On May 26, 1864, Union General David Hunter, under direct orders from Ulysses S. Grant, marched south from Cedar Creek, near Winchester, VA, to drive out Confederate forces, lay waste to the Shenandoah Valley and destroy transportation facilities in Lynchburg, VA.
Hunter and his army of 18,000 soldiers marched south along the Shenandoah Valley. In Staunton he destroyed depot buildings, warehouses and railroad lines. Continuing south he reached Lexington, where his men looted the Virginia Military Institute, seizing the bronze statue of George Washington as a war trophy (it was later returned). Then the Military Institute was set ablaze.
After three days
The National D-Day Memorial, in Bedford, VA, expects 10,000-15,000 visitors for the 70th anniversary of the Normandy invasion on June 6, 2014. Sadly this event could be the last large gathering of area D-Day veterans, as the youngest are now in their early 90’s.
Like eleven other communities in Virginia, Bedford provided a company of solders (Company A) to the 29th Infantry Division when the National Guard’s 116th Infantry Regiment was activated on February 3, 1941. Transported by the British Navy’s 551st Assault Flotilla, Company A of the 116th Infantry Regiment landed on Omaha Beach in the first wave of the First Infantry Division’s Task Force O. By day’s end, nineteen of the company’s Bedford soldiers were dead. Bedford’s population in 1944 was about 3,200. Proportionally, this community suffered the nation’s severest D-Day losses.
Since its dedication in June 6, 2001, the Memorial has attracted more than 1.3 million visitors. The Memorial exists in tribute to the valor, fidelity and sacrifice of the Allied Forces on D-Day, June 6, 1944.
Located on a consecrated 88-acre site the Memorial has four major components that represent the sweep of D-Day from the early planning and preparation for it, through the Channel crossing and landing in France, to the Allied victory and consolidation on the beaches and beyond Normandy into the landscape of postwar Europe. Visitors experience a moving array of small memorials, displays, sculptures and statuary, plaques and tributes.
The Memorial is open between 10:00 am through 5:00 pm daily, except on Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and Thanksgiving. Visitors can either take a shuttle-cart tour with a guide or a self-guided walking tour. Admission fees apply. Visit the D-Day Memorial Website for a list of activities during the 70th year anniversary celebration. While visiting the D-Day Memorial be sure to visit downtown Bedford as many of the stores will be displaying posters from WW II in their store windows, much like they would have in the 1940s.
Guests staying with us at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast for a minimum of three days, June 6, 2014 being one of the days, will be charged for only your Friday and Saturday night stay ( stay for 3 nights, pay for 2). Call us at 434.846.1388, mention the D-Day Memorial special and book your room.
For more information about the story of the men from Bedford who took participated in the D-Day invasion read The Bedford Boys by Alex Kershaw.
Packet boats were small boats designed for domestic mail, passenger and freight transportation on North American rivers and canals. Used, starting in the 17th century in Europe, packet boats in the United States were drawn through canals by teams of two or three horses or mules. Compared to overland travel, the boats cut journey time in half and were much more comfortable.
The finest packet boat to travel the James River and Kanawha Canal, ‘the Queen of the James’ cost between three and four thousand dollars. 90′ long by 14′ at the beam with an 11″ draft, she was solidly built with creosoted wood rib frames on 12″ centers inside a hand formed iron hull that measured 3/16th of an inch thick. The cabin interior was paneled with Dominican Mahogany and divided into staterooms (separate for men and women) and a main dining salon which converted into an area for fold down sleeping berths at night and a kitchen in which to prepare meals. The Marshall was able to transport up to 60 passengers at a time. The Packet Boat Marshall carried passengers from Richmond to Lynchburg, charging $8 for the 33 hour trip. It averaged four miles per hour.
Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson was mortally wounded, near Chancellorsville, VA on May 2, 1863. His body was transported by train from Fredericksburg to Richmond to Gordonsville to Lynchburg. The train arrived in Lynchburg, VA about 6:30 pm on the 13th of May at which time the remains were removed, placed in a hearse and a procession began to the Packet Boat Marshall Landing at Ninth Street and the Kanawha Canal (Behind what is now the Depot Grill Restaurant.). The Packet Boat Marshall left Lynchburg about 10:00 pm for the final portion of the journey to Lexington, VA., Jackson’s final resting place. This trip is what is most remembered about the Packet Boat Marshall.
In 1864, after being partially burned when General David Hunter’s army road through Lexington the Marshall was repaired. General Robert E. Lee rode as a passenger in the late 1860’s. In 1877 a flood breached the packet boat on the river bank above Lynchburg. In 1900 Corbin Spencer came to own the beached packet and lived in it with his sister Mary. In 1913 the Spencers survived a flood that washed away the wooden superstructure of the old packet. In 1936 the metal hull of the Marshall was unearthed and prepared for placement in Riverside Park for Lynchburg’s Sesquicentennial. Between 1970 and 2003 the remains of the Marshall hull lay neglected and exposed to the elements, resulting in severe deterioration. In 2003 the Lynchburg Historical Foundation undertook steps toward the preservation of the deteriorating hull by building a roof over the artifact, which was followed by a structure to further protect the historical boat.
Each June between 12-18 packet boats recreate the journey between Lynchburg and Richmond. This reenactment demonstrates how the boats were used to transport tobacco and people between the two cities in the mid-1700’s until the late 1800’s. If you would like to see the packet boats in the James River Batteau Festival this June, give us a call at 434-846-1388 to make your reservations now or book on-line.
The Storming of Thunder Ridge Lynchburg, Virginia’s only local, fully-supported road cycling event will take place on May 18, 2014. This fund-raiser, benefiting the YMCA of Central Virginia, is an enjoyable road cycling experience with the Blue Ridge Mountains as your backdrop. Riders select from a route of 27, 45, 75 or 100 miles.
The 27 Miler and the 45 Miler Curtis Loop take place along flat country roads and then some hills in scenic Bedford County. The 45 Miler includes a challenging 4 mile stretch with four hills to scale. The good thing is after you go up you get to come down.
For those cyclists who have been training for months you might “enjoy” either the 75 Miler or the Century Miler (100 miles). Each of these routes starts through the flats then rolling hills of Bedford County but they each wind their way on a 13-mile ascent to Thunder Ridge, the highest point on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia. Once you get to Thunder Ridge take awhile to rest, relax and enjoy the fabulous views. The trip down the mountain will be a welcome relief. While riding through Goode you’ll experience the Sausage Grinder and the Nemesis–just to test your legs a bit further.
Along all of the routes there are rest stops with water and energy snacks to refuel you and of course, shady spots to rest.
All start/finish lines are at the Jamerson Family YMCA in Wyndhurst. Riders can take advantage of the Y’s amenities: shower facilities, whirlpool and swimming pool. Just bring your swimsuit and your own towels plus a lock for your belongings. The post-celebration will include plenty of food, music, prizes and camaraderie among the riders who have completed their routes and serve as the cheering section for the riders behind you.
The start time for the 75 and 100 Miler is 7:30 AM. The 27 and 45 Milers starts at 8:30 AM. A cut-off time of 2:30 PM awaits the 100 Miler riders, at mile 62 or rest stop 5.
Those guests staying with us at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast will be provided an energizing “breakfast to go” which will allow you to sleep as long as possible but to get your morning nutrients and energy reved. Call us at 434.846.1388 to discuss room availability and our Storming of Thunder Ridge package. This package includes a therapeutic deep tissue LaStone Massage which will relax and re-energize your muscles after they have been tested to their limit. Best of luck to all of the riders!
For more detailed event information, registration material and any event updates visit www.stormingofthunderridge.org.
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