I returned to the Soldiers’ Lot in 2019 in order to take some photos.
I didn’t have any prior knowledge of this following soldier, but I Googled his name when I returned home.
From the Veterans Affairs / website for Allegheny Cemetery Soldiers’ Lot: Corporal John M. Kendig (Civil War). He received the Medal of Honor while serving in the U.S. Army, Company A, 63rd Pennsylvania Infantry, for actions at Spotsylvania, Virginia, May 12, 1864. His citation was awarded under the name of Kindig. He died in 1869 and is buried in Section 33, Lot 66, Site 32.
Here’s a grave for an unknown Union (United States) Civil War soldier:
Finally, here is a Confederate grave that I saw at the Soldiers’ Lot. Note how the headstone differs from that of a Union soldier.
I didn’t take any art history classes in college. So, maybe my post is about something that everyone who actually took art history learned in Art History 101.
But now I kinda want to learn more about art history.
This image is of an 1864 painting titled Man Proposes, God Disposes by the British artist Edwin Landseer. (I found this image on Wikipedia. Wikipedia advised that this image is in the Public Domain. I’m thinking of just starting a blog titled Things that I Learned from Wikipedia.)
This is a painting of two polar bears eating human remains in the ruins of a ship. You can see the bloody sails and the mast. The polar bear on the right stands over a ribcage.
Man Proposes, God Disposes was Landseer’s interpretation of what happened to the British explorer Sir John Franklin’s 1845 trip to the Arctic. You can read all about it on Wikipedia.
I learned about the painting today on the podcast Haunted Places from Parcast by Cutler Media. If you listen to this podcast on Spotify, you get to learn about a haunted place every Thursday AND you also get to learn about an urban legend every Tuesday. Today’s urban legend was about this painting.
This painting graces a wall at Royal Holloway, University of London. And the painting is HAUNTED, guys. Haunted. The painting is so haunted that the university covers it with a Union Jack when students are taking exams in the same room.
By coincidence, I listened to the podcast about this haunted polar bear painting RIGHT AFTER I listened to a completely different podcast about a real, 21st century guy who lived among grizzly bears every summer for a decade until one of the grizzlies ate the guy. We know the fate of the grizzly bear guy because a pilot flew over and saw a grizzly standing over a ribcage.
I wish that my mother-in-law, Fran, were still with us so that I could tell her all of these stories about bears. Fran loved bears – in theory. The local news reported that a black bear visited homes in the neighborhood next to Fran’s. Fran said, “Everybody gets a bear except me.”
(For the record, I pray that I NEVER see a bear in the wild. I will be perfectly okay if everybody gets a bear except me.)
Well, this whole global pandemic reminded me YET AGAIN that we’re not in charge. And I didn’t actually need ANY reminder that I’m not in charge.
So, it comforts me to read that the British Empire wasn’t actually in charge in 1845 when Sir John Franklin may or may not have gotten eaten by polar bears.