150th and 151st  Anniversary of the Battle of Pea Ridge ...
click: Page 5
The latest article on
CWFT.com is the story
of The Battle of
Irish Bend. The 1863
fight took place on 
Louisiana's beautiful
Bayou Teche. Read the
tale on PAGE TEN.

Civil War
Field Trip

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   Welcome to Civil War Field Trip, a Website/Photo Journal that is dedicated to exploring the places (some famous - some almost forgotten) where Americans fought each other over conflicting ideas of what it meant to be an American.
   You're invited to come along as we travel to battlefields, museums, ghost towns and graveyards, in search of the individual stories of the soldiers and civilians who were participants and witnesses to our Nation's defining historical even:  The American Civil War.


The first time I set foot on a Civil War battlefield was when I was ten.  My mom and dad took me to visit Vicksburg National Military Park, which was then and still is today, one of our most beautiful battlefield parks.  I remember being awed by the statues and monuments that various States had constructed and dedicated to the memory of their soldiers and sailors.

Of course, as a young boy, I was most interested in the fighting that had taken place there in the summer of 1863.  It was something my Dad said that got me thinking of the individual soldiers.
As I stood atop the old breastworks that had been built and defended by Confederates and attacked by Union troops, I remarked:  "This was a good place to fight a war." My father, Tommie Ayres replied, "Son, there is no good place to fight a war."

That simple statement opened my eyes.  The men who fought at Vicksburg and hundreds of other places, during what we Southerners called The War Between The States...were not just faceless soldiers in uniforms of Blue or Gray.  Each was an individual with his own hopes, dreams, fears and beliefs.  They were sons, husbands, fathers and brothers.  They had dear ones back in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Missouri, Louisiana or wherever they called home...loved ones who fought their own battles of worry.

Over the past 50 years, I have tramped many more Civil War battlefields and sites, either gathering reseach for a book, tracing
the steps of a Confederatre ancestor or more often
just for the pure enjoyment of being close to nature and history.  These "field trips" never disappoint because to go where American History happened is to make it real.

So this CWFT website is for you and everyone who finds the stories of the Civil War compelling. The CWFT Mission Statement is simple:  To Inform, Engage, Entertain and Encourage.  That last one may be the most important.  CWFT will always ENCOURAGE parents to give their kids the gift of touching our history...and always ENCOURAGE teachers to get their students out of the classroom and take a Civil War Field Trip.


Comments/Questions:  Dixietales@aol.com                    
                        Mary Alice Jones Ayres and her youngest son, summer of 1957.


Travis L. Ayres is the author of two non-fiction books:  The Bomber Boys - Heroes Who Flew The B -17s In WW II (Penguin/NAL)  and Shiloh To Stones River (Dixietales).  To learn more about these books and his current book project, go to:  Thebomberboys.com
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