Back from the road

Miss D. and I headed down to Fort Worth today for a little official business, plus some “us”-time.  It’s two-plus hours from here to there, so it’s no trouble to go down and back in a day.

The official business didn’t take long, so we looked for something interesting to see when we were done.  We ended up at the Texas Civil War Museum.  It has a large number of exhibits about the lives and equipment of regular soldiers on both sides, with emphasis on the (named) individuals who owned many of the items on display, including a surprising number of general officers.  Among their most prized exhibits are a cigar stub dropped by General U. S. Grant, the uniform jacket that he wore at Appomattox during the surrender discussions with Confederate General Robert E. Lee, and a very ornate presentation sword given to him by the state of Kentucky upon his selection as Commander-in-Chief of the Union armies.  I was surprised to see such important Union exhibits in a museum in what was a Confederate state, but there you are.  (There were a lot of Union exhibits, actually – as many as there were Confederate; a very balanced display.)

I was interested to find many variations on service rifles and muskets.  The most common rifled musket of the Civil War was the Springfield model of 1861, of which close to a million were produced for the Union Army before and during the conflict (many being captured and used by the Confederacy as well).  However, there were hundreds of thousands more of very similar models produced by other companies, plus imported rifles from England, plus limited production runs from small companies (on both sides) that have vanished into the gloom of history with little or nothing known about them.  Handguns, too, were produced in large numbers and bewildering variety.  The Texas Civil War Museum has examples of a lot of them, including some I’d never heard of.  To the naked, uninformed eye they look pretty similar, but to a gun nut firearms enthusiast, they’re a treasure trove of detail and surprises.  (I was very pleased to find examples of just about every firearm I researched for, and mentioned in, my first Western novel, “Brings The Lightning“.  I put a lot of effort into that, so it was a warm, comfortable sensation to see them all at first hand.)  There’s also an artillery exhibit, including a 100-pounder smoothbore Dahlgren-type cannon manufactured by Tredegar Iron Works in Richmond in about 1863.  It was recovered from a shipwreck a few years ago.  If you’re interested in the field, I recommend a visit to the Museum.

Heading home, we stopped in Decatur for a late lunch at Rooster’s Roadhouse, on the square opposite the courthouse.  It describes itself as “Red Neck, White Trash, Blue Collar”, and looks the part – but the menu was extensive, and the food delicious.  The “Big A” grilled cheese double burger proved irresistible:  two grilled cheese sandwiches, with a double cheeseburger in between.  Carb alarm!  We started with the intriguingly-named “Red Neck Sushi”;  grilled BBQ pork and cheese, rolled into a sort of long tortilla-looking thing, sliced like a sushi roll, then served with BBQ sauce, a red onion marmalade, and a horseradish or Wasabi dipping sauce (we couldn’t decide which it was, but it certainly had a bite to it!).  We were planning to finish with coffee and dessert from one of our favorite coffee shops, a few yards along the square, but we were so full we decided to leave that for another day.

We’re back home, being informed by the cats in no uncertain terms that they didn’t appreciate being abandoned for the day.  We’ll get back to our normal routine tomorrow.



  1. A diner in Covington Kentucky serves a similar grilled cheese/burger. I had to açcept the challenge, and it nearly did me in. Once in a lifetime is enough.

  2. I understand the cat thing. Are yours the "stompy feet, tail straight up kind"?

    I live in Arlington. Yes, great museum. Also, been there done that in Decatur.

  3. I'm another fan of the CW Museum. I bring my kids there every few years to point out Ben Butler's uniform and remind them the guy got my g'g'grandfather wounded in another futile head-on assault.

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