Friday, April 10, 2020

Sharpen your Civil War proofreading skills (and maybe have a little bit of fun doing it)

Since there are no more new releases to talk about, let's have some small amusement with a little editing exercise. As you might know, I read a fair bit of Civil War writing. Though a brilliant summary of the early-war period, the following paragraph does contain some of my favorite common (and apparently ineradicable) word usage and spelling mistakes. If you have a minute or two to spare (what else do you have to do sitting there at home?), give it a go as proofreader and leave your error count in the comments section. Just stick to individual words (i.e. don't get hung up on sentence structure, punctuation, and the like). Writing a short paragraph that would fit everything in while still making at least some cohesive sense was difficult enough!
"After South Carolina's Ordnance of Succession touched off a wave of Deep South defections, any lingering doubts that war was immanent were completely erased by the Confederate bombardment of Fort Sumpter. Fearing eminent attack on his own department, Albert Sydney Johnson, former colonel of the 2nd U.S. Calvary, busied himself with the defense of the new Confederacy's vast western front, of which Fort Donaldson would become a key anchor point. On the home front, while the actions of some provost marshalls were heavy-handed, wild rumors regarding a general imposition of marshal law proved largely unfounded. After his home state of Kentucky remained in the Union, even former Vice President John C. Breckenridge joined the Confederate cause. At the same time, southern troops were disbursed along a long, thin line of defense and already cash-strapped departments had difficulties dispersing adequate funds. Lamenting their own outdated cannon, Confederate ordinance chiefs could only eye the Union Army's new Parrot guns with envy. Meanwhile, off to the east Union general George B. McClelland was busy repairing the morale damage of Irwin McDowell's embarrassing defeat at Bull Run."

[UPDATE: Well, one person (unfortunately anonymous) arrived at the expected error count. I didn't ask respondents to show their work, but I will give OMW the benefit of the doubt. The "correct" answer is: 18.].
"After South Carolina's Ordinance [1] of Secession [2] touched off a wave of Deep South defections, any lingering doubts that war was imminent [3] were completely erased by the Confederate bombardment of Fort Sumter [4]. Fearing imminent [5] attack on his own department, Albert Sidney [6] Johnston [7], former colonel of the 2nd U.S. Cavalry [8], busied himself with the defense of the new Confederacy's vast western front, of which Fort Donelson [9] would become a key anchor point. On the home front, while the actions of some provost marshals [10] were heavy-handed, wild rumors regarding a general imposition of martial [11] law proved largely unfounded. After his home state of Kentucky remained in the Union, even former Vice President John C. Breckinridge [12] joined the Confederate cause. At the same time, southern troops were dispersed [13] along a long, thin line of defense and already cash-strapped departments had difficulties disbursing [14] adequate funds. Lamenting their own outdated cannon, Confederate ordnance [15] chiefs could only eye the Union Army's new Parrott [16] guns with envy. Meanwhile, off to the east Union general George B. McClellan [17] was busy repairing the morale damage of Irvin [18] McDowell's embarrassing defeat at Bull Run."

14 comments:

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    1. And I can't count - I went back to the email to myself listing them and actually had 17 but completely missed Johnston's middle name. Proof of distraction theory? :)

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  3. After South Carolina's Ordinance {Ordnance} of Secession {uccession} touched off a wave of Deep South defections, any lingering doubts that war was imminent {immanent} were completely erased by the Confederate bombardment of Fort Sumter {Sumpter}. Fearing imminent {eminent} attack on his own department, Albert Sydney Johnston, former colonel of the 2nd U.S. Cavalry {lvary}, busied himself with the defense of the new Confederacy's vast western front, of which Fort Donaldson would become a key anchor {point}. On the home front, while the actions of some provost marshalls were heavy-handed, wild rumors regarding a general imposition of martial {marshal} law proved largely unfounded. After his home state of Kentucky remained in the Union, even former Vice President John C. Breckenridge joined the Confederate cause. At the same time, southern troops were dispersed {disbursed} along a long, thin line of defense and already cash-strapped departments had difficulties disbursing {dispersing} adequate funds. Lamenting their own outdated cannon, Confederate ordinance chiefs could only eye the Union Army's new Parrot guns with envy. Meanwhile, off to the east Union general George B. McClellan {cClelland} was busy repairing the morale damage of Irwin McDowell's embarrassing defeat at Bull Run."

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  4. My red pen nearly ran of ink on this one! I counted eighteen errors, although I suspect I overlooked others. That was fun.

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    1. Not sure why my name was posted as Old Man Winter, but I surprised myself by correctly detecting the eighteen errors.
      Jane Johansson

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    2. The mysteries of Google! Good to hear from you again.

      Drew

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  5. I count 14 with a questionable 15 (1)Ordnance–Ordinance (2)Succession –secession(3)Immanent-imminent (4)Eminent-imminent (5)Sydney–Sidney (6)Johnson – Johnston (7)Calvary–Cavalry (8)Donaldson–Donelson (9)Marshalls–Marshals (10)Marshal–Martial (11)Breckenridge -Breckinridge (12)Ordinance–Ordnance (13)Parrot – Parrott (14) McClelland – McClellan (15) Sumpter-Sumter (although I have seen it spelled Sumpter in other places)- Curt Thomasco

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  6. This was fast and without coffee so first things that jumped out.

    "After South Carolina's Ordnance [Ordinance] of Succession [Secession] touched off a wave of Deep South defections, any lingering doubts that war was immanent [imminent] were completely erased by the Confederate bombardment of Fort Sumpter. [Sumter]. Fearing eminent [imminent] attack on his own department, Albert Sydney Johnson [Johnston], former colonel of the 2nd U.S. Calvary [Cavalry], busied himself with the defense of the new Confederacy's vast western [Western Theater]front [Department], of which Fort Donaldson [Donelson] would become a key anchor point. On the home front, while the actions of some provost marshalls [marshals] were heavy-handed, wild rumors regarding a general imposition of marshal [martial] law proved largely unfounded. After his home state of Kentucky remained in the Union, even former Vice President John C. Breckenridge [Breckinridge] joined the Confederate cause. At the same time, southern [Southern] troops were disbursed [dispersed] along a long, thin line of defense and already cash-strapped departments had difficulties dispersing adequate funds. Lamenting their own outdated cannon [artillery pieces], Confederate ordinance [ordnance] chiefs [officers] could only eye the Union Army's new Parrot [Parrott] guns [Rifles] with envy. Meanwhile, off to the east [in the Eastern Theater] Union general [Maj. Gen.] George B. McClelland [McClellan] was busy repairing [improving] the morale damage [this needs rewriting] of Irwin [Irvin] McDowell's embarrassing defeat at Bull Run."

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  7. My biggest pet peeve is ChickamaGUa

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