Me and James "Beasley" Howard at the grave of General Pillow
About two months ago, Jerry and I decided to go on another Civil Wargasm. We thought it would be fun to ask two of our buddies along, James Howard and Lanny Perry. Unfortunately, Lanny's wife wouldn't let him miss any work, but James was game. We planned to head to Memphis and hit Elmwood Cemetery and then travel to the grave of Jerry's hero, Nathan Bedford Forrest.
The trip got off to a slow start when James (who happens to be 49 years old) couldn't seem to get away from his mom. They stood on the front porch (I didn't want to be nosy so I never looked to see if they were hugging or not) for several minutes. I was beginning to wonder about James. Perhaps his mother had been told some bad things about Jerry and myself. I immediately decided that it had to be Jerry who she thought was the bad influence and my mind was put to ease.
General Vaughan's Desk
The three of us left for Memphis and discussed my favorite subject the entire way, the war of course. We soon arrived in Elmwood and entered the office to find a map. Inside the office was the desk (the actual word is secretariat) that belonged to Confederate Brigadier General Alfred Jefferson Vaughan who is also buried in Elmwood.
We purchased a map showing the burial places of all prominent people buried in Elmwood. There are eleven Confederate general's buried there not to mention some militia general's and two Federal general's. We left the office and struck out for the nearest grave. We found the grave of Major General James Patton Anderson first. Not wanting anything to be unusual about this trip, I managed to attract a wierdo. The fellow gave us a brief lesson on General Anderson and mentioned the general was buried in the poor section of the cemetery. He told us he just couldn't grasp why a major general would be buried among the poor. I explained to him the general was in financial trouble after the war as most Southerner's were. The man looked at me with a confused look on his face and said, "I just can't imagine why he is buried over here." Oh, well, I tried.
Me with Brigadier General Preston Smith
We found all the generals, although we were followed and greatly distracted by my wierdo. We were regaled with tales from one end of the planet to the other and time began to become a factor. I got a picture of myself at the grave of one of my hero's, General Preston Smith who was killed at Chickamauga after riding forward in the darkness to locate the Federal main line. Among the other generals we found in Elmwood were Elkanah Greer, Alfred Jefferson Vaughan, Gideon Pillow, William Humes, Lucius Marshall Walker, James Chalmers, William H. Carroll, George W. Gordon, Robert V. Richardson, and William M. Gardner.
Before leaving the cemetery, Jerry found a dog monument with an actual flea collar around its neck. Obviously, Jerry thought this was a waste and James and I had to talk him out of taking the collar home to use on his Dachshund named Pumpkin. James did learn that when you don't have a door covering your memory card on your camera and you swing it around like a mad man, your apt to lose the card. (By the way, if anyone comes across a memory card in the Forrest family section of Elmwood, please contact James Beasley).
Jerry thought this fluorescent collar would make Pumpkin look good
The best part of the trip was saved for last. We headed down town to Forrest Park where the "Wizard of the Saddle" himself is buried. The fearless commander who struck fear in the hearts of all Federal troops including Grant himself, happens to be Jerry's hero of hero's. I thought we would arrive to see Jerry well up in tears, rushing from the car to the giant monument, but Jerry never fails to surprise me.
Two rednecks trying to operate a parking meter
Instead, he and James spent the next fifteen minutes trying to figure out how to operate the parking meter. I decided to press on to the monument alone while they beat, banged and twisted the meter mercilessly. They finally arrived at the huge monument (I'm still not certain who won, but I'm putting my money on the meter). As we walked around the monument in awe of the great man, I continued to check Jerry's eyes for moisture. Jerry was not to be outdone. He understood that if he shed one single tear I would never let him forget it. I walked over to Jerry and asked, "What do you think?" He replied simply, "That stud horse is anatomically correct. Just look at that thing." What could I say? Just another typical Civil Wargasm with Jerry.
Jerry and me in front of Forrest's grave