Civil War Transcendence, part 4

Stonewall Jackson monument

Gen. Stonewall Jackson’s grave

§    A Novel of Time Travel

I had stayed at a Super 8 Motel the night before, but bounded out of bed at 5:30, rip-raring to go.  I finished the morning ablutions quickly and stowed my suitcase in the car.  Re-entering the motel, I ate cereal, a bagel and a biscuit with jam, and drank about 4 of the small Styrofoam cups of coffee with half-and-half chasers.

Man, was I pumped!

As I drove into Virginia, I swear, I could feel the history of the place.  The drive up I-81 is really beautiful, especially for the first 150 miles.  You just have to keep a steady pace or you’ll get run over by Semis.

As I approached Lexington, VA, I was tempted to stop. My wife and I had stopped there a few times, and during one of our sojourns, had spent the night.  We had toured the museum and the Lee family mausoleum in Lee’s Chapel at Washington & Lee University; dropped a penny at Traveler’s grave; toured the museum at VMI; visited the George Marshall Library at VMI; and paid our tribute to Stonewall Jackson by placing a small Confederate flag by his grave in the small cemetery in town.  So I didn’t really have anything new to see, and therefore continued the journey down (that means north) in the Shenandoah Valley via I-81.

Reminiscing about one summer visit to Virginia, I remembered that my wife and I motored to every historical marker in the Shenandoah Valley and had our picture made next to the marker.  Let me correct that statement. There was one marker we couldn’t find. It was supposedly in the median of a four-lane highway, but when we went there, it was gone.  But we did visit all the other markers.  It took us two and a half days.

Years later I read “Confederates in the Attic” that this type of journey is called a “Wargasm.” Our trek would definitely qualify.

As I passed Harrisonburg, I was getting antsy to get where I was going, but it took another hour to get to Winchester, VA.  Suddenly, I lapsed into another revelry of our visit to the Mount Hebron Cemetery in that city. There are soldiers from the 3rd Arkansas buried there. I have been there at least twice and got pictures of the new marker erected to their memory.

Another 20 minutes and I was able to exit I-81 and hit the back roads to come into Shepherdstown, WV on Hwy 480.

About Civil War Reflections

Vernon has been a Civil War buff since childhood, but had been inactive in Civil War history for over two decades. However, in the early 1990s his interest was rekindled after watching Ken Burns’ “Civil War Documentary” on PBS. He particularly became interested in the Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg) and decided to learn more about this epic struggle.
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