Goats LOVE Privett
I left Athens and drove to Crawford, GA by way of US highway 78. Although now a major artery, the road largely follows the old transportation route between Augusta and Athens and along this path a traveler passes through many historic communities, some even dating back to the late colonial period. My host for the next couple of nights, Tim Walsh, has had a very active hand in the preservation of several of these historic properties. Tim has actually done some really interesting work over the past decade or so: brick masonry on a house made with site fired bricks, (opposed to bricks made in a plant and shipped to the site. For those interested in old school building techniques, you should research this. Essentially you make a beehive structure of wet mud bricks and light a fire in the middle) timber framing, log cabining (?) stone masonry and just about everything else one could do to an old house.
Tim’s house is rife with hilarity but also life threatening danger. Really. I’m not kidding. Smirk if you must but I’d like to see how you’d feel with 10 sharp claws at your neck with all the strength of 10lbs of tabbied flesh behind it (some will recognize the assailants) I’m lucky I made it out of there alive. Throughout the night I was visited by these fluffy apparitions who used my head and neck like a whetstone (I was also visited by a not so fluffy, very tangible dog named Cornbread who did nothing to dissuade my attackers and was only interested in swiping a slice of my pillow).
In the morning after dragging my self off of the couch (who needs sleep when you have excitement!) I emerged to an absolutely glorious morning (see video below). A cup of coffee later I strolled out among the wild brood as I took in the pastoral serenity of Oglethorpe County.
After leaving the farm I headed west to Lawrenceville by way of Statham and Winder and from there to Gainesville, (a place that must be populated with yankees and Floridians, cause I can’t image why a Georgian would ever want to live in a city so foully named) Baldwin and back down to Daniellsville (see future posts).
It was in the vicinity of Statham (Barrow County) and Athens that the bumbling Stoneman Raid took place in 1864 (see Gen. Stoneman’s gallant visage below). Perhaps bumbling is too severe an adjective. Bumbling is what I do when I ride a horse, I’m sure these Blues were fine horseman. Ill fated would do better; perhaps jarringly unsuccessful. Wait I get jarred in the saddle, these guys just failed.
There are many Historical Markers dedicated to this event (see below) and, unless my emotional receptors are fouled, I can detect a little smear of pride in the marker text; written as they were about a glaring Union upstaging on sacred Georgia soil. But, heck, who am I to judge. Stoneman was, after all, the highest ranking Union officer captured during the war.
The events of the raid, the capture and and the successful flight by some of Stoneman’s officers are more pieces of a history (an Adventure!) that I have hard time comprehending. These men must had suckled on pure adrenaline for days on end. A Narrative of the raid was written by a General Capron (who was actually 60 during the battle!). He and his two sons were members of the party that fled and his account provides details of an unbelievably stirring event. Capron tells of riding bare back through rapids and hiding deep in swamps to escape Confederate pursuers. I find myself being romantically drawn into these unimaginable set of circumstances whereby their lives flourished (or floundered). The rules that governed them during the war have little resonance in our time. It is a curse of this age. Oh well, I bet there is something good on TV.
More to come . . .