Chicken Biscuits, Shiloh, and Slugburgers

post date: June 2, 2008

Slugburger and fries
This morning we are going to visit Shiloh Military Battlefield, about an hour and a half north of Tupelo. We’re making the trip because Maria and Kevin (Vanessa’s mother and step-father) are visiting from California. They arrived last Tuesday after driving five days across the country. Maria came to Tupelo in March, but this is Kevin’s first visit to Mississippi. They have already seen quite a bit, including the birthplace of Elvis Presley right here in Tupelo. On Saturday Mark and Vanessa took them to Memphis where they sampled the best dry ribs in the world at the Rendezvous, saw the marching of the ducks at the Peabody Hotel, took a walking tour of Beale Street, and of course they visited Graceland, which quite frankly all Americans should see for reasons that are hard to explain. You just need to do it. They found it expensive and crowded and not as big as they expected, which is pretty much what everyone says. Still, it’s a cultural experience, like going to Mt. Rushmore.

Confederate soldiers in a Shiloh battlefield (reenactment)
While they are in the area, Maria and Kevin wanted to visit a Civil War battlefield. In this part of the country there are several options, the best one being Shiloh. It’s an ideal place to visit precisely because it’s not like Manassas or Gettysburg or many of the other eastern battlefields that have homes and stores built all around them. Shiloh was remote back in 1862, and it is still remote today. It is also the site of the first huge battle of the war. Before Shiloh people on both sides had romantic visions of a quick war without much bloodshed. After Shiloh with its 23,000 soldiers killed, wounded, captured, or missing in just two days of fighting, everyone knew that the war would exact a terrible toll. There were more casualties on April 6-7, 1862 than in all the previous wars in American history. Today we will visit Pittsburg Landing, the Hornet’s Nest, the Bloody Pond, the Peach Orchard, and Shiloh Church. Ironically the battle is named for a church whose name means “tranquil".

On the food front, we are starting the day by eating breakfast at Connie’s, a Tupelo establishment that is home to the perfect breakfast food–chicken biscuits with gravy. You can have a chicken biscuit (or two) plus fresh blueberry donuts, washing it down with hot coffee or cold Pepsi (my preference). When our tour of the battlefield is over, we will adjourn to Corinth (site of another Civil War battle a few months after Shiloh) to sample the delectable slugburger, a rare treat found only in and around Corinth, at Borroum’s Drug Store.

Meanwhile Alan and Nick and Andy and Betty and Megan and Kathleen made it to Kilimanjaro. Nick sent an instant message last night saying they had arrived safely. Today they are checking their equipment and meeting the guides who will lead them to the summit when they start their ascent tomorrow.

Some people climb mountains, and some people visit battlefields and eat slugburgers. I’m sure they are excited as they prepare to climb Kilimanjaro, and we are looking forward to visiting the scene of the second great battle of the Civil War.


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