arduous list, a new epic hero, Isaac Rice, was added in the 21st century novel, First Dark: A Buffalo Soldier’s Story.

Disparate peoples and cultures have their stories and heroes.  The late mythologist Joseph J. Campbell theorized that important myths from around the world, which have survived thousands of years, all share a fundamental structure.  Campbell called it the monomyth.  In the introduction to his book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Campbell summarized the monomyth:

“A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.”

In “the city that reads,” where Ravens are heroes and the rage, a Baltimore Post-Examiner headline declared: “Gripping Saga of Isaac Rice, a Runaway Slave, is a Hero’s Journey.”  Does Isaac’s Buffalo Soldier epic meet the Campbell test?  What does Isaac’s venture, over several years, have in common with Kunta Kinte (Roots), W.P. Inman (Cold Mountain), or Luke Skywalker (Star Wars)?

A number of times, George Lucas has discussed publicly that Campbell’s theories directly influenced Lucas’ creation of Star Wars.  Isaac Rice’s journey through time and distance begins with a difficult and harrowing escape from a South Carolina rice plantation in the middle of a war over a waterborne route.  Campbell would say he departed his “world of common day.”   To enter the “region of supernatural wonder,” Isaac survives enemies: snakes, fog, storms, hunger, riflemen, and alligators.  Declared too young to be a soldier, undaunted, Isaac shovels coal on army and navy gunboats.  A Gulf of Mexico hurricane sinks Isaac’s ship and he lands in Mississippi.  “Meets Isaac his Yoda” when he rescues a post-war soldier from a bandit.  His new mentor helps Isaac realize his dream of becoming a soldier in the original deployment of the Tenth Regiment of United States Cavalry.

According to the Baltimore Post-Examiner, First Dark passes the Campbell/Lucas tests as Isaac’s personal family losses, learning to read, public_htmling into a successful Buffalo Soldier, compassion for Apaches, and forming his dream for entrepreneurship all unfold.  Further, readers meet the women who love Isaac, his friends, mentors, and enemies, all of whom are given voice.  Isaac’s heroes inform about the man he becomes:  Hiram Young (former slave, entrepreneur who built freight wagons for the Union army) and Ben Montgomery (former slave, entrepreneur who managed Joe Davis’ plantation and store).

The Post-Examiner concludes: “Isaac’s journey, with a nod to the splendid mythologist Joseph Campbell, is a hero’s journey. It’s also a darn good read.”

Learn more…

  • / Comments Off on Lieutenant Flipper Controversy: A Fallen Hero?

Lieutenant Flipper Controversy: A Fallen Hero?

Lieutenant Flipper Controversy: A Fallen Hero?

Lt Henry O. Flipper

Lt Henry O. Flipper

Who was Lieutenant Flipper?  Was he Martyr or Myth?

  • 19th Century:  Lt Flipper was dismissed from the U.S. Army.
  • 20th Century:  Flipper was pardoned by President Clinton.
  • 21st Century:  Flipper’s “poor treatment” is called a myth.

Henry O. Flipper was not the first African American admitted to the United States Military Academy in West Point, NY.  However, in 1877, Flipper became the first African American to graduate from West Point.  Flipper was commissioned as a second lieutenant and assigned to the Tenth Regiment of United States Cavalry at Fort Sill, Indian Territory.

In 1880, Lieutenant Flipper again distinguished himself in the war against Warm Springs Apache Chief Victorio.  A year later, twenty-five year old Flipper was tried for embezzlement of government funds.  He was dismissed from the army 30 June 1882.

A new one-act play, “Lieutenant Flipper’s Trial” by Bob Rogers, dramatizes the fateful 1881 trial of Lieutenant Flipper.  Was Flipper persecuted before he was prosecuted?  Did Flipper destroy his career?  Was he sabotaged?  Was there a conspiracy?  Was he dealt with fairly?  You decide.

On the reverse side of this flyer, see the bibliography and learn how to:

  • Book the play and added attractions for your stage, including:
    • Bob Rogers’ live and lively 19th Century American History “Jeopardy” style quiz show where winners receive literary prizes (novels, novellas, short stories).
    • Scenes (South Carolina, Mississippi, Kansas, Texas, New Mexico) from Bob’s highly acclaimed novel, First Dark: A Buffalo Soldier’s Story.

Book the play for your group or venue!