Days on cruise: 188
We got up this morning and, along with Jim and Sharon on Blue Angel, moved a half mile north to Grand Harbor Marina. The four of us picked up one of their marina courtesy cars, a Ford Transit van, and they let us use it for the whole day for the cost of putting gas in the tank.
We went north 20 miles to drive through about 10 square miles of some of the prettiest countryside imaginable: Shiloh, Tennessee.
In April, 150 years ago, these fields and forests were not nearly so beautiful. Instead they were the site of some of the worst carnage of the Civil War. Over two days, 90,000 men fought a bloody battle that didn’t really impact the course of the war, often while standing within speaking distance of each other and firing volley after volley of musket ball at one other.
Other times they spent hours in the forest, firing their guns at the “enemy” and using canon and cavalry to kill as many as they could.
The Shiloh church above served as headquarters during the battle, first for the union army, then the confederacy. It struck us as ironic.
The Hornet’s Nest was so named to reflect the sound of bullets flying through the air and hitting trees.
This creek served as one of the boundaries of the battlefield and was often the site of heavy fighting, and dying.
The northern army arrived by way of the Tennessee River. This cannon is pointed at a stretch of the river we traveled just yesterday afternoon.
After two days of fierce battle, the southern army withdrew; over 3,500 men had died. Hundreds more would die of their wounds in the following weeks. Overall there were more than 23,000 casualties. While there were other battles during the war of similar size, none exceeded these casualties.
We were struck by human’s inability to find better ways to solve conflicts. Still. It was a profound visit.
After leaving Shiloh in a rather subdued mood, we found our way upriver a mile at Hagy’s Catfish Hotel. This property has been in the same family since 1835, and the site of a catfish restaurant since 1938.
We all had some version of catfish for lunch, accompanied by some kind of potato, their famous cole slaw, and hush puppies, an iconic southern meal. This was Bob’s first catfish, and he found it quite good despite his misgivings based on how ugly these fish are.
We returned to Grand Harbor late in the afternoon, relaxed for a while, then reconvened for, what else? Happy Hour!