|CROSS KEYS (Va.) BATTLEFIELD, near Harrisonburg, Va. Morning mist.|
(CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.)
|FRANKLIN (Tenn.) BATTLEFIELD: Stop light casts eerie glow on field where scores fell.|
While Mrs. B fretted on a tour boat to Fort Sumter as an ominous storm approached, I was stomping around pelican poo-encrusted Castle Pinckney with an Englishman who has an affinity for high ladders and lightning. (He also likes warm Guinness. Ugh!) Real text that day from Mrs. B, who was wondering if her boat was destined for the bottom of Charleston Harbor during a deluge: "Remember that we've had a good 29-year run."
Here are my other favorite experiences—and favorite photos—from 2021 road trips (with sundry details):
Road miles logged: 3,287 miles.
Battlefields visited: 24, from Antietam and Cross Keys to Gettysburg and Liberty Gap ... and beyond.
Weirdest transportation: A flat-bottom bass boat in Charleston Harbor.
Biggest "uh-oh" moment: Towel rack falls at 3 a.m. at Widow Pence farmhouse at Cross Keys battlefield, startles lone guest.
Favorite new battlefield visited: Dug Hill, eastern Tennessee.
Cows and bulls cursed: 10 (Long story).
Cars damaged: 1. Fixed with duct tape.
Favorite Civil War site that's a golf course: Robbers Row, Hilton Head, S.C.
Weirdest line used in a bar: "Hey, a munitions factory exploded on this site in 1862, and ..."
|Ruth Hill McAllister, at her great-grandfather|
Sam Watkins' grave, was generous with her time.
Giant MoonPies observed: 1
Favorite meal: Homemade banana coffee cake with Sam Watkins' great-granddaughter.
Full-circle moments: A visit to the Tennessee site of Leonidas Polk's mansion ... and the Georgia site where "The Fighting Bishop" was nearly sliced in two by U.S. Army artillery.
Strangest experience: Hypnosis session at Fort Granger by a Penn State graduate.
Visits to Civil War mansion once home of female bootlegger who was married 12 times: 1
Times made bald Confederate sympathizer sing "Battle Hymn of the Republic" on a bus in Georgia: 0, tempted but the United States has outlawed torture.
|I remained calm before my hypnosis session|
at Fort Granger in Franklin, Tenn.
Favorite forgotten battlefield in middle of suburbia: The "other" Franklin field.
Cool experiences: Relic hunting (legally) on Culp's Hill at Gettysburg; hiking to Davis Ford, where Army of Tennessee crossed in November 1864; surviving trip to Castle Pinckney in Charleston Harbor and drinking in a bar during a downpour with an Englishman and a woman in a pink and green yoga outfit.
Interviews with a parking enforcement officer on a Segway: 1, in Shepherdstown, W.Va., outside a bakery used as a Confederate hospital post-Antietam.
Best time watching another person work: Cop-turned-maintenance man who mows hallowed ground in the Shenandoah Valley.
Best time watching another person work II: The unforgettable Peggy Snow!
"You want me to carry what?" moment: Hauling the ground-penetrating radar down from top of Shy's Hill, a Battle of Nashville site.
See you down the road. (Dang, I have three more weeks of trips.)
Let's keep history alive. 👊👊
|CHARLESTON, S.C.: Englishman Matthew Locke adjusts the camera at Castle Pinckney.|
|PHILADELPHIA: Historical marker at U.S. Army General George Meade's residence.|
|LIBERTY GAP (Tenn.): Taylor Agan holds a CDV of his fourth-greatgrandfather on|
ground where he fought in 1864.
|CHARLESTON (S.C): Market Hall, where Confederate recruits enlisted.|
|GETTYSBURG: Day 1 field|
|FRANKLIN (Tenn): Grave of unknown Civil War soldier at Rest Haven Cemetery.|
|COLUMBIA, TENN: Farmer Campbell Ridley peers into a slave cabin on his property.|
|GETTYSBURG: 155th Pennsylvania monument on Little Round Top.|
|ANTIETAM: Historian and relic hunter Richard Clem in field near Philip Pry House.|
|COLUMBIA (Tenn.): Old Nelson Hotel, where Confederate officer Andrew Wills Gould|
died from stab wound inflicted by Nathan Bedford Forrest.
|SPRING HILL (Tenn.): Fingerprints of slaves on brick at Rippavilla plantation.|
|GETTYSBURG: Union commander John Reynolds monument.|
|CHARLESTON (S.C.): The Pink House.|
|FRANKLIN (Tenn.): Illumination event at 157th anniversary of battle.|