Signs and markers

David Woodbury has a few comments on misguided Civil War markers and Richard Brautigan (right). Which reminds me.

I was at Ball's Bluff a few weeks ago following the walking trail and stopping to read the markers with two people generally oblivious to ACW history. You walked awhile, stopped, and read something about a specific regiment.

It was a pretty long walk and we all three assumed the "markers" "marked" unit positions, since so many were unit specific. It was hard to visualize things because Ball's Bluff battlefield is in a nature preserve and the trees have been allowed to grow everywhere.

Satisfied with our battlefield tour, we completed the trail and on the way back to the car I noticed a road indicating the way to a cemetery for the war dead. That's how the road was signed and it was off in a different direction.

Going there on a whim, we discovered the battlefield. The grave of Baker. Unknown soldiers buried near where they fell.

The grave markers told us where the battle was fought. The signs were all elsewhere. It was a spectacular display of custodial incompetence.

Which plays into a story about Richard Brautigan. He and a friend were running around town putting up posters for a poetry reading. They went into a bookstore.
“Do you have any of Richard Brautigan’s work?” said Richard.

“What does he write?” said the clerk.

“He writes novels and books of poetry.” Richard’s mouth was assuming an odd shape under his moustache.

“What kind of novels?” said the clerk.

“Famous ones, you know, like great literature,” said Richard without moving his mouth very much because his teeth were gritted.

“Our literary works are over there, and our poetry section is over there,” said the clerk, pointing first to a large part of the wall near us then to a tiny clump of books in the back of the store.

“Thank you,” gritted Richard. Soon we had scoured both sections and found one book, The Hawkline Monster, in the whole store, so the Captain returned to the clerk while I hung back. “I would like to give you a little lesson in capitalism,” said Richard.

“You would find that in our business section,” said the clerk.

“I am Richard Brautigan,” said Richard. “I write novels and books of poetry. People like them. When stores stock them, people buy them. You only have one of my books because people bought the rest of them. But you do not stock more of them. That is how book stores make money. People come to them to buy books, and in return, they give the book stores money. DON’T YOU F*****S WANT TO MAKE SOME F*****G MONEY!!!!!”

The clerk couldn’t think of anything to say back, so Richard just stared at him for a few seconds until I suggested that maybe we should find some other places to put the posters.
I have to wonder if the *!#%+ custodians of Ball's Bluff Battlefield want to attract tourists and make some !#&!*+# money.