On this day twenty-five years ago I was participating in the 125th anniversary reenactment of the Battle of Shiloh. I’m sure Ulysses S. Grant and P. G. T. Beauregard were there, too. William Terrill, even. We march a lot, did some sightseeing, and for authenticity’s sake all bled a pint into Bloody Pond. What we didn’t do, what we didn’t even know to do, was glow in the dark:
Some of the Shiloh soldiers sat in the mud for two rainy days and nights waiting for the medics to get around to them. As dusk fell the first night, some of them noticed something very strange: their wounds were glowing, casting a faint light into the darkness of the battlefield. Even stranger, when the troops were eventually moved to field hospitals, those whose wounds glowed had a better survival rate and had their wounds heal more quickly and cleanly than their unilluminated brothers-in-arms. The seemingly protective effect of the mysterious light earned it the nickname “Angel’s Glow.”
So cool, except that now I can’t get Johnny Mercer out of my head!
IMAGE: Work-in-progress restoration of Thure de Thulstrup’s Battle of Shiloh, published by L.Prang & Co, 1887, by Adam Cuerden