Ignorance is bliss . . .

Mark Twain once said something to this effect, “It ain’t that we know so much. It’s that we know so much that isn’t true.” Case in point . . .

I was sitting inside the Carnton giftshop talking to author and historian Eric A. Jacobson today (6/30/07). We were “talking shop” about the Confederate dead buried in the McGavock Cemetery.

In walked a woman who proceeded to buy her ticket to tour the Carnton home. She overheard our conversation and then remarked to the effect that, “It’s a shame all those boys were buried in mass graves.” Her point was no one knew who the real names of the boys are in the cemetery because she knew for a fact – she read it in a book and on the Internet – that all the soldiers were buried in mass graves.

“Not here!” replied Eric in a kind but firm resolve, trying to penetrate through the dark cloud of ignorance permeating her grey matter. “They weren’t here at Franklin,” referring to the nearly 800 identified young men and boys buried in the McGavock Confederate Cemetery just a 100 yards away from the Carnton gift shop.

Author-historian Eric A. Jacobson speaks at Franklin's Charge 2007 (June)

The funny thing is that she was insistent and was totally unaware that she was lecturing all of us, including most notably, Eric Jacobson (right), who recently wrote the definitive book on the McGavock Cemetery. It was evem more comical in that Eric’s book – The McGavock Confederate Cemetery (2007) – was prominently displayed right in front of this woman. All she had to do was open up the book and read the names for herself.

Ignorance is not only bliss, it’s also fodder for a blog post.

It was all for a humorous exchange.

Did Eric tell her who he was? No.

But I did ask her what book she got it out of. “Oh”, she said, “that book!” Pointing to a copy of Robert Hicks’ Widow of the South on the table.

Nuff said.

Picture source: Eric spoke at the 2007 Franklin’s Charge at the Cool Springs Marriott.

One comment

  1. My daughter and husband relocated to Tennessee a couple of months ago. She is only minutes away from the Carnton Plantation. She wants me to visit in the fall.She has heard in September (or October??) that Carnton has a ghost tour. If this is correct, could you give me some information,dates,times,etc. ? I have read Widow of the South, and it is now one of my favorite books. Do you have an email address for Robert Hicks? I’d like to tell him how much I enjoyed the book, and what it meant to me.Thank you,Katie Trueland

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