On to Richmond

Last weekend the parental units and I made a journey down to Richmond, Virginia. I decided to chronicle the adventure on camera.  

Soon after arriving at the campground, my parents conducted an impromptu tour of their motor coach and my good-for-nothing mother confessed to rooting against the 49ers in Sunday night's upcoming tilt against the Broncos. Care to take a look? 

Night time was the right time to settle in and enjoy one another's company.  

The next morning we fueled up on free waffles and headed into town. Our first stop was Hollywood Cemetery, one of the most historic burial grounds in the entire country. Conway Twitty also stopped in for a visit. 

Next we journeyed to Monument Avenue and drove the street where Richmond keeps all its historic statuary. Then it was on to St. Paul's Episcopal Church and the grounds of the Virginia State Capitol.

After our lunch break, we paid a visit to the Confederate White House and the Museum of the Confederacy.  What an experience.  

Filming wasn't allowed inside the White House, which is a shame because there was so much interesting stuff to see.  The wartime home of Jefferson and Varina Davis has been immaculately restored and the guide who took us through really knew his stuff. Much like Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln, the Davis family was no stranger to tragedy. They lost many children and one young son would even die as the result of a fall sustained at the house.  The little boy's Confederate soldier outfit remains tenderly preserved in the nursery.  You can also see the parlor where Abraham Lincoln would have sat when he visited the house shortly after the fall of Richmond, or walk through the personal office of Jefferson Davis and see the desk around which he, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson would have conferred prior to 2nd Manassas.

After our tour ended we entered the Museum of the Confederacy.  For me, it was a total Civil War fanboy experience.  I didn't take a lot of video in the museum because I sometimes feel that video recording prevents you from really being 'in the moment' and I wanted to totally immerse myself in all that I was seeing and experiencing (we did take a lot of pictures, however, and you can see the album at the end of this post).  My mind was completely blown by some of the artifacts I got to see; Stonewall Jackson's forage cap, Robert E. Lee's camp equipment, J.E.B. Stuart's boots.  There was one item in particular that literally gave me the chills - the sword of General Armistead.

That sword?  Yeah, I saw it. 

For those of you non-Civil War nerds, General Lewis Armistead commanded the only Confederate brigade which succeeded (momentarily) in breaching the Union line during Pickett's immortal charge. In order to rally his troops, Armistead removed his hat from his head and placed it on the tip of his sword, waving it aloft for all to see - fans of the movie 'Gettysburg' or readers of Shaara's The Killer Angels might also remember this moment. Almost immediately after crossing the stonewall into Union territory, Armistead fell, mortally wounded. The drama of the event was further heightened by the fact that he was knowingly leading his men against Winfield Hancock's Union troops. Prewar, the two had been best friends - practically brothers. As a dying Armistead was being assisted by Yankee soldiers, his thoughts immediately strayed to Hancock and he asked after his old friend, only to be told that Hancock too had been grievously wounded during the fight.  For me, seeing Armistead's sword was like being in the presence of a holy relic. Amazing.   

We then returned to the campsite, intent on watching football and feasting upon stew.  The next morning I made my exit and journeyed up to Baltimore, MD. My good friend, Susan Rosenvold, is a bundle of energy and a first rate historian who is currently involved in an effort to reinvigorate the city's Civil War museum.  The downstairs exhibit area needs a major facelift and the unfinished upstairs needs to be developed into an event space.  I've offered to lend any assistance I can and there may be a cool project brewing in the near future.  

It was a great trip.  All my love and thanks go out to my parents for being the people they are.