Monday, March 24, 2014

Virginia Museum of the Civil War–Field Trip

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Our first field trip in our Civil War Unit Study took us to the Virginia Museum of the Civil War in New Market Virginia during Homeschooler Day.    The weather was incredible and this was a wonderful experience.

We began our day with both girls “enlisting” into the Confederate States Army (CSA).  During the enlistment process they signed their enlistment papers and underwent the necessary physical inspection.   Each soldier had to have at least 2 opposing teeth (so they could tear off the end of their powder packets), all 10 fingers OR at least the thumb and index finger on each hand so that the could hold and fire a weapon.  Soldiers also “had” to be over 18.   If you know anything about Civil War history, youngsters were often soldiers.  This detail was bypassed by writing the number 18 on the ground and having the enlistee stand over the number, then they could legally say they were “over 18”.

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Once the paper work was complete, and the physical inspection was completed, the new soldiers lined up to take their oath of service.

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Then it was time to learn commands, marching orders and how to handle a rifle.  There were nine steps involved in loading your weapon.

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Then it was on to pick up rations for the day.  Each soldier received 1-1/2 pounds of salt pork, 1 pound dry beans, 1 pound coffee beans and 1 pound of flour.

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Some soldiers were fortunate enough to have a tent to sleep in.  Once we finished setting up camp we were given marching orders (and sent out to enjoy the rest of the day.)

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Since the salt pork & beans didn’t look particularly appetizing, we opted to have a picnic furnished by Chick-fil-a (one of the sponsors of the event).

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We then walked to the Bushong farm. 

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At the farm, we were able to step back in time and see what life would have been life prior to the battle that raged across the property and the “Field of Lost Shoes”.

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We walked the battlefield, watched the heartbreaking movie “The Field of Lost Shoes” and thought about the brave young VMI Cadets who rushed into the battle here and helped turn the tide in this particular area.

The Bushong living room was turned into a makeshift hospital as the doctors tried to fix the broken bodies of young and old.

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We had a good day, and learned a lot. I think the girls really had their eyes opened to how ugly war is, and how close to home this was.

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