July 11th, 2011


Poem for Monday and Fredericksburg Battlefields

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I spent the day in and around Fredericksburg with my family and dementordelta. We had never visited those battlefields, though my in-laws were there recently -- Paul's mother's ancestor fought at Totopotomoy Creek and was wounded before Cold Harbor -- so we went to the sites of the battles at Chancellorsville, the Wilderness, and Spotsylvania Court House, plus the Chatham mansion which was used as a Union headquarters and hospital and the Old Salem Church which harbored refugees and wounded soldiers. We saw two short films about the battles in the park visitor centers and had lunch at a picnic table in the gardens at Chatham, which its last private owner had designed to look like an English country estate.

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After several more hours of driving and hiking around the more remote battlefields talking to some rangers and a woman reenacting the role of a Fredericksburg resident, we had dinner at Carlos O'Kelly's which may be the only Irish Mexican restaurant I've ever heard of. We hit some traffic driving home, so we had a quiet evening and watched Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, whose Quidditch scenes still go on too long, as does the final battle with the basilisk, but which has so much delicious Lucius Malfoy (even that ridiculous last scene where he tries to curse Harry) that I forgive it.