Camp Martin Travels

These entries will be a combination of historical day trips, graduate level travel courses, and just little stops along the way. I have been teaching 8th grade American History for over 25 years. I am also a Civil War Reenactor and have traveled to Germany and Austria with several groups of exchange students and written about our adventures. Please check all my posts by using the monthly Blog Archive tabs shown below. I have posted over 150 Blog Episodes since 2009... Please explore them all!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Touring Gettysburg / S.S. Institute Part # 5

PA Advanced Alliance Geography Institute
Journey Through Hallowed Ground
Summer 2009

Remaining Town Battle Damage
---------------------------------------------------------
In this Issue of Camp Martin we rolled up the Advanced Geography Institute on Abraham Lincoln with a tour of the town of Gettysburg and the battlefield. First, we took a walking tour of the town where every building that stood in 1863, when the battle took place, is now enhanced with a plaque designating it as an official Civil War building. Some of the buildings still show the scars of battle as a badge of honor. The Farnsworth House's side brick wall bears over 150 bullet holes and the Female Academy school building has a Confederate shell still lodged in the outside wall. Good thing it didn't go through the window! Several such shells exist around town. I am told the shells were removed and defused and then re-cemented back in place because you have to admit... its pretty cool to have a cannonball adorning your house!

The Dobbin House Inn
----------------------------------------
We stopped for lunch at the famous Dobbin House that was home to an abolitionist minister who conducted a school here for young men. Rev. Alexander Dobbin was also active on the Underground Railroad and after you eat a nice lunch, you can tour the old kitchen of the house and see the home's secret hiding place. It is located between the first and second floors where slaves waited out the hot days in a small cramped space before proceeding through the night toward the next safe house. Many fugitive slaves were not safe in Gettysburg as they were only a few miles north of the Mason-Dixon Line. The further north they could get, the less chance they would be apprehended by slave-catchers and bounty-hunters. The house also served as a make-shift hospital following the battle.

The Railroad Cut Trench
----------------------------------------
Following lunch, we continued onward like good soldiers with a tour of the Gettysburg Battlefield. One point of interest is the railroad cut shown above, which was not here during the battle. This is the continuation of the rail line that was constructed beyond the Gettysburg Station, following Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. For some unknown reason, the railroad cut is one area of the battlefield where the remains of soldiers are still sometimes found today. The park service, local groups, and private contributors have invested a lot of funds within the last five years to help preserve the battlefield. Below, an original barn that once served as a field hospital is getting a new, period correct, wooden shingle roof.

Original Barn Restoration
----------------------------------------
I have been on a lot of Gettysburg Battlefield tours but this one was unique. Our presenter, Dr. Benjamin Dixon, did a study of how the Gettysburg National Battlefield Park evolved and changed over time. Gettysburg is one of the few places in America that is actually aging backwards, looking more and more like it did in 1863 every year. Since it became a national park, the battlefield has slowly been purchased in 400 individual pieces of real estate to date. Many individual monuments and even two large rocks have their own deeds. One key farm during the battle was purchased in 23 individual sections over a 92-year time span and one acre is still privately owned within the original property.

Little Round Top View
----------------------------------------
The battlefield had gone through an amazing transformation over the years from the original landscape to a carnival of commerce and is now reverting back to 1863 again. At first, small businesses sprung up around the edge of the battlefield to offer food, lodging, and souvenirs to tourists. They were tolerated because they were locally owned and did attract tourists but they continued to pop up and were getting larger and more intrusive as they were now appearing within the battlefield itself. The history of Gettysburg was taking a back seat and commercialism was becoming the new enemy invading the sacred space.

 Early Battlefield Tours
----------------------------------------
Hard to believe, but at one time a large two story motel sat at the base of Little Round Top. A small airport and trolley ran right through the middle of the battlefield where people could get a sightseeing tour from air or ground of where the action took place. In 1927 the Flying Circus Air Show came to the Gettysburg Airport with wing daredevils and parachute jumps above the battlefield. There were also two large car dealerships, a Texaco gas station, a Freeze and Frizz ice cream parlor, four different themed restaurants, the Peace Light Motel, Home Sweet Home Motel, Battlefield Motel, Carlana Motel, Sergeant’s Rental Cabins, multiple souvenir stands, and here is the kicker... Dead center within the sacred battlefield was Fantasyland and Storybook Park! It was becoming a carnival!

View of PA Monument
----------------------------------------
Historical minded people came together and decided something must be done to stop the spread of business and even reverse the trend. Various groups were formed and funding was generated to turn back the clock to 1863! All 21 privatly owned businesses have since been purchased slowly over time by different historical groups and been removed with the landscape returned to as close to its natural state as possible. All that remains of the Gettysburg Airport is a small concrete slab were the ticket booth once stood. So history has been preserved but your days of eating a raspberry & vanilla twist cone, while hearing about Picket's Charge, while walking through the visual representation of the favorite story book from your childhood are long gone! Apparently, the Three Little Pigs and 53,000 causalities just don't peanut butter and jelly together anymore! I guess, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

 View from the Stone Wall
----------------------------------------
There are still 1,000 acres that are privately owned within the battlefield that remain unprotected and vulnerable to development. The old visitor's center has been replaced with a grand new building off the battlefield site. The old structure was recently demolished and the Cyclorama Building is soon to follow. Roadways not original to 1863 are no exception as 22 avenues have been removed. Acres of new trees that had grown tall over areas that were previously barren during the battle have been removed sparking some criticism from residents who liked the trees. However, history must be preserved, rail fence rows have been rebuilt, stone walls shaped up, and power lines buried along the Emmitsburg Road. The two biggest eyesores that remain are the McDonalds and KFC on Steinwehr Avenue. Will war be waged against Ronald McDonald and Colonel Sanders? Time will tell...

Confederate Field Gun
----------------------------------------

-->
PLEASE SEE RELATED BLOGS…

Journey Through Hallowed Ground Series
Part # 1 / John Brown’s Raid / Chambersburg

Journey Through Hallowed Ground Series
Part # 2 / John Brown’s Raid / Harper’s Ferry

Journey Through Hallowed Ground Series
Part # 3 / Lincoln’s Cottage at The Soldier’s Home

Journey Through Hallowed Ground Series
Part # 4 / Lincoln in Gettysburg / The Gettysburg Address

Journey Through Hallowed Ground Series
Part # 5 / Gettysburg Town and National Battlefield Park





_____________________________________________________________ 

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Gettysburg Address / S.S. Institute Pt. # 4

PA Advanced Alliance Geography Institute
Journey Through Hallowed Ground
Summer 2009

Gettysburg Train Station
----------------------------------------------------
Our first stop today was the Gettysburg Train Station where President Abraham Lincoln arrived on Wednesday, November 18, 1863 to attend the dedication of the new military cemetery of Union dead scheduled for the following afternoon. The town had been devastated from the three-day battle that took place four months earlier and Lincoln's arrival was highly anticipated by the townspeople. Lincoln was received by a large crowd of admirers and the town elders who walked the president up the street to the town square. Lincoln enjoyed the positive energy of the crowd whom he interacted with and greeted warmly. The restored train station is a much larger structure today because it was expanded as Gettysburg developed through the years. When Lincoln arrived, Gettysburg was the end of the line, as the tracks did not yet continue to the next town. It is a beautiful building and you can see the original station within the current structure.

David Wills House
----------------------------------------
Next, we followed in Lincoln's footsteps to the recently renovated David Wills House on the square in Gettysburg to tour the residence where Abraham Lincoln stayed the night. Apparently, someone dropped the ball and forgot to reserve a room for the president prior to his arrival in town. With every room booked, David Wills a lawyer who helped with the cemetery planning, offered the president a place to sleep for the night. The house has been restored to its original 1863 appearance, including all the furniture that Lincoln used while staying in the guest bedroom upstairs. It is believed he may have worked out the final version of his speech within this room, although this is open to endless debate. No one, including Lincoln, could have predicted that his short speech, known as the Gettysburg Address, would go on to become one of the most famous speeches of all time.

Lincoln Bedroom / Wills House
--------------------------------------------------
The various rooms of the home have been transformed into well laid out museum displays with various artifacts. The Power of Place was certainly apparent in the upstairs bedroom where Lincoln walked, worked, and later slept. It is obviously the main attraction of this historical landmark. On that evening, a large crowd of onlookers gathered outside the house located on the corner of York and Baltimore Streets. Lincoln periodically played celebrity by appearing in the window to wave to the enthusiastic crowd. The restored landmark home was finished in time to commemorate Lincoln's 200th birthday in 2009. The site is now part of the National Park Service and the Gettysburg National Military Park, even though it is physically disconnected from the battlefield. This type of park status takes special consideration and can only be accomplished through an act of Congress, which was approved and passed.

 Lincoln Statue / Gettysburg Square
----------------------------------------------------
One of the most famous spots on the square is the statue of President Abraham Lincoln gesturing to a tourist to check out the David Wills House. The tourist, who could use some fashion advice from the show What Not to Wear, always wears a sweater no matter how hot and humid it is outside. One benefit of this attraction is that if you stand between them and get your picture taken, you come out looking really cool, hip, and well... alive! Wouldn't you agree? Never mind, please don't leave a comment below that would hurt my self-esteem.

National Cemetery Layout
----------------------------------------------------
Now on with our story, we continued on to the new cemetery Lincoln came to help dedicate. The town of Gettysburg faced a total heath crisis following the Battle of Gettysburg. Over 50,000 causalities were left behind in the aftermath of the battle as the armies moved south into Virginia. The dead were buried haphazardly in shallow graves in the sweltering summer heat. It was said that you could smell Gettysburg twenty miles before you arrived. Over 22,000 wounded needed treatment. They were scattered throughout the town, sheltered in barns, churches, and the shade of trees. Soon Camp Letterman was created on the edge of town as a massive field hospital where the wounded from both sides were treated and slowly transferred by rail to large hospitals in Philadelphia and Baltimore. Gettysburg was still very much in a state of recovery when President Lincoln arrived on the eve of the cemetery dedication.

National Cemetery Monuments
----------------------------------------------------
The cemetery itself came about mostly from concerned citizens who lobbied for a final resting place for the fallen Union soldiers. The State of Pennsylvania agreed and Governor Curtin appropriated funds for the project. The cemetery was designed in a semi circle around a center monument, seen on the photo above on the right. The site was also home to the New York Monument commemorating the state that lost the most soldiers during the battle, shown on the left. It is one of the largest monuments ever dedicated at Gettysburg but was placed near the bottom of the slope so it would not upstage the center monument and focal point of the design. The soldiers were laid out in a semi circle pattern with sections devoted to individual states and the unknown dead. The Confederate fallen remained on the battlefield until they were removed in the 1870's to southern cemeteries. However, several confederates were buried within the National Cemetery by mistake and are a point of interest for visitors. Over 10,000 people came to the dedication and the ground has been sacred ever since... to northern visitors. The south was left out.

Ginnie Wade Grave Site
----------------------------------------------------
It was recently discovered the monument marking the spot where Lincoln gave his famous address was actually incorrect. The actual spot is occupied by another famous person from the battle. Apparently, the grave site of Ginnie Wade (the only civilian killed during the three day battle) is the actual site of the speech. Although the spot is only about 30 yards away from the celebrated spot, it is actually not part of the national cemetery. The town cemetery expanded over the years to cover the speech area with graves right up to a large iron fence that was erected to separate the two cemeteries. An American flag marks the approximate spot (see above) but most think it is part of Ginnie Wade's grave site. Incidentally, you might wonder about the time line of this description, until you realize... this is the fourth resting place for the body of Ginnie Wade. Why they can't just move her one more time is a mystery... You think she would be used to it by now!

Cemetery Tree Preservation
----------------------------------------------------
One other interesting point to mention... Someone was concerned that the original trees from the battle that were still standing were also in danger and were being destroyed by lightning. So... Every tree that could be identified as original to 1863 is now protected by a lightning rod. Someone crawled to the top of each tree and then ran a cable down the trunk to the ground. See picture of our guide Dr. Ben Dixon next to the large tree, he is holding one of the cables (not something you should do during a thunderstorm). The funny thing is... It works and the trees are living longer happier lives void of death from lightning. A lightning rod cable is what now designates which tree is an original 1863 tree!

Rememberance Day Tribute
----------------------------------------------------
Every November Remembrance Day is observed in honor of the fallen from one of America's most tragic chain of events. Reenactors from all over the country merge on the hallowed ground to pay their respects during the laying of wreaths ceremony. There is a parade through town and then an evening illumination to conclude the annual event. I have participated in parts of these ceremonies with members from my reenacting unit from Lancaster, the Pennsylvania 30th Volunteers Company E. It is a moving experience for all who attend.

Note: The cemetery was later opened to burial of Adams County veterans from all wars.

-->
PLEASE SEE RELATED BLOGS…

Journey Through Hallowed Ground Series
Part # 1 / John Brown’s Raid / Chambersburg

Journey Through Hallowed Ground Series
Part # 2 / John Brown’s Raid / Harper’s Ferry

Journey Through Hallowed Ground Series
Part # 3 / Lincoln’s Cottage at The Soldier’s Home

Journey Through Hallowed Ground Series
Part # 4 / Lincoln in Gettysburg / The Gettysburg Address

Journey Through Hallowed Ground Series
Part # 5 / Gettysburg Town and National Battlefield Park





_____________________________________________________________

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Lincoln Cottage / S.S. Institute Part # 3

PA Advanced Alliance Geography Institute
Journey Through Hallowed Ground
Summer 2009


 Lincoln Cottage Visitor's Center
----------------------------------------------------
Few people, including some historians, realize President Abraham Lincoln moved out of the White House during the warm summer months to a cottage on the Soldier's Home campus. The Soldier's Home was the first retirement home for veteran soldiers who had no family to care for them in their old age. The campus was funded by the federal government and was built on a hill about three miles from the capital. James Buchanan was the first president to accept an invitation to take up residence on the grounds in one of their spacious administrative cottages during the warm months. Washington D.C. was not a nice place to live during the hot humid days of summer. It was a tidewater region full of mosquitoes that multiplied in the various swamps of the city. The landscape did not resemble the Washington we visit today as the swamps and bogs have since been filled in and waterways altered. The Soldier's home offered a temporary escape from the hot and humid climate, political and otherwise.

 Veteran's Retirement Home
----------------------------------------------------
Abraham Lincoln grew up a country boy from the wilderness where he spent countless hours in deep thought in the quiet and solitude within his small and uncomplicated world. However, following his election to the presidency, he descended on the capital city of Washington D.C. which was consumed by a storm of turmoil that would soon engulf the country in civil war. Lincoln’s first year in the White House was one filled with national and personal tragedy. The nation had divided over the issue of slavery and then clashed back together again in violence. With the death of his young son Willie in 1862, the Lincoln family descended into mourning their loss. As Mary Lincoln observed, “When we are in sorrow, quiet is very necessary to us.” The family soon accepted an invitation from the Soldier’s Home to take up residence in a cottage located on the peaceful grounds of the home previously established for disabled and retired American veterans.

 Lincoln Cottage / Front View
----------------------------------------------------
Moving his family to the cottage at the Soldier’s Home offered a stark contrast to the setting of the busy White House full of political enemies and the overwhelming pressures of office. It is easy to imagine that the president was able to absorb a full view of the outside world while commuting between his two bookend residences. In transit, he could take in the people directly affected by his decisions and might try to absorb the meaning of their lives and how they were individually impacted by the war. His impressions were most likely diverse as he passed and possibly conversed with the local merchant stocking his wares, a farmer selling his harvest, soldiers running errands, a wagon master making a delivery, and the contraband slaves making their way to camp. This contact with the common man most likely helped keep Lincoln’s feet firmly on the ground and served as a reminder of whom he was working for as President of the United States. The commute gave the president a view of the people, who by a majority had given him the authority to lead them and hope he could deliver on his promises.

 The Lincoln / Horse Statue
----------------------------------------------------
At the cottage the president could perhaps, take his mind back to the slower pace of Springfield, where he could have a quiet place to think and rehearse strategy and outcomes through his mind. The cottage offered a small town setting but hardly solitude, as visitors frequently stopped to visit the commander in chief. Some were of a political nature but many were also of the social variety that involved story telling and recitals of favorite poetry and literature. Friends from Illinois called frequently to visit and socialize with the Lincoln family. Here he might be able to step out of the role of president and possibly talk freely with acquaintances he could trust outside the political prison of the White House. It is highly possible these private conversations and quiet free time to think, helped shape his slow development of key legislation such as the Emancipation Proclamation.

Lincoln Cottage / Front View
----------------------------------------------------
At the White House Lincoln received visitors who were trying to persuade his idea on emancipation one way or another. Lincoln’s only goal was to defeat the rebellion in the south by any means necessary. He was juggling the viewpoints of abolitionists, conservative politicians, radical republicans and everything in between. However, the one representative that really mattered concerning the issue of emancipation was the black population of African decent. A population that had the most to gain or lose on Lincoln’s evolving policy on the controversial subject. Lincoln’s encounters within the free salve contraband communities along his route commuting to and from the capital may have had the biggest and most influential impact of Lincoln’s continuous development of the ideas associated with emancipation. The encounters with the former slaves and their growing population within the city certainly had an impact on Lincoln’s policy on emancipation.

 Lincoln Cottage / Rear View
----------------------------------------------------
In time, the cottage would provide the Lincoln family a place to actually be a family, something not possible at the White House. Over time, the family would come together and find a balance that would provide some of their happiest years together. Mary Lincoln was able to take control at the cottage and run the household, which was obviously very important to her. At the bustling White House in the city, she had little ability to control what was happening and the possibility of having time as a family was nonexistent. Also, due to her family’s southern connections and the fact that her brothers were fighting and dying for the Confederate cause made her, an unpopular First Lady within the city limits of the nation’s capital. She wasn’t able to grieve the loss of her siblings publicly. Perhaps, the slower pace of the cottage, in contrast to the hectic White House, granted her the private setting she needed to pay respect to her fallen siblings and mourn their loss. Over time, her constant trips to the northeast would slow and the family would come together and have real time as a family during the evening hours of the day. Mary would later recollect, that her time at the cottage were some of the happiest of her life. The setting of the cottage helped bring a degree of peace and balance to the Lincoln family.

 Lincoln Cottage / Rear Porch
----------------------------------------------------
The cottage of the Soldier’s Home may have slowed the pace of Lincoln’s life during the remains of the day, but it did not offer an escape from the war. While at the cottage, Lincoln himself was flanked by enemies on two sides. The enemies in the form of extremely heavy burdens were within his line of sight on two sides of the cottage and served as constant reminders of the true cost of the Civil War. To one side was the Soldier’s Home, where the population of wounded veterans with no family to care for them increased by the day. On the opposite side of the cottage, was the ever-growing cemetery filling with the war dead on a daily basis. Together these burdens must have combined to create a powerful and constant image of the mounting human cost of the conflict. As Lincoln worked through his thoughts and digested what his course of action would become, he was surely shaped by the visual reminders that surrounded him at the cottage.

 National Cemetery Entrance
----------------------------------------------------
In conclusion, the Soldiers Home cottage offered President Lincoln a refuge to think, to consider outcomes and possibilities that may not have presented themselves inside the volatile presidential mansion of the capital city. A combination of visual reminders surrounding the cottage and the contacts made en route as he traveled to and from work everyday, certainly provided a setting that may have influenced and shaped his thinking on key decisions surrounding emancipation and the war itself. The “power of place” can have an enormous impact on how we perceive the world around us and the human element connected to the consequences of our resulting actions may come into focus. The cottage at the Soldier’s Home offered Lincoln a setting that may have helped shape the future of the nation and impact how all of us view and live within the modern world.


Did you Know...

Lincoln's Cottage is not a home tour, all rooms are mostly vacant because although the family spent a lot of time here, no written descriptions exist of the interior.  However, the tour allows you to really focus on the space and man rather than the furniture.

Lincoln commuted daily to the White House without military escort until someone took a shot at him knocking off his stove pipe hat.  The hat was later retrieved with a bullet hole through the middle.

From that point on, a cavalry unit was assigned to guard the president and the Lincoln family, camping on the grounds at the Soldier's Home.  Sometimes Lincoln was accompanied by Secretary of War Edwin Stanton who also resided in a cottage on the grounds.



Union Civil War Markers
-----------------------------------------
-->
PLEASE SEE RELATED BLOGS…

Journey Through Hallowed Ground Series
Part # 1 / John Brown’s Raid / Chambersburg

Journey Through Hallowed Ground Series
Part # 2 / John Brown’s Raid / Harper’s Ferry

Journey Through Hallowed Ground Series
Part # 3 / Lincoln’s Cottage at The Soldier’s Home

Journey Through Hallowed Ground Series
Part # 4 / Lincoln in Gettysburg / The Gettysburg Address

Journey Through Hallowed Ground Series
Part # 5 / Gettysburg Town and National Battlefield Park






_____________________________________________________________ 

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Harper's Ferry / S.S. Institute Part # 2


PA Advanced Alliance Geography Institute
Journey Through Hallowed Ground
Summer 2009

Original Town Structures
----------------------------------------------------
Harper's Ferry is one of the most unique historic places I have ever visited, a trip back to another place and time. You enter the sight from up above on the mountaintop, park your car, and then descend down to the town by one of the National Park's tour buses to experience history. Harper's Ferry is an active town where resident's cars enter through a private entrance. This policy cuts down on the car traffic within the town and allows pedestrian tourists to navigate more freely through the streets. The town is built onto a steep hillside that gives the illusion you are visiting a village somewhere in the European Alps. It is a fun place to spend the day and explore.

 Rail-Line Mountain Tunnel
----------------------------------------------------
The location of Harper's Ferry is still a critical geographic passenger and freight rail interchange for the area, as five trains passed through during our two hour visit. It a unique destination with something for everyone including, hiking out to Jefferson's Rock for a great view of the valley below. On this particular day it was inching close to 90 degrees so I decided to stay in town and get some ice cream instead. I did get up there on my last visit and it is worth the horizontal walk, on a cool day. (See Photo Below) The famous rock and resulting view gets it's name from Thomas Jefferson, who stood on that rock on October 25, 1783 to admire the view. Finally, the town has a lot of unique shops, museums, and Mother Nature in abundance.

Coal Train Climbing
----------------------------------------------------
Now back to history and our story about the rebellious abolitionist, John Brown and his attempted raid on Harper's Ferry... John Brown was not new to action and violence for his beloved cause. He was on the run for killing five pro slavery settlers in Kansas and then leading eleven slaves from Missouri to freedom all the way in Canada. He and his sons rented a farm a short distance away, where his group continued to stockpile weapons and were joined by several more followers. Up to this point, John Brown had never been apprehended or even questioned by the authorities. He viewed his successful raid in Missouri as a trial run for Harper's Ferry and his confidence in himself and his abilities was never higher.

 The Railroad Bridge
----------------------------------------------------
The Plan... John Brown believed he received direct instructions from God, which cause many historians to question his mental stability and sanity. Harper's Ferry was home to the Federal Armory where 100,000 firearms and munitions were stored, often supplied by a rife factory from down the road. Brown and his nineteen followers planned to seize the armory and the slaves from nearby plantations would descend on the armory where Brown would give them the rifles from the armory and they would descend south, liberating one plantation after another. A giant slave uprising, where former slaves would liberate their own people by force.

 The Fire House Last Stand
----------------------------------------------------
On October 16, 1859 Brown and 19 of his 21 followers arrived in Harper's Ferry after cutting the telegraph lines into town. They quickly captured the armory, which was poorly guarded. They took hostages from the surrounding area including Lewis Washington, the great-grandnephew of George Washington. The raid was going according to plan but began to fall apart. Word spread to nearby plantations for slaves to run to their chance at freedom but few, if any did. A local baggage master named Hayward Shepherd ran out to warn an approaching train about the raid and was shot down by Brown's men. Ironically the first man killed in John Brown's raid to free the slaves was a free black man. The train continued on and the word was out that Harper's Ferry was under attack.
No slaves had shown up to carry Brown's vision through but the locals had enough of John Brown and all the problems he had caused. The local militia pinned down the rebels in the armory and captured the bridge to cut off any possible escape. Brown's men gathered the hostages and moved into the engine house at the front of the armory. The locals surrounded it and exchanged fire throughout the day. One of Brown's sons went out with a white flag seeking a ceasefire but was shot down and killed on the spot. The next morning a detachment of United States Marines arrived led by Robert E. Lee and J.E.B. Stuart who soon stormed the engine house killing and capturing the raiders. Within three minutes, all hostages were rescued, half the raiders were killed, and Brown was seriously wounded. All survivors stood trial for high treason against the State of Virginia despite the fact that they were apprehended by federal troops on federal property.

Quiet Historic Street Scene
----------------------------------------------------
John Brown laid on a cot in the middle of the court room as his fate was decided at his week long trial. He was convicted of the charges made against him and was sentenced to a public handing on December 2, 1859, He became a martyr for the cause becoming a hero in the north and a villain in the south, further dividing the country.


Did you know...

+ Stonewall Jackson was present at the execution to prevent Brown's rescue or escape

+ John Wilkes Booth disguised himself as a solder so he could watch Brown's execution

+ A friend of Brown had managed to break into the prison but Brown refused to escape

+ Brown fathered 20 children but only 11 lived to adulthood, 2 more died in the raid

+ The military song Battle Hymn of the Republic original title was John Brown's Body

+ A total of 5 of Brown's 21 raiders at Harper's Ferry were free, former, or fugitive slaves

+ Johnny Cash played John Brown in the television miniseries North and South in 1985

+ The Appalachian Trail runs through Harper's Ferry and is almost the trail's midpoint


Please See My Additional Photos of Harper's Ferry at...
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------


 Time Travel in Harper's Ferry
----------------------------------------------
--> -->
PLEASE SEE RELATED BLOGS…

Journey Through Hallowed Ground Series
Part # 1 / John Brown’s Raid / Chambersburg

Journey Through Hallowed Ground Series
Part # 2 / John Brown’s Raid / Harper’s Ferry

Journey Through Hallowed Ground Series
Part # 3 / Lincoln’s Cottage at The Soldier’s Home

Journey Through Hallowed Ground Series
Part # 4 / Lincoln in Gettysburg / The Gettysburg Address

Journey Through Hallowed Ground Series
Part # 5 / Gettysburg Town and National Battlefield Park





______________________________________________________________________________

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Chambersburg / S.S. Institute Part # 1


PA Advanced Alliance Geography Institute
Journey Through Hallowed Ground
Summer 2009


Rushing Waters = Mill Power
----------------------------------------------------
Today we were headed off to historic Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, a settlement founded by the Chambersburg family where the Conococheague and Falling Spring Creeks come together. Benjamin Chambers took advantage of the fast moving water to power a grist and saw mill. The town grew up around him and was originally known as Falling Spring. The community grew to about 3,000 residents prior to the French and Indian War. However, the population declined by 90% during the conflict because the settlement was considered beyond the frontier line of safety. Fighting did occur nearby and Benjamin Chambersburg led the local militia in the town's defense.

Faded Colonial Grave Stones
----------------------------------------------------
The history of Chambersburg is often associated with violent events. In addition to the French and Indian War, the area was connected to Cresap's War, Pontiac's Rebellion, Burnt Cabins, Enoch Brown School Massacre, John Brown's Raid, and the Civil War. However, the one thing that most people associate with Chambersburg was that it was the only town north of the Mason Dixon Line to be burned by Confederate troops during the Civil War. In July of 1864 a Confederate detachment of cavalry forces led by General John McCausland invaded the town and demanded a ransom to spare it from being burned. Every town along their route was given the same ultimatum and every town scraped the money together to pay the ransom but one... Chambersburg!

The Burning of Chambersburg
(Painting Credit / Ron Lesser)
----------------------------------------------------
The town elders thought the price tag was just too high at $100,000 in gold or $500,000 in United States currency. They didn't really think they would go through with it and called their bluff... Guess what... they were dead wrong and the town went up in flames across several square blocks, completely destroying over 500 buildings in the center of town. The only building spared was the Masonic Temple because General McCausland was a Mason and did not want to break his oath to the Freemasonry, so the temple was untouched by the torch. If the town would have known this in advance, maybe they could have put a Masonic symbol on every building in town! Rumor has it, the elders had the gold but just didn't want to part with it. Remember kids, it doesn't pay to be greedy! (Painting: The Burning of Chambersburg by Ron Lesser)

Chambersburg Founders Statue
----------------------------------------------------
One house that was spared from fire was Mary Ritner's Boarding House where John Brown had previously stayed and planned much of his famous failed raid at Harper's Ferry, Virginia. Had the Confederate troops known of the connection, they surely would have sought the house out and had it destroyed. Chambersburg, being located on the border between Pennsylvania and Maryland, was frequented by both runaway slaves and slave catchers. The Underground Railroad was active in the area and probably a reason why John Brown came to this town to plan out his scheme to liberate the slaves of southern states. Today the house is known as the John Brown House and you can tour this restored property that helped spark the Civil War.

 Boarding House Exterior
----------------------------------------------------
John Brown rented an upstairs bedroom in the summer of 1859 under the alias, Dr. Isaac Smith and claimed to work in the iron business. While at the boarding house, several key abolitionist co-conspirators visited Brown at the house where they worked to secure weapons for their planned raid on the federal arsenal at Harper's Ferry. They were financed by a group of wealthy abolitionists from New England, known as the Secret Six, who provided funding for their cohort operations. The weapons, along with iron working tools to help cover up their activities, were stored in wooden crates in local warehouses.

Boarding House Parlor
----------------------------------------------------
The think tank of the house was the center parlor on the first floor (shown above) where they key elements of the plan were most likely discussed and worked out in detail. Frederick Douglass is said to have met Brown at a nearby abandoned stone quarry one night near Chambersburg where Brown laid out his plan of attack. Douglass saw the surrounding steep mountains of Harper's Ferry as a natural fence, preventing escape. He labeled the plan a suicide mission and refused to participate in Brown's plan. Not to be discouraged, John Brown continued putting the pieces of his puzzle together and eventually moved his weapon stores to the Kennedy Farm in Maryland where he would collect his followers and later launch his assault.

Later we will visit Harper's Ferry and see how John Brown's determined mindset would divide the country further and move the country closer to Civil War. Stay tuned...

-->
PLEASE SEE RELATED BLOGS…

Journey Through Hallowed Ground Series
Part # 1 / John Brown’s Raid / Chambersburg

Journey Through Hallowed Ground Series
Part # 2 / John Brown’s Raid / Harper’s Ferry

Journey Through Hallowed Ground Series
Part # 3 / Lincoln’s Cottage at The Soldier’s Home

Journey Through Hallowed Ground Series
Part # 4 / Lincoln in Gettysburg / The Gettysburg Address

Journey Through Hallowed Ground Series
Part # 5 / Gettysburg Town and National Battlefield Park
 



_____________________________________________


Total Pageviews