* OFFICIAL *
Regtl. Staff Chickamauga 2018
- Mar 15, 2013
This weekend, I had the opportunity to join @Norman Dasinger Jr and Dr. Brian Steel Wills on Blue & Gray Education Society's tour of Streight's Raid --- from Eastport, MS to Cedar Bluff, AL. It was my first time to join a BGES tour and it was an amazing learning experience!
The event began on Friday night at the host hotel with an introduction to the tour leaders, the characters, and the campaign. The tour was to begin on Saturday morning, and since I live nearby, I arrived just in time for the intro. I knew @Norman Dasinger Jr already -- he lives nearby and we have been friends for years. But I didn't know anyone else who was participating. The tour leaders and attendees were super welcoming and, even though I was the only woman in the group, I felt comfortable right away.
Norman knows the engagements, the geography, and the stories. Dr. Brian Steel Wills knows Nathan Bedford Forrest - inside and out. We kind of made a joke that "Norman knows the land and Dr. Wills knows the man." The two of them combined to provide fantastic and unique perspectives on the events of the campaign. Being local, I already knew a pretty good bit about Streight's Raid, but I had a number of "AHA moments" and feel like Dr. Wills' perspectives on Forrest really added to my understanding of the campaign.
On Saturday morning we left the host hotel and drove to the Joseph Wheeler house near Courtland, AL. Norman gave a brief history of the house, its descent through the Wheeler family, and its donation to the State of Alabama by Annie Wheeler, Joe Wheeler's granddaughter. We reloaded the vans and continued on to Eastport, MS.
Although I had read about the landing of Streight's men and mules at Eastport and the disasters that followed, I had never been to the place. The town of Eastport is gone now --- out there under the water. We saw the hill [behind the camera position] where the corral was located back in April 1863 -- where about 400 mules were stampeded by locals who threw two hornet nests, two wildcats, and a jar full of yellow jackets into the mix. 200 mules were drowned and 200 others went to the woods and had to be rounded up. It took 2 days to find them all!
<To be continued>