Debunking 8 Myths on the Civil War

I’m a history buff.  Once upon a time, I listened to a historical fiction audio drama, and since that fatal day, I’ve been a goner.  One of my favorite eras in history is the American Civil war.  Some people call it The War Between the States, while others prefer the title of The War of Brother against Brother, and some very strange people like the title of The War of Northern Aggression.

Today I’m going to give you a bit of my thoughts on this sad time in American history.  Or, in better words, I’m going to be debunking some of the thoughts that I’ve fallen across during my learning, because my dear people, don’t believe all you read in a history book…Or online.  Please, use your brain and THINK.

(Note: I do not have a degree in history or anything close to that.  I’ve just read a lot, heard a lot of talks on history, and observed other history lovers.)

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1. You are either a souther or northern sympathizer.  There’s no middle ground.

When you read a book about the Civil war, or you hear a speech, you need to recognize one plain factor.  There is no middle ground when it comes to the Civil war.  Some may say, “I don’t agree with either side.”  Regardless of how much you agree, you agree with  one side more then the other.

The speaker/writer/person will have a side that they lean to in their argument.  I mean, we’ve all seen this when we’re fighting with our siblings.  Our parents never have partial interests, they always lean to one side or the other.

This was recognized all over the United States during the war, it was recognized in the years of reconstruction, and somehow in the years following, it has been lost.

My dear friends, in this fight, there was no middle ground.

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2. Both Sides Were Wrong.

WHAT?  Yes, both sides were wrong.  Because both sides had sinners on them!  The South as well as the North, and the North as well as the South.  Every “cause” besides the cause of Christ has been wrong in some shape or form, because the people behind the cause are sinners, just like you and me.

Both sides had good stands and bad stands, just like politics today.  Both sides had brave men, and both sides had cowards.  Just like in any war today.  One of the huge faults of people learning history now-a-days is the fact that we tend to forget that however much of a genius they were, they were still human.  Humans are humans, whether they’re a 10-year-old Confederate drummer boy, or the 55-year-old general of the Federal army.

I admire both sides of this war, and different people on both sides, but each person has faults.  History doesn’t often guild this faults, instead, it makes them all the more evident.

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3. The South Wasn’t Christian.

Again, I hear you Southern Sympathizers gasping.  Anyone who told you that the government of the Confederate States of America was Christian is a lier.  In fact, most Confederate politicians were crafty men that loved bribes.  (If you think you can be a Christian and accept bribes, please, read the book of Proverbs.  Thank you.)

Guess what?  They were politicians, after all.  Politics hasn’t changed much since the beginning of American history, and it certainly hasn’t changed in the past 150 years.  The politicians in the South were headstrong and stupid, as well as being terrible when it came to war tactics.

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4. Abraham Lincoln Wasn’t A Hero

There was a man that came out of the Illinois wilderness, and became the hero of America overnight, right?  Well, he did become a hero overnight, but it wasn’t when he was elected.  It was when he died.

Abraham Lincoln wasn’t well loved by the people or by the politicians of the North.  The people were well tired of him by the time 1863 rolled around.  It was only by Sherman winning the Atlanta campaign that Lincoln was able to be re-elected.

The politicians didn’t like Lincoln for many reasons, some being his stupidity when it came to war matters, others because of his beliefs in both religion and politics, while others disliked him because of his insane wife.  (I could write a whole articles about Mary Todd Lincoln, but I think I’ll refrain.) Needless to say, Abe Lincoln wasn’t viewed as a hero in the North until he was dead.

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5. Jeff Davis Wasn’t a Hero

No one angers me more in the Confederacy than Jeff Davis himself.  The people who elected Davis as President of the Confederacy made a grave mistake.  Davis was as bad as Lincoln himself when it came to war matters, and he wasn’t a very good people person.  He wasn’t impersonal when it came to officials, and he wasn’t very good at smoothing the rough spots in the Confederate government.

He was often blinded his personal likes or dislikes of people.  (Take for example his liking of Braxton Braggs, which led to the fall of Atlanta.)  Jefferson Davis is one of those men that you read about, and you just aren’t able to say if he was just sadly stupid, or if he did all that he did on purpose.  Regardless to say, Jefferson Davis never was, and never will be, a hero.

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6. The South would never have won.

I heard more Southern Sympathizers gasp.  I’ve often heard people say, “If this had happened in this battle, the South would have won.” Or they say, “The South could have won if this person did this.”

I’m here to shake your beliefs, people.  The South never would have won, because the South never was ready to win.  The South never even had time to consider what they would do if they won.

I already spoke on the state of Southern politics.  That is just one reason why the South would never have been able to win.  The South had no Patrick Henry, no Thomas Jeffersons, and certainly, they had no John Adamses.  Instead, they had a bunch of men that squabbled like children over each of their assumed rights.

Also, the South had no economy to support them if they won.  They were an agriculture country that heavily relied on slaves.  Even if they had won, the North would still have had some control over the slave trade and shipping their products to say, England.  The South was unable to support itself.

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7. The North Needed Better Soldiers

People look at the North, and see superb politicians.  But unfortunately politicians are not the only people who win battles.  Not only did the North lack brilliant and courageous generals, they also sadly lacked moral in the common foot soldier.

Let me put it this way.  In the South, the boys were fighting on their land, their country side, and in front of their homes.  The Northern boys had no fear of the Confederate Army marching into Pennsylvania or Ohio and destroying their homes.  So?  Many Northern boys didn’t go.  There wasn’t honor or much glory in the idea of leaving sweet hearts and families to get a stray bullet in the chest.

Many of the soldiers in the Northern Army were vagabonds and men in for the money.

Please remember I said many.  There were men like Arthur MacArthur who were courageous and risked their lives for others.  But if the Northern Army had had the moral and generals that the Southern Army had, they would have won the war much earlier.

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8. The South Needed Better Politicians.

The men from the South were mostly hardened planters.  Men that came from English, Scottish, French, and Spanish stock.  They were used to heat, used to sweat, and used to hardships, and they were fighting for the land that gave them food.

Many people forget to take religious beliefs into consideration when it comes to the Civil war.  I’m going to show you something interesting.  In the 1840s and 50s, the church in America split, and there became Southern Baptists and Southern Presbyterians.  The split of the church in America was evidence of the oncoming struggle, and played a rather large role.

The men of the South experienced a great revival in their camps during the war time.  Men that had always been brave and courageous, now laid down their lives at the feet of the cross.  This not only boosted determination in these men to protect their lives, but also gave them courage to give them away on the battle field.

Unfortunately it isn’t just soldiers and generals that win battles.  You need smart, brave, and upright men as politicians to win a war and change the world.  It was these men that the South was lacking.

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What should you take away?

If you had to take away anything from this post, I want you to take away this simple thought.  In America today, we often dwell on the individual.  We can hold our own, we each must fight for our own freedom, but I’m here to tell you something.  We can never buy our own freedom.

The freedom that you and I enjoy today has already been bought for us.  We shouldn’t fight for our freedom, but for the freedom of those who come after us.  Christ paid the price for the ultimate freedom from sins, but in this life on earth, as Christians, we are called to fight for freedom from earthly tyranny.

In order to fight and win, we need to study the mistakes of those who have gone before us.  We need to be well grounded in history, so when our turn to fight comes, we can remember what worked for those before us, and what didn’t.

~~Amie~~

What’s on My Bookshelf?

Note: All pictures are not my own.

Second Note: Some books below contain the concept of slavery.  This does not mean I indorse slavery.  The Bible forbids slavery, and I believe all men (and women) are created equal in the sight of God.

Okay, so this post is only of one of my many bookshelves.  I have an extreme collection of books that keep me company, and they are stuffed in every imaginable place in my bedroom.  This is my bookshelf of favorites, or things I’ve had for a while.  It’s in the easiest place to get to, and so you’re going to see what’s on it.

First up we have,

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The Knights Series by Chuck Black

So I just recently received these for my birthday, but they quickly made it to my top favorites.  My favorites out of the series are Sir Bentley, Lady Carliss, Sir Quinlin, and Sir Rowan.  I enjoyed every single one of these, and if you are needing something wholesome to read, this would be one of my first suggestions.

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The Baker Family Adventures by C.R.Hedgcock

Oh my.  I’ve read these so many times.  I just love them, and I love everything about them.  I don’t think they have one bad review.  Okay, yes, I’ll admit that they’re pretty predictable.  At least, she uses well known mystery plots, but gives them exciting twists.  You won’t be disappointed if you read these.  (My favorites are the fourth through seventh.  I really can’t decide.  My favorite character is Phil all the way.  Phil is amazing.)

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Ishmael by E.D.E.N. Southworth

This book makes me furious.  I have to shut the book a thousand times as I read it.  Oh, poor Ishmael!  A word of warning.  If you are twelve and under, don’t read this book.  Also, this author is questionable, so talk to your parents before you read it.  Other than that, it’s a great book that will teach you about the sin of silence.  (Grr, I hate that sin.)

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Self-Raised by E.D.E.N. Southworth

Yep, she’s one of my favorite authors, even though I don’t agree with a lot of what she stood for.  This is the (much needed) sequel to Ishmael.  This book doesn’t make me mad. In fact, I have this smug feeling as I watch one character get her just desserts.  I sit through out this tale thinking, “Finally.  Hah, I was waiting for you to get a taste of your own medicine.”  Not very Christian of me, huh?  Well, I would recommend this book with the same warning as Ishmael.

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The Hidden Hand by E.D.E.N. Southworth

Oh my!  Probably my all-time second favorite book.  My parents tell me I’m Capitola to the dot.  Anyway, I read this book aloud to my family, adding in the different voices.  Oh, how I loved to rage as Old Hurricane.  “You….You…You ungrateful vagabond!  You street urchin!  You!”  I also really liked Capitola.  My mom started laughing so hard when Mrs. Condiment was introduced.  😉 Oh, and Black Donald?  I’m gettin more and more excited as I continue typing.  This book is a MUST read, though I would attach the same warning to it as with Ishmael and Self-Raised.

(Yep, unable again.)

A Lost Pearle by Mrs. Georgie Sheldon

Okay, this book….I had to throw it across the room a few times.  Oh, it makes me just as mad as Ishmael. That….GRRRR!  Okay, I’d spoil it if I tell anything other than a teaser.  Pearle is a beautiful, happy girl who is bound to be married to the love of her life.  On her wedding day, everyone for miles around comes.  All are astonished when the bride is as white as marble, and the groom?  He isn’t the right groom.  This is not a romance really, as I would never read a romance, though the setting does include Godly true love and all that nonsense.

(And again.)

The Wide Wide World by Susan Warner

My all-time favorite book.  Famous when it was first published, this book is referenced in book four of the Elsie Dinsmore series, and Little Woman.  It has successfully made Jo, Elsie, and Amie cry.  I tell you, it takes a lot to make me cry.  Little Ellen is heart wrenchingly taken away from her dying mother and placed in her step-aunt’s house.  Her step-aunt has no love for her, and heart-broken Ellen has no love to bestow on her cruel aunt.  The story follows Ellen’s sad story as she lives with her aunt and strives to have a true relationship with her Savior.

(And again.)

The Lost Clue by Mrs. O.F.Walton

Hmm, a good, yet predictable, mystery that has a terrible ending.  I like it because I enjoy mysteries, but it’s not my absolute favorite.  When Kenneth Fortscue is summoned to his dying father, little does he dream the mystery that will unravel because of that simple action.  The story that follows is interesting, and will fill an afternoon.

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Through His Eyes by Cassandra Driver

I bought this book while I was in Nashville, and I stayed up until twelve that night to finish it.  It is a work of art!  Cassandra certainly did an amazing job.  Join twins Virginia and Travis, who are WWII refugees in the US.  Their aunt has just died, leaving them alone in the big United States.  Suddenly mysterious things start to happen that are all wrapped around one thing…A music store.

Can you tell I like mysteries yet? 😉

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Outlining Your Novel by K.M. Weiland

A must have for every author.  It really changed my outlook on outlining, and hopefully changed my writing for the better.  That’s all I really can say.  It’s a book that every aspiring author should have on their shelf.

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Structuring Your Novel by K.M. Weiland

Um, I haven’t read this yet, so we’ll pass over this.

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Life in Dixie by Mary A. H. Gay

An amazing book for all Civil War buffs.   Mary’s brother died during the war, leaving his son and wife.  Mary undertakes the huge task of writing an account of the war for her nephew, for as she phrases it, “If we do not [write our own account] do it ourselves they [Southern Traditions] will be swallowed up in oblivion.”  A true account of what life was like in Decatur, Georgia, during the war.  (If you plan to write a historical fiction during the war, I would buy this and read it.  It contains songs they sang, how they earned money for the troops, and what letters from brothers and sister looked like.)

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Andersonville Georgia by Peggy Sheppard

(I have no idea where you can buy this.  I would look it up on Ebay, since Amazon doesn’t have it.)

Yep, another Civil war book.  Can I just tell y’all that I’m hooked on history?  Most of the history books I’ve read are in my older brother’s room because he owns them.  On average in our house, every room has at least one bookshelf, with the exception of our kitchen and our craft room.  Yikes!  A lot of books.  Anyway, on to this book.

Warning!

If you are anti-reb, you shouldn’t read this book.  Sorry.  This book kinda makes the Yanks look pretty bad.  Peggy defends the poor Rebs with all of her might as she points out how they tried to improve the condition of Andersonville, though the North wouldn’t agree.  So, this is a very controversial book.

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Ghost, Thunderbolt, and Wizard by Col. Robert W. Black

If you don’t know about Morgan, Forrest, and Mosby, you aren’t into the Civil war, sorry.  This book deals with some of the most respected, and hated, men of their day.  Mosby, and his infamous Rangers.  Morgan, and his cutting the Union telegraphs.  Forrest and his cavalry.  Each man played a huge role in the fight for Southern Independence, which was sadly a losing cause.  (Or maybe not sadly.  Guess God willed it to be a losing cause.)

(Has anyone heard “The John Hunt Morgan song”?  The tune’s Bonnie Dundee.  Great history in that song, just saying.)

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The Widow of the South by Robert Hicks.

Gulp.  Um, this book is both good and horrible.  No young person should read this book, to say the least.  I know it isn’t historically correct, but novelists can get away with that if they write the story well enough.  If you can find a better book to read, by all means do that.  Don’t read any of Robert Hicks’ other books.  Just save yourself extreme disappointment, because they just get worse.  So, I’d say pass this book if you can.  Read everything else on my bookshelf before you read this.

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They Called Him Stonewall by Burke Davis

Oh, amazing book, y’all.  If you have ever enjoyed studying Thomas Jackson, this book is a must.  It’s really the best book I’ve read on him so far, and after you read it, go listen to “Stonewall Jackson’s Way.”  Guys, these old songs are so rich with history.  Before I read history books, those songs just didn’t make much sense.  Now, I can totally understand what they were talking about, and why this is happening in the song and such.  Great book.

All right, shall we move to the second shelf of my book shelf?  *Looks at what I have on it*. Actually, you’ll have to come back for part two of this amazing post.

Have you read any of the books on my bookshelf?  What one sounded most promising?  Are you going to check any out?

~~Amie~~

The Body in Franklin

(All conversation is fictional, as is the owners of the house:  But this really did happen! Look up Colonel William Shy.)

“Ready for bed?” Mrs. Landen asked her five-year old son.  It was Christmas Eve, 1977.  John Landen looked up at his mom with a funny face.

“Nah, it’s too early.  The sun’s still up.”

“I know, I’m just teasing,” Mrs. Landen pinched her son’s cheek before walking into the kitchen.  Looking out her kitchen window which over looked her yard, she gasped.

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“Come in?  We have a murder,” a policeman stood over the casket in Mrs. Landen’s yard. Turning to Mrs. Landen herself, he asked, “How long has it been like this?”

“I truly don’t know,” Mrs. Landen’s face was pure white.  In front of her was a body–Without a head–stuffed halfway into a metal casket.  The casket had to be the old casket of Colonel Shy…but he was long gone.  The dirt on the bottom casket proved that.

The body was well dressed, surprisingly.  A black tuxedo and a ruffly white shirt covered the headless body.  The officer spoke into his radio before turning back to Mrs. Landen.

“I’m sorry for this inconvenience.  We will take the body to the Corner now.”

“All right,” Mrs. Landen nodded before returning to her house.

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“The man has been dead for around a year.  I doubt we could find who killed him,” the doctor shook his head.  “Would you like his weight and height?”

The doctor’s friend nodded.  “Probably necessary.”

“5’11”, and weighs 175 pounds.  I’d assume he’s in his mid twenties.”

“All right, that’s documented.  Are you sure there’s no hope to find the murderer?”

“No, but maybe we can identify him once the Nashville Corner comes.  They might be able to tell more.”

“Let’s hope,” his friend nodded.  In a few days, more doctors had come to look at the strange body.  They too could not identify it.  At least they all agreed he had been dead around a year.

A little later, a museum curator came by to see the mysterious body of Franklin.

“Strange,” the man brushed his facial hair meditatively.  “I’m sure you’re correct in your estimated time of his being deceased, but his clothes catch my attention.  Either he was involved in  reenactment, or he decided to dress up for his death.  These clothes are from the mid-nineteenth century.”

That caused quite a stir in Franklin.  The murdered man wore clothes from the Civil war area?  Who was the murderer?  Did the murdered (headless) man reenact?  Why was he dressed like he was?

A while later, a skull was found…One that had a hole straight through it, indicating a bullet.  The doctors thought they might as well try the skull with the body.  To their surprise, it fit!  This body, that seemed to only be dead for a year…

Was the body of Colonel William Shy!

And he had been dead 112 years!

Colonel Shy’s body had so much arsenic (used for embalming in those days) that his skin still appeared pink!  And he hadn’t even started to decay.

Once the townsfolk found out that it was the hero Colonel Shy, instead of some strange murdered man, there was a sigh of relief.  They reburied Colonel Shy, and now his original casket is on display.  Previously, it was at the Carter house.  However, the Carter house leased it somewhere else for three years.

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What do you think?  Surprising?  How would you like to have a mystery like that in your hometown?  Would you like more history?

~~Amie~~

To Nashville! (and beyond!)

November 30, 1864.

Slowly, I pull my bare feet forward.  I hardly have the strength to go on.  We all know that — Hood is going to kill us yet.  I just pray to God that it isna here.  That it isna here.

March 7, 2018

I hug my coat closer and wish I had looked at the weather.  Who knew it would be snowing?  I stomp my feet and wish I hadn’t worn my cowgirl boots.  And yet, it was better than bare feet…and it was better than dying on this field.

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Where have I been all week?  In Franklin and Nashville, Tennessee!  Studying about good homeschoolers and battles bravely fought and bravely won.

It was so much fun, and so thrilling to learn about those men in Tennessee, and about the Generals…and to meet new friends.  I wrote about it so I would remember everything.  Before I get started, please realize half of the houses you couldn’t take pictures of the inside.  (I know!  I was totally bummed out.)

Stop #1: Rippavilla

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“They got away?  You were supposed to close the road!  You were supposed to stop them!  You were supposed–“

“Sir? Would you like more coffee?”

“Coffee?  When an army just snuck through my grasp?  Well, perhaps.”

In the yard of this stately house, the skirmish of Spring Hill was fought.  General John B. Hood had strategically placed his men to entrap the enemy…But somehow that failed.

To be honest, this house wasn’t my favorite.  The outside was beautiful, but the inside?  Eh, if you like mansions and work, this was your house.  I just like the magnolia trees and the yard.  It even had a gazebo!

Since it wasn’t my favorite spot, we’ll move on.

Stop #2: Observation Hill

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Hood stood next to me, irate as ever.  On his long face, his beard seemed to prickle.  “We attack them here.”

The Union army of 2,000 troops walked straight through the Confederate army of the same strength on the night of November 29. It was reported that several Union troops were caught while lighting their pipes in Reb fires.  We are not exactly sure why the Union army wasn’t stopped.  One Reb walked to Hood’s headquarters and informed him of what was going on.  Hood insisted he had told Cheetham take care of the matter–The only problem was that Cheetham was a drunk.

The Union forces ran all the way to Franklin, hoping to cross over the river and into the safety of Nashville.  However, that was not to be.  The bridges had washed out.

Hood chased the Union army to Franklin, where he realized he had to make his move before the bridges were built–before the Union army got to Nashville.  It seemed to be a now or never moment for Hood.  But Hood’s officers disagreed.


Standing in the same place as men like Hood, Forrest, and Cleburne was amazing.  I enjoyed learning about the men while I was there, and seeing the view.

Stop #3: The Carter’s house

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I closed my eyes.  That couldn’t be Uncle Todd.  It couldn’t have happened.  The doctor looked up and said, “Please hold that candle steady.”  I will never forget it.  Never, even though I am but eight.

The sad story of the Carter house stands out in my thoughts.  Maybe because the house itself was my favorite…maybe because the family reminded me of my own.

The Carter house was inches away from the Union strongholds.  In fact, the Union lines broke right at their house.  They have a small shed out in the back that is riddled with bullet holes.  There’s a cannon hole in the side of the house.

The family stayed in the cellar during the attack, as they didn’t think that the Rebs would actually attack in Franklin.  Would you attack men that had dug six feet into the ground and made breastworks?

The whole battle, minus forty-five minutes, took place in the dark.  It was hand to hand combat in the smoky darkness.  One survivor said that the smoke was so dense, he couldn’t pry his eyes open.  When he did, it was only to save his own neck.

The saddest part of the battle is that Fountain Carter came out of his cellar to see bodies everywhere…and then a Reb came up to tell him that his son, Todd, was lying injured on the battlefield.  This same son was supposed to be in a Union prison.

They found Todd…and three days later…he died.

Stop #4: Carnton

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“Your house will be used as a Confederate hospital.  I’d expect the men to arrive in fifteen to twenty minutes.”  And maybe they won’t ever leave–In fact, they might stay buried in your yard.

I’ve been to Carnton before, so it wasn’t as exciting.  How many have read The Widow of the South?  What?  None of you?  Okay, if you’re over thirteen, go read it immediately.  It’s amazing and it really makes you think.

I’m not going to dwell on Carnton too much.  If you like graveyards, go to Carnton.  If you like looking at dead soldiers names…go to Carnton.  If you like stories of brave women during wartimes…go to Carnton.

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Wait!  I’m not done with my visit, but I’m going to give you some human sides of this.  Like, what I did and thought.  I slept with my little sister, Rose, the whole trip.  She likes to cuddle.  And sleep in the middle of the bed.  Very annoying for me, since I do not like cuddling.

Here’s the quote of the trip.  (Credit to my younger sister)

Did you know the night is so long?  It’s longer here than at home.

My judgement on coffee during this trip.  At the first hotel it was so bad.  It smelled like charcoal.  And it tasted like stevia.  But, the second hotel’s coffee was so good, that I risked my life to go and get it at ten at night.

I enjoyed the tour, but the conference?  Well, I liked the vendor hall and meeting new people and seeing old acquaintances.

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Stop #5: Shy’s Hill

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IT SNOWED THAT NIGHT!  It had flurries all Wednesday, but Thursday it actually snowed on the ground.  It was a dusting–But still!

Shy’s hill was beautiful.  The story of courage, of fortitude, and of danger is thrilling.  Colonel Shy was told to hold this hill during the battle of Nashville.  When they saw a regiment of Minnesotans rushing up the hill, half of Shy’s men ran for their dear lives.  However, Shy stood firm and fought like a true man.

When shot in the head at point blank range, the hill was taken.  Shy’s body was the only body out of those Tennesseans that died there to be shipped home.  In fact, Shy’s body has a funny story to it.  However, I don’t have time or room to tell.  If you’d like to hear it, comment below.

Stop #6: Tennessee Capital

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Well, this is actually stop seven, but I don’t feel like telling you about stop six.  Anyway, we learned about Jackson, Polk, Johnson, and Sam Davis here.  Each man has an interesting story in his own right.

The statue above is of Jackson.

Did I know all this before the trip?  Um, most of it…Only because I read about it in a book about the Army of Tennessee.  You would like to learn more?  Read Company Aytch by Sam Watkins.

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Now, ready for the last bit of news?  *Grins really wide*. You won’t guess it.

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Did you say bunny?  A new bunny?  Now where did you get that idea?  Well, Snowball got a friend…his own blood brother to be exact…and we’ve named him Hedgcock, after our favorite author.

Sadly, Snowball would run away as soon as I got out the camera, but Hedgcock enjoyed posing for me.

What more history?  Think Hedgcock is cute?  Been to Nashville?  Comment below!

~~Amie~~