Tuesday, October 26, 2010

13 Days Under The Confederate Flag


On Monday, 4th Grade had a special visitor, Mrs. Bourdeau. She has been a Civil War reenactor who is very familiar with her hometown's history. Here is what I learned along with my host class.

From late June to early July, 1863, the small farming town of Waynesboro was occupied by Confederate forces. Before this, the sleepy town's citizens had not been directly involved in the war with few men enlisting. Life went on with farmers bringing produce to Saturday markets in the square and business conducted by the blacksmith, butcher, and other small shopkeepers. Most citizens felt that this political problem would be handled by Lincoln's Federal Army.

When Confederate troops came to town, Lee's plan was to advance north and capture key points so that the Union would surrender. Southern troops who had experienced the hardships of war in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley wanted Northerners to get a taste of war in Pennsylvania's Cumberland Valley. While in Waynesboro, the troops simply occupied the town...no battles, no shots fired. Many of its citizens met with Southern soldiers and listened to their reasons for entering the war and their stories of loved ones at home. Troops did go to farms to gather fruits, vegetables, meat for hungry soldiers.

Some local farmers hid out during the day in nearby caves...they feared that the Rebels would demand that they join their troops. Also some hid livestock so the army could not take it. One of those farmers was Mrs. Bourdeau's great, great grandfather. These scared men would sneak home at night to make sure that their families and farms were secure. The soldiers did not require that any men join the army so their fears were unfounded.

Finally, Rebel troops left the town...onward to Gettysburg and points north!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Union Forces Attacked Lee's Army At Monterey Pass







Today I visited a peaceful mountaintop on a gorgeous autumn day. There I visited an area where Union and Confederate troops clashed on a thunderstorm dominated summer night in 1863.


About six miles from Waynesboro lies the quiet, tranquil setting of Blue Ridge Summit. Forests shade and surround homes, churches, and stores. But on the evening of July 4, 1863, quiet did not prevail. The nearby Monterey Pass would be a center of mass confusion and fighting.

After Lee's loss at Gettysburg, he planned the retreat back to Maryland and across the Potomac River. Early on the morning of July 4, he directed General Richard Ewell and his Second Corps to go with their wagon trains through Fairfield and the mountains around Monterey Pass. This would be the shortest way back to Williamsport, Maryland, and the Potomac River. That evening a terrible thunderstorm drenched the nine mile-long line of wagons, supplies, livestock, and soldiers. Many of the soldiers had been wounded during the three day battle at Gettysburg.

That same night, the Union Calvary led by General H. Judson Kilpatrick met a local 12 year old girl named Hetty Zeilinger who was walking to her home at Monterey Pass. She warned the soldiers that the Confederates were blocking the pass and that she would show them how to get around them. One of the soldiers lifted her onto his saddle so that she could point out the way. She made her way home safely, but...
The Union and Confederate troops (about 10,000 soldiers in total) met and engaged in battle for six hours. With lightning, thunder, heavy rains, and flying ammunition, the scene was one of chaos and confusion. Many of the Confederate wagons crashed down the mountainside and crushed the occupants. The Union captured about 1,500 Confederate prisoners.
The Battle of Monterey Pass was the second greatest battle on Pennsylvania soil. Today Civil War history buffs such as I can visit and read the various markers that tell about the battle.
Tomorrow along with the 4th graders, I will meet a reenactor and learn more about Waynesboro's occupation by the Confederates for 13 days.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Here In Waynesboro, Pennsylvania!


I arrived on Monday, October 18, at Saint Andrew Catholic School which is located on East Main Street. Down this very street rode Confederate troops in 1863. More about the town's history in a moment...

My hosts for this trip are the 4th Graders and Mrs. Haffner. We have been reading If You Lived During The Civil War and You Wouldn't Want To Have Been A Civil War Soldier to gain background knowledge. Several of the students have ancestors who were in the Union Army.

The town of Waynesboro is in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. It is in the Cumberland Valley. It is two miles from the Mason-Dixon Line. During the days of June and July, 1863, the town was under the Confederate flag for 13 days. When Lee passe through the town headed north, he stopped in the town square. At the time, there was a water pump there. Lee dimounted his horse and got a drink. Then, he gave his horse Traveller a drink. A week before the Battle of Gettysburg, Major General Jubal Early's division passed through the town as they were headed north. Check my blog for Tuesday, October 26, to find out more about the occupation of the town.

This weekend, I am staying with Mr. and Mrs. Haffner who have an extensive Civil War art collection which I will view. We will be visiting historic sites, including one with an incredible view. I will post about my weekend jaunts tomorrow along with some photos.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Comics and Confederate Invasion on the Coast

Sallie had no idea that there was so much Civil War history in Maine. Most people think of the battlefields in southern states, but not about the beautiful coastline of Maine. Not only are there Civil War artifacts here, but also battle sites.

Her host, the Fifth Maine Regiment Museum, organized a History Comix Camp for middle schoolers. It was an art and history camp that focused on the real history of piracy and privateering in Casco Bay, Maine. What does privateering have to do with the Civil War? Well, one of the events that she learned about was the "Confederation Invasion of Portland" in 1863.

Despite the fact that the Yankee port boasted three granite masonry forts, a group of Confederate privateers slipped into the harbor and commandeered a merchant vessel called Caleb Cushing. Alas, it didn't end well for the Confederates as they were chased, caught, and imprisoned not too far after leaving the harbor. Nonetheless, they did manage to steal the ship under the noses of a significant defense system and destroy it.

Sallie wanted you to see one of the forts that the Confederate privateers snuck by, Fort Gorges. As it turns out, for some reason this magnificent and newly-built fort was unmanned at the time!

It wasn't the first time that Portland harbor suffered an attack from sea either!

Well, it's time to move on to new places and new stories. Sallie is boarding her own vessel today, a ferry that will take her to Portland where she will fly home.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Which Artifact is Quirkier?

Sallie went to work today as a docent at the Fifth Maine Regiment Museum on Peaks Island. Since a docent's job is to call visitors' attention to things of interest, she decided to share two of her most favorite artifacts at this museum on an island in Maine. Here she is welcoming you as she stands in front of the regiment's original silk flag, recently restored and placed on display.

One of her favorite artifacts sits in an exhibit case constructed by the veterans themselves after they built their reunion/memorial hall (which is now the museum). On these shelves they placed the souvenirs and other items that they brought back from the Civil War battlefields. Using her own flag as a pointer, Sallie wants you to notice that the museum curates one hundred and fifty year old hardtack, a common type of biscuit eaten by soldiers during the Civil War. Yup, these biscuits are 150 years old and have been sitting on this shelf since the veterans put them there. Yucky but cool.

Next she takes you out of the Great Hall and into a small room that once served as a bedroom for vacationing soldiers and their families. Now it's a small gallery. Using her flag as a pointer again, Sallie is showing you the bullet hole in the top of this kepi worn by Adjutant Bicknell of the Fifth Maine. Many, many soldiers perished on the battlefields, but Bicknell was fortunate and survived his bullet hole wound.

So now you can vote - which artifact wins the Quirky Prize?

If you would like to learn more about what goes on at the Fifth Maine, check out Patricia Erikson's blog!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Sallie Follows Fifth Maine Veterans to Peaks Island


Sallie heard a rumor that the veterans of the Fifth Maine Regiment of the Union army had built themselves a summer vacation retreat on an island in Maine. The veterans' wives complained that after years of camping out for reunions in canvas tents, they wanted something more comfortable.

She decided that sounded like an adventure worth pursuing. Off she went and she liked it so much, it turned into an extended stay.

Much to her delight, this Queen Ann style cottage is now a museum, the Fifth Maine Regiment Museum, and it hosts a whole range of fun things to do, especially in the summer time.

Here are some of the campers (left) who are sitting on the very same steps that Civil War veterans posed on for their reunion photo (above). These campers came together for the "Art and History of Treasure Island" camp.

Campers learned about museums, artifacts, and how to make history fun. By the end of the week, campers exhibited their very own collages. Sallie hung out to see the exhibit.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Computer Fair 2010

Hi! Sallie Here,
Just to tell everyone Sarah and I placed 2nd in the multimedia category in the 2010 Pa Middle School Computer Fair. We did a presentation on Miss Clara Barton using Prezi. I like Prezi because you can work on it online and then present it off line and you can view it online. We interviewed Miss Clara Barton and Ranger Mannie. We also included a video of Ms. Mary Ann Jung who portrayed Clara Barton in a previous post. We also added a Google Search Story and a Google Earth. We also added pictures from Sallie's photos and Flickr. Here is the Prezi:








Until Next time......

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Mercer Museum


Visited the Mercer Museum in Doylestown, PA today. Had a great time seeing artifacts and learning about our past. Sure was hot in there! Here's a picture of me with rifles from the Civil War.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mt. Gilead

Just visited the Mount Gilead African Methodist Episcopal church, located near the top of Buckingham Mountain. The church was founded by runaway slaves as a part of the Underground Railroad. Along side the church stands a graveyard. "Wherein sleep such noted characters as Governor Wells, Town Crier of Doylestown, and over which 'Big Ben,' the giant slave, exercised quasi-supervision before his tragic capture," as said by David Hanauer quoting the book Place Names in Bucks County.

Civil War Museum


I visited with Betty from the Civil War Museum in Doylestown, PA. This is where I learned about Lieutenant Jacob Swartzlander. Lt. Swartzlander is a native of Doylestown who served in the 104th Infantry in the 1870s. Here, I am holding his personal bible next to pictures of letters that he wrote to home.

Friday, June 11, 2010


Here I am with a life-sized mannequin of Malvina Gist, a very important lady to the history of Columbia, SC, and of the Relic Room.
During the war, as a young widow (her husband had been killed in battle), Malvina took a job proofreading and hand-signing Confederate currency. Each bill needed two signatures: Malvina signed more than 3000 a day. It was boring, repetitive work, but it helped her survive the war.
Malvina fled Columbia before Sherman's army arrived and burned the city down. She was a strong and resourceful lady. After the war, she slowly rebuilt her life, eventually writing two novels and helping start the museum. During WWI, she formed a group composed of former Confederate ladies, to help the American soldiers and sailors who were fighting in France.
Curator of History Joe Long says that one of the great untold stories of American history, is how ladies of the South followed General Lee's instructions, as they helped raise the next generation of young Southern men. Ladies like Miss Malvina taught that revenge was the wrong response to losing the war; that Southern honor should be shown in American patriotism instead. South Carolinians took this to heart, as they signed up for World War One in even greater numbers than their grandfathers had for the Confederate Army.
General Lee said, "Forget your animosities" (which means, "forget your bitterness, anger, hatred," things like that!) "and make your sons Americans". It's great that Preston and Johann are both American bears!

Now it's Johann's turn. The SC Confederate Relic Room has only one Union battle flag, a very unique banner. Several regiments of former slaves who lived near Beaufort, South Carolina, fought for the Union forces. (Some islands on the coast had been captured by the US Navy, and slaves on those islands were under Union control.) This is the last surviving flag of one of those regiments, the 2nd SC Volunteers, U.S.
In fact, Harriet Tubman actually marched under this flag at one point! (She was a guide for the 2nd on the Combahee River Raid.) Johann says it's true that many Union soldiers were NOT abolitionists at all - but, he says that every soldier in the 2nd South Carolina Union regiment must have been!

Here I am with Preston and the battle flag of the 3rd SC Regiment, which fought at Gettysburg. Names of other battles are stenciled on this flag, barely readable. About half of the Confederate battle flags at the Relic Room are "unsurrendered banners" which soldiers hid and brought home, but many of the others were returned to the Southern states by President Theodore Roosevelt, in 1904. Roosevelt believed that the brave soldiers of the war, on both sides, should be honored, especially since the issues of the war were settled. (Preston calls it the "War Between the States".)

Thursday, June 10, 2010


With guides like these, I'm learning a lot! Notice, as we peruse a history book, that Johann's hat has crossed cannons and his coat has red trim: that's how you know that his job is firing cannons. The crossed sabers on Preston's hat show that he's in the cavalry, and the black chevrons (which look like "v" 's) on his jacket show that he is a Sergeant. As a cavalry soldier he would also wear big boots, but like Johann and I, he just has "bear" feet today.

Johann and Preston are serious students of tactics, and when I tell them I'm from Gettysburg, they immediately take out the map to discuss cavalry and artillery actions there.
Preston says the Confederate cavalry made a terrible mistake at Gettysburg. He talks about his hero, the brave horseman Wade Hampton III, who was wounded in a swordfight there against three men.
Johann describes the thick, black smoke and thundering cannons along the ridge where Union soldiers repelled the Confederate attack. All over the nation, in museums and history books, people still remember and take pride in what their state's soldiers did in that terrible battle near my home.

It's a fine day in Columbia, as I continue to enjoy the Southern hospitality of the SC Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum. Here I am with my new friends Johann (a Federal artillery soldier) and Preston (of the South Carolina cavalry).

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Visiting the Relic Room!

A beautiful Wednesday morning in Columbia, South Carolina. I've been so busy here that I haven't had a chance to blog; the archives room at the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum is full of so many interesting things! I've been reading, and talking with the Curator of History, Krissy Johnson, and later we're visiting sites in Columbia. (Some sites are still standing, even though Union General Sherman's men burned the city down in February of 1865).

The Relic Room has been a museum since 1896; it was started by a group of Confederate widows (and wives of former Confederate soldiers) about thirty years after the war, as a place to remember their history. They were proud of their soldiers, and proud of what they had done on the homefront during the war - managing farms and businesses while their men were gone to war. And when they started the museum, they didn't just save the uniforms and weapons of the men - they saved things that reminded them of their own experiences, like a coffee grinder that was used to make fake "coffee" from acorns. (Sounds pretty good to me, but then, I'm a bear!)

More later - lots to see here!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Today was a fun day at SJS! I got to help with the Constitution play! I got to be in it and sing, it was so much fun! The students had dress rehearsal today so I even got to see their costumes. Today was my last day and I know the fifth graders are going to miss me!
Yesterday I got to hear all about the Senators baseball game. The fifth graders at SJS had a really good time. They all wore matching t-shirts and I even got my picture taken with some of them. I also got to meet Father Brommer this week and I got my picture taken with him too!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Civil War Sallie

Hi! I am having a good time at SJS. I met an author today is also really good at origami! She calls it storigami and she taught me how to make a cup out of paper. I also got to watch a Liberty Kids movie while I ate lunch with the fifth grade. I got my picture taken with some fifth graders today too. I am excited for tomorrow because I am going to get to meet Father Brommer when he comes to talk to the fifth graders!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Jefferson Davis by Lodge McCammons

Making Jefferson Davis

This a slideshow of students creating the video "Jefferson Davis." Music written and sung by Lodge McCammons.

Civil War Sallie at East Elementary

Create your own video slideshow at animoto.com.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Arrival at East Elementary


Civil War Sallie has arrived at East Elementary in Greenville, Pennsylvania! She is so excited to meet Techno Tiger, the mascot of Mrs. Abernethy's Techno Tigers! Students can't wait to learn about the Civil War from Sallie!

Monday, April 26, 2010

New President Lincoln Exhibit at the National Civil War Museum

Hello,

While traveling to Pennsylvania, I received an email from Mr. Kelly Lewis who is the President and CEO for the Technology Council of Central Pennsylvania. Mr. Lewis invited me to come to a reception at the National Civil War Museum to meet President Lincoln and to see a new exhibit about him.

According to Mr. Lewis, the main feature of this new exhibit is what is called a synthetic interview. What this means is that you can walk up to the exhibit, ask President Lincoln a question and a video of the President will answer you. How cool is that!! I can't wait to see it.

If you are in the Harrisburg, Pa area, join me and my friend Sarah on Wednesday, May 12th at the opening reception from 4-6pm. Read more about it on the museum's website

Until next time...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Awesome in Alabama!

Wow! This has been an awesome week in Cherokee County, Alabama. After the historical tour, I have been traveling all over the county and visiting 4th graders in three elementary schools. You can check out the Flickr photos to meet all the nice teachers and students I have gotten to know this week.

On Tuesday, I visited all 7 classes of 4th graders at Centre Elementary School. It was quite a busy day but I loved being meeting all the 4th graders there! They studied about the Civil War earlier this year and knew a lot of Civil War facts. We headed to Spring Garden School on Wednesday and students there seemed quite proud that their community had a small bit of local Civil War history - John Wisdom's ride to Rome - the Paul Revere of the south.

Thursday was Earth Day and I celebrated with students at Gaylesville School. Students in Gaylesville were eager to share their knowledge about the events surrounding General Sherman’s stay in Gaylesville in 1864 at the local doctor’s home. They were also excited about giving me a few things to add to my collection: an Earth Day litter bag, locally grown cotton, and handmade cards.

You can’t celebrate Earth Day without getting outdoors! Ms. Rhonda took me to see beautiful Weiss Lake on Thursday afternoon. I saw some boats, fishermen, ducks, and geese. It’s still too cool for most water sports so I just enjoyed being out in the sunshine! It was a beautiful day!

This is me at Weiss Lake - enjoying the sunshine!



On Friday morning, I dropped back by Centre Elementary School for a photo shoot and enjoyed learning about their "Renew the Rivers" project. Each year, they observe this cleanup project and students assist in cleaning up around their lake and rivers. It's nice to see citizens taking pride in nature to preserve the beautiful lakes and rivers they have in their area. I wish more people would be observant of protecting the environment.

That is the end of my journey for now in Alabama. I'm headed back to Pennsylvania later this afternoon but will take fond memories with me and hope to return again.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Civil War History of Cherokee County, Alabama

I arrived in Gnatville, Alabama to the home of my hostess, Ms. Rhonda Clark, Technology Integration Specialist of Cherokee County Board of Education. It was Ms. Rhonda’s goal this week to introduce me to the local local Civil War history events and to take me to visit 4th graders in the school district. Alabama history is taught in the 4th grade and Civil War history is a big interest of 4th graders.

Gnatville, you say? Yes, I was a bit curious about how this rural area had a small part in local Civil War history. Gnatville is a peaceful little community at the foot of Mount Wiesner, the second highest point in Alabama. What could have possibly happened in this quiet little community during the Civil War?

John Wisdom’s Ride to Rome

It just so happens that Ms. Rhonda’s house is on the route that John Wisdom took from Gadsden, Alabama to Rome, Georgia on May 2, 1863 to warn the citizens of Rome that Colonel Abel D. Streight and troops were on the way to destroy the foundry during his famous raid through Alabama. Mr. Wisdom left Gadsden around 3:30 that afternoon and rode furiously until he arrived in his horse and buggy in Gnatville. He needed a fresh mount because his horse could not carry on any further. He borrowed a lame pony from a widow and made it on down the road a few more miles to Goshen, Alabama where he a better horse was obtained. He changed mounts again in Spring Garden, Alabama but ran into problems as this horse was exhausted just a mile outside of Cave Spring, Georgia where, as it began to get dark outside, people were reluctant to loan their animals. Nevertheless, He walked several miles and even used a mule to get him further on his journey. The folks in Vann’s Valley, Georgia were more helpful, offering two good horses in succession to help him reach his destination of Rome, Georgia, just a few miles up the road just around midnight. The citizens of Rome began efforts to protect their town. You can understand why John Wisdom earned the title of “the Paul Revere of the south.”

Source: http://mymindisongeorgia.blogspot.com/2007/07/john-wisdom-georgias-paul-revere.html

I loved this interesting little story and was pleased to be a guest of Ms. Rhonda’s home in Gnatville before we began visits to other historical sites in Cherokee County.

That takes me to the next Civil War story - General Nathan Bedford Forrest and the surrender of Colonel Streight.

The Surrender of Colonel Streight

Colonel Abel D. Streight and his mule brigade’s 17 day raid through Alabama led them to the Gadsden area after receiving orders in Tuscumbia, Alabama to destroy Cornwall Furnace in Cherokee County and the foundry and machine shops in Rome, Georgia which produced guns and ammo for the Confederate Army. Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest fought a running gun battle with Streight's 2,000 man force all the way from Tuscumbia.

For four days, harassed at every turn by Forrest, they had marched and fought, marched and fought, and they, men and horses, were completely exhausted. Streight had almost given Forrest the slip as they approached Gadsden. They crossed the Black Creek, just ahead of Forrest, but far enough ahead to torch the only bridge in the neighborhood. Streight thought he would gain a day and get a chance to rest and feed, but luck was with Nathan Bedford Forrest. A 15 year old girl, Emma Sansom, who, in spite of Yankee bullets, climbed up behind Forrest on his horse, and led him to a cattle ford only she knew about. (There is a statue of Emma in nearby Etowah County to honor her bravery.) Within a few hours the Confederate riders had crossed the river and were back pressing on Streight's rear guard.

Streight marched his men all night and fought a battle at Blount's Plantation in Cherokee County. The Confederates had stayed on Gen. Streight's heels until they reached the area just east of Cedar Bluff, where the Union army stopped to rest. They had just dismounted, when Forrest's troops were seen at a distance.

In a few minutes a courier reached Colonel Streight under a flag of truce, bearing a note requesting immediate surrender. A conference was then held between the two leaders during which a courier rode up to General Forrest and stated that General Van Dorn, with a division of troops, was stationed at a half-mile distance awaiting orders. Just as this courier was leaving another rode up with the statement that General Roddey was present and awaiting orders. Forrest replied to both that they were to instruct their commanders to await his signal gun, whereupon a charge was to be made.

Of course, there were no Generals Roddey or Van Dorn in the state, but believing his army was surrounded by Confederate troops, Streight agreed to the terms demanded by Forrest and surrendered his entire army!

With less than 400 men, Forrest captured almost 1500 Union soldiers.
Sources:
http://www.cherokee-chamber.org/history.php
http://www.archives.state.al.us/markers/icherokee.html
http://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=12306
http://www.civilwarhome.com/CMHforrestbio.htm
http://www.civilwarhome.com/natbio.htm

Ms. Rhonda took me to the historical marker where it is said that Colonel Streight surrendered to Forrest in Cedar Bluff, Alabama (May 2, 1863) and to the Cornwall Furnace a short distance away, where iron ore was made for the foundry in Rome, Georgia to make guns and ammo for the Confederacy.

Here I am on top of the historical marker:

This is me at Cornwall Furnace:

Another location on this tour of Cherokee County was Gaylesville, Alabama and here is the story that goes with this tiny town in upper Cherokee County.

General Sherman’s Occupation of Cherokee County

General William Tecumseh Sherman led his troops from Summerville, Georgia to Gaylesville, Alabama where he seized a former doctor’s office and stayed for two weeks in October of 1864 during his strategic plan to occupy Confederate territory. Dr. Lawrence, the town doctor made a deal with General Sherman to treat his wounded soldiers in exchange for not burning his home. Sherman kept his word and allowed the home to remain after his departure and that is why this grand old house is the only structure in Cherokee County to survive the Civil War.

During his occupation of Cherokee County, Sherman’s six “National Forces” (we know then as Union) armies of 60,000 troops were encamped throughout the county, including Cedar Bluff, Blue Pond, Little River, and Leesburg. (This pretty much covered the whole county!) The Union soldiers burned most everything and foraged the area for food and supplies. General Sherman spent his time in Gaylesville contemplating the continuation of his strategies for his famous “March to the Sea.” This area was quite productive for General Sherman and his troops. They, reportedly, were “living high on the hog” because of the excellent foraging efforts. Sherman, also, reported that he had a stronghold at Cedar Bluff on the Coosa River. In addition, attempts were made to destroy Cornwall Furnace but they only dislodged about 6 to 8 feet of quarried rocks from the top. That halted the production of iron ore at that time but the furnace was rebuilt in 1867 and continued to operate until an accidental blowout occurred in 1874, halting any production afterwards. The remains of Cornwall Furnace are preserved in a park on the Chattooga River and beautiful Weiss Lake between Cedar Bluff and Gaylesville, Alabama.

Source: http://files.usgwarchives.org/al/cherokee/history/other/generals34nms.txt

Here I am at one of the few surviving pre-Civil War homes in Cherokee County, Alabama:

After the whirlwind tour of Cherokee County, preparations were made for school visits during the next few days.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A final day in Tuscaloosa

Two days before I left Tuscaloosa, a girl in my class named Erin took me to Capitol Park. Capitol Park is the site of the old Capitol building, because Tuscaloosa used to be the capital of Alabama! Actually, Tuscaloosa became the capital of Alabama in 1826, seven years after Alabama became a state. (The capital moved to Montgomery in 1846, which then became the first capital of the Confederacy during the Civil War.)
A fire burnt the capitol building in 1923 and turned it to ruins. However, the little that was left of the building was preserved. It has now made Capitol Park a cool hang out spot for Tuscaloosa natives. To the right you will see me on top of one of the piece of rubble, and below you will see another part of the old capitol building.

The day before I left I went home with Lucy. She lives right off of University Boulevard very near the battle where the battle of Tuscaloosa began. She took TONS of pictures of some very cool historical buildings around the area. Some of the places she visited were the Governor's Mansion, the Old Tavern, the Friedman House, the old bridge site that was part of the Tuscaloosa battle, and the Jemison house. Some of these pictures are posted below. For the rest, be sure to check out my album on Flickr!
































Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Battle of Tuscaloosa

Tuscaloosa Magnet School taught me about the Battle of Tuscaloosa!

During this battle everything on campus got burned down, except the President's Mansion and three other buildings. The reason that didn't get burned down was because the president's wife went out and begged them not to burn it down. The professors also begged not to burn down the library, but they did anyway. This battle went on because the University of Alabama used to be a military school. The Yankees stole all of their cannons also. That was a sad day in Tuscaloosa but now they have recovered.

(by Jewels H.)

the President's Mansion -->

Monday, April 12, 2010

My arrival in Tuscaloosa, Alabama !


Wow! I just went home with Taylor H. for the weekend. She took me to the University of Alabama and took pictures of me with the places that were not burned in the Battle of Tuscaloosa. The children have taught me so much about it. More will come in the next post about that battle!


Here is me at the Gorgas House. It was built in 1829 and is one of four buildings that survived the Civil War. It was originally used as a hotel or "steward's hall," and then it became a dining hall for the campus and at the time of the war one of the faculty residences. After the war Confederate General Josiah Gorgas lived there with his wife and family.







Saturday, April 3, 2010

Poudre River Trail Survival Field Trip - 4/2/10

Whew! I am exhausted. I am actually looking forward to some R& R in my mailing box. These Greeley kids have worn me out. Sophie brought me back early in the morning Friday so she could do her blog before the big day got started. When the rest of the class members arrived, they brought adults with them as well. There were at least 12 adults milling around, so I knew something was up.
I should have suspected something when I learned about which plants and animals to eat in the wild earlier in the week. We were packing up to head down the Poudre River Trail for a Survival Field Trip. The initial hike was brisk and beautiful. Spring is just arriving in Colorado and the birds were chirping. I stayed tucked in my carry case because it was a bit windy. We split into two groups at one of the trailheads. I went with Mrs. Sage. Once they reached their work destination, she read them a situation. It seems that they had gone on a bike trip in really hot weather, gone too far and run out of water. Their job was to find a water source, gather water, and then purify it. It was pretty funny when one group tied a water bottle with rocks in the bottom of it and then threw it into the lake. Someone forgot to hold onto the rope and it went in as well. Thank goodness for the wind because it all got blown back to the shore where it could be retrieved. After they had found and starting purifying water, they next were given a situation where they were on a long hike and had gotten lost. They were out of food. Their job was to find plants or animals to sustain them. The reeds and grasses were easy to find; the cattail was out-of-season. They did find and EAT rolly pollies, worms, and beetles. GROSS! Then I switched groups and went with Mrs. Vogt. I thought I would be safe away from that crazy Mrs. Sage...
Mrs. Vogt also had a situation into which the children had to immerse themselves. She had them act out the basic first responder aid for three situations: possible heart attack, snake bite, and possible broken leg. They did really well. I wish they had been on the battlefield in Gettysburg. They could have saved some of our soldiers. After everyone was saved, she then gave them another situation in which they needed to signal for help. They immediately started putting up flags with bright clothing, using their mirrors, and creating SOS signs on the ground. It was pretty impressive. I felt really safe.
Next, we all headed to the Poudre Learning Center for a deserved lunch. We only had 30 minutes to eat, but I still took time to look through the telescope to view the bald eagles nesting across the lake. It was an amazing sight. I am so glad they are our national bird.
After lunch, it was back to work. I went with Mrs. Sage again - you would have thought I would have learned by now - to do fire building. The groups each had a knife and flint. They were taught how to safely pass and use the knife, were reviewed with about the different order and types of materials necessary to start the fire, and then off they went. All three groups were successful getting a fired started even in all of the wind. I do smell a bit smoky. Then I switched to a group led by Mrs. Weaver, an employee at the Poudre Learning Center. She had created a compass scavenger hunt for us. My team was really great, and we located all of the items. By now, I was exhausted and windburned. I was ready for an afternoon nap, but it was not to be.
We walked a great distance to the edge of the Poudre River. Mrs. Sage read another situation card and the students were told to build a shelter that would house their team and protect them from precipitation, wind, heat/cold, and animals. I was stumped, but they took off and got to work right away. Mrs. Sage also let the adults play; they were to work together to build their own shelter. They lucked out because one of the dads was an avid outdoors man and they took small trees in a grove, leaned them to a center spot, tied the trees together towards the top, then filled in the spaces between the trees with grasses. At the end when we took our tour of all of the shelters, none of the kids would believe that the parents had had the same amount of time to build; in fact, some of the children believed the shelter was already there and that the adults had cheated. :-) I watched them build it, so I gave the children my word as a witness. Grumbling, they finally applauded the parents' amazing work.
Mrs. Sage finally said we were going home. We had to walk back 45 minutes to the school. I then collapsed in the classroom until Mrs. Sage finished getting the students off for home and Spring Break, cleaned up the classroom, stored the field trip materials, and turned out the lights. I did absolutely nothing last night!
Today, Mrs. Sage is packing me up for my next location. I hope it is somewhere warm and peaceful.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Historical Plumb Farm - 4/1/10

After staying with Quen, I went to stay with a girl named Sophie. We got to go to Library for Specials. We typed on the computer, and the kids edited their paragraphs. Sophie is a pretty fast typist! Next, we went to Math, and I took a test. I got 25 points out of 27 possible points! Yeah, me! Then we went back to the Computer Lab to take a survey about how to make our school even better. When we got back to class, I loved to watch the kids blog about me and doing their writing. To end the morning, Sophie took me to Social Studies with Mrs. Vogt. In there, we talked about Hitler some more, and it scared me even more than last time. We even got to watch a video.
I was so glad that Sophie took me out to recess. We got to swing on the playground and walk around in the field. I got lots of love from Sophie's friends. We went into lunch then, and I stayed with Sophie's friends at the table until she got out of the lunch line. I wasn't hungry, so I didn't eat anything.
After lunch, Sophie had a reading test. I really didn't want to, so I just watched Sophie take it. From what I could tell, it looks like she aced it. She is very smart - her teacher told me that. After the test, we went to Sophie's Advanced Reading class where I watched the kids present their Wordles about Shakespeare's life. Sophie talked about his last will and testament. It was pretty interesting except I think he might have been a bit strange. Finally, it was Options Time, and we had Math Stations, but Sophie went upstairs to share a story with the 7th graders in Mrs. McWilliams class. I don't know why, but she didn't take me!
Once school was over, we drove home and stopped by Plumb Farm on the way. Plumb Farm is now a petting farm museum, but it used to be an active farm when Union Colony, now Greeley, was founded. While I was there, I took pictures at the house; I was kind of scared because there was a lot of metal and a lightning storm started up. We also got to take a picture by the harvester contraption. Then we went home to Sophie's house. I was glad to get inside. At Sophie's, we got ready to go to a Seder Meal. It went until 10:30 p.m. A Seder meal is where the Jews and Christians celebrate Passover. When we got home, I was really tired, so we all just went to bed.
Friday morning, Sophie brought me back to school and handed me off to Mrs. Sage. I'm a bit worried because it looks like we are doing something strange. She has handwarmers, ponchos, snacks, and juice on each student's desk, so I think she is going to drag me along on their Survival Field Trip. I hope I make it! More to come later.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Old Greeley Train Museum - 3/31/10

On Wednesday, after Remi had me on Tuesday, I met Quentin and I was with him all day. First, in Science we learned about CPR. It was really neat and gross. I hope I never have to give Quentin CPR! I stayed in during recess while Quentin finished his homework. I should have made him do it last night; I could have helped him.
When he came back from lunch, we completed a study guide for reading. I noticed that Quentin got most of the practice questions right. Hopefully tonight he will study! He promised me he would. Then we went to a reading group. Everyone thought Quentin was carrying a purse when it was really me in my carrying case. When we came back from reading group, Quentin got ready to go home and then played a game. He let me try, too.
After school, Quentin's mom picked us up. She took us to the Old Greeley Train Museum. I got two pictures taken of me. I also got some pictures to color and a Greeley Tourist Guide, so I can see what else to do here for fun. The Train Museum was so fun because I got to see old trains and some antique stuff. We saw two trains on the tracks.
Finally, we went home to eat before we went to church. I had nachos for dinner. I loved the spicy salsa. When we got back from church, Quentin tried to have me eat candy, but I didn't. Then we went to bed and were annoyed by Quentin's dog. Good night for now. See you tomorrow.

Island Grove - 3/30/10

Kenzie took me back to school in the morning. That is when another student took me to an historical site. His name is Remi, and I was with him all day. First, he took me to Social Studies, and we learned about Hitler and World War II. I thought it was quite icky! It made me remember all of the awful things that happened in the Civil War. After Social Studies, Remi went to recess, but he left me behind; he said it was an accident, but I'm not sure I believe him. I think he didn't want to be seen with a doll.
After he came back, he took me to a special class called, "Templates." It was boring. I already know how to read! Then a little while later, he took me home.
We went to his house and stayed there for a little bit but then went to Island Grove. I had my picture taken at least eight times. Island Grove is a place where rodeos happen where they ride horses, bulls, and it is a great place to go with your family and have fun.
After we left Island Grove, we went back to Remi's house, and I watched Remi do his homework. He never asked me for any help. Darn it! Afterwards, we watched a little TV. Then I ate dinner; Remi's mom made steak. It was delicious. After that I watched Remi and his little brother play his Xbox 360. They even let me take a turn. I failed 22 times! Rats! Remi's brother was kind of annoying. Finally, we went to sleep. I was exhausted!

Historical Greeley Hospital - 3/29/10

The second day, I was given to one of the students named Kenzie. I sat on her desk for the day. I saw work and notetaking on plants and animals that they can eat on their Survival Field Trip for Friday. I think that is disgusting, but they have to do it to get a good grade. Mrs. Sage also ate a piece of plant as she was showing the students how to tell if a plant is poisonous or not.
The bell rang at 2:00. I thought that was the best thing ever. I got to go to a different place. I went with Kenzie in her mom's car and went and got Sonic. Kenzie tried giving me a drink of her soda, but I didn't want any. Then we drove to Kenzie's home. I helped Kenzie with her homework. After homework, we went and met Kenzie's friend, Devreigh. We went to the park and played. Kenzie's grandmother, Sharon, picked us up and took us to the old Greeley Hospital where she lives. It is an apartment building now. I have a beautiful picture of me right in front of the old hospital.
We then took, Blondie, Kenzie's grandma's dog, on a walk. We even got to go blow bubbles. Next, we went over to Kenzie's friend, Krystina's house, to give Kenzie and Krystina time to practice their dance for the talent show tryouts. I was pretty impressed; they could really dance well to Star Struck.
After that, it was time to go home and eat dinner. We had goulash. I remember eating goulash when I was in the Civil War, but this was a lot yummier. After eating, I went with Kenzie to her room for her to read to me. After that we watched a small part of the movie, "Princess Protection Program." Then it was lights out and time for bed. I am very tired, so good night!

Sallie Ann in Greeley, Colorado 3/26/10


I arrived yesterday from an arduous trip. I was expecting spring-like weather, but instead it was freezing. I need to pull out my wool clothing to keep warm. Mrs. Sage, my hostess, unpacked all of my luggage and let her after school reading group look through all of my "stuff." I have to admit that I was blushing as they were so amazed at all I had brought to share with them.

Unfortunately for me, Mrs. Sage then shoved me back in my box and said that her class would see me on Monday! A whole weekend in a box is not very exciting. I am not very happy so far with this visit. I think I'll use this time to learn if the Civil War had any impact on the area of Greeley, Colorado.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Visit with John Muir

Before I return to CTK tomorrow to spend another day with students, I should tell you how I spent my Friday. As it turns out, Christ the King School is only about five miles from John Muir's Home in Martinez. And a beautiful, almost-spring day is the perfect time to walk around the grounds.

John Muir, who was actually born in Scotland, is perhaps best known for being a champion of nature. In 1867, he began a 1,000-mile walk from Kentucky to the Gulf of Mexico, and along the way was able to experience so much of what nature had to offer. He is arguably this country's most famous conservationist, without whom we may not have Yosemite National Park. In fact, Muir is often referred to as The Father of Our National Park System. He co-founded the Sierra Club, and became its first president, a title he would hold until his death in 1914.


As it was a school day for most children in the area, we pretty much had the place to ourselves...except for the rather rambunctious first graders who were on a school field trip. That attic got rather noisy with all of those little voices, especially after one of the moms mentioned something about ghosts!


We were lucky enough to have our own private tour guide for our walk through the Muir Home. Mr. Hughes was nice enough to share plenty of wonderful information about John Muir and his wife Louie and what life was like when they lived in this house.


There are actually two homes here to see: John Muir's and the Martinez Adobe, built around 1849 by Don Vicente Martinez. The walls of this home are made entirely of adobe, sun-dried bricks.


You can see photos of the John Muir Home here.