Monday, April 4th - Monday, April 11th
Monday we set up camp at Chesapeake RV Resort on the Piankatank River about an hour east of Richmond, just north of the James and York Rivers and Werowocomoco Indian village (outlined rectangle on the map below), between the towns of Glenn and Cobb Creek on Gloucester Point in Chesapeake Bay.
Our first stop on Tuesday was the Virginia Historical Society, originally planned as a Confederate war memorial to conserve the history of the Confederacy. It was being referred to as Battle Abbey even before it was built, in reference to the memorial in East Sussex England built by William the Conqueror for the Battle of Hastings. The idea of a Confederate memorial was conceived in the 1890s as a response to the construction of the memorial to Ulysses S. Grant in New York City (Grant's Tomb). Funding faltered until Congressional plans to construct the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. sparked a surge of contributions. In 1998 they chose Richmond, the former Confederate capitol, as the location for the soldier's memorial. These 52 flags are the Colours of the Sons of the Revolution in the Commonwealth of Virginia. There were several panels explaining the cult of the "Lost Cause". Former Confederates crafted their own historical interpretation of the Civil War to reconcile the prewar society they admired and the devastation that accompanied the Southern defeat. The Lost Cause narrative claimed secession, not slavery, caused the war; that enslaved blacks remained faithful to their masters and that the South was defeated only by overwhelming numerical and industrial force. Confederate veteran and memorial associations promoted Lost Cause themes to help white Southerners cope with the many changes during this era. It said right in the museum that this theme or feeling is still very common today. One room had three full wall-sized murals, covered all three walls in the room. They were specially commissioned portraits of their war heroes portrayed at glorious victories. The artist preferred to portray actual events accurately, but the museum curator had his own ideas about what he wanted. One in particular shows a dozen or so war officers together on horseback who most likely would have never met during the war. Just part of the romanticized history the way they preferred to remember it.
The red and blue lines on the map show the routes John Smith took on his several explorations of the bay, up its rivers and streams from 1607 to 1609, now the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, the nation's first National Water Trail established in 2006. It is 3,000 miles long stretching the length of the Chesapeake Bay, including parts in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania and D.C. On his first exploration trip upriver he was captured by the brother of the chief of the Powhatan Indians. Werowocomoco was the center or headquarters of the Powhatan cheifdom which included about 30 tribes with about 20,000 Algonquin Indians in many small villages covering a very large area.
Pocahontas was the favorite daughter of the head chief of their society. She prevailed on her father to let John Smith go and he became a good friend to her and the Indian community. She later married John Rolfe, another member of the new settlement of Jamestown, who later became famous for introducing to Virginia a strain of tobacco from Bermuda that became immensely popular. Pocahontas is a nickname for "Matoaka" which means little play thing. When she converted to Christianity she took the Biblical name Rebecca. This is the only likeness done of her from real life, while she was visiting England at the age of 21 with her husband and son. The Indians have had settlements in this area since the 13th century. Today there are 7 Powhatan descendant tribes, Chickahominy, Eastern Chickahominy, Mattaponi, Nansemond, Pamunkey, Rappahannock and Upper Mattaponi. The Pamunkey and Mattaponi occupy the two oldest reservations in the nation. I'm always amazed by all the different Indian tribes around the nation that I had never heard of. I guess I only knew about the ones on the cowboy and Indian shows on TV, like the Sioux, Comanche, Apache, Cheyenne, etc.
1930 Diehl Electric Company Ribbonaire electric fan invented because fast moving electric blades that were not covered were dangerous. This unusual design with fabric blades for safety could not hurt a person or a pet.
In 1805 President Jefferson opposed North African pirates. He sent marines led by Lt. O'Bannon and they marched 600 miles to rid the "shores of Tripoli" of pirates. He was presented with this Mameluke sword in recognition of his bravery. By 1825 the sword was adopted for the dress uniform of the Marine Corps Officers. All Marine officers carry it in recognition of the Corps first battle on foreign soil.
Late 19th century horse-drawn hearse from an African American owned funeral home in Richmond. The wall mural behind shows the reunion of Nathaniel Burwell's slaves at his Sherwood Plantation near Salem in Roanoke County in 1903. That seemed odd to me. Why would they want to go back "there" for a reunion? Maggie L. Walker was a school teacher who led the Independent Order of St. Luke, a black fraternal burial society that administered to the sick and aged and promoted self-help and integrity. She edited a newspaper for the organization and chartered its St. Luke Penny Savings Bank and served as its first president, the first African American female bank president to charter a bank in the U.S.
We've come a long way since the Magnetto wall set telephone. And then again, maybe not. As I recall we all used to hate it because people could listen in on the party line and know your business and spread the gossip all around town. Now we just seem to volunteer all our personal stuff on facebook and other places for our friends, friends of friends, unfriends and the whole world to see. We used to call that "lettin' it all hang out". I don't know why we are so concerned about privacy. Nobody really seems to want it anymore, anyway.
The Virginia Pacificator patented in 1861 by Lorenzo Sibert could fire 48 shots without reloading. It had its name, which means peacemaker, and American Union Forever engraved on its stock. Judging from these inscriptions, he was one of many in the state who had hoped the state's leaders might resolve the secession crisis and keep the Union together. The gun was never put into production.
Hat styles from the 50s. The dyed feathers that were in style look very much like the hair styles some girls wear now. I used to think it was kind of odd to color your hair all those weird, unnatural colors, but now I'm kind of starting to like it. I wonder what color would look good on me. And maybe I should get a tattoo.
Stonewall Jackson. We were just driving down Monument Street in Richmond. During the Battle of Manassas July 21, 1861 Confederates rallied around Jackson's troop when General Barnard Bee uttered the famous line, "Look men, there is Jackson standing like a stone wall! Let us determine to die here and we will conquer! Follow me!" Shortly after saying those words he died leaving Jackson with his famous nickname and the men under his command the name Stonewall Brigade.
Confederate Soldier Memorial. There were scads of other memorials down this street mostly related to the Confederacy, one every block at the intersections. There was also a very nice and large one for Arthur Ashe, the tennis player.
J.E.B. Stuart grew his trademark beard after graduating from West Point in 1854. It was said that he was the "only man a beard improved." He resigned the U.S. Army in May of 1861 and quickly became a hero to Confederates and a terror to Union forces. He served as Chief of Cavalry of the Army of Northern Virginia.
A walking bridge hangs under the highway bridge over the James River with a view of Belle Island, which was the main prison for Union soldiers in Richmond from 1862 to 1865. John Smith bought Belle Island from the chief of the Powhatan in 1608. In 1815 a dam was put in to power a nail factory and it was later home to stone quarries and the Virginia Electric Power plant, all gone now.
The Carillon is Virginia's WWI Memorial. Dedicated in 1932, it is an interpretation of the Italian "campanile". It is 240 feet tall with bells that were originally intended to ring out patriotic concerts.
Pink dogwood blossoms.
Big log shipping operation next to the George P. Colman Bridge that we crossed over several times on our way to Jamestown and Yorktown. The Colman Bridge is a double-swing span bridge over the York River that allows access to several military installations upriver.
Wednesday we went to the Jamestown Settlement Museum and Historic Village. This is the approach to the museum with the flags and a plaque for each of the 50 states and a fountain with sailing ship sculpture.
Museum building and Discovery Tower.
I loved the design of this museum. Each archway down the hallway told you the decade of the room you were about to enter, so you could come and go and know right where you left off.
Eagle's nest high up in the pine tree where the resident bald eagle had some fledglings.
Re-enactment Indian village.
Replicas of the three ships that took the settlers to Jamestown in 1607, Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery. The Godspeed was away for repairs.
The recreated settlement.
Monument marking the first permanent English colony on the 300th anniversary in 1907, the birthplace of Virginia and the United States.
The Archaearium where they display and interpret what they have found and continue to research.
The graves and foundations that are currently being or have been excavated.
This is a facial reconstruction from the skull of a 14 year old girl they found in a kitchen cellar with some horse and dog bones, all with markings of having been butchered and eaten, providing conclusive evidence that the stories of cannibalism during the "starving time" are true. They had drought and troubles getting along with the Indians after John Smith left and their supply ship didn't return. Only 60 of 214 survived. They have also found human artifacts 17,000 years old at Cactus Hill about 45 miles south of Richmond leading to alternate theories about the Bering Strait land bridge entrance to North America. They now think people may have come across North Atlantic ice from the Iberian Peninsula.
Bricks marking the foundations they have found, but covered up again for preservation. You can still see some of the embankments and earth works that are remnants of the Confederate Fort Pocahontas, 1 of 5 forts on Jamestown Island to keep Federal ships from moving upriver to Richmond. General Lee did a personal inspection here in 1861.
Monument to John Smith erected 1909. Before arriving in the New World, Smith had fought in the Hungarian wars against the Turks, where he beheaded three Turkish champions. He was later captured and sold into slavery in Russia where he escaped by killing his master. His bravery won him the respect of the Indians and Pocahontas, who was 12 years old when she first met him in 1607.
Duck stands for hunting that we have seen lots of the last couple weeks throughout the Outer Banks and here.
The Colonial Parkway that connects Jamestown, Yorktown and Williamsburg has lots of these scenic brick overpasses where the main and busy traffic passes above unnoticed on this quiet country road with expansive views of the York and James Rivers. Congress established the Colonial National Historic Park in 1930 to preserve and interpret the beginning and end of the British Colonial experience with the first settlement in Jamestown and the last major battle of the Revolutionary War at Yorktown. Lieutenant George Custer led a detachment over Cub Dam Creek to occupy a Confederate works on a bluff in the Battle of Williamsburg as Union troops advanced toward Richmond in May of 1862. There are so many battlefields from the Revolutionary War and the Civil War and sometimes the War of 1812 in Virginia that it's hard to keep them all straight.
A less than ordinary car we noticed as we passed through the town of Ordinary, Virginia.
Thursday we went to the Richmond Civil War Museum. This flag of the Republic of Louisiana that existed for only 13 days before the Confederacy was formed is one of only four in existence.
General Robert E. Lee's actual tent and personal belongings that he used during the Civil War. We also saw the actual tents that General Washington used during the Revolutionary War, too, but the pictures didn't turn out.
When General Sherman went through Atlanta, the last remaining rail hub in the southern and western Confederacy, he cut off their rail lines in and out of the city. They pulled up sections of track and heated them red hot over huge bonfires and twisted them around trees to prevent repair. They were referred to as Sherman's neckties.
We have read in several places that Jefferson Davis tried to escape wearing a dress and bonnet. But this museum said he was wearing this suit when he was captured.
This is a miniature Confederate flag that was taken on a Space Lab Mission by an MIT payload specialist on the Space Shuttle Columbia in December 1983.
This is a postcard of a human Confederate flag based on a 1907 photo at the statue of General Lee on Monument Avenue in Richmond where hundreds of boys dressed in white and girls in blue and red stood on a platform to achieve the effect. They were mass produced in following years with the line "And 'twill live in song and story, though its folds are in the dust."
Ru Paul wore this Confederate flag gown in her role as Miss Rachel Tensions in the 1995 comedy To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar with Patrick Swayze and Wesley Snipes challenging stereotypes about gender, race and historical symbols.
During the Civil War they had to be resourceful and a girl made this corn shuck cap for her brother.
There was widespread use of dolls for smuggling medicines during the war. This doll had an inch and a half hole cut in the back of its head and was packed with quinine to treat malaria.
This is not a very good picture, but it's a bullet rosette found on a Spotsylvania battlefield. A Rebel and Yankee bullet met midway, striking each other and united forming a round leaden rosette about the size of a half dollar, leafed out at the edges with a raised circle of lead in the center. I hope that means both shooters survived the war.
William Davies spent 40 years collecting buttons of notable Confederate Army and Navy officer's uniforms and made them into a set of jewelry he called Rebel Brass.
If you would like to know who they all belonged to , here's the break down.
This filigree metal peasant cross belonged to Jefferson Davis's youngest child, Winnie, known as The Daughter of the Confederacy.
After Virginia seceded the Confederate Capitol was moved from Montgomery to Richmond, the South's second largest city. As the most populous of slave-holding states, Virginia was vital as a source of military strength, industry, mining and food production. This is the front of the White House of the Confederacy (built 1818) where the Davis family lived during the Civil War. It is right next to the museum and you can get a combo ticket to tour it with the museum. Notice the hitching post and the raised step on the sidewalk for stepping up into a carriage. Jefferson Davis was a West Point graduate, a former U.S. Senator from Mississippi and former U.S. Secretary of War.
This is a back view of the White House where we entered for the tour. The house is completely surrounded by a huge new hospital complex on three sides and a parking garage, so not a very nice setting anymore. We went around the corner for lunch at the hospital food court, me at Einstein Bagels and John at Wendy's.
Then we went on a tour of the nearby State Capitol. Statue of Stonewall Jackson facing the back side. Jefferson designed the Capitol while he was in Paris in 1785. It was on Shockoe Hill overlooking the Falls of the James River with the idea of it being a Temple to Liberty and Justice. Now it's surrounded by huge buildings and you can no longer see the river, but the grounds are still a beautiful, park-like setting. The cornerstone was laid in 1785 when Patrick Henry was the Commonwealth's 7th governor. Jefferson's drawings were borrowed for use in planning the nation's Capitol in D.C.
The huge mounted statue of George, the Washington Equestrian Monument is having a little restoration work done. It was the first of Richmond's many outdoor monuments and the second equestrian statue of Washington in the U.S. Underneath all the scaffolding there are bronze statues of the patriots: Thomas Jefferson (independence), Patrick Henry (revolution), Andrew Lewis (colonial times), George Mason (bill of rights), Thomas Nelson, Jr. (finance) and John Marshall (justice). There are smaller allegorical female figures below them to memorialize the Revolutionary War virtues that reflect each patriot's contribution. It was originally offered as a tomb for Washington, but he remains at Mount Vernon where he wanted to be. The interior open area for the casket with cast iron circular staircase with upside down torches for the extinguishment of his life remains empty.
This is a side approach to the front, Pathway to Liberty commemorative sidewalk.
This is the new front steps. This was all recently removed and a 20,000 square foot expansion was built underground.
This is the entrance to the underground expansion with a statue of Jefferson at the top of the stairs.
Three families donated the $3 million for the statue of Jefferson. He was the author of the Declaration of Independence and the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, architect of the State Capitol and architect and founder of the University of Virginia, member of the House of Delegates and the Continental Congress, Governor of Virginia, Minister to France, Secretary of State, Vice President and President of the United States.
Jefferson designed the rotunda for the statue of George Washington made from life by Jean-Antoine Houdon. Washington was a hero in the South as a symbol of revolutionary independence and in the North as a symbol of federal union. It has been the centerpiece of the rotunda since its arrival in 1796 and is surrounded by the busts of the Marquis de Lafayette and seven Virginia-born U.S. presidents unveiled in 1931, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor and Woodrow Wilson.
Looking across the portico over the front lawn at the U.S. Court of Appeals building. It was said that an entire street of houses could have been stacked one on another inside the portico.
In April 1861 Virginia voted here in the Old House Chamber to secede, and Robert E. Lee accepted command of the Virginia state forces from the governor. In 1870 a balcony collapsed in this room when it was overcrowded with people waiting to here the verdict of a big court case, killing 72 and injuring 25.
Stonewall Jackson on the Capitol grounds with the City Hall/Courts Building across the street. 50,000 people gathered here in October of 1875 for the unveiling of the first major monument to a Confederate. The festivities demonstrated the emotional power of the theme of the "Lost Cause".
Civil Rights Monument portraying Barbara Johns (16 years old in 1951) and her fellow students leading a strike to protest conditions at their segregated school. There's a multi-cultural group of students sculpted on the back side portraying how things have changed. The nation's first elected African-American governor, grandson of slaves, was sworn in here as the 66th governor in 1990.
The Governor's Executive Mansion, first occupied in 1813, is the oldest continuously occupied, official governor's residence in the nation. It is restored to its 1830s appearance. Three presidents of the U.S. lived here, Monroe and Tyler as Governors and Wm. Henry Harrison while his father, Benjamin, signer of the Declaration of Independence, was governor. The first house on this site was also home to Governors Patrick Henry and Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee, father of Robert E. Lee.
The Supreme Court building next door to the Governor's Mansion and just down the side hill from the Capitol. Here Chief Justice John Marshall presided over the nation's most celebrated treason trial in which former Vice-President Aaron Burr was acquitted in the 1807 duel in which he killed Alexander Hamilton.
Around to the front again with a closer view of the Court of Appeals building. It's hard to picture that you could ever see the James River from here.
Another view of the grounds with John in front of the fountain.
The fountain and the 1825 bell tower, which housed the public guard (today's Capitol police) and is now a visitor's center. There are a few more statues on the grounds, including one of Edgar Allen Poe and a zero milestone marker from where all Virginia highways are measured.
St. Paul's Church (1845) just across the street from the Capitol where both Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee were both parishioners. Jefferson was here when he heard the news that nearby Petersburg had fallen and Union troops would soon be in Richmond.
Friday we drove back to the Colonial Parkway and went to the Yorktown Victory Center and colonial village.
Ten soldiers slept in each of these little tents. They must have been stacked up like fire wood, but they probably stayed warmer that way.
A wood saw horse like this was used for punishment if soldiers got out of line. They were made to sit on it for 24 or even 48 hours. Most uncomfortable. It wasn't used very often. More often the soldier was made to wear one of the signs hanging on the side, so everyone could see what his crime or misdeed was.
Firing of the musket.
We had an excellent ranger talk explaining how the siege came about and progressed, with lots of humor interspersed.
He told us about his childhood and how his Dad was a battlefield nut and dragged them all over the country to see them. He said, to his Dad, if two people exchanged insults or looked at each other in a menacing way, that constituted a battlefield, and they had to go see it. Meanwhile the kids just wanted to go to the beach or an amusement park.
I think our kids could relate to how he felt.
I've never seen so many cannons in my life. I swear every court house, city hall, city park, school, swimming pool, etc. has at least one sitting out front.
Yorktown Victory Monument with an 84' shaft of Maine granite topped by a 14' Statue of Liberty was directed to be built by the Continental Congress just ten days after the victory at Yorktown. Funds were not appropriated until 1880 as the centennial approached. The inscription is "One Country, One Constitution, One Destiny." Lightning decapitated the Statue of Liberty and destroyed her arms in 1942. She was replaced 15 years later.
Augustine Moore house where the terms of surrender for York and Gloucester were discussed and decided. Cornwallis and Washington each sent two officers for face to face negotiations. The home was badly damaged in the Civil War and had about 50 owners until the Park Service undertook its restoration in 1931 back to its 1781 appearance. Yorktown was taken again in the Civil War by Major General McClellan and held by the Union for the rest of the war.
When negotiations were settled Washington and Cornwallis were to meet here, but pleading illness, Cornwallis sent his second in command. His second in command first offered his sword to the French commander, who motioned him to Washington. Washington, in turn, motioned him to his second in command, Major General Benjamin Lincoln (first Secretary of War under Articles of Confederation). The fence represents the line of British troops as they filed by turning in theirs arms.
Mounted trophies engraved with the inscription, "Surrendered by capitulation of Yorktown Oct. 19, 1781", a fraction of the spoils of war captured by the Allied forces, including British brass guns, howitzers and mortars. Washington's official report included 244 artillery pieces and thousands of military supplies and implements.
This simple cross marks the cemetery where about 50 unidentified French soldiers who were killed during the Siege of Yorktown are buried.
French artillery park where cannon were repaired and stored.
By the Civil War's end the remains of about 600 Union soldiers were buried in this area between the siege lines. In 1866 it was designated as a national cemetery and Union dead from over 50 burial sites within 50 miles were re-interred here. Of the 2,183 burials, two thirds are unknown, only 741 are identified.
By March of 1865 the Union had one million men under arms and the Confederacy had 100,000. When Petersburg fell the Union captured tons of bales of cotton worth a fortune on the world market. By early 1865 an estimated 500,000 African Americans had fled the South.
Beach at Yorktown and Colman Bridge over the York River.
Saturday was a day of rest and Sunday we went to the American Civil War Museum at the historic Tredegar Iron Works where most of the South's cannons, rails, locomotives, armor parts for ironclads, etc. were produced. By war's end they had made 1,160 cannons, over half of the Confederacy's total. They were the 4th largest iron works in the nation and the largest industrial facility in the South in 1860, a major factor in moving the Capitol to Richmond. It was named in honor of an engineer and his crew who were recruited from Tredegar Mills in Wales. A Tredegar cannon fired the opening shot of the war at Fort Sumter. They were having some kind of oyster feed when we were here with rowdy, foot stompin' mountain music.
The invention of Eli Whitney's cotton gin made cotton profitable for the first time in decades and led to the spread of slavery for increased land cultivation. In 1790 there were 698,000 slaves. By 1810 there were 1.2 million. By 1815 cotton was the chief U.S. export and quickly became the largest single source of America's growing wealth creating a higher standard of living than the English.
President Lincoln and his son Tad visited Richmond on April 4th and 5th in 1865 after it was occupied, just a few days before he was assassinated.
Memorial to the Confederate Women of Virginia was put here when the legislature placed this section of the Hollywood Cemetery with 18,000 Confederate soldiers under the perpetual care of the Ladies Hollywood Memorial Association and the United Daughters of the Confederacy of Virginia.
Many different versions of the Confederate flag are displayed, depending on what state or regiment a soldier fought for. There are 24 Generals and 3 Presidents buried here.
Jefferson Davis and his wife and other family members. He was an American soldier, defender of the constitution, graduate of West Point class of 1828, member of the House of Representatives, Colonel in the Mexican War, Brigadier General in the U.S. Army, U.S. Senator, Secretary of War, U.S. Senator again and President of the Confederate States of America.
President James Monroe's grave normally has an elaborate, tall bird cage type of surround, but it is out for restoration work. He fought in six battles in the Revolutionary War and was severely wounded at Trenton and he also fought in the War of 1812. He was praised by George Washington for his bravery and ability and finished the war as aide to Governor Thomas Jefferson. He served in the Virginia legislature, Continental Congress, U.S. Senate, was minister to France, England and Spain, Governor of Virginia, Secretary of State and Secretary of War. In 1823 he wrote the Monroe Doctrine which remains the cornerstone of American foreign policy. He was very popular and ran unopposed for his second term as president. His time in office was known as the "Era of Good Feeling. He was buried in New York City where he was living with his daughter when he died. In 1858 his body was returned here by steamboat accompanied by New York's 7th Regiment with impressive ceremonies in New York and Richmond. He was reburied here in Hollywood Cemetery under a cast iron monument known as the "Birdcage".
President John Tyler is buried a few steps away from Monroe under this tall monument with his wife and family members around him and a beautiful view of the James River. He served as a Virginia legislator and governor, U.S. representative and senator and vice-president. As president he provoked a war with Mexico and acquired Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. In 1861 he opposed secession, but served in the Confederate government.
This one is J.E.B. Stuart and his wife with four different versions of the Confederate flag and a nice laminated picture of him fastened to one of the flags.
Major General George E. Pickett remembered best for his futile and bloody Pickett's Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg.
Just a few random pictures of this beautiful cemetery.
Overlooking the James River.
Hollywood Cemetery expanded after the war to accept those buried in distant battlefields and the city granted as much land as needed at adjacent Oakwood Cemetery where over 15,000 Confederate war dead are buried, most of whom died in Richmond hospitals.
Jewish Confederate soldiers were buried in a special section of the Hebrew Cemetery across the street from Shockoe Cemetery which has Confederate soldiers and hundreds of Union prisoners who died during the war and Elizabeth Van Lew who used her fortune to promote abolition and hid slaves and Union soldiers in her home.
Typical houses on Monument Street and throughout the historic district of Richmond.
We're so busy seeing stuff everyday that I don't have much time or energy left for blogging, so I am falling a little bit behind, but I'll catch up eventually. After we left here we spent a week in the Fredericksburg area and now we are near Colonial Beach, Virginia in the Northern Neck of Virginia for a week. More about that next time.