I'm working away at patriotic-themed quilt right now, but there isn't much to show. I'm having fun with it especially since I've been wanting to make it for about 2 years now. The only problem is that my quilt room is upstairs and the upstairs A/C went out. I'm patiently enduring the landlord's desire to get three estimates, but it has been a week already and it is getting HOT, so it isn't much fun to be up there right now.
I thought I would share some of our trip last weekend. We traveled up to Sharpsburg, Maryland on the first day to visit Antietam battlefield. On the way up we were able to stop at a Hobby Lobby! We don't have one close, so that was a treat for me. When we got to the battlefield, we watched the movie. If you have ever visited a national park, you know that they usually always have a movie. This one was particularly good, in my opinion, but it must be shared because they had copies for sale. The events at this battlefield took place over just one day. There were three major events--the cornfield, the sunken road, and then the stone bridge. By the time the day was over there were 23,000 casualties total for both sides. 23000 men were killed, wounded, or missing. In one day. I believe it still remains the largest single day of loss of life for America.
This is the Cornfield in the distance. The battle took place in September, so the corn was tall at the time. The battle begun here and the fighting was so fierce that by the end of it not a single stalk of corn remained--and the whole place was covered in bodies.
This is the sunken road. The Confederates were in here, using the lower elevation as protection so they could just easily mow down the Union soldiers who were coming across the open field towards them. Eventually, the Iron Brigade of the Union army was able to flank them and get into the sunken road. Then it was the Confederates who got mowed down. They said this sunken road was filled with bodies.
Antietam was the first big battle to be photographed extensively. The photographs were published much to the horror of the rest of the country. One photograph in particular, of the casualties of what was known as the "boys' battery" (a battery is a group of artillerymen who fired the cannon) generated a general outcry. It was known as the "Boys' Battery" because the average age of the group was 17. There were some boys as young as 11 also there. At the end of the day there were, as I mentioned, 23000 casualties. The results? Nothing. The Union did keep the Confederates out of "the North" but that was it. Nothing was gained or loss. It was a "draw." But 23000 lives were destroyed. It is really hard to get your brain around.
The next day we went a few miles down the road to Harper's Ferry. If you remember your American History, you will recall that it was there where John Brown captured the Arsenal as the first step in his attempt to free the slaves. It failed, he was captured, and hung.
These events occurred before the Civil war. Did you know that the arsenal was stormed by a group of Marines? The Marines were commanded by Robert E Lee. The young officer that ordered the door of the building that Brown was holed up in to be stormed was Jeb Stuart. Both of these men would later be prominent in the Confederate Army.
Harper's Ferry was really neat. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but there was a lot of fascinating history. There used to be factories lining the rivers, but repeated floods finally drove them to find other places. I was amazed to see a display featuring the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Merriweather Lewis armed his group from Harper's Ferry when they set off to explore the west. As a child in the Midwest--we lived along the Lewis and Clark trail and we studied it quite a bit in school.
We left Harper's Ferry and traveled southeast. We were able to stop at a quilt shop called Web Fabrics, but I can't remember right off just where it was. Somewhere west of Leesburg, VA. It was a nice shop--know for the huge selection of blenders. Pushing on we arrived at our next destination--Manassas, VA. The community of Manassas was the site of two different Civil War battles. Did you know that the Union usually named the battles after a geological formation nearby but the Confederates names them after the nearest community? Thus the battles here are know as Manassas to the South and Bull Run to the north. Bull Run is a creek in the area that figured into the first battle. While it wasn't deep, the banks were very steep, so it could only be crossed at bridges.
The first battle of Bull Run was known for two things. One--it was the first major battle of the war. No one seemed to realize just how terrible it was going to get. Civilians on both sides flocked out to watch and were promptly horrified by the blood. The other major reason to remember the first battle has to do with a person. This man was a teacher at Virginia Military Institute. He was the least favorite instructor there as he had all of his lessons memorized. If the students had questions, he would just recite the lesson over again exactly the same as previously. Anyway, after the war was looking certain, he took a group of the students and formed a brigade. They were there on the battlefield and it was looking like the Union was winning the day. Many of the Confederates were fleeing and running back, but this guy, Thomas Jackson, stayed on the field. One of his fellow Generals said: "There stood Jackson like a stonewall." Thus the nickname of one of the most famous Confederate generals--Stonewall Jackson--was coined.
The fighting in the second battle took place over three days. At the conclusion of the three days, there were also around 23000 casualties. And this battle took place just three weeks before Antietam. So in three weeks there were 46000 casualties. It is just incredible to consider!
While we were there, we took all the tours they offered. At each one, the ranger would caution everyone against going in the tall grass, as they had a tick problem. Meanwhile, it became obvious that other bugs were going to take center stage.
The Brood II cicadas were finally coming out of the ground. These are the 17 year cicadas that are all over the East coast. We don't have them here in Hampton Roads, though. Anyway--they were all over and really gross. Really. Freaking. Gross. I don't like bugs. Eew! A few of them landed on me! Yikes!
We went home from there and arrived Sunday evening. My husband promptly did all the yard work, washed cars, etc. all day Monday. After all that work, he had a shower and discovered a tick on his back! We were being so careful, too! After I found that, I checked myself over good, and was tick free, but still, my skin is still crawling.
Have a great weekend!