Mission Of This Blog

The overall mission statement of this blog is to share many unique topics of this blogger's interest. Topics include (but are not limited to): Travel & Photojournalism, Nature & Wildlife Preservation, Americana, Local Places Of Interest, Southern Cultural Heritage, Local History of the South Carolina Upstate, Confederate Heritage Preservation & Awareness, Science & Science Fiction, Astronomy & Night Sky Photography, Literacy & Writing, Southern Cuisine, Popular Culture & Philosophy, Fandom, Local Folklore ....as well as various other topics explained from the blogger's point of view. The following website contains the UNCENSORED thoughts and opinions of a Southern-born country writer from upstate South Carolina - the living, beating heart of the great American Southland!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Planetary Photography - 01-30/31-2017 - Young Moon, Venus & Mars In Triangle

As this first month of 2017 comes to a close, we find the beautiful Young Moon (Luna) appearing in the evening western sky shortly after sunset on January 30th just below the bright planet Venus and small, dim Mars just above it. 


The next evening on January 31st, at just about the same time of evening looking into the southwestern sky, Luna has traveled to meet the other two inner planetary travelers in an evening triangle.


I was fortunate to have good clear skies for both days when I took the shots. Both photographs were taken within a mile of each other at about the same time of evening. 

I hope y'all enjoy them as always. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Planetary Photography - 01-24-2017 - Luna, Saturn & Mercury - Venus & Mars

This morning I caught a really good shot 40 minutes before sunrise of the thin waning crescent moon with distant Saturn and tiny Mercury low in the horizon, just as the predawn darkness was giving way to dawn's early light. 
I took this shot looking east along SC Hwy 9 just outside of town. 

Then later after sunset, Venus and Mars became visible in the western sky. I took these two shots, one just after sunset and the other over an hour later. 


A week from today Luna will be making her appearance rising in the west to meet with Venus and Mars. Hopefully I will be able to get those shots, cloud cover and weather permitting.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Stonewall Jackson's Way

Happy Birthday General "Stonewall" Jackson.
(January 21, 1824 - May 10, 1863)
Stonewall Jackson's Way

By John W. Palmer

Come, stack arms, men! Pile on the rails,
Stir the camp-fire bright; 
No matter if the canteen fails, 
We'll make a roaring night.
Here Shenandoah brawls along,
There burley Blue Ridge echoes strong,
To swell the brigade's rousing song
Of "Stonewall Jackson's Way."

We see him now-the old slouched hat,
Cocked o'er his eye askew;
The shrewd, dry smile; the speech so pat, 
So calm, so blunt, so true.
The "Blue-Light Elder" knows 'em well:
Says he, "That's Banks-he's fond of shell;
Lord save his soul! we'll give him-" well,
That's "Stonewall Jackson's Way."

Silence! ground arms! kneel all! caps off! 
Old Blue-Light's going to pray.
Strangle the fool that dares to scoff!
Attention! it's his way. 
Appealing from his native sod,
In forma pauperis to God- 
"Lay bare thine arm, stretch forth thy rod!
Amen! That's "Stonewall's Way."

He's in the saddle now. Fall in!
Steady, the whole brigade!
Hill's at the ford, cut off-we'll win
His way out, ball and blade!
What matter if our shoes are worn?
What matter if our feet are torn?
"Quick-step! we're with him before dawn!"
That's "Stonewall Jackson's Way."

The sun's bright lances rout the mists
of morning, and, by George,
Here's Longstreet struggling in the lists,
Hemmed in an ugly gorge.
Pope and his Yankees, whipped before,
"Bay'nets and grape!" here Stonewall roar;
"Charge, Stuart! Pay off Ashby's score!"
Is "Stonewall Jackson's Way."

Ah, Maiden, wait and watch and yearn
For news of Stonewall's band!
Ah, Widow, read with eyes that burn
That ring upon thy hand. 
Ah, Wife, sew on, pray on, hope on!
Thy life shall not be all forlorn.
The foe had better ne'er been born
That gets in "Stonewall's Way." 

Written during the War Between the States in September of 1862 during the Sharpsburg Campaign by John Williamson Palmer (1825-1906) an American poet, physician and journalist. The original lyrics were alleged to have been found in the coat pocket of an anonymous Confederate sergeant killed at the First Battle of Winchester on May 25, 1862, and later rewritten by Palmer who later published the song.

Stonewall Jackson’s Way soon became a widely popular song around the campfires of the Army of Northern Virginia, and among the people of the Confederate States. 

This blog post is written in honor of the birthday and the memory of Lt. General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson CSA, Christian, soldier, father, husband, loyal Southerner and noble America.  

Deo vindice!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Planetary Photography - 01-19-2017 - Luna, Jupiter & Spica in Southern Sky

Well fellow stargazers, early in the morning on January 19th, I got a really good shot of Jupiter near the Last Quarter Moon about 45 minutes before sunrise in the southern sky. Also present below them is Spica, the brightest star in the constellation Virgo; which showed up quite nicely. 

Later the same morning about 7:45 AM EST, I got another wider shot of Luna and Jupiter in the clear blue morning sky. Spica and the other stars were banished by the risen sun, but the King Planet still shown bright enough to photograph. 
As always I hope y'all enjoy them.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

236th Anniversary Battle Of Cowpens Memorial Service & Celebration

Gathering at the Cowpens National Battlefield Visitors Center around the US Monument for the 236th Anniversary Memorial Service & Celebration of the Battle of Cowpens.

On Saturday, January 14th, despite a forecast of early morning showers (which never came), this blogger set out for Cherokee County, South Carolina to attend the 236th Anniversary Celebration of the Battle of Cowpens -- one of the more significant battles of the Southern Campaign of the American Revolutionary War

I arrived about twenty minutes till ten at the Cowpens National Battlefield and made my way to the memorial service sponsored by the South Carolina Sons of the American Revolution (SAR), SC Daughters of the American Revolution, and the SC Children of the American Revolution (CAR). 

Several hundred descendants of American Revolutionary War soldiers and veterans from across the United States gathered for what was a lovely memorial service which included SAR and DAR members from both Carolinas, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Georgia, and others. This service was followed by an outstanding parade of period uniforms and waving flags as they reenactors and SAR members marched from the visitor's center to the Washington Light Infantry Monument located on the battlefield site itself.

This young Junior Ranger was asked to help preform a very important task by the SAR.
The Washington Light Infantry - a militia company from Charleston, SC - erected this monument on the 75th Anniversary of the battle fought here. The monument sits on the site where the final stages of the battle was fought just after sunrise on Wednesday, January 17, 1781.
It is one of the oldest monuments dedicated to the American Revolutionary War.

Following the memorial service, I took the battlefield loop trail and read all of the interesting trail markers telling what took place and where. Being a student of history I've read the accounts of this battle many times over from both sides, but still you never know when you might learn something new and interesting.  

Also, it is always a humbling feeling walking the grounds were so many fought and died so long ago. Battlefields have ghosts -- and no I don't necessarily mean in the spectral sense, though some would argue otherwise. I mean that you can feel the sense of importance in certain places, especially when you know what went on there. It is a humbling experience for those who appreciate it and the impact the battle would have on establishing an American nation.

You can look at the ground, largely unchanged from the way it was over two centuries ago (though many of the trees that were there are long gone and replaced by younger ones) and imagine the fear that must have went through the minds of the Carolina militiamen standing behind the trees, or the Continental soldiers from Maryland and Delaware standing in line facing off against British invaders in red and green coats marching toward them, bayonets fixed and pointed. You could even imagine being a young British soldier, marching in perfect formation, but also afraid and fighting so deep inside unfamiliar backcountry territory so far from home.

On the way back I then took in the displays and outstanding presentations put on by the living history reenactors. The following photos show some of the best ones. 

A reenactor wearing the white and blue uniform of the 3rd Continental Light Dragoons.
The reenactor in green in the far right wears the uniform of the British Legion Cavalry.
A reenactor wearing the blue and red uniform of a Maryland Continental Regiment.
Continental Army reenactors in period attire.
Delaware Regiment Continental Army reenactors.
Display of period tools and weapons by reenactors of the New Acquisitions District Militia.
Pennsylvania & Kentucky Rifles of the type largely used y the Whig (Patriot) militia forces in the SC backcountry during the Southern Campaign of the American Revolutionary War.
A reenactor of the 4th Royal Artillery Batallion (British).
Yep, the Royal Artillery did wear dark blue coats rather than red army coats.
Reenactors wearing the green uniforms of the British Legion Infantry.
The tartan (Black Watch or Government) trousers worn by this reenactor are historically accurate to the uniform worn by members of the 71st Regiment of Foot (Frazier's Highlanders) during the Battle of Cowpens, though many wore the standard brown winter trousers for British regulars.
British Legion & Highlander reenactors mingling.
Note the Black Watch (or Government) kilt worn by this reenactor.
According to historical records, the 71st Regiment of Foot largely stopped wearing the kilt after the first year in America due to the climate and lack of proper resupply, opting instead for tartan trousers, or the regular white (summer) and brown (winter) trousers of the British Regulars -- though I imagine that a few still stubbornly held onto tradition.
Continental soldier with short artillery piece.
It should be noted that the Continentals did not have artillery pieces at the Battle of Cowpens.
This piece was present for display and educational purposes only.
A member of the Sons of the American Revolution wearing a militia reenactment jacket.
Black American men (both slaves and free men of color) fought on both sides during the American Revolutionary War with distinction. Their motives largely depended on personal choices, loyalties, and (in the case of slaves) promises of freedom from either side.
Continental artillerymen with a 3-Pound Grasshopper field piece.
During the actual Battle of Cowpens the British force had two of these small, portable cannons manned by members of the Royal Artillery. 

Before I bid farewell to the battlefield, I took the time to stop at the US Monument again and read the inscriptions on the granite and the brass plaques detailing the accounts of the battle and the men on both sides who fought there so long ago. 

As always I hope that y'all had a good time and enjoyed my photographic account of this event. As always safe travels y'all!