The photo is a genuine image of young Latham as a combat MarineThe Smart Guy as a Marine in Vietnam.


The Smart Guy


            This month the Smart Guy ponders military history. We always read about heroic battles and the glory of war. Daily existence during any war can be full of oddities, most of which are never reported. Here are two examples of military history you will never find in the books.


Two short excerpts from Books You’ll Never Read


Chapter 14

Captain Thornwhistle checked his troops behind the barricade. Satisfied his men had stowed their weapons, he glanced over the wall as Rebel troops, also without weapons, came in perfect file toward his Union Regiment.

            "Okay, men, get ready," Thornwhistle said. "We'll show these Rebs we can beat them even without firing a shot."

            His men tensed, awaiting the assault. Thornwhistle raised his telescope and checked the rows of enemy troops. He saw his counterpart, Captain Wienerhauser. They had shared quarters at West Point and were Regular Army, not mere inductees. Wienerhauser had defected to the Confederate side. They would now have to face each other to see who was the best. Thornwhistle lowered his telescope, saluted Wienerhauser, and motioned his men up over the wall.

            "Can I go pee, sir?" a trooper said.

            "Stow it, private. I won't have any slackers. Up and over that wall, now."

            Yelling and screaming, Thornwhistle's troops rushed toward the Rebels. Both Rebel and Union lines stopped mere inches from each other.

            Then, the Rebels began the exchange.

            "Yankees is big blue dummies," one Reb said, amid cheers from his regiment.

            "Rebs got cotton balls," a Yankee sergeant cried, and the Union troops cheered.

            Thornwhistle shook hands with Wienerhauser; a thrill rushed through his groin as their hands touched.

            "Great way to fight a war, huh, Wienie?"

            "You know it, Thorny."

            "It's been a long time."

            "Too long."

            And they strolled off to be alone as their troops continued exchanging verbal blows.

            "Rebel girls got southern bells in their heads."

            "Is that your nose or a bayonet lug, Yank?"


from the novel:

Sissy Creek: The Civil War Battle No One Mentions



Chapter 9

The army had reached the snow line in the mountain range when suddenly the column stopped. Word of trouble was passed back and the General came forward. He yelled and swore and pushed his troops aside as he moved forward toward the source of the delay.

            "Get that damn animal moving, soldier," the General yelled to the man perched on top of his mount.

"I can't, General. It won't budge."

            Swearing, the General stepped behind the stalled pack animal and shoved. Suddenly, there came a loud, gushing, splat noise, and the General was covered with what could be described as a ton of runny, stinking feces.

            The troops began laughing and the column had to make camp on the spot so the General could take a bath. He could be heard yelling as he moved back toward the rear of the column.

"I told that idiot back in Carthage that I wanted horses not elephants."


            from the novel:

A Crappy War: Hannibal Crossing The Alps


For Hannibal, an elephant with a gastric problem created a logistical nightmare.




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More Dennis Latham fiction


Look for The Bad Season in print from Clocktower August 1, 2006 online or from your favorite bookseller.

Signed copies available on Shocklines.



Send a question to the smart guy:


More Dennis Latham fiction


Look for The Bad Season in print from Clocktower after July 15, 2006 from Amazon or your favorite bookseller.

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