Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Chancellorsville Battlefield

If you’re looking for an outing on a crisp fall day, head over to the Chancellorsville Battlefield to hike the 4-mile history trail. This is a well-marked and well-maintained trail, mostly pretty level, good for beginning hikers and families. It’s very close to home for us, and right off Rt. 3, but the deeply wooded trail makes for a very back-to-nature experience. The Visitor Center is free, and has a nice display of exhibits detailing the battle’s significance.

On our last visit, we tagged along for the beginning of the walking tour that the rangers give. If you love military history, and the thought of a minute-by-minute, blow-by-blow description of every troop movement and every skirmish of the battle excites you, this is the tour for you. If like me, that sort of thing makes your eyeballs roll back in your head, your body go numb, and has you praying that lightning would strike at the very spot the tour group stood, you might want to skip it. After 15 minutes, I thought my ordeal was over, but no...it was just time to move on to Marker #2. Sensing that the primary threat lay to the north, I acted upon personal reconnaissance, maintaining my position while anticipating the next movement of the infantry’s senior corps commander. Sweat-soaked, I seized the initiative to swiftly retreat to a more southerly position without resistance, exploited my opportunity to maintain momentum while sweeping west of the left flank, traversed a small clearing, and made my escape undetected by the opposition. The maneuver exacted no casualties, and I was able to snatch a few moments' rest at the leafy bivouac while reveling in my improbable victory.

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