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Go Back   The Aerodrome Forum > Archives > 1999


1999 Closed threads from 1999 (read only)

 
 
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Old 9 August 1999, 01:53 AM   #1
stephen
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Visited the Cowpens battlefield last weekend, where in January of 1781 a few hundred Continentals and a thousand or so American militia (Second Amendment supporters) kept the independence movement alive by giving the best and most experienced infantry in the world (British regulars of the 71st Foot/Highlanders) and the best cavalry commander on the continent (Banastre Tarleton) what his officers later called a "devil of a whipping." From a historical standpoint it ranks as one of the all-time upsets in US military history. That alone should draw historians to the site.

But that's not what bothered me. I was walking on the west side of the field, the American right flank held by Deleware Continentals, and it occured to me that I was alone. I don't mean that there was no one else walking in front of me... I mean ALONE. Like nobody else, on a beautiful Saturday morning, on the entire battlefield. In one sense, it was fascinating to be alone on the field where your imagination can run wild. I even left the footpath and walked along the skirmish line on the Green River Road. The field is perfectly preserved and the landmarks are unmistakable. But it was also sort of sad that no one else cared enough to be there. I know we've all lamented this before and by now I shouldn't be surprised, but it just goes to show how poorly we've educated a nation on it's history. The park employee at the visitor's center said half the people that come there think it's a Civil War battlefield or something from a movie. It's scary enough that people don't know the bare facts about the battle - or the war, for that matter... what's even worse is that they don't know WHY it was fought, what price was paid, and for what cause.

I walked on, past marker #6 where the Brits deployed their artillery along the road, and thought... "Hey! I know! Shooter, Michael, Barrett, Jim, and a lot of my forum friends... they would understand! I'll tell 'em when I get back!" So there you have it. 400 miles from my computer and I still can't help but think of you guys (Freud would have something to say about that... eek!). We appear to be among the last bastions of patriotism. BTW, has anyone else ever noticed how people who have no philosophical identity whatsoever with the Patriots who founded this country still get mad when they are observed to be unpatriotic? Hmmm.
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Old 9 August 1999, 02:09 AM   #2
Kirby
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Stephen

I know exactly how you felt. I experienced exactly the same thing at the Blue Licks and Chalmette battle fields. Completely alone at Blue Licks and only the park ranger at Chalmette. Almost the same thing at Fort Donelson but there was a group of Confederate reenactors.

I'll bet the average person thirty years of age or less would have absolutely no idea of the meaning of the battlefields I've mentioned but I'll bet every forumite knows exactly what and where they are.

VBR
Kirby
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Old 9 August 1999, 05:43 AM   #3
mike_baram
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Stephen,
Don't you realize that the important things of life can be compressed into half an hour with Jerry Springer and a couple of MTV sound bites?
What galls me is that our generation (who finished high school and college with a fund of knowledge of our own, and world, history, not to mention great communications skills) have to stand by and watch a generation of semi-literate troglodytes assume control.
Sympathetically yours,
Mike
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Old 9 August 1999, 07:36 AM   #4
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Had the exact same experience at the Bennington Battlefield......I wrote a post on it a while back. It broke my heart. The local kids didn't even know it was there......3-4 miles from town. I really get scared for the future but honor all of you fellow forumites who remember what these men did.......on so many different, lonely fields.

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Old 9 August 1999, 09:51 AM   #5
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Stephen,
It IS sad to know that our next generation has let this knowledge fall by the wayside. On the other hand the Navy strives to commemorate famous battles. There are,and have been several ships in the fleet that have been named after battles Americans have fought. Currently there are the USS SHILOH, USS ANTIETAM, USS COWPENS, USS BUNKER HILL, USS BATAAN, USS HARPERS FERRY, USS PEARL HARBOR, USS BELLEAU WOOD, USS GETTYSBURG, previously there were the USS SARATOGA, USS LEXINGTON, USS MIDWAY. It gives me great pride to serve in the U.S. Navy. But for those of us who have and still serve, we won't forget these places where our blood was spilled and brave men fought and died. They are hallowed ground where Americans earned the freedom, which these kids of today so lavishly enjoy, that was bought with blood, sweat, tears, and lives. Next time take some of these kids to a National Cemetery and put them in front of the headstones, let them take in the thousands of them that cover the ground, and tell them..."these people bought your freedom for you." It's just too bad that they can't visit all the far flung "garden spots" where my bretheren who fought and died now sleep. Maybe then they would have a deeper appreciation for what they have.
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Old 9 August 1999, 10:01 AM   #6
James Gage
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As an English Patriot I can understand where you're coming from- I got the same feeling as you got when I drove through The Somme Region of France on my way to Le Mans. I'm not a Patriotic American, true- but the feeling is no less!

James
 
Old 9 August 1999, 10:14 AM   #7
Kirby
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Jim

IMHO any place where there is a grave of an American service man or woman, who served honorably, is a National Cemetary.

Those graves were paid for with their youth, their blood and their lives...not with a monetary contribution to some sleazy politician.

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Old 9 August 1999, 01:06 PM   #8
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James - As an English patriot you may like to know that at our local town cemetery in Bennington Vermont there is a grave marker for some English soldiers who died of their wounds while in American hands after the Battle of Bennington. Each year some of us place a small English flag and flowers next to the marker for these men who died so far from home. It may not be much but we try to remember their great sacrifice for their beloved country in this small way. Take some comfort that your honored dead aren't all forgotten - even by former enemies.

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Old 9 August 1999, 01:50 PM   #9
Rich Hicks
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Stephen,

I also visited Cowpens battlefield a few years ago, and since moving to SC have actually even worked in the area, but not visited it recently. I'll soon be moving about an hour closer, and will certainly go back again.

What I found fascinating, after I'd had a chance to visit several ACW battlefields, was the difference in scale. At Cowpens, a very decisive, important engagement was fought on a relatively small field, with only about 1000 men on each side. Some 80 years later, several battles were fought over a widely scattered area, each with 25-30 times the men engaged, with horrendous casualties - to eventually preserve what was partially won at Cowpens.

Some of the places most special to me are Gettysburg, Vicksburg, Shiloh, Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, Antietam, and Cowpens (and a few others) - all of which I've been fortunate enough to visit. I intend to share these with my youngest daughter, who has given me good reason to hope (at 13) that not ALL of the next generation will forget.

Rich
 
Old 9 August 1999, 02:37 PM   #10
Billy
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On the subject of the (First) American Revolution, one of the best books on the subject is Gen. Galvin's "The Minute Men: The First Fight, Myth and Legend." An excellent treatment of the background and evolution of the minute man and militia movement before 1775 and its full commitment to action on Emerson's epic 18th of April of '75. I learned quite a bit, including some details of the actions of my indirect ancestors, Capt. Parker at Lexington and Col. Barrett at Concord and points east.
It's an inspiring story, rendered bittersweet by the knowledge that those courageous, dedicated men would be appalled at how we've squandered the precious gift they bequeathed us.
 
 

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