Late in 2001, Seymour Hersh wrote a piece for the New Yorker about special forces operations in Afghanistan. In it, he introduced the colorful term “total goat f*&@k,” which the New Yorker‘s straight-faced prose defined as “military slang meaning a mission in which everything that could go wrong does go wrong.” (I would have liked to have been the fact-checker for that piece.)
Anyway, on this day in 1865, Robert E. Lee experienced the mother of all total goat f*&@ks. Between Richmond and Appomattox, at a place called Sailor’s Creek, his army became separated and was thrashed by Grant‘s men piecemeal, surrendering 7,700 men, including nine — count ’em, NINE — generals. “My God! Has the army been dissolved?” he exclaimed.
IMAGE: Victory or Death: The Last Stand of the Savannah Volunteer Guards at Sailor’s Creek by Keith Rocco