Archive for May, 2012


OH to TX and Back – a National Battlefield, 2 National Military Parks, 3 National Historical Parks, a National Monument, the Alamo, San Antonio Riverwalk, the Highpoint of LA, a National Memorial, a National Historic Site and a Haunted House

May 28, 2012

Trip to TX

5/15/2012  Fort Donelson National Battlefield TN – This was the first major federal victory of the Civil War (1962).  Ulysses Grant started the Western Campaign by taking Fort Henry on the Tennessee River and then Fort Donelson on the Cumberland River.  He had 27,000 men as well as ironclad gunboats on the river.  There were about 15,500 Confederates at the Fort.  In the end there were 1,500 Confederate and 2,800 Federal casualties.  About 2,500 Confederates escaped and 13,000 surrendered.

Confederate Monument

The Dover Hotel, where Grant became known as “Unconditional Surrender” Grant.

5/16/2012  Vicksburg National Military Park MS – Grant’s taking of Vicksburg (1863) accomplished the Federal goal of controlling the Mississippi River and “splitting the Confederacy .”  Lincoln called Vicksburg “the key.”  He believed “the war can never be brought to a close until that key is in our pocket.”

We toured the Visitor Center, watched an excellent video and then drove the 16 mile tour road past over 1300 monuments!

Grant first took Jackson MS and then advanced on Vicksburg.  After two unsuccessful assaults, he began a formal siege.

The Illinois State Memorial has 47 steps, one for each day of the siege.

Monument to African Descent Regiments

Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant

The ironclad gunboat Cairo was the first U.S. ship in history to be sunk by a torpedo/mine.  It was raised in 1964.

Annabelle B & B Vicksburg

5/17/2012 Poverty Point National Monument LA – The earthworks of mounds and ridges overlooking the Mississippi River flood plain date to between 1700 and 700 BC. The site was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1962 and in 1988 became a National Monument. The site is currently run as a LA State Park.

This was a most interesting site.  It is little known outside of LA and I believe due greater recognition.

Personal Tour

“Bird Mound” in distance

Mound was 70 feet high

This site has been described as “the largest and most complex Late Archaic earthwork occupation and ceremonial site yet found in North America.”

“Cut in Stone” – Future Historic Building?


5/19/2012 Lydon B. Johnson National Historical Park and Texas White House – Johnson was born on the family ranch but his family moved to Johnson City when he was five. The National Historical Park Visitor Center is in Johnson City.

Boyhood home is in background

Replica of birthplace on LBJ Ranch 14 miles west of Johnson City – the LBJ Ranch is in the Texas Hill Country west of Austin and served as the “Texas White House” from 1963-69.

Liz, Chad and Drago

Modest tombstone in family cemetery, he had an aunt who was a Martin. Johnson had a tumultuous Presidency – he took office after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, dealt with the Vietnam War and Urban Riots. He is noted for his advocacy for Civil Rights, the War on Poverty, and his Great Society Program. Johnson died here in 1973 at age 64 after suffering a massive heart attack.

Pat O’Brien’s San Antonio – Jambalaya, Blackened Catfish, Crawfish Etouffee and Hurricanes!

5/20/2012 Alamo, San Antonio TX – The Alamo was originally a mission but in 1793 Spanish officials gave it to the Indian residents. In 1836 it was the site of a heroic battle where about 200 Texian and Tejano volunteers held out for 13 days against Gen. Santa Anna’s Mexican army during the Texas revolution. In the end all were killed including Colonel Travis, Jim Bowie and Davie Crockett.

San Antonio Riverwalk

San Antonio Missions National Historical Park – We drove the Mission Trail to all four missions. The first stop was Mission Concepcion – Drago’s 2nd National Historical Park!

Mission San Jose

Rose Window – known as the premier example of Spanish Colonial ornamentation in the U.S.

All four missions are active churches – this was a bilingual Mariachi mass

Mariachi band after mass

Mission San Juan

Mission Espada

5/22/2012 Chad’s Birthday

Drago Man

Chad, Liz and Drago’s New Home

Trip Home from TX

5/24/2012 Cane River Creole National Historical Park LA – depicts plantation life in this area during the 18th century. The term Creole describes a person born in this area. The person could be French, Spanish, African, Indian or of mixed heritage.

Oakland plantation was established by Jean Pierre Emanuel Prud’homme in 1821. Eight generations of his French Creole family lived and worked on this land and kept the complex intact for two centuries before it became a National Historic Park in 1994.

Bottles used to designate flower beds – some are two hundred years old!

Massive bed

Slave would operate board fan during dinner

Overseer’s Home

Slave Quarters

Big Oak Tree

Pigeon House

Driskill Mountain, Highpoint of LA – Helen’s 29th State Highpoint

About 1.8 miles round trip with 150 foot elevation gain – the 3rd lowest state highpoint

UAM Trotter House B & B in Monticello, AR

5/25/2012 Arkansas Post National Memorial – The park includes the site of a 19th-century town and two of the 18th-century trading and military posts. The first trading post was established by the French in conjunction with the Quapaw Indians in 1682. It was the first permanent European settlement in the Lower Mississippi Valley. A battle between the British and the Spanish, who then controlled the fort, took place during the American Revolution. The Post was the first capital of the Arkansas Territory after the Louisiana Purchase but the capital moved to Little Rock in 1821. The Confederacy built a fort here but it was taken by the Federals in 1863. There were over 1200 total casualties and about 5000 Confederates surrendered.

Five flags flew over Arkansas Post, two French (different rulers), Spanish, Confederate and U.S.

The Arkansas River changed course in 1912 leaving the post half a mile from the river.

Hiked the Nature and Lake trails

The Post is now an interesting historical site and nature center.

Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site – Made world news in September 1957 when nine African Americans were forcefully integrated. September 4, Guardsmen bar black students from entering. September 20, Federal judge rules against use of Guard to block students, Little Rock p0lice take over. September 23, nine black students enter school but police cannot maintain order, riot ensues. September 24, President Eisenhower federalizes Arkansas National guard and sends 1,200 soldiers from the 101st Airborne to Little Rock. September 25, Little Rock Nine enters school escorted by soldiers.

1950’s Gas Station

It is still an active school

Magnolia Manor B & B in Bolivar TN – Haunted House?!

Featured on HGTV’s “If Walls Could Talk.”  Annual meeting place of Paranormal Society.

During the Civil War four Union generals stayed here – Grant, Sherman, McPherson and Logan.

Judge Austin Miller Master Suite – built house in 1849

Sitting area for master suite

Our room – “The “1849 Room” – One of the most “Active Rooms” in house, someone was tickling my feet!

Front Parlor

Dining Room

Line dancing during “Music in the Bolivar Square”

5/26/2012  Shiloh National Military Park TN – After Grant captured Fort Donelson, Gen. Johnston, Confederate commander in the area, abandoned KY and Middle TN and concentrated his forces at the strategic railroad hub of Corinth MS.  Grant moved his 40,000 men by boat to Pittsburg Landing (TN) 22 miles north of Corinth and was ordered to wait for Buell’s army of Ohio.  However, Johnston attacked Grant with 44,000 men in the forest and fields around a small log church called the Shiloh Meeting House before Buell arrived.  Grant’s men fell back two miles.  That night Buell army arrived with thousands of fresh troops and Grant counterattacked the next morning.  There were over 23,000 casualties at Shiloh!

Shiloh log meeting house