Friday, June 26, 2009

So long, farewell . . .

I've had so much fun in Richmond, but it's time for me to say goodbye. I've learned about the Civil War's causes, course, and legacies from the three unique perspectives of war's Union, Confederate, and African American participants in a way I never knew before. I can't wait to tell my family and friends about this, and hope that you will take the time to add The American Civil at Historic Tredegar to your list of places to see as you plan your next vacation! It's worth the drive to Richmond to see this museum, especially as we begin to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War (or Sesquicentennial - can you even say that?)

You'll be hearing from me soon. Next stop . . . the Civil War Museum of Philadelphia.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sojourner Truth

Add VideoThe Center launched a new education program this year entitle "Trunk Show" - it's fascinating. Students (and adults) are encouraged to select a trunk and, when they open it, they learn about a specific historic figure and their life through artifact reproductions, personal effects/items, and photos. I picked a trunk with items that would've belonged to Sojourner Truth and learned about her life and role in hisotry. Here's a picture of Truth with President Lincoln . . .and here's a picture of me with her items from the trunk! Cool, huh?

I helped book group tour and student group appointments today. All of the Center's programs are compatible with both Virginia's and the the nation's Standards of Learning. Learn more about the programs here!

Home Front gallery

I also had the chance to visit the exhibit's Home Front gallery to learn more about the changing roles of women, African American slaves, and children. Many women became the heads of households, managed farms, and took over businesses once their husbands left to serve as troops. Some even took on jobs as cartridge rollers and assembled weapons for the war while others served as spies! Children's roles changed as well and their daily chores and other responsibilities increased as well. This exhibit panel discusses "Surviving Loss." Nearly every family, whether North or South, lost a family member or friend as a result of the war by 1864. Every day materials also found new uses! For example, did you know that carpet threads were used to replace yarn for socks and paper, normally used for letters or newspapers, was used as wallpaper? I learned so much today!

Casting Image

This photo shows a reproduction print of the famous painting "Casting of a Brooke Gun," by Jack Coggins, showcasing the interior of the Tredegar Gun Foundry and what it would have looked like during the war. Today, the Foundry is home to the Center's exhibit In the Cause of Liberty.

I also sat on the Brooke gun. 14 of these were cast at Tredegar between September 1861-March 1862.


Here's another shot of me and Tredebear near the overshot water wheel that used to power the site.

I made a new friend . . .Tredebear!

My new friend, Tredebear, took me for a tour of the historic Tredegar Iron Works while in Richmond, VA. This site, with its 1861 Gun Foundry, was the nation's fourth largest producer of iron for the Confederate states during the war. The production included everything from railroad ties and munitions to the iron plating for the CSS Virginia otherwise known as the USS Merrimack (you know, from the March 9, 1862 Civil War Battle of Hampton Roads or the Monitor vs. Merrimack?) Here we're sitting on one of the historic industrial relics - the cupola furnace.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Emancipation Proclamation - Part 2

Here's the artifact I mentioned . . .

Emancipation Proclamation

The Emancipation Proclamation was a powerful document - written in stages . . .did you know that? I watched a short film in the Center's exhibit, In the Cause of Liberty, where I learned more than I ever knew about the "EP." Then, I had the chance to view a version of it in an artifact case nearby!

Common Soldiers

Today I learned about the Common Soldier. Dressed in a hot, heavy, woolen uniform, the historic interpreter showed me how to properly march and hold a rifle musket. I even got to hold one of my own (just a toy, though.) What the soldiers ate, how they lived, what they wore, and how they fought were all things I learned more about. It was no easy life, walking hundreds of miles across battlefields. . . Whew! I'm tired just thinking about what those men sacrificed to secure liberties for our country.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Treasures at Tredegar

What a view! After quite a journey, I arrived safe and sound in Richmond, Virginia. My hosts at the American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar let me take a nap to refresh myself before I began to learn about this unique historic site. This photo shows me with Jenny Didas, my host and personal tour guide and educator. We're standing along the James River in downtown Richmond, just across the street from the Center! You can feel the river breezes as you walk along the Center grounds . . .it's a great way to cool down from the southern heat and humidity! Be sure to visit my blog this week to learn more about my visit and about the American Civil War Center! Or, click here to see more photos of my visit in Richmond.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

More from Gettysburg

Hello! Sallie here,

As you know, Gettysburg is one of my favorite Civil War Battlefields to visit.  During a recent visit, I spent some time around Spangler's Spring with some Civil War Reenactors from Sykes Regulars and I thought I would share what I learned.

Here I am at Spangler's Spring.  This area of the battlefield is located at the base of Culp's Hill and was the site of some very heavy fighting during the battle.

Here I am with the commanding officer of the troops at the encampment.  He was showing me his writing desk where he would write letters and orders, review maps and compile reports.

Next I met Captain Steve Hanson.  Captain Hanson is the commander of Sykes Regulars and a very nice person.  Notice the tents behind him, this is how Civil War soldiers would have camped and slept.

Here is a close up look at Captain Hanson's tent.  You can see his sword and haversack behind me and the blanket he would sleep on inside his tent.  I'm not sure what is in the bottle, but I've heard that sometimes officers would buy whiskey.

Here you can see Captain Hanson giving orders to his troops.  He was trying to get them to "fix bayonets" where they take their bayonets from the scabbards and place them on the end of their muskets.  

Next I spent some time helping make lunch for the soldiers.  We made some ham, potatoes, and had some fresh fruit and bread for them to eat.  

Next I met one of the many park rangers who help the Gettysburg National Military Park safe and clean for the millions of annual visitors.

After a long day of hanging out with Sykes Regulars it was time for some rest.  Here I am snoozing in the shade of a tree.  My head is resting on a soldier's great coat and next to me are his haversack, cartridge box (with the US plate on it) and his bayonet scabbard. 

You can check out more photos of my visit on my Flickr Page.

There are so many places to visit and see related to the Civil War.  Do you live near a Civil War battlefield or museum?  Do you know of a teacher who teaches about the Civil War?  If so, why not Sign Up to have me come for a visit?

Until next time...

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Around Andersonville

Sallie, in the courtyard behind the National Prisoner of War Museum. The fountain is dedicated to those who were imprisoned during the Civil War and Camp Sumter. The story behind Providence Spring came about because lightning struck in the Prison Site, striking a fresh spring. The spring provided fresh water for all the prisoners.

On my way to Andersonville, I stopped by the National Prisoner of War Museum. This museum is the only museum dedicated to ALL Prisoners of War. I also met Michelle. She works in the bookstore.

Sallie Visits Andersonville

Hi there!

I am already on my way to Virginia but in the mean time, I wanted to tell you of my travels to Southwest Georgia. I arrived at Andersonville National Historic Site right in the middle of the Memorial Day events. When I got there, I saw 400+ boyscouts and volunteers from all around the area, placing a flag on each grave. There are over 16,000 graves in the cemetery, so that was a sight to see.

During my trip to Andersonville, I learned soooo much! Originally known as Camp Sumter, this was one of the largest military prisons established by the Confederacy during the Civil War. In existence for 14 months, over 45,000 Union soldiers were confined at the prison. Of these, almost 13,000 died from disease, poor sanitation, malnutrition, overcrowding, and exposure to the elements. The largest number held in the 26½-acre stockade at any one time was more than 32,000, during August of 1864.

There is also the National Cemetery at Andersonville. The cemetery is the final resting place for those who perished while being held as POWs (Prisoners of War) at Camp Sumter. It is now a National Cemetery, serving as a honored burial place for present-day veterans. The National Park Service maintains fourteen National Cemeteries nationwide. Only two of these, Andersonville National Historic Site and Andrew Johnson National Historic Site are classified as active, continuing to bury veterans and their dependents.

I went on a guided tour with one of the Park Rangers and learned about the Prison Site and how the park became a National Historic Site. Of course, it was so hot outside and humid, that this made me understand what the prisoners went through when they were here for the 14 months, with little to no food or water.