Monday, July 11, 2005

Yesterday I was happy. Happiness is a strange thing. Sometimes it comes on unexpectedly. I suddenly notice how beautiful the roadside is, even though it may just be trees. I have always appreciated the flora of this part of the country. I don't like the desert, the mountains, or the ocean as far as the vegetation is concerned. And sometimes happiness just creeps up. You are doing something that seemed pleasant but turns out to give happiness, not fun, but a quiet happiness.

Yesterday my brother John called about 12:30 to ask if I wanted to go up to Parkers Crossing to meet some Sons of Confederate Veterans at the battlefield there. I am not clear on what they intended to do.

We drove up there in his car talking all the day. John is a good ole boy, close to a redneck, but he has a sharp mind, a good heart, and is a discerning observer of people. (I tried my best to make that sentence be of parallel construction, but couldn't.)

When we got to Parkers Crossing, none of his friends were there. He figured maybe the impending rain scared them off.

We decided to take the one mile walk around the battleground. The SCV has worked hard on this and done a good job.

I had a great guide as John is a student of Nathan Bedford Forrest, who was the commanding officer there.

Forrest was the only soldier in either army during the Civil War who rose from private to brigadier general. Since he had no formal military training, his tactics were not fathomable to officers on the other side. He was very pragmatic. He particularly tried and usually successfully to convince the opposing army that he had more men and equipment than he really did.

He lost the battle at PC when Union reinforcements arrived just as Union forces were surrendering. He retreated across the Tennessee River. They had built rafts to cross the river when he brought his army from Middle Tennesse to West Tennessee. Those rafts were hidden in a creek leading to the river and were used again when they crossed the river to the east. He was able to get his entire army, men, horses, and equipment, across the river in less than 12 hours.

I enjoyed reading the plaques but John knew a lot more and filled me in. One time he was telling me about "horseholders" who cared for spare horses close to the battle. As sometimes happens the next plaque told about that very thing.

In one battle Forrest's horse was wounded and taken back to the horseholders. As the saddle was removed the horse bolted and ran back to the battle, as if it knew where it was supposed to be. Unfortunately it was mortally wounded.

They do have one cannon at Parkers Crossing. John wants one but an authentic one costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. The SCV wants John to start an artillery unit, since Robert Anderson Webb was in the artillery.

Unfortunately I found an error on one plaque where the word "principle" was used when it should have been "principal." Not important to most people, but it bothers me.

It started to sprinkle just as we finished the trail and we went home.

It was a quiet leisurely day with my brother and it was very enjoyable.

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