By Charles Dawson Shanly
"Rifleman, shoot me a fancy shot
Straight at the heart of yon prowling vidette;
Ring me a ball in the glittering spot
That shines on his breast like an amulet!"
"Ah, captain! here goes for a fine-drawn bead,
There's music around when my barrel's in tune!"
Crack! went the rifle, the messenger sped,
And dead from his horse fell the ringing dragoon.
"Now, rifleman, steal through the bushes, and snatch
From your victim some trinket to handsel first blood;
A button, a loop, or that luminous patch
That gleams in the moon like a diamond stud!"
"O captain! I staggered, and sunk on my track,
When I gazed on the face of that fallen vidette,
For he looked so like you, as he lay on his back,
That my heart rose upon me, and masters me yet.
"But I snatched off the trinket--this locket of gold;
An inch from the centre my lead broke its way,
Scarce grazing the picture, so fair to behold,
Of a beautiful lady in bridal array."
"Ha! rifleman, fling me the locket!--'tis she,
My brother's young bride, and the fallen dragoon
Was her husband--Hush! soldier, 'twas Heaven's decree,
We must bury him there, by the light of the moon!
"But hark! the far bugles their warnings unite;
War is a virtue,-weakness a sin;
There's a lurking and loping around us to-night;
Load again, rifleman, keep your hand in!"
It was another very hot day in the DC area with thunderstorms forecast for the afternoon, but we decided we could take a bit of weather and continued our Civil War theme for the weekend, going to Manassas National Battlefield Park (or Bull Run Battlefield if you prefer the Union designation -- apparently the National Park Service decided that since the South won both battles fought there, it should keep the Confederate name). There is both a large lighted map presentation illustrating the 1861 battle and a 45-minute film narrated by Richard Dreyfuss about both the 1861 and 1862 battles, so we were indoors for more than an hour before we headed out to walk the mile-long loop trail past the rebuilt Henry House, where an elderly civilian woman was killed in the fighting, and the Stone House, used as a hospital, as well as the remains of the Robinson House and some of the lines of artillery. We could see storm clouds gathering while we walked and it had begun to drizzle by the time we reached Stonewall Jackson's monument.
Stonewall Jackson faces the coming storm.
The Henry House, site of intense fighting during the First Battle of Manassas.
Mrs. Henry was killed by a shot intended for the Confederate infantry in her yard and was buried in her garden.
This is her Bible, which is on display in the battlefield's visitor center.
And this is a tintype of Corporal William Paxton of the 4th Virginia, who died during the same battle not far from the house.
Behind the house stands a monument to the Northern patriots who died at Bull Run.
Here I am by one of the cannons on the battlefield.
Adam took this photo of a moth and thistle on the battlefield (I tried to take the same photo from a slightly different angle, but his is much better). He was interested in the fact that while Harpers Ferry remembers John Brown as a hero even though Brown was responsible for deaths there, Manassas remembers him as a rebel and insurrectionist.
We made a brief stop at Kohl's in Manassas for the Father's Day sale, during which time it poured outside, though the sun was shining by the time we left. My parents invited us over for bagels and various salads, so we had dinner with them, then came home to watch the Tony Awards, which were moderately entertaining though I've had less and less interest in the new musicals (the revivals always look and sound much better to me) and some of the awards seemed so obviously to have been presented to Actor or Actress Famous Enough to Fill a Theatre that I wondered why they pretend it's supposed to be about skill. It's always fun to watch anything that's such a celebration of gay life and culture, though -- I loved watching three men in a row thank their male partners, and Sean Hayes and Kristen Chenoweth poking fun at Newsweek by demonstrating their chemistry, tongues and all (Hayes, the host, said that since Broadway is a welcoming community, he'd like to send a shout-out to any closeted right wing politicians watching the show in secret).
I can't really talk about whether anyone who won deserved or did not deserve to beat anyone else, though if Catherine Zeta-Jones, whom I normally adore, always overacts as much as she did on "Send in the Clowns," then I am really embarrassed by the Hollywood Reward Factor that seemed to be at play when everyone from Scarlett Johansson to Denzel Washington picked up a trophy (I don't begrudge Denzel anything and I hate Rothko's art, but everyone I know who saw Red thought Alfred Molina was extraordinary). I giggled that they paired Daniel Radcliffe as a presenter with Katie Holmes -- I wondered if she asked for that because Dan is the only major celebrity shorter than her husband, hahaha -- and I liked Will Smith's apparent good mood about being hit on by drag queens, though maybe he's just happy that his son has the number one movie in America right now. I always love La Cage though I have to wonder how come the revivals seem more original than the original musicals. And my second-favorite line of the night was Nathan Lane's on being at the Tony Awards, "or, as we call it in my house, Passover."