Sunday, November 22, 2015

Petersburg National Battlefield

Yesterday the Grunwalds started our Thanksgiving road trip. This will be our first Thanksgiving with family since 2 months after Sierra was born in 2012 when we drove from New Mexico all the way to Wisconsin for Thanksgiving. What a crazy idea that was! Here we are 3 years later doing it all over again. So far this trip has been much easier.

This morning we woke up, ate breakfast and headed over to the Eastern Front Visitor Center at Petersburg National Battlefield. We arrived in a light drizzle before the visitor center had even opened for the day and so we took the time to check out the small, but interesting, Jordan Cemetery near the parking lot.
Jordan Cemetery
When the visitor center had opened for the day we went inside and watched the park film. After the film had ended, Sierra found a place to color
colring in visitor center
and so Noelle and I took turns checking out the exhibits. After a trip to the restrooms we were off to walk the nearby Dictator Trail.
walking trail
Dictator Trail
We followed the trail through Confederate Battery 5,
fort
down to some railroad tracks, and then over to the Dictator,
the Dictator
a mortar used by Union troops to shell the Confederates.

After returning to the parking lot, we embarked on a drive of the Eastern Front Battlefield. One of the more interesting stops was #3, the site of Confederate Battery 9 and examples of siege fortifications. The fortifications consisted of wooden stakes called fraise, trenches, and cheveaux-de-frise.
fort 2
There was also a soldier's winter hut
soldiers hut
and the sutler's store.
cabin
We then moved on to Fort Stedman
Fort Stedman cannons
and the site of Fort Morton which featured the remains of Taylor Farm.
chimney
The highlight of the Eastern Front was a trip to the infamous Crater. We walked the trail there
walking girls
past the tunnel entrance
tunnel entrance
and up to the edge of the location of the mine explosion on July 30, 1864.
monument (2)

After touring the Eastern Front we moved on to City Point and Grant's headquarters at the Appomattox Plantation.
Appomattox
We started by watching a film about City Point in the plantation home, toured the exhibits and then moved out into the wind and cold to tour the grounds. We walked the crepe myrtle allee
walking allee
and checked out the headquarters building itself.
Grant's headquarters
This is supposedly the only headquarters cabin in existence that dates to the war. It was moved back to the site from Philadelphia in 1981. I wonder if it had been to Philly after the war for the Centennial Exposition of 1876? We concluded our visit by heading into town for lunch before making the drive up I-95 and into Northern Virginia.

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