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Civil War

150th Anniversary of Appomattox Court House

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The McLean House at Appomattox Courthouse is where Lee surrendered to Grant to end the Civil War

The McLean House at Appomattox Courthouse is where Lee surrendered to Grant to end the Civil War

The Sesquicentennial (150) celebration begins tomorrow!  Both the National Park Service and the town of Appomattox are ready for the onslaught of guests from around the world, intent on experiencing this once in a lifetime event.  Have you planned out your next 5 days?

As a follow-up to last week’s blog post below you will find some additional highlights of the events, lectures, programs, real-time re-enactments and educational activities taking place between Wednesday, April 8 until Sunday, April 12, 2015.  Remember, a complimentary shuttle bus service will be running between Lynchburg and Appomattox Court House National Historic Park.  Once at the park a separate shuttle will take you to the individual venues.  For those guests staying at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast a shuttle bus pick-up location is within an easy walk.

Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday: an author’s tent with writers of historical books who will answer your questions, have books to purchase and will help you get a feel for the significance of April 9, 1865.

  • Each day there will be Parole Pass Printing demonstrations
  • Each day you’ll find Wet-plate Photography exhibits in the park
  • Friday, April 10, 2 different guest speakers at Appomattox County High School
  • Friday, April 10, through Sunday, April 12, real-time Stacking of Arms Ceremonies
  • Extended hours at The Museum of the Confederacy each day
  • Special lectures and exhibits at The Museum of the Confederacy each day
  • Cavalry and Horse Artillery Encampment at the Appomattox Center for Business and Commerce each day
  • United States Colored Troops Encampment at Carver Price Legacy Museum each day

The dates, times and locations of these events, programs and special activities plus many more can be found on the found on the following websites:

  • www.appomattox1865foundation.org
  • www.nps.gov/apco
  • www.appomattox150th.com

Need lodging?  Give us a call at 434.846.1388  or check on-line to see if we have had any cancellations.

Appomattox Courthouse Sesquicentennial

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Appomattox Court House

Appomattox Court House (reproduction)

Commemorate the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War, between April 8 to 12, 2015, at Appomattox Court House National Historic Park and throughout Appomattox, Virginia.

Beginning at 9:00am on Wednesday, April 8 and ending at 4:00pm on Sunday, April 12, 2015 a variety of special programs, lectures, activities and events will be held at the National Park and at various locations within the town and county of Appomattox, Virginia.

A real-time program featured on Wednesday the 8th, starting at 3:30 until7:30, will include a lecture and presentation on the Battle.

The Opening Ceremony will take place at the National Park between 11:00-12:30 on Thursday, the 9th.  Between 2:00-3:00 Lee will surrender to Grant at the McLean House within the National Park grounds.  Lee will leave the McLean House between 3:00-3:30, another real-time event.

On Friday, the 10th, Lee and Grant will meet, the Commissioner’s Meeting will be re-enacted, the Confederate Cavalry will surrender and the first Stacking of Arms will take place.  Friday evening, starting at 6:30, a special program the “Footsteps to Freedom” Memorial Ceremony (accompanied by spiritual music) will take place within the National Park.  4500 luminaries will be arranged along a country road to symbolize the slaves living in or near Appomattox when the war ended.

Saturday, the 11th and Sunday the 12th have various lectures, events and programs, held at numerous sites within the National Park, the City of Appomattox or the Museum of the Confederacy.  The last Stacking of Arms Ceremony will take place on Sunday at 1:00.

Directions, times, locations and more information can be found at the following websites.

  •     www.appomattox1865foundation.org
  •      www.nps.gov/apco
  •      www.appomattox150th.com

Complimentary shuttle buses will run throughout the day between Lynchburg and Appomattox.  Parking will be extremely limited.  Separate shuttle buses will take you to the Sesquicentennial venues in the National Park and Appomattox.  Guests staying at The Carriage House Inn will be able to walk to one of the shuttle bus stops to Appomattox Court House.

 

The Battle of Lynchburg

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Battle of Lynchburg

Historic Sandusky, General Hunters Headquarters during the Battle of Lynchburg. Photo circa 1914

150 years ago today, although not a major battle, the city of Lynchburg heard cannon fire and gunshots.  The Battle of Lynchburg is technically a misnomer as the failure of the Union assault kept Lee’s supply lines open, which enabled him to fight for an additional eight months.

Battle of Lynchburg, General Hunter

General Hunter

It took more than three years for the war to reach Lynchburg.  Troop trains regularly pulled into Lynchburg’s Ninth Street Station bearing carloads of wounded Confederate soldiers, as the majority of the tobacco warehouses had been converted into hospitals, making Lynchburg the second-busiest hospital town in the south.  Lynchburg manufactured ammunition at it’s foundries and provided milled grain and flour from one of the area’s largest grist mills.  As a major supply route for the Confederate Troops, General Grant gave General Hunter orders to destroy Lynchburg thereby disrupting supplies to the Confederate Army and thereby ending the war.

As General Hunter marched through the Shenandoah Valley on his way to Lynchburg he ran into little resistance.  He took a page out of General Sherman’s march through the south as he burned and plundered the small towns and villages, including VMI in Lexington as he headed towards Lynchburg.  Meanwhile General Lee, knowing the importance of Lynchburg to the South sent General Jubal Early to defend the city as there were very few able bodied persons left in Lynchburg to mount any type of defense.

As General Early was racing to Lynchburg to defend the city, General Hunter and his men, on their way from Lexington to Lynchburg, arrived in the Town of New London where they were offered food and drink.   This slowed the advance on Lynchburg by several hours buying General Early several hours of time.  Finally, General Hunter arrives in Lynchburg and takes over Sandusky, a plantation in the northwest section of Lynchburg, as his headquarters.  While preparing his battle plan he sends out spies  to the city.

During the evening and night of June 17, 1864, empty trains kept pulling into the 9th Street Station to the cheers of the townspeople as the band played.   Word got back to General Hunter that dozens of trains full of Confederate Troops were arriving to defend the City.  Fearing that he was outnumbered General Hunter decided not to attack the City and retreated.  In a letter to General Grant, General Hunter states, “It had now become sufficiently evident that the enemy concentrated a force at least double the numerical strength of mine and what added to the gravity of the situation was the fact that my troops had scarcely enough  of ammunition left to sustain another well-contested battle.”

While there were a few small skirmishes in Lynchburg during the Battle of Lynchburg, the city was left standing and continued to supply the South for the remainder of the war.  Because of General Hunter’s retreat from the Battle of Lynchburg we have many buildings that may have been destroyed if he was able to complete his mission.  Sandusky stands today and has been restored to the way it looked when it was General Hunter’s headquarters.  It is open to the public.  Check the link for more information.

If you are interested in the Civil War, the surrender at Appomattox Courthouse celebrates its 150th year anniversary next spring.  We are now taking reservations, and I recommend you book early, if you plan on taking part of all the activities the National Park Service has planned for that week.  We are about 20 minutes from Appomattox Courthouse!

 

Hunter’s Raid

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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 Packet Boat Marshall

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The Packet Boat Marshall

A painting of the Packet Boat Marshall at Andrew Jackson’s funeral

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.

Packet Boat Marshall

The hull of the Packet Boat Marshall is stored in Riverside Park

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 Battle of Sailor’s Creek

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Last major battle of Civil War

Battle of Sailor’s Creek

The Battle of Sailor’s Creek was fought on April 6, 1865, near Farmville, Virginia, as part of the Appomattox Campaign, in the final days of the American Civil War.  It was the last major battle between the armies of Gen. Robert E. Lee and Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant.

After Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant broke the Confederate defenses at the Siege of Petersburg, Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia evacuated Petersburg and Richmond on the nights of Aril 2 & 3, 1865.  They began a retreat in hopes of linking up with Gen. Joseph Johnston’s army in North Carolina.  As the union Army pursued and engaged the Confederates in the Battle of Namozine Church (on April 3) and the Battle of Amelia Springs (on April 5), Lee discovered that his route to Danville was blocked by the Union cavalry under the leadership of Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan.  Lee’s only remaining option was to move west on a long march, without food, to Lynchburg.  But the Confederate Commissary General promised Lee that he would send 80,000 rations to Farmville, about 25 miles to the west.

Battle of Sailor's Creek

The old High Bridge in Farmville

On the rainy morning of April 6, skirmish fire announced that Gen. Andrew Humphrey’s Union Second Corps was in pursuit.  Gen. Sheridan’s cavalry cut off nearly one-fourth of the retreating Confederate army.  The Confederates counter attacked but were driven back just as the Union cavalry cut through the right of the Confederate lines.

April 6, 1865 became known as “Black Thursday” among the Confederates.  In the three engagements along Sailor’s Creek, Lee lost roughly one-fourth of his army, many of them captured.  The Federals claimed 7,700 prisoners that day, including six generals.  Lee wrote to President Jefferson Davis, “a few more Sailor’s Creeks and it will all be over.”  Lee surrendered three days later.

The Appomattox County Historical Society will present the battlefield re-enactment of “The Battle of Sailor’s Creek” April 11-13, 2014.  The location of the re-enactment is the Appomattox Center for Business and Commerce, Industrial Park Lane (access from Route 26), Appomattox, VA 24522.  The business center is about 1/4 mile northwest of Route 460 and the town of Appomattox.  Spectator admission is $10 for a single day pass or $15 for a 2-day pass.  Guests attending the re-enactment while staying at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast will be provided with a “bag lunch”  to take with you to the re-enactment.  Call us at 434.846.1388 to inquire about availability and prices.

Battle of Sailor's Creek and High Bridge

The old High Bridge was destroyed at The Battle of Sailor’s Creek. You can walk over the old bridge on the new one.

While visiting the area, be sure to visit High Bridge Trail in Farmville.