Well, I had an excellent visit to the White Sulphur Springs battlefield not long ago. I had a chance to walk the entire Confederate battle line with West Virginia Civil War historian extraordinaire Terry Lowry, and saw most of the Union line as well. Most of the Confederate line is now a large cow pasture, and it’s filled with land mines. Not the sort that explode, but not the sort you want to step on, either. I had to watch every step I took, but it was worth it. Terry’s a relic hunter, and he’s relic-hunted the entire battlefield. Consequently, he knows were the relics show the action was, and I now understand that battlefield. We recently bought a digital SLR camera, and the tour of the battlefield provided my first opportunity to use it.
We then went to the grounds of The Greenbrier, where sixteen Confederate battle dead are buried in an unmarked mass grave that’s situated in a family cemetery. The management of The Greenbrier has taken steps to hide the cemetery, and even though we generally knew where it could be found, it still took us an hour to find it. There’s a small monument there to commemorate the dead soldiers, and I finally got a photo of it.
The tour ended with a visit to the Greenbrier County seat, which is the nearby town of Lewisburg. I got a shot of the county courthouse, which was the object of Averell’s failed raid, and that completed my trip. I then drove the five hours home to Columbus.
I am very glad that I walked the ground with Terry. Once more, the truth of the maxim that the ground is THE primary source is proven true. I now understand the terrain, and I now understand how the terrain drove the action. Without having access to private property and having Terry as a guide, I would not have gotten the perspective that I got from walking the ground.
Terry has also offered to provide me with his extensive file of primary source material on the battle from the West Virginia State Archives, and old friend and fellow cavalry nut Steve Cunningham has offered to share his twenty years of research on the 7th West Virginia Cavalry. Brian Kesterson and his friend Terry McVay have also come forward to offer their assistance with primary source material. The upshot is that I’m going to have material that no other account of the battle has ever used. I think it’s going to be a good project, and I am again plowing new ground. I enjoy that.
I’m in the middle of editing a book manuscript for a friend (just about halfway done), and when I’m finished with it, it’s time to begin writing.
Sit tight. I will keep everyone posted as to my progress. And thanks for all of your support and assistance. I’m a lucky guy.Scridb filter