Time to change base of operations.
Cordele served us well for the southernmost legs of the trip but on Day 4 our adventures began to lean us back in the direction of the Appalachian foothills, albeit gradually.
That being said, there is a lot of nothing between Cordele and Columbus. We passed through a few small towns but mostly it was farms, fields, trees and nothing. It was inconceivably glorious. It was "see antonyms under 'Atlanta'". It was so much more green, rural and natural than our lovely corner of the state. And the only reason anyone would ever take that route would be to do a road trip such as this.
Therefore, you have to try it.
Ah, Columbus....I wasn't joining the Army. Neither was my wife. Nor any of the boys. Contrary to popular belief there is more in Columbus than the fort. So we found the National Civil War Naval Museum at Port Columbus. It was directly across the street from a cemetery...but it looked a little new for my taste and the temptation waned.
Now, the Naval Museum is nice. Very impressive exhibits. The full-scale representation of USS Water Witch, the remnants of the CSS Chattahoochee, the much more substantial remnants of the CSS Jackson, partial replicas of the USS Monitor, USS Hartford and CSS Albemarle anchor the museum. Exhibits of uniforms, small arms and demonstrations of the delicate methods of preserving artifacts recovered from marine environments are found everywhere in between. And they have one of the most impressive flag collections of any museum I've toured. It took all morning to complete the phone tour offered by the museum. There is that much to see.
Now for some lunch.
In historic downtown there is a place called Picasso's Pizza and you do want to eat there. We walked in the door, saw the three booths and about nine bar stools. About half the place was filled with young men in US Army standard issue. "This is the place". We sat down in the vacant booth and that is when I noticed the outdoor seating area out the side door. The wobbly table confirmed my suspicions. The pizza is delicious, the staff is friendly and you will not leave hungry.
And then we headed to the fort. It's not the only thing in Columbus but it is substantial.
The main attraction there is the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center. For a $5 per person recommended donation you can see a world-class museum. It is recommended by museum staff (and by the research team at All the Biscuits in Georgia) that you begin your tour with "The Last 100 Yards Ramp" - quite possibly the finest museum exhibit I've ever seen anywhere. The history of American Infantry soldiers is recalled through the battles of Yorktown, Antietam, Soissons, Normandy, Corregidor, Soam-Ni, LZ-XRAY and Iraq. The figures are incredibly realistic and the action is almost frightening, considering
you are right in the middle of it. The music and sound effects draw you in emotionally and you realize what all soldiers have done over the past 238 years. Stunning isn't quite strong enough of a word to describe it. The details all come together and you can feel like you are a part of what's going on - like a bystaander caught in the action. From looking down the barrel of a Confederate rifle to seeing footage of Normandy projected into the open canopy above an Airborne soldier to the looks on the faces of the soldiers themselves. It is very moving.
You come back down to enter exhibit areas dedicated to American wars throughout the history of the infantry. Weapons, tactics, letters home, spoils of war - the typical war museum stuff. But there is also the details. This is not a museum about generals and politicians. The experiences displayed are those of the soldiers and you get to understand the wars from their points of view.
In short, if you are in Columbus, check this one out.
The next stop is an audible. Washington D.C. intervened on our original plans. True to form, we told them they were "#1" and had fun any way....
...until next time
Historian, self-proclaimed gentleman, agrarian-at-heart, & curator extraordinaire