Thursday, November 21, 2013

Tecumseh Monument

Location: Thamesville, Ontario, Canada

Features: Stone monuments on highway wayside

History:  During the War of 1812, Tecumseh lead an alliance of Native American tribes who joined with the British in the goal of preventing future American encroachments on their territory.  These hopes were dashed when the British were defeated at the Battle of the Thames in October of 1813 and Tecumseh was killed.  The site of his death is marked by this monument.

Traveler's Notes:  Photographed August 2012

Resources:  TecumsehBattle_of_the_Thames

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Lincoln's Gettysburg Address Memorial

Location: Gettysburg Soldiers' National Cemetery

Features: Monument on cemetery grounds

History:  Today's post marks the date 150 years ago on November 19, 1863 when Lincoln gave his famous speech at the new Soldiers' National Cemetery.  The Battle of Gettysburg was a mere five months past when Lincoln dedicated this ground to those who died and were buried on the gentle slope of the very hill where the Union cause was saved.  This monument was placed in 1912.

Traveler's Notes:  Gettysburg remains the inspiration for all my historical travels.  After 25 years of nearly annual pilgrimages to the battlefield, it never fails to provoke an emotional sense of awe, reverence and connection.  For me, no other place so singularly and physically demonstrates our relationship to those who have come before and the importance of understanding how their actions shaped our lives.  Lincoln's words accurately describe this pervasive sense of reciprocity that lingers at Gettysburg to this day.

Resources:  Gettysburg_AddressGettysburg_National_Cemetery

Monday, November 18, 2013

U-505 German U-Boat

Location: Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago

Features: Tour of U-505 interior and exterior, exhibits and displays on U-boat history and operations, museum also contains vintage aircraft and NASA spacecraft.

History:  The U-505 was captured by the US Navy on June 4, 1944 along with her crew, codebooks and Enigma machine.  After the war, the Navy donated the submarine to the Museum of Science and Industry here in Chicago.

Traveler's Notes:  This was always my favorite part of the MSI, having visited it several times from childhood on.  This is my first visit to the sub since the 2005 restoration.  The submarine was brought inside the museum to protect it from the elements that were damaging the hull.  The new exhibition hall is exceptional, with many hands-on activities demonstrating the workings a U-boat.  Sadly, I did not get to view the interior on this November 2013 visit as the tours were sold out for the day, a testimony to its enduring popularity with visitors.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Setting up The Gamers 1st Edition Afrika for tonight with Dan K.  Rommel or Monty?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Immaculate Conception Church World War One Memorial

Location: Salem, Massachusetts

Features: Monument

History: Immaculate Conception Church was the first Catholic Church in Salem, est. 1826.  The monument was built in 1920.

Traveler's Notes:  Photographed October 2013


Memorial Circle World War I Monument

Location: Augusta, Maine

Features: Monument

History: Unknown

Traveler's Notes: Photographed October 2013

Resources: None

Saturday, November 9, 2013

It Never Snows Wrap Up

This week we finished up our "It Never Snows" campaign game.  The Allied effort ended a bit abruptly when they failed to dislodge a German effort to cut the supply line at the Veghel bridge.  My initial impression of the game centers on the game specific road march rule.  Both sides have the ability to make sweeping "strategic" moves along the extensive road net at the beginning of every turn.  This requires both sides to maintain a rigorous vigilance on unit placement at every possible crossroads where an axis of advance is possible.  One small misstep will see a large enemy force behind your lines cutting off supply or sweeping behind a defensive river line.  In the context of the design it makes sense, given the large number of security details available to cover all avenues and the effect the rule brings by allowing for a "surprise" counter-attack without difficult fog of war rules.  However, during actual play I found that this covering every crossroads element to the game dominated my thinking more than the actual operations.  Perhaps it was inevitable given that we were playing this with just two people manning all the various fronts.  The demands of maintaining security for all those sectors might have taken me out of the game a bit.  I should like to try this with multiple players next time to see how much it changes the experience.
Germans hold on by a thread at Veghel Bridge

Kiwanis Veterans Memorial Garden

Location: Laishley Park, Punta Gorda, Florida

Features: Marker plaques and memorial bricks dedicated to local veterans arrayed about a beautiful garden, fountain and gazebo

History: History of memorial unknown.  Punta Gorda was leveled by Hurricane Charley in 2004; the garden and memorials would have been dedicated since that time.  There is also a monument dedicated to the Hurricane and the moment it's winds stopped the downtown clock.

Traveler's Notes:  Laishley Park sits just outside our friend's home along Charlotte Harbor in Punta Gorda.  I came across the Memorial while taking a stroll along the waterfront in August 2010.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Bunker Hill Monument

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Features:  Monument on battleground remnant park, climbing tour access to top of obelisk during operating hours, statues and placards, Bunker Hill Museum

History:  In the early days of the American Revolution, Colonial militia put the British controlled city of Boston under siege.   On June 13, 1775, British forces attacked the Colonials at Bunker and Breed's Hills on the Charlestown peninsula.  The Colonial troops repelled several assaults on their positions, causing considerable losses to the British.  The British eventually stormed and won the hills, but would never underestimate the resolve of the colonial militia again.
The Bunker Hill Monument actually sits on Breed's Hill, where the main colonial defensive position was located.  The construction of the monument has a long and controversial history.  The monument was expensive and construction was halted several times due to lack of funding.  The oversight Association had to sell off most of the land on Breed's Hill to cover the expense of finishing the project in 1842.  Only the hill's summit survives now as the park upon which the monument stands.

Traveler's Notes:  The discerning battlefield topographer will lament the urban growth that has wholly swallowed up the original hills.  Still, you can at least get some small feel of the orientation of the environs and the flow of the action.  Driving the narrow streets of Boston certainly works as a metaphorical recreation of the channeled avenue of advance that served the British so poorly that fateful day.  The Bunker Hill Museum across the street from the monument offers free admission as part of the National Parks.  It contains many excellent artifacts, dioramas and interactive maps to explain the battle and its participants.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

USS Hartford Nine Inch Gun

Location: Gaylord, Michigan

Features:  Nine Inch Gun from USS Hartford, flagship of Admiral Farragut's fleet during the American Civil War with commemorative plaque.

History:  Admiral Farragut and his squadron were instrumental in blockading the Confederate Gulf Coast ports.  He is most recognized for his role at the Battle of Mobile Bay with his "Damn the torpedoes!" response.  History of monument unknown.

Traveler's Notes:  Monument discovered while stopping for lunch in Gaylord, July 2012.  We were on our way to the 200th anniversary of the surrender of Fort Mackinac on Mackinac Island during the War of 1812.

Resources:   David_FarragutUSS_Hartford_(1858)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Old Fort Western

Location:  Augusta, Maine

Features: colonial era fort, local historical makers

History:  Old Fort Western was built in 1754 on the Kennebec River as a colonial outpost.  It served as the starting point for Benedict Arnold as he organized the ill fated invasion of Quebec in 1775 during the American Revolution.

Traveler's Notes:  The Fort is situated in a scenic park overlooking the Kennebec River in downtown Augusta.  In addition to information about the Fort, many placards are located nearby as part of Augusta's "Museum In The Streets" series relating information about the city's local and natural history.

Resources:  www.oldfortwestern.orgFort_Westernexpedition_to_Quebec

Monday, November 4, 2013

American Civil War Monument, Boothbay, Maine

Location: Boothbay, Maine

Features: single monument

History: Unknown

Traveler's Notes:  Encountered by chance while driving to Maine's Atlantic coast, October 2013.


Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Powder House

Location: Hallowell, Maine

Features: 1820's era Powder House, cannon from HMS Boxer

History: This cannon was captured by the USS Enterprise from the HMS Boxer during the War of 1812.  This naval engagement took place off the coast of nearby Portland, Maine.  According to the placard it was converted to a field piece and now serves as a memorial to the Hallowell Light Infantry.

Traveler's Notes: This cannon was discovered by chance while wandering the beautiful historic streets of downtown Hallowell, Maine with my family in October 2013.  Hallowell is a small community adjacent to the state capitol of Augusta.  The city of Hallowell offers a series of placards, "The Museum In The Streets", relating local historical information.

Resources: Capture_of_HMS_BoxerHallowell,_Maine

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Cantigny Park

Location: Wheaton, Illinois

Features: First Division Museum, Tank Park, 500 acre park with golf course, garden, McCormick Museum

History:  The park was created by Robert R. McCormick, publisher of the Chicago Tribune and founder of the Tribune Media empire.  McCormick served as a Colonel in the US Army First Division during World War I and participated in the Battle of Cantigny in France.  His estate was converted to Catigny Park as a place to educate, preserve and honor his experiences.

Traveler's Notes:  I thought I would start off this blog with a major local Chicago attraction, Cantigny Park.  The First Division Museum offers first rate exhibits about the history of the unit.  There are two major set piece displays in the museum that must be experienced.  The first is a mock up of a World War I trench under attack that you can walk among the ruins.  The other is a D-Day "simulation" as you step off an invading landing craft onto the Normandy beach.  The Tank Park outside features a nice selection of armored vehicles from World War I, World War II, and modern conflicts.