Sunday, July 06, 2008

fields of war, fields of peace

You could have an entire dinner discussion about whether DC is in the American south or somewhere on the fence.

You could do an entire vacation touring the sites of the battles that ultimately kept the south linked to the northern states.

The first significant Civil War battle, fought at Bull Run 147 years ago, was a Union defeat. The second battle at Bull Run, coming a year later and resulting in some 14,000 casualties for the Union and (at some estimates) 8,500 casualties for the Confederacy was also a win for the south.

We walk the fields at Bull Run (a two day march from DC for the soldiers, a one hour drive for us) and try to think 147 years back.

Imagine, such a short while back, we were at war with each other. Stonewall Jackson, Beauregard, Robert E. Lee, all fought here, at Bull Run. Strong willed, stubborn. And victorious on these battlefields.

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Purchase photo 1853

We hike the trail of the First Battle of Bull Run. A quiet path, meandering for six miles through the woods, up the golden hills of Virginia grasses.

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The air is sticky warm. We hadn’t packed water. Was it sticky warm in July 147 years ago? Fields of blood, fields of war. So blissfully quiet now here, in Virginia.

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Purchase photo 1849

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Purchase photo 1848

The next morning I eat a breakfast of fried green tomatoes and eggs, with cheese grits on the side and watch people walk home from church.

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