t. elizabeth renich

author of historical fiction

A Man in Uniform/26-Mar-2009

Cracker Barrel, Londonderry, NHIt was very cold (high 20’s) and very dark when I departed for New Hampshire. I stopped off at the Cracker Barrel in Londonderry for breakfast. I’d never seen a Cracker Barrel with an enclosed porch (not even in Lakeville, MN), but here, all the rocking chairs were inside. I took some time to go over my notes and proceeded on to Vermont and St. Albans.

Jim FoutsIn planning my trip, I’d contacted the director of the St. Albans Historical Society Museum and he had arranged an appointment with one of the museum’s volunteers who was well versed in the particulars of the Confederate raid that happened on October 19, 1864 (the same day as the Battle of Cedar Creek, which, ironically, Vermont regiments fought in near Winchester). Jim Fouts met me at the museum shortly before noon, decked out in a Union blue uniform. He laid the groundwork for my studies with the exhibit there in the museum, and then he gave me a guided tour of St. Albans and taught me about the raid: the events leading up to, the actual event, and its aftermath.

Jim had a 3-ring binder filled with photographs of what the buildings in town used to look like. He walked me to the sites of the boarding houses, banks (some of which still stand to this day), and liveries and explained what happened at each one. Quite the contrast to see the old pictures compared to what remains now. And it was a great learning experience. Jim was a good teacher.  The band of Confederates who raided St. Albans executed their plans successfully; twelve years later, in 1876, the James-Younger gang failed in their Minnesota endeavor.

St. Albans Historical Marker1864 Bank2009 BankI was almost to Canada, but since I’d failed to bring my passport along with me, I didn’t actually go there. Besides, it was time to head back toward Montpelier because I was having dinner with Raelene.

Before dining at Sarducci’s, Raelene and I drove around Montpelier and she gave me her guided tour. We visited the Sugar Shack, but were too late to have Syrup-on-Snow. I had to content myself with a taste of pure maple candy instead – yum! She also took me to the Vermont State House.   Under the gold dome, at the top of the stairs, is a statue honoring Ethan Allen, the leader of the Green Mountain Boys (Revolutionary War).  In the Cedar Creek Room there hangs a huge memorial mural depicting the aforementioned Vermont regiments battling Confederates on the rocky battleground at Cedar Creek.

Sugar ShackVT State HouseCedar Creek MuralAfter driving Raelene back to her place, I got lost on the way to the hotel. I called, and the lady at the front desk got me to where I was supposed to be going, thankfully. My GPS was having a little trouble with exact locations, it seemed. But, then she told me that I shouldn’t be too hard on the technology because it was probably confused: the hotel had a street address in one town, the area code of another, and a P.O. Box in a third. No wonder it wasn’t as easy as it should have been. Especially in the dark and the rain.

About The Author

Author of the Shadowcreek Chronicles


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