Monday, April 6, 2015
Not Too Pretty to Burn
On Good Friday, me and The Boy took a trip to Grand Gulf State Park. Grad Gulf is right on the river...maybe 20 miles south of Vicksburg. When I say on the river...I mean nervously close to the River. The water on Friday was up to the little two lane road opposite the park.
It won't surprise you to hear that my arch enemy took his most gruesome form on this lane a few years ago. I was in the car when Satan's House Pet crossed my path...the blackest, fattest, most ghoulish, ugggh...and it still gives me shivers.
There's not really a town here anymore. The first one was burned down by David Farrugut...Furragut, whatever, David Yankee, as part of the U.S. invasion of Mississippi during Lincoln's war.
had prepared the hills around what was left of the town. There Hoskins' Light Artillery, from Brookhaven, MS were splint between two small "forts." Hoskins' gunners with 13 light pieces fought off seven US gunships, firing some 2,500 rounds into the Confederate positions...they even disabled one of the ships.
Sadly, it was barely a setback for grant. They just moved down river and landed unopposed and marched on Port Gibson ("Too Beautiful To Burn" - U.S. Grant. How cute.) where Bowen, severely outnumbered, was forced to retreat after a day's fighting. Grand Gulf was evacuated.
I have to tell you...reading Bowen's CV is an exercise in excruciation for an unreconstructed Southron. He had predicted where the Yankees would attack and had repeatedly requested reinforcements from Pemberton in Vicksburg...DENIED. They weren't run out of Port Gibson...they were in an untenable position because of sheer numbers and had to withdraw. At the Battle of Corinth, MS...he had overrun a significant US position. Instead of exploiting the advantage...his commander Van &*&^&ing Dorn called a halt. At Champions Hill...Bowen led an attack that was on the verge of breaking the Yankee center but, AGAIN, he was not supported!
Taken prisoner after the fall of Vicksburg, Bowen died of dysentery after being paroled...32 years old. Did I mention that this Jedi was a Georgian? Damn right I did...you want me to tell you again? :)
While we're here...let's hear from Robbie Robertson. A Canadian who has gifted The South with genuine treasure. About the song...he said he wanted to express the dignified sadness he often encountered in Southerners. He had Levon there for guidance I'm sure but, it's Robertson's song and it is cherished.*
Up on the hill behind the "forts" is an old cemetery.
It's my favorite place on the park.
As an aside for C...we saw the most outrageously yellow little bird I've ever seen in my life there.
Not far from Grand Gulf...just off the Natchez Trace is the site of Rocky Springs. At one time there were 1,500 souls there...between the war and disease the town was abandoned by 1930. There is a church there...built in the 1830's. That's a rare specimen in these parts. It has a fabulous old cemetery. There are a couple of Confederate Veterans buried there but they very recent additions compared to the others. It's in the same style but possessed of a more grand decay. I was gonna take the Boy by there on the way home but he was passed out by then.
There's an old Dog Trot or Cracker House on the property. We have fantasies of building one of these on a sandy piece of property, shaded by Live Oaks, somewhere along the gulf coast one day.
This picture has global significance. Those are azaleas....they are swarming with Bumble Bees. I've read that bumble bees are disappearing around the world. Well, it turns out, they are disappearing to Grand Gulf, MS. There must have been 100 of these fat stingers buzzing around the various buildings. The Boy finally couldn't take it anymore despite my insistence that they weren't going to sting him. I think he was just sleepy.
Halfway there he had generously offered to let me listen to my "disc." Big Star Third.
"Does he sing like this for every song?"
"This the worst singing ever."
By the time we got to Jesus Christ he had settled in to it. Ha.
See Charity Chic for an interesting post on that other Canadian. :)
More on Grand Gulf to come....