Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Seven Days Travelogue, part two

History is all explained by geography.
— Robert Penn Warren

Dateline: Princeton-by-the-Sea, California

So this is what a blog post from an iPad looks like in Blogspot. If there's an app out there that allows one to compose with more sophisticated formatting, I've not found it yet. Might have to go back and format this after the fact. For now, I'm just happy to be able to dock the iPad on a full size keyboard.

The last two days of the 15th Civil War Forum Battlefield Conference transpired without a hitch. It was a beautiful thing to walk out into the heart of the Glendale battlefield and listen to Bobby Krick read personal accounts related to the particular plot of protected land we were standing upon.

After a spectacular lunch of fried chicken at the Elko Community Center, done up only as country church ladies can do, the balance of the afternoon was spent at Malvern Hill. Revelations abounded as we walked the Confederate assault route to the "high water" mark near the site of the slave cabins, and ultimately moved into a swale on the Confederate left to experience first-hand how two separate and parallel fights occurred out of sight of each other. Reading a description of that phenomenon is fine, but seeing it is to understand it.

At the close of the day, we stopped at the Jeb Stuart monument at Yellow Tavern, mere yards from our hotel, for a short talk on the 1864 fighting there. Sunday morning was warm and sunny, with great visibility, just perfect for our visit to Drewry's Bluff and Battery Dantzler. For decades I've pictured that stretch of the river below the guns at Drewry's Bluff, images evoked from countless written accounts, but this was the first time I was able to commit the actual view to memory.

Now I'm 3,000 miles away again, in a small fishing village overlooking the old Romeo Pier and planning next year's conference. The votes are in, and we're headed to Bentonville and Fort Fisher in 2012. Invitations are already out to guides Mark Bradley and Chris Fonvielle.

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