Monday, January 26, 2009

The Battle of Waynesboro

Talk about yer serendipity! In an earlier post I made mention of artist Norman Saunders whom, among many, many other things, I just discovered did most of the illustrations for the 1962 Civil War News series of trading cards, including this one:

Yep, that's my hometown and, yep, once upon a time I had a complete set of those cards; unfortunately, I made the mistake of taking them to school for Show and Tell and on the bus ride home one of the older kids decided to relieve me of my entire collection. Just reached into my book bag and took 'em.

I. Was. Devastated.

Not just because of the loss of my cards, though that was bad enough, but no one, NO ONE, would do a thing to help me get them back. Not my classmates (well, no surprise there), not the bus driver, not my parents, not the mother of the boy who took them (okay, yeah, I was dumb and naive enough to go to this kid's house and tattle to his mom. She yelled at me).*

Uh... that got a little off-topic there, didn't it?

Anyway, it was because of this card that I discovered there had been a realio, trulio Civil War battle in my hometown** and not only that, but part of it occurred in the field separating my elementary school from the local high school where my Mom taught! I gave up on the bus (for obvious reasons) and began hitching rides home with Mom, which, since she didn't leave until a couple of hours after I got out of school, gave me ample time to scour the field for the Minie balls and other artifacts I just knew had to be there. Never found anything, but it was fun looking.

As for the Battle of Waynesboro itself, well, here are some points of interest:

"Any considered judgment of (George Armstrong) Custer's military abilities, however, should include an analysis of his performance in a relatively small action on March 2, 1865 at Waynesboro, Virginia. In this battle the 25 year old Brevet Major General Custer demonstrated the bravery and initiative that had made him famous. In a brilliant action he attacked and completely destroyed the last remaining organized Confederate force in the Shenandoah Valley."
--"Custer and the Battle of Waynesboro"

"It was a battle where the Eighth New York Cavalry, under the gallant leadership of Major Hartwell B. Compson, earned undying fame. The major himself performed wonderful feats of bravery and set an example which electrified his men and inspired them to deeds of splendid heroism."
--"Custer's Heroes"

"The Battle of Waynesboro occurred in my hometown on 2 March, 1865. In an area today known as the "Tree Streets", (Upper left of this image) Confederate forces were defeated in what is considered the last Civil War battle in the Shenandoah Valley."
--Old Virginia Blog

*You want to know how traumatic this was for me (or to what extent I'm capable of harboring a resentment)? Forty-plus years later I still remember the boy's name, where he lived, the color of his house, the dress his mom was wearing, etc. In fact, just writing about it works up a certain amount of righteous indignation, which is ironic since I was (am) no angel myself.

**Which, really, isn't saying much. You live anywhere in Virginia and chances are there was a Civil War battle in your backyard.

1 comment:

Cathy VanPatten said...

I remember you and Rob (I think it was Rob) searching for Civil War ammo on the playground...

And I would just love to know who the young scamp was who took your cards! So mean!