Sunday, May 26, 2013

Brice's Crossroad Mississippi

The Battle of Brice's Crossroads was fought on June 10, 1864, near Baldwyn, Mississippi. It pitted a 4,787-man contingent led by Confederate Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest against an 8,100-strong Union force led by Brigadier General Samuel D. Sturgis. The battle ended in a rout of the Union forces and cemented Forrest's reputation as one of the great cavalrymen.

The battle remains a textbook example of an outnumbered force prevailing through better tactics, terrain mastery, and aggressive offensive action. Despite this, the Confederates gained little through the victory other than temporarily keeping the Union out of Alabama and Mississippi.

Although the hubster and I aren't big fans of Nathan Bedford Forrest by any means (mainly because of his ill treatment of African Americans and because of a certain organization he founded) we were excited to see Brice's Crossroads because of the seemingly impossible victory Forrest led his men to there. That's why we were disappointed when we got there only to find the visitors center closed that day. Without the information from the visitor center all you really see is a couple of cannons and a monument at an intersection.

Nonetheless, we got out of our trusty Nissan Pathfinder and toured the small lot. I pulled out my voice recorder and attempted to make contact with the spirits I could feel hovering around. Although we were there less than ten minutes, I got the voice of a young male spirit saying, "Bring me my father." And an EVP of another male saying, "Nothing good was done in that group."

This is a battlefield we'll be returning to on a day when the visitors center is open. It gives us a good excuse to head down to Mississippi again so we can follow the burger trail and try a slug burger. (We're told no slugs are harmed in the making of a slug burger, so don't worry.)


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Shiloh Battlefield TN

Memorial Day weekend, the open road took us on a three day tour of Civil War battlefields in the south. Just three battlefields, but they were interesting ones. The first was Shiloh, in Tennessee.

I must admit, Shiloh has been on our bucket list for some time now. I don't know why it's taken us so long to finally go to Shiloh, but I'm glad we did. An interesting side note about Shiloh; A couple of years ago I was conducting a paranormal investigation of a toy museum that was housed in a livery stable that was built in 1815 (or thereabouts). One of my investigators and I were talking about Civil War battlefields we've toured and he mentioned having been to Shiloh. I said, "Isn't that around Washington DC?" Before he had a chance to respond, a male spirit answered in a class A EVP, "It's in Georgia I think." Number one, it's interesting to know that when you become a spirit you don't automatically know everything. And number two, spirits like being a part of the conversation too.

Anyway, Shiloh is touted as being one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. So I knew to expect a lot of spirits to be hanging around. What I didn't expect was the enormous crowds of live people. I think with it being Memorial Day, that brought them out in droves. My mind hadn't made the connection of Military park = large crowds on a weekend where we honor those who have died in battle. What can I say; I can be a little (or a lot) slow sometimes.

They had re-enactors camped out in front of the visitors center, representing every war Americans have fought in from the Revolutionary War all the way through the war in Afghanistan. They had all sorts of displays from military vehicles to day to day things like Army issue soap and chewing gum. And of course there were numerous guns, swords and even grenades. It was really interesting when all of the reenactors demonstrated the guns they used for their particular war. We've really come a long way with our killing machines and it was fascinating to see how far we have progressed since 1776.


There was a movie about the battle showing at the visitor center but we bypassed it. We began our tour of the battlefield at the end actually, in the cemetery. One of the prettiest military cemeteries I've been in and easily one of the best maintained. The battlefield reminds me of Gettysburg because of the many monuments and cannon replicas scattered around the park.


I was interested to learn that the cannons in the park are all facing the way they would have during the battle. I'd never really thought about that before.

When I go on a Civil War battlefield I strive to remain reverent and remember the fact that lives were lost in that spot. An easy fact to remember because ever since my open heart surgery a couple of year ago, I can see and hear spirits. Believe me when I say, they're everywhere. But none so prevalent as on a battlefield. Shiloh was no different. When I was at the area called The Hornets Nest, a young man said into my voice recorder, "I helped my brother." I found that especially interesting since the Civil War was known as "Brother against brother."

Another class A EVP I caught was by "Bloody Pond" and was a young man saying my name and then my husbands name.  


One of the things that surprised me about Shiloh was that it was a battle by water as well, with the Tennessee River border the battlefield. The area of the battlefield known as Pittsburgh Landing was particularly surreal. You find yourself having a difficult time imagining death and carnage occurring at such a beautiful and peaceful spot.

Eventually Beauregard realized he was outnumbered against the Union Army and having already suffered tremendous casualties, he and his remaining Confederate soldiers began a retreat to Corinth Mississippi. So, following in Beauregard's footsteps, once we finished our tour of the battlefield we began the trek to Corinth as well.



Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Lexington KY

This past weekend the hubster and I took an impromptu road tip to Lexington Kentucky. On Friday we noticed they were putting large white tents up in the parking lot across from our house. Oh no. Not that time of year again. The dreaded, uber noisy, Wizdom Foundation festival. Time to hit the road for the weekend! So early Saturday morning we tromped down the dusty trail to Lexington.

The hubster, who normally has his internal GPS on full alert, had some--ahem--difficulties finding his way around town. Later, as a neighbor told me, we learned that Lexington is much like Indianapolis and build on a circular grid. We never did find the restaurant where the hubster had been wanting to have lunch, but that was okay because we found <insert the sound of Angels singing> Mary Lou's BBQ. (See my Dippy Eats page for my review of Mary Lou's and pictures).

After lunch we went to the John Hunt Morgan house. I'd love to tell you how awesome it was...but it was closed for a private event. Dang it! Despite being closed, we were allowed to wander the grounds, including the lovely garden.

Then it was a quick walk across the street to Gratz Park where we puzzled over the fountain, dedicated to the children of the city. The part that shocked us was that the children were naked. Still pondering that one, especially given the era in which the foundation was built.


Late in the afternoon we toured the Henry Clay estate. Regretfully they don't allow pictures to be taken in the house. The guided tour of the inside of the house took about an hour and was very informative. The male spirit that followed us around the property (and back to our hotel) was even more informative. If I had to guess going from looks, I would say he was the man servant to Henry Clay. Interesting tidbit is that he told me, "I'm not deaf now." Good to know!

We enjoyed the Henry Clay estate so much that we returned on Sunday morning and toured the areas of the large estate that we hadn't had time to see the day before.


After spending a couple of hours at the Clay Estate on Sunday morning, our next stop was High Bridge, the highest railroad bridge in the US over a navigable stream (308 feet). Built in 1851, High Bridge was the first cantilever bridge built on this continent and was designed by John Roebling, the same man that designed the Brooklyn Bridge in NYC. A true testament to the lasting quality of good design and workmanship, the bridge is still in use as we evidenced by the two trains that crossed it while we visited.

Then it was onto Richmond battlefield. The second largest Civil War battle in Kentucky, the Battle of Richmond was one of the most decisive and complete Confederate victories in the entire war. One of the houses they'd used as a hospital after the battle has been turned into a surprisingly nice, privately funded, Civil War museum. In addition they have an extensive collection of arrowheads found in the area most likely from the Cherokees who inhabited the area at one time.

Mt. Zion Christian Church was used as a Federal field hospital during the U.S. Civil War Battle of Richmond and was the chief hospital for both Union and Confederate troops. The pews in use in the church are the actual pews the soldiers laid on, were operated on and died on. You'd better believe there's energies hanging around there!

Tired and hungry, we ended our Lexington trip at Ramsey's, the same place we started our day at that morning. I don't know if you're familiar with the term "meat and three" but basically that means you choose a meat and three sides. Its a popular type of restaurant in the south. (See my Dippy Eats page for my review of Ramsey's with pictures). Ramsey's was a fitting end to the day and the weekend. Full and happy, we headed off into the sunset for home. An hour later we were back in Louisville, already talking about where to go on our next weekender.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013