Cornwall Furnace in Cedar Bluff, Alabama

Cornwall Furnace was built between 1862 and 1863.  It was a cold blast furnace used to produce pig iron for the civil war.  It was small, but a major assist to the confederate states in the production of cannons and other types of military equipment.

However, its glory was short lived.  General Sherman occupied the area and had the furnace destroyed in 1864.  It was rebuilt after the war, but was only operational for seven years.

Andrew Jackson

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This biography of Andrew Jackson is well written and fun to read.  The following quotes sum up what the book had to say about Andrew Jackson.

  • Jackson believed in the common man, not the elite.  His presidency supported democracy as he believed it was meant to be practiced, not as the province of the rich and powerful, but as the birthright of ordinary people.
  • He used his veto power without qualm, vetoing more bills than had all the previous presidents combined.  He opposed legislation which threatened slavery, supported the availability of cheap public lands, and refused to recognize the judgement of the Supreme Court regarding the rights of Native American tribes.

The American Civil War

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The most interesting chapter in this book was about the role of woman in the Civil War.

Women in the North had a history of participating in social and political activities.  They were also more likely to be educated and allowed freedoms women in the South were denied.

In the South, women were subservient to men.  They were seen as beings that needed to be controlled.  They were less educated and had no experience with social or political activism.

During the war, Northern women worked in hospitals and with their help soldiers were less likely to die from infections.  They also prepared food and delivered it to the soldiers.  The aid given by women in the North played a role in the Armies ability to fight and win the war.

 

Fort Gaines, Dauphin Island, Alabama

Fort Gaines was established in the 1800’s and played a pivotal role in the Battle of Mobile Bay during the Civil War.  It was also used during the Spanish American War.

The fort has been well preserved and now functions as a museum.  Visitors can learn about the battles fought at the fort and how French culture influenced the area.

Sitting in a Cemetery

The oldest graveyard in Athens, Alabama, is a block from the courthouse and is known as Old City Cemetery.  Most of the graves are unreadable and many have been damaged over the years.

However, the grave of John Craig received a new marker recently.  He was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, so his grave has been maintained over the years.

I was sitting in the cemetery looking at his grave and wondering about his life.  His world was filled with uncertainty.  The American Colonies were going to war with England (a world super-power at the time).

If the war was lost, he could be executed for treasonous acts.  If the war was won, his world would still be filled with upheaval and unknown circumstances.  He would be living in a brand new country that was trying to establish a government.

I wonder what he must have thought about his future possibilities.  Did he think about future generations and how much his actions would effect them?  Was he afraid of the unknown future?  Was he filled with feelings of invincibility and the optimism of youth?

John Craig was fighting for a country that was only a dream at the time.  He was willing to die, for the idea of a free and independent nation.

His willingness to fight and give his life, if necessary, is still honored today.

Alexander Hamilton – A Controversial Man

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I enjoyed reading this book about Alexander Hamilton.  He tends to be overlooked or only briefly mentioned in history book; however, he is one of our Founding Fathers and played an important role in the early years of the United States of America.

Here are a few notes from the book:

  • Alexander Hamilton was too controversial, too disliked, and had too many enemies at a time when adversaries used weapons as well as word to express their views, to be one of the Founding Fathers who made it to the presidency.
  • He believed in a strong central government, because he was suspicious of the will of the mob.
  • Alexander Hamilton an aide-de-camp to General George Washington, who was so impressed with the young man’s astute administrative abilities that when he became president, he named Hamilton as the nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury.
  • Alexander Hamilton fought for the federal government to assume the debts of the individual states, and for the establishment of a mint.
  • His political reputation was soiled by an affair with a married woman whose husband extorted money from his wife’s lover and then tried to implicate Hamilton in a corrupt financial scheme.
  • Alexander Hamilton would have cringed at the size of the national debt; he believed that a nation’s overall strength came from a sound financial foundation.