The South is a place. East, west, and north are nothing but directions.
— Letter to the editor, Richmond Times Dispatch, 1995
I am reading the delightful book Confederates in the Attic. The quote above opens the second chapter.
When I lived in Colorado I took every opportunity to explore the magnificent hiking trails and striking mountain vistas offered by the Rocky Mountains. When I lived in Albuquerque I breathed deep to absorb the Native American spirit still alive in The Land of Enchantment. And when I lived in Princeton, NJ, I savored Washington’s Crossing and then immersed myself in the local history surrounding the Revolutionary War.
Damn the torpedos, full speed ahead.
— David Farragut, Union Admiral during the American Civil War
On this date in 1862, David Farragut commanded a Union flotilla past two Confederate forts on the Mississippi River on his way to capture New Orleans. It wouldn’t be until more than two years later, at the Battle of Mobile Bay, when he would utter his famous phrase.
The color of the ground was in him, the red earth;
The smack and tang of elemental things:
The rectitude and patience of the cliff;
The good-will of the rain that loves all leaves.
— Edwin Markham, Lincoln, Man of the People
I watched the Bill Moyer’s special last night on Lincoln’s Legend and Legacy. Since moving to North Carolina a year and a half ago, I have become a student of the Civil War. The passion with which both sides fought and Lincoln’s incredible role in holding the Union together ignites in me a deep fascination for my adopted country.
The excerpt above is but a few lines from a rich and delightful poem by Edwin Markham. The second verse alone brings tears to my eyes and is worth committing to memory. Steel away a few quiet moments today and indulge yourself in a full reading of Markham’s Lincoln, Man of the People.