The Battle of Shiloh. A bloody fight that cost over 23,000 lives in two days of intense struggle that were extremely important as the war moved on from that April, 1862, encounter. The first day, the Confederate Army was convinced they had a total victory, and could protect their important rail lines at nearby Corinth, where we stayed last night. But the second day, Union reinforcements allowed U.S. Grant to turn defeat into a Union victory, though at a terrible cost of lives on both sides. In fact, the South lost its best general there, General Albert Sidney Johnston.All Civil War battlefields are sad, and this one was no exception, though it is located on the Tennessee River and is now an absolutely beautiful park.
Last weekend we were at Chickamauga on the 150th anniversary of that battle, and, as at Shiloh, you can see that the passion around the conflict still lives on. There are so many people who are immersed in the history of the war that you feel you are hearing stories from last week, not a century and a half ago.
But the war finally ended, and when it did, a young entrepreneur stepped up to address one of the finer things of life. Yes, we went to visit the home of that great Southern gentleman and distiller, Mr. Jack Daniel. Lynchburg, Tennessee, is an amazing town – it has managed to keep a simple, folksy tone going since Prohibition ended and Jack Daniel’s came back to life to become the world’s largest liquor brand – or so they say.
We got the whole tour, and were most impressed by the cave from which comes the water still used to make this wonderful Tennessee whiskey. We also saw Jack’s original office and the statue of him perched right in front of the cave. It is naturally labeled “Jack on the Rocks.” Witty folks, these Tennessee guys.
We know all about the folky quality of Jack Daniel’s because Don is what they call a Tennessee Squire. He owns a 1″ square of Lynchburg – has had it for years – and receives regular updates on his property and what’s going on down there. They are always on us to come visit so we got to see the general area of our parcel, and were honored by our special admittance to the Squires’ Room at the Visitors’ Center. Our special shot glass gift will be on display in New York later this year.