Corporal Frederick Stressinger, Company M, Seventh Cavalry, was born Frederick Streing on June 24, 1852 in Ripley County, Indiana. A laborer by trade, he enlisted at Louisville, Kentucky on October 19, 1872; he was listed as 5’5¼” tall, with gray eyes, light hair and a fair complexion. He joined Company M in Unionville, South Carolina on December 9, 1872. In April 1873 he was diagnosed with acute bronchitis and was on the steamer Western as the company travelled from Yankton to Fort Rice in April and May 1873. Stressinger was detailed as the company cook in August 1873 and served as the company carpenter from April to June 1875. He also appears as the company blacksmith in July 1875. A Fort Rice Garrison Court Martial convicted Stressinger on February 5, 1875 for refusing to perform the duties of the company cook and fined him $5. He was acquitted by another Garrison Court Martial on April 13, 1875 of the charge of being absent from a retreat formation. Frederick Stressinger was promoted to corporal on June 17, 1876. (Custer’s Best: The Story of Company M, 7th Cavalry at the Little Bighorn)
Welcome to an Adventure !
Do you enjoy solving mysteries ? Do you like to travel in time when you read ? Are you looking to discover history books that tell what really happened ? Then come on in.
I had a great life spending over thirty years in the Army; I was able to help defend the country in two wars with a bunch of tremendous soldiers and any success I may have had was due to each and every one of them; as I frequently tell my friends — I am no hero, but I served with heroes and that you can’t do any better than that. I was also able to see the world, help develop complex technology and understand that I lived in a pretty special country. The only downside to all that Army time was that after I retired, doing regular day-to-day living was pretty boring.
So I started to write. It didn’t and doesn’t bring you much money, but it sure has been interesting traveling around the country and the world to chase after historical mysteries. I came across a page or two in some World War II history books, for example, on some special Waffen-SS unit in World War II that was composed of criminals let out of jail — but there were not that many details about it — and by luck I ran into detailed records of the unit buried in our National Archives. That led to The Cruel Hunters: SS-Sonderkommando Dirlewanger Hitler’s Most Notorious Anti-Partisan Unit.
Several more books on Germany in World War II followed: the dark side with works on concentration camps, Einsatzkommandos, and the Destruction of the Jewish Warsaw Ghetto, and more-traditional writings on Luftwaffe Knights Cross winners and U-Boat sailors. That was fun, because I was able to interview many of them.
On a trip out to the Little Bighorn, I began to wonder what life was like for the basic enlisted cavalryman. All the existing books talked about officers — George Custer, Marcus Reno and Frederick Benteen — but what about the hundreds of privates and sergeants? That search led to Custer’s Best: The Story of Company M, 7th Cavalry at the Little Bighorn, which was able to win the John M. Carroll Award.
Then, in 2001, I discovered U.S. Army records that were languishing outside Washington, D.C. that contained the story of 96 American soldiers who were court-martialed in Europe and North Africa in World War II and subsequently executed by the Army — not the German Army, but our own Army. And they were buried in a secret cemetery northwest of Paris that is not shown on any map! It took me a decade to run down all the loose ends, but we finally got the story, which led to The Field Field: The Story of the 96 American Soldiers Sentenced to Death and Executed in Europe and North Africa in World War II, which subsequently received the Lieutenant General Richard G. Trefry Award. In fact, if you only read one of the books, read this one!
More recently, I stumbled across a little known battlefield in southeast Montana on a bed & breakfast ranch, and just turned in into Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, Gold and Guns: The 1874 Yellowstone Wagon Road and Prospecting Expedition and the Battle of Lodge Grass Creek. It is the saga of a Montana wagon train in Montana in 1874 that was searching for gold. The 150 gold miners, buffalo hunters and Civil War veterans did not find any gold, but they did run into Sitting Bull and 1,400 of his closest friends.
I just helped a great friend finish his own mystery on the murder of Tsar Nicholas II (it didn’t happen the way the Bolsheviks claimed it did,) as well as analyzing the Little Bighorn Cook-Benteen Note (it might have been “doctored” after the battle.) His book just came out, titled Romanovs’ Murder Case: The Myth of the Basement Room Massacre.
Finished a massive book on the German offensive at Verdun in 1916, but so far have been unable to contract with a publisher, so if you know of one that might be interested let me know!
More successful is a book, which will come out in October 2019, a biography of Master Sergeant John C. Woods, the U.S. Army hangman in Europe at the end of World War II, who stayed on to hang numerous Nazi war criminals at Landsberg and Nürnberg in 1945-46. American Hangman: MSgt. John C. Woods: The United States Army’s Notorious Executioner in World War II and Nürnberg
Now I am working on a book on the Tiger tank crews of the 2nd SS Panzer Corps at the Battle of Kursk in July 1943. This will be the first work concentrating on the crews, rather than the tank; so far we have discovered 166 crewmen that road on these super tanks. I’ll turn that in to the publisher in September 2019.
Another observation I made while in the Army was that the world is a dangerous place and unfortunately a lot of that danger is coming to our own country. September 11, 2001 should have been a wake-up call, but too many lessons have already been forgotten and acts of terror now occur in large cities and small towns across the country. So I have also started several projects to help people organize their thoughts on personal protection (such as the new Walther PPQ M2 .45 ACP pistol,) and how we might want to analyze some of these enemies to our nation (click on S,W&T, which stands for Strategy, Weapons and Tactics).
So come on inside and go on Your Own Adventure!
(June 15, 2019) Sometimes I have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century, but once I found how easy it is to watch Podcasts, I was glad I did. First, you can listen whenever you want; second, you can listen more than once; and third, for the ones I have found, all the commercials are cut out of regular broadcasts.
Take the Po Po Report broadcast every Saturday night from 7:00-9:00 p.m. on WLS Radio, 890 AM. First, even if this show had no podcast, it would still be as hilarious and worthwhile as it is. Led by Paul Ciolino, a former policeman and now a private investigator, the show delves into police, crime and punishment in Chicago, so you know that they are never at a loss for material. They talk about street crime, transgressions by political bosses — giving kudos to special police officers and slamming crooks. Po Po is just one of the nicknames for the police in Chicago, hence the name.
Paul is my age; in fact we were in the same infantry company in Germany in the mid-1970s. Being the only two guys from Illinois, I would swing by the company arms room, which he ran, and checked what the latest was in Chi-town. A few years later, Paul got out of the Army and went into law enforcement, finally becoming a private investigator.
Let me sum him up: if I ever was arrested for a major crime I did not commit, Paul Ciolino is the private detective I would want on my side. He has been involved in the OJ Simpson Case, the Oklahoma City Bombing Case, the Amanda Knox Case, and several cases in Illinois that proved that the wrong people were sitting on death row, which led to a policy change on the death penalty in Illinois.
Now Paul is the savvy old-timer; his partner on the show is Lupe Aguirre, a younger lawyer and police officer; my guess is early 40s, so he knows the current state of play in the police department (like how a police lieutenant can take a nap on duty), as well as the Millennial scene, not that too many listeners care about the latter. You want Chicago accents, often politically incorrect language, and stuff on crime you won’t find anywhere else. This is it. You hear about murders every weekend in Chicago. You’ll hear about them here, but you will also hear that there is probably a serial killer loose in the city that may have murdered 51 women in Chicago. That’s right, 51 women and a whole lot of the media hasn’t bothered to cover it.
The guys also give you tips about using Uber drivers and other things to keep you safer in Chicago. Supposedly the show even has a following in Statesville, the replacement prison in the state for the infamous Joliet Prison. Try the show live or go to WLS.com to go to the podcast. In a perfect world, you could have a couple of beers every week with Paul at a Chicago watering hole; this is the next best thing.Amanda Knox, Chicago, Lupe Aguirre, OJ Simpson Case, Oklahoma City Bombing Case, Paul Ciolino, Po Po Report, WLS