Piedmont seems destined to remain The Battle that Never Was so far as local officialdom is concerned, despite its importance as the fight that lost the Shenandoah for the Confederacy, and the site of some of the worst military violence ever to take place in the Valley.Note the reference to local officialdom. He's lucky the local editor did not edit out his local reference. I like the comment, though.
What is it that makes local officialdom consistently anti-local in its Civil War history? I tend to think it's a lust for framework, the need to simplify, and the siren song of "big picture." The Centennial views of the conflict are made to order for tour guides and tourism officials ... they just don't serve history, national or local.
I am reminded of local music reviewers whose universal model for success is not any kind of aesthetic criteria or even selfish enjoyment but rather commercial national success.
When this sort of writer interviews a musician, the entire discussion centers on matters of career progression. The Civil War history equivalent is the question of your local battle "making the big leagues" - as certified by others. More from our astute friend:
Fortunately, a bronze marker was placed at the site in the 1930s, and the accuracy of its location is a lucky break for today's visitor. Whoever placed it — a Civil War veteran perhaps — knew something that later historians would otherwise have had no way of knowing.Nor will they ever care to know - now that history models showbiz and "the man in the wraparound shades" calls the shots (as the Washington Post has referred to a the Pre-Eminent Civil War Historian of Our Times).
We would expect locals to inundate us with local history - more about the Battle of Piedmont than could fill a book. Those were old locals. They planted their lonely sign and moved on. The new locals found no reference to the battle in the CWPT's most endangered battlefields list, McPherson's Battle Cry, or Ken Burns' teleplay.
Grumble Jones vs. David Hunter (top, right). Worth a dozen new markers, in my book.