Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Visiting Shiloh National Military Park

Last weekend, I convinced my family to take a road trip to Shiloh, which is about two hours from where we live. Once we arrived, we were pleasantly surprised to learn that admission was free due to Father's Day. Although the temperature threatened to reach 100, we still enjoyed the time we spent there. My son and I went through the small museum at the visitor's center, and watched the 1/2 hour long movie about the battle. (The movie is from the 50's. Time to do an update!)

We then proceeded to stop #4, where we were entertained by members of Selden's Alabama Battery and Tarrant's Alabama Battery. These guys are genuinely devoted historians. They'd have to be, to dress up in wool uniforms in order to perform living history demonstrations. They enlightened the crowd by displaying an authentic campsite, firing off two cannons, and explaining the procedure required to do so. (It takes six men to fire off a cannon.)

Following the demonstration, we took the driving tour of the park, and saw the National Cemetery, the Confederate mass grave sites, the enormous monuments, and Pittsburgh Landing on the Tennessee River. The peach orchard has been replanted to replicate the original, and Bloody Pond still emits a strange, reddish coloration, but supports wildlife. (We noticed several small fish swimming in the pond.) The day was hot and humid, but the experience was profound and inspirational. Our son, who has never seen the park before, really enjoyed it, and learned much about the battle.

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