Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Peer to patent meets Gettysburg

Returning to the theme of what Carhart's book tells us about "peer to patent," one notes the different results on amazon.com for Carhart's book than for Walker's earlier book on exactly the same theme. Walker's book, which is indeed a bad book, was devastated on amazon.com, with review titles such as I want my $18.95 back, What a Joke and Is this fiction or non-fiction???. Carhart's book, advancing the same theory with no new evidence (and indeed not even a bibliography), was packaged better in terms of author, publisher, and reviewer, even if without better evidence. Carhart's book was a hit on amazon.com, even though the comments previously made against Walker's book could just as well have been made about Carhart's book.

Of peer-to-patent, it's all well and good to bring relevant prior art to the attention of the examiner. However, if one really wanted to help the examiner, this would be in the format of a claim chart, so that the examiner could quickly evaluate how relevant the asserted prior art indeed was. In the absence of such, we are left with the unmitigated disaster of page 144 of Jaffe and Lerner's Innovation and Its Discontents, and Noveck's complete misunderstanding of what was going on.

At the end of the day, the examiner has to make the hard call. The experience with Walker and Carhart shows why we don't want to let voting reviewers make the call.

To quickly respond to Whiting's comments, which attempt to offer some defense of Carhart's book:

1. he cites Stuart's after-action review which stated that he hoped to strike the Union rear; Recall that Stuart's later report talked about improving the opportunity made by Pickett, which negates Carhart's theory.

2. he cites Lee's reported comments to Imboden the evening of July 3 (in my mind the best evidence) in which Lee states that Picket's Charge was not supported as it ought to have been and he didn't know why when the only battlefield commander left to debrief was Stuart - therefore, Stuart would be the only source to provide the answer to why Picket's Charge wasn't "supported;" How does the general "not supported" comment devolve to Stuart's performance?

3. he cites McClellan's comments about Stuart's multiple firing of one gun and McClellan's statement that no one knew what Stuart was doing, though McClellan though it may have been a signal to Lee McClellan ALSO thought it might have been to detect Federal forces.

One does find it interesting how those who rely on H.B. McClellan for the "cannon shots as signal to Lee" theory don't mention what McClellan said about Stuart's objective:

Stuart's object was to gain position where he would protect the left of Ewell's corps, and would also be able to observe the enemy's rear and attack it in case the Confederate assault on the Federal lines were successful. He proposed, if opportunity offered, to make a diversion which might aid the Confederate infantry to carry the heights held by the Federal army.

In the patent business, this is called "picking and choosing" evidence.

But there is a bigger problem with McClellan's account of the cannon shots. Recall what McClellan wrote:

While carefully concealing Jenkins' and Chambliss' brigades from view, Stuart pushed one of Griffin's guns to the edge of the woods and fired a number of random shots in different directions, himself giving orders to the gun. This, quite as much as the subsequent appearance of Hampton and Fitz Lee in the open ground to the left, announced his position to the enemy's cavalry; for General Gregg tells us that about noon he had received notice from army headquarters that a large body of cavalry had been observed moving toward the Confederate left. He was, therefore, on the alert before Stuart's arrival. I have been somewhat perplexed to account for Stuart's conduct in firing these shots; but I suppose that they may have been a prearranged signal by which he was to notify General Lee that he had gained a favorable position; or, finding that none of the enemy were within sight, he may have desired to satisfy himself whether the Federal cavalry was in his immediate vicinity before leaving the strong position he then held; and receiving no immediate reply to this fire, he sent for Hampton and Fitz Lee, to arrange with them for an advance and an attack upon the enemy's rear.

Note that McClellan wrote: receiving no immediate reply to this fire. This is not an accurate statement of what happened. As Wert wrote on page 262 of "Gettysburg Day 3", Pennington responded with six three inch Ordnance rifles.

But, in this case, we don't need to cite Wert against McClellan. We can cite McClellan against McClellan. From a discussion of Kelly's book on civilwarcavalryblog:

One officer interviewed by Kelly was Alexander C. M. Pennington, who commanded the battery of horse artillery assigned to serve with Custer’s brigade. Here’s what Pennington had to say about this episode:

“When Jeb Stuart rode round our army at Gettysburg without striking us on the morning of July 3rd, he found that he could not locate us. Now [Maj. Henry] McClellan who was on his staff told me this story. He said that Stuart looked in every direction but could find no sign of our troops, so he ordered a gun out and ordered it to be fired in different directions in hopes of getting an echo or a reply from one of our guns, and then through his glass locate the smoke.

He fired in one direction, and then [received] an answering gun. He said that shot from that gun entered the muzzle of their gun, and knocked it off the trunions, breaking two wheels. Now, he said, this seems remarkable, almost incredible, but when he told me that story he [McClellan] said, ‘I assure you on the honor of a gentleman that it is true.’ And the singular fact is that it was my gun that did it. I was standing with Custer when I told my gunners to fire at them. He was an Irishman by the name of ————. I noticed he took a long time before he fired. Of course we could not tell at that distance exactly what happened.”

Now, it would seem that in the Kelly account [and in the real world] Stuart DID receive an immediate reply to his cannon shots, so that the different McClellan account, receiving no immediate reply to this fire, would be inconsistent.

The "peers" in amazon.com see what they want to see, as will the peers in peer to patent.

See also

Where was H.B. McClellan on July 3, 1863?

Those mysterious cannon shots of JEB Stuart on July 3, 1863


Blogger could not upload relevant Gettysburg pictures, so the reader will have to pretend there are two pictures here.

There is a monument to Pennington's six 3-inch rifles at East Cavalry Field (pix17).

Separately, there is a monument to Irwin Gregg's force held in reserve at Hanover and Baltimore Pikes. This is to alert those that, even if the action involving Custer and the 7th Michigan (and others) had failed, there were other cavalry units barring Stuart's path to the Baltimore Pike. (pix18)


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