Thursday, January 31, 2013

First Minnesota

 
Pennsylvania Memorial:
 Great white stone and black statues... a sky streaked with clouds, bright sunshine, and plenty of heat.
We walked around the huge structure, reading the names of the companies...
...ran up the broad stone steps, and around to see the great carvings in stone.
 
:::::::::::
 
 Inside the "legs" of the structure, stairs spiral upward, iron and stone, to a round room at the top; and doors open out onto the blazing sunlight of the lookout, high above the surrounding fields...
 
 
 
 
  
 Auntie had me tell the story of the First Minnesota Regiment in my own words as we walked up to the monument.  We looked out over the land that the running statue continually gazes upon; over the slope where those men fought such a valiant battle.  The valley wasn't as good or extreme as I perhaps was expecting.... so little cover under fire.
 
We read the inscriptions and the summaries of the battle; took pictures under the gradually lowering sky, and thought about the battles fought all around this memorable spot.
One side of the monument reads:
"On the afternoon of July 2, 1863 Sickles' Third Corps, having advanced from this line to the Emmitsburg Road, eight companies of the First Minnesota Regiment, numbering 262 men were sent to this place to support a battery upon Sickles repulse.
As his men were passing here in confused retreat, two Confederate brigades in pursuit were crossing the swale. To gain time to bring up the reserves & save this position, Gen Hancock in person ordered the eight companies to charge the rapidly advancing enemy.
The order was instantly repeated by Col Wm Colvill. And the charge as instantly made down the slope at full speed through the concentrated fire of the two brigades breaking with the bayonet the enemy's front line as it was crossing the small brook in the low ground there the remnant of the eight companies, nearly surrounded by the enemy held its entire force at bay for a considerable time & till it retired on the approach of the reserve the charge successfully accomplished its object. It saved this position & probably the battlefield. The loss of the eight companies in the charge was 215 killed & wounded. More than 83% percent. 47 men were still in line & no man missing. In self sacrificing desperate valor this charge has no parallel in any war. Among the severely wounded were Col Wm Colvill, Lt Col Chas P Adams & Maj Mark W. Downie. Among the killed Capt Joseph Periam, Capt Louis Muller & Lt Waldo Farrar. The next day the regiment participated in repelling Pickett's charge losing 17 more men killed & wounded"
 
:stalwart:

A Memory of Birthday Adventures

It was the first of September, my eighteenth birthday.  I was in Maryland, brought by my dear Grandma Rosi, and staying with beloved Aunt, Uncle, and Cousins.  When I came upstairs, I was hailed with birthday hugs, and the smell of sausage and eggs.  There was a posy of fresh flowers on the table, a birthday gift from the Library of Congress shop (a book of American and British Poetry!), and soon I had my habitual morning cup of tea--the perfect start to a truly glorious day.
 
At that point I had no idea what was in store for me~not an inkling of the secret about to be revealed.  I'll admit, I knew something was up.  I figured there was a plan, a secret plan for the day, not only because it was my birthday, but because there had been a marked absence of talk about Saturday in any terms.
 
And sure enough, it wasn't long before they told me.  Grandma started out very causually, saying they had a low-key sort of plan for the day; but her eyes were twinkling, and her voice showed clearly that she knew how much it meant to me, when she told me--we were going to see the First Minnesota monument at Gettysburg.  We would make the hour drive to Gettysburg, see some of the town, see a bit of the National Park, have a picnic.... and visit the monument of the First Minnesota Infantry Regiment, on Cemetery Ridge.
 
I was so thrilled.  After studying about that particular bit of history, writing about it, and hearing that set to music, that battle has gained such meaning--personal meaning--for me.  It was real again, as it aught to be, not just a bit of history, but a part of ourselves, our heritage; a part to indeed be proud of.  And because of that experience, the whole history of the Civil War and of Abraham Lincoln had come to mean that much more to me.  Seeing the Lincoln Memorial the day before, along with so many other reminders of our great history, was extremely moving and influential.  I am so very grateful for it.  Thank you Grammy!
 
 
And so we started ~ Aunt Karrie, Grandma Rosi, Jessi, and myself ~ a marvelous adventure group!  We stopped at Target for picnic food, and then at Starbucks for a special treat, and I got an iced chai latte.  The ride was splendid; the sun was out and warm, the sky mostly blue; we passed a lot of yard-sales, and before long, the mason-dixon line.  We were listening to Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong (a smashing pair) and discussing all sorts of dreams about owning a coffee shop (many will know that this is a recurring theme) with wifi, music, books, coffees and teas... possibly a b&b...
 
Gettysburg... 
 Gettysburg National Military Park
the Eisenhower shuttle
One of my favorite shots ~ dear Grammy and me, with President Lincoln
 
 
The Museum
(... I saw a corgy outside the visitor's center ;)
 
 
 
 Then we drove back through Gettysburg...
 
 ...fabulous old buildings...
 
 
 
 
 
culp's hill, spangler's spring,  
 
 
Picnic!
Then we drove back to the park for our splendiferous picnic ~ carrots and sugar-snap peas, roasted red-pepper hummus and crackers, yogurt, mozzerella cheese sticks, apples and peanut-butter, hard-boiled eggs, watermelon, bananas, nuts.... and warm sunshine, very warm. (hard to imagine these days)...
More installments to come of our Gettysburg adventures...

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Crafting and Wool

calendar making
 
~my favorite documentaries ever~


Greta and myself in our felted wool
Ben's sweater for her--Dad's for me!
Wool for my attic adventures~

Wodehouse Wednesday


'And then Lady Malvern came back, a good bit ahead of schedule. I hadn't been expecting her for days. I'd forgotten how time had been slipping along. She turned up one morning while I was still in bed sipping tea and thinking of this and that. Jeeves flowed in with the announcement that he had just loosed her into the sitting-room. I draped a few garments round me and went in.
There she was, sitting in the same arm-chair, looking as massive as ever. The only difference was that she didn't uncover the teeth as she had done the first time.
"Good morning," I said. "So you've got back, what?"
"I have got back"
There was something sort of bleak about her tone, rather as if she had swallowed an east wind. This I took to be due to the fact that she probably hadn't breakfasted. It's only after a bit of breakfast that I'm able to regard the world with that sunny cheeriness which makes a fellow the universal favorite. I'm never much of a lad till I've engulfed an egg or two and a beaker of coffee.
"I suppose you haven't breakfasted?"
"I have not yet breakfasted."
"Won't you have an egg or something? Or a sausage or something? Or something?"
"No, thank you."
She spoke as if she belonged to an anti-sausage society or a league for the suppression of eggs. There was a bit of a silence.'

~P.G. Wodehouse, Jeeves and the Unbidden Guest

“The cup of tea on arrival at a country house is a thing which, as a rule, I particularly enjoy. I like the crackling logs, the shaded lights, the scent of buttered toast, the general atmosphere of leisured cosiness.” 

~P.G. Wodehouse


I am a great believer in breakfast; and tea; and both together.  These Minnesota winter days, we drink tea around the clock, to keep our warmth and spirits up.  Others of my family are also quite partial to their coffee, and we have taken to quoting Wodehouse quite often when we are in need of either one.
"Tea, tea, tea--what? What?" and
"Coffee.  Where's my coffee?  I need coffee; why have I none?"
but quite distinctly in the proper accents of course, Bertie and Lord Emsworth, respectively.
Happy tea and things to you!