Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Bread Basket of the Confederacy

The Shenandoah Valley of Virginia was dubbed “The Bread Basket of the Confederacy”, due to the fact that the majority of food supplies for the Confederates came from the Valley. 

Continuing on with our unit study of the Civil War, we took several small day trips to visit  a couple of these battle sites.

Our first stop was at Cross Keys Battlefield.  It’s very surreal to stand on the land, envision all that you’ve read about and think about the people who fought here, and then to stand at some of their graves.

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We then moved on to “Artillery Ridge” and viewed the area where the big weapons would have been stationed for this battle.

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We then travelled a few miles south to the site of the Port Republic Battlefield.  This area was known as “The Coaling” because the trees and everything around was burn to charcoal.

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The Piedmont Battlefield was very…open.  No disrespect meant to the soldiers who fought there, but there was only a small road sign to point out that a battle had happened.

We then moved on to the site of  The Battle of Harrisonburg.192
The area houses two museums linked to the Civil War, the Valley Turnpike Museum and also the Heritage Museum.   The Valley Turnpike Museum focuses on the importance of Rte. 11.  Here you’ll find a video presentation about the area during the Civil War, (known as “The Burning) and also this model of the area.

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The Heritage Museum is home to the 50 year old Stonewall Jackson’s Valley Campaign Electronic Map.  This is a great resource and really helps you understand the movements of the armies during the war.

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The Heritage Museum also boasts some amazing artifacts from the Civil War, including the drum and  flag shown below.

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161While in Harrisonburg, we also stopped by the Turnery Ashby Monument.  This monument marks the spot where local military hero Turner Ashby was killed in battle.

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We wrapped up our field trip a the site of  The Battle of Waynesboro.  

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It was here at Waynesboro that General Sheridan and General Custer’s troops defeated the remainder of Confederate General Jubal Early’s troops.  The Union then marched on towards the capital of Richmond.

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