Saturday, July 24, 2010

Blood & Thunder

Journal Entry: Edwards Ferry on the Potomac River, September 4, 1862

Tomorrow, we move into Maryland to take a taste of devastation to the north. Northern newspapers are full of horrific headlines, as if the popular “blood & thunder” novels were now being played out on fields of fire in a faraway land, but those fields are our home lands, and those fires are our homes. The readers are blood thirsty; the editors feed that thirst. The happy news of weddings and births has been crowded out of the pages, replaced by scenes of southern suffering. This war has become a shocking stage for a bloodlust that has been quickly growing, like the population, for years. The young, buoyant nation of our forefathers, that worked together to elevate the citizenry, has taken a turn towards destruction and sensationalism. Where we once came together in a crisis or disaster, our interest now seems to be simply self-interest. I hate to spread this mayhem to another state, but perhaps war must be seen first hand, if we are ever to see peace.

So, it is into Maryland, we shall go. Maryland is a state in a contrary state of mind, for as many citizens lean south as lean towards the north, somewhat akin to a pine sapling depending on the day’s breeze for its direction. Entering a Maryland town, we will never know how we shall be received; if the wind will be blowing north or south. Even President Lincoln was so unsure of her leanings that, last year, he jailed 31 Maryland legislators suspected of favoring secession, as it would have been devastating to have Washington City surrounded by secession states.

Were we not weary of war, this would be a fine adventure. A year ago, almost to a man, we had never left Spotsylvania County, Virginia, and now, here we are at Edwards Ferry, about to cross the Potomac River into the mountains of Maryland. From a distance, it is a beautiful, idyllic scene, but what waits; I fear it shall be blood and thunder.

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