I Went Searching For an Indian and Found I Was a Dutchman

I Went Searching for an Indian and Found I Was a Dutchman.
I've always been interested in history so when my Uncle Wayne gave me some information about our family roots I had to begin changing the way I've always thought about where I came from. We had always been told, "there's Indian blood in our ancestry, we just haven't been able to prove it". I have been surprised to learn that while searching for an Indian link, I found a Dutchman. Now I'm not saying there may not be some Indian blood somewhere but the prospect looks dimmer the more I find out.
I also have had some general prejudices about folks back east, especially areas like Ohio (I grew up in the Woody Hayes era and couldn't stand Ohio State). What a surprise (and God ordained I believe) to find we arrived in Ohio in the early 1800s, my ancestor fought in an Ohio Regiment in the Civil War, and came to Kansas afterwards. That, and some visits to Ohio, has adjusted my thinking.
And the other reason why-to keep communication between the far flung members of my family and encourage them to drop a note so we can keep in touch with the details of their lives. We miss too much by not being there in the day to day workings of life. So, leave a post for all of us.

Monday, August 18, 2014

PTSD and the Civil War

Civil War Veterans in 1884, Wm T Sherman in the front row center
Library of Congress

It's Monday morning, August 18, and we're finally back home after an epic 14.5 hour drive from Marietta yesterday. Mac is back from the kennel, the Hurricane has to make a run to the grocery store and I need to mow but it's too wet for now.  So I'll add this.
As you might remember, I mentioned the fact that grandpa went off to the Dakotas after moving to Kansas.  He stayed for a few years, originally landing in Chase county and then off to Winfield where he built a sawmill on Walnut creek. He went north to the Dakotas with Buck, his oldest son presumably to build a sawmill there. But given that there was gold fever going on, I suspect not. He left behind his wife Sarah and six children and I always wondered why. If you remember the Hurricane and I talked on this while walking around Shiloh and Chickamauga. When seeing the horrors of war up close and wondering how one would even mentally survive, we speculated it could have been the result of what he saw and experienced.
Before we get too far down that road of speculation I will say I believe we are all responsible for our own behavior, even with the struggles of life which, for some of us are admittedly huge. However this may be one explanation for why a man develops wanderlust and won't, or can't, go back home.
The day after the Hurricane and I were talking about this, a good buddy and CW researcher, Nick Burchett, posted this article by Sarah Handley-Cousins* on his FB site. I'll let you read it and mull it over.

Gen Charles Cruft
It mentions just what we were talking about and gives not only some examples but also some of the verbiage used at that time for mental illness: Neuralgia, headaches, sunsickness, and so forth. It's strange that after I read the article and then was reading Larry Daniels' "Days of Glory, The Army of the Cumberland 1861-1865" (p416-417 Louisiana State University Press 2004) that as the Atlanta campaign closed in the fall of 1864, many commanders had to be replaced due to sickness. Namely Cruft with "a severe fever", Turchin with "sunstroke, and an accompanying violent headache", and others who had to be replaced as they suffered with "neuralgia". Add to that cases of drunkenness, the form of coping taken by many at that time (and since as well ) for stress.  I am not making case that these men suffered from mental illness as we would describe it now, but it's certainly worth pondering as one tries to get inside the skin of those who saw much difficulty.
So where does that leave me? About where I started, although I think, as I do with a lot of issues as I grow older, I become much more compassionate and sympathetic. Maybe that's the "grace" portion of gracefully growing older.
Ivan Vasilyevich Turchaninov aka Gen'l John Basil Turchin

I will continue to ponder such things and allow the Maker and Revealer of the thoughts and intents of man to sort out the truth.  Until such time I am (as they said back them), respectfully, your most obedient servant...
*Sarah Handley-Cousins is a graduate student in history at the University at Buffalo.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Grandpa's Victory Tour-Part VI-A Side Tour

Marietta Hilton-site of the XV Corps hospital 1864

August 14, 2014 Thursday
Overwhelmed with history. That's what I am right now. I't hard to put all of my jumbled thoughts together because they're going around, as Ray Stevens would say, like a golf ball teed off in a tile bathroom.  It's bad enough I spent several hours telling you about Chickamauga then find I have forgotten files from a friend who's ancestor fought in the same unit as grandpa that I didn't even consult (I'll have to add Part V-b to the list) and I also haven't told you about Orchard Knob or Missionary Ridge (the Battle of Chattanooga) yet either.  So thinking about how to put that all down, and to add insult to injury, we drive to the national encampment of the SUVCW in Marietta, Georgia, next to the Kennesaw Mountain NMP and a suburb of Atlanta. Of course, the pulse starts to rise as I gather with my brothers who also have great stories to tell. But then we go on a trolley tour of Marietta with a brother who is a historian (Brad Quinlin of the Ga & South Carolina Department) and he begins to jam more into my head than I can contain. I describe it to the Hurricane as that itch in your ear that your pinky finger just can't get to. That's what history does to me. Cemeteries drive me crazy because every stone has a story to tell and military cemeteries are even worse. So, I love history but it will be my demise when my head explodes.
I will just have to tell you some of the things that have popped up that I couldn't possibly explore but I must say something about:

  • The hotel we're staying at (Hilton Marietta) is the actual site of the XV Corps hospital in 1864 and those who died here were buried here under what is now the club house until re-interred at the Marietta National Cemetery.  The golf course around us once was covered with tents filled with wounded soldiers. It humbles me as I sit in a rocking chair on the back terrace and look over the green fields. It was not always so.
  • Brad pointed out to us many building and churches that were used for hospitals both by the Confederates and later the Federals.He showed us the train tracks, still in use today, where the wounded came in by the trainload, all day and all night.
  • Marietta was a supply depot for Sherman's march and the buildings were bulging with supplies. The town square was piled high with hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammunition.
  • Marietta is one of only two cities that has an official Confederate cemetery and a National Cemetery.  As we went through the Confederate cemetery we noted row after row of small square headstones
    Confederate Cemetery
    for CSA soldiers unknown to anyone but God. Brad said he has been successful in identifying over 400 of them and their names will be added to the memorial.
  • As we round the corner by the National Cemetery we note that a cluster of headstones-all from children who died of typhoid.  Brad also says the site of the cemetery was originally requested to be sold to the Confederacy for a good sum but the man who owned it, a Union sympathizer, refused. Later they found a tunnel from his house to the cemetery-part of the underground railroad.  When he was asked by the Federals to sell the land to them for a cemetery as well he agreed and sold it-for $1.
  • The suffering was great but so was the compassion on both sides. Told was the story of a black nurse from the north who came south with the troops. Much respected, she cared for them as if they were her own.  A soldier wrote home to tell of her care, noting that his mother should not worry as he was receiving motherly care from her.  Sadly he passed and was buried in the National cemetery. Later that same nurse died and was buried there as well, next to the soldier who wrote the letter. 
  • Chaplain Thomas Van Horne (author of the definitive 2 volume "Army of the Cumberland") as a chaplain in the Union Army was given General Order 26 by General Thomas, sickened by the soldiers killed at Chickamauga in September 1863 and still lying on the ground in December, an order to
    gather and bury the dead of Chickamauga and Chattanooga. He did so. Said Chaplain Whipple of Van Horne, "Chaplain Van Horne walks over every brave soldier's grave and kneels next to him and says a prayer and documents all belongings to try and place an identity to the soldier".  His exceptional documentation of hospitals and burials there and in Marietta are why we have so many records today. His example is one of the reasons whey we in the SUVCW do what we do.
These stories, and many others, are what keep me reading and exploring. Those things draw an ache of grief combined with pride that is hard to describe. It's the itch in the ear that the pinky can't get to. When we see, as Christ said, the act of love of someone laying down their life for another, whether in acts of compassion and service or with all they have-their physical life-it has to grab the soul down deep and cause a welling of emotion that drives us on to do the same. It's the honorable work of sacrifice that we must learn and tell to our children and grandchildren (dear Felix) so they too will do what's right if the time comes. 

I will leave you with one last story from Brad Quinlan even though it happens during WWII.  Brad's father served in the Pacific but never told his stories, as was the case for many of our veterans. When he died, Brad found his book and papers from his old unit. He found there were 41 remaining survivors so he wrote 41 letters and got back...41 replies (2 from widows).  They were all astounding but he one that gripped him was from his dad's platoon sergeant. It seems Brad's Dad (Leonard Paul Quinlan) was the sergeant's runner and the sergeant, Brad's dad, and another man were in a foxhole when a Japanese grenade landed in with them. The third man threw his helmet over it, then his body, and when it exploded, he was killed, Brad's dad wounded in three places and unable to move, and the sergeant wounded in two. A Japanese patrol was approaching with intent to capture or kill them and they couldn't get away. From behind the chatter of a BAR was heard and the line of Japanese were mowed down. The gun continued to fire until they were able to get away. Five days later they found the gunner's body still at the gun. That man was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his sacrifice. Brad has found his grave and plans to take his entire family there to visit. 

I'm still trying to get at that itch. Maybe tomorrow. I'll try to get part V-b, more about grandpa at Chickamanuga, as soon as I can. The encampment begins tomorrow with a group of men who haven't forgotten the sacrifice.

We are the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. We are the descendants of the men who fought to save the Union. Their blood runs in our veins. We are not about "representing" Civil War soldiers, we, as descendants and legal heirs to the G.A.R. are a direct link to these men. We honor our ancestors by keeping alive the memory of their service and sacrifice in a way that no other organization can.
We are not a re-enactment unit or a living history organization. We are as close as you can get to a Civil War soldier. When we wear the uniform we are not "representing" or "portraying." We are remembering. The blood of our ancestors cries out to us from the grave. We must not, we cannot forget. Because we remember, some part of them lives in us. Because we remember, their sacrifice was not in vain. Because we remember, the nation that they fought to save endures and thrives, and they can rest contented in their graves -
Because We Remember

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Grandpa's Victory Tour-Part V Chickamauga

The view for Dick's Brigade, 130pm on September 19, 1863 (stop #2); Confederates in the woods to the east
August 13,2014 Wednesday Evening
It's a cool August evening in Georgia, rare I would expect as it would be the same back home. Very pleasant with low humidity.  I've dragged a chair out the door and sitting on my "front porch" as it were at the Super 8. I get a few strange stares but if you've seen me before you can imagine I'm used to it.
Anyway, I will put pen to paper (or digits to laptop) and try to describe Chickamauga. I'm no historian and this will be no dissertation on the subject as there are those who know more than I, have written extensively on the subject, and the experts still argue over it. So I won't wade into that fray. But I will attempt to describe the basics, grandpa's part in it, and my general thoughts on the subject.
Geographically, the battlefield of Chickamauga lies SE of Chattanooga. Chattanooga sits in a bend of the Tennessee river where it curves north then back east. The Tennessee on the north and Lookout Mountain on the south form the western side;  the Tennessee forms the north boundary; Missionary Ridge (MR) runs north and south along the east side. South of Chattanooga and along the western side of MR is Rossville, GA.  Passing through the Rossville gap in Missionary Ridge eastward one enters the valley in which Chickamauga creek flows, south to north and into the Tennessee.  Further south of Rossville is McFarland gap, another way through Missionary Ridge west of the battlefield.  Rossviille and McFarland are primary routes from Chattanooga. About mile and a half south of Rossville, along the south border of what is now Ft Oglethorpe (est 1949) GA is the Chickamauga battlefield site.
If you recall my last writing about Shiloh, which occurred in 1862, the army has primarily been in middle Tennessee and Kentucky chasing General Braxton Bragg and has been successful, after the battle of Stone's River (Murphreesboro), TN in pushing him back to, and through, Chattanooga and is attempting to annihilate his army so they may establish a supplies base in Chattanooga for the drive into the deep south through Atlanta.

As the story unfolds, Bragg has formed a scheme to trap the 70,000 man Army of the Cumberland commanded by William Rosecrans outside of Chattanooga but due to failures in the implementation of the plan they are still on the loose and arrayed east of the Lafayette (pronounced LaFAYette) Road from Lee and Gordon's Mill in the south to Reed's Bridge Road in the north.  Bragg still has plans to cut off the Union troops by getting around their left (north) flank, cutting them of from Chattanooga and driving south to destroy them. He will try this many times over the course of the battle which takes place Sept 19/20 1863.
Bragg's Army of the Tennessee, bolstered by troops from Virginia and Eastern Tennessee has grown to 66,000 and are formed along the east side of the Chickamauga with Federal troops guarding the bridges at Reeds Bridge and Alexander's Bridge.
Bragg kicks off his assault on the Federal left flank and plans for his commanders to move forward in order from north to south as the attack progresses. The attack proceeds and the battle rages all day in a brawling give and take matter all along the line with the Federals eventually falling back along the Lafayette road where they stood firm. Both sides suffered terrible losses. At the end of September 19, the bloodied armies were arrayed along a shortened front and the Lafayette road as the general no man's land. As the sun came up on September 20, Bragg again attempted a turn of the the Federal left held by General Thomas. Due to the pressure and Rosecran's realization of Bragg's plans, he began sending support north along the line. An error in communicating an order resulted in hole left in the Union front lines at the Brotherton field.  Rosecrans ordered Crittendon to move Wood's division but the message didn't make sense, "The general commanding directs you to close upon Reynolds as fast as possible and support him:. "Close up" is a lateral move (to the left in this case) and "support" puts troops behind.  Rosecrans had mistakenly thought a division had already been pulled out of the line (Brannons) and Wood could not close up on Reynolds, as Brannon was already there. So, to follow orders as best he knew, he pulled out of the line and proceeded north to support Reynolds as part of Thomas' division leaving a gaping hole in the Federal line.
At this opportune moment (for the Confederates) Longstreet was kicking off his attack and, seeing the hole in the Federal lines, fed everything he had into that hole. The result was disaster for the Federals. They were routed and began a general retreat back towards McFarland's Gap (the route to Rossville being through the battlefield). Many units attempted to stand and fight but with little success. With some exceptions though: Wilder's Lightning Brigade with their 7 shot repeating Spencer rifles who held around the Widow Glenn's house in the south allowing the army to flow around them to safety until being ordered to retreat themselves and, of course, the stand of several units commanded by General George Henry Thomas on Horseshoe Ridge, also known as Snodgrass Hill. These units held the ground until dark before retreating back to Rossville where the rest of the army was preparing to defend Chattanooga.
The battle comes to an end with the Confederates taking the field but failing to keep Rosecrans from Chattanooga and worse yet knowing another battle would have to be fought The Confederates were not happy with Bragg even though they had won the battle. They now occupied the high ground around Chattanooga on MR and Lookout Mountain as well as the Chattanooga Creek Valley (between Lookout Mountain and MR) and could block the best roads, railways, and waterways into the city, creating a siege and pushing the Army of the Cumberland towards the brink of starvation. But that's for the next part.
So, in all of this battle, where was grandpa?  As the Hurricane and I went to stop number 1 we found ourselves with the 59th at the beginning of the battle at the far right flank of the Federal line west of Lafayette road north of the Glenn-Viniard road. The 59th (LTC Granville A Frambes) as part of Col George F Dick's Brigade, Van Cleve's Division and Crittendon's 21st Corps along with the 44th Indiana were here at 4am on
Viniard Field where the bodies of the dead and wounded were
so many, one could cross without touching grass
September 19. They formed in the woods west of the Lafayette road and facing the Viniard field. At 1pm the 13th Ohio and 86th Indiana were brought up from near Lee and Gordon's mill and the reunited brigade proceeded rapidly by the Lafayette road to the Brotherton House, and immediately went into action in the forest a short distance southeast of that point  (info-NPS Map #246). As we were listening to the NPS recording of this site, it said the battle that ensued after Dick's Brigade went north was so devastating with dead and wounded strewn about such that one could walk across the Viniard field from end to end without touching grass.

Dick's Brigade's marker, Stop #2
59th OVI Monument, east of Brotherton Rd (Stop #2)
We then went to stop number 2 which was where the brigade was placed in line east of the Lafayette road. This is where the Hurricane and I had to tromp down a horse trail south of Brotherton road and found the marker and the monument to the 59th.  The brigade formed on this line at 1:30 pm and went into action a short distance in front, with Samuel Beatty's Brigade of the same division on it's left. In moving forward it struck the left of Wright's Brigade of Cheatham's Division, and the brigades of Clayton's, Brown's and Bate's of Stewart's Division and was forced across Lafayette Road south of Brotherton's, where, with S Beatty's Brigade and some troops from Hazen's Brigade of Palmer's Division, the enemy was held in check until 4pm, when Fulton's Brigade of Johnson's Division crossed the Lafayette Road south of Brotherton's, and attacked
Dick's Brigade in flank. At the same time Clayton advanced against its front and the brigade retired to the crest next west of the Dyer house (NPS Map#225).  We found our way back to the Vibe and then west to stop number 3, out in the Brotherton field, south of the Brotherton house.  This is the exact location where, on the next day, the gap would open in the Federal line. But grandpa wouldn't be there.
Dick's Brigade's view east from
their position in the Brother-
ton field. Stop #3
At stop number three more information is added by the NPS marker: Being forced out of the forest east of this position by Stewart's division (stop number 2), Dick's and Beatty's brigade formed on this ridge and with the assistance of the 9th Indiana and 41st Ohio when by an advance of Stewart's troops from the front and a flanking attack of Johnson's brigade on the right, the whole line was forced back through and across the Dyer Field. Van Cleve's brigades rallied and bivouacked upon the slope west of the Crawfish Springs Road opposite Dyer House (NPS Map # 191). It was at the Brotherton house that we saw the military officers listening to a lecture under the trees. They evidently were being lectured about the battle and tactics as I overheard the ranger commenting to the speaker on their good understanding of the battlefield and their preparation for the event.
Back to the Vibe and on west to Chickamauga-Vittetoe (what I believe is referred to above as Crawfish Springs) road for stop number 4. This takes us to the morning of September 20. At 9 o'clock this brigade then in position on the slope west of Vittetoe road was sent forward with S Beatty's brigade on it's right to the first ridge east of the starting point, then toward the main line, and upon arriving in rear of General Brannan's division near the Poe House were ordered still farther to the left (north in support of Thomas' divisions along with the rest of Wood's brigades as a result of the order given by Rosecrans noted above). Dick's Brigade soon after took position in the woods west of Kelly Field in rear of Stanley's brigade of Negley's division but almost immediately withdrew to the left and, with the exception of the 44th Indiana, and fragments of the 86th Indiana and 13th Ohio which rallied on Snodgrass Ridge, soon proceeded to McFarland's Gap and then to Rossville (NPS Map #164).
We left stop number 4 on the west side and went to stop number 5 on the west side of Kelly field where the unit was last before the general retreat ensued. It is apparent that the 59th arrived in line not long before the disaster was upon them and fled for Chattanooga along with most of the 44th Indiana. As noted above a good part of the brigade made the stand on Snodgrass Hill. So for those of us among the family who want to know about grandpa, that appears to be his story at Chickamauga. One thing the NPS marker does note is their statistics: Strength in action 9/18/1863-1122 officers and men. Casualties: 16 killed; 180 wounded; 83 missing; total 279; percentage of loss 24.87. Wow, 25% casualties. And the 59th wasn't a part of some of the worst fighting. I'll note one instance below.
I move on now to other things I saw while there and will make a few comments on those. The Hurricane and I walked along the line held on September 19 by the US regiments at Lafayette road. The fighting here was
21 Army Corp adopted the
acorn as their symbol
brutal and we saw some staggering losses. I saw one monument showing high loss and was going back to note it when I saw this one from the 10th Wisconsin: 240 engaged; 211 lost. Staggering. After the battle the XXIV Corps, of which these units belonged, took the acorn as their symbol, representing the oak tree since they stood like an oak here at Chickamauga.
Lytle Mortality Monument

I had also almost forgotten about General Lytle. In addition to my membership in Old Abe Camp #16, Department of Kansas, SUVCW, I am a member also of General Lytle Camp #10, Department of Ohio, in Cincinnati. I had seem some stories of my brothers there who had worked on the Lytle monument at Chickamauga. As we were driving I caught the sign out of the corner of my eye and stopped to see it. At the next stop the story of Lytle was told at one of the NPS stops.  It seems in the Confederate onslaught on the 20th he was rallying his troops when shot. His body was found by the Confederates who, recognizing who he was and respected him even though the enemy, posted a sentinel over his body, secured his personal effects, and returned his body later under a flag of truce.  Would that even our enemies thought well of us.
We also saw the tower built to commemorate the Wilder Lightning Brigade. The brigade was mounted
Wilder Monument
infantry carrying Spencer 7 shot repeaters. They held the north end of the line at Reed Springs Bridge, keeping the Confederates at bay in their initial try on the 19th to turn the left flank. Again they held the south flank at the Viniard field preventing the Federals from being overrun, and finally by Widow Glenn's house holding the line while all the other troops retreated to safety only retiring when forcibly ordered to do so. This is the location of the 85 foot tower.
Finally, and most notably, is the stand on Snodgrass Hill where a heroic stand withstood a heroic attack. Repeatedly the hill was assaulted and repeatedly defended, sometimes at bayonet, without which the Army of the Cumberland would have been lost along with Chattanooga and very likely, extending the war. For leading his troops in this stand, General Thomas becomes known as "The Rock of Chickamauga" and  his star rises.
A view of Snodgrass Hill conditions

His exploits here, and as grandpa's leader at Chattanooga, evidently impressed grandpa to such an extent that he named his firstborn son after the war, in 1869, George H Thomas Bartlow.
More in the next episode as we move to the battle of Chattanooga including Orchard Knob and Missionary Ridge.

General George Henry Thomas, the Rock of Chickamauga

Grandpa's Victory Tour-Part IV

August 13, 2014 Wednesday. Afternoon.
War is Hell
I'm sitting here in my Sherman's Bummers-War is Hell Victory Tour shirt trying to decide how I will write about the last two days in a sensible way while describing the ton of information that's been raining on my head and corralling all of the "Wow" and "Aha" moments into something read-able.  I'm also kicking myself for something stupid. I wish I had remembered to bring my copy of Cozzens "That Terrible Sound" about the battle of Chickamauga since it has good maps and I could have used some.  Dragging out and reading my copy of Daniel's "Days of Glory", Cist's "The Army of the Cumberland" and Van Horne's "History of the Army of the Cumberland" along with NPS maps and maps along the park tour still was leaving me a bit foggy on what was happening where. But leaving Cozzens behind wasn't why I was kicking myself. This afternoon I got a text from my good SUV brother Kent Melcher, who's GGF Swartz was on Snodgrass Hill. He told me to go by and visit the 115th Illinois memorial and
115th Ill Monument on
Snodgrass Hill
reminded me he had gotten the opportunity to visit Chickamauga tour guided by the author of "The Maps of Chickamauga". Wow that would be cool. It was then I realized that I had left MY copy of "The Maps of Chickamauga" on my bookshelf as well. Blast! It has hour by hour descriptions of where each unit is at and what was going on. Now THAT'S why I'm lookin' for my kickin' boots so I can boot myself.
Oh well, back to pondering how to do this with what I've learned. To start out, the Hurricane and I visited Chickamauga yesterday am (Tuesday) and was it muggy and hot.  We went to the Visitor Center (remember-the rangers are very helpful) and it was there that they printed out all the locations of grandpa's unit and marked them on a map. He also reminded us of earlier mentioned ticks, snakes, briars, poison ivy and such. He noted one of the sites where the monument and a marker were at, was back in the woolies.  Oh goody, and I HAVE to visit that one. We were also pleased to share the morning off and on with a group of military officers, apparently from the US and other countries.  I wondered if they were from Fort Leavenworth's
Military at Brotherton Field
Command Staff College but didn't want to but in and ask. We sat through the movie with them and later caught up with them doing a training lecture under some shade trees by the Brotherton Cabin.
We toured all of the sites where grandpa's unit was and got pictures since I knew once I had compiled that, I could relax somewhat and enjoy the overall picture better. I will describe more in detail about the battles themselves and grandpa's role later but first I think I'll just tell you about our days.
The ranger had marked five sites on the map so we headed out seeing all five, then when we got done, we had to make another stop at the Visitor's Center for the bathroom and bookstore. I got another one of those nice maps that show all the monuments and markers. Its a little more pricey here ($12) as the battlefield's bigger and a lot more markers than at Shiloh. One thing to note: this was the first National Military Park in the nation and was instigated by  veterans of both sides who felt that it should be preserved. Many of the actual soldiers who fought took part in the making of the park and gave input to where the unit monuments and markers should be.
We did have to tromp over some fields in hot weather and back through the woods to get to some things but the NPS had at least mowed or cleared paths to each one and they weren't that difficult to find with a little initiative. On top of that, there was the thrill of discovery when we finally found them. So our day wasn't that
Back in the Woods-the 59th OVI Monument
Note the 21st Army Corp Symbol-the Traingle
hard especially given the deprivations the soldiers had to endure. At the very least, no one was trying to kill us and we weren't seeing the area through eyes filled with terror. So we mustered on.
After we had seen the sights of Chickamauga, we pulled out, planning to come back Wednesday to do the official tour and fill in some more blanks. We left there to go and see Missionary Ridge.  This was very helpful to me as I had always, for some reason, envisioned MR to the SE of Chattanooga-even east of Chickamauga-and this drive cleared a lot of things up for me.  That and the fact that the Hurricane had recently read Shaara's book on the Battle of Chattanooga.  MR actually sits further north than I thought and overlooks the downtown area of Chattanooga. MR actually runs from the Tennessee river east of Chattanooga and south for many miles, but the battle site is on the north end.  When we arrived on Monday we had gone down US 27 which cuts through MR at the Rossville gap and we're staying in Ft Oglethorpe on the eastern slope.  When you go there, it's easy to find. Follow US 27 out of Chattanooga into Rossville and as the highway turns east and you head up the hill, you'll see the huge Iowa monument on the left. Take that road (West Crest) up the hill to South Crest and follow all along the ridge staying on South and North Crest drive. It's a grand tour among a lot of big old houses (the park ranger said the reason why it's was never taken as part of the NPS is that the movers and shakers of Chattanooga lived there after the war and still do today!).  There are several plots of land or "reserves" held by the NPS with some monuments but most of
the information you'll look for are on informational and unit markers simply placed along the roadway and in foks yards (My friend Ron Krestan told me of one where the cannon is in the front yard facing the door and we found it.And it is! about 10' off the front porch is a cannon aimed right at the front door. Kind of daunting).
The earlier feeling that MR wasn't that big of a deal we felt when on Lookout Mountain changed as we drove the crest. MR drops away steeply on the west side and is covered with trees, brush, and undergrowth.  Originally, the Confederates had rifle pits at the base of the ridge and then troops and cannon at the top. At it stretches for about 3 miles so you can imagine how difficult it looks from the top. I can only imagine what it was like at the bottom looking up!
Confederates view from Missionary Ridge. You can see how
these heights commanded the town

As we wound our way along the crest I began to see unit signs that were familiar as we slowly made our way. We had to watch out for other cars as the road is narrow, apparently made in the early 20th century. Parts of it are quiet and easy to drive slowly but there are parts where the traffic picks up.  On one of the quieter stretches between the Turchin and DeLong Reservations suddenly there it was! The marker for the location of the 59th Ohio is in the front yard of 132 North Crest. It had started to rain a bit but I wasn't to be dissuaded. The Vibe was basically sitting in one lane with the flashers on since there was little room to pull over. As I was taking pictures,the lady of the house came out and I said "hi". She said "Hello, where are you from?" I told her "Kansas and my grandpa was here 150 years ago" hoping to spur a conversation with the
132 N Crest-Me & the 59th
lady lucky enough to have the marker to my grandpa's unit in her front yard. "That's interesting" she said and got into her car to leave.  Oh well, I would have liked to asked her what she knew about the 59th and fill her in on what I knew I know if it was in MY front yard, I'd be an expert on the subject. But that didn't happen so on we went to the north end and the last reservation-Sherman. The Hurricane voted to sit in the car and I went on the hiking trail to see if I could see the end of the ridge. It wound upward through the trees on...and on...and on...until it came out in about a half mile to a clearing with more markers and cannon. Sadly I couldn't see to the north because of the trees but wow it was an invigorating hike.
Back down the hill and head for the Vibe and we decide on the way back we'd like some ice cream. Having not found any by the time we reach the Super 8 I say we ought to find a Wendys since they have good vanilla frostys.  That sounds good so we find one back towards town in a not-so-good part of town but we're driving through so what's the big deal. I wheel up to the drive through to order: "One chocolate Frosty in a waffle cone and one large vanilla Frosty in a cup" "Uh-can you say that again and a lot slower?" came the southern lass's voice at the other end. "O...K..." and I repeat it real slow, trying to make my Yankee voice soften and drawl a little bit.  Then we wait. And wait.  "Uh,are those both chocolate?" "No..." and I repeat it real slow again. Now we're good and up to the window. I hand in my card to the nice girl and she hands me back a chocolate waffle cone that looks like it was made yesterday. I'm glad it's the Hurricane's. Next comes my card and the receipt. Then my large cup, with lid. That's it. "Have a nice day!" she says. "Wait, wait!" I says. "Could I possibly  have a straw or a spoon?" "Oh yeah, sure!" I got the straw. On the way back to the Super 8 I alternated with opening the lid and sucking what I could while I drove and putting the lid back on and sucking my brains out trying to get it through he straw. Later the next day we found a nicer Wendy's-about 500 yards the OTHER direction from the Super 8. Go figger.
Well this morning dawned nice and cool with low humidity and almost chilly as we went back to Chickamauga and down into the woods. But before that we had a nice breakfast at the all the waffles you can eat continental breakfast at the Super 8. We met a nice mom and dad with four little boys and one in a car carrier. I asked the dad, "another boy?" "No, we finally got a girl". We had a good chat with them and when I asked the boys what the adventure of the day was, they said,"we're moving into our new house!" They were moving from Texarkana to Ringgold and starting a new life. I told them how fortunate they were to be going to live with so much history around them. Momma said they were all home-schooled and seemed a bit bashful but we broke that ice when the Hurricane said we'd home-schooled our youngest and then they were off to the races. Felt like we were old friends by the time we'd left.
We went on to the battlefield and took the real tour which filled in a lot of gaps (more on that later if you want to hang around and hear the battle stories) then the Hurricane wanted to visit Orchard Knob, the site of
Orchard Knob and Grant's view East to the 59th's position
on Missionary Ridge. "Who told those troops to take the
ridge?" Grant. "Wasn't me"-Thomas.On their own initiatve
yelling "Chickamauga!" they took the ridge
another battle and location of Grant's HQ before the battle of Missionary Ridge. We drove back into town after a nice time of cheese, crackers, and cherries on a picnic table at the west end of the park. The NPS site is in an older, less affluent part of town and it's literally a knob.  The streets are around it's base on four sides and it's an upward climb from any direction.  It's a good hike almost straight up and I felt bad for the horses who had to bring couriers and cannon up that slope. But once up you could get a grand view of what Grant and his army would have seen as they looked towards MR.  Although there are houses everywhere, one can imagine the rifle pits along the bottom and the difficulty of the climb to the top. There were quite a few monuments and such but the view was the best. You could of course see MR to the east, but also across Chattanooga to Lookout Mountain on the west.  Quite a gem in the middle of town.
Well, we stopped at a roadside fruit market with some very helpful folks on the way back.  The helpful guy was describing what they had and the prices but between my ever increasing hard hearing and his southern mumble jargon I simply looked sheepish and waited for the Hurricane to do the dickerin'. We came away with a melon and a bag of Georgia peaches. Yummy!
One other thing-all through the days while I was sitting and eating some crackers, the Hurricane would mumble,"I can't stand it", get a bag and start picking up trash.  When I said something to her about it, she
said,"even if it's a picnic area, it's in a National Park, a battlefield, and hallowed ground, like a cemetery. It should be respected". Yep she's a keeper..So if you're in a national park , or a cemetery, and tempted to litter-think of a veteran, help out the Hurricane and PICK YOUR D*** TRASH UP! We're raising a generation of selfish, disrespectful pigs.  Ok I'm done.
Be respectful-she is!
In the next part I'll get on to describing the battles and grandpa's part for those of you interested.  If you're not well...don't read 'em!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Grandpa's Victory Tour-Part III

Monday August 11, 2014. Not as early as yesterday.
We slept the sleep of the dead.  She fell asleep at 6 last night and I held on to 9 (off and on. There are parts of that movie I don't recall)
.  But by 630 this morning we were well rested at America's Best Hotel. It did have a comfortable, clean, king-sized bed. And no dog to hog the covers this time. We found that we needed a few items and since we had not made the ordained trip to Wally World yet, commenced to find one. After the obligated free continental breakfast complete with waffle maker  Where would the motel world be these days without those handy gadgets? The better places even have tubs of peanut butter to add to the fare. This wasn't one of those but we made do.
We had planned to stop at Corinth, thinking grandpa had been there as well but after doing some reading last night (that's why I had to stay up the extra 3 hours), I found that his unit had been sent northward to chase Braxton Bragg all over central Tennessee and Kentucky and participating in the battles of Perryville and Stones River (which the southern folk call Murphreesboro). We'll catch up with them again in Chattanooga in a bit.
Though we didn't have to stop, we did swing through Corinth, MS, a nice town by what we saw, with a very nice Holiday Inn Express (maybe that's America's Best Hotel and why the NPS recommends you stay in Corinth). We picked up US72 and headed east.  One thing we would note on our tour through Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, back to Tennessee, then back to Georgia (yes all today) was the local folks evidently don't think you need much in the way of road signage.  They will throw up one or two at the turning points then assume you've gotten onto the right one and need no further instruction.  That didn't work well for us. More than one time, after making a turn I thought was indicated by said signage, my internal compass and combination Map of the US would start giving me that funny feeling on the back of my neck at which time we'd fall back to the iPhone's Siri or Google maps to find out, yep, you're on the wrong highway bubba.
You might say, "well why not just go by the navigator on the phone"? Well for one, I don't necessarily want to take the quickest route, I want to take the historical route. And secondly, because some roads are so windy and close to each other, the dang gadget thinks we flew through the sky to the other road and wants us to "make a u turn at the next location..." Technology. Give me a good paper map any day.
The drive from Selmer to Chattanooga is about 4 hours, 225 or so, and we decide to make it leisurely. We stop a few extra times and see some things we've never seen before:
THE Piggly Wiggly, Gurley, AL
the Piggly Wiggly in Gurley AL (we forgot some bug spray at the Wally World. Besides, what says "I'm in the south" better than a shot at the PW?), Cherokee, AL (my grandma and grandpa lived just down the road from Cherokee, OK but you gotta remember they were HERE before they were THERE), along various lakes as part of the Tennessee river, some towns I'd heard of but never seen (Muscle Shoals, Tuscumbia, Athens, Huntsville, with all the astronaut stuff and the Redstone Arsenal, and lot of pretty country side. I see why folks from Alabama say it's Sweet Home. It's nice.
City Park, Bridgeport, AL
Train Station,Bridgeport,AL
As we're just about to get out of Alabama I recognize a couple of civil war related sites pertaining to Chattanooga-Stevenson and Bridgeport.  Mistakenly thinking grandpa had come through Bridgeport, we pull off the main road and took a side road to see it.  It's a sleepy little time-worn town hidden in the hills and bluff overlooking the Tennessee. A very pretty and quiet setting, especially on a Monday. The Hurricane and I found a little city park with a bandstand, a picnic table, and some park benches right across the street from the old railroad depot turned into the Bridgeport Area Historical Society. As we looked the left going up the hill was a historic district, Battery Hill (it had a cannon right there to prove it) with some old houses.  As we took an early happy hour (shout out to our friends on E dock) enjoying some cheese and crackers and cherries, the locals waved to the strange folks from out of town and we took in the scenery.
We moseyed over to the train station and got a look around but the doors were locked. We did get a good view of the river and tracks, showing why this was an important town back then. It was a railroad hub and we the union was here, although grandpa didn't come this way. We found the Confederates had burned the original station when they heard the Yanks were coming and after they did, it became a major supply route for the north especially as it became the starting point for the "cracker line", the supply line that was eventually opened to get food to the starving Union troops in Chattanooga.
The Hurricane, liking old houses as she does, wanted to drive up Battery Hill on our way out, so we did, seeing many fine old homes and getting a grand view of the Tennessee river from the bluffs  You could see for miles towards Chattanooga.  Another good choice.
Bluffs at Bridgeport overlooking the Tennessee river
We proceeded back to the highway and along the way to I-24 made the decision to visit the Incline Railroad and Lookout Mountain after settling in at the Super 8 in Fort Oglethorpe, GA, a suburb of Chattanooga and just outside the gates of the Chickamauga & Chattanooga NMP.  A good choice but we weren't sure at first. When we swung off of I-24 onto US 27 (Rossville Rd) which runs through Chattanooga along the western side of Missionary Ridge, it was, to be kind, not the best part of town. I've been married to the Hurricane long enough to hear the gears clicking in her head. I turned to her and said, "I know what you're thinking right now". She just looked and me and I said, "I hope the motel is further down the road" and she just smiled. It's nice to live with someone long enough you don't have to say everything.  It's also nice, since I booked the motel, that it WAS further on down the road.  Just as you cross the GA line into Rossville, the road curves east and up a hill with a giant monument on your left at the base of a road going up the ridge. I didn't realize it at the moment, but we were going through a cut in Missionary Ridge and the road led up to the site of that battlefield.  More on that later.
We made it to the Super 8 and the sign said "Dave Patel". Yogi's brother maybe?  But the desk clerk was named Jackie and when I told her where I was from and that I why I was there I did so with a little trepidation.  There was no need. She welcomed us back (after 150 years) and made us feel at home. She told me a story of how she was a supporter of our military as well, her dad being in the 101st Airborne, and was so glad to have us she put the Hurricane and I on the first floor where we could park right by the door. The Hurrican's knees thanked her. We checked in (nice room), then headed around the south way to approach Lookout Moutain from the east then turn north to find the Incline RR We had been this way almost 20 years ago with the kids and our good friends Mark and Suzanne Gordon, and thought we'd like to do it again. It was as enjoyable the second time and even more so since this time, unlike the last, I knew we had a historical connection to the area.
We enjoyed the trip up, the nice walk past the old houses to the north end at Point Park (a NPS site) and walked around the point, hiding in one of the old walkways while a thunderstorm went by (Note: The Hurricane, while liking the houses, said she preferred a bit more yard and some that wasn't vertical. I could,on the other hand, live here for the history alone. Janet, a friend from high school has a daughter who lives up there I found out later that night).
Waiting out the storm
 This was the site of the "Battle Above the Clouds", Hooker's assault on Lookout Mountain on day one (Nov 1864) of the Battle of Chattanooga of which Orchard Knob and Missionary Ridge were part. Just to keep your timeline straight: Chickamauga (more on that later) occurred in September 1864 and resulted in a Union loss and retreat to Chattannoga resulting in a siege and near starvation for the Union forces there under Rosecrans. The river was on the north of the town and the Confederates were on  Lookout Mountain commanding the river to prevent supplies coming as well as Missionary Ridge to the east. Grant took over from Rosecrans and planned a break-out which started with the assault on Lookout Mountain.  More on the battle later but for now we had some grand views of the whole area.  If you want to get perspective on the geography, this is the way to do it. One strange thing though-as we looked across east to Missionary Ridge, the Hurricane remarked how small and UN-remarkable it seemed. What WAS the big deal assaulting it? It didn't seem that formidable.  We would change our tune soon.
West from Lookout Mtn

East from Lookout Mtn
Back down the Incline we went.What a grand marvel of engineering and something you MUST do if you're there. We meandered back to the Super 8, the Hurricane questioning my navigational skills all the way, but we arrived unscathed to find a restful night's sleep ahead.

On to Chickamauga tomorrow! (ed note: I plan to put all of Chickamauga and Chattanooga (battle of Missionary Ridge)-both days-in part V).

Grandpa's Victory Tour-Part II

Sunday August 10, 2014. EARLY!
Having found Sheriff Pusser's home closed and no churches that appeared to be of the snake-handling kind, we proceeded on the few miles to the Shiloh National Military Park (NMP). One thing to note however: If I had known the Shiloh church was still an active Methodist congregation, and meeting that day, I WOULD have gone there to worship.
Current Shiloh Methodist
Church. The original stands
close by
As it was, and not knowing that, I made it a point to speak to the Lord and tell him how grateful I was there were folks who would sacrifice such great things that I might have the freedom to do what I enjoy. I don't take that for granted.  And neither should you. Ok, out of the pulpit and back to the story.
The Hurricane arrives at Shiloh
We arrived at around 8-opening time-and of course found our way to the Visitor's Center. Any smart person does that first. What I should have done (hey I'm learning as I go) is to 1)buy the fancy map at the bookstore that shows all the markers, monuments, and landmarks (around $10) and 2)tell the park ranger what unit you're looking for. They'll print out the papers for each marker you need and mark them on a map for you as well.  They'll even warn ya about poison ivy, snakes, ticks, skeeters...you get the picture. But not knowing those details (I got the map of Shiloh AFTER we were done and found out about the ranger's fine info when we hit Chickamauga). Oh, also be sure to look over the small museum they have at the center and watch the movie. They're both well done and give you a good overview of what happened.
The Hornet's Nest
Part of the Sunken Road
Well what happened at Shiloh, in a nutshell, was that Grant landed his Army of the Tennessee at a place on the Tennessee River called Pittsburg Landing (another note: The Confederacy called this battle Shiloh for the church their lines encompassed; The Union called it Pittsburg Landing for...well you're smart enough to figure that out). It was early in the war (1862) and the north needed a victory. Grant gave them that, when he had recently taken forts further north and now was driving south to take the rail center at Corinth, MS. After debarking his troups, they formed a line east to west with Pittsburg Landing and the Tennessee river on their left. Grant was at a standstill following orders from Halleck to wait until Buell's Army of the Ohio arrived (with Grandpa Bartlow along) all the while thinking the Confederates were back in Corinth awaiting their knock on the door. Unbeknownst to Grant, Albert Sydney Johnston had moved his troops to attack deciding not to wait until the two armies could be joined. Grant was hit hard in the morning of  April 6 with many regiments in turmoil and retreating back to the landing. However there were some who made a stand along a sunken road running roughly NW-SE. The Confederates pushed them back into the woods behind where elements of three divisions made a stand. That place was called the Hornet's Nest because of the buzzing of shot and shell in the air. After hard fighting, and being nearly completely surrounded, the union troops surrender and the first day closes.

Grant is stung but not willing to retreat and plans an attack for the next day (April 7). He is supported in the night by Buell's troops (including grandpa) who fan out and give renewed life to the army already there. Grandpa was in the center as part of the 59th Ohio Voluntary Infantry (OVI) Regiment commanded by JP Fyffe. It was probably thier first trial by fire. They were part of the 11th Brigade (Boyle), 5th Division (Crittenden), Army of the Ohio (Buell). Early in the day, Grant attacks and the Confederates are pushed back across the original ground. The 59th is in action east of the Eastern Corinth road and ends up back into the area of the Hornet's Nest before pushing further southwest to the Hamburg Road. The day ends what should have been a resounding Confederate victory, bittersweet as they not only retreat back to Corinth but also suffer the loss of their beloved General Johnston. PGT Beauregard takes over. They would eventually lose Corinth and the rail hub there.
But back to the Hurricane and I. Tour map in hand we set out for the first stop noting that there were a LOT of other monuments, cannons, and such along the way. So we drove a hundred yards, jumped out to take pictures,and so forth. You get the idea. After a bit we realized we'd be there all day taking pictures of every monument.  We also realized something pretty quickly-all the state monuments looked the same so if you know what Ohio's looks like, for instance, you can cut down the field. There were also a LOT of monuments up by the center but none the one we were looking for.  After reading a bit,she realized these were the "participation award" monuments of the units on site but not actually in the battle. It became the pun of the tour.
So we moved along a little more quickly from stop to stop, following the story but looking specifically for grandpa's unit. We tramped a lot of fields saying things like, "there's one over there! Oh wait, that's an Indiana one (or Illinois, etc.)". We were also fortunate because the Park Service had color and shape coded the markers: Red for Confederate; Blue for Army of the Tennessee; Yellow for Army of the Ohio; rectangle for day one and oval for day two.  We got good at looking for oval yellow markers. We went all over the park, following the tour and looking, looking, looking. One this is nice though. Even when looking back in the weeds and woods, the path is generally apparent and has been mowed fairly recently so you don't have to just plow off through the brier patch.
It was hot and humid. I mean cut a patch of sky out with your pocket knife and drink it humid. We met a nice couple from Florida who were working their way to Montana on vacation. The Hurricane and I were STINKIN' SOPPY wet and they weren't. She said it's really humid in Florida and she thought it was nice here. In fact she said "I'm not even sweating yet". The Hurricane wouldn't let me hit her. Besides, I didn't have the energy.
Me & the first marker
We worked our way around to the eastern side of the park and as we were coming north we came to the eastern end of the sunken road. A little gravel road went off the beaten path so we explored down it and around the start of a loop.  The Hurricane was tired and headed back to the car and I thought I'd continue on around the loop and back. As I went around, I started to find markers of the units who were with the 59th, but no 59th.  As I got back to the car I noted that we had to be close. We went a little further north up the Eastern Corinth road and BAM right there along the road was a oval yellow marker and the monument to the 59th. WOW what a find. You can't imagine how excited I was to find it. The front of the monument shows the command structure; the back, a history of the unit at the battle along with losses. It indicates they were in support of an artillery battery at the first position before advancing and at the second suffered their highest losses. They were 57.

Front of the 59th Monument

Back of the 59th Monument
From the information on the marker, we found the unit had advanced from there across the field to the Hamburg road so we went off on another hunt.  And much to our satisfaction, we found another marker. We then finished up the driving tour ending up at the actual Pittsburg Landing and getting some good pictures there and of the National Cemetery on the grounds.
Finding these markers and monuments and actually seeing the battleground really helped me formulate in my mind the movements of the units and the reasons for what happened. Actually seeing the terrain helps me understand the noise, carnage and confusion, along with the complete lack of modern communication and delays in relaying information, that led to some of the events of those two days.
Second marker at Hamburg Rd
Seeing the battlefield also helps me understand the deprivation of the field: the unending feeling of being dirty and sweaty; the sheer terror of battle and impending death; the confusion of what's going on coupled with the sheer clarity of the moment and it's demand of full focus on this moment, the emotional despair and elation that takes a toll on one's psyche. One wonders after seeing such things and going through the emotional onslaught, how the soldier could continue normal rational life. My grandfather made some choices after the war that I didn't care for such as leaving his wife and multiple children to go off to the Dakotas, never to return. As we wandered these fields, the Hurricane and I pondered if trauma such as they endured had anything to do with it. Who knows? Maybe so and who would want to point the finger in condemnation? Not I, for one.
Well, we made our way back to our motel, America's Best Hotel in Selmer (it wasn't America's BEST but it was clean and met our needs) run by Yogi Patel. Mrs Patel was at the desk (or was she Yogi? I'm not sure as the only Yogi I know of is from Jellystone Park). She was nice and apologized for the ice machine not working but had a big ice chest and gladly filled up my ice bucket. We spent a good night, dead to the world (remember, we really haven't slept since the hour at SkeeterVille) and got up ready to launch ourselves into another historical day (in more ways than one!).

Grandpa's Victory Tour-Part 1

I call this section Grandpa's Victory Tour because the Hurricane (Kathi) came up with it and I thought if fit. This trip is all about our journey to AT-lanta (that's the way it's properly pronounced I'm told) for our National Encampment of the SUVCW (Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War). I am the current Department Commander of Kansas and it's kind of my duty to be there. And I want to anyway because it's the 150th of the Atlanta Campaign and the Georgia and South Carolina Department is hosting.  But I'm a little nervous about the reception we'll get wondering if they still remember 150 years go when GGGPapy William arrived with his buddies.  Since we are driving to Atlanta, we decided to enlarge the trip somewhat and take in a couple of battlefields along the way. The plan originally was to hit Shiloh, then Chickamauga and Chattanooga, then on to Atlanta. We were going to leave early Sunday am, drive to Shiloh, then spend a few hours Monday before driving on to Chattanooga.
The Famous Vibe at Shiloh
I decided Saturday that we'd leave at midnight (with the Hurricane's consent) and get to Shiloh midday on Sunday and have some time to look around so we could narrow our focus on Monday. As we finished up last minute preparations (she making cookies packing food ,etc-me messing around on Pandora) I thought-"why sit around until midnight? We're burnin' daylight! So after we dropped Mac off at the Ozawkie Pet Hotel (he's still barking, "hey wait for me!") at 5:30 we finished preparations and when she said, "I'm ready" we piled in the Vibe and headed east (about 7:30). Editors Note: You'll hear (and see on FB) us "Vibe'n around". That's a bone to my daughter Karli and son-in-law Ande for loaning it to us for the trip.
We used to leave on vacation early like this when we were younger and had kids as 1)we're too keyed up about the trip to sleep anyway and 2)maybe the kids would fall asleep and at least the first 8 hours or so would be quiet.  But we haven't tried this since we got to be old people. Off we go heading towards St Louis with a general idea of where we're going (Selmer, TN) based on Mr Google and his maps. We hit St Louis and I-55 south to Memphis. We've been through Saint Looey mucho times but never left headed in that direction before. I kept wondering (in the dark as it's now midnight) "when are we going to cross the Mississippi?" not realizing that we wouldn't be crossing until almost as far south as we needed to be. It was real foggy and the Hurricane was fading so she dozed off after asking me a dozen times "are you ok?" She thinks because I'm old, I cant do this "road warrior" thing anymore.  But I can! Or, maybe it was because I'd worried her some earlier when I suggested since we'd be arriving in Tennessee on the Lord's Day, we might find one of them snake handlin' churches to attend just for the experience. She said if I planned that, I should just leave her at The Magnificent's house (Felix-our grandson for those of you not in the inner circle of our lives) in KC and go by myself.  Silly girl-I'd never tell her those plans until AFTER we passed KC!
So she dozes off and I continue on in a dark fog. Literally-it was dark (night, you know), and had turned off foggy (note to Ande-we need to fix that broken fog light). It would have been cool to follow the Mississippi down I-55 and see the countryside but I could only guess what it would look like. Thinking through my Maps of the US copy in my head I came to realize that we probably would not cross at Cape Girardeau and would most likely drive all the way through Missouri and into Arkansas before heading west. I was close.
When we hit the area of New Madrid (where the fault line lies under the boot heel of SE Missouri) I told the Hurricane I was going to pull in the rest area there and we could grab a nap in the parking lot (like we had seen other folks do).
Vibe'n with the sketers at the
New Madrid Welcome Ctr
We wheeled in, parked the Vibe, cracked a couple of windows (it was relatively cool) and kicked back the seats. Well, SHE did. Mine didn't seem to like that position. But I was tired.  I dozed off but woke to an itchy elbow...and wrist...and a skeeter droning around my ear.  I swatted at him and tried to go back to sleep. No good. Same for the Hurricane. We had hunkered down in the skeeter vortex of the Mississippi River. No wonder the folks from Texas next door had their Mercedes idling all night. So we woke up, flailed at skeeters for awhile, then I went in to check out the rest stop digs before hitting the road. They had a real cool rendition of the fault line on the floor of the building. You ought to check it out if you get down that way. But keep your winders up.
Just a little further south we saw the exit to US412 east-Carruthersville-and off we went, crossing the Mississippi in a dark fog (same song, second verse). It didn't seem that big to me but, well, it was dark. As the sun started to lighten the eastern sky, we pulled into Jackson, TN, the Hurricane dutifully searching her phone for the nearest Cracker Barrel and we found one. Do you know, even at 6am there are folks lined up to get into the Cracker Barrel? Yep, and we weren't the only ones. Breakfast and onward to Selmer which is just west of the Shiloh battlefield. There wasn't any use in dropping by the motel as they wouldn't let us check in at this early time. I did note as we went south from Jackson we were travelling the "Rockabilly Highway". Being just east of Memphis and Elvis-ville I wasn't surprised. But what I saw next sure did!
US  64 from Selmer to Adamsville is the Buford Pusser Highway. No way! Sheriff Buford Pusser of Walking Tall fame? Yep, the same one. I had no idea but now I'm going to have to watch the movie again just to get the historical facts correct. The Hurricane said we didn't have time to tour the home and museum and that was okay because 1) we were headed to Shiloh and 2) they weren't open anyway. It was,as a matter of fact, Sunday morning...early...

Well, more about the trip in part II-Shiloh.