[CONFERENCE] Day One -- twenty or twenty-five of us met up with author and researcher Chris Ferguson at the South Cherry Street entrance to Hollywood Cemetery, and spent the next three hours hiking and driving through the graveyard with numerous stops to hear Chris relate the history of the cemetery, and stories about individuals buried there. Best quotes came from the records of the Old Soldiers Home, regarding the antics of a spritely and heavily-armed 80-year-old.
[CONFERENCE] Day Two -- Mechanicsville through Gaines's Mill with Bobby Krick, the best tour guide we've had in 15 years of conferences, and we've had many of the best that Civil War battlefield touring has to offer, including his father. I don't say that lightly. He's the consummate pro -- aware of his audience, able to distill an exceedingly complex campaign into a comprehendable narrative, with a perfectly engaging delivery and an absolute command of the subject matter. But it's more than that. There's a long list of qualities, some intangible, that I would highlight in recommending him to anyone else.
Highlight of the day: the Civil War Forum, thanks to the brand-new acquisition by the Richmond Battlefield Association, became the first group to traverse the Gaines's Mill battlefield in the tracks of the 4th Texas Infantry, starting on the Confederate side of the creek, descending into the creek bottom and crossing on a rudimentary "Krick bridge," before scaling the slope to the site of the Confederate break-through. The yellow box on this Richmond Battlefields Association map shows the new parcel acquired by RBA, the first preservation success at Gaines's Mill since Douglas Southall Freeman and friends purchased a small part of the battlefield in the 1920s (and the first piece on the CSA side of Boatswain's Creek to be locked off from development).
Friday night Bobby gave a fascinating talk on "Drewry's Bluff, Gibraltar of the Confederacy," making us all realize how little we actually knew about that otherwise commonly known story.
Tomorrow: all the way to Malvern Hill, and beyond.