Art Cashin On rumour-Mongers And “Famous Last Words”

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UBS floor guy Art Cashin always includes some historical event in some daily note.

We liked the lesson:

On this day in 1864, General U.S. Grant’s forces were trying to dislodge Lee’s defending army at a small, out of the way place called Spotsylvania Courthouse. Grant was driving toward the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia. Grant’s plan was to sweep past the Rebs and capture Richmond, thus possibly ending the war.

But Lee’s unique sense of deployment and a punishing artillery barrage by the battery of Gen. Porter Alexander kept the Union forces bogged down. Grant pinned his hopes on the 6th Corps, under the command of Gen. John Sedgwick. But Sedgwick’s men were terrified of Confederate snipers whose Minie balls seemed to fly through the air. Sedgwick was much loved by his troops and he thought a personal appeal would win the day. He rode to a trench of new recruits and uttered one of my top five favourite “last words.” “Men”, he shouted, “stand up!” “They couldn’t hit an elephant at this dist….” He never finished the sentence as a Minie ball blew him off his horse and into history books.

(Another of my favourite “last words” is attributed to Oscar Wilde who on his deathbed looked about the room and reportedly said – “Either that wallpaper goes or I do.”)

It was neither the bulls nor the bears who got the last word last week. It was the rumormongers.

Remember, last week ended with furious rumours about Greek leaving the eurozone…