Sunday, November 23, 2014

Why I Skipped The 1864 Sesquicenntential

In the summer of 2012, I had this odd notion that I just had to get to the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Antietam.  While I was there I discovered that there is a pretty small group of people with a similar yen.  One of them said they referred to themselves as "real timers".  I was, at least conceptually, hooked.  Real life had all sorts of constraints, so I missed Fredericksburg.  I don't know how I could have done the Mud March even if I had wanted to.

I did however make Chancellorsville along with my covivant. Our biggest experience a National Park Service hike that reproduced Jackson's flank attack was 20 hours off from real time but still quite good.  I had to consult with a ranger to find out where my great-grandfather Private Patrick Lyons, Fifer, Company K, 22nd New Jersey would have been camping.  CV and I managed to get as near as possible to the spot.  The more I think about it the surer I become that I probably heard some fifing in the distance.

Gettysburg we did big.  We were there for almost a week and had several real time experiences including the first shot and ending with Pickett's charge.

The discussion afterwards reminded me a bit of a World War II trope as the German officer says to the downed aviator "For you, the war is over".

We still did the Gettysburg address.

So what happened this year?

The only event that called to me was the Battle of the Crater and not really enough.  In 1864 the war became something of a grind.  So I have pretty much stuck with books.  I've read Sherman, Sheridan and Longstreet biographies and have been checking a day by day book I have each day.

I made a preparatory trip to Appomatox and am planning a week their in April.  CV is passing on that and grumbling a bit about tax season, but so it goes.

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