Sunday, October 28, 2012

Fortune Meets Fame

As you could tell from my last posting, I had a splendid time during my research trip to the Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield. But, there was an unexpected and fortunate bonus to the day. While looking at the Albert C. Ellithorpe diary, the staff mentioned that Ed Bearss was leading a tour of the battlefield. As most of you realize, Ed Bearss is famous in the Civil War world, and I was lucky indeed to get in on part of his tour.
After finishing my research, I headed out to the battlefield. It was fairly late in the afternoon by this time, so I opted to concentrate on the Bloody Hill area. While standing at the Guibor Battery tour stop with my trusty guidebook, compass, and camera in hand, the tour bus pulled up, and Mr. Bearss descended with his swagger stick. The tour group enveloped me, and I listened attentively to his presentation. Impressively, he used no notes. Here’s a snapshot of Mr. Bearss at this tour stop:

Next, I drove to the Bloody Hill tour stop, and the tour bus pulled up again. This time, Marty Gane, the tour manager of the group, introduced herself and asked me my name. After explaining who I was, she generously said I was welcome to join in on the fun. Her company, South Mountain Expeditions, focuses on historical tours, and she has Ed Bearss lined up for trips next year to Vicksburg, Chattanooga, and Chickamauga. Several members of her tour group volunteered that they were quite impressed with her tours.
Now having official permission, I walked with the group to a sinkhole where bodies of several Union soldiers were buried after the battle and then on to the Lyon Marker that marks the spot where Nathaniel Lyon may have been killed. Mr. Bearss gave an informative talk about an archeological dig that took place at the sinkhole as well as a dramatic presentation about Lyon’s death. The tour group then headed on to other parts of Bloody Hill as I decided it was time to head back to Oklahoma. What a great day!

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