Sunday, March 20, 2011

Why Visit a Civil War Battlefield?

Greetings Cosmic Americans!

Why should you visit a Civil War battlefield? The answer is a lot more than: because it's fun. It is - of course...but there is more to it.

Sure - visiting a battlefield may be inconvenient - lots of us (like me) do not live near one. So we have to turn to what we read in books or see on maps. But even if this is the case for you - you should try to get one or more anyway.

The simple truth is that the learning experience goes far beyond anything you can read in a book or see on a map. The way the hills roll or where the sun comes up or where a road or fence is placed mean as much as anything anyone could write down. So if you want to understand a battle - why people did what they did - it is important to see where they did it.

You might begin to think...hmmmm....maybe Richard S. Ewell didn't think it was so practicable to take Cemetery Hill on the first day at Gettysburg and cut him some slack. You might figure out why Daniel E. Sickles moved his corps out of line to the high ground on the 2nd day at Gettysburg without orders to do so...even though he sort of messed things up for the rest of the Army of the Potomac. Some of these things you have to see for yourself before you can really grasp the actions.

So head out to your nearest battlefield and see if you don't begin to think differently about things. And while you are at it, be sure to look into battlefield preservation. Many of these historic sites are under attack by suburban sprawl. Which means, we are in danger of losing our history. You can learn more about what you can do to get involved by visiting the Civil War Trust website. Find out how preservation has gained some victories - like Walmart abandoning plans to build on the Wilderness battlefield (yay).



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