Saturday, June 26, 2010

Lessons in American History

So, I haven't posted in a little bit cause we've been so busy taking the time to play tourist at some of the most amazing historical sites in our area here in Northern Virginia. The area is so rich in history from both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, and we didn't have to travel far to see some of it (which is great as we could come home and sleep in our own beds every night).

Being the goof that I am, I forgot the camera when we went to see Chatham and the Fredericksburg Battlefield. Duh. Nonetheless, we did see Chatham, which is only one of three homes in the country where Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln all visited. I wish that we could have seen the inside of the smokehouse, laundry house, etc., but they were closed off to the public. The house was in such a strategic area, overlooking Fredericksburg, and we were able to see where the Union forces had engineered one of their pontoon bridges to cross the river into Fredericksburg.

We took the tour at Fredericksburg Battlefield where the infamous Sunken Road is. They've meticulously crafted the stone wall to look like it did back in the day, but there's still a piece of the original wall there for all to see (but not to touch). Unbelievably, Union General Burnside sent seven (7) waves of troops against the Confederates behind the wall... with NO cover. They were slaughtered. I've got to do a shout-out to our tour guide, Preston, who was great! He believed that this battle was really Lee's greatest victory, although Lee thought that Chancellorsville was his greatest.

So, the next day, we motor over to Chancellorsville. If you're from this area, or have lived here for a while, you start to see some familiar family names crop up as you travel through battlefields and historic sites and recognize how certain towns and cities got their names. Chancellorsville is where Stonewall Jackson got shot by his own troops upon his return from scouting ahead. He didn't die from the wound, but they did have to amputate an arm. He actually died from pneumonia, and there is question as to whether he was sick prior to being shot. Here's a memorial stone that was placed in this honor way back when, and the monument.

Confederate Earthworks
It continued to amaze me how we have almost lost (and have lost some) of our historical sites due to urban sprawl.

Instead of going to The Wilderness the following day and keeping with the timeline, we decided to go to Manassas. What were we thinking?! It was over 100 degrees! But we went and took the tour regarding 1st Manassas (or Bull Run). This was the first battle of the Civil War. You know, the one that they thought would take a few hours and the war would be over? The one where people packed picnic baskets and came out from DC and surrounding areas to watch the "show". It was too hot to go on the tour of 2nd Manassas, so we wimped out and watched to movie they had on the whole thing in the air conditioned visitor's center.
I'll end our historical tour here for now. There's obviously so much more to tell, but I could go on and on.
I did, however, get two dishcloths per trip crocheted while in the car. :o)

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