Thursday, June 25, 2009

My Memphis

Upon moving to Memphis, I decided to check out the city. Besides all the astounding music that resides there, i.e. Beale Street, the Rock and Soul Museum, Stax Museum of American Soul, and Graceland, to name a few, there is plenty of Civil War history as well.

Nathan Bedford Forrest is honored with a statue (under which he and his wife are entombed) and a park named after him. Elmwood Cemetery, one of the oldest in the area, holds the graves of yellow fever victims (there was an epidemic in 1878) in one section, Masons in another area, Chinese in another, and slaves in yet another. At Victorian Village, several mansions stand, one of which is called the Woodruff-Fontaine House, said to be haunted.

The Mississippi River played a vital role in the war, because the Yankees knew that, once they gained control of this essential, watery thoroughfare, the Confederacy would be terminally crippled. Memphis fell to Union occupation early in the war, as did New Orleans. Vicksburg, Mississippi would succumb a year later. General Grant achieved victory for these defeats, which then catapulted him to the position of Major General of the U. S. Army. After the war, a fellow by the name of Mark Twain (which is a boating term in reference to the river’s water level) would gain notoriety with his infamous novels. There is so much amazing history here in Memphis that I hope it isn’t forgotten and pushed by the wayside to make room for changing philosophies and advancements.

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