|Needing a shave, a beer, a toothbrush and a new ballcap, your humble blogger at his destination.|
What's the best way to practice social distancing outside? Go visit a Civil War battlefield. That's what I did on the Fourth, leaving Nashville at 10 a.m. for my first visit to the Tebbs Bend (Ky.) battleground. On the trip through the Bluegrass State, I passed the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green (does it have mannequins of 75-year-old bald men in the vehicles?), the epically named Rugged Truth Barber Shop in Columbia, a lemonade stand along a highway in gawd-knows-where and lots of roadkill.
Miles traveled to battlefield: 144. Mask wearers observed indoors in Kentucky: 0. (Sigh.) Time zones experienced: two. Arrival: 1:20 Eastern. Temperature at the field: Blistering.
|The now-overgrown campsite of 25th Michigan Infantry, which whipped a much larger force of cavalry|
at Tebbs Bend on July 4, 1863. (CLICK ON ALL IMAGES TO ENLARGE.)
|This iron truss bridge used to span the Green River. Now it overlooks campsite of the 25th Michigan.|
|Site of Camp Hobson on the old James Allen Sublett farm.|
|Aptly named Green River.|
|Confederates attacked toward the camera on the morning of July 4, 1863.|
|Confederate artillery position astride Tebbs Bend Road.|
|Nice wheels, Blogger Man.|
|In front yard of a mobile home, the Federals put their forward line. Check that: Home wasn't here in 1863.|
"The scene was beautiful and exciting," 25th Michigan veteran John Swanger wrote decades after the war about the defensive preparations, "the men, wakeful with the thoughts of the coming struggle, were jovial and happy; the brightened barrels of the arms glittering in the moonlight rendered the view soul-inspiring."
The rifle pits were manned by only 75 soldiers. These men were ordered to eventually retreat to their right and left, thus explosing the advancing Rebels to fire from the concealed main defensive line behind abatis of felled trees. To Moore's right, the steeps banks of the Green River; to his left, another stretch of the winding river.
|Another of the excellent markers on Tebbs Bend battlefield. This one describes the Confederates'|
demand for 25th Michigan Colonel Orlando Moore to unconditionally surrender.
And this fight was on...
Behind excellent defenses, Moore's men held off eight assaults. Corporal Morgan Wallace of the 25th Michigan was among the six Federal deaths. His femoral artery was severed by a bullet, and the married father of two young children bled out and died in 30 minutes. The 27-year-old soldier's effects, including two gold pens, a great coat, a pocketbook containing a dollar, 13 sheets of papers and 14 envelopes, were sent home to his wife, Ellen. Deep respect.
|Confederate cemetery on the Tebbs Bend battlefield high above the Green River.|
|One of the last battlefield markers I read before I headed home. "Michigan Man' Bo Schembechler |
would have loved it. (CLICK ON ALL IMAGES TO ENLARGE.)
Stop the insanity: Leave quarantine for a few hours for a battlefield near you.
-- Have something to add (or correct) in this post? E-mail me here.
-- Morgan Wallace dependents' pension file, National Archives and Records Service, Washington, D.C., via fold3.com.
-- South Bend (Ind.) News-Times, July 1, 1913.
-- The National Tribune, Feb. 28, 1889.