Friday, August 31, 2007

Georgia Blog Carnival

The latest edition is up. Go check out some great Georgia voices on a myriad of topics.

State Public Defender Resigns

The head of the State Capital Defense program Chris Adams has stepped down due to what he perceives as a lack of resources.
In a letter sent Thursday to the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council, Chris Adams said the council should "tell the truth" to the courts about the lack of resources and halt all capital proceedings until there are enough resources for the office's lawyers to do their jobs.

And before some right wing screed master starts chirping about throwing away good money on bad people, we should all take another look at the 6th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.

Don't like it? Too bad. It's the law.

For those with an insatiable curiousity for case law, you may also want to check out Powell v. Alabama and Hamilton v Alabama. Both cases in Alabama. Hmmmmm. Wonder why.

State Of The New Media

Saw this today at's place and I just can't resist sharing.
“Let’s just shoot it, and if they want it, I’m sure they’ll pay us for it. If not, let’s put it on YouTube,” Mario said.
I think all us new media types just found our rallying cry.

Mario also just stepped in the blog world. Drop by and give him a shout.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Hey Ma! I'm On The Huffington Post!

Huffington Post has acquired the services of Spacey Gracey (with assistance from the Shelbinator) to produce videos which gather local perspective on the '08 election for their new Off The Bus section.

For her first piece, Grayson chose Manuels Tavern and its usual gaggle of left leaning political hipsters. Although I don't consider myself a "liberal" or a "progressive"(and there were probably a couple of newspapermen there that would also object to that tag), I tagged along because there would be beer and opportunities to pick on Tom Houck. The question of the day was how would Sen. Hillary Clinton play in Georgia.

For the record, my full quote was 'She's an unusual candidate for the fact that at this point usually most people are undecided where Hillary has very high positives and very high negatives but very few people undecided. But there's far more positive than negative at this point even in the south. So I think she's gonna play just fine."

To put it more bluntly, despite appearances, I ain't no Hillary fan. But I do think she will beat expectations in Georgia.

Democratic Playbook: The Environment

An occasional series by one guy who thinks he might know how the Democrats can win back Georgia.

Republican Talking Point: Environmentalists are wackos who care more about trees than humans.

Talking about the environment is talking to the shrimp boat captain in Darien who understands runoff from an overdeveloped Altamaha will make the waters off Sapelo a desert.

Talking about the environment is talking to the hunter in Dawson who understands warmer winters means the rut now comes too late for deer season.

Talking about the environment is talking to the farmer in Camillia who understands his shrinking irrigation pond is tragic but continuing pollution of the Chattahoochee will make future demands of Atlanta on his watershed catastrophic.

Georgians understand that talking about the environment is not about preserving an owl you've never seen. It's not about preserving a fish no one ever catches. It's about preserving the way of life of your grandparents. It's about preserving a way of life for your grandsons and granddaughters.

Senator Shafer Responds

Sen. Shafer responds to Cynthia Tucker's editorial on potential state control of Grady.
Tucker has no objection to the bill on its merits. She actually agrees with me that Grady should be run by a nonpolitical, nonprofit board. Her objection to my interest in Grady is the fact I am white, male, conservative and Republican.

Are we really going to continue to play out the same passion plays we've seen for the past couple of generations?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Let's Everybody Calm Down A Minute

It's starting.

AJC Editorial Page Editor Cynthia Tucker pulls few punches in her column this morning.
If conservative white politicians insist on issuing threats or engaging in racially charged innuendo, black members of the governing authority will only grow more defensive. The negotiations will further bog down in racial gamesmanship and name-calling, delaying the changes that must be made at Grady and guaranteeing the hospital's demise.

Ms. Tucker is writing in reference to a proposal by Sen. David Shafer to have the state intervene in the Grady situation.
It's not as if Shafer really has Grady's best interests at heart. He has made it clear that he's not pushing for more state funding for the hospital. Instead, he's just using it to endear him to his conservative white constituents, many of whom believe Grady is just an icon of the discredited "welfare state," a drain on the resources of productive working folk.

Well, Ms. Tucker must have different sources than everyone else. Although I agree Shafer's "coming down from the mountain to impart wisdom" approach must certainly be irritating to those who have been solely responsible for Grady for decades, we've seen nothing to indicate he's only playing politics to placate idiots who do not recognize Grady's worth.

There's currently rare air in Georgia. Everyone is actually agreeing on a critical issue. From conservative talk show host Martha Zoller to Fulton Commision Chair John Eaves.

Everyone agree Grady is in trouble. Everyone agrees the management structure has to change. Everyone agrees it is no longer fair to solely rely on the taxpayers of Dekalb and Fulton to fund an asset which benefits the entire state. Everyone agrees we've got a problem, it has to be fixed and everyone has to pitch in. Let that sink in for a minute. Everyone agrees. How often do you hear those words in Georgia?

So, let's everybody calm down a minute and concentrate on the matter at hand.

Ms. Tucker is right. We certainly do not need "ham fisted" legislators bulling through the dish store. But neither do we need prominent media voices stirring pots that don't need to stew.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Best Soap Opera In Town

A hospital in crisis. Billions of dollars at stake. Local power brokers, some with questionable motives, trying to be the hero. A private University with a sterling reputation accused of taking from the poor to fill their own coffers.

The Bradys vs the DiMara's? Nope. The ongoing saga of Grady Hospital.

Its a story known to the taxpayers of Dekalb and Fulton counties for decades. Although Grady supports trauma care for the entire 28 counties of the Atlanta Metropolitan Area and to some degree the entire state, it has been the home owners of these two counties who have footed the bill since the first brick was layed.

Now that Grady is so awash in debt it may have to close its doors in September, the rest of the state is suddenly very aware Georgia may face its most serious healthcare crisis ever. And everyone is finally stepping up to the plate.

The good news is everyone understands the stakes and comprehends something has to be done. Even "small government conservatives" such as Glenn Richardson, Casey Cagle and Sen. David Shafer admit it is finally time for the state to begin assisting the beleagured institution. Although, there offer and its attached strings have raised some eyebrows from those who have spent careers trying to get the guys and gals just up Piedmont Road to notice.

The bad news is all the ugliness and ill feelings will now erupt in the open. The bad management practices, the alledged two faced actions of Emory, the double edged sword of Medicade / Medicare funding, all the seemy sordid mess of trying to run a major metropolitan hospital relying almost completely on public funds.

And the "friday cliffhanger" of this story is not even in sight yet.

Saxon Announces

Democratic 10th District contender Bobby Saxon announces his candidacy. Not bad. Then again, neither were Marlow's opening shots.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Saturday Stupids

Return of the stupids! Trying to get the gang together for another prayer meeting.

Guns For Everyone!

The NRA is ready to do battle in Georgia again.

I wonder if they will send their thugs down this year.

Live From New York! It's Doug Monroe!

The absent Atlanta blogfather Doug Monroe talked to Wilson. Listen to him speak on living in the big city, transportation, schools and being a "farm boy" here.

Friday, August 24, 2007

About Those Climate Scientists...

There has been much hoo-hah over Rep. Jeff Lewis convening a panel on global warming titled "Climate Change: Fact Or Fiction". For his panel Rep. Lewis, recruited three climate scientists who supposedly fall in the category of global warming dissenters. Let's take a look at these gentlemen shall we?

First, the credentials and they are impressive.

Patrick Michaels - Professor of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia and a senior fellow at the Cato Institute.

John Christy - Director of the Earth Science System at the University of Alabama. He also won an award from NASA for Exceptional Scientific Achievement.

Joel Schwartz - Scientist and fellow at the American Enterprise Insititute.

Well now. Surely, if such honored men doubt this whole global warming bunk, we should as well. Or do they? And should we?

Let's look at each gentleman's actual position on global warming.

Patrick Michaels - Believes in man made climate change. His "disagreement" with the evidence is that he believes the change will be on the low end of projections by the IPCC.

John Christy - Believes in man made climate change. In fact he has been quoted as saying "It is scientifically inconceivable that after changing forests into cities, turning millions of acres into irrigated farmland, putting massive quantities of soot and dust into the air, and putting extra greenhouse gases into the air, that the natural course of climate has not changed in some way". Also falls into the camp of impact will be on the lower end of the scale.

Joel Schwartz - Believes in man made climate change. But believes the cure would be worse than the disease.

Well my goodness gracious me! It seems there's a dirty secret hiding at Rep. Lewis' hearing. All the scientists actually believe man is causing global warming! How about that? The only disagreement they have with their scientific brothers and sisters is the scale, impact and ultimate result of global warming.

Disagreement among scientists is not uncommon. A significant portion of good science hinges on disagreement and discussion. However, as anyone who witnessed the evolution/creation wars understands, when consensus begins to reach larger conclusions, the ideologues afraid of losing their last tenuous grasp on reality latch onto any dissent in order to paint the whole as suspect. Even when the dissenters actually agree with the whole.

My Morning Wooten

It's been a while. Let's rock.
A sheriff who can’t spell “assassination” orders one. Any of us could be killed by an ignorant, penny-ante street thug. DeKalb Sheriff-elect Derwin Brown was. The only difference is that Sidney Dorsey had been given a public office. He should die still imprisoned — unless, of course, fuzzy-memory witnesses come forward in 20 years to recant.

For the first 3/4 of my reading, I thought I wouldn't have a bone to chew today. But Jim never fails! Of course Sidney Dorsey is a thug who deserves to rot in a hole until he gasps his last breath. And just what does that have to do with Troy Davis? Absolutely nothing except an opportunity to continue the right wing myth that somehow the justice system is so broken that murderers simply waltz out the gates of prison on a trail of pixie dust.
Leona Helmsley is alleged to have said “we don’t pay taxes; only the little people pay taxes.” She may never have said it, but the observation does help to explain the folly of Democrats professed desire to tax “the rich.” They sweep up a world of little people in higher taxes before they ever touch “the rich.” Helmsley died this week at 87.

Huh? Only Jim could somehow tie the "Queen Of Mean" to Democratic fiscal policy. How about this. How about taking to task both sides of the aisle for creating a ridiculously complex tax code where only those who can keep an accountant on retainer benefit? Jim, if you can show me how the Democrats are solely responsible for the manure spewing beast that is the federal tax code then the first round at Manuels is on me. Oh wait. You probably prefer City Grill.
It’s OK to erect 45-foot wind turbines in residential neighborhoods in Atlanta, but not big houses on lots that once held smaller ones. One is about “energy independence,” and the other is about putting the rich in their places. Come to Far North Vinings. Big houses are welcomed next to my starter move-up.

What part of 3500 ft sq house does not compute? Some would have you believe the Atlanta's City Council recent limit on McMansions would limit everyone living inside the perimeter to 2 bedroom bungalows. Conveniently ignored is the fact the new zoning was crafted with the aid of the homebuilders associations and realtors. A nest of socialist land grabbers for sure.
Atlanta City Councilman C.T. Martin wishes to ban exposed underwear in public places. Don’t dismiss him. Work with him. He’s one of the lone voices concerned about the culture’s influence on children. “Little children see it and want to adopt it, thinking it’s the in thing,” said Martin. “I don’t want young people thinking that half-dressing is the way to go. I want them to think about their future.” Come to think of it, I’ve never seen the attire in any place where people are successful.

Sigh. Why do I get the feeling that as a child Jim was denied a slinky because it was believed to be the Devil's tool.

Meme killing. A dirty business but it has to be done. Time for a shower.

Saxon To Announce

Just got a press release from the Bobby Saxon campaign. The worst kept secret (well, the most recent worst kept secret in Georgia politics) that Democrat Bobby Saxon is going to challenge newly elected Republican Paul Broun in the 10th District is about to become official. Saxon will announce his kickoff this Saturday at his home in Nicholson, Ga.

My first thought?

Where the hell is Nicholson, Ga?

I ain't the smartest guy but I usually feel I have a passing familiarity with my homestate. Then one day, I will be driving down the interstate with a visiting friend and see a license plate for an unfamiliar one of our 159 counties. The friend will usually ask, "Where's that?" And I will respond with my standard answer, "Hell, I don't know. Probably out I-20 somewhere."

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Saga Of The Underpants

Atlanta City Council member C.T. Martin wants to ban baggy pants.
Exposed boxer shorts and thongs would be illegal in any public place in Atlanta if the City Council approves a proposed amendment to the city's indecency laws.

Let's ignore for a moment it will never pass a constitutional test. Let's ignore for a moment the overtaxed police force is currently trying to prevent the city from returning to its O.K. Corral ways of the past.

Think of the the effect on the economy! What would happen to those places frequented by the working man. Places where gentlemen who no longer have the assets to provide support to the rear of their Wrangler's calmly sip their beverages in the comfort of a non-judgemental public viewing of partial nudity. Places where butt-crack is expected, nay required!

My God! Lenny's might have to shut its doors!

Can someone please think of the plumbers? For God's sake will anyone think of the plumbers?

h/t: Cracker Squire

Hometown News Fruforal

Picking on the home town will always perk the ears. Some in the Atlanta community are taking exception with a recent Moultrie Observer article on 8th Congressional District Republican candidate Rick Goddard. Flackattack as usual pulls no punches.
I don't expect some of the smaller newspapers in our state to be the most sophisticated newspapers. I do expect them to hold the line on a couple of pretty basic concepts in journalism, like balance and fact-checking. If you are not going to include an opposing viewpoint, the latter concept becomes even more important to protect the truth.

I could write something here like I expect big time blogs to look at the whole of a paper's work instead of cherry picking one article to blast the rubes down south for their "aw shuckin'" ways but would that really be necessary?

Having said that, Tondee's Tavern has a point. The article is a string of Goddard quotes with little journalistic context flesh out the piece. As I have said before, reporter Lori Glenn is usually very good and this particular article is a little surprising in its structure. Lazy reporting? Editorial butchery? An honest effort that just wasn't a home run? At this point, we do not really know but I have contacted another Moultrie boy, Observer editor Dwain Walden, for clarification.

Heck, maybe what this situation needs is an country boy stuck in the city to mediate before we have another horrible bush war between the "two Georgias".

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


First round is on me.

Scenes From The Road: Hartwell Dam

Crossing back into Georgia at the Hartwell Dam.

Scenes From The Road: Lost

I missed a turn in Salisbury, NC and ended up headed towards Asheville. Since I knew that would be way out of the way, I gambled and turned south on a random road. It turned into this two lane country road through unknown parts of western Carolina. No signs. Barely any signs of life. Fortunately, 20 minutes later I found US 321 south and headed for Gastonia.

Scenes From The Road: Claremont, NC

Mewitt's Store, Claremont, NC

Departure, Clemmons, NC!

I'm going home. Back to the ATL. I've decided to take Lawrenceville Hwy...from about 300 miles out. Yes, I'm insane.

Speaker Glenn Richardson Interview

Erick at Peach Pundit has a fascinating interview with Speaker Glenn Richardson regarding his tax reform proposal. Listen here.

It's pretty interesting stuff and I give credit where credit is due. I do not like this proposal but we do need radical reformation of the tax code. So, Speaker Glenn gets a nod from me for getting the conversation started.

But, he just can't resist taking a swipe at the elder statesman of Georgia journalists Bill Shipp. God, Speaker. Can you make it through a single interview without sounding like the meanest man in Georgia?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Welcome to Clemmons, NC!

That's about 10 miles west of Winston-Salem, NC. My first choice of hotels was full. My hotel karma has not been so special on this trip. But then again, the second choice has several restaurants nearby whereas the first one seemed to only have an IHOP. So maybe things are more balanced than I thought.
Time for exploring. Back in a while.

Scenes From The Road: Chatham, Va

I'm not sure why I snapped this one but probably because this railroad trestle is so emblematic of the many small towns I pass through. It's those spots which are the reason for my eschewing the interstates for the backroads.

Scenes From The Road: Manassas

The Stone House at the junction of Lee Highway and Sudley Rd. It was used as a hospital during both battles. Just passed through this battlefield as I visited it several years ago.

Scenes From The Road: Leaving Alexandria

Leaving Alexandria. Headed down Duke St.

Departure Alexandria, Va

Destination, Winston Salem, NC. Another trip back through Virginia. Its tempting to strike out for Atlanta today but I know I would be ruined when I arrived. So a brief stop in North Carolina. See you tonight.

Scenes From Antietam: Burnside Bridge

The Burnside Bridge

The position of Toomb's Georgians looking down on Antietam Creek. The foliage was much less on the day of the battle and the sharpshooters had a clear view up and down the creek.

The Burnside Bridge. This would have been the view of Union soldiers as they attempted to cross the creek. You can see the imposing heights just beyond.

As the battle passed south through the afternoon, General Ambrose Burnside was ordered to take a bridge over the creek. He delayed however due to his observation that the opposite bank rose in a steep rise bristling with Confederates. Eventually after much prodding by his superior General George McClellan, Burnside moved his troops forward. They immediately came under a hail of fire from the heights including a brigade of Georgians under the command of Georgia's General Robert Toombs. Repulsed several times with staggering losses, the Union forces eventually gained the far bank and reinforcements began to push towards the town. At this critical moment, the division of A.P. Hill after a 17 mile forced march arrived from Harpers Ferry and pushed the Union forces back across the creek.

As dusk fell the battle staggered to an end with both forces back in nearly the same position as dawn that morning. No tactical gain had been achieved, but the following evening Lee retreated into Virginia and with the failure of the southern forces to penetrate northern soil, the respite gave President Abraham Lincoln the opportunity to present the Emancipation Proclamation.

Scenes From Antietam: Bloody Lane

In The Bloody Lane. The view of Confederates as Union Soldiers charged the position.

The Bloody Lane towards the left end of the Confederate Line

The Bloody Lane towards the right end of the Confederate line

Fighting in the cornfield led General Robert E. Lee to strip his southern lines to re-inforce Jackson. This adjustment left his center woefully undermanned. Circumstance and the fog of war led the division of Union General French squarely into the line of Confederate General D.H. Hill. Hill's men were entrenched on a sunken farm road which forever after would be known as "Bloody Lane".

After several bloody repulses, partially delivered by the 6th Alabama led by future Georgia Governor John B. Gordon, the Union soldiers eventually took the position. However, General Hill rallied his troops on a ridge at the outskirts of town, delivered a counter attack which gave the Union commanders pause and the battle passed further south.

Scenes From Antietam: Dunker Church, West Woods, Cornfield

The Dunker Church. The West Woods is behind the building.

The Miller Cornfield as seen from near the Dunker Church

A fawn (lower right corner) nibbles some corn on the edge of the corn field.

From dawn until mid-morning, General Stonewall Jackson's corps fought three separate Union corps. The solidiers attacked and counter-attacked repeatedly in the area of the Dunker Church, the West Woods and the Miller Cornfield. The rain of bullets was so heavy some soldiers described the view of the cornfield as if a giant scythe had cut the stalks. At the end of the day both sides remained essentially where they began, only less the thousands of dead and wounded who now lay among the rows and around the church.

Scenes From The Road: Antietam National Battlefield

On September 17th, 1862, for the first time the Army of Northern Virginia and the Army of the Potomac clashed north of the the Potomac River. Near the small town of Sharpsburg, Md. the warriors of both causes struggled for hours over the rolling hills and farmland of Maryland. As dusk fell, over 23,000 men were dead, wounded or missing. To this day, the largest single day casualty count in U.S. history.

The following are a few pictures I took as I toured the battlefield. If you ever visit, even though relative to a site like Gettysburg, Antietam is small, take at least half a day. Even if the history doesn't grab your heart, the beauty of the park will. It is simply one of the prettiest national parks I've visited.

Scenes From The Road: Southern Pennsylvania

First time I hit rain the entire trip.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Welcome to Alexandria, Va!

Just a quick pop in to a friends house for sleep and then off again in the morning.

Today was a good drive despite the weather. For the first time I encountered rain. I stuck mostly to the interstates through Pennsylvania. In Maryland I took some time to visit Antietam Battlefield National Park.

It was a nice bookend for the Gettysburg visit on the way up. It's a great park. Even though due to time constraints I only had a couple of hours, I liked it better than Gettysburg. It's not nearly as crowded and it is beautiful. Rollings hills and fields with the creek meandering down the middle. If you ever visit, make sure you leave enough time to walk around the Burnside Bridge area. Putting aside the history for a moment, it is one of the prettiest spots I have seen in any park anywhere.

Pictures are coming but not until the morning. I left the camera in the car and I ain't going back out in the rain.

Departure Montville, NJ!

Headed to Alexandria, Va. today. It was a full weekend. More on that later. I'm not sure what my route will be today but I should be back on at about 8:00 this evening.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Georgia Blog Carnival

Make sure you stop by the Georgia Blog Carnival and check out some of the finest from around the state.

Hopefully tomorrow I will have some time do a quick wrap up of my impressions of Gettysburg. Suffice it to say it was a moving experience and next time I plan to make sure I have a full day to take it all in.

Scenes From Gettysburg: Cemetary Ridge

The view from Cemetary Ridge. In the distance you can see the Virginia Monument.

The copse of trees. This was the focal point of Pickett's assault

The Angle. The Confederates briefly broke the Union line at this point.

The Pennsylvania Monument. For the only time of the war the Pennsylvanians fought to defend their own land. It could be argued this extra measure of incentive invigorated the previously demoralized Army of the Potomac. Noted commanders George Meade and Winfield Scott Hancock were both from Pennsylvania.

From their position behind the stone wall, the Federals watched in amazement as the long gray line of Confederates approached their position. As if in parade, the divisions of Pickett, Pettigrew and Trimble approached and then crossed the Emmitsburg Road. Soon, the Federal cannons, some loaded with double grapeshot, opened tearing huge holes in the lines. Still the gray wave came forward.

Considered by some to be the Confederate "high water mark", the brigade of Brigadier General Lewis Armistead reached the section of the wall known as "The Angle" and briefly breached the Federal line. General Hancock quickly rushed re-inforcements in the breach and Armistead's Virginians, having no support, fell back. As the assault began to fail, the Union infantry began taking prisoners over the wall, one even remarking as he pulled his counterpart from the hellish fury, "come over to the side of the Lord".

The assault broke as rapidly as it peaked with Confederate soldiers streaming back across the field. Pickett's division suffered almost 80% loss and every regimental commander was either wounded or killed. It was so completely ruined, it would participate in no major action for 18 months.

With the shattering of the attack, any chance of Lee achieving victory also dissolved. Following a quiet 4th of July interrupted only by a cannon salute by the Federals, Lee withdrew his damaged army and returned to Virginia. It would be the last time a Confederate force of any size set foot in a Northern state.

Scenes From Gettysburg: Seminary Ridge

Spangler Woods. From these trees, on the third day, the long gray line of Confederates emerged.

The view from the Confederate lines prior to the charge. Cemetary Ridge is almost 1.5 miles in the distance.

The Virginia Monument. Lee watched the assault from this location.

On July 3rd, Lee, known for his audacity, decided to make one last gamble. Encouraged by Anderson's near success the day before and the belief that previous attacks on each flank had weakened the Federal center, he chose to attack directly across the open field separating the two armies.

Although he only commanded one of the three divisions involved, the assault would forever bear the name of Major General George Pickett.

Scenes From Gettysburg: The Wheat Field and Sacrifice

The Wheat Field. Cemetary Ridge lies just beyond the trees.

The First Minnesota Monument.

As Lee's attack on the second day moved north, Anderson's Division encountered elements of Dan Sickles corps in the Wheat Field and the Peach Orchard. After a fierce fight which included the critical wounding of Sickles, the Federals were routed from both, leaving nothing protecting Cemetary Ridge.

Noting the situation, General Winfield Scott Hancock observed the only reserve on hand, the 1st Minnesota. Seeing an entire brigade of Confederates charging up the hill towards the gap, Hancock ordered the regimental commander to "take those colors". Although they knew the sacrifice asked, the Minnesotans charged down the hill temporarily staunching the oncoming tide and allowing a full division to be maneuvered in the gap. Of the 262 men who charged down the ridge only 47 returned.

Scenes From Gettysburg: Little Round Top

The view from the 20th Maine's position as the 15th Alabama began its assault

The wall where the 20th Maine and the 15th Alabama struggled

The 20th Maine Monument

At the beginning of the second day of battle, the rocky, bare little hill now known as Little Round Top was occupied by only a few Federal signalmen. Riding the lines, the chief engineer of the Army of the Potomac General Gouverneur K. Warren noted the hill was an ideal position for artillery to enfilade the entire federal line. He ignored the larger hill just to the south as it was too densely wooded for any meaningful strategic advantage.

With Confederate activity in the area, Warren on his own and without orders extended the Federal line to include the Little Round Top. On the far left of the extension rested the brigade of Col. Strong Vincent. At the end of the brigade line among the trees of the southeast slope spread the 20th Maine. The absolute end of the Federal line, Col. Joshua Chamberlain, a professor from Bowdoin College with only text book knowledge of tactics, and his men were ordered to hold at all cost.

Following a circuitous route over the Big Round Top, the men of Evander Law's 15th Alabama charged up the Little Round Top to face the Maine men. The fate of the battle and arguably the entire war rested in the bloody struggle between a few hundred farm boys from Alabama and a few hundred lumberjacks and fishermen from Maine.

After withstanding three assaults, Col. Chamberlain ordered a charge and the 20th Maine swept the Alabamians from the hill. The left of the Federal line held.

Scenes From Gettysburg: The Devil's Den

The view from the ridge where Hood and McLaws staged their assault. The Devils Den can be seen just to the left of the Round Tops

The Devils Den

The close quarters of the Devils Den. In these nooks and crannies the soldiers fought a bloody, hand to hand battle.

On July 2nd, 1863, the two armies faced each other across an open field; the Federals occupying the higher Cemetary Ridge just southeast of the town and the Confederates on Seminary Ridge just southwest of the town.

Despite the Federal's formidable position, Lee decided to attack. With knowledge the Federals left flank was "in the air", Lee sent General James Longstreet on a roundabout march with two divisions of his First Corps to attempt to turn this end of the federal line.

In the intervening period, Federal Major General Dan Sickles, noting his position just right of the Round Tops was significantly lower than the ground in front of him, moved his corps forward in a salient covering the Devil's Den, a wheat field and a peach orchard. The wisdom of this move is still debated today.

The attack began en echelon from south to north beginning with McLaws division then to Hood's division. Encountering the Federals where they expected empty space, McLaws struck at the Round Tops and Hood became entangled in a knot of rocks called The Devil's Den. All order was lost and Hood later described the encounter as "indian fighting" meaning it was every man for himself.

Scenes From Gettysburg: Oak Ridge

View from Oak Ridge towards Barlow's Knob. The Federal right extended into the woods.

View of the Railroad Cut from Oak Ridge. The Confederate flank attack drove the Federal XXI corps across this open ground and through the streets in the town. In the distance can be the Seminary.

Lee's Headquarters for the remainder of the battle.

Oak Ridge lies just north of McPherson's Ridge and was occupied by elements of the Federal XXI Corps and Army of Northern Virginia 2nd Corps.

From this hill elements of the 2nd Corps Army of Northern Virginia assaulted elements of the Federal XIth Corps. Already under attack from a superior position the Federal corps was suddenly assaulted on its right flank at Barlow's Knob by the 3rd Corps, Army of Northern Virginia. The line crumbled completely and the Federal forces were routed through the streets of Gettysburg. They were rallied Generals O.O Howard and Winfield Hancock on the crest of Cemetary. This ended the first day of the battle and General Lee, now convinced he could destroy the federal army on this ground, moved his headquarters to the edge of town next to the Seminary.

Scenes From Gettysburg: McPherson's Ridge

Behind McPherson's Ridge looking towards the Seminary

Looking towards the woods from McPherson's Ridge. This would have been the view of the Iron Brigade as the Confederates emerged from the woods.

Maj. General John Reynolds Monument

On July 1st, 1863, Federal calvary under Brig. General John Buford engaged elements of the Heth Division of The Army of Northern Virginia just north of the town of Gettysburg, Pa. As the southern infantry pushed the horse soldiers back onto McPherson's ridge, they were suddenly met with a thunder of musket. They now faced the Iron Brigade of the First Corps, Army of the Potomac. Composed of hard men from the midwest the "Black Hats" put up fierce resistance eventually forcing Heth to commit his full division. Faced with superior numbers, the Iron Brigade began to fall back towards the town. The cost however was high as one of the first casualties was their corps commander Major General John Reynolds. Reynolds was considered the finest soldier in the northern army and had just days previously turned down command of the entire force. He was felled by a single shot to head from a Confederate sharpshooter.

Welcome To Montville, NJ!

Finally made it to my homebase for the weekend. Took a little time because I had to detour into Little Falls to run and errand. Back later with pictures.

Departure Gettysburg

Today is a quick burn up the interstate to Montville, NJ. Since the drive is only about three hours, I'm going to spend a couple of hours driving around Gettysburg battlefield. Back this evening with pictures.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Daily Show Moment: The Video

The Daily Show Moment I mentioned yesterday?

Now watch the video.

There are many insincere moments on television. We are so numbed by the reality shows and the celebrity confessions that at times we no longer feel when we pass through the veil of pretend. But occasionally even celebrities slip up and show their real face. They exhibit honest hurt and pain. You tell me if Jon Stewart's confrontation of Stephen Hayes is one of these moments.

Welcome to Gettysburg, Pa!

Today's trip was much better. I've driven the Shenandoah Valley three times in the past year and I can't say enough about Virginia Highway-42.

It travels from the foothills in the southern valley through the broadest part of the main valley and back into the foothills at the northern valley. Along the way, you can almost imagine what Virginia must have been like 150 years ago. Houses, barns and churches appear frozen in time. Enormous hayfields and pastures filled with cows and horses. If you ever take a trip north and have some time to kill, I highly recommend taking this route between Clifton Forge and Columba Furnace.

So now Gettysburg. The bad news is the brew pub I thought I found last night is closed. The good news is there seems to be several other options in the area. I'm headed out to explore. Tomorrow will be a visit to the battlefield before the trip continues.

Scenes From The Road: Approaching The Catoctins

Approaching the Catoctin Mountains in western Maryland.

Scenes From The Road: Crossing The Potomac

Crossing the Potomac River at Harpers Ferry. I'm going to stop at Harpers Ferry on the return trip and get some better pictures.

Scenes From The Road: Crossing The Shenandoah

Crossing the Shenandoah River near Harpers Ferry.

Scenes From The Road: Random Dinosaurs

Dinosaurs outside a gas station in Middletown, Va.

Scenes From The Road: Strasburg, Va.

Strasburg Hotel & Restaurant