Rebel Yell

I have recently wondered often, what is the “Rebel Yell”. Something we have commented on a few times as we strolled around historic Richmond, Virginia. Apparently, when the Union started winning the Civil War, the Rebel Yell was banned. We all know songs like Dixie and When Johnny Comes Marching Home from that time. As well as Yankee Doodle Dandy which the Union Troops sang as the Confederate troops surrended. But why was the Rebel Yell so terrifying that the Union banned it.

Richmond was the home of the Confederate Government and again we visited the beautiful State Building along with the Confederate White House (the Americans certainly knew how to build beautiful buildings and not forgetting the many monuments) and learning the backstories to the many monuments etc. Like Jefferson Davis who was the Confederate President. I have come to the feeling that although this was called a Civil War it really was more like two countries at war. They both had Presidents, Abraham Lincoln for the Union, (covering 18 States) and Jefferson Davis for the Confederate, who governed 11 States. While 5 States were considered boarder line. (There were only 34 States at the beginning of the war in 1861).

But back to the Rebel Yell (and not the Billy Idol song). Apparently, it was so feared that the Union General Ulysses Grant banned it. I have done some research and all I can find is an old recording from 1935 of a Confederate Civil War survivor and to me, it really just sounds like dogs barking. Not a patch on our Haka (or perhaps I am just biased).

At the beginning of our day in Richmond, we went to the Science Museum of Virginia. TOH was keen to see the stealth plane on display there. An interesting piece of machinery. The skin on it, to me, seems so flimsy that if I could touch it I could poke a finger through it easily. I am sure I couldn’t, but that was the sense you got. I found it fascinating that the plane is put together so loosely that when it was on the tarmac it leaked fuel. Once in the air and at speed, the joins all tightened up and it didn’t leak in flight.

The heat, while we were in Richmond, was horrendous. We had found ourselves at the onset of a heatwave. I love the heat (not like TOH) but even this was too much for me. And while doing our usual walking tour around Richmond, it really did become too much. Unfortunately, we had to end our day in Richmond and head back to what we had hoped to be the cool air conditioning in Ellie-Mae. But not before visiting the Confederate White House and the Virginia State Buiding. I have been in awe at the beautiful buildings we are seeing on our trip and how they have survived over the years and then I look at the currently being built glass buildings and you just have to wonder if they will survive as well. I wonder what this generation is leaving for the future generations to look on with awe.

We have an app (Harvest Host) that tells us of Vineyards, Golf Courses or Orchards that we can stay at for free (or called Boondocking). So we headed down to Greensboro (North Carolina) to “Grove Winery” to try our first Harvest Host. What luck, the day we arrived was their Wine Tasting evening. I am sure you can all imagine the fun we had and the people we met were lovely. The sunset that night over the vines was glorious and was only beaten by the sunrise the next morning. We did consider staying 2 nights, but we had booked into a campground in Mt Airy, and didn’t want to lose the booking, so off we headed into Andy Griffith country.

What a hoot. We arrived in time for the weekend of old cars, so TOH was in his element as we strolled through the cars lining the main street. The town is set up as with its tourist industry based around The Andy Griffith Show, and after looking at the age of most of the tourists (us included), I wonder how well the town will survive once all the people who remember the show die off.

Mt Airy is not far from Winston-Salem. This was the Tobacco Capital of the US. It still is a major hub of the Tobacco industry, with miles and miles of tobacco grown around this area. The original head office for the Reynolds Tobacco Company was designed and completed in 1929 by the architect firm of Shreve, Lamb & Harmon. When it was completed or nearly completed the Government approached this company to build a tower in New York to provide work for the unemployed during the depression.

The only stipulations were that it had to be the tallest building in the world and the plans for this building had to be provided within 2 weeks. The architecture company looked at the building they had just designed for the Reynolds Tabacco Company and just scaled up the plans and submitted them. That was how the New York Empire State Building came to be the (large) son of the Reynolds Building of Winston-Salem. The connection is so strong that executives from the Empire State Building sent the Reynolds Building an enormous Fathers Day card on its 50th birthday.

Also Winston-Salem is the home of the Moravian Religious Sect. They settled this area back in the 1600’s and are still living in the area. They have restored a large number of the buildings and you can wander in and around them. It is interesting how there are so many different “unusual” religions in the USA. Such a melting pot.

And now we find ourselves in Mt Pisgah. This is about 20 – 30 minutes out of Asheville. But this area will need to wait for my next blog.

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