Just Back From Kentuck!

I am just back from Lexington, Kentucky, where I attended the annual Civil War Preservation Trust conference. This is a great organization–since its inception, it has purchased 29,000 acres of Civil War battlefield ground. I attended my first conference last year in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and was so impressed that I decided to head out to Lexington for this year’s events. And, I might add, I made it out there despite Delta Airlines best efforts to torture me in the process. But I digress.

Friday, I went out to Perryville, a truly remarkable battlefield park. This was a small state park until a few years ago. Now, through the efforts of the Civil War Preservation Trust and others, the battlefield has grown to about 1,000 acres of really pristine land. You can walk the hills and swales of Perryville and really understand the battle that occurred there.

On Saturday, Kent Masterson Brown led a tour of the Civil War raids of Confederate Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan. Brown did a great job–his knowledge and communication skills are truly extraordinary. We stood on the land where Morgan, nicknamed “The Thunderbolt of the Confederacy,” lead his raiders, fighting his way through Kentucky and even on to Ohio, terrorizing the North, before being killed in 1864. Here’s a photograph of Morgan.

Sunday morning I had some free time, so I walked over to the Lexington Cemetery. A very interesting place. Politician Henry Clay, the Todd family (Mary Todd Lincoln’s parents and siblings), Confederates and Union men, are all there. Here’s General Morgan’s gravestone–the upright white stone at back left. it looks like someone fairly recently cleaned General Morgan’s marble gravestone; compare how white it is to the color of the gravestones to its right and front. Same stone, same age, but different look.

This lot is full of Confederate officers–his little brother, Thomas Hunt Morgan (the center of the high gravestones in the back row; he was killed on one of Morgan’s raids), another brother, Francis Key Morgan, another brother, Calvin Morgan, Lieutenant Colonel Basil Duke, and more. I must say I was surprised at how little Confederate memorialization was visible in the cemetery: no iron Southern crosses, just a few tiny Confederate flags.

And, as you can see from this photograph, Lexington Cemetery has some wonderful moss growing on its monuments.

And take a look at this monument. I’ve seen this design before, but never moss-covered like this. And another interesting monument above, and this one here:

Finally, I managed to grab my camera from underneath the seat as we were coming in for a landing at LaGuardia Airport and to shoot this photograph. I had to tweak this image in Iphoto, but here it is. Do you recognize that dark area at the bottom of the photograph? It is Green-Wood Cemetery at night, looking southeast. If you look closely, you can even see the lights on at the Hillside Mausoleum–an arc of lights at the left side of the dark area, near where the angle of McDonald Avenue meets 20th Street. A nice welcome back–Green-Wood from the skies!

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