So what battlefield do you most dread (or love) with fog at early dawn or late twilight?
The Wilderness and the Mule Shoe.
Little Round top is my pick. One early foggy dawn visit in late July 1988 i encountered a Bob Cat. It walked down the hill heading for the Devils Den in the mist.
Antietam—-Miller’s Cornfield—-at dawn.
Gettysburg, my youngest daughter and I were in the west observation tower watching the sun come up and viewing the ground fog when we decided to walk over to Little Roundtop. Standing in front of Devil’s Den at 0600, not a soul around, we could smell sausage cooking and some kind of perfume. Just odd.
Not Civil War, but Jumonville Glen from F& I. The brutality is chilling.
Oak Hill at Gettysburg
Before the disheartening decision last year to end park visitation a half hour after sunset, we’ve seen unbelievably cool fog banks roll up Gettysburg’s Cemetery Hill at night. One time, it crept up so quickly that you could measure the fog engulfing that convex hillside by feet per minute. I’ll never forget that.
Orchard Knob of Chattanooga provided a foggy twilight I’ll never forget; both gorgeous and haunting @ the same time.
Not a battlefield or cemetery… But, while visiting Perth, Australia for the first time in Summer of 1985 we stopped at the Maritime Museum in Fremantle. I knew that at least one Civil War warship had visited Australia during the period 1861- 1865, but I was uncertain if any had made port at Fremantle. Since we were here, unlikely to return anytime soon (and it was a stinking hot day) I persuaded my wife to stop and spend only an hour or two.
The museum on the ground floor was not as cool as it could have been; but it was more pleasant than being roasted outside. And the exhibits, dating back to the 1600s were fascinating. For me, the coins, bricks and anchor recovered from the wreck of Batavia, a Dutch ship involved in a navigation accident and mutiny off the northwest coast in 1629 made this museum visit worthwhile: several skeletons, some bearing obvious sabre wounds, were on display, making the horrific deaths of over 200 passengers on their way to today’s Indonesia, hacked to death by a mutinous crew, just that more tangible, and confronting. I looked around for my wife, but she had gone ahead, as usual: she tends to sample History, while I read every bit of information on offer.
Eventually, I climbed up to the next floor and continued my wanders through Aboriginal canoes and whaler pots. It was a bit cooler, more comfortable on this floor, but my wife was not present. “Probably trying to hurry me along,” I thought, continuing to read a description of Western Australia’s whaling settlement, when my wife suddenly appeared beside me.
“You’ve got to go up to third floor,” she demanded.
“I’m not done here…”
“Just, go,” she continued, seemingly struggling to speak. “And check out the room at the back.” And with that, she turned and hurried to the stairs leading down.
What else could I do? I ended my investigation of History on this second floor, and made my way to the stairs leading up.
When I reached the third floor I observed no one else, and few exhibits: shells and fish skeletons, as I recall. It was cool and comfortable, by far the most comfortable floor in the museum, and brightly lit. There was a door at the back, and I walked briskly towards it, my steps echoing on the wooden floor, stopping to read the sign outside explaining the original use of this building as an insane asylum. And that this cell was the last vestige of that original use, preserved merely as another reminder of Fremantle’s history. I pulled open the heavy door, and… it took a while for my eyes to adjust to dim light struggling through a tiny window at the top of one wall. The brownish padded walls, of leather or canvass, became evident. The bedroom-sized cell appeared to be empty. And it was cold. Bone-chilling cold. And I found that I could not step inside that room. I backed away, turned my head briefly to confirm no one was on the floor with me, and hurried to the stairs down. And found my wife at the Café and Gift Shop, where we discovered we’d had the same experience.
Lots of ghost sightings at Gettysburg!
Two at early dawn: Shiloh at the 150th on the morning of the “surprise” attack by Albert Sidney Johnston’s army. The fire from the shooting muskets seen through the fog plus the black powder smoke made it obvious why Grant’s troops fled from their camps.
Gettysburg early morning for walking across Iverson’s field. Feeling (?) the dying agonies of the mortally wounded North Carolina Troops of Iverson’s brigade while literally walking the line where they stood when hit by the fire from Union troops behind the stone wall bordering the field.
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