Saturday, June 29, 2013

Fredericksburg to Manassas

Hey Campers:

June 28. We awoke to a beautiful day after a major storm last night. VA has a campaign that they are the “Love” state. REALLY! The way some of these people drive they need lots of love. Every time we get on the freeway we see a accident. Many are driving with the phone glued to their head. Is this just illegal in Cally???

We took off to the Fredericksburg battlefield. The question is why have a battle in Fredericksburg? Well, it is lays on the Rappahannock River. This is midway between the Capital of Washington and Richmond. Most of VA’s transportation was funneled through this river. Mountains confined the armies to the east. The Chesapeake and Potomac Rivers to the east. This made Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania counties one of the bloodiest landscape in the North America. 4 battles were fought. Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Spotsylvania and Wilderness. The south had Robert E. Lee as their general and he repelled the Union many times. But wait! Who is coming??? U.S. Grant. Brother man took control and pushed further than any general.

Can you imagine you and your kids going to the war site to see your loved one? Talk about crazy. People had no concept of what the war was really like. Hookers would go anywhere. These women were described as “lacking voucher of respectability”.  Ya think! But, in all fairness, if men didn’t want them there they would not have lasted long. Hmmm. What diseases was carried?
Did you know that the Civil War was the first large scale coverage of news correspondence? The news was handled by newsboys, photography, illustrations, telegraph, signal flags and torches. Does anyone know who Matthew Brady was? He was one of first photographers to capture the war in photography.

Sometimes a drum was used to communicate on the battlefield. The drum was able to penetrate over the noise. It could save move forward in battle or fall back. What is weird is the Union had a band. It would play to cheer up the soldiers. Sometimes if they knew the Confederate soldiers were nearby they would strike up the Dixie song for them to hear. Other times Union/Confederate soldiers would build toy boats so they could trade goods with each other over the rivers. Or the soldiers would cross over rivers to barter with other. In the earlier years of the war, Union/Confederate generals would stop and have lunch together since they were usually old friends or classmates. Well. One would think they could have set down and discussed the issues to stop the war. This sure would have saved many lives.

Most soldiers did fight all the time. They had time for reading, writing letters for home and camp duties. Union had more food than the Confederacy due to the blockades. Did you know that there was a “Great Revival in Lee’s army in 1863? Even Stonewall Jackson who was a staunched Presbyterian encouraged his men to have devotions. War can definitely change how you see your life. One of the soldiers stated “A man certainly stands much more needed of religion in the army than he does at home.” Did you know that more men died in the 4 battlefields named above than the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Mexican and Indian Wars combined? Lord what a waste of human life.

The Confederates were shield behind this stone wall. There is a monument dedicated to a Confederate officer named Richard Kirkland. He was known as the “Angel of Marye’s Heights.” For 2 days after the battle at Fredericksburg, Union soldiers were caught between the lines. They were crying for water. Richard took it upon his self to help them. He filled up canteens and stepped over the wall to care for them. When the Union soldiers saw what he was doing they stopped shooting at him and gave cheers. Even in battle there can be some show of God’s grace.
(4546, 4552)”The muffled drum’s sad roll has beat the soldier’s last tattoo. No more on life’s parade shall meet, that brave and fallen few”. “No vision of the morrow’s strife, the warriors dreams alarms. No braying horn nor screaming fife at dawn to call arms.”

We drove on to Spotsylvania and Chancellorsville battlefield. Robert E. Lee had his greatest triumph here. Even though he was out numbered he split his men and won the battle. Stonewall Jackson was also at Chancellorsville. He was wounded by “friendly fire” about May 2, 1863 at 9:30 PM. He had just brilliantly executed a flanking maneuver against the union. He and 8 aides were returning to camp. A fight broke out and the group was mistaken as the “enemy”. It killed 4 aides and badly wounded Jackson. He had to have is left arm amputated. He died 8 days later from the infection.

Drove on to Culpepper and Warrenton. Luckily these towns so very little war actions. Warrenton is famous for John Mosby. He would go behind the Union lines and attack/raid trains and wagons.

Drove on to Manassas National Battlefield Park (Bull Run). This was an amazing place. After touring the museum I wanted to tour the battlefield. Well, just my luck it started to storm. Lorenzo decided he was going to the car. I was not going to let rain and thunder stop me. I have that Cally fortitude. I got my umbrella out and just started to walk. It was so quite in the meadow. It was almost like being in a peaceful place, even though I knew a great battle had been fought here. When I rounded the bend and so the statue of Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson it almost stopped me in my tracks. It is a breath taking tribute to the south’s famous general. They said the meadow has changed very little since the war.

Here is a little history of the area: *April 1861, a deadly conflict erupted. Confederate soldiers were recruited on the Brentsville Courthouse lawn. On a hot day in July, the sleepy railroad community of Manassas Junction found itself on the fore front of American history. During the battle of First Manassas/Bull Run, the first major land battle of the Civil War, about 4,000 people were killed, wounded, captured or reported missing. 13 months later the armies clashed again when the Confederates marched through Thoroughfare Gap to the familiar ground of the First Battle of Manassas. This time under the command of General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, they lay in wait behind an unfinished railroad grade. The Confederate troops surprise the Union troops who were under Major General John Pope. The Second Battle of Manassas had begun. Four times larger than the first battle. There 120,000 men fighting for two ½ days. Nearly 24,000 soldiers were wounded or killed.

By the time we got back to the Hilton 4, we were tired. This Civil War Trail hunting is a lot of work. But I am really enjoying it.

Well Campers. Until the next time

Lorenzo & Bren

*This information came from the Manassas Visitors Guide

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