Ready to rediscover Civil War

Published 5:45pm Wednesday, April 10, 2013

When we first moved to Georgia from the pristine beaches of Florida in 1995 I cried and cried. There were no palm trees in my new front yard, but pine trees for as far as I could see. I was used to playing in sand and not in red clay.

As a five-year-old, leaving my play group friends was sad and lonely, but I soon discovered the magic and mystery of something extraordinary — Civil War history.

Though I could no longer build sand castles in Marietta, Ga. my dad took me for a walk around our property to show me a treasure he had just discovered. He had dug up a Civil War relic. It was a copper and gold dolphin statue with a carving under the belly that said, “Winship.”

He told me it probably came from an old farm church that used to sit on the property and my imagination ran wild. Soon I took in all of the Civil War history I could — I watched “Gone With The Wind” on repeat and picked up books AT the library.

Our public school immersed us in the culture as well because we were a stone’s throw away from the battle of Kennesaw Mountain and the battle of Picket’s Mill practically took place in my back yard.

Once I even saw the ghost of a Confederate Soldier leaning against my swing set — though it was probably just that wild imagination of mine.

School field trips took us to frequent re-enactment events and my favorite re-enactor told my group of friends that confederate soldiers were so bored waiting on battles, they would throw the lice from their hair onto a pan over an open flame and gamble on which lice would get to the other side first.

Wondering through wooded battlefields was something I did weekly until the day I moved to Alabama. Those memories of discovering hidden Civil War graveyards and buried ammunition will never leave me.

With Scarlet O’Hara as my muse, I am thrilled to be covering the Battle of Selma at the end of April. The warm Spring weather has me itching to throw on an antebellum dress and go on a picnic.

My curiosity is no different here in town and I cannot wait to see the story of the Battle of Selma play out before my eyes and speak with historians about what happened here more than a century ago.

Hearing the stories of how young Selma boys had to flee into the woods just to survive fascinates me.

I hope Selma is as ready to learn about Civil War history as I am. There are never enough folk tales, stories and buried treasures to be found from that era in time in Selma and all across the South.

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