Monday, July 21, 2008 – Bartlett, Iowa

Dear Friends:

Tough start this morning. I got up on the wrong side of the bed and was – I admit – a VERY grumpy gus. To add to my foul mood, I lost the GPS unit. Dang!

Then I got a mood lift. Sherman Fleek, author and military historian calls to congratulate our start and to wish us well. He updated me on his many projects and we chatted for about 30 minutes. It helped pass the time and before we ring off, I’m feeling much better about life.

If you haven’t read Sherman’s book, “History May Be Searched In Vain: A Military History of the Mormon Battalion” – you should. Puts many issues into the light of a military unit and explains why many of the problems occurred. Four star read for Battalion buffs.

The 18 miles pass quickly and I’m in camp at 4 PM.

Did I mention that the water pump in the trailer didn’t work after we left Glenwood? When I arrived at camp Lake Forney, the first thing was to crawl into the bowels of the RV (Really Vexatious) camper to see what’s wrong with the pump. Loose wire. Hooray!

In the evening, we’re joined by Holly and Chris Hansen with her mother, Clara. They’re on a family history tour along the route her ancestors took with the Battalion. She’s related to the Schupe brothers of Company C. They were detached with the family detachment and wintered over in Pueblo, Colorado. Brother Andrew Jackson Schupe’s journal has been transcribed and Holly was kind enough to provide a copy. Hopefully it will shed more light on the Pueblo and Sick Detachment’s movements. The family donated it back in 2000 but it hasn’t been reviewed by many people yet.

Even more fun, Holly is being interviewed and photographed by the Hallmark magazine for a “family heritage” series. Our camp was photographed by Frank and Josh who accompanied the Hansen’s today around the Council Bluffs region. We had “Sufferin’ Succotash”, our camp specialty. Denny and Allyson made rolls in the dutch oven while Jerry contributed some honey butter. Green beans, chicken and potatoes rounded out the menu. Everyone enjoyed the time together and sharing insights and history.

Hopefully the Hallmark article will do it justice. The other parts of the Hallmark series will deal with Japanese interments during the Second World War, the Underground Railroad and Ellis Island. To have the Battalion story included in this series is quite a responsibility to help tell the story correctly and how it fits Holly’s family today.

Well, it’s nearly midnight. I still need a shower and then I’ll crawl into bed.

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