Sunday, May 20, 2012

"Incremental" Redefined

May 20 is the twenty-second day of  General Halleck's twenty-two mile advance on Corinth, MS, and the following status report was sent to the Secretary of War.

FARMINGTON, May 20, 1862-8 p.m.
Secretary of War:

Our forces have been within 4 miles of Corinth for two days past. Enemy not disposed to attack in force, but we have had brisk skirmishing yesterday and to-day. To-morrow some troops will be moved forward to reconnoiter position of enemy. Heavy rains this evening. Please reply to my message of Saturday.

Assistant Secretary of War.*

One wonders if the West Point graduate might have been absent from math class years ago when this classic problem was presented:  If you are 22 miles away from your destination and each day you travel 1/2 the remaining distance, how many days will it take to get there?

*ORE correspondence courtesy of my Favorite Link, Ohio State's eHistory

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