Previous Desktop Ramblings

My previous posts may be accessed here:

January 26, 2013

President Lincoln Reviews the Troops- 1863

My great-great grandfather, William James Burk, was a captain in the 116th PA Volunteers Regiment (of the Irish Brigade). Here is his commanding officer's story of President Lincoln's visit to the troops.


From the book, The Story of the 116th Regiment by St. Clair A. Mulholland:

In the latter part of April, the President visited and reviewed the army. The One Hundred and Sixteenth Battalion never looked better than on this occasion. The great review took place on the plains, back of Spofford Heights, and occupied two whole days. Corps after corps filed past, one hundred and twenty thousand men . . . But though a joyous occasion, Mr. Lincoln wore that air of thoughtful sadness that every one recalls so well.

While at Army Headquarters in the morning, surrounded by Generals and brilliant company, he seemed cheerful and full of life and gayety [sic], but, as hour after hour he rode along the line of troops, he appeared like a man overshadowed by some deep sorrow. No doubt he thought of the coming campaign, of the great battle in the near future, and of the many who would fall.

On the second day of the review he seemed more overcome than usual, and his strong, rugged face bore visible traces of his inmost thoughts. During the afternoon he became unusually silent, and rode for an hour without exchanging a word with the brilliant staff that galloped behind him. At one time his gait became very slow, and finally he reigned up his horse in front of a Pennsylvania regiment, and looking into the faces of the young soldiers who stood silently in line at a "present arm," he let fall the lines on the horse's neck, and reaching out his arms towards the ranks, exclaimed, "My God, men, if I could save this country by giving up my own life and saving yours, how gladly I would do it!" As he spoke, the tears stole down his furrowed cheeks, and his great heart seemed bursting. Then he slowly passed on --- but who can forget the scene!

It was an episode called forth by the circumstances, the occasion and the man. Abraham Lincoln had a heart overflowing with kindness and love for all mankind. No human being was too lowly to an object of his tender thought and solicitude.

January 19, 2013

Ozone Fall Kayaked For First Time

I've been to Ozone Fall in Eastern Tennessee one time with my step-brother, Craig Woodling. It's situated close to the highway, so within easy trek time. You can walk right up to the water precipice and feel the gut-wrenching churn in your bowels as you peer over the 100' drop to the water and rocks below. In the fall and winter, with very little water flowing over, the pool below isn't very large and it would be certain death to attempt any type of yahooing into it. You can see my photos here: Ozone Falls

To think that someone would descend this death trap in a kayak is amazing. Amazing because it would be like shooting Niagara Falls in a barrel, in my humble opinion. But people do 'amazing' things. Or rather 'stupid' things. Or 'inane' things.

This is a situation where faith must trump reason. Faith in the 10% chance that you won't be killed. Faith in the fact that you will be on YouTube, whether you lived or died.

The Bible says God sends the "rain on the just and the unjust," and "the goodness of God leads us to repentance." If all sin and stupidity were justly rewarded on the spot, none of us would be alive.

God is so patient, forbearing, kind and merciful to his creatures - yet we continue to ignore Him, laugh at Him, tempt Him, and hide from Him.

Lord, open our eyes to see your Goodness so we might give you the glory that's due to your name.