Saturday, October 22, 2016

Virginia Trip Part 6: Civil War Living History Museum in Pamplin, Virginia

Michael got out of class early on day, so we headed to a privately owned Civil War living history museum located on the far western edge of the Petersburg Union-held siege works, at Pamplin, Virginia.  
 There were some beautiful memorial bronzes right out front of the museum. 
Examples of siegeworks around Pamplin, VA. 

There was a Confederate winter camp located here. They had a couple of examples of what the Confederate soldiers would lived in during the winter. 

This little cabin had a sign that said "Hotel D'Louse'" I think that pretty much said it all. I can't image the conditions these soldiers were living in. Way more soldiers died of disease than in battle. 
This reenactor did a great job of showing us how to fire a Civil War era rifle as well as explaining winter camp conditions of the Civil War soldier. 

This is where the "Breakthrough" battle took place and the Union was finally able to shatter the Confederate siege works and effectively cut off the Confederate supply lines to Petersburg and Richmond. 2,800 Confederates ,mostly older men and teenage boys lost their lives in the Breakthrough Battle. 

 This put Lee on the run west to Appomattox Court House where he finally surrendered to Grant a few days later.
 Original earthworks. 
There was a modest plantation on these grounds and the house was still there.

 It was turned into a Confederate officers quarters during the siege. 

They replicated the slaves quarters. This was an example of a field slaves' quarters. 
Very dark and dingy inside. 

 There was a chicken yard in the back where slaves were sometimes allowed to keep chickens to supplement their diets and sell eggs. This was completely dependent on what their master would allow. The white cabin in the background is an example of small house where the household slaves with live. 

 There was an amazing interactive museum on the grounds as well where you walked into a "battle" with noise, rumbling floor and blasts of air hitting you as you walked towards the enemy firing at you through a video screen. It made an impression for sure. Very sobering.

Here is a piece of a tree with a cannonball stuck in it. 
I thought this was amazing! 

It was a super hot day, so we didn't stay as long as we would have liked to walk the trails. However, what we did see, was very worth the price of admission. Plus they gave a military discount. I would highly recommend visiting Pamplin, Va, if you are in the area. 

God Bless,

Monday, October 17, 2016

Virginia Trip Part 5: Petersburg Siegeworks and "Battle of the Crater":

After we got back from our weekend of visiting the Atlantic Ocean, we explored another portion of Petersburg Battlefield as soon as Michael got off work on Monday . It is huge! There were ultimately 37 miles of siegeworks around Petersburg. Saw where Confederate forces broke through the lines at Fort Stedman but were repelled by Union troops near the end of the war.
Here is a bigger picture view of where Fort Stedman was.  

Then we walked the woods where the infamous charge of the Maine First Heavy Artillery failed, resulting in 75% loss, the most of any Union regiment in the entire Civil War. Seeing all those names on that monument just gives you chills.

Other side of the same monument. 
Such a waste of lives.
Then we walked past "The Crater" where a Pennsylvania regiment dug a 500+ft tunnel under a Confederate battery, effectively blowing it up and killing 250 confederate soldiers.
Entrance to the tunnel.
They had to create ventilation shafts and it is amazing that they managed to hide these from the Confederates.
After the big explosion, confused Union forces were soon pushed back into the crater and unable to escape its steep sides. It was like a "turkey shoot" for the Confederates.
Gen. Grant called it a "Stupendous Failure". It was a good idea, but lack of communication lost the day. Confederates killed 4000+ Union troops that day, and the trench warfare continued for 8 more months of hell. This was the most sobering thing I saw back there. Couldn't get it out of my mind. 

The crater would have been much larger at the time. 150 years of erosion has diminished its size considerably.
There were layers of wounded and dead soldiers piled on top of each other. 
The Confederates suspected the Union forces were digging a mine, but didn't know where it was. Thus, they began digging countermines. They almost ran into the Union tunnel, but didn't quite reach it.

Right after the explosion, African American Union troops headed to the other side of the crater, but reinforcements didn't show up in time and they were soon pushed back into the Crater (because it was the only available cover) by angry Confederate troops who gave no quarter to the African Americans. In fact, a sign on the battlefield said that white Union troops trying to surrender were shooting their African American comrades- in-arms in hopes that the Confederates would allow them to surrender. This story sickened me. I'd never heard it before.

Ultimately the whole battle was such a waste of men, especially since they went right back to a stalemate for 8 more months until the end of the war. Walking these battlegrounds and seeing these places with my own eyes - things I've only read about or seen in movies, has made a lasting impression on me. I'll never forget what I saw back there.

Blessings, Jackie

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Virginia Trip Part 4: Jamestown

After visiting the Atlantic, we headed back up the James River and took a public ferry across to the Jamestown living history settlement. Such a beautiful ride on a hot day! 

Jamestown living history settlement was amazing. Our kids would have loved it, too. Visited the reconstructed buildings inside the stockade 

 The church. I can't even imagine sitting in pews like these for hours. Ouch!

The armory

Trading post
Michael made me try on some armor. It was just too hot! 
Kitchen/dinner facility
Blacksmith shop
Cooper/Carpenter shop
Governor's living quarters

 We toured an exact replica of the ship the first colonists came over on. There were actually three ships they came over on and all three replicas at Jamestown are seaworthy. Michael loves tall ships and enjoyed this part very much.
Cook's living quarters and galley.
Governor's quarters

Ship's rudder/steering system.

Found this Indian dart and hoop game that we replicated last year when we did the Prairie Primer unit study. I had to take a picture for the kids!

Ongoing canoe project.
Wigwams. Native Americans living in the East mostly lived in permanent structures which is very different from the Native culture in the west that was mostly nomadic. 
There wigwams were quite roomy. 

There were a lot of beautiful, handmade items hanging from inside of the wigwam walls.
We topped the day off with a nice fresh seafood dinner in Williamsburg, VA. We discovered that fresh Atlantic seafood is just as good as Pacific seafood!


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