Saturday, August 10, 2013

Battery Hooper Days 2013

It is hard to believe, but mid-August is almost here and for me that means Battery Hooper Days time again. 

It is just one week away now and should be another fine event, with some familiar presentations as well as a few new presenters and exhibits.

Please see the Ramage museum's website for directions, but please remember this is a FREE and family- friendly event, as always

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Patrotism Before Complexion

I recently received a copy of he "small edition " of the Cincinnati Daily Gazette of December 31, 1862 and found this little commentary on one of the main issues of the time especially with the Emancipation Proclamation scheduled to be signed by President Lincoln the next day

The story refers to another Cincinnati newspaper, the Cincinnati Daily Enquirer.

Patriotism Before Complexion

The Enquirer objects to the raising of black troops for service against the rebels. Does not its objection go more than skin deep? Is it not opposed to the raising of any kind of troops to fight the Democratic rebellion? But if, as the Democratic leaders recommended, the Democrats are to stay at home to vote, somebody must be had to do their duty in the field. In time of danger men fall to their level. Then a man is estimated by what he does, not by his complexion or race. And it will hardly be denied that a black man who offers his life in the war against the rebels is a vastly better man than a white man who stays at home to vote to aid them.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Uncle Tom's Cabin - A Few Thoughts

I just finished reading this classic American novel byHarriet Beecher Stowe, and though I have no intention of trying to do a full review of it I would like to mention a few thoughts about it.

First of all, what words describe this book? Sad, sickening, astounding are a few that came to mind. Amazing, interesting, heart- breaking, heart-warming - those are a few more.

It's a book of slavery, race, faith, family, departures and arrivals, loss, love, belief. It tries to show differences in how a Southern character and his Northern cousin perceive slavery and slaves and ho living in a new locale provides her with a different view.

I did think that there were too many "happy coincidences" at the end of the story, but that's a small nit to pick. The story was very readable, though some of the scenes tough to read, with so much sadness and bigotry often dominating. It is easy to see how and why this book stirred up so much controversy when it came out, with how the author describes some of the slaveholders, salve traders and slave catchers, not to mention her gripping word pictures of the shaves themselves, particularly Tom and his family. 

I am glad I finally re-read this story. It took me longer to finish than I wish it had, but it was worth the effort. It is no new scholarly account of the war or the coming of the war, but I think it still is a valuable telling of various parts of mid nineteenth century life in the United States, particularly in the border and deep southern states. 

Religion and faith, family and friendship, buying and selling, departure and reunion, freedom and slavery - all themes found throughout Stowe's influential and still interesting work. If any readers of this entry have not read it, or have not done so recently, I certainly suggest you consider doing so. It is a fascinating perspective on the United States of so many years ago.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Recap of Perryville trip

Well, I have been home from my trip for a couple of weeks but have not yet typed up my thoughts on my recent trip, so here goes.

Let me start by saying I did enjoy it very much. It was a pleasant,not too warm nor too cool, day for a walk, slightly overcast and just about as good a day as I could have hoped it would be.

I started in the museum and though I chose not to watch the movie, I was still impressed. The have changed some of the exhibits and displays, and did a fine job. I especially enjoyed the display of some items of Dr. Robert McMeens and the conditions he faced after the battle.

The "mystery" tombstone on display for a year tells a great story and I hope someone finds out if the soldier ever got a replacement stone. (I admittedly forget the sold it's name since I did not take notes during my trip. Hopefully I have learned my lesson in this regard. )

I also picked up a DVD about the battle, a CD of a drum and fife corps, and a couple of magnets and patches from the gift shop to display at home and work, and hopefully that financial contribution will help the park out in some way.

Walking the battlefield was also quite enjoyable, though in hindsight I wish I had stayed a while longer and done more hiking after I stopped for lunch. I had made the effort to drive there and it was a fine day, I was not overly exhausted, yet I kind of rushed home. Oh well.

While there, I walked into areas I had either barely seen or not seen at all, concentrating in the area around Doctor's Creek, the valley where the 42nd Indiana came under attack while gathering water and the land around the Bottom House. I had always viewed the other side of the field (Maney's and Donaldson's attack, Open Knob, Starkweather's Hill, etc.) in previous trips and was very happy to tramp around this area, seeing a new perspective on the fight.

Here are a few of photos I took of the park. Again, I did not take good notes of what the pictures are, but I tried to get some of the hills around the creek, though the pictures do not show them as well as actually being there does.

The last few picture are from around the park (including some of the split-rail fence and cannon pictures I like so much :) ) and there are a couple of just "nature" shots that I thought looked nice. 

Some of 42 IN had to look up this hill when the attack came

From near the creek looking uphill

"Rolling Hills"

Bird landed on left wheel instead of wire on the pole at right as park had hoped

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day

Here are a few post-card images of Decoration Day/Memorial Day from the early 1900s. The only one of these that has a date on it ("to my comrades") shows 1910 as the date, but I believe the others are from the same time frame, the 1910s or 1920s.

These represent what this holiday was intended to note (I think this is another case where "celebrate" may be inappropriate and perhaps "commemorate" is used too often though perhaps that is because it is the word that best fits the intention of this day.)

Looking at these and others I've seen, it's remarkable how different post cards then were from now. Of course, modern photography makes current cards more reliant on it than on artwork and the imagination that went into these scenes, but the artwork and the scenes so many cards from back then depict are remarkable. The pictures themselves get their powerful messages across, even when the artist decided to add some descriptive wording.

Though I, of course, focus on Civil War veterans, Memorial Day as we now know it is to honor all deceased Veterans of the United States Military and I hope everyone reading this will remember that, even if briefly, on this national holiday.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Back at Perryville

Here I am posting from near the museum at Perryville, one of my absolute favorite spots in the world ( admittedly I'm no great traveler.)

I just hiked for about 2 hours seeing a couple of places on the battlefield that I had not viewed before. I am very happy to have accomplished the goal of seeing these new scenes. 

As I type this ( on my tablet, so apologies beforehand for typos or auto- correct errors :) ) I'm eating a quick lunch and resting wondering if there is more i want to see today, if I should try to drive through the town or maybe should head on home.

I will post more about my visit soon, with some pictures I took, but, honestly, I just wanted to post an entry from the actual park. I do see a group of young children listening to a re- enactor talking about soldiering and his hobby. That is good to see. Hopefully they will grow up to appreciate this place and others like it and help protect this truly hallowed ground and I must give a shout out to the groundskeepers who I hear mowing the grass right now. They do a terrific job keeping this place so beautiful.

I w ill have a Memorial Day post published Monday and will come back with more my thoughts from today soon (though I expect them to be similar to what I have posted in the past. I still love this place)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Now reading: Uncle Tom's Cabin

I read this famous novel in college, 20+ years ago (yikes!) and finally picked it up again recently. My reading is going rather slowly, I admit, mostly at lunch while at work and on the bus to and from work, but, wow! What a disgusting story, even at the start. I know "disgusting" is not a great word but as I started reading it, that was the first thought that came to mind.

I knew what the story was about and why it was so controversial, but I guess I had forgotten the specifics. On one hand, I can understand why I would forget such details due to time mainly, but I'm kind of sad that I had not remembered more of it. I guess reading it in college, with many other such assignments and a less mature than now (hopefully :) ) mind probably provides a reasonable explanation, but I do wish I had remembered more about this story.

It is very good reading, even when I struggle through the dialects in which Mrs. Stowe wrote many of the conversations and I am happy to have started reading it again. It is a powerful story of slavery and many of the different types of characters involved in it. That it is based in Kentucky and obviously concerns the northern Kentucky and Cincinnati areas does make it a bit more personal to me, especially as I ride a bus across the Taylor-Southgate Bridge that spans the Ohio River, one of the major boundaries between potential freedom and slavery in the mid 1800s and in this story.

I hope I can convince myself to read it more frequently and focus on this story, but I also want to think about what I'm reading and not just glance over words on a page. I know it is a novel and is fiction, but slavery was a real part of this country, this state, this region and even my family.

Families were split up, people were hurt and millions of African-Americans were treated like cattle or pieces of furniture or other such property. This story is re-opening my eyes to one period view of that institution and its affects on so many people no matter how young, old or innocent. I imagine I'll have at least one or two more entries about this book as I get deeper into it and ponder the issues it raises and the stories it tells.