18 May 2006 by Published in: General musings 1 comment

Well, we have one more full day here before heading back to Ohio. We’re leaving on Saturday morning, and are planning on breaking up the trip by spending Saturday night in Staunton, VA. We will drive back to Columbus from Staunton on Sunday. While I REALLY miss our dogs, I really don’t want to go home. I could easily stay here, perhaps for years.

On Tuesday, we met up with Drew Pullen, who is a local historian who has done a great deal of work on the Civil War in the eastern portion of North Carolina. Drew is a retired school teacher who manages a bank branch on Hatteras Island. There’s probably nobody who knows more about this than Drew. We spent much of our time on the 1861 naval campaign that led to the fall of Forts Clark and Hatteras on Hatteras Island. We did a little on Burnside’s campaign, but we ran out of time.

Dare County, which is the county where most of the Outer Banks lie, has spent a great deal of money trying to promote Civil War tourism. It has erected some absolutely magnificent monuments reflecting the county’s role in the Civil War. They’re very impressive…nicer by far than one finds on some of the battlefields owned by the National Park Service. They include etchings of contemporary illustrations of events, and they’re quite handsome. All of them contain text on both sides.

After Burnside captured Hatteras Island, he sent the 20th Indiana regiment to the far north end of the island, where it established its camp in an effort to provide an early warning system in case the Confederates tried to re-take the island. The Hoosiers established their camp at a place called Chicamacomico. When Confederate infantry advanced, the Hoosiers bugged out, racing nearly twenty miles back to the main Union camp, running in 90+ degree heat and high humidity. The event is called the Chicamacomico Races to this day. There are several handsome monuments along the course of their march, and it’s an extremely amusing episode.

On Tuesday night, I spoke to the Outer Banks Civil War Roundtable. The group meets at a beautiful country club on the northern end of Bodie Island. The group has about 50 members, which is quite impressive for a group that’s only a year old. Their meeting format, however, is unique–like nothing I have ever seen. They have a cocktail hour, followed by a cold cut buffet dinner. There is no business meeting at all. I was introduced and then started speaking. They also take a break in the middle of the talk. I REALLY didn’t like that–it interrupted my flow, and was just plain strange. In truth, I think it’s because some of the members really needed another drink to make it through the talk. 🙂

In truth, I really enjoyed the group, and I would be happy to come back and speak here again if they ever were to ask me to do so.

We’ve also visited three of the four lighthouses. We stopped at the Bodie Island light house, and climbed to the top of both the Hatteras and Currituck Beach light houses. Hatteras is 250 steps to the top, and the winds were howling when we got up there. Currituck was very different–it’s only 218 steps up–and there was no wind to speak of when we got to the top. I doubt that we will get to see the Ocracoke light house on this trip–it’s a full day to go down there, and since tomorrow is our last day here, we don’t want to tie up the entire day that way. We are going to visit the Wright Brothers Memorial tomorrow–our trip would not be complete without a visit there.

See everyone once we get home.

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