Amazon Box Man!

Hello everyone…Box Man here!

I have my Super Box Man cape on, ready to fill your Cyber Monday orders!  Diana and Jim are going to be helping me, along with thousands of other Amazonians.  They will be back soon with a new exploRVistas post, but would love it if you could do your Amazon shopping through this link today. I really want to see them work hard on Cyber Monday!  There are bunches of things on sale, and you don’t have to battle the crowds at the store!  Remember, if you buy through this blog, it doesn’t add any cost to your order in any way.  It does help them with the cost of the blog, so shopping here is a fun way to do that.  Plus, I get to see them go faster!  As always, thank you for shopping Amazon!

Search and shop Amazon HERE 🙂

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explorRVistas is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon .com. Shopping through our link does not add anything to your cost, but it does help support this blog. Thank you for shopping through exploRVistas!

Tebb’s Bend and Perryville – so far away, yet so close to home

Diana and I visited two Civil War battlefields over the past few weeks.  Both were humbling experiences, to say the least. All total between the two sites, 1400 men died and 7000 were wounded…all within a matter of hours.

The first site we visited was Tebb’s Bend, a sweeping curve in the Green River that had…and still has…a bridge across it.  We had been passing by the sign daily on our trip from our campground in Columbia, Kentucky to our seasonal job at the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Campbellsville, and our thirst for all things historic made us pause to see what had occurred there.

Michigan 25th Infantry campsite

In the early 1860’s, Kentucky was officially a neutral state… though in reality was brother against brother.  With both US President Abraham Lincoln and CS President Jefferson Davis being born within its borders, Kentucky was seen as a vital prize needed in the quest to win the war.

1907 steel truss bridge at Tebb’s Bend, removed and reused as a trail feature

Even though the battle that occurred at Perryville was by far the largest in Kentucky and put the state in the Union column, the skirmish at Tebb’s Bend was very intriguing to us.

Confederate Brigadier General John Morgan had a hand picked cavalry of 1000 men.  His goal was to raid Louisville, cross the Ohio River into Indiana and head east to take Cincinnati.  He moved up from Tennessee into Kentucky in June, 1863.  His men camped in Cane Valley on the evening of July 3rd.  We currently drive through that parcel of land every day on our way to Campbellsville.

2015 steel truss bridge over the Green River at Tebb’s Bend

Morgan knew he needed to get across the Green River, and the easiest place was the wooden bridge on the Campbellsville Pike, now known as Tebb’s Bend Road.  Waiting for him at that bridge were 260 men from the 25th Michigan Infantry, led by Colonel Orlando Moore.  

The forested and hilly terrain the battle was fought in

One of Morgan’s men rode to the Union line under a flag of truce with a message from Morgan, demanding that the Union force surrender.  Colonel Moore replied to the soldier “This being the Fourth of July, I cannot entertain the proposition of surrender.”  The soldier rode back to the Confedrate line and the fighting immediately commenced.  Even though the Union soldiers were outnumbered four-to-one, they repulsed eight attacks by the Confederates over a three hour period.  The South counted losses of 35 killed and 45 wounded, while the Union soldiers had 6 killed and 23 wounded.  Of particular importance is the fact that the Michigan sharpshooters took out 24 of Morgan’s officers.  Realizing he wasn’t going to make it through the Union forces, Morgan again sent men forward under a flag of truce to request permission to collect and bury his dead, which Moore allowed.

Confederate Cemetery, Tebb’s Bend, Kentucky

Today, the mass Confederate grave sits at the end of the battlefield tour. The Union soldiers were interred at Lebanon National Cemetery in Lebanon, Kentucky, just north of Campbellsville.

Rebel flag, along with the Confederate Stars and Bars

Feelings still run deep here, as the grave is still visited by folks loyal to the Confederacy.

Monument inscription

The inscription on the monument reads ‘In Memory of the Confederate soldiers of Gen. Morgan’s command who fell in the battle at Green River Bridge. July 4, 1863.  They have not been forgotten by their countrymen.’

What really struck a chord with us was the sign by the road in front of the cemetery.

Michigan Historical plaque, Tebb’s Bend, Kentucky

A Michigan Historical Site, similar to so many we have seen in the Wolverine State, erected outside its borders.  To top it off, Colonel Moore had assembled his men at Kalamazoo, where Diana and I had met while in college there.

Inscription on the south side of the plaque

At the bottom of the plaque is a Holland-Zeeland connection, two cities where I spent the majority of my career.

Stand of white pine trees

On the northern edge of the cemetery was a line of white pine trees, the state tree of Michigan.  The smell from the pine needles was unmistakable to us.  Were they planted as a symbolic reminder of the impenetrable Michigan line of men who fought here?  It would be pretty hard to think otherwise, as there were no other white pines in sight. My feelings were running pretty deep as we spent time reflecting on this piece of Kentucky soil.

One week later, we took the scenic back way from our campsite near Columbia to the town of Perryville, Kentucky.  It was here, eight months prior to the battle at Tebb’s Bend, that the State of Kentucky was tipped into Union control.  Kentucky State Parks oversees the 745 acre Perryville Battlefield State Historic Park.  

Confederate memorial at the mass grave – Perryville, Kentucky

The battle that took place here was massive.  Over 60,000 Union troops assembled here, although only 22,000 engaged in the battle.  The others were unaware it was happening, due to the acoustic shadow of the hilly terrain.  16,000 Confederate troops were also involved.

Split rail fence rows, along with pathways throughout the battlefield

During the five hour battle, just over 500 Confederates were killed and 2600 were wounded.  The Union army lost over 800 men and over 2800 were wounded.  While it was considered a Confederate win, the South ended up having to retreat…as they had completely spent their ammunition.  When they realized there were 33,000 more Union soldiers in the area, they had no choice but to do so.

One of many cannons at Perryville

Aside from power lines and modern barns in the distance, the views seen at Perryville Battlefield are virtually the same as they were on that day. Even our weather conditions were as they were back then.  As we stood there and read the interpretive signs, we tried to imagine this dry soil being so covered with men’s blood that the soldiers had trouble retaining their footing.

As we were departing the battlefield, we came upon yet another Michigan Historical marker.

Inscription on the western side of the plaque

It was there that we learned that the Second Michigan Cavalry was from Grand Rapids.

Inscription on the east side of the sign

Again, reading this sign brought home what had been a distant war to me in my mind.  None of my ancestors fought for either side.  Michigan seemed a world away from Gettysburg, Vicksburg, and Fort Sumpter.  While my paternal grandfather served in World War I and my dad in World War II, those were against foreign aggressors.  This was a war amongst ourselves.  I pondered the forces that existed within the nation that brought the populace to these battlefields.  It was humbling to think the country could divide the way it did.  I thought to myself while standing out there; could this happen again?  To say it couldn’t would be ignoring history.  It’s important that we visit places like Perryville and Tebb’s Bend, so we remember the lessons from our past and work together for our future.  Kentucky state motto says it best, as is posted atop their historical markers:

Kentucky state motto

United We Stand – Divided We Fall.

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explorRVistas is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon .com. Shopping through our link does not add anything to your cost, but it does help support this blog. Thank you for shopping through exploRVistas!

Keeneland

As stated in our previous post, most people think of horses when they think of Kentucky.  The area in and around the city of Lexington is covered with picturesque equestrian farms.  Horses are revered here, with some of the barns they are housed in being more beautiful than the mansions that surround them.

Queen Elizabeth II keeps breeding stock at Lane’s End Farms, seen in the above photo.  She has visited here several times since the 1980’s.  The entire area is a picture of serenity, complete with rolling meadows, miles of well-maintained fences and narrow, winding roads.

So when Diana’s cousin Reed replied to a Facebook post I had made….saying for us to basically hurry up and get there because the ponies were running at Keeneland….well, we were intrigued.  We had no idea what Keeneland was, but we knew if Reed was excited about it, we would be in line to have a good time.  🙂


The name Keeneland encompasses several aspects of a gorgeous 147 acre piece of Lexington farmland that was once owned by a gentleman named Jack Keene.  In the 1930’s, Mr.  Keene was a key individual behind the organization of the Keeneland Association.  This was a non-profit horse auction and racing entity that was interested in promoting the world of thoroughbred horses.  The facility was opened in 1936, and is now on the National Register of Historic Places.  The Breeder’s Cup was run here in 2015, which was won by American Pharoh in his last race, which made him the first horse to ever win the Grand Slam (the Triple Crown and the Breeder’s Cup).  The picturesque track was used as a backdrop for most of the scenes in the movie Seabiscuit, as it has changed so little since it opened in 1936.  The sales side of the Keeneland Association runs the world’s largest horse auction in January, September and November.  And the racing side hold meets in April and October.  This year’s fall meet ran from October 7 through October 29.

On Saturday, October 15, we drove from Campbellsville to Versailles, Kentucky to meet up with Reed, his wife Emily, and Diana’s cousin Jerry (Reed’s brother) who was also in town for a visit.  From Reed and Emily’s home, we drove some of Kentucky’s narrow, curvy roads to Keeneland.  Along the way, Reed and Emily bought us lunch at Wallace Station Deli and Bakery…very tasty.  Thank you both!

Our first stop was the paddock.  That’s where the horses are paraded around, one at a time, for the bettors to examine each race entrant.  Reed filled us in on how to read a race program, how to place a bet, and so on.  This particular entrant is named Luvthatmustang.  As the horses came around, I spotted a horse named Vanilla Score that was not favored at all…having 12 to 1 odds.  Still, the horse seemed ‘bothered’ to me.  That, and the fact I like vanilla…well, I dropped $2 each for it to win/place/show. 

Holy cow…that’s my yellow horse in front on the backstretch!  Danged if my horse didn’t come in second, which was just fine with me.  😎  I came away with enough money to play the rest of the day on the winnings, which was nice!

Following are a few photos from the day:

The manicured hedge spelling out Keeneland in the infield.

The bugler calls the horses to post in the gate.

The lead horses returning from the start of one of the races.  These are the horses that accompany the racers to the gate to help keep them calm.

Headed to the wire!

Emily and Diana discussing their mutual love of teaching during a break in the action, while Reed checks his race program.  

Reed and Jerry deciding who to place their money on.

This was definitely a huge social event with people dressed every which way.

Lots of coats and ties…

…but also plenty of folks dressed casually.

All in all, it was a great way to spend a beautiful day.  Thanks to Reed for taking the mystery out of thoroughbred racing for us.  😀  We look forward to returning to Keeneland again someday!

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There are pre-Black Friday deals at Amazon…time to get your holiday shopping done early by clicking HERE!  

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explorRVistas is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon .com. Shopping through our link does not add anything to your cost, but it does help support this blog. Thank you for shopping through exploRVistas!