Day 19-21 – Richmond, Virginia   Leave a comment

We started our motor coach and headed to Richmond, Virginia

The view that named the city

Starting our Civil War tour sites at the American Civil War Center, we did a self-guided tour of their museum, a guided tour of the grounds, and a few films.

It seems that there is a myth out there that the south did not make their own cannons. Well, our guide informed us that there was one site, The Tredegar Iron Works, right here in Richmond. Power supplied by the James River and Kanawha Canal made industrial development possible at the Tredegar site. It was the nation’s largest and best-equipped ironworks in 1860. Tredegar iron industries operated until the 1950s.

Founded in 1837, by 1861, the Iron Works employed approximately 800 skilled and unskilled laborers, both black and white, free and slave. Trained workers from Great Britain, Germany, and the North were recruited. They also increased the number of slaves who worked was blacksmiths, teamsters, and boatmen, usually hired annually from slaveholders. Another group of slaves were trained in the more skilled ironworking. In 1847, the white workers who usually held these jobs demanded that they stop bringing in slaves and went on strike. The white workers who supported the strike were fired and new workers were recruited, engaging even more slaves. They also employed free blacks and paid them the same wages as the white workers.

The Gun Foundry was built in 1861 to cast ordnance for the Confederacy, and some 1,160 cannons were made for the South. The company had about 1,000 workers; 860 whites, 140 blacks, 130 of the blacks were slaves. Tredegar housed, fed, clothed, and provided medical care for the slaves. A ten-hour work day was standard and slaves earned cash by working overtime or producing more than their daily quota.

Below is a photo of the poles that carried the flags during the Civil War.

Below is the Medal of Honor John Adams, 2nd Lieutenant of the 19th Massachusetts Infantry, received for his actions at the battle of Fredericksburg.

The museum also housed a plaster cast of Robert E. Lee’s face. Typically they are death masks, but this was done when Lee was alive.

June 26-29, 1862 Seven Days’ Battles. No military campaign had more influence on the course of the Civil War than these 7 days of battle. Robert E. Lee advanced his troops across the Chickahominy River with nearly 45,000 soldiers. That action opened a weeklong series of battles that resulted in the Union army retreating to the banks of the James River. Lee’s army moved north, defeating Union forces at Cedar Mountain and Bull Run and then marched toward Maryland and the first invasion of the North. The cost, however, was staggering as both sides combined lost 15,000 casualties, the greatest loss in any battle of the entire Peninsula Campaign.

Union commanders chose an ideal location to fight their last battle of the Seven Days. As many as 40 cannons covered the 1 ½ mile front, nearly 80,000 Union soldiers spread out behind or in support of the guns. It was the strongest positions held by either army during the war. Lee gathered his “reduced” army of 70,000 in the distant woods. Poor communication combined with misunderstanding of orders led to repeated Confederate attacks. Southern troops found themselves forced to charge straight into the Federal batteries. Over 30,000 Confederates took part in the advances. By day’s end, the battle claimed 8,000 casualties; over half wore gray. The Seven Days Battles produced more casualties than any other battle of the war except Gettysburg. Lee succeeded in driving McClellan’s army away from Richmond. The capital was safe and the war in Virginia moved north.

Buses are no longer allowed to drive through Hollywood Cemetery, where 3 Presidents and 25 Civil War Generals are buried. The photo below was from 2 years prior on Confederate Avenue where we found a unique memorial to the Confederate soldiers built of stone. The stone was “stacked” without mortar and has remained unscathed by the weather over the years.

We stopped at the church, St. John’s Episcopal Church, where Patrick Henry delivered his “Give me liberty or give me death” speech on March 23, 1775.

Virginia’s State Capitol building was designed by Thomas Jefferson in 1785.

Hoping to safeguard the conception from changes in Richmond, he commissioned a scale model of the exterior from the model-maker Jean-Pierre Fouquer.

Our guide, Henry Kidd-a civil war re-enactor and artist, was our guide for the day and talked to us about the filming of Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” which was filmed in one of the wings of the capitol building.

Across the street, we toured St. Paul’s Episcopal Church

A plague marks the pews where Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee sat.

Museum of the Confederacy is the museum to visit if you want to see the personal effects of the famed Confederate military leadership.

It exhibits hundreds of personal belongings, uniforms, military equipment and weapons. Below is a photo of the field notebook that Captain James Boswell, an engineering officer, carried in his pocket when he was killed while riding with Stonewall Jackson. It was also interesting to find that of the approximately 850,000 men who served in the Confederate armies, 260,000 died – 166,000 died from disease.

Below is a photo of one of our guests who posed next to a photo that we felt was them in their younger years.

Pictured below is a prosthetic arm that our son and daughter-in-law, the Physical Therapists, would be interested in.

Below is a doll, “Lucy Ann,” called a smuggling doll. It was used for smuggling medicines during the war. The smugglers cut a hold 1.5 inches in diameter, in the back of the head. The cavity was packed with quinine, a medication used in the treatment of malaria that was derived from South American tree bark. The use of these dolls was wide-spread in the South during the war.

Next door is the White House of the Confederacy, built in 1818.

I think the most interesting room was the library. After Jefferson Davis fled the area, President Lincoln arrived at the Confederacy’s White House and sat in the library by himself for hours just thinking. Wonder what he was thinking. While in town, he was to attend a play, but was talked out of it because they thought it would be safer to view a play in Washington, D.C. We all know what happened when he attended the play in Washington D.C.’s Ford’s Theater.

A Spiller & Burr .36-caliber revolver was donated in 1915 and was exhibited in the Georgia Room (now the West Parlor) of the White House of the Confederacy.

The revolver was stolen in November 1975. Finally in December 2010, an Ohio antique dealer called to say a Tennessee woman recently inherited, and as offering to sell this revolver (serial number matched). The owner had no idea it was stolen and gladly surrendered it. They never knew who stole the revolver, but it’s back home now.

We took a nice ride on the Richmond Riverfront historic canal. The canals were used in the transportation of goods as well as people but the railroads were more conducive, thereby phasing out the use of the canals. The canal runs right under I-95.

Check out the turtles above. The big one in the back is estimated to be about 20 years old.

Posted May 15, 2013 by carolnbill in Adventure Caravans, RV, Travel, Uncategorized

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