All over the South, on godforsaken highways next to fields of weeds and in the middle of small-ish cities with almost no human beings, there are moldy historical markers recalling times when there was even less. Apparently, there are 2600 or so historical markers in Georgia, the third most of any state, with nearly a thousand related to the Civil War, many erected in the mid-‘50s and a few unabashedly glorifying the Confederacy. Because I have nothing better to do, I sometimes read them and I have discovered that they are poorly written, universally boring and often mention the obscurest historical events that could be of interest to only the most diehard Civil War scholars.
While I don’t have the money to erect my own (they are sturdy and metal), I have come up with some inaccurate Civil War events that could become historical markers of vaguely significant happenings that may not have occurred.
14th Artillery Division Crosses Umpahpah Creek
Following the rout of the 18th and 46th regiments at Reynold’s Twig, Sargent Lucien Rathbone and the 14th crossed Umpahpah creek, leaving their artillery on the other side and then forgetting about it for nearly three days hence. Near Zebulon, it was remarked that their load seemed lighter and their movements brisker, before Rathbone let loose with a remarkable stream of cuss words sending spittle flying in the direction of Private Garth Corbett, who wore an expression both sullen and reproachful.
On May 3, 1862, Colonel Aadieus Pickett was awakened at eighteen hundred hours with the need to relieve himself and in his half-sleep searching for a thicket, he came upon a division of Confederate soldiers sleeping and unbeknownst to all did a No. 2, where their campfire had once been, without awakening anyone, but on the way back to his camp, he unwittingly went in the opposite direction, collapsed into a narrow ravine and fell fast asleep three paces from a raccoon nest.
The Death of Gen. Braxton Theodore Parsnip
Maj. Gen. Braxton Theodore Parsnip, commanding a division of Confederate cavalry, who had retreated after the skirmish at Titsdale, in the early hours of Sunday, June 1, 1864, sat on a fallen log trimming his expansive accumulation of moustaches when a bullet fired from the Southeast felled him in one shot. It was near this spot that the noble and gallant Gen. Parsnip left this world and entered the kingdom of heaven with his whiskers untidy.
In the waning daylight hours of Wednesday, April 14, 1863, Meriwether Turnball’s brigade moved three steps to the left and then forward beyond a fallen stump, where they were met by two squirrels. Outflanked to the east by Union General Barnard Hodgkins’ 13th regiment, they attempted to secure the railway spur near Fort Twizzler, but realized they had lost their map three months previous in the lower Carolina, so instead huddled among the few pine trees on the northernmost ridge and had discussions on the subjects of ladies and food.