Tag Archives: Shiloh

Refighting Shiloh

Y’know, no matter how many times I try to replay it, the Confederates always lose the battle of Shiloh. There are so many “what ifs” involved with the armies on the first day that volumes and volumes can and have been written about it. So I won’t re-cover that ground…not today anyhow.

I first went to the Shiloh National Military Park around the age of 7. The Centennial fever was probably still high then, and my parents—finding themselves not far from the battlefield—decided to take us there. I remember being in awe at the rows and rows of cannon and The Bloody Pond. To this day, I can almost hear the cannons when I think of Shiloh. The last time I went to Shiloh, I think, was when Brittany turned 7. Her birthday is on the anniversary of the first day of Shiloh (April 6). We were there when the Hunley visited.

So it was with great excitement that I signed up to go with Brett—who is 9—and his Boy Scout troop to a camp and hiking trip to Shiloh. Brett anticipated the trip for weeks! Our group made the trip up to Tennessee on Friday night and camped out at a State park not far from Shiloh. I heard quite a few of the boys playing soldier or army that night.

Next morning, up and at-’em and on to Shiloh. The National Park was having a living history in association with the anniversary and the boys were anxious to see the soldiers. I was anxious because I thought members of the unit which I have reenacted with would be there. Indeed they were, and in a position of great honor: the color guard. The boys enjoyed watching the infantry march around maneuvering and firing their weapons.

After the demonstration, we grabbed lunch and headed out for one of the many official Boy Scout hikes. We made our way to The Bloody Pond and then over to the Indian Mounds. One of the coolest things happened on the way to the Mounds—We saw a Bald Eagle, in its nest, right there on the property. I gotta admit, that was pretty cool. It was a huge nest, too! One of the scouts informed me that Bald Eagles construct either the biggest bird nests in the world, or in N.America. Either way, it was very cool.

Once we’d seen the Mounds, which was actually the first time I’d ever even been to that part of the park, we made our way back to the Park HQ and watched the 60 year old movie they show. Brett bought some souvenirs and then wanted to see where the Confederates were buried. As I was telling him that the Confederates were NOT buried in the “National Cemetery,” some of the parents overheard me and were both surprised and angry. I’d learned long ago that most Southerners don’t realize that “our” soldiers are NOT buried in the “National Parks.” At Shiloh, they were dumped into five mass graves. So much for reconciliation, I guess. Brett wanted his picture taken at the mass grave…and then we retreated home.

All in all, a very fun—and tiring—trip!

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April is a good month

April is a good month for the Mann family. Good, but always very busy. Seems like April is the month when so many things happen.

For instance, April 6 (which just so happens to be today), is the date on which my daughter Brittany was born. Yes, can you believe it? She is 14 years old today. She’s already talking about getting her driver’s license! It also happens to be the date on which my mother was born, albeit several years before Brittany. And it also happens to be the date on which my grandfather Bill Mann was born, in 1919. When Grandpa was alive, we had a few years in which we celebrated all three birthdays! And although Grandpa isn’t with us anymore, his twin sister is still living in St. Francis, Arkansas!

For as long as I can remember, Dad has always had a good time with the fact that he married an older woman. You see, Dad’s birthday is 4 days later…April 10.

I once teased Brittany and told her that I’d always be able to remember her birthday if I couldn’t remember anything else. The American Civil War battle of Shiloh, Tenn., took place on April 6 and 7 in 1862. Brittany even celebrated her 7th birthday on the grounds of Shiloh when she went with me to participate in a reenactment.

April is also Confederate Heritage Month in many Southern states. Admittedly, it’s becoming fewer and fewer as more Southern Governors turn coward and give in to political correctness. Why April? April is the month during which the war began…and ended.

Sigh.

Confederate Memorial Day also happens in April…mostly. Unfortunately, the Southern states can’t all get together to agree on this date. For instance, it was January 19 in Texas this year. In the Carolinas, it’s May 10 (but will be observed on May 11)…and then in Geo., Miss., Ala., and Fla., Confederate Memorial Day is April 27. An interesting tidbit about this finds that the Federal Memorial Day began after many in the North discovered Southerners honoring Southern dead after the war. As is often the case, the Feds took the date and turned it into Memorial Day, causing the Southerners to switch to a different date. Initially, Memorial Day was only for Union dead…that changed after WW1. If you’re a Southerner, you should mark this date down on your calendar and remember the Southern dead who generally do not get remembered any other time…unless they’re being portrayed as the villains. They are no more villains than the current US Troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Last, but not least, April is the month in which I was married. Yep, April 28 of 1990 (for those of you ticking away on your fingers, this makes 19 years!) is the day I tied the knot with BJ. Of course, for those who knew me before then, you’ll remember we dated for SEVEN (yes, 7!) years before we got married. There were quite a few, I think, who wondered if it would ever happen.

So, Happy Birthday Brittany, Mom and Aunt Juanita! May you have many, many more!

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