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one hunderedth anniversary of NPS....

Friday, April 22, 2016
...(National Park System) this year has me thinking it would be a grand idea to visit one of 'my' national parks during each month. I started off behind, and must admit I cannot receive any credit for actually accomplishing this -yet. And seems that I am so far behind, there is small likelihood of getting it done in the next 2/3 of 2016. Good intentions: definitely, but getting there...  only marginally successful.

I wrote about going to Horseshoe Bend Battlefield in eastern Alabama back in January - pretty interesting little slice of history there, in a well tended park that is a good bit off the beaten path. And I've looked at trying to get to King's Mountain in up-state South Carolina, but not sure when that might happen. It is not so far from Greenville, where I visit fairly often, so it's do-able, but makes for a lot of driving. Causing you to think: shouldn't pose a problem for someone who seems to be willing to commit to excessive driving to attain a foolhardy goal.

I am pleased to announce progress is being made. If you are willing to consider visiting of historic sites and battlefields as 'qualifiers' towards the goal of twelve in a year. I've been to two today. The site of the biggest hospital in the world, in 1862. And the location of one of the few battles where the invading army was soundly beaten by the defenders in 1864. I am, of course, referring to events that occurred during the War of Northern Aggression.

The hospital was located on the eastern side of Richmond, and served over 70,000 soldiers, along with a number of other smaller hospitals throughout the city. One of the first complexes, consisting of over 150 buildings, designed for the specific purpose of treating the wounded war casualties. Most of the doctors/surgeons had no experience whatsoever treating gunshot and war wounds. The staff available, consisting of slaves, freed men and women, as well as citizens of Richmond were equally inexperienced in providing care for men maimed by cannon fire or bayonets. But care they did, with compassion and on-the-job training, with a remarkably low fatality rate, considering the limited training, medical knowhow and drugs available.

Then on to the battlefield of Cold Harbor. Where the Rebs and Yanks faced off over dirt and log-reinforced embankments. With men on both side tired, hungry, under nourished, poorly clad and shod, sick of war, and sick from dysentery, still battling it out going into four years of battle. The Confederates would like to think they won that particular event, and judging by numbers it is true. But sadly it seems to be a prime example of 'won the battle and lost the war', as the Union troops merely outflanked them after a temporary defeat, and went on to capture the Capitol after the siege of Petersburg to the south of Richmond.

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