My sister came by the house the other day and passed along a sword, a family heirloom, to me. The scabbard is steel, the grip leather wrapped with wire, and the blade decorated with acid etchings. Both sword and scabbard are covered with a warm patina. The sword, as the family legend goes, belonged to an ancestor who fought in the Civil War. I was intrigued, and decided to dig deeper, to learn what I could about my family’s history and, if possible, how this sword fit into it. Continue reading “The Story of Rufus Willis Lampman”
A while back I did a write-up on the Sterling Lake Mines and the Great West Point Chain that the American troops installed across the Hudson during the Revolution. While that chain gets more of the glory and glamour than most others, it was certainly not the only chain stretched across an American river. In a riverside park just north of the small town of Columbus, KY is Columbus-Belmont State Park, home to the remnants of the Confederate Mississippi River Chain.
Nestled on a quiet stretch of the Cumberland River, in a small, quiet town just south of the Tennessee/Kentucky border sits an unassuming two-story building, with a long porch on the south side and a balcony overtop. While it may not look flashy or magnificent, it was here at the Dover Hotel that the Battle of Fort Donelson would end and the legend of Ulysses S. “Unconditional Surrender” Grant would begin. While small in scope when compared to Gettysburg or Shiloh, Fort Donelson was a significant battle that set the tone of the War in the Western Theater for the next two years. Today, Fort Donelson National Battlefield stands as not only an exquisite example of original Civil War earthworks, but also a tribute to those who struggled in an important and often overlooked event in the history of the United States.