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(by Chris Sharp) For the time being, I have had it with trying to write about the usual things.  With this piece, I am going to confine myself to being a travel writer, recommending here three battlefields that I think is worthwhile for you to take a trip East with your entire family, including your school children on summer vacation.

Unfortunately, I can’t think of any battlefield in California that one can visit, although you might come close by stopping in at Fort Tejon at the top of the Grapevine when you are driving north on the I-5.

At least, Fort Tejon is slightly tied to the central battles of the Civil War.  It was while being stationed at Fort Tejon that a certain Army Captain Ulysses S. Grant – fresh of his heroic adventures in the Mexican War – learned to get drunk as a result of trying too hard to find something interesting to do in Southern California.

How this is related to the Civil War is that Southern Californian drinking may have left Grant the most relaxed general in Lincoln’s union army.  When you look at all the pictures of the previously failed Union generals, they look like they have been stricken to the quick, whether it be McClellan, Hooker or Burnside.  In contrast, the most memorable photograph of General Grant in the Civil War is of him leaning so heavily against a tree that if he had let go of the tree he would probably have fallen over.  But his eyes look so relaxed that none of his junior officers or soldiers could have ever conceived that Grant could be afraid of his old Mexican War commander, Robert E. Lee. In response to complaints of Grant fighting drunk. Lincoln reportedly ordered that it be discovered what Grant was drinking, than order the same whiskey for his other generals to free them from being so petrified on the battle field.

Thank you, Southern California, for teaching Grant to be a drunk so that he could relax into something when he was fighting against lee.

Yorktown:  The Battle of Yorktown in Yorktown, Virginia was where America essentially became America.  It was where George Washington’s army finally cornered the internationally famous British General Cornwallis and his British army between a certain Captain Alexander Hamilton’s terrifying bayonet charges on one side and the terrifying huge French fleet on the other side.  Today the open spaces of the battlefield have largely been forested over, but within the park there is a very scenic drive where you can drive through all the battle landmarks and hear about the battle step by step with the aid of excellent portable recorders.

Read more here: A Sharp View: Three battlefields for your summer pleasure