One of One

Yesterday I left work a bit early for an appointment a had with my periodontist. I left a bit early to give myself time to go home for a courtesy teeth brushing and gargle, and also a trip by the ATM in anticipation of bowling night. As I was driving there, I got a call from the periodontist asking if I was on my way. I told them I was, and I’d be there in 10, maybe 15 minutes. It didn’t occur to me to ask why they’d called until after I hung up, but I started to wonder. My appointment was for 4:30, I was certain of it. Wasn’t it? A pulled out my wallet and looked at my little appointment card which read “Thursday 1/29/09 @ 4:00pm”.


I guess this is one of the many benefits of getting older, because I can’t recall ever doing something like this before. Then again, who knows? Perhaps I do it all the time and just don’t remember. In any event, having missed my dentist appointment, I found myself with a chunk of time to fill before bowling later in the evening. It was a beautiful cloudless day, the sun was beginning to set, I was approaching Old Fort Park, and my camera was lying in the seat next to me. Maybe I’d find an interesting way to shoot this sunset from the remnants of Fortress Rosecrans.

The area of the fortress where I was, is known as Lunette Palmer and I’d been there a couple times. While it’s really interesting from a historical perspective, there isn’t really a lot there that would make an interesting photo. Unless that is, you think mounds of dirt are interesting. I was thinking of heading on home, when I took a closer look at one of the park signs showing a parking area at Redoubt Brannan. I’d never seen Redoubt Brannan so I decided to take a look before the sun had completely set.

Sandwiched incongruously near a trailer park and some light industrial buildings is a little dollop of Stones River National Battlefield known as Redoubt Brannan. It is pretty much more of the same as Lunette Palmer. That is, there are mounds of dirt vaguely describing the outline of the long vanished fortifications. Sort of like Les Nessman’s office. But I happily read the various placards and imagined life inside the fort during the civil war. In the meantime, the sun slipped below the horizon leaving a fiery orange sky transitioning to deep azure. It was time to get my camera out.

One of One (29 /365)
One of One:
Sunset at Redoubt Brannan

Just as a snapped the first picture I heard a voice call out, “Hello! I have to close the gate!” So much for pictures of the sunset over Redoubt Brannan. I made my way back to the parking area where the park ranger waited. He apologized, admitting that it was a really nice sunset and we struck up a conversation. He was telling me that he had to keep a close eye on this place, it having turned into something of a “rendezvous point” for couples. He told me that he’d caught people in the act many times there. “You wouldn’t believe it”, he said, “I’ve seen people doing things here that I don’t even understand. Right out in the open too, they don’t even bother to go behind the bushes”. And then we started talking about the history of the place. He lamented progress’ encroachment on the park, explaining how the mayor of Murfreesboro wanted to see condos built on top of Redoubt Brannan. How the new hospital going up would rise above the tree line in the main park area, destroying the illusion of looking back in time across the old battlefield. He talked about the size of the fort and how little is preserved. The extreme east end of the fort is now occupied by a Hooter’s. Of course, he talked about the the battle and some of the raids that close to, but not on the fort itself. Douglas McArthur’s father and George Custer’s brother were both among the participants in the Battle I found out.

We talked for 20 minutes or so, maybe longer, but it would be bowling time soon and so I left. I was a little bummed that I didn’t get have a chance to take more than a single picture, but very happy for the history lesson. And not at all upset that I’d missed that dentist appointment.

Update: I created a map that illustrates just how huge Fortress Rosecrans was. It shows the fort overlayed on top of a satellite image of current day Murfreesboro. You can find it here on flickr