I began my search for connection at Petersburg. Petersburg is the site of the opening battle in the film, and I admit the crater scene was amazing. I was so disappointed they didn't film the movie on location, though (they took it to Romania instead). North Carolina has certainly proved to be more than an adequate mecca for movies ~ look at Last of the Mohicans, Nell, and even the train wreck from The Fugitive...but I digress.
My kindred cousin Marie and I toured Petersburg, and we were amazed at the remains of the crater and of the tunnel dug beneath it. The Union army decided that the only way to remove the entrenched Confederates and seize the heights above Petersburg to end the siege was to dig a tunnel under the "fort" and blow it up.
|The entrance to the tunnel|
The "real" Inman was author Charles Frazier's great-great Uncle. Family tradition holds he was wounded at Petersburg and deserted from the army to return to Tennessee and North Carolina. They say he was killed near "Big Stomp" by a home guard, and his father went to retrieve his body. Lore holds he is buried at the Haywood Cemetery in North Carolina. I hope to go there someday.
Perhaps the greatest discovery I've made, however, was quite by accident. I was traveling the Blue Ridge Parkway with a friend one day when I missed my exit. I was frustrated, because I had to go quite a way to the next overlook to turn around. I whipped my car into the pull-out ~ and then I slammed on the brakes and gasped. My friend had barely enough time to ask what was wrong before I was out on the misty mountain-top to take a picture of what the overlook revealed.
"Mornings on the high bald were crisp, with fog lying in the valleys so that the peaks rose from it disconnected like steep blue islands scattered across a pale sea."
Synchronicity can be a very beautiful thing...