Thursday, September 14, 2017

Thoughts on 2nd Bull Run and the mystery of William H. Baker's death

155th Anniversary

On Saturday, August 26, I travelled up to Manassas to tour Chinn Ridge with a park historian for the 155th Anniversary of the battle of 2nd Bull Run.  The walk was to cover the Union armies defense of the ridge, as well as the progress of Longstreet’s massive flank attack that drove the Federals off of it on August 30, 1862.  During the fight, the Federals on the ridge were surrounded on three sides, and outnumbered by at least 3 to 1. The 13th Regiment lost 48 killed, of about 500 soldiers present at this action, -- the first active fighting in a major battle during their service.  It had been a long time to wait considering they had mustered in more than a year earlier.  As Austin Stearns described it,


"...we went through a field and up  a slight elevation and there was a sight to behold.  Longstreets corps was advancing in line of battle or in lines, for there was three or four, and to our eyes the field was full of men.  Firing immediately commenced, not only with us but all along the line by both sides; men commenced to fall;  ...On, still on, came the heavy lines of Longstreet's Command; no single line could stop them long, and gradually our line was being forced back, although we gave them a brave resistance and contested every inch of ground..."
After this fiasco the men were less anxious than before to see action than they had been prior to this "scrap,"— as some called it.

I was joined at the battlefield walk by a fellow researcher; renowned in the field of photographic jewelry and other topics, and on both of our minds that day was the story of 13th Mass soldier William Henry Baker, of Weymouth.

My colleague's interest in Baker began with the purchase of a 19th century sewing box, exquisitely built, with a note inside proclaiming it the handy work of William Henry Baker.



Baker, born March 23, 1842,  delayed a Harvard education to enlist as a recruit in the 13th Mass. Vols. the summer of ’62.  He was a talented young man, 5’8” tall, blond hair and blue eyes,  already accomplished for his skill in woodworking and other crafts. Unfortunately I don't have his photograph.

Remarkably, Baker’s 1860 diary exists in the collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, and it documents his progress on the box.

Quotes: 
"February 16, 1861.  “Worked on boxes for ambrotype taken.  Am going to have photographs taken.”
February 21, 1861. “Got my pictures this eve.”
My friend has done extensive research on the box and Baker.  William Henry as he liked to be called, was close to his sister Mary Ellen, who liked to sew, and it is supposed the box was intended to be used for her sewing kit.

  His other activities included school, reading, studying, attending temperance meetings, debate clubs, patriotic recruitment meetings, and woodworking.

He was accepted to the Freshman Class at Harvard University, slated to begin his studies on August 5, 1861, for which  he had prepped for months.  Harvard University Faculty records of a Special Meeting held, July 15, 1862 list the names of new students, and includes a  later update that lists at least 5 out of 55 total, including Baker, who did not show up. William Henry Baker chose to enlist instead!

Mary Ellen Baker, his younger sister was engaged to be the wife of Captain Elliot C. Pierce; a conspicuous member of the Field & Staff of the 13th Mass.  Elliot joined the regiment at Fort Independence, Boston, rather too late to gain an officer’s commission.  But he was a friend of Colonel Leonard, and quickly advanced from Sergeant-Major to 1st Lieutenant, Company H, in early 1862, and Captain of that company very soon after.  Favoritism was suspected among the 10 Second-Lieutenants in line of promotion, that Eliot ‘jumped’ over.  Yet, it was agreed he was a good man, and he made an enviable military service record with the regiment. You can read more about him here.

Did William Henry’s relationship to Elliot influence his decision to enlist, or was it simply the patriotic fervor of the time that motivated him, or was it both?  Patriotic speeches and rallies were prevalent in the summer of '62.  The biography of Samuel S. Gould, another remarkable young man from Harvard, who joined the 13th Mass concurrently with Baker, states he [Gould] was very active at war rallies, encouraging his peers to enlist.  You can read about Gould here.  
  
 The recruits arrived in two groups.  Baker was in the first group of about 70 men that unfortunately arrived at the regiments' campground on Monday, August 18, 1862;  for this was the day that commanding General John Pope, learned the enemy across the Rapidan River had been heavily re-enforced and was planning an attack.  His army was in a trap and he had better make tracks or risk annihilation. Just as the recruits were meeting their new comrades in arms, orders came to march.  Fellow recruit, Clarence Bell gives an inside look at the passing scenes in his post-war memoir.

“As we marched into camp the Thirteenth boys came out from their tents to greet and welcome us to the field. All seemed heartily glad to see us, nearly every one of us finding acquaintances, school-mates or former "chums" in the ranks. The Regimental Band gave us a harmonious reception and Chaplain Gaylord welcomed us on behalf of the Colonel. Among other words of advice he cautioned us to beware of the wiley veterans and not allow them to "play points" on us; that our bright new dippers were very attractive to their eyes and might tempt them to make invidious suggestions of barter.
The recruits were, generally, permitted to select the companies to which they wished to be assigned, and the squad having been thus distributed, all began to adjust themselves to the new conditions.
"We were just beginning to be rested and fairly comfortable when orders came to strike camp and make ready for marching. It took but a few minutes to level the tents, or ponchoes, and, while waiting for further orders we cooked suppers and "turned in" near the camp fire and slept till about eleven o'clock. We left camp and after marching a few miles, halted on a muddy road, where we remained till morning, getting no sleep, for we expected the word "forward" every moment. The boys built fires, made coffee and with the ever ready pipe, stories, jokes and witty sayings the night was passed. Next morning we began the famous "masterly retreat” of Major-General John Pope. We passed through Culpeper and continued our march, with occasional rests, till nine o'clock P.M., when we arrived at Rappahannock Station; crossed the railroad bridge and after some maneuvering  went into camp. It was a hard march, especially for those who were so unaccustomed to it, the most tiring part of which occurred after dark, when obstacles in the road were invisible, causing us to stumble over stumps or stones, compelling frequent and somewhat strong expletives.
"At noon the regiment crossed the river and formed in line of battle, while the recruits were ordered to remain in the rear, where beneath the trees we passed the night somewhat anxiously. We were not to be engaged in battle (if one took place) except in case of need. Our number was insignificantly small, we were totally inexperienced and none had received arms, equipments or ammunition, yet many were anxious to take part, while several volunteered to assist in supporting and working the batteries.”
The recruits continued to suffer along with the veterans through General Pope’s bungling helter-skelter marches of the next two weeks, always in fits and starts, and with little to no food or rest, until the climatic battle of Second Manassas signaled the end of the campaign.  Baker was killed in the battle.  How and why Baker was caught in the action is unknown, as Clarence Bell wrote, the unarmed recruits were not yet required to fight.

“With an early start next morning we continued march till eight P.M., when we camped near the old battlefield of Bull Run. August 30th in column we moved forward a short distance, when we entered a grove and deposited our knapsacks for safe (?) keeping.  In the afternoon the Brigade advanced and ascended the hill on our left. The recruits (who had not as yet been supplied with arms or accoutrements) kept up with the regiment until reaching the brow of the hill, when the attack of the enemy became so hot that all were obliged to drop for safety. As the shot and shell came thicker and faster the recruits returned down the hill, when we were challenged several times by mounted rear guards and ordered to return to our regiment, but our explanation that we were "raw recruits" without arms or equipments, and our new appearance confirming our statement, we were permitted to pass; furthermore, in the intense excitement prevalent at the moment, orders could not be, or were not strictly enforced. We "retired in good order," getting out of the range of the messengers of death that whizzed and buzzed over our heads and about us."

Neither my colleague nor I, have found any details on Baker’s death.  The only ominous hint of it occurs in a letter written by her brother's friend, William Clark to Mary Ellen Baker, regarding her fiancĂ©’s wound.  Elliot Clark Pierce was wounded August 30, just above the left hip bone and was left untreated until the 31st.  He was sent to Burrows (Metropolitan)  Hotel in Washington and attended by Surgeon Clymer of the 13th Mass. Volunteers.  William Clark wrote:

Browns Hotel, Washington

Noon.  Thursday Sept 4th 1862
Miss Mary E. Baker,
I arrived here this morning at 8 o’clock.  Eliot is quite comfortable, being without fever since last evening – and having good quarters and attendance.  His wound is in an uncomfortable place on the left side where every motion of his body hurts him.  On my entrance to his room this morning I found him sitting upon the edge of the bed..  He is in excellent spirits and I shall use my best efforts to obtain a pass from the Provost Marshall to enable him to get home.  I learn with much regret that among the missing is the name of your brother, he is not wounded or killed, as all of both are accounted for.  He will probably come in either as a straggler or paroled prisoner.  Every hour brings them to light.

If I am able, it will be my plan to get to South Braintree by Sunday Morning train.  With regards to your mother + sister, to Mr. and Mrs. Pierce, your friend and servant,
William L. Clark

 Pierce returned home to recuperate, and married Mary Ellen on October 29, 1862.  Baker, of course, never came in. He is buried in Weymouth at Village Cemetery, the same place where Elliot was laid to rest many years later.  Baker was one casualty among many.



Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Battle of Cedar Mountain - They trailed Arms

   

The 155th anniversary of the Battle of Cedar Mountain is August 9th 2017.  I've always wanted to re-build / update the page on my website for this action, as I have much more material now than I did when I posted that page several years ago; but like many other things I've wanted to add to the site, I just haven't got around to it yet.  The reason is I want to keep pressing ahead with the regiment's history, rather than return to periods  I've already covered, at least in some detail.

This is a long introduction.

So, appropriately, to mark the anniversary of the battle, I'm posting this article about the 13th Mass at Cedar Mountain; one of the favorite ones I've come across since building the page for my website.

Pictured is the ridge the 13th Mass marched behind as told in this story.  Federal artillery was posted on the hill, center, right.  Click to view larger.

BOSTON GLOBE
July 3, 1891.

THEY TRAILED ARMS

Quick Wit Saved Many Lives at Gettysburg. (should read 'Cedar Mountain' – B.F.)

Boys of the Old 13th Massachusetts Slid in Under the Moonlight.

Gen. Samuel H. Leonard – “Killed, Wounded, Missing,” Tells Story.

“It is a singular experience in one man’s life.” Said the veteran, with a smile at Young’s on Wednesday. “But just 28 years ago today I was reported here in Boston, ‘Killed, wounded, missing,’ all three in one. The telegraph did it, I suppose. Nobody else could. I was then at Gettysburg.”

Those who remember those fateful three days 28 years ago will well understand the grimness of the veteran’s remark. He spoke of the first Gettysburg day. I myself vividly call to mind the circumstances attending the reception of President Lincoln’s dispatch assuring the country, in his guarded phraseology, that from what he had heard from the front, all had gone well with our arms.

I was a boy then, and stood in front of the Parker house when that dispatch was read. There was no cheering among the crowd of anxious men, but everybody, as I remember, went to their Fourth of July dinner with a better appetite than they had for about two years.

“But,” I asked the general, “how about that episode at Cedar mountain, where the 13th Massachusetts was reported as ‘all correct’ - with none killed, wounded or missing, and for which your commanding general, Hartsuff, called you to account. I have for years desired that you should explain to the public your conduct on that occasion.”

“Oh, well, there is so much that has been written, and I suppose will still be written about the war, that what I have to say won’t count.”

“But I want to know the true facts, and this is a good time to tell them.”

Re-enactors on the Battlefield, August 5, 2017.

The veteran then considered a moment and at last said:

“This is the anniversary of my death, my wounds and – am I missing? (Then he smiled.) That being so I will tell you.

“At Cedar Mountain I was in command of the 13th Massachusetts regiment. The boys were all in good trim and ready to fight. We were in the rear of the 12th Massachusetts (Fletcher Webster’s). There was heavy firing on our front, and I noticed that the aim of the rebels was almost too accurate.

“Right on a knoll directly in our front was where Capt. N. B. Shurtleff, Jr., of the 12th Massachusetts, after telling the boys of his company to lie low and keep quiet, raised himself on his arm to see whether they obeyed orders, when a bullet pierced his heart and he died then and there. He was one of the noblest smartest, and best of all the Boston boys who went to the war.”

It wasn’t a tear, but I really saw a gleam in the general’s eye as he said this. It was almost a tear.

“But what about your part in it, general?”

“Well, I saw the moonlight glistening on a lot of other guns and bayonets to my right and left, which gave the very mark the enemy were firing at. I didn’t know then, as I remember of Shurtleff’s death, but taking in the situation, I instinctively gave the order of command, “Trail arms!” and not a glistening bayonet of the old 13th did the enemy see that night. We did trail arms. My command went quietly to the front and occupied the ground assigned, and not a bullet struck one of my men.”

“I have read that your were called before your next superior officer, Gen. Hartsuff, who was at first dissatisfied with your report the next morning, which was “all present for duty; no casualties.”

“Yes, I was.”

“Will you please tell me about that?”

The general stroked his beard for a moment and then slowly said:

“Hartsuff was not only one of the best men, but one of the best officers I ever knew. I think he had reason to believe me when I told him the truth, but still when he got my first report he was, well, not non-plussed, but incredulous.


Confederate artillery was posted on the bare hill above the trucks pictured.

“When the order came direct, ‘The general commanding your brigade desires a correct report from Col. Leonard of the 13th Massachusetts Regiment.’ I didn’t feel hurt, because I felt secure and knew that I had not only done right, but had saved my men’s lives and perhaps my own.

“My answer simply was, “’Col. Leonard’s report is correct as first given.’”

“That settled it, of course general?”

“Well, no that didn’t settle it. I was ordered to headquarters to report personally to my brigade-commander, just as soon as the aide could go and come.”

“I went, and Gen. Hartsuff, generally cheerful and confiding, asked me somewhat severely, ‘How does it happen, colonel, that while at the very front last night, while all the regimental commanders in this brigade reported, ‘Killed, wounded and missing,’ you report your own command intact?’

“That is so, general.’ I responded.

“But how did it happen?’

“I then quietly said, as near as I remember, with the moon shining on the glistening guns and bayonets to give a mark for the rebs to shoot at, I simply shouted to my boys, ‘Trail arms!’ and they all trailed.

“Gen. Hartsuff, at that, took a step backward, turned round, and with a smile of satisfaction I shall never forget, simply said, ‘Col. Leonard, you did d--- well! I’ve no fault to find!’”

The writer of this is no stranger to the boys of the 13th Massachusetts Regiment. Right from that very battlefield, and almost among the dead and the dying, an old chum, a private in Company D, wrote this to him, just after the battle (the next day); “We got out of it nicely last night. I think if they had seen our bayonets they would have hit us hard, and perhaps I wouldn’t be writing to you now.”

I have always remembered the words of that private soldier, in the days gone by one of my intimate friends. I have always remembered that little circumstance which saved, probably his own and many other lives in that hard battle.

Capt. Shurtleff, who was so unfortunately killed in Col. Leonard’s front, was one of the brainiest young men who went to the war from Boston. Although only 24 at the time of his death he was already an orator, and had in him not only the making of an ordinary man, but, as I remember his speech to Faneuil Hall just before he went to his death, the qualities of a statesman.

He belongs with Shaw and Lowell and Putnam and Winthrop. Let his name, too, be remembered.

I violate no confidence when I state that for at least 10 years the request has stood from me to Gen. Samuel H. Leonard that I should be permitted to write for publication this little item in his military experience.

And he only consented when I found him missing thus: “Twenty-eight years ago today I was reported killed, wounded and missing.”

He is still one of the youngest of our veterans.


Sunday, July 30, 2017

Making Tracks in the Footsteps of the 13th Mass.


Road Trip

The pursuit of General Lee’s army after the battle of Gettysburg, is the subject of the two latest pages  posted at my website.  While assembling the source material, I had the idea to follow part of the route the First Corps took on their march from Maryland, back into Virginia.  My purpose was to take photographs along the way to illustrate the soldiers’ narrative on my website.


Because the road system has changed extensively, I couldn’t be certain I was following the exact route, but I knew the towns the soldiers passed through, and accordingly plotted a trip through those towns of Middleburg, Hamilton, Waterford, and Lovettsville, Virginia to Berlin, Md.

My final destination was the Washington Monument at South Mountain State Park overlooking the town of Boonsboro, MD.   The army camped near there more than one time during their 3 years of service.  Drummer Sam Webster’s journal entry for July 8, 1863 says in part: 

"Camped, high up, to the right side of the Gap, overlooking Boonsboro.  Had to build a stone breastwork before doing anything else."

And, on the next day:

"Went up to top of the mountain with Sawyer, but failed to see much as the fog covered the fort.  Had a good view of the valley in the distance, however."


Boonsboro  was about a three hour drive for us, but close enough to get there and back in one day.

Middleburg, about an hour’s drive from home was my starting point.  From the village I plotted a course north on Foxcroft Road [626] to Goose Creek, where Austin Stearn’s of Company K wrote about his difficulty crossing the creek.

“I remember of fording Goose Creek one hot summers day where the water was three feet deep if you could keep in the right place, but if you turned but a very little to down stream, to four. Some of the boys plunged right in, not caring for the wet; others would take off their pants and, tucking up their shirts, go through dry with the exceptions of their coat tails.  I chose the later way as there was time enough, so strapping my pants and boots on my back and taking a middle course, I got there all right, but when I reached the opposite bank could not climb up, for the banks were steep and so many had gone before that it was only one mass of soft slippery mud. There was nothing to stick to; it all wanted to stick to you.  Others were in the same predicament, and after vainly trying several times and slipping back each time, I got a friendly hand and came out all right at last with dry pants and boots.  The Gen’l sat on his horse and laughed as though he enjoyed it.”
Below is a picture of where Foxcroft Road crosses Goose Creek.  Austin Stearns would have crossed the creek somewhere close to here.



The army marched from North to South, but of course, I was headed in the opposite direction.  From Goose Creek, my wife and I continued on route 626 to route 611 and then to where 611 crosses the ‘Snickersville Turnpike.’  At this junction we took Silcott Springs Road [690] north to Purcellville.

Sam Webster recorded in his journal during the army’s march south, that this portion of Virginia, north of the Snickersville Turnpike, had much more Union sentiment as opposed to those residents south of it.  

Tuesday, July 21st 1863.  The loyalty of the people on the north side of the pike through Snicker’s gap was exemplified yesterday.  A girl 14 or maybe 16 years old on the way to school emptied her dinner basket and gave her dinner to the men - and did it willingly.  A short distance further on, at a house on the right of the road, the lady of the house gave all the bread, etc., she had just taken out of the oven. She said she was a doing this “for her government,” and if she “had only known they were coming, she would have baked more.”  Besides, she had her boys carrying out water to the road.  As an offset Charlie Haas, of 94th N.Y. last evening while waiting at a house for some milk was, with another, surprised by gurerrilas, brought by the man of the house, and carried off to Mosby’s over the Bull Run Mtn. Mosby wished him to join his band, but he refused. He was paroled to go to Alexandria, came into camp instead, and a guard was sent to arrest the man who betrayed him.  He was found upstairs under a bed, where, he said, he was hunting for something.  Said he had never seen Charlie. (This is all from the story as afterward told by Charlie.)

At Purcellville we turned directly east on Main street and kept going the short distance to Hamilton.  The 13th Mass camped at the west end of the village of Hamilton, or Harmony Church, on Sunday, July 19, 1863, arriving as Charles E. Davis, Jr. wrote, “Alas ! too late for church services.”





We didn’t attend church either, but stopped for a rather nice lunch at a place called Lowry’s Crab Shack, just on the west side of the village.


Sgt. Austin C. Stearns and Clarence Bell both mentioned the houses of Hamilton, VA, flying the National flag.

Lots of cars, traffic signs, telephone poles and other signs of modernity cluttered up some of these picturesque towns, making it difficult to get a suitable image to accompany an 1863 narrative, but I made a few attempts regardless.  There was a lot of ground to cover, so we only made the simplest of efforts to that end.

Pictured is a patriotic house in Hamilton.  The electrical wires don't do the house justice, but we were in a bit of a hurry to move on.  Other pictures in Hamilton proved equally obstructed by modernity.



From Hamilton, we wanted to go to Waterford, 5.2 miles distant.  We turned left on route 704 north, Hamilton Station Road, and followed it northeast, to just south of the town of Waterford.



Waterford was the first town the regiment bivouacked at after they crossed the Potomac River into Virginia from Berlin, Md., on July 18, 1863.


Pictured, is a photo of Waterford, taken en route.



We took Milltown road [681] to Lovettesville, Va, then followed route 287, the 3.5 miles from there directly to Brunswick, formerly Berlin, Maryland.

This was as far as I attempted to re-trace the route of the First Corps.  We spent the rest of the afternoon, wandering around Western Maryland, going to places I know the regiment visited.

We followed the Potomac River along the old C & O canal before turning north up Pleasant Valley to Boonsboro, stopping at South Mountain Park.

Along the way we passed through Knoxville, and Sandy Hook, MD, two towns the 13th Mass passed through and camped at, on many occasions early in their service.

On the way back we went a different route, the idea being to get to Berryville, VA, then up into the mountains to Bluemont, in order to drive the Snickersville Turnpike back down to Middleburg.  The 13th Mass also passed this way a few times during their service.

The trip was a lot of fun.  We made a day of it and were able to get home by 9 p.m. after many interesting stops along the way.

Pictured below is a panoramic of Knoxville, Md. near Sandy Hook and Harper's Ferry.  The 13th Mass spent many months in this area in the winter of 1861 - 1862.




You can view these pictures and get more of a feel for the real march by visiting the new pages of my website.  There's lots more there too.  I hope you enjoyed the trip.




Wednesday, May 10, 2017

A Trip to Winchester


     Living in Virginia has advantages; one such being that nearly everyplace is historic.  Saturday I went with family to see my nephew march with the West Allegheny [Pennsylvania] Band in the Winchester Apple Blossom Festival Parade.

     This was my first opportunity to stop in the town.  The ground we staked out on the parade route was on Cork Street directly across from historic Loudon Street, which sported a large bold  sign over the intersection  that read ‘Old Town Winchester.’  Its now a pedestrian arcade.  The  old buildings had  signs that dated them back to the early 1800’s.  I asked one of the nearby vendors selling hamburgers if the Old Courthouse was nearby.  She was not from the area, but recalled seeing it listed on her gps  when she drove to work that morning.  It was about a block and 1/2 over that way, she said pointing.

      In March, 1862, the 13th Massachusetts Volunteers marched into Winchester; — among the first ‘Yankees’ to occupy the town, and the first of many times the town would change hands during the war.

Charles Davis, Jr. wrote in the regiment’s history, “Three Years in the Army,”:

     “We had hardly entered the main street of the town when General Jackson and Colonel Ashby were discovered on horseback, in front of the Taylor House, waving an adieu with their hats.  An order was immediately given to fire, but we were not quick enough to do them harm or retard their flight.  This was a daring thing to do, though common enough with such men as Jackson and Ashby.

     “We were marched down the main street, the band playing patriotic airs, while the people scanned our appearance to see what a Yankee looked like.  Some who were prepared to scoff could get no farther than “How fat they are!”

    “..The regiment was detailed as provost guard of the town, and proceeded at once to secure quarters in the unoccupied buildings.

     “…Two of the companies were quartered in the hall in the court-house.”

     The 13th Massachusetts regiment had its fair share of hubris.  Four days after arriving,  Chaplain Noah Gaylord “preached a rattling sermon on, "The Evils of Secession," in front of the court-house.  Notice having been given out to the town-people that he was to preach, advantage was taken by some of them to be present and listen to a  “Yankee” preacher.

     A soldier named Frank, in Co. K of the 13th Mass, described the sermon in a letter home, published in the local newspaper,  the ’Westboro’ Transcript.’

“Since writing the above we have attended services. They were held in the square in front of the court-house.  

There was a large assemblage of citizens and soldiers beside our own regt.  I don’t know what the people thought of Mr. Gaylord, for he did give it to the rebel Virginians good.  I saw some awful long looking faces, and also some smiling ones.  He told the citizens that here was a sample of the mudsills of the North.  A sample of the soldiers that were a coming South, to burn, destroy property, ravish their women, commit murder, and such depredations, as the Southern press has led the people to believe.  He asked the people if they had seen any indications of such actions or treatment amongst the Union troops since they had been here, &c.


Mr. Gaylord was in all his glory as he stood on the court-house steps addressing the people.  I never saw him when he was so eloquent.  I think he must have forgot it was the Sabbath when he spoke of Senator Mason.  He called him a traitor and everything but what was good.  He told his hearers that he had draggooned the people of Virginia into this rebellion, and it was such as he, and his kind, that had got the whole South drawn in.  There was something novel about our services, considering the time, place and circumstances.  I think that Mr. Gaylord is the first chaplain that has had an opportunity of speaking to the Virginians in such a hot-bed of rebeldom, and so large a town as this. “

     History shows, Chaplain Gaylord’s sermon made little impression on the citizens of Winchester.

     Back to the parade…

    There was a half hour before the Apple Blossom Festival parade was to start, so with my sister-in-law, we started down the arcade in search of the historic court-house.  Like any place, local residents are probably not much impressed with familiar land-marks they see frequently in their home town.   Such must be true of the court-house, amidst the ‘touristy attractions’ of local shops and restaurants.  But for me, the Chaplain’s sermon always loomed large, among the many memorable and humorous incidents in the history of the 13th Massachusetts Volunteers.

     Because of the hamburger vendor’s instructions we circumvented the area, not knowing that a short stroll directly down Loudon would get us to our destination.  Coming around from the back  made the surprise that much greater for me when we found it.  My sister-in-law prompted me to have a picture taken on the steps.

     So, here I am in front of the  historic Winchester Court-House, now a Civil War museum.  I refrained from giving any sermons however, although the subject of "How the 13th Massachusetts Won the Civil War For the Union,” did come to mind.   …Perhaps another day.

     Right down the street I spotted the unmistakable architecture of the  Taylor House, with its imposing 3 story columns rising up from the street.  There were amusing stories about this place too.  But it was time to get back for the parade.

     It turned out to be a long wait for the West Allegheny Marching Band.  Two hours passed and there was still no evidence of their approach.   The afternoon waned and  a chill descended upon the parade watchers, for it had been a wet and rainy day. I went in search of coffee to warm ourselves, my wife and I.   I was directed across the street to a new bakery that served it.  And, of course, while I was inside, waiting for my order, the West Allegheny Marching Band went marching past the big bay window of the store front facing Cork Street.


     We are proud of you Robby!