Wednesday, July 9, 2014

150th Anniversary of a Civil War battle, the Tour de France ... and more

This is an unusual combination - a Civil War battle and the Tour de France ... but blogs reflect our lives and these last few days I have been watching the Tour de France live on television every morning.  In the afternoons I have been writing a little bit on this post about the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain that was commemorated at the end of June, just a couple of miles down our road.

 Other events happened during the first week of July - the 50th year anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the celebration of the 4th of July and the FIFA World Cup of football in Brazil.  This is the most watched sport event in the world with an estimated 715.1 million people watching the final match, or 1/9th of the entire population of the world (so says Wikipedia.)  FIFA is the abbreviation for Fédération Internationale de Football Association.  I found, on French Wikipedia now, that Jules Rimet (French, 1873-1956) was the initiator of the World Cup.  On the UK Wikipedia I found out that the word "soccer" used in the US for international football originated in England, as an Oxford "er" slang abbreviation for "association."  The late 19th century English footballer, Charles Wreford-Brown (1866-1951) is credited with inventing the term soccer.

 On a domestic note - this past week I also made strawberry jam.

I also read that Gertrude Weaver celebrated her 116th birthday on July 4th.  She lives near Little Rock, Arkansas, is a "supercentenarian" the oldest person in the US and the verified second oldest in the world.  She was born in 1898 - she was already 20 years old at the end of World War 1.  Who knows, she may even remember hearing about the first Tour de France in 1903 when she was 5 years old.  This year the Tour de France started in England.

On Sunday July 6th, 2014, the stage ending in Sheffield, England was won by an Italian, Vincenzo Nibali.  The Tour is quite international - the yellow jersey was won by an Italian member of the team from Kazakhstan, with the Tour de France in England.  Peter Sagan of Slovakia won the green jersey and Romain Bardet of France won the white jersey!  (See more explanations on the Tour by clicking on Tour de France on the right side margin of my blog.  I explained the color of the jerseys in my post of July 20, 2011 - click here to read it.)

During the three days that the Tour de France was in England, it is said that up to 5 million people came along the route to watch the bike racers.  I took pictures from our two television sets, some came out OK and the others are pretty fuzzy.

On Sunday 29 June, 2014, we went to Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park to assist at the commemoration of the 150th or sesquicentennial anniversary of the battle that took place there in 1864.

Kennesaw Mountain is just a couple of miles down our road and has been mentioned several times on this blog.  In October 2009 in the post "My Road in Cobb County" part 1 - click here - I gave a brief description of the battle.  In my August 17, 2013 post "Time goes by in a park and in restaurants" - click here - I explained that since I was a wee child I have been living on or near a hill and enjoyed mountains and hills and showed more pictures.  In my March 16, 2012 post "A Stroll on the Mountain" - click here - I showed pictures of the mountain and of the cannons that are still there.  In my post of November 8, 2012 "Fall Foliage" - click here - I showed how beautiful the mountain is under the golden colors of autumn.  Since 1976 I have been driving by Kennesaw Mountain once or twice a day and I have seen it in all seasons and under all skies.  (Click on collages twice to see better.)

Below is a postcard showing the top of the mountain panorama in the fall looking toward Atlanta.

More than 100,000 visitors from across the country came to the National Battlefield Park from Thursday afternoon June 26 through Sunday afternoon, June 29th, 2014, to attend the ceremonies and take part in the events commemorating the fierce battle that took place here on June 27, 1864.  Buses carried the visitors from adjacent parking lots and to the top of the mountain (1,808 feet above sea level.)

There were opening and closing ceremonies, lectures, Union and Confederate infantry demonstration, ranger programs, 

re-enactment activities,

guided hikes at Burnt Hickory and Kennesaw Mountain, more guided hikes along the park's 18 miles of trails, concerts by the 97th Regimental String Band and other musical ensembles, gospel choirs, children's activities, storytelling and book signings (I purchased two books - the diary of a Union soldier, and the diary of a Confederate soldier.)

The visitor center offered a selection of 150th year Civil War anniversary souvenirs and books.  It also has a mini-museum, a photo gallery and artillery.  A new 35-minute film explains, very realistically, the battle of Kennesaw Mountain.

A Civil War Medicine Program and a Civil War Fashion Show were also included in the events.

Almost every hour musket firing demonstrations and cannon demonstrations were heard around the mountain.

 There were "real time" hikes at Dead Angle Assault at Cheatham Hill (below the mountain.)  On August 5, 2009, I wrote a post "Cheatham Hill Walk" where I explained the battle fought there, click here to read it.  This was the site of the fiercest battle where Sherman's forces sustained most of their 3,000 casualties.

On June 27th, 1864, the battle started at 8:00 am that morning and by noon the Union attack had failed.  Union Major General William T. Sherman's Army lost 3,000 men and the Confederates lost 1,000.  The brutal frontal assault at Kennesaw Mountain that the Union troops launched against the Confederate Army of Tennessee, led by General Joseph E. Johnston, was a major tactical defeat.  Below is a Kurtz and Allison Print - with misspellings.

 It was one of the bloodiest single days in the campaign for Atlanta.  Below is an engraving showing the battle, courtesy the Library of Congress.

Sherman did capture the city of Atlanta two months later, and destroyed it.  But at Kennesaw Mountain his forces had been repulsed.  Below are more engravings from the Library of Congress.

In the afternoon we walked toward the Battlefield Main Stage where, at 3:00 pm, there was a Reading of the Names of the Fallen.  A group of people were waiting in line with a sheet bearing the names they were going to call out.  We listened to several persons then walked away and came back later to hear the end of the reading of the names - it took 2 hours to call out the 4,000 names.  Someone would read names like " ... Joseph B. Campbell, Scott Elliott, Jacob Graves, Thomas Hamilton, Joseph Montgomery, Elijah Ford, John Page ..." then would finish by saying "... from the 34th Regiment of Illinois and was my great great grandfather" or " ...from the 29th Regiment of Tennessee and was my great great uncle" - it was very solemn and sad.

While the names were being read we could watch some pictures depicting the continuous activities rolling on a giant screen.  I took some photos from it, but they are not too clear.

The closing ceremonies were at 5:00 pm with distinguished speakers.  Then Dr. Oral Mosses and the Georgia Spiritual Ensemble sang a Negro Spiritual entitled "Oh, Mary, don't you weep, don't you mourn."  By the end of the song everyone was clapping in unison.
I did take a small video of the gospel singers, but I have tried to place it on this post and it keeps saying that there is "an upload error."  So I found a vintage clip on YouTube from the Georgia field hands."

 "Cheer up sisters and don't you cry.
There'll be good times bye and bye  ...
Oh, Mary, don't you weep, don't you mourn.
Oh, Mary, don't you weep, don't you mourn.
Didn't Pharaoh's army get drowned?
Oh, Mary, don't you weep."

As the ceremony was ending the Atlanta Pipe Band (a 40+ year old Atlanta Scottish bag piping ensemble) played their mournful funeral march (Amazing Grace) on top of the hill nearby.  Then, each musician turned and walked away until there were none and the music slowly faded in the distance - it was an emotional tribute.

The 150th anniversary of the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain had ended.  People walked toward the buses and the parking lots.  The cannons were silent and only the birds would be on the mountain now.  I passed a tree and almost did not see a large hawk looking at me.  He let me take many pictures of him.  Then as I walked away he flew toward the mountain.


Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

I love history, not so much sports. History is about where we came from and those who paved the way. Unless it is historical, a ball game is a ball game and there will always be another one to watch. I live around history with a small cemetery that holds the remains of 17 American revolutionary soldiers within a mile from my home. I am always touched with their sacrifice. We are both so fortunate to live where the past is always present.

Cloudia said...

History is sport, and sport history!

ALOHA from Honolulu
=^..^= <3

ELFI said...

entre canons et crinolines.. je choisis le gospel.. elle sont craquantes!

Elephant's Child said...

History is a passion I came late to - but am very glad I found it.
And I love the juxtapositon with strawberry jam, hawks and glorious countryside. A complicated mixture - like life.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

The Civil War has always fascinated me---how we, as a people could have gotten to the terrible point of fighting one another on our own soil. I remember you writing about this before, but had forgotten that this terrible loss of life took place on June 27th---my Birthday.
It sounds like a very moving and stirring day, here in 2014....It must have been something to be right there and witness so many remembrances of one kind or another---especially the reading of those who died and having those names read by a relative of one of the persons named. So very moving just to read about it, my dear Vagabonde, and of course, all the wonderful moving photo's and drawings......Thank you for sharing this very sobering and thoughtful day with all of us.
As always.....Beautifully told, my dear.

DJan said...

I always think of you when I hear about the Tour de France, because I know you are watching and know everything that is going on. I'm not a sports fan but am glad to support teams for my friends.

What a tremendously interesting history of that battle, VB. You transported me to the site and gave me a ringside seat through your descriptions. Your posts are unique in their detail and accuracy. Thank you.

David said...

Vagabonde, Another well researched, written and illustrated blog! My wife loves watching the Tour de France...but I don't get it from a spectator's viewpoint. I do think that the fan's who are taking 'selfies' by standing the the road in front of the cyclists should be arrested for endangering the contestants!

I love strawberry jam!

I also enjoy Civil War history even if it was such a sad time in US history. That print of the battle is very nifty, reminding me of Currier & Ives prints of various scenes.

Soccer? Another sport I don't 'get' or appreciate. Too many fans have the 'mob mentality' with fights and riots sometimes. Not to say it doesn't happen occasionally with US football... What was with the mass crying after Brazil got crushed by Germany!?

I always enjoy reading your blogs...and your viewpoint on the world's past and present events.

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Elaine said...

Excellent coverage of the Kennesaw Mountain commemoration! A sad day for our country indeed.

Your collages of the Tour de France are lovely. I imagine you have a needlework project going to keep you company while you're watching the action. Enjoy!

bayou said...

For once, I followed your 'trick' to watch the Tour de France on TV when it started in Yorkshire. Fantastic helicopter takes and at one point,think it was day 3, a horseman galloped alongside with the bikes. It was, as if I was back in the UK and travelling with EG. The last bits to London, I took on record but have not watched it, yet. Interesting itinerary, I find. It went to Ypres and celebrated 100 years of WW I starting and then goes now down to Nancy (new family addition there) further to Gérardmer (where we went to plan the wedding, in exactly 1 years time it will be held there) and then Bourg-en-Bresse,Oyonnax and St. Etienne( did that road when I had customers there). Shall see if I find more time to watch it.
About the Civil War, those pictures remind me so much of 'Gone with the wind'. Great post, Vagabonde but I must read it again as there is so much information on it. Hope you are both well and enjoy summer. Bisous des bayous.

Niall & Antoinette said...

We watched the Tour footage when they started from York as we both did post-grad studies there and love the place :-)
Have visited quite a few Civil War battlefields, though not yours - so thank you for sharing. Enjoyed reading Shelby Foote's excellent books on the Civil War.

Magic Love Crow said...

You always write such great posts!
Yummy strawberry jam ;o)
Great to see you ;o)
Big Hugs ;o)

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

The battle of Kennesaw is fascinating. I really admire the people who take part in these events throughout the south. They are a very dedicated group and thanks for sharing.

We saw reenactments of Civil War battles when we lived in Vicksburg, Mississippi and they bring the past alive right before your eyes. We watched Grant ride in on his horse and take the city. It was spooky - the guy was the spitting image of the General Grant.

Every time I watch the Tour de France I think of you.

Carol Crump Bryner said...

I always take away so much from reading your posts. This one seemed especially interesting to me - probably because my husband loves the "Tourdee," as we refer to it at our house, and also because you describe the Civil War ceremony in such beautiful detail. The clip of the singers brought it all to life.

Arti said...

Glad you're back blogging again, VB. I've missed your extensive and informative posts. These past few weeks certainly had been eventful. Just this afternoon I watched the FIFA World Cup final, and what a game. I can feel the victory high for the Germans, and the losing Argentina experiencing the lowest of the low points. Thanks for showing me the Tour de France route. Also, your strawberries look so delicious. Great that you can make jams from them. Are you planning to use the strawberries in some other recipes?

Arti said...

Forgot to mention one more thing. I saw the French film (2012) Haute Cuisine recently. Have you seen it? If not, do check it out. I think you'd enjoy it. I'm participating in the Paris in July blogging event, posted a review of Haute Cuisine as an entry. It's based on the real life story of François Mitterrand's personal chef Danièle Delpeuch. Here's the link to my review if your'e interested.

Tamara said...

Fantastically researched article. You put so much detail in this. I am a HUGE Tour de France fan and I too have blended posts this month because I couldn't resit comment on it. Today is Bastille Day, and over at our Paris in July event, there's a couple of new posts. I always remember that your contributions to Paris in July in the past have been detailed and an acurate record of french culture. Hope you pop in soon.

Miss_Yves said...

Formidable documentation!

La Table De Nana said...

My husband is a HUGE TDF fan:)
I wish I actually knew more history..
Again my husband loves it..knows so much..
Au contraire for me..

Perpetua said...

Wow, Vagabonde, your posts are sometimes full to overflowing with fascinating information and lovely images and this is one of those times. I know you've written about this battle before, but your account of the 150th anniversary celebration has brought out so much mire detail. A post to read and reread.

Jeanie said...

Well, normally the Civil War would be enough to capture my attention -- but then you had Tour de France and all I could think about the war was "That was so 1860s!" and the Tour is now! (Or was -- I'm in such tour withdrawal!). Congratulations to you for having two of your native countrymen on the podium!

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