May, 2008

18 May 2008, by

A New One on Me

Today, Susan and I attended an encampment/reenactment of the French and Indian War held about twenty miles from our house. I’d never even heard of reenactments of the French and Indian War previously, so this was a new one on me. We heard about it this morning on the TV news and decided to check it largely because we didn’t have anything planned for the day and it seemed like a good way to kill an hour or two.

Coincidentally, the event was held at a place called Infirmary Mound Park, named for the pre-historic Indian burial mound located on the property, so I guess it was an appropriate venue for the event. I’m sad to say it wasn’t much of a reenactment. There were nine French soldiers, two Indians, and five or six British soldiers. That doesn’t allow for much in the way of tactical accuracy, so instead, they fired a few volleys, the two Indians looked fierce (see the photo with this post), and the small crowd seemed to eat it up.

The encampment featured half a dozen or so tents for either side, and not much else, other than some women reenacting period dress and cooking and serving period food over campfires. There was one sutler, selling buck skinning supplies. There were probably forty or so spectators there, in part because they changed the time of the actual reenactment at the last minute due to predictions of bad weather (that never materialized).

The reenactors themselves varied in their authenticity. Most of the French soldiers wore glasses, and none of them were period appropriate. Here they are in 1750’s uniforms and modern spectacles. It made them look extremely farby. The two Indians cut pretty intimidating figures; one of them had even pierced the septum of his nose and had run a piece of metal through it. The British soldiers didn’t look too terribly bad, but there were also only six of them, too few to make a difference.

I think it might have been a very interesting event had there been sufficient manpower on both sides. It kind of whet my appetite to see another similar event, only with more men. I likewise think it would be interesting to see a Revolutionary War reenactment, which is something else I have never seen.

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Here I am, once again engaging in acts of shameless self-promotion…..

I’m pleased to announce the launch of my other new web site, Please stop by, check it out, and let me know what you think. Thanks for your time, and thanks also for your indulgence of my efforts at self-promotion.

The good news is that there’s only one more of these self-promoting posts left to go….

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It’s been quite a while since I profiled a forgotten cavalryman, so I think it’s time to do so again. Today’s subject is Brig. Gen. George D. Bayard.

Bayard was born on December 18, 1835 at Seneca Falls, New York. He was a direct, linear descendant of the family of Pierre Terrail, seigneur de Bayard, known as “the Good Knight”. Chevalier Bayard was also called “the knight without fear and without reproach.” George’s great-grandfather had commanded the 1st Pennsylvania Cavalry during the Revolutionary War, so cavalry was in the boy’s blood. When he was 8 years old, the family moved to Iowa for several years. In 1849, the family returned and settled in New Jersey. In 1852, young George was appointed a cadet at large in the Military Academy at West Point by President Millard Fillmore. He graduated in 1856, standing eleventh in a class which originally numbered ninety members. On leaving the Academy, he chose the cavalry arm of the service, and was assigned to duty with the 1st U. S. Cavalry (now the 4th U.S. Cavalry), rising to the rank of captain.

Not long after he joined the regiment, the 1st U.S. Cavalry, was ordered to the plains, where it had frequent encounters with the Indians. In 1860, while engaged with a party of Kiowas, Bayard was severely wounded. His father gave the following account of this event: “After a pursuit of more than twenty miles; some Indians were seen at a distance. Lieutenant Bayard, being mounted on a superior horse, whose speed surpassed that of any in the command, led the way in the chase. He soon came up with an Indian warrior, and, presenting his revolver, demanded his surrender. The Indian, as Lieutenant Bayard rode up to him, had dismounted from his pony for the purpose of dodging the shot from the pistol he anticipated, or to enable him the better to use his bow and arrow. At this moment, while in this attitude, Lieutenant Bayard saw some Indians running at a distance, and turned to see if any of his men were near enough to receive a signal from him that other Indians were in sight, and as he turned again towards the chief he had brought to bay, the latter shot him with his arrow. The arrow was steel-headed, in shape like a spear-head, and the head two and a half inches long. It struck Lieutenant Bayard under the cheek-bone, and penetrated the antrim. If the Indian had not been so near, he would have drawn his bow more taut, and probably killed his enemy.”

The arrow head was imbedded so firmly in the bone that it could not safely be removed except by superior skill. Though enduring intense suffering, Bayard made a journey of 800 miles to St. Louis before he could have the operation performed. Its removal gave some relief, but the wound did not heal, and he was subject to severe hemorrhage which threatened his life. The artery, which had been severed, was cauterized, freeing him from further danger, and he was soon after assigned to duty as cavalry instructor at West Point.

When the war broke out in 1861, even though his wound was still unhealed and very painful, he repeatedly asked to be relieved, and allowed to join a regiment of volunteers. In a letter to his father of April 13, 1861, he wrote: “The capital will very soon be the object of attack, and I think it the duty of all good Americans to march to its defence. My heart is too full to write you anything about Sumter. The Southerners have made a great mistake attacking it. All my sympathy with the South is now gone. It is now war to the knife.” And again, on July 26, 1861 he wrote, “I must go to this war. I cannot stay here and rust while gallant men are in the field. This Rebellion is a much more serious thing than many suppose. I pity the Southern officers in our army. They cannot but condemn the madness of their politicians who have brought on this war, and yet they feel in honor bound to go with their section.”

Finally, his request to be relieved of duty at West Point was granted in September 1861, when he was made major of a newly recruited regiment pf New York cavalry. On his arrival at Washington, Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan, then commander-in-chief, would not consent to his taking this position, and instead gave him the option to take command of a regiment or to serve as an aid upon his staff. Bayard chose an independent command, and was appointed colonel of the 1st Pennsylvania Reserve Cavalry, which was part of the Pennsylvania Reserves, by Keystone State Governor Andrew G. Curtin. He quickly became known as a martinet, and he was not especially popular with the men who served under him. His first speech to his men, delivered as they were about to undertake a hazardous duty, was characteristic: “Men! I will ask you to go in no place but where I lead.”

A friend left this description: “As a soldier, in camp and on the field, in bivouac or in the height of an engagement, he was a perfect model. He had a quiet but keen eye, detecting and correcting what was wrong, and just as quick to discern merit. In the field, he participated in all the hardships with the men, declining a shelter when they were exposed.” During a reconnaissance of Confederate-held bridges outside Falmouth, Virginia, he came under attack, and rifle fire hit his horse three times. He survived the engagement unharmed, and was commissioned Chief of Cavalry of the III Corps and brigadier general of volunteers on April 28, 1862.

When McClellan went to the Peninsula, Bayard remained with the army of observation before Washington. At Cross Keys, and all the subsequent operations under Maj. Gen. John Pope, he acquitted himself with great credit, capably commanding a brigade assigned to Pope’s Army of Virginia. He had been at the Academy with J. E. B. Stuart, and at Cedar Mountain they met; first in conflict, and afterwards under flag of truce for the burial of the dead, where they conversed in a friendly way. No allusion was made to the present war, but they talked of former associations. “During the interview,” says a Washington paper, “a wounded Union soldier lying near was groaning and asked for water. ‘Here, Jeb,’ said Bayard – old time recollections making him familiar as he tossed his bridle to the rebel officer – ‘hold my horse a minute, will you, till I fetch that poor fellow some water.’ Jeb held the bridle. Bayard went to a stream and brought the wounded man some water. As Bayard mounted his horse, Jeb remarked that it was the first time he had ‘played orderly to a Union General.'” Stuart was then a major general in the Confederate service. The business for which they met was soon arranged, and when the bugle sounded the recall, they shook hands and turned away, mortal enemies again.

Despite the disfiguring wound, Bayard was engaged to be married. The wedding was scheduled for his 27th birthday, December 18, 1862. That fall, as the senior cavalry officer, he took the field with the Army of the Potomac. “I have been troubled a good deal of late with rheumatism, owing to having been thoroughly drenched with rain,” he wrote to his father on November 22. “I ought to be in the hospital. But I must go with this army through. I am senior General of cavalry. Honor and glory are before me – shame lurks in the rear. It looks as if I should not be able to leave at the time appointed for my marriage, but will have to postpone it till this campaign is over.”

His cavalry opened the December 13, 1862 Battle of Fredericksburg, holding the enemy in check until the infantry could come up, when he was withdrawn and posted on the extreme left of the line, his left flank abutting upon the river. His command spent the morning of December 13 more or less with the enemy’s skirmishers and advance. His last directions, before leaving his troops to go to the headquarters of Maj. Gen. William B. Franklin, who commanded the Right Grand Division of the Army of the Potomac, were given to his artillery officer to change the position of some of his guns. Bayard then rode off to see Franklin.

“A little before two o’clock he rode to headquarters, to receive such orders as General Franklin might deem proper to give. He found the General in a grove of trees, with some of his staff and other General officers. The enemy were then throwing their shells at and around this grove. General Bayard, soon after he arrived, having dismounted, seated himself at the foot of a tree, but with his face towards the quarter from whence the shells came. He was warned by a brother officer of his needless exposure, and invited to change his position. This he did not do, but remained for some time participating in the conversation of those around. In a little while, however, he rose from his seat, and hardly stood erect, when he was struck by a shell just below the hip, shattering his thigh near the joint. In this frightful condition, with mind still clear and active, he lingered until noon of the following day, arranging his business and sending messages of love and affection to friends.” He dictated a brief note to his parents: “I have to dictate to you a few words, ere it becomes too late. My strength is rapidly wasting away. Goodbye, dearest father and mother; give my love to my sisters.”

He did not appear to suffer much pain, and about 24 hours after being struck, quietly died just five days before his 27th birthday. “Not one,” wrote Horace Greeley, “died more lamented than Major-General George D. Bayard, commanding our cavalry on the left, who was struck by a shell and mortally wounded. But twenty-seven years old, and on the eve of marriage, his death fell like a pall on many loving hearts.” He was buried in Princeton Cemetery in Princeton, New Jersey.

Bayard was the senior officer in the Army of the Potomac’s cavalry at the time of his death. Although Maj. Gen. George Stoneman would have been entitled to command of the Cavalry Corps at the time of its formation in February 1863, Bayard would have been the senior division commander. Thus, when Stoneman took medical leave on May 15, 1863, Bayard would have assumed command of the Cavalry Corps, and not Alfred Pleasonton. The complexion of cavalry operations would have been very different indeed, and it is intriguing to consider what effect Bayard might have had on the evolution of the Army of the Potomac’s Cavalry Corps had he lived.

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J. D., Mike, and I are pleased to announce the launch of our new website for the promotion and sale of our new book, One Continuous Fight: The Retreat from Gettysburg and the Pursuit of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, July 4-14, 1863. The book is due out in about two weeks. Please check out the website.

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J. D. Petruzzi’s got a great post over on his blog that easily could have been (and probably should have been) the eighth post in my Things I Wish I Knew Then But Know Now series of posts that ended yesterday. Here’s the post in its entirety:

The realities of writing
Buddy Eric Wittenberg has made a very revealing series of posts over the past couple of weeks entitled “Things I Wish I Knew Then But Know Now” about the realities (oftentimes harsh realities) of writing about the Civil War. His posts could apply equally as well to any type of historical writing. There are 7 installments to Eric’s series and the first one is here.

His posts should be required reading for anyone considering, or starting out, writing about Civil War subjects. Eric’s insights may not prevent every novice writer from making certain mistakes or experiencing particular common pitfalls, but at least one would realize they’d been warned. Eric’s insights weren’t meant to turn any promising authors off from pursuing their dreams, but instead to make them aware of the realities of the nuts and bolts of the researching, costs, writing, publishing, and marketing aspects.

In just thinking about the various well-reasoned subjects that Eric posted about, I also thought of another this morning: Be prepared for criticism of your work. You gotta have a thick skin, folks. Criticism, both good and bad, of your work will only make you better at your researching, thinking, and writing. If you’re willing to put your work out there in print in front of thousands of people, you have to be prepared to take some heat. Some of it will be useful, others not. Like some authors, some readers have an agenda – and they won’t like your interpretations. We all get tomatoes thrown at us, and you just have to learn to duck and smile. But much of the criticism you receive will be very helpful – it will point out weaknesses in your research and you’ll learn a good lesson from it.

Let’s face it – regarding Civil War history, there are many things that are hard and fast facts. Many other things are open to interpretation. And sometimes things in each category can move back and forth – for instance, if some primary source comes to light for the first time and modifies something we previously thought was hard and fast. You have to learn that a subject you write about may be looked at differently down the road. Be able to adjust to that.

Previously, I’d mentioned that some authors/historians seem to have an “agenda.” We all know some whom we call, for lack of a better modifier, “contrarians.” Some seem to be out to change the historical record no matter what that takes – ignoring some evidence while reinterpreting other evidence. For some reason, they’re not happy that Gen. Joe Schmo’s cavalry charge happened in a particular place. Or that a particular unit was in a certain area of a battlefield for a rather mundane reason – they have to make their location a grandiose part of a much larger plan, attempting to reinterpret an entire battle. No matter that there’s no evidence for these reinterpretations, and that existing evidence, in fact, refutes their new “theories.” If you’re going to stick your neck out and attempt to change what historians feel to be established fact, then be prepared to take the heat in a mature way and back your interpretations with evidence. If you’re proven right, you will be deservedly lauded. If not, you have to roll with it.

So, when you get published (whether it be articles, books, or contributory material) you become somewhat of a public figure. As in politics, you will get commentary, praise, and criticism from all sides. Be prepared for it, and deal with it. Learn from it. Grow from it. Stand your ground when necessary and warranted, and be willing to adjust when necessary and warranted. Let’s face it, all of us authors will blow it from time to time – we will screw up the narration of an event. We’ll put the wrong person in the wrong place. We will map something incorrectly. We’ll put the wrong date on something. If we keep in mind that we weren’t “there,” and that everything we study and write about is based on the evidence that’s out there, we’ll be able to take shots from readers who, in many cases, may know more about something than we ourselves do.

For one more angle, I would also like to commend a couple of fantastic posts by my publisher, Ted Savas, on his personal blog. Recently he’s been posting about the “view” from the publisher’s angle, and his posts go hand in hand with Eric’s eye-opening series. See the first by Ted here, and the second here. Just as there are many myths about authors and writers, there are many misinterpetations when it comes to publishers. Ted’s very insightful posts will educate all of us about what publishers must deal with in today’s marketplace and the ever-changing demands of the consumer.

In the end, if you’re a budding author of any genre, don’t let any of what I, Eric, Ted, or others have to say turn you away from it. Write. Do it. And love it. Giving birth to a book is like putting breath into a child. You’ll likely never see your investments back, you’ll get criticism, praise, and you’ll be constantly frustrated.

And you will love and treasure every moment of it. Simply seeing my wife and family smile when one of my articles or books comes out puts a burst of wind into my sails, and I can’t wait to sink my money and time into the next project and do it all over again.

You’ll see. So stay with it.

Precisely. Well said, J.D.

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Although I indicated that I would participating in the annual conference of the Little Big Horn Associates in July in this post, I have changed my mind and have informed the powers that be that I will not be participating in the event.

I apologize for any inconvenience.

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I sincerely hope that this series of posts has shed some light on the issues that those of us who write Civil War history face. First, and foremost, I wanted to share my experiences with those of you who read this blog who are either working on, or are considering, your first book on the Civil War, so that you can gain insight from my ten years’ experience working in the arena. The lessons related here were hard-learned, and if you can gain something from then, I’m glad I undertook the project.

Second, for those of you who are consumers of Civil War history but have no interest in writing something of your own, I hope you gained some insight into the struggles that we all face in an ever-changing marketplace. Most importantly, I hope you now understand that unless we’re fortunate enough to teach Civil War history at a college or university, it’s all but impossible for us to make a living doing this, meaning that it is a labor of love, because we surely don’t get wealthy writing these books.

Third, I hope that those of you who’ve read this series now have a better understanding of precisely what goes into the publication process. Like politics and making sausage, it’s not a pretty thing and is probably best viewed on an empty stomach.

I also want to thank my fellow Civil War authors who contributed to the comments to the various posts in this series. Your insights and comments only add value to the insights for the readers. Thanks for taking the time to do so.

Finally, and as always, I want to thank my readers for indulging this series.

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The Process of Researching Your Book Will Cost Much More Than You Expect, So Plan Accordingly. In this, the final post of the series, I will address something that J. D. suggested in a comment to the last post. I actually had planned on ending the series with this particular subject, so J.D. beat me to the punch. Ah, well.

J.D. is absolutely correct about the costs associated with researching and writing one of these books. Let me very blunt about this. I’m self-employed. If I don’t work, I don’t get paid. It’s really as simple as that. Folks pay me in excess of $200 for my time, so it has to be worth my while to pry myself out of the office.

I also live far from places like the Library of Congress, National Archives, or even the Army history center in Carlisle, PA. We’re looking at a full day of driving each direction to get there, plus lodging costs.

The truth is that it’s cheaper for me to pay someone to do a lot of the legwork for me, which then permits me to bill hours here at the office. However, those folks expect to be paid for their time and effort, just as I do. Plus, there are aspects of the research that I do myself, and given my belief that one cannot properly write about these battles without having a solid grasp of how terrain impacted the action, I spend significant amounts of time on the ground learning the terrain. That’s not only time away from the office, it’s travel cost.

Finally, I buy a lot of books when doing my research. I prefer to have the books and not photocopies, so it means that I can spend significant sums to gather research material. Fortunately, a lot of the regimental histories are now available by reprint, or even better, can be downloaded from sites like Google’s book search site, which saves cost. Even for the downloads, you still have paper and toner costs associated with obtaining the materials, not to mention the time spent doing the searching.

There’s simply no way around it: typically, I spend more on doing the research for my books than I ever make in royalties. If you want proof positive that what I do is a labor of love and not necessarily done for a profit motive, that last statement should be all you need.

My advice to you is to keep in mind that you’re going to spend a lot of money researching your book, and that it’s probably going to be more than you think. Plan accordingly.

Tomorrow, I will do a quick wrap-up of this series, which I hope has been helpful to you.

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Your Book Will Cost You More Than You Expect, So Plan for It. There are lots of hidden costs associated with the process of publishing a book. As just one example, some publishers insist that the preparation of the book’s index is the author’s responsibility. If you’re like me and don’t have the time, patience, attention span, or inclination to do an index, you will be expected to pay someone else to do it. To be completely and entirely candid about it, there are fews things in the world that piss me off more than being expected to pay for the preparation of an index. I’ve always viewed that as the publisher’s responsibility, since it’s part of the process of preparing the book for publication, and with the software that’s presently available for book layout and design, it’s become quite easy to do. But, I’ve had publishers insist on charging me for the privilege of preparing an index, and it’s something that I really don’t appreciate.

Another hidden and unexpected cost is the cost of maps and illustrations. Cartography, in particular, can be very expensive. I am aware of one popular cartographer that demands $200 per map, which I won’t pay. Most are about $50 per map, and some go as high as $100 per map. I am a firm believer that no book can have enough maps, so you’ve got to be prepared to pay the costs associated with map preparation unless you have the skills to draw them yourself, which I do not.

Finally, there can be costs associated with getting permission to use illustrations. This is another thing that angers me. The illustrations are, almost without fail, in the public domain, so it escapes me how an entity can charge to use something that’s in the public domain. However, it’s probably wise to err on the side of safety and pay the requested fees to avoid trouble.

So, the upshot is to be prepared for costs and expenses associated with the preparation of your book that you never anticipated.

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To take a break from my Things I Wish I Had Known series of posts, here is a review of last night’s show. Fear not…there will be more Things tomorrow. Today, though, I want to do something completely different. Again, for those who only read this blog for the Civil War content, you will probably want to skip this post.

I’m an old New Waver. I admit it. I loved the New Wave. Some of those bands were truly great: Blondie, The Talking Heads, Joe Jackson, The Romantics, Squeeze, The Fixx, Elvis Costello and the Attractions, The Police, the Specials, Oingo Boingo, UB40, and on and on. I had a one-inch wide black leather tie. I wore black Chuck Taylor high tops. I just really liked the music. It was a lot of the soundtrack to my college years.

Last night, Elvis Costello and his new band, The Impostors, opened for The Police here. We spent a great night last night. I’d never seen Elvis live before, but had always wanted to. He played a rocking hour-long set that never stopped. It was one song leading right into another for the entire hour. He played an interesting mix of his newer material and his old classics from the days when he was an angry young man. His band was terrific–the keyboard player is one of the best I have ever heard, and he’s also got an excellent drummer. They put an interesting twist on his biggest commercial hit, “Allison (My Aim is True)”, turning it into a bluesy tune, and then they turned up the heat. They did “Watching the Detectives,” a special favorite from the old days. He did “Radio, Radio”, a song that was tremendously controversial for its time, but tame by today’s standards. The set concluded by Elvis doing his signature song, “Pump It Up” (a rocking version up the standard of the original) and closed with “What’s So Funny About Peace, Love, and Understanding”. The crowd was on its feet swaying and singing along, and the place was completely energized by the end of his set.

I have to say that it was worth the price of admission just to see Elvis. I’m not sure how I’ve managed not to see him live previously, but if the opportunity presents itself again, I will be sure to see him again, because it was a great set–terrific songs, really excellent musicianship, and lots of energy. He may not be an angry young man any more, but he can still play.

After whipping the crowd into a frenzy, they had to break down Elvis’ stuff, so there was about 20 minute break. It gave me a chance to check out the crowd. As has been the case with all three concerts we’ve been to this spring, there was lots of gray hair in the crowd, but there were also a lot of youngsters. The couple sitting directly behind us brought their son to the show. The boy didn’t look like he was much older than 7 or 8, and he got bored pretty quickly. I like watching crowds at events like this. It’s very entertaining.

The lights went down again, and out came The Police. This was my fifth time seeing them. I saw them in the summer of 1981, before “Ghost in the Machine” was released, and then again in February 1982, on the same tour. Then I saw them a third time in August 1983, in one of those all-day outdoor extravaganzas of rock at old JFK Stadium in Philadelphia. I was 22, had just graduated from college, and was about a week from packing up to move to Pittsburgh to start grad school. It was sort of my last hurrah. As for the band, they were on top of the world at the time, with their album Synchronicity the number one record in the world for most of the year, and they headlined a fabulous show. It was 103 degrees that day, and I’ve never been so dehydrated in my life. At that end of that tour, that was the end of The Police. Sting began his solo career, and I never thought I would see them again.

Fortunately, I was wrong. Susan and I saw them in Cleveland last July early on the first leg of this tour, and then again last night. The set was different last night from what we saw in July, and the band was, if anything, even more tight than the were last summer. We saw an even better band last night.

Sting still sounds great. His unique voice is still as clear as ever, and he’s a tremendous bass player. At 64, Andy Summers is still a virtuoso guitar player, and Stewart Copeland is still a wild man on the drums. The magic is still there. These three are proof of the old cliche about the whole being greater than the sum of the parts. They bring out the best (and the worst) in each other, and it creates magic on stage. Their songs, which are no less than 25 years old at this point, still stand the test of time. It’s remarkable.

I’ve always loved Sting’s lyrics. As he pointed out last night, before he had this job, as he put, he was a schoolteacher. What other rocker makes the literary allusions he makes? References to Humbert Humbert in Lolita, or referring to Scylla and Charybdis from the tale of the Sirens in The Odyssey? Or that a song about a prostitute (“Roxanne”) is actually a veiled reference to Cyrano de Bergerac? His lyrics are often poetry set to music, which has always appealed to the writer in me.

The show began with Sting seated with a mandolin, doing a quiet but powerful version of “Bring On the Night.” That quickly changed, though, and the crowd was soon on its feet, singing along, with the whole list of great songs. They did “Synchronicity II”, “Wrapped Around My Finger”, and “King of Pain” from Synchronicity, “Demolition Man”, “One World”, and “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” from Ghost in the Machine, “Don’t Stand So Close to Me”, “When the World is Running Down”, “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da”, and “Voices Inside Your Head” from Zenyatta Mondatta.

The best part of the show was hearing them do a lot of songs from their first two albums: “Message in a Bottle”, “Walking on the Moon”, “Can’t Stand Losing You”, “Next To You”, “Driven to Tears”, “So Lonely”, and, of course, the one that started it all, “Roxanne”, done with a bluesy, jazzy sort of an arrangement. The last encore–they came back out three times–was “Next to You,” a rocking reminder of the energy of the early days of the New Wave. The crowd knew every word to every song, and it sang along with great gusto, swaying and dancing the whole time. We were on our feet for nearly the entire show.

At the end of it all, I was left with a bittersweet feeling. On one hand, I’d been handed a reprieve. I got to see The Police two more times when I never expected to have that opportunity again. For that, I am grateful. At the same time, as the lights came back up, I realized it was over, that this would be the last time that I ever saw these three men make magic together again.

But Sting’s final words echoed in my ears. After he, Stewart and Andy took a bow, he cryptically said, “We’ll see you again” before leaving the stage. What does that mean? Hope springs eternal that they will find their way into the studio and give us one more great album before going their separate ways once more, but who knows. I’m just glad I got to enjoy one last night of magic.

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