Friday, February 29, 2008

Jenkins' Ferry State Park - Arkansas

Our new page on Jenkins' Ferry State Park in Arkansas is now online at
The Battle of Jenkins' Ferry was fought on April 29-30, 1864 during the Red River Campaign. A major encounter, the Civil War battle ended the Arkansas phase of the campaign.
We will be adding additional pages about the Red River Campaign over the coming weeks, but Jenkins' Ferry is the first to come online.
The park is located 13 miles southwest of Sheridan, Arkansas, and is within one hour's drive of a number of major Arkansas communities, including Little Rock, Hot Springs and Pine Bluff. It commemorates the 1864 battle and is also a popular recreation area.

Vicksburg, Mississippi - The "Widow Blakely"

This is the "Widow Blakely" at Vicksburg National Military park in Vicksburg, Mississippi. The cannon obtained its unusual name because it was the only Blakely rifle used in the Confederate defense of Vicksburg.
Many visitors to Vicksburg often miss several fascinating sites that are part of the national park because they are located away from the main tour road. The "Widow Blakely," South Fort, Grant's Canal, Louisiana Circle and Battery Benton, however, are easy to reach and definitely worth a visit.
All of these sites (except for Grant's Canal which is across the Mississippi River in Louisiana) are located just up the street from the Welcome Center at Exit 1 off Interstate 20. Battery Benton, in fact, can be reached from stairs leading from the Welcome Center parking lot.
Several of the sites, Battery Benton and Louisiana Circle in particular, provide spectacular views of the Mississippi River.
To see more of Vicksburg, Mississippi, please visit

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Vicksburg, Mississippi - Old Courthouse Museum

This beautiful structure in Vicksburg, Mississippi is the city's historic Old Courthouse. Now a museum, it is located at 1008 Cherry Street downtown and is a major landmark of the city.
Built in 1858 on the grounds where Jefferson Davis began his political career, the courthouse was a key landmark during the 1863 Battle of Vicksburg. Although clearly visible to Union gunners outside the city, the courthouse was not materially damaged during the siege.
On July 4, 1863, the United States flag was raised from the clock tower officially ending one of the most important battles of the Civil War.
Today the courthouse contains an outstanding collection of artifacts relating to the history of Vicksburg and Mississippi. To learn more, please visit

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Vicksburg, Mississippi - U.S.S. Cairo

One of the most fascinating exhibits at the Vicksburg National Military Park is the wreck of the Cairo, an actual Civil War ironclad gunboat raised from the bottom of Mississippi's Yazoo River.
The Cairo had taken part in the Battles of Plum Bayou and Memphis. On December 12, 1862, she was sent up the Yazoo River as part of an effort to clear the waterway of Confederate opposition. Seven miles north of Vicksburg, the gunboats came under fire from Confederate artillery. As the Cairo turned to respond, she was suddenly rocked by massive explosions. The gunboat had steamed over a submerged Confederate mine (then called at "torpedo").
The Cairo sank to the bottom of the Yazoo River in just twelve minutes, becoming the first warship in history to be sunk by an electronic mine.
The ironclad was raised during the 1960s and taken in sections to Pascagoula, Mississippi, where she was cleaned and preserved by workers at Ingalls Shipyard. Today the Cairo is the centerpiece of a fascinating museum and exhibit at Vicksburg National Military Park.
To learn more and see additional photos, please go to

Monday, February 25, 2008

Vicksburg, Mississippi - Battery De Golyer

Continuing our look at Vicksburg, Mississippi, this is Battery De Golyer at Vicksburg National Military Park. The first stop on the driving tour of the Vicksburg battlefield, this battery was one of many established by Union troops during the Battle of Vicksburg.
Manned by gunners from several units, including the 8th Michigan Artillery, Battery De Golyer at one point mounted as many as 22 cannon. The guns bombarded the Confederate "Great Redoubt," one of the forts guarding Vicksburg.
The battery was named for Captain Samuel De Golyer of the 8th Michigan Artillery, who was mortally wounded while directing artillery fire during the Battle of Vicksburg.
Our look at Vicksburg will continue, but in the meantime you can read and see more by going to

Vicksburg National Military Park - Vicksburg, Mississippi

Over the next few days we will spend some time exploring Vicksburg, Mississippi, one of the most historic cities in the United States.

Vicksburg, of course, is home to the Vicksburg National Military Park, where Union and Confederate troops fought the Battle of Vicksburg, one of the largest and most significant battles in American history.

The massive Civil War battle was fought over miles of hills and ravines ringing the historic Southern city, as well as on the Mississippi River. Today, much of the battlefield is preserved at the national park, where visitors can explore earthwork forts, artillery batteries, tunnels, monuments and even a salvaged Civil War ironclad.

The photograph here shows the artillery display at the parking lot of the Visitor Center at Vicksburg National Military Park. The display gives visitors a chance to inspect the various types of cannon used during the siege and battle at Vicksburg.

Our look at Vicksburg will continue, but in the meantime you can read and see more by visiting our Vicksburg pages at

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Natural Bridge - Eureka Springs, Arkansas

This unique formation is one of several fascinating natural features at Pivot Rock Park in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
Encompassing a large parcel of beautiful mountain country in the Ozarks, the park features the small natural bridge seen here, as well as Pivot Rock, the unusual formation that gives the park its name.
According to legend, this area was one of the hideouts of the notorious outlaw Jesse James and his gang.
To read more about Pivot Rock Park and other points of interest around Eureka Springs, please click here and look for the Eureka Springs heading.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Alamo - San Antonio, Texas

This week marks the 172nd anniversary of the Siege and Battle of the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas.
The story is one of the best known in American history. A small band of around 200 soldiers and volunteers, along with a few civilian women and children, held the Alamo for nearly two weeks against the overwhelming force of the Mexican Army. When the smoke finally cleared on March 6, 1836, the defenders lay dead and the armies of both sides had entered the story of one of the most heroic events in American history. David Crockett (who never went by the name "Davy Crockett"), Jim Bowie, William Barret Travis and scores of others were among the killed.
We recently added new Alamo pages at, so if you would like to read more about this famous battle and see additional photos of the Alamo as it appears today, just click here and look for the Alamo heading.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Ghost of Bellamy Bridge, Florida

Ghost stories and legends are a big part of the culture of the South. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, the stories are signfiicant because like most legends they usually have a foundation in a real historical event. And sometimes, the real story is even more interesting than the legend!
This is definitely the case with the story of Florida's Ghost of Bellamy Bridge.
Bellamy Bridge, seen here, is a historic iron-frame structure spanning the Chipola River a few miles north of Marianna, Florida (and a few miles west of the famed Florida community of Two Egg). As the story goes, the bridge and swamps surrounding it are haunted by the ghost of Elizabeth Jane Bellamy. A darling of antebellum society, she supposedly burned to death after her wedding gown by accident touched either a candle or open fire during her reception.
Although there are several versions, the story has been part of the folklore of Northwest Florida for more than 100 years. Since I'm often asked about it, I started researching the legend a few years ago to find out the truth behind the ghost story. The results of the research proved far more interesting than the legend itself! I've begun a new series on Bellamy Bridge at our sister blog, Two Egg, Florida. If you are interested in learning more, just follow the link.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Fort Matanzas - St. Augustine, Florida

Fort Matanzas National Monument, located 15 miles south of St. Augustine, Florida, preserves a restored Spanish fort built in 1740-1742.

Incorporating some of the most historic ground in Florida, the national monument also interprets the history of a 1565 massacre of French shipwreck survivors by Spanish soldiers.

Our new Fort Matanzas page is now online at our new St. Augustine, Florida section on!

We will be expanding our St. Augustine section with additional historic sites in the city over the next few days, so be sure to check back in for updates. Thank you to the National Park Service for this photograph of Fort Matanzas.

New Eureka Springs, Arkansas Section is now online!

Eureka Springs, Arkansas, is - quite simply - one of the most charming little cities in America. Its historic significance, eclectic atmosphere and beautiful Victorian architecture bring hundreds of thousands of visitors it year, making it one of the most popular historic destinations in the South.
In addition, Eureka is the romance capital of America and the home of the nation's "most haunted" hotel. More couples get married here (per capita) than in any other city in America. The total number of weddings here each year, in fact, usually exceeds the total population of the city! In addition, the city's historic Crescent Hotel makes for an elegant but spooky treat.
To learn more about Eureka Springs, the stunning Victorian city of the Ozarks, please go to and you will see the new heading on the home page.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

War Eagle Mill - Northwest Arkansas

One of the most scenic historic attractions in Arkansas is the War Eagle Mill. Located just 12 miles east of Rogers and 25 miles southwest of Eureka Springs, the mill and adjacent War Eagle Bridge are among the state's most unique historic sites.
In addition, War Eagle Mill is the site of one of the largest and best known Arts and Craft Fairs in the South.
Our new War Eagle Mill page is now online at Just follow the link and look for the link under Arkansas in the Index section at the bottom of the page.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Thorncrown Chapel - Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Thorncrown Chapel, the beautifully constructed structure that you see here, is one of the most awe-inspiring landmarks in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
Designed by the noted architect E. Fay Jones, who passed away in 2004, the chapel was named one of the top five buildings of the 20th century by the American Institute of Architects.
The chapel includes more than 6,000 square feet of glass and was designed and constructed to blend with its spectacular mountain setting.
Our new Thorncrown Chapel page is now online at Just click here to take a look!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

News about Devil's Backbone Battlefield in Arkansas

I've received news from a friend at the Civil War Round Table of Arkansas that the Civil War Preservation Trust has voted to purchase 10 acres of the Devil's Backbone Battlefield in Sebastian County, Arkansas.
This move will preserve part of the site of the important Battle of Devil's Backbone (sometimes called the Battle of Backbone Mountain) fought near the towns of Greenwood and Fort Smith on September 1, 1863.
If you would like to read more about this battlefield or see additional photographs, please go to and click the Battlefields and Forts link in the column at left, then just look under the Arkansas heading and you will find the link.

The Battle of Dripping Springs, Arkansas

Over the next few days we are exploring the Battle of Dripping Springs, Arkansas on our sister blog, Arkansas in the Civil War.
This battle was fought on December 28, 1862, between Confederate and Union troops in the edge of the Ozarks north of the city of Van Buren, Arkansas.
It was an important preliminary action to the Battle of Van Buren, fought later that day.
If you would like to read more, visit the blog or go to the Battle of Dripping Springs page at (just look under the Battlefields and Forts heading in the left hand column).

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Castillo de San Marcos - St. Augustine, Florida

If you are interested in historic architecture and especially old forts, the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument in St. Augustine, Florida makes for a fascinating visit.

Constructed by the Spanish more than 300 years ago, the old stone fort is the oldest masonry fortification in the continental United States. It was besieged numerous times, but withstood each attack and was never taken in battle.

Today the old fort overlooks historic St. Augustine, America's oldest city, and provides visitors with a fascinating look back at the history of the city that was half a century old by the time the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock.

If you would like to learn more about the Castillo, simply go to and look for the link under the "Battlefields and Forts" heading in the left hand column.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Mammoth Cave National Park - Kentucky

One of the natural wonders of the world, Mammoth Cave is also one of the most historic sites in the South.
Discovered thousands of years ago by early Native Americans, the cave system is known to include more than 300 miles of chambers and passages with hundreds of miles remaining to be explored. This length makes Mammoth Cave the longest cave in the world.
The huge cave system is also a noteworthy landmark in America's black history because many of the explorers and guides who opened the cave to public view during the 19th century were African American residents of the local area.
To learn more about Mammoth Cave National Park, please visit our new Mammoth Cave pages at Simply follow the link and then scroll down the page to the Kentucky heading in the Index section.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Blue Ridge Parkway - North Carolina and Virginia

Stretching from Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina north to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, the Blue Ridge Parkway is America's most popular national park area.

Stretching 469 miles across the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains and reaching heights of over 6,000 feet, the parkway is more than just a road. It is a fascinating way to journey into the cultural and natural history of the South.

Our new Blue Ridge Parkway pages are now online at To learn more, just follow the link and scroll down the page to the Index section and look under both the Virginia and North Carolina headings.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

A Southern ghost story and a bit of Florida history!

If you enjoy a good ghost story now and then and like to learn more about the true facts behind the legends, then you will probably enjoy the story of the "Ghost of Bellamy Bridge" at
This legend is one of Florida's oldest ghost stories and revolves around the 1837 wedding of Samuel and Elizabeth Bellamy at Marianna, Florida.
Wealthy newcomers who moved to Florida from North Carolina, the Bellamys were among the social elite of the Territory. Samuel was a physician, businessman and politician who served as a Jackson County delegate to Florida's first Constitutional Convention. His wife was the young daughter of one of North Carolina's richest families.
To learn more about the unusual story and the claims that her ghost can still be seen roaming the banks of the Chipola River near Marianna, please visit and scroll down the page to the Index. Just look for the "Ghost of Bellamy Bridge" link under the Florida heading.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Please remember the tornado victims

Please take a few minutes today to think of the victims of last night's terrible tornadoes. More than fifty people have died, dozens of others are hurting and hundreds of people are homeless across much of the South.

The storms began in Arkansas and continued across the Mississippi River into Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama.

Please remember the victims in your prayers and do what you can to help. One of the best ways to help in any disaster is to donate to the American Red Cross. You can do so by following this link:

The link also provides more information on the storms and has emergency information for the family and friends of victims.

Thank you.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The Site of Fort McRee - Pensacola, Florida

The sandy point visible in the distance on the right side of this photograph was an important site during the Civil War on Pensacola Bay. This was the location of Fort McRee, the "lost fort" of Pensacola.
A brick fortification constructed between the years 1834 and 1839, Fort McRee was located directly across the entrance to Pensacola Bay from Fort Pickens. Combined, the two forts were designed to sweep the entrance of the bay with artillery fire should enemy ships attempt to force their way into the harbor.
The fort was severely damaged during the November 1861 Battle of Pensacola Bay and eventually was destroyed by the elements.
To learn more about Fort McRee, please visit and look for the new heading for Pensacola, Florida.

Robbers Cave State Park - Oklahoma

If you like natural beauty and the outlaw history of the Old West, Robbers Cave State Park in eastern Oklahoma is a must see. This photo was taken looking out from the inside of the cave that gives the park its name.
According to legend, the cave and surrounding rock formations in the Sans Bois Mountains of Oklahoma were used as a hideout by outlaw gangs during the years following the Civil War. The names Jesse James and Belle Starr are among those linked with the cave, which definitely as a Wild West feel to it.
If you would like to read more about Robbers Cave, just go to and look for the link under the "Oklahoma" heading at the bottom of the page.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Pensacola Lighthouse - Pensacola, Florida

One of my favorite old Southern lighthouses is the Pensacola Light, seen here. Built in 1858 and first lit in 1859, the lighthouse towers 160 feet above the Florida Gulf Coast and is still in use today.

The Pensacola Lighthouse was a major landmark during the Civil War. Confederate troops darkened the light to stop the Union navy from using it to assist in navigation off the entrance to Pensacola Bay. A large artillery battery was also constructed near the base of the light. During the major bombardments in November of 1861 and January of 1862, Union artillerymen at Fort Pickens targeted the lighthouse and "Lighthouse Battery." Although struck at least 6 times by cannon shot, the tower was not significantly damaged.

To read more about the Pensacola Lighthouse and see more photographs, please visit and look for the Pensacola heading.

Thank you very much!

The new statistics are out and we have seen phenomenal growth in visits at! Thank you for making our site part of your day!

From December to January, the number of people visiting our site has grown by 45%. The number of actual visits went up by 47% and the number of pages viewed went up by 45%.

Thank you again!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Historic Pensacola, Florida

The first part of our new section on the historic city of Pensacola, Florida, is now online at
The site of a settlement founded by the Spanish in 1559, Pensacola is one of the oldest cities on the Gulf Coast. Noted for its beautiful beaches and sparkling waters, the city is home to an impressive array of historic sites, structures and more. With landmarks including colonial homes, a Revolutionary War battlefield and important Civil War sites such as Forts Pickens, Barrancas and Advanced Redoubt, Pensacola is a major destination for heritage tourism.
To learn more and visit phase one of our Pensacola section, please visit and look for the "Pensacola" heading.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Emerald Mound - Natchez, Mississippi

This astounding Native American ceremonial mound is located just off the Natchez Trace Parkway outside of Natchez, Mississippi.
One of the largest "Indian mounds" in the eastern United States, Emerald Mound is believed to be more than 600 years old. It covers more than 8 acres and is topped by several smaller mounds.
Now protected by the National Park Service, the mound is one of the many historic points of interest along the Natchez Trace. If you would like to read more and see additional photographs, just go to and look for the "Natchez Trace Parkway" heading.