Sunday, July 15, 2018

Remember the Alamo!

Followers and readers of this blog will know that I do go off on tangents every now and again.  This post is one of them.

The messy appearance of the Pavilion
Today my wife and I talk a humid walk around the Clifton area of Cincinnati.  For years I have been wanting to stop at the Lone Star Pavilion at Burnet Woods so we made an effort to include the pavilion on our walk.  The pavilion was dedicated in 1974 by the Sons of the Republic of Texas and has replicas of the Twin Sisters, two artillery pieces that citizens of Cincinnati raised money to send to serve in the Texas Revolution, also known as the Texas War of Independence.  These two guns (iron six-pounders, cast at the foundry of Hawkins and Tatum in Cincinnati) served at the Battle of San Jacinto, where Mexican General Santa Anna's force was routed in just eighteen minutes by Texans and other volunteers commanded by one Sam Houston, thus securing Texas as a separate republic.  As the United States were* "neutral" during the conflict, the guns were called hollow ware by the local citizens.  The location for the Twin Sisters sent to Texas is currently unknown.  Having bounded around Texas for awhile, they were used during the Civil War, and most likely present at the Battle of Palmito Ranch, the last major action of the war.

Replica cannon needing some work
The pavilion in Burnet Woods is in need of some TLC.  It is weedy, the flower bed is a mess, grass cuttings left are on the sidewalks from our highly dedicated and motivated city employees, and no flags fly from the three flagpoles.  A beat up trash container sits along the walk to the street.  I didn't explore all of the area as there was a homeless person sleeping inside.  Burnet Woods as a whole is a pretty messy park, with honeysuckle and tons of poison ivy everywhere.  If only Cincinnati could spend money on parks instead of a streetcar, but I digress.  The cannon themselves need a good cleaning and new coat of paint.  Perhaps a more permanent trash receptacle could be installed.  Some dogwoods and cheery trees could make a nice backdrop, especially in the spring.

Cool five pointed star roof to honor Texas
I am only about a ten or fifteen minute drive from the park.  With a wife who is a master gardener and works in the field of landscaping, along with taking care of another Cincinnati city park, I bet we could come up with a plan to at least salvage that garden area, creating bands of red, white, and blue flowers to signify the Texas flag.  I am wondering too if we could buy three flags and hoist them on the flagpoles - I think having a United States, an Ohio, and a Texas flag would be appropriate, yes?  There is easy street access to Clifton Avenue, so bringing in tools and flowers is a snap.  I do not believe there is water nearby, so whatever plants used would have to be drought resistant.

So, perhaps a new project, one that my wife and I could work on together.  Just don't tell her that I suggested it!  Wonder if there are any Sons of the Republic of Texas in the area who would want to assist?

* using the plural as before the Civil War the country was a collection of states, united.  After the Civil War the term became used in the singular form to indicate one country.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Civil War Talk Radio

Last evening I was fortunate enough to share a bit of time on Civil War Talk Radio with Bill Penn.  Bill was there to discuss his book, Kentucky Rebel Town, and I covered a bit about the Cynthiana Battlefields Foundation and a few battle comments.  It was an enjoyable experience and I hope you will take some time and give a listen:

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Fort Donelson War Department Tablet Project

Well, I have truly decided to put together a guide to the various War Department tablets found at Fort Donelson.  I find their story in telling the Fort Donelson story to be rather interesting.  My trip in May will help detail some of the locations more precisely, both the existing and the half dozen or so missing tablets (such as the 2nd Kentucky Infantry and some of the brigade markers).  Long term it would be grand to work with various organizations (Civil War round tables, reenactment groups, heritage groups, etc.) to raise the funds to have the missing tablets replaced.  I've always been a believer in giving more for folks to study and see on a battlefield.

For the guide I am already at forty pages, with about 50% of the tablets left to cover, and this is before adding pictures and location information for each tablet.  Once completed I am seeing the guide coming in around 80-100 pages.  Then the search for getting it published will begin, most likely going the print on demand method, printing off some to donate to the park.  Proceeds most likely will go to the Civil War Trust for any Fort Donelson land acquisitions.  Apparently the Fort Donelson Civil War Round Table as well as the Friends of Fort Donelson have both gone by the wayside otherwise I would work with these organizations to see how any proceeds might be donated.  Shame about both of these groups; while the area is rural there are enough small cities within thirty miles that should have been able to sustain both entities.  The round table had some excellent speakers in the past.  Wonder if it is the old classic lack of regional advertising and failure to work with partner organizations that doomed them?  A national battlefield should be able to draw enough local support to sustain a friends group at the very least.  Regardless, I digress, and living five hours away would prevent me from even considering getting involved with a revitalization of either organization.

More on the tablet project after the Donelson trip!


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