Flags For the Fourth

It’s July 4. Back in 1863 it was the day after the Union triumph at Gettysburg: it was also the day Ulysses S. Grant took possession of Vicksburg.

Several weeks ago two graduates of institutions of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia decided upon a most appropriate way to mark this twin triumph of the armies of the United States.

Photograph by Kristilyn Baldwin.
Photograph by Kristilyn Baldwin.

I have always liked the North Carolina monument. People forget that it was cast in New York City. SculptorĀ Gutzon Borglum’s works also include Stone Mountain and Mount Rushmore.

We then walked across the street.

Photograph by Kristilyn Baldwin.
Photograph by Kristilyn Baldwin.

I’m not so sure I care for the proliferation of modern regimental monuments. The 11th Mississippi has been honored with new monuments at Antietam and Gettysburg. However, this regiment suffered terribly at Gettysburg.

Then it was down the street …

Photograph by Kristilyn Baldwin.
Photograph by Kristilyn Baldwin.

Ah, the Old Dominion itself, topped by Robert E. Lee. As he himself admitted, what happened on July 3 was all his fault … although I agree with George Pickett that the Yankees had something to do with it.

Photograph by Kristilyn Baldwin.
Photograph by Kristilyn Baldwin.

Of course, there are some people who think it was all James Longstreet’s fault. We disagree. So we thought we’d honor this graduate of the United States Military Academy and groomsman at Ulysses S. Grant’s wedding. He was smart enough to know when the war was over.

Photograph by Kristilyn Baldwin.
Photograph by Kristilyn Baldwin.

People forget that Robert E. Lee’s headquarters was located along the Chambersburg Pike west of town. We did not.

Photograph by Kristilyn Baldwin.
Photograph by Kristilyn Baldwin.

Finally, nothing could please us more than to learn that The Civil War Trust announced on July 1 a campaign to purchase this building and its surrounding establishment with plans to restore this area to its wartime appearance. We thought that was worth celebrating: after all, this land was actually in Union hands for much of July 1.

Happy Fourth of July!