A contagion spread by fans (cont.)

Out of his own pocket, a developer financed a Civil War marker at his shopping center. But he couldn't see past his own fannishness.

The passing shoppers have some dim idea that Eisenhower once led his Leathernecks over yon swale to attack Cochise in the battle of Saipan. They could be helped a little by an inscription that says, "In [year], Union Army [name] marched past this point on its way to [insert historically intelligible destiny here]."

They are hardly prepared for the outbreak of military history the marker delivers: "In the winter of 1862-1863 following the Battle of Fredericksburg, Col. Edward Harland's Union brigade camped on this site. Six infantry regiments comprised the brigade: the 4th Rhode Island and the 8, 11, 15, 16 and 21st Connecticut. The brigade had been held in reserve at Fredericksburg and took just 40 casualties there, many from Union artillery shells that exploded prematurely overhead."

As a colleague once persisted, "Rhode Island: that's part of New York, right?"

I suppose there's even more on the plaque but as my daughter would say, this is already "Way too much information, Dad."