Saturday, April 16, 2016

Heading east for spring appointments.

We left Chesapeake on Wednesday morning and, as is always the case in the spring when we leave Texas, we are eventually going to make it to Indiana and our spring doctor appointments. But that doesn't mean we can't have fun along the way. Since we wanted to be in Charlottesville to help with the kids after Jocelyn's surgery, we arrived much earlier than we had planned. So now we have some extra time to kill before our appointments.

We used part of that time visiting Tom and Sharon and then we traveled on the next day to Appomattox, Virginia, to the site of the surrender of Lee to Grant ending the Civil War. Being a Mississippi native and from an area that saw a lot of action during that war, Terry is naturally interested in all things Civil War.

We arrived at our camp on Wednesday in time to go visit the actual preserved site of Appomattox Court House, Virginia. It is small, but has several buildings, some of which have been rebuilt and some which have been preserved. The surrender did not actually take place in the famous courthouse, but in the McClain house which stood nearby. We entered first at the courthouse and watched a movie on the surrender and then visited the several buildings open to the public. It was very moving and a very solemn atmosphere. I came away with a better understanding of how the war was dragging on and how the population was relieved when it was over. President Lincoln had insisted that no harm befall the southerners who had taken up arms against the Union so long as they lay down their arms and head back home. They were allowed to keep their horses and were given food and water.

Elsewhere on the grounds was a Confederate cemetery where 18 solders from the south are interred. They were originally buried on the grounds around the courthouse, but a Ladies Group had them removed a year later to a plot donated for the cemetery. Some of the 18 have now been identified. One lone Union soldier is buried at the far end. The southern soldiers have the battle flag marking their graves and the northern soldier has the star bangled banner.

On Thursday we went to the Museum of the Confederacy, which was just across the road from our campsite. It is a very nice museum with mostly displays of uniforms and personal effects. General Lee's uniform and sword worn at the surrender can be seen here. With all the hoopla over displaying the southern "battle flag" which is erroneously called the "Stars and Bars," I have to say that it is prominently displayed here and throughout the south. Although I would say we are seeing more of the Confederacy's actual flag (one of many), which is the flag officially named the "Stars and Bars." I, and I suppose, most everyone else, was unaware of the actual flag that flew for the Confederacy. This museum is part of a three-museum "set" with the other two museums in Richmond, Virginia. We will have to take those in another time. One is housed in the "White House of the Confederacy" and the other in a different building. Did you think the Confederate White House was Beauvoir in Biloxi? If you did, you were wrong. That was the home Jefferson Davis retired to after his release from "detention" and it was left to him by a friend.

We can't change history. But we can hopefully learn from it.

Till next time. . .


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