But over the weekend in my usual Gazette665 blogging time, I needed to start working on a response to Gone With The Wind which has been trending in the news. So…I’ve just about got a lengthy series finished up for Emerging Civil War blog (and I’ll add links here when the series is completely published.)
It’s part of my commitment to have dialog and conversation while providing historical reference. Since I spent about a year researching the authoress, novel, and movie, it’s been time to collect my thoughts and raise some questions for what is happening as Gone With The Wind trends. Again. Did you know that the movie has been protested since the days it was filmed in Hollywood? More details coming up…
It’s June 6, 2020. Peaceful protests, intense rioting, political bickering, Civil War topics suddenly trending on Twitter, looming COVID-19, personal solitude. That pretty much sums up the last week. Hardly a good time to be back-publishing my semi-frivolous “plague journal” from the last twelve weeks, I thought. So it sits a little longer. Best-laid plans are getting altered on a daily, sometimes hourly basis, as I try to navigate for three different organizations in the history field. In this time when listening and sincere attempts to understand others’ views and positions are desperately needed, should I be “soapboxing” about history?
I started praying about it when I work up this morning. This had been the week to re-launch the blog and celebrate Gazette665’s Sixth Birthday! Did that even matter now? I thought, feeling discouraged.
And then, I remembered, this image from 76 years ago:
It’s New Market Day. The anniversary of the Battle of New Market when Confederate troops under General John C. Breckinridge drove Federal soldiers commanded by General Franz Sigel off the high ground around New Market and into retreat back down the Virginian Shenandoah Valley. It’s the anniversary of when 257 cadets from Virginia Military Institute filled a gap in the Confederate battle line and helped turn the conflict in favor of a southern victory and moment of “youthful glory.”
But this May 15 is unlike other New Market Days. The classes at Virginia Military Institute will not parade in front of the Virginia Memorial and graves of the cadets who died in 1864. No crowd will gather for a tour at New Market battlefield (though Lt. Col. Marshall did host a Facebook LIVE to mark the occasion). I am not hosting a tour or a booksigning. I’m sitting in my apartment about two and a half hours from New Market, wearing a “Field of Lost Shoes” T-Shirt, and working from home for my job.
According to part of the definition in Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, the word “wander” means to:
to walk, to change, exchange or transform. To rove; toramble here and there without any certain course or object in view; as, to wander over the fields; to wander about the town, or about the country. Men may sometimes wander for amusement or exercise. . . .
The last ten days have been a whirlwind of travel, getting settled, and starting a new job at Central Virginia Battlefields Trust. It’s been amazing to see all the plans come together and also see what surprises God has had as I’ve made this move and am adjusting to expanding Gazette665’s reach while still keeping ties in California!
Yes, Wednesdays are usually for “Searched & Answered” videos, but tonight I wanted to be a little more personal and share some photos from my recent cross-country trek from California to Virginia. Autumn colors were in full burst in different states, and of course, I found plenty of history sites to cram into already long travel days. 🙂
(Just in case you’re not on our newsletter list…we wanted to make sure you heard the big, exciting news!)
In the summer while near Fredericksburg for the Emerging Civil War Symposium, I wandered over to Pelham’s Corner. It’s a tiny piece of preserved land, sitting at the corner of a modern intersection with cars zipping by at regular intervals.
However, in December 1862 as the battle unfolded on the 13th, this spot marked the advanced position of a twenty-four year old Confederate artillery officer who hauled a single cannon to this place and sent a raking fire into the attacking Union troops’ flank as they headed to “Stonewall” Jackson’s lines. That artilleryman—Major John Pelham—was noticed by General Robert E. Lee and became a legend, thanks in part to his actions during the Battle of Fredericksburg.