E., Ulysses, and Abe's New Home:
Robert E.: Ulysses and I have settled nicely into our new home in
Burke, Virginia. Abe is still getting used to the time change (after
being wedged in a box with five of my brothers and flown across
the country from California), so he's napping as I write this.
Station Raid and J.E.B. Stuart:
you know we are living literally on top of a real Civil
War site? I kid you not! Our new home is in the middle of a plot
of ground that was a Federal Campsite in December, 1862.
The story, as we were told by
our new friend, Mary, is that a famous Confederate general named
J.E.B. Stuart [photo right]
rode into the Yankee camp that late December afternoon
Ulysses: You mean those Rebs
snuck into our camp just as my boys were trying to cook their supper.
E.: Hush! It's my story! Anyway, General Stuart was accompanied
by a regiment of Confederate cavalry that was led by his right-hand
man, Col. John Singleton Mosby, otherwise
known as the "Gray Ghost" [photo
left]. They fired their guns -- in the air, so as not to hurt anyone.
Ulysses: It scared the dickens
out of all those poor Union soldiers.
Robert E.: Hush up! Nobody was
so much as scratched. General Stuart said, "Evening, boys" to the
Yankees, then, polite as you please, he requisitioned their supply
train to get food and blankets for the Confederate soldiers down
near Fredericksburg, Virginia, who were freezing and starving in
their miserable winter quarters. After all, the Yanks were always
better supplied than the Confederates.
Ulysses: That might be one of
the reasons why the North won the War.
Robert E.: Never you mind, just let me finish. Once the cavalry
got the mule train started down the road toward Fredericksburg,
General Stuart ordered Mosby's Rangers
[photo right] to tear up the nearby railroad tracks, so they wouldn't
be followed any time soon thereafter. Then the general went into
the telegraph office here in Burke, and he sent a telegram to the
Federal Quartermaster General in nearby Washington, D.C., complaining
about the poor quality of the Federal mules he was borrowing
Ulysses: Stealing, you mean.
We never saw hide nor hair of those mules again.
Robert E.: Well, there was a
war going on at the time, you know. General Stuart always said that
mule train made a mighty fine Christmas present for his boys. Anyway,
once he finished his message to Washington, he had the telegraph
wires cut so the Federal Quartermaster General couldn't send back
a persnickety reply. Then they rode away to the South, wishing all
the Yankees a Happy New Year. History calls this engagement the
Burke Station Raid. You can
find out more about it in the history books.
Ulysses: In the footnotes, you
mean, because it certainly wasn't much of an engagement.
Robert E.: Now 138 years later,
we three are living in a nice house on the old Federal campground,
sharing lots of good food like honey cakes and salmon treats --
just for us bears.
Ulysses: And I know this story
is true because Mary showed us the Civil War bullet she found in
E.'s First Book Signing:
E.: This is the first picture of me! It
was taken at a B. Dalton Bookstore at the Centre at Salisbury Mall,
Even though Mary's special book,
WAS A BOY IN GRAY, hasn't been released
took me along on one of her fiction book signings so I could get
used to being with lots of people and having my picture taken. I
was very warmly received by Suzanne Coleburn, who is holding me,
and by novelist Linda Windsor as well. Everyone said I was the best-behaved
bear they ever met.
Ulysses: Humph! That's only
because they haven't met Abe or me yet.
Robert E.: Salisbury, Maryland,
is thirty miles west of the Atlantic Ocean seacoast, and it is best
known as the home of Purdue Chicken. And I do so love fried chicken!
PAPA BOOK or GIFT SETS
AUTOGRAPHED BOOK PLATE by Prize-Winning Author Mary W.
Schaller with your order of PAPA WAS A BOY IN GRAY Book or Gift
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