Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Kennesaw Mountain and then some...

Guide to the Atlanta Campaign: Rocky Face Ridge to Kennesaw Mountain (U.S. Army War College Guides to Civil War Battles)Yesterday, on our way from Knoxville, TN to Sarasota, FL, Mr. Myrt and I stopped at Kennesaw Mountain. His Union Civil War ancestor was in an Iowa infantry on the extreme left flank (west) not specifically engaged in the earlier battle at Pigeon Hill.

As a wife, mother and grandmother, I am compelled to hold all war in contempt, for the damage it does to family is devastating. Walking amid the Confederate breastworks at the top of Kennesaw Mountain was very emotional. What little protection was offered among the mud and muck of the undergrowth.

Amid the displays at the visitors' center was a medal of honor given by the state posthumously to a Confederate soldier who grabbed the barrel of a rifle and jerked it away from the intended target, thereby saving his friend's life. The hero suffered severe injury to his own hand and arm, eventually dying of his wounds.

As we looked south to Atlanta, I could only imagine the desperation among the soldiers to protect home and hearth and defend that city, as they were pushed farther south again and again. The Confederate determination was matched by that of the Union soldiers to preserve the Union.

We came south, around Atlanta on 285 and stopped in MacDonough for the night, I was struck by the apparent progress in the area. Where once there were just a few businesses, now the place is flourishing, with strip malls and chain restaurants replacing the one hotel and several gas stations I remember from 15 years ago.

Today we'll make it to Sarasota, so Ol' Myrt can begin visiting with her friend Elsie. She was in England, France and Korea during WWII as a civilian employee of the US Army. We've longed to do a book based on her recollections of that war, using her photos and letters home. Now Elsie is in an assisted living facility, and in her 90s, so we've got to get going.

Copy her notebooks, so I can do a series of recorded interviews via phone several times a week ~ each time turning a page to assist me in posing questions to awaken Elsie's recollections before it is too late. I'll make a book and a blog out of the project, with a few podcast entries to boot.

What Elsie & her family experienced during WWII is quite telling. Her brother was a mortally-wounded navigator, who charted a safe course for his crew's B-24 across the English Channel back to England. His plane was so damaged, they had to jettison all extra weight just to clear the trees. Hence, Second Lieutenant Arthur E. Barks, Army Air Forces, United States Army was buried at sea quite unceremoniously.

There is much genealogy news to share with my DearREADERS, gleaned while attending the FGS Conference at Knoxville last week. I just need to stay in one place to get the job done.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt     :)
Your friend in genealogy.

1 comment:

  1. Sorry we didn't know you were here. We're in McDonough (pronounced Mc-duh'-nuh) with our daughter & her family. I'd have loved for you to meet her (another cuz!). Hope your travels are safe. My daughter took me to Kennesaw Mountain a couple of years ago & it was very moving. My favorite remains Chickamauga where all the states who wished to do so erected monuments at the spots where their soldiers fought. Amidst the cannons in the National Park stands every sort of monument imaginable!