Welcome to our adventures. I try as best as I can to document the happenings here in our family - everything from the shenanigans to the spiritual, from the kid to the kitchen, from the cat to the catastrophes. We believe that adventure can be found in everything we do...even in the mundane tasks of the day. When we set our minds on things above in gratitude to God, we find the strength to approach life with a sense of purpose & adventure. The adventure may not always be what we have planned...but isn't that what adventure is all about?

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Monday, June 11, 2007
OK, I'm no blogger...but I'm married to one, so I've learned a thing or two about this business. Since writing stuff like this doesn't come too easily for me, you won't find too many posts from yours truly. But I did want to throw in some quick comments about my take on Tennessee after being here for two days now (yes, I am a Tennessee expert)...before moving on to our really cool field trip today, which Kristin alluded to in her post about today's "festivities"...

I'm finding Tennessee to be quite similar to other southern states that I've visited - namely Texas and Louisiana. Hot and humid (although we haven't yet experienced the worst of it), friendlier-than-friendly locals, and "darn good eats". I don't have many rules when visiting the South, but the one that I absolutely stick to is to have at least one dining experience at a B-B-Q joint - which we did this evening. Kristin has already written about that, so I am not going to waste precious blogging space here. Just take my word for it - it wah good!

One of the things that I was looking forward to in coming out to TN was visiting a Civil War battlefield. Murfreesboro is the site of the Stones River National Battlefield. The battle was fought between 12/31/1862 and 1/2/1863 and was one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. A total of 81,000 soldiers participated in the battle for middle Tennessee which resulted in a Union victory and pretty much drove the Confederates out of Tennessee altogether. It was a turning point in the Western theater - weird to think of Tennessee being in the Western theater, but it was, being west of the Appalachian mountain range.

Kristin and Abby were real troopers (no pun intended) and indulged my love of American military history, agreeing to tour the battlefield with me. The field was less than 4 miles from our hotel and very easy to find (even with me serving as navigator). It was a bit surreal - driving by shopping centers, then going over the freeway and turning north - when suddenly, we started seeing the criss-crossing, zig-zagging wooden fences that were so commonplace on Civil War battlefields. Not to mention the impressive sight of field artillery pieces that played such a crucial role in this battle. If it weren't for the cars travelling on the two-lane road, you would have thought it was 1862.

A trip through the visitor's center provided us with a brief history about the events leading up to the battle - how each army was manuevering in the weeks leading up to Stones River. There were also really neat displays - Confederate and Union army uniforms, muskets, bayonets, cannons, rifles, surgical instruments used by the field doctors, even shrapnel - if it was part of the battlefield or what happened on the battlefield, it was there. We also viewed a 9 minute video which detailed the key points of the battle, and even included quotes from some of the soldiers that were part of the battle. It was such a great experience - even Abby seemed to enjoy it although there was a moment of trepidation when she thought the Confederate soldier "dummy" was going to come to life! After giving her reassurance that there were no soldiers that were coming back to life, we wrapped up our tour of the center in the bookstore. Where - of course - I had to purchase the Pocket Book of Civil War Battle Sites.

From the center, it was on to the self-guided tour. There were a total of 6 spots where you could stop and explore. Each place had markers that chronicled the various stages of the battle and what transpired for each. It was quite an experience, to say the least. As you are walking thru the fields, some open fields which were mostly cotton,some heavily wooded areas, my mind began to wander and think about what it must have been like to have been a soldier on that battlefield - Hunkering down on the night of December 30th,1862, knowing the next day that a major battle was going to take place - the only questions were when and who would strike first? It is in moments like these when you stop and say a silent thanks for every soldier who has endured the fear, pain, trauma, and loss of warfare so that this nation could live in freedom. Words can't even describe it. And the kicker is in looking across the open field and seeing a cemetery full of Union and Confederate headstones. It is a moment that one cannot - and should not - forget.

We wrapped up our tour at tour stop #6 - which unfortunately was closed because it was already past 5 PM. But it was perhaps the most pivotal spot in the battle - where the tide was turned in favor of the Union. It was at stop #6 - McFadden's Ford - where the Union's Captain John E. Mendenhall in support of Union troops, assembled 58 guns and trained them on the ground on which the Confederate soldiers were coming, in hot pursuit of retreating Union troops. It was this flurry of fire that turned a Confederate charge into a grim retreat as the Confederacy's General Bragg withdrew from Murfreesboro (and ultimately from Tennessee) several days later.

And what a way to end such a historic tour. Wish I could do it justice and write more, but it's late and we've got a big day ahead of us tomorrow...

Thanks for hanging in there with me on this, my first blog post. I hope it didn't bore you to tears!

PS Please refer to Kristin's post for today where there is a link to pictures from our visit to Stones River battlefield.


tapwaterdad said...

Good job. I liked it.