A Student of History

April 25, 2012

New War of 1812 Marker to be Dedicated at Va. Church

Filed under: Historic Places,The past that is still with us — John Maass @ 7:03 am
Yeocomico Church

Yeocomico Church

At the old colonial Yeocomico Church (1706) in Westmoreland Co., Va., there’s a new historical marker going up related to the War of 1812. The incident was called “the Yeocomico Poisoning” and the marker will be erected on the church grounds near the roadway. Dedication and unveiling on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at Yeocomico Church. A short program will be held in the church at 9:00 a.m. with the unveiling of the marker at 9:15 a.m.

Yeocomico Church is located on Rt. 606 between Kinsale and Tucker Hill. Yeocomico Church is the oldest church in Westmoreland County. Originally built in 1655 of oak timbers sheathed with clapboards, the church was rebuilt in 1706 with bricks fired in a nearby kiln. 

From the church’s website:   The church, built in 1706, or almost precisely a hundred years after the first settlement at Jamestown, takes its name from Yeocomico River, flowing into the Potomac and dividing Westmoreland from Northumberland. It stands near the Potomac shaded by trees and protected by a brick wall, the restoration of an old one, which even in 1857, according to Bishop Meade’s testimony, was “mouldering away.” The church also has been considerably restored, but it remains notable among Virginia Colonial churches for the curious roof lines created by a gentler slope and then a steeper slope in the gable, and for the porch on the T-side of the cross which has the same broken roof lines. The placing of the windows is likewise unusual, and though the general pattern of the brickwork is the regulation Flemish bond and glazed header combination, there is a quaint variation of that pattern in the gable of the porch and, over the door of the porch, an unusual combination of three arches, the top one based on the two lower—suggesting the top of a mullioned window.

Date in church wall, 1706

Date in church wall, 1706

April 11, 2012

NPS Civil War website launched

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Maass @ 8:44 am

Artillery Hell, by James Hope

From the National Parks Traveler blog:

“Our country is entering year two of the Civil War Sesquicentennial, and many Americans still have a deep interest in the events—and people—connected with that conflict. The National Park Service has launched a new Civil War website that provides a wealth of information and useful tools for both exploring and learning.

“More than a quarter of all national parks preserve Civil War sites or tell stories related to the war. This website offers a single online point of reference for the National Park Service’s Civil War resources and will be an invaluable tool for both students of the Civil War and visitors to our historic sites,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “It also gives the war and events that occurred a century and a half ago meaning to 21st-century Americans.

The new website includes several new features that can be helpful, whether you’re a prospective visitor to a Civil War site, a stay-at-home history buff or even a genealogist.”

Read more at http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/2012/04/national-park-service-launches-civil-war-website9721

April 5, 2012

New Preservation Effort at Shiloh

Filed under: Historic Places,Historic Preservation,Wars — John Maass @ 9:40 am

This morning, April 5, as part of the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission’s annual signature event commemorating 150th anniversary the Battle of Shiloh, the Civil War Trust joined with the National Park Service and State of Tennessee to make announcements regarding the permanent preservation of 925 acres on the Shiloh Battlefield.  The achievements discussed were threefold: the transfer of 167 acres from the Trust to the park; the launch of a $1.25 million campaign to preserve an additional 491 acres inside the park; and the successful completion of efforts to purchase 267 acres at Fallen Timbers.

“We believe that every acre we save is an investment in our country’s future. There can be no more lasting and fitting tribute than protecting the sites where the war’s outcome was decided — the battlefields themselves,” said Trust President James Lighthizer.  “As a permanent and meaningful legacy of the sesquicentennial, we give our children and grandchildren the opportunity to walk these same fields unblemished and undisturbed.”

The day’s events began with a welcome from Susan Whitaker, Tennessee commissioner of Tourist Development and a co-chair of the state Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission and remarks from Gov. Bill Haslam.  Following an introduction from Dr. Carroll Van West, director of the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area and the sesquicentennial commission’s other co-chair, Lighthizer and Trust chairman emeritus John Nau joined federal and state officials for the preservation announcements.

Shiloh National Military Park (NMP) superintendent Woody Harrell said that the transfer of three properties totaling 167 acres, initially acquired by the trust in 2007 and 2008 with the intention that they would eventually become part of the park, is symbolic of the longstanding partnership between the two organizations.  The Trust has previously transferred 192 acres to the park and continues to maintain ownership of two small parcels totaling less than three acres.

“Alongside our dedicated partners at the Civil War Trust, we have been able to enhance the experience of visitors to Shiloh in ways that neither of us would have individually,” said Harrell. “This is the type of outstanding partnership that enables our National Parks to thrive.”

“The significance of Shiloh battlefield is unquestioned; the need to preserve as much as possible is paramount.” said Dr. Carroll Van West, director, Center for Historic Preservation, Middle Tennessee State University and co-chair of the Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission. “We applaud this gift of the Civil War Trust to our state, our nation, and the future.”

Nau, who is also the immediate past chairman of the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and serves as vice-chair of the National Parks Foundation, noted that the transfer is part of a larger effort by the Department of the Interior to acquire historic properties at battlefield parks as part of the sesquicentennial commemoration.  During the past year, the federal government has set aside more than $5 million to transfer battlefield lands into the National Park Service.  When all is said and done, more than 536 acres of battlefield land will have been added to battlefield parks at Manassas, Richmond, Fort Donelson and Shiloh as a tangible legacy of the anniversary period.

“There can be no higher recognition of a site’s historic significance than its inclusion within one of America’s ‘crown jewels’ — its National Parks,” Nau remarked.  “We are thankful that thoughtful officials in the federal government share this vision and have made the acquisition and integration of high priority battlefield land into existing parks a key part of the Civil War sesquicentennial commemoration.”

In addition to the culmination of one preservation effort, the Trust also announced the beginning of an ambitious new project — one that, if successful, would be the largest single acquisition of land at Shiloh since the establishment of the national military park in 1894.  For decades, this 491-acre parcel, which completes the battlefield’s southeastern corner, has topped the park’s acquisition wish list, as it represents the final unprotected portion of the eastern edge of Shiloh Hill. 

During the opening hours of the battle, Confederates from Mississippi and Tennessee, attempting to flank the end of the Union left, slammed into troops of the 54th Ohio and 55th Illinois. These Union soldiers held the high ground above a steep ravine until, out of ammunition and exhausted, they were forced to retreat.  As they withdrew, they came under fire from the triumphant Confederates, one of whom later recalled: “It was like shooting into a flock of sheep.  I never saw such cruel work during the war.”

With is large size and tremendous history, the price for this land is $1.25 million. But, the Trust expects to be able to apply a $1 million government matching grant toward the acquisition, leaving just $250,000 to be raised from private donations.  Moreover, because the property lies within NPS boundaries, the land will quickly become part of Shiloh National Military Park.

The final portion of the announcement concerned a campaign to protect 267 acres associated with the fighting at Fallen Timbers on April 8, 1862 — often considered the “final chapter” of the Battle of Shiloh — that was first announced in December 2011.  Thanks to the generosity of its members, the Trust has now completed its fundraising effort and closed on the property, protecting a full 75 percent of the battlefield in a single transaction.  While the full purchase price for the acquisition was $935,000, the Trust was aided by a $400,000 matching grant from the federal Civil War Battlefield Protection Program. 

The Battle of Shiloh, fought April 6–7, 1862, at Pittsburg Landing, Tenn., was the bloodiest battle in American history up to that point, with more than 23,000 men falling as casualties. Although the Confederate attackers met with initial success, the arrival of Union reinforcements left the Southerners outnumbered and unable to carry the field and sent them retreating to the vital rail hub at Corinth, Miss.  This Union victory, following on the heels of the surrender of Confederate Forts Henry and Donelson, led to Northern domination of Tennessee which and played a role in the ultimate surrender of Vicksburg, dividing the Confederacy in two along the Mississippi River.

In addition to the Shiloh property, the Trust is currently engaged in active fundraising efforts to save significant battlefield properties at Bentonville, N.C., Cedar Creek., Cross Keys, Va., Fredericksburg, Va., Gaines’ Mill, Va., Mill Springs, Ky., Perryville, Ky., and Tom’s Brook, Va. 


April 2, 2012

2 Tours on April 28

Filed under: Wars — John Maass @ 4:05 pm

April 28, 2012 – Chesapeake, Va. – join the American Revolution Round Table of Richmond for a tour of the Great Bridge Battlefield at 10:00 am. Gather at 103 Watson Road. The Great Bridge Battlefield is the scene of the December 9, 1775 contest between Patriot forces and those of Lord Dunmore, the last Royal Governor of Virginia. Come learn the results! Cost is a $12 donation to the Foundation. Checks can be made payable to GBB&WHF. Payment is due the day of the tour. The tour will take about one and a quarter hours. It’s a walking tour, but the park is not that large and there are benches scattered throughout. Everything is wheelchair accessible. Group size limited to 50. Tour is open to all, not just ARRT-Richmond members. If planning to attend, you must send an email to Bill Welsch at wmwelsch@comcast.net to reserve your spot. The Foundation will be preparing information for attendees, hence an accurate count is important. Your email will be acknowledged. The Foundation officers are located at 103 Watson Road, Chesapeake, VA 23320. The building is called “Open Roads Consulting” and is located across Watson Road (a very tiny, 100 foot long road). Drive down the long driveway on the right to access the Historic Park parking. There are about 20 spaces available in the park, and guests are also welcome to park in the Open Roads parking lot. For more information on the battlefield: http://www.gbbattlefield.org

April 28, 2012 – Washington Crossing, Pa. – The David Library staff ride tour of local sites that figured prominently in the Ten Crucial Days campaign of the Revolutionary War. Cost of participating in the all-day event is $75, and includes lunch. The David Library’s Ten Crucial Days Staff Ride, designed and led by military historian William P. Tatum, III, focuses on the events that began with General Washington’s crossing of the Delaware River on December 25, 1776, through the subsequent Battles of Trenton and Princeton. Enrollment is limited, so those interested should certainly book space quickly before the bus is filled. The Staff Ride program will commence at 8:00 am at the David Library. Following a classroom session, there will be a bus tour with stops at Washington Crossing Historic Park in Pennsylvania, the Johnson Ferry House in Washington Crossing State Park in New Jersey, Trenton Battlefield Monument, Assunpink Creek, Princeton Battlefield, and Nassau Hall. A pub lunch will be provided between Trenton and Princeton. The bus will return to the David Library between 5:00 and 6:00 pm. “There is no better way to grasp the realities and significance of battles and campaigns than to be on the actual ground and to imagine each scene as it actually occurred.” To reserve a space, call or email Brian Graziano at 215-493-2233 ext. 100 or graziano@dlar.org. Payment of $75 per participant may be paid by check payable to David Library. Mail payment with participants’ contact information (mailing address, phone number, email address) to Staff Ride, DLAR, P. O. Box 748, Washington Crossing, PA 18977. The staff ride will take place rain or shine.

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