Friday, 22 July 2011

A Little Battle

This week....one hundred and fifty years ago....a significant battle occurred locally here in Virigina....over at Manassas, Virginia....about twenty-five miles to the southwest of Arlington.  On the scale of things for American battles....it probably doesn't rate in the top ten....and it might even be pushed to between number fifteen and number twenty-five for battle importance.

The simple truth about the battle at Bull Run?  It was the first battle of the Civil War and ended in a shocker as the Confederacy kinda won the battle and set into motion a long period where no Union military leadership stood out.  If the Confederacy had come back quickly with two or three other battles like this in the weeks after Bull Run....the war might have ended very differently.

The other odd thing about this battle?  It was the first real "tourist-battle" where the rich, the elite, and political figures of Washington knew of the scheduled battle and all rode out in buggys or wagons, or on horseback to watch the battle.  They brought food, beverages and booze with them....as part of this "picnic".  In a comic sense....they then found that there were no safe areas and that troops from both sides questioned them to their purpose at the battle site.  One representative ended up being taken prisoner by the Confederacy and held for a number of months....simply for being at the battle site.

Finally, this week is a strange week for the Virginia area....as the temperatures rise up to around 100 degrees with humidity around fifty percent.  Frankly, it's hard for the million or so visitors expected all week in the Manassas area to take this heat and not suffer.  This brings things to an interesting discussion....what if the battle scene one hundred and fifty years ago had been in the same temperature range?  A guy can walk around all day with a rifle on his arm and likely engage the enemy with temperatures around 90 degrees....but at one hundred....he'd start to suffer.  I'm guessing if the battle had been at this rate.....another thousand men from both sides would have died from heat exhaustion.   Sadly, I'm guessing at least forty folks this week had to have medical attention as the temperatures climbed up toward one hundred.

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