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!

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