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Old Dec 29, 2008, 8:55 AM   #1
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Each of us have places that have influenced their lives, and no place has perhaps had so much of an impact on me as the site of the 1862 battle. At stake was Pittsburgh Landing on the Tennessee River which cut through the heart of the Confederacy



I first visited Shiloh when I six or seven, and it awakened in me a lifelong passion for history....one that led me to a degree in the subject and into a classroom today. At Shiloh, perhaps more than any other historical sight I've visited, I can look on this road and almost see and hear the 7000 Union troops that were stretched in a defensive line behind this fence



Across a field, those troops faced the longest continuous line of artillery the Southern troops were able to amass in the war



For those who had the misfortune of living along these fields in cabins such as these, the battle was a disaster. The owner of the cabin that stood here had a spectacular peach orchard (The National Parks service is trying to recreate it, but, as you can see from the fencing protecting the young trees, fights a continuing battle with the deer who make the park their home today.) The original cabin was destroyed in the battle and its remnants used by the troops for firewood; however, he moved this cabin to its current location the year after the battle.



Abraham Lincoln said of Gettysburg, "The world will little note what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here..." To preserve that memory, the park is littered with monuments to troops from individual states, North and South. Most are unspectacular obelisks and the like, however, this fairly recent addition to the park's statuary stands out, capturing some of the human cost of the battle (detail of larger work)



Beautiful day for walking the battlefield, difficult day to photograph it because of incredibly bright sunshine, which always seemed to be coming at the wrong angle. All shots taken with the K20d....the first three with the Sigma 18-50 EX DG f/2.8, the last two with the Pentax DA*50-135. Fill flash used to bring out detail and overcome shadows on #4 & #5.

Paul






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Old Dec 29, 2008, 9:41 AM   #2
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Looks like a great place for a peaceful walk Paul.

Dawg
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Old Dec 29, 2008, 4:34 PM   #3
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Isn't it amazing how a particular spot or an experience in childhood can change lives? How one quiet spot that probably bores hundreds of other kids can spark a life-long love affair with a subject, leading into a career?

I was one of those bored kids when as a child my parents took us to Gettysburg and at least one other Civil War battlefield. On the other hand, one summer camp experience awakened my love for the outdoors and horses, a key factor in choosing to live so far from work.
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Old Dec 29, 2008, 4:52 PM   #4
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Looks beautiful, Paul. A lovely place for a stroll.

Being born and raised in California, I didn't get to Gettysburg until after I was married. But, we did go to Sutter's Fort on many a field trip. I wasn't much into history then either. But, now doing genealogy, the history has a whole new meaning to me. Now I can picture my particular relatives living through some of these things.

Patty
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Old Dec 29, 2008, 6:45 PM   #5
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Must be like my first trip to Gettysburg-it is only about 100 miles from my home town-didn't go there until I was in my 20's. It was walking on hallowed ground-I'm glad we have preserved our heritage in various parks around the country. I would love to go to Normandy-being an Army veteran I would like to pay my respects to our fallen hero's.
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Old Dec 29, 2008, 8:14 PM   #6
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Thanks for posting these great photos, and your equally great narrative. I'm no civil war historian, but one of my favorite books is Jeff Shaara's Gods and Generals. Seeing the battlefields really make the stories come to life and give us greater appreciation for the hardships our forefathers endured.

Jim
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Old Dec 30, 2008, 9:17 PM   #7
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Very nicely done Paul. History and education always featured prominently in our family vacations and awakened a love of history in me also. I have not been to Shiloh Battlefield but your shots certainly have encouraged me to do so.

Tim
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Old Dec 30, 2008, 10:07 PM   #8
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Thanks for the comments, folks. Although I have seen the cabin on numerous occasions, I found myself more fascinated with it on this trip, and did a little more digging. As I noted before, a cabin occupied by the William Manse George family stood on this spot during the battle, but was destroyed in the fighting. The cabin that stands there today actually stood on another spot on the battlefield during the battle. The George family acquired it and moved it to its current location a couple of years after the battle.

The cabin is unique because it is the only structure still standing on the battlefield that was there during the battle. As late as 2000, it still had its front porch and was open to the public. Looking closely at the wood, you can see bullet holes up and down the sides.



Paul
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