Memphis - Shiloh – Vicksburg, Nov. 2008
Led by indefatigable honorary classmate Professor JIM MCPHERSON, more than 60 class stalwarts and spouses (and one son) gathered in Memphis last Nov. 12-18. After visits to Graceland and the Civil Rights Museum and a rollicking evening at B.B. King’s, we traveled the next day to the strategic railroad junction of Corinth, Miss., target of Grant and Sherman in April 1862. Then came a close look at the atmospheric Shiloh battlefield, where a chilly drizzle soaked us during our longest stretch of tramping. (A NY Times reporter chronicled that day. Please click here to read the story: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/22/books/22linc.html) We then took the scenic Natchez Trace parkway to Vicksburg, where we spent a sunnier day tracing the intricate 1863 siege lines of both armies, and marveling at the Union gunboat Cairo, which was excavated and restored after a century buried in Yazoo River mud. Fortified by customary ’72 camaraderie and the professor’s insightful commentary, we got a thorough, comprehensive look at these evocative sites, the leadership qualities of dueling commanders, and the valor of frontline soldiers.