A Daybook in a Life–Days 168 &169

Civil War Battlefield Journey Continues….

Monticello, Photographed by Rufus W Holsinger via the Library of Congress.TMore


Sun.  June 17. 1984—Virginia–Had the best grits of my Southern trips.  We drove up to Monticello and did a fairly thorough tour.  The area surrounding reminded me, for some reason, of Olean though the vegetation was thicker, clustered certainly closer to the road and more “viney” than  W. New York. None-the-less,  that was an impression I got.  It was a beautiful day.  Hot, heavy sun.  I got a kick out of looking in the mirrors Jefferson looked in.  Mirrors have, after all, some spirit and image correlation.  It was interesting too, knowing Jefferson’s intense feelings about Monticello to try and imagine how peaceful and proprietary it would feel to have all that – the long terrace of gardens, the Mulberry Row of shops, the walks of flowers, the sense of satisfaction the Presidency would give.

I got a crush on a chubby little blonde girl who took tickets outside the east entrance and when she and her little skinny sister walked off down the path, something little placed in my heart sighed and will wonder forever.

We packed up and headed for Ashland, Monroe’s house, just two miles and visible from Monticello.  It had nothing of the “consequence” about it that Monticello does, but was interesting in a general way.  Peacocks (and pea hens) roamed the grounds.

Then on the road again North, via Rte. 64W and then to Staunton and Rte.11 North, the old Valley Pike.  I saw the wooden mill in Edenburg that Sheridan spared because it was the town’s only livelihood.  We stopped just short of Winchester and I took a long walk to determine the situation vis-a-vis the Battle of Kernstown.  I believe I have succeeded and will put my conclusions to test in the morning.

**Also on Rte. 64 we drove up the west side of the Blue Ridge Mountain in a gushing rain storm, and as we were just coming out of it, there galloping beside the road and alongside a “falling rock” fence was a baby fawn.  Disposition not known.

Sketch of the Battle of Kernstown, Sunday, March 23d 1862, Jedediah Hotchkiss. Via the Library of Congress Georgraphy and Maps Division.

Mon.  June 19, 1984—Virginia, Maryland and New York–Zach slept and slept while I read and wrote–a beautiful foggy morning in the Shenandoah Valley.  The very nice motherly Oriental woman who seems to own the place signaled me over for a cup of coffee and then couldn’t get the dispenser to work.  She thought Zach was my wife.  Two nights before a Pakistani motel keeper thought he was my father.

We drove a mile or so up Route 11 to the middle Road and then drove Southwest for app. 1 mile.  A ready row of trees went diagonally NW across the field.  I selected this as the sight of the stone wall of the Battle of Kernstown.  We drove the car up a farm path alongside the extended clump of trees and stopped where there was a break through.  Some older fella drove up in a station wagon. His son owned the property.  Later a real pretty lady came by named Kooce.  The owner was her husband.  She said that they were of the opinion that this was the place too and that reenactments had taken place here as well.

So we hit the road pretty well pleased and headed for Sharpsburg.  A few wrong turns later we were there, had lunch at the Red Byrd and headed out to hunt for property.  It had gotten very humid and hot.  I wasn’t feeling to extremely earnest about finding a place so after some desultory looking around, we headed back to NY.  Dropped Zach off and made it to the apartment by 8:15.  Took and abbreviated walk and made some phone calls:  Lee, Wade, Marta, Liza, Mom & Dad, read a bit and to bed.


Holsinger, Rufus W., Copyright Claimant. Monticello Cirkut. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/2007663557/>.

Hotchkiss, Jedediah. Sketch of the Battle of Kernstown, Sunday, March 23d. 1861. Map. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/2005625007/>.


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