Wednesday, March 31, 2010


I've been to Savannah several times as my son Hans was stationed there for several years and was married there. It was John's first visit. And, a beautiful time for it!! The flowers were all abloom and there was little humidity!! We stayed at Hunter Army Airbase. It was nestled in the trees - which was pretty (see photo) BUT buggy!

We took a trolley tour which allows you to get on and off the various points of interest. We visited the home of Julia Low Howe, founder of the Girl Scouts, the Davenport Home, St. John the Baptist Cathedral. St. John's is a gorgeous church. It is where Hans and Andrea were married and I had forgotten how beautiful it is. Our last day we drove out to Tybee Island which is a lovely beachside resort town and then had dinner at a local seafood place, The Crab Shack. The speciality there is a "Low Country Boil". John feasted on that, but I went for the shrimp and crab plate. It is a very rustic and unassuming place on the water - "Where the elite eat in their bare feet". Lots of alligator themed items. Started outside overlooking the water. Then, the bugs started their feasting - on us!!

All in all, a very enjoyable visit! Now on to Charleston!! It will be a first visit for us both.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


This museum was a surprise! I thought, "Oh, boring guns & stuff!" But, the displays were actually interesting and well done. You walk along very realistic displays of battles starting with the Revolutionary War and ending with Desert Storm. Grandsons Lance and Branden seemed to enjoy it. Then, they got to fire off M16's!! Dummy bullets, of course, but a thrill nevertheless. We also toured an army village... barracks, chapel, supply office, etc. as it would have looked during WWII. (The state-of-the-art telephones and typewriters were a mystery to both boys.) The fellow giving the tour was a 20 year vet and John and another fellow touring could add their memories of the 60's version. Oh, the area in the back is a stadium where new infantrymen from Fort Benning graduate. As they march across the field, they are marching on soil that has been brought from every major battle from every war this country has fought. Soil that holds the blood of earlier infantryman who were wounded or died in defense of this country. I found that moving. I find that moving.

This is a new museum and was built and is maintained strictly by donations... no government money. Along the side of the building is 20 foot wide Heritage Walk with flags from each state lining the sides. There is a program for people to sponsor pavers memorializing a family member, friend, etc. who was an infantryman in any war (Revolutionary, Civil, Spanish American, etc.) Any infantryman you would like to commemorate? My dad comes to my mind....

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


In February 1862, this beautiful spot overlooking the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers was the site of a little known, but pivotal battle in the Civil War. It was the 1st major Northern victory, opening the way to the South leading to Nashville and Brig. General U.S. Grant's rise to promenience. When Union gunboats and ironclads secured the defeat of Fort Henry, Grant marched his troops toward Donelson with the gunboats and ironclads proceeding upriver. Unlike the battle at Fort Henry, the Confederate river batteries inflicted terrible damage on the Union fleet and the fleet retreated. Meanwhile Grant continued marching toward Donelson receiving reinforcements along the way and encircled the Confederate enclave. A fierce battle ensued as the Confederates tried to clear a route out, almost succeeding. And, as happens so often in battle, the tide of battle turned on a crucial mistake. The leading Confederate generals ordered their troops to return to their entrenchments! Grant moved quickly and closed up the escape route. Then, Confederate Generals Floyd and Pillow turned over command of the Fort to Brig. General Simon Bolivar Buckner and fled with 2000 troops. It was up to Buckner to surrender to Grant. Now, Grant and Buckner had been friends and classmates at West Point, graduating the same year. Grant, who was very poor, had always been treated generously by his well-to-do friend Buckner. So, the sting of the loss must have been doubly so when he heard his "friend's" terms of surrender! "No terms except an unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted." Buckner had no choice but to comply. Grant did try to be gracious at the surrender and allowed Buckner to keep his sword and sidearm and offering an "open purse" should Buckner need anything. The "unchivalrous" and "ungenerous" terms still stung and it was not until shortly before Grant's death that these two friends reconciled.

It is a beautiful place - from the batteries overlooking the rivers to the Dover Hotel where the surrender took place! And it was especially beautiful on our visit! Daffodils abloom everywhere; pear trees looked snowy in their white flowers; trees budding and ready to burst into leaf. Best yet, an eagle's aerie in the trees just inside the fort. Did you know eagles live 30-40 years and return to the same nest year after year. This pair of eagles have been nesting in this tree for about 6 years. The area is restricted and you cannot approach the tree, but, if you look really close, you can see Mama or Papa Eagle's head peeking over the nest. They take turns guarding the eaglets and bringing fish from the river.