27 June 2013

Thoughts on Gettysburg


As we approach the first of July, I tend to turn my thoughts, like probably a lot of folks, towards Independence Day - its history and all that it entails. But, I also start to think about the all-too-important Battle of Gettysburg, the clear tipping point of the War Between the States.

I just recently came across a fantastic article from The Imaginative Conservative that details the events and issues surrounding the Battle of Gettysburg, and Pickett's Charge in particular. This article basically reinforces the generally accepted theory that Gen. Robert E. Lee made a major mistake in terms of his strategy and planning of this key battle especially regarding the events of July 3rd that culminated with the disastrous, aformentioned charge led by Major General George Pickett.

Right quick, in case if anyone is wondering, while there is no direct connection between the battle of Gettysburg and the Georgia Piedmont,  there were several men from Georgia that fought in this epic battle, including  General James Longstreet, who for years erroneously received the blame for the events of July 3 even though he vehemently argued to Lee against it. And while Longstreet wasn't born in Georgia, he moved to Georgia when he was nine and remained there until he went to West Point. Later in life he would move back to Georgia where he lived until he died in 1904.
Gen. James Longstreet, CSA

As I mentioned, Longstreet was wrongly given the blame for this major blunder. In fact, for the better part of a century, it was basically accepted as fact that Longstreet was the culprit behind the ill-fated charge on that third day of July, 1863. That probably had as much to do with Lee being held in an almost God-like stature, but also because Longstreet was considered by many to be a scalawag after the war. He was, after all, the only senior commander of the CSA to join the GOP and he would later endorse Ulysses S. Grant for President in 1868. He was rewarded for that with an appointment for a Federal position in New Orleans where he lived for many years.Regardless, it has now become common knowledge that Longstreet was carrying out Lee's orders, as badly thought out as those may have been.

Many historians have now come to the belief that the real cause of Lee's blunder may have been his heart. Many historians and medical experts believe that Lee was suffering from major heart issues in the Spring and Summer of 1863 and may very well have had a heart attack during the period of the Gettysburg campaign. That might help to explain some of his head-scratching decisions during those fateful days.

 "It is well that war is so terrible, otherwise we should grow too fond of it."
-Robert E. Lee, 1862

Read more about the Battle of Gettysburg:

19 June 2013

What Exactly is The Georgia Piedmont?

This is a blog post I've wanted to do for sometime. Some of my readers in the Georgia area probably already know the basics behind this question, but I'm sure there might be others who don't really know what exactly makes the Piedmont the Piedmont. Since this geographic region is the namesake of this blog, I thought I'd do a little primer. Hope you enjoy...

From Natural History at www.uga.edu
First off, one must remember that the great state of Georgia is fairly unique in that it has five different, defined geographic regions: Appalachian Plateau, Ridge and Valley, Blue Ridge, Piedmont, and Coastal Plain. And in actuality, you could say we have six regions if you separate the Coastal Plain into upper and lower as many do. Very few states in the Union share this much physiographical diversity.

The Georgia Encyclopedia has a very good write -up on the Georgia Piedmont so check that out when you can. Basically, this region is characterized by rolling hills and gentle valleys. Most of the region lies on large pieces of rock and granite (think Stone Mountain) but with a thick layer of saprolite on top. Saprolite is the famous Georgia red clay that many of us here are quite familiar with.  The Piedmont region begins up north at the edge of the Appalachian mountains and goes down to the fall line that separates it from the Upper Coastal Plain.

Cities like Atlanta and Athens are in the upper part of the Piedmont region while Macon and Augusta are right at the edge to the South. Many of the counties I've written about in the past such as Newton, Morgan, Jasper, and Walton are pretty much right in the middle.

For many folks, what makes the Georgia Piedmont such a beautiful place are the trees and vegetation. Thick with Oak and Hickory varietals, the woods of our area are truly sights to behold. For more information on this aspect of the Georgia Piedmont, please visit the Georgia Nature Blog and read specifically about the trees and flowers that are indigenous to this area.

For more information on the Georgia Piedmont, visit these following sites:
 Hope you enjoyed that. I will have some historical stuff up very soon as well as another "Blog Laud" post. Until next time. 

13 June 2013

A Trip Around The Dawgosphere

There are many great websites and blogs out there that cover UGA athletics and football in particular. I once read where it was thought that there may be more UGA-centric blogs and sites than any other school in collegiate sports. Maybe at one time, but I'm not 100% sure about that now. But if UGA doesn't have the most, they've got to be pretty darn close. There are literally dozens and dozens of pages out there dedicated to all things UGA. There are several that are now defunct, or only post sparingly (not that I could really say much about that). There are those that seem to be followed by a ton of people, and those that don't seem to really get much traffic. But they are all parts of the entity that is the Dawgosphere.

With apologies to any who were excluded, here is my personal list for the best of the best: 

Get The Picture - The Senator

The UGA football blog. It's the best of a very good group. From the name of the site referencing Larry Munson's famous way of describing what UGA and their opponent were wearing on the field right before kickoff, to the aura and mystique of The Senator himself (ESPN did a piece where they actually gave his real name...I immediately blocked it out - to me, he's the Senator). His posts can be short and sweet, or long and involved, but they are almost always just about right. His insights are sharp - he can always cut right through to the heart of the matter. His snark is beyond comparison, but he never comes across as a jerk. Add to that a very strong understanding of the game, and you've got yourself one hell of a blog. Simply put, Get the Picture (GTP) is the cream of the crop. From the moment you first pull up the page and see that picture of Dooley and James Brown at the top and begin to read a few posts,  you think to yourself - "Yes! This is it. This is what I've been looking for. This is what I've been waiting for." At least, that's what I thought about five years ago when I first visited. I've been, pretty much literally, an everyday reader since.With a very large, loyal, and eager readership, you can count on a ton of comments and discussion. Morning buffets are always a much anticipated happening, and his musical palate cleansers are great as well. In addition to everything else, the man has superb musical tastes - he once played a Jo Jo Gunne tune! What else needs to be said?


A fairly close number two that might be closer if this page's founder, T. Kyle King, was still involved. As I mentioned, Kyle is no longer there, but page manager MaconDawg still is and that means a lot. MD has great football knowledge and just the right combination of snark and humor to make him the 2nd best UGA blogger currently out there (and he also has very nice musical tastes). In addition to him, there are several other great contributors including vineyarddawg, Mr. Sanchez, Chuckdawg and others. One key difference between this page and GTP is that Dawgsports covers all UGA sports heavily, not just football. And I'm not only talking basketball and baseball here: tennis, gymnastics, golf, and pretty much everything else get the full treatment. Also, more than probably any other site, Dawgsports is very much a community. There is nothing quite like an open comment thread with dozens of your fellow Dawg fans online for a UGA football game that you couldn't attend in person. These guys do a really good job, and it's a fine page. The commenting is smart and savvy, just like the blogging. Great discussions, and occasional arguments, will happen. Just have you're grammar and syntax in order (ha, ha - see what I did there), although that might not be as much a prerequisite now that the Mayor is gone... 

Bernie's Dawg Blog

This is a fun page. Whereas GTP and Dawgsports are everyday stops for me, Bernie's Dawg Blawg is more like an almost everyday stop for me, but I usually visit at least 3 or 4 times a week. Like other UGA blogs, this started out as a weekly email back in the day and officially launched as a blog in 2008. Bernie brings a good sense of humor and a strong understanding of the game to the table. And you can usually count on a good bit of posting. With a decent amount of regular readers, you will see some pretty good discussions from time to time. A really good page.

The Grit Tree 

This is one that holds a special place in my heart being that I'm a huge enthusiast of the following things: UGA football, Lewis Grizzard, and Southern BBQ (is there any other kind?). I'll just let their intro page sum it up:
Welcome to The Grit Tree, where it is all things Georgia and all things Southern.  With all the other options out there in the blogosphere, we are glad that you have chosen our blog to read.
We are just four friends who have a passion for the Georgia Bulldogs, Atlanta Braves, southern food, peaches and Lewis Grizzard.  Though we come from all different parts of Georgia, we now reside in Middle Georgia.
We have decided to take our passions and turn them into a blog.
 There are principles on which we stand by, and will guide any future posts:
  1. The Georgia Bulldogs are one of the premier teams in not only the SEC but the entire country during the first decade of the new millennium.  We are led by a great man and equally great coach in Mark Richt, and Coach Mark Richt will bring a MNC to Athens.
  2. There is no better place to live in the world than the American South, specifically the great state of Georgia. 
  3. We prefer pulled BBQ pork, homemade soft serve peach ice cream, and sweet tea with a lemon.
  4. It will always be “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.”   
  5. It is appropriate to wear a collared shirt to a football game, regardless of what Florida fans in their number 15 jerseys say.
 The Grit Tree will look something like this:
 July-January:  Heavy Georgia Bulldogs football
 January-July: Georgia Bulldogs football and other topics such as the BBQ restaurant of the       month or anything else.
These guys post a good bit and you won't want to miss their Thursday BBQ or Lewis Grizzard Wednesdays. Great stuff! 

About Them Dawgs! Blog

This is one I have a particular fondness of since I am, after all, a history enthusiast. This is the online blog of one, Patrick Garbin, a UGA football historian of some note. I have literally spent hours at this site. It's really great. According to the page, it is "the only blog primarily focused on the rich history and tradition of University of Georgia Football." And that would be an apt description. While other pages, including some mentioned here, will from time to time cover the history of UGA football, Patrick's is the only one that is pretty much dedicated to it. Seriously, if you haven't visited this page yet, be prepared to invest some time. If you're a DGD, you'll be there for awhile.

The Lady Sportswriter

This is a page I've recently become aware of. Listed on several blogrolls throughout the Dawgosphere, Kimberly Nash, owner and administrator, obviously has the street cred to be considered one of the top Dog Bloggers out there. And after having visited her site several times, I can wholly attest to her skills. This lady knows football, and she's a helluva writer.  Here is her personal description from the page:
I am not a 'journalist' by trade, nor do I present myself as such. I am just a wife, mother, and Georgia Bulldog fan who likes to write about two of her favorite things: the Georgia Bulldogs and college football. I write. You read...it's a give and take experience.
A superb site, albeit maybe a bit Ad-cluttered, it's becoming a regular stop for me.

Georgia Sports Blog

This is Tyler Dawgden's blog, and it's a nice one. A good writer with a good sense of humor, I don't make it over there as much as I should. He posts pretty regularly and has, I think, at least one other contributor. Whereas some of the other Dog Blogs will end up covering a lot of the same things, Tyler seems to do a good job of mixing it up and keeping things fresh.

Sic 'em Dawgs

This might be considered more of a news site as opposed to a blog, but I just really like it. Plus, they've got a link that has the results from every season since 1980 which, I believe, is the only page in the Dawgosphere that does. Now...if he gets every season since 1892 up, I'll be real impressed. LOL!...just kidding. This is a really great page and I check it quite often, especially during football season.


One more site I would have to recommend would be The Dawgbone. It posts links daily from every blog and news site in the Dawgosphere. And speaking of news resources, here are the following places to go to get good solid UGA sports news without having to fool with the goddam AJC:

The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer
The Macon Telegraph
The Athens Banner-Herald
And that, in my opinion, is the best of the Dawgosphere. So...how long until that Clemson game?



Here are a handful of blogs that haven't posted recently but may reactivate for football season:

Jack's Bulldog Blog: A cool site. This guy does a pretty good job.
Bubba 'n Earl Sittin on the 50: Wish this page posted more...
A Bulldawg in Exile: See above. Unfortunately, I think this one might be done.
Hunker Down Dawg Blog: See above.

Update, 6/28/13:

Here's an In Memoriam: Catfish and Cornbread. And here's one of their best posts.

05 June 2013

Georgia Courthouses

Here's my latest column from the upcoming Father's Day/Sunflower Festival issue of About Covington to Madison magazine. Hope you enjoy it - MM 

Greetings. Hope everyone is well out there. First off, I’d like to take a moment to thank you for all of the kind words after my last column. It’s great to be back, and I’m so glad that so many of you are excited about it.

Hancock Co. Photo by Keith Hair. From GA Info.

In the last column, I talked a good bit about courthouses. Well, I thought I’d expand on that a bit with this column. I received an email from a fellow by the name of Brant out of Oxford, GA. Brant, like myself, seems to be an enthusiast of Georgia courthouses, and he made a very good point: perhaps one of the best looking courthouses in our state, especially in terms of the view as you approach it, would have to be down in Sparta, GA (Hancock Co.). That is a great courthouse. As I responded back to him, Hancock’s would
probably be in my top 10 (maybe even top 5). Built between 1881-1883, it incorporates a Second Empire architectural design (the same as Covington) and is absolutely beautiful. Hancock Co. is an old county. It’s been around since 1793 which makes it a good bit older than Newton or Morgan, although not quite as old as the original 8 Georgia counties that were created in 1777. Hancock Co. and the city of Sparta, isn’t that far from us, just on the other side of Putnam Co. And as Brant said, Sparta might be Covington in another universe (as Covington portrayed the city of Sparta, MS in the famous show, “In the Heat of the Night”).

As a Courthouse enthusiast, I have found a wonderful online resource for those of you who share an affinity for this subject. Go to: http://georgiainfo.galileo.usg.edu/courthouses/contents.htm. From this site, you can visit links to all 159 Georgia courthouses complete with pictures, design style, and background information. This resource is called GeorgiaInfo and is offered by GALILEO and the University of Georgia Library system as part of the Digital Library of Georgia. In addition to the courthouses, there is a plethora of other historical information available on the main page: http://georgiainfo.galileo.usg.edu/ Check it out sometime – you’ll be glad you did.

Some of my favorite courthouses in Georgia other than Newton, Morgan, and Hancock are found in the following counties: Colquitt, Jasper, Talbot, Washington, Oglethorpe, Upson, Lincoln, and Meriwether. A bit of trivia: the oldest courthouse still in use in Georgia? That would be Columbia Co., in the city of Appling,
Talbot Co. Courthouse. Photo by Keith Hair.

built in 1856. And the oldest one still standing that’s not in use? That would be Fayette Co., in Fayetteville, and was actually built way back in 1825!

There are several different types of architectural styles found in Georgia’s courthouses but most fall under these designs: Beaux Arts, Greek Revival, Italian Renaissance Revival, Neoclassical Revival, Second Empire, Modern, and a few others. I’m partial to the Second Empire and Neoclassical Revival styles, myself.

Georgia is very fortunate to have so many courthouses. Our fine state has 159 counties and therefore can lay claim to 159 courthouses as well. Only the state of Texas has more counties than Georgia does and obviously Texas is a much larger state. Why does Georgia have so many counties? That’s a good question. The explanation for that is as Georgia grew over the years, it was decided that the county seat of every county would be within a one day round trip for anyone on a horse or in a wagon. So, naturally, that lead to a rather large quantity of counties as the state expanded. And as counties are the primary political subdivision in our great state, that meant anyone needing to conduct county business with the Ordinary (now called Probate Judge), Sheriff, Clerk of Court, or anything else would be able to do so without having to leave the farm for more than one day. Of course, these days we have cars, so perhaps having so many counties would be considered a bit outdated, but I sure wouldn’t want to change it. I think it’s pretty neat that we have so many counties. Have you ever tried to name as many Georgia counties as you could from memory? Try it sometime – it’s pretty tough. As a quick aside, a buddy of mine and I are planning on publishing a book about Georgia’s courthouses. Maybe one day that will come to pass. I sure hope so.

Well…I guess that will about do it. I’ve got some exciting things coming down the pike. I’m hoping to revisit the Rutledge area and do a story on the Ebenezer community and some of the old plantations and home places there. Also, I’m hoping to finally do an interview and a corresponding column on someone I’ve
wanted to write about for quite some time. I won’t reveal the name right now, but I’ll give you a couple of hints: the letters A, R, and S and the city of Doraville. Any guesses? If so, send me an email. Thanks for reading, guys. Until next time…

Marshall can be reached at marshmanslim@yahoo.com. Previous columns can be found at: www.thepiedmontchronicles.blogspot.com/

01 June 2013

Blog Laud: Gaga at the Gogo

Greetings. Hope all is well out there. Well, I've decided to really try to keep the online version of the Chronicles more updated. My plan, which may or may not fall by the wayside, is to do at least 2-3 posts every week. So...that's the plan.

One thing I'm planning on doing is trying to show a bit of love to some of my fellow bloggers. This time I'm featuring my good friend, J. Ellis Millsaps, and his blog - Gaga at the Gogo. A criminal defense attorney by trade, Ellis has worn many other hats as well: Rock'n'Roll band manager, newspaper columnist, stand-up comedian, writer of novels, wiffleball player, and many other things. He's kind of  weird, but he's a helluva guy. I think a lot of him and am proud to consider him a friend. And while he hasn't posted at his blog in a while, there's a ton of great write-ups to check out. Here's a sampling of some his greatest hits:

The Lost Boys and the Last Days of Wiffleball - An emotional and heartfelt tale, I got teary-eyed the first time I read it. Wiffleball was a huge deal in Mansfield, GA for several years. I was fortunate to witness some of these games but never played. It was more than just a game, and it meant a lot to a lot of people. But, alas, the world moves on and so do we.

Paper Covers Rock: A Talking, Traveling Testimonial - Some years back, eight to be exact, I started up a band with a few other guys. We're still together, although we haven't played a show (or practiced) in a pretty long time. We were originally called The Cool Swap, but now our handle is Neon Madmen. We've cut a couple of albums and have played a good bit of shows. The early days of the band were a very exciting time and Ellis was our manager. This write-up seems to really encapsulate the energy and dynamics of that time. A great, and very funny, read.

But perhaps the Piece de Resistance of Gaga at the Gogo would have to be the multi-part series of articles that Ellis did about his journey on the Nanchez Trace. From the write-up, "The Trace goes from Nashville Tennessee to Natchez Mississippi. It’s a wide two-lane road with a 50 mph speed limit. The entire road is a national park. Originally it was an Indian trail, but in the early 1800’s people on the Ohio River began floating goods on barges down the Ohio and Mississippi to Natchez, selling their goods there and walking back on the Trace. No commercial vehicles are allowed. There are no stores or houses on the Trace. The only towns it goes through are Tupelo and Jackson. It’s perfect for bicycling." Here are the four articles in order:

The Natchez Trace
Day One: Collinwood
Day Two
Falls Hollow and Day Three

There are several other great posts on this site as well. Check it out.
'Til next time.