Chris Johnson: Revisiting a very little known Civil War battle

October 13, 2013 

Something I've noticed about folks who think they're smart but really aren't -- besides the fact they are often called such names as idiot, moron and congressman -- is that they tend to share their supposed wisdom more profusely than folks who actually know stuff.

And I'm not referring to the fools who spout hateful and racist stuff on Facebook, Twitter and in online comments under news stories. That opportunity is right at their fingertips, and they simply can't resist. It's like monkeys throwing feces. It's right there! You gotta do it!

I'm referring to those who actually vocalize their lack of knowledge that they mistakenly assume is a treasure trove of wisdom. I'm referring to the Barney Fifes and Cliff Clavins of today.

This is one of the reasons I'm a writer. If I start writing about something and demonstrate I'm actually clueless, well, then you can turn the page to somebody with more wisdom, such as the people who write to Dear Abby with questions that ought to be decided long before they get published by Dear Abby.

("Dear Abby, my boyfriend 'John' is 25 years older than me. We met while he was in prison and I was sneaking meth to my Uncle Brother, who was his cellmate and lover. Now that John has escaped, he wants me to marry him and help lead a religious cult that sacrifices hamsters. Here's my dilemma: Our stolen car has broken down on railroad tracks and a train is coming. Should we get out or keep trying to start the car? Sincerely, Somewhat Startled by a Train Horn, Kansas.")

Last weekend, I took my son to little ol' Andersonville, Ga., the village near the infamous Civil War prison -- which we also could have visited if the government hadn't been shut down. The village was hosting a little fair, much smaller than the fair I'd been to the day before with crazy rides like the Zipper -- and crazy

prices to boot!

One of the highlights of the fair is when the Confederate and Union troops clash in a mock battle in the back of the village. There's a lot of cannon booms and gun blasts and a couple of Union troops running around taking pictures with a digital camera -- an old, Civil War-era digital camera. I guess it sounded pretty realistic because when the wife saw the video I took, she asked if they used live ammunition.

"I doubt it because good Civil War re-enactors are hard to find," I told her.

Anyway, during the mock battle (which lasted almost as long as the actual Civil War), a man behind us went on and on about the real Battle of Andersonville -- how the troops came down that very hill, how hundreds of dead bodies littered the land and the creek ran red with blood. And more and more and more details about the actual Battle of Andersonville.

Note that I called this a mock battle and not a re-enactment. Why? Because there was no Battle of Andersonville. Rumor has it two drunks once got in a fist-fight there, but even that hasn't been independently confirmed. But because my son and the entire crowd could hear this genius over the cannon fire and rifle blasts, I had to make sure I clarified the man's comments by explaining to my son there was no actual battle but the man behind us was an actual fool.

Thank goodness he spoke up or we may never have known.

By the way, if you hear who won the Battle of Andersonville, please let me know. We had to leave early to go get some gator on a stick -- just like they did at the actual Battle of Andersonville.

-- Connect with Chris Johnson at

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