January 16, 2012

January 16, 2012

Dixie Camp

Living in Virginia, especially for the next few years, will involve a lot of Civil War commemoration. I hadn’t really considered this possibility when I moved in 2008, a mere 147 years after the start of the Civil War. We don’t do a lot with it in Wisconsin outside history classrooms. You’ll note that Sherman marched to the sea, and not to the frozen tundra. Smart chap. (Now Napoleon and Russia? We take grim delight in that one.)

My first exposure to the South and the Civil War came when I visited friend-of-blog Amanda in North Carolina. Kept noticing little “Civil War Trails” signs pointing down roads and whatnot. I’m pretty sure that we have exactly zero such signs in Wisconsin, so I was intrigued. (The plethora of signs seems to indicate that the majority of the Civil War was spent meandering around the Raleigh area, by the way. No wonder it took four years.) Then I realized that there are historic houses and other structures still standing that played a part in the conflict. Too cool!

Move to Virginia, though, and it is a whole other ball of wax. One which could be termed Battlefield-a-palooza. We got forts, we got shrines, we got acres of land where one could reasonably film a remake of “The Red Badge of Courage.”* Saw an advert the other day for a Civil War kids camp at Fort Ward here in Alexandria. Apparently, where I associate Civil War battlefield conditions with gangrene and hardtack, others see fun times for the kiddos. Mmmkay.

TheBoy’s parents’ backyard (stay with me now, I know it’s a lot of possessives) actual abuts a battlefield. They’ve found bullets and things on it. Actual Civil War memorabilia, right in the backyard! We had nothing comparable in Wisconsin. No mammoth bones or Eskimo teeth. I heard that a friend-of-a-friend found an Indian Native American arrowhead once, but I’m sure that’s just an urban myth. Certainly no rebel-maiming munitions.

One of the reasons I moved to the DC area is the history, so it’s a pleasant surprise. So long as the reenactors keep their distance, of course.

* I am referring, of course, to the Wishbone episode.

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