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May 1, 2020

Again, I find myself in my library looking out the backdoor and watching anything that might be happening just to break the monotony. I started to count the birds and then squirrels. After that was complete, I started separating them by color and size. I need help. I have been on lock down since March 12. I am getting just a little bit stir crazy. Since I cannot go anywhere at this time (by the way I fully support this), I have started to plan future trips. You might remember that I refer to these Civil War related trips as Wargasms. I didn’t invent this phrase; Tony Horowitz introduced me to it in his book Confederates in the Attic.

For my next Wargasm I have started plans to visit Vicksburg and the sites of the supporting battles. When I go to a battlefield, I like to travel the routes the armies took. As best a possible anyway. I have been able to follow Lee/Meade into Gettysburg, Lee/McClellan into Antietam, Jackson up and down the valley, Early to Monacacy, Rosecrans’ retreat to Chattanooga from Chickamauga and Sherman’s march to Atlanta and the sea. By taking Longstreet’s march on Little Round Top, you discover, even today, that if he continued on his original route he would have been exposed to the Federal troops and any surprise would be gone. By the way, locally if you want to know why the battles of Price's Raid in the Kansas City area were fought where they were, don’t follow the troops -- follow the wagon train. I like to do the research to find these routes and by taking these routes develop an understanding of why a battle was fought where it was. Needless to say, planning for these trips takes some time. The experience at the battlefield is enriched with a little background study. Knowing where, what, when and how will enrich the experience of your battlefield excursion. So, take some time (you have plenty of time right now) and start planning your Wargasm.

Just because the tour brochure says your battlefield exploration will take 3 hours, it doesn’t mean you can’t take 3 days or more. Good luck, good travels and stay safe. We will be able to travel together again before we know it.

PS: If you ever begin to question why you have been in your house for weeks on end, read this.

'No Man is an Island'

No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man's death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

Devotions upon Emergent Occasions
John Donne 1624

-- Mike Calvert, President of the Civil War Round Table of Western Missouri