Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Visit to Two Civil War Battlefields

This past week we had an opportunity to visit two Civil War Battlefields here in Virginia.

Gaines's Mill and Cold Harbor.

We walked the paths where both Union and Confederate soldiers walked, fought and died.
This is Ranger Pat.
She did an amazing job at bringing history to life for our group of homeschoolers.
Ranger Pat told the story of how the Union troops were advancing on Richmond, if they could take Richmond, the Civil War would be as good as over.

The thing with Virginia is that we have a lot of trees.

The Union troops were at a pivotal point in their attack, but there were so many trees in their way, they ordered axes to chop down the trees.

The axes arrived sans the handles. Apparently in those days the ax handles came separately.

Since they forgot to order ax handles, the trees stayed intact.

Methinks someone wasn't paying attention when Uncle Bo was talking about gun safety.

That cannon belonged to the Union troops.

Ranger Pat also told us a story about a Union Soldier.

Simon O'Day was the oldest of 10 kids and came to New York from Ireland.

Simon settled down, married and had a child.

When his wife and daughter died, he joined the army.

He fought at Gaines's Mill, and when the fighting got intense, he asked his friend, if he didn't make it, to please take his watch and send it to his family back in Ireland and they'd know he didn't survive.

Simon O'Day died at Gaines's Mill, his watch was sent to his family in Ireland.

Simon's youngest sister never knew her brother, but she heard stories. When she was old enough, she traveled to Virginia to try to find Simon's grave, she was unsuccessful, but she told her kids about their brave uncle. And the story was passed on to each generation after.

Eventually Simon's family found his grave.

He is buried at Cold Harbor, approximately a mile from where he died.

I love learning about our history.


We don't need no stinkin' desks!

Because that's how we homeschoolers roll!

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