Wednesday, July 15, 2015

2015 Road Trip, Day 24: Appomattox Junior Rangers

 Luke was looking forward to this stop.  We've been studying and returning to the Civil War for the last six months - it's such a huge point in American History that we can't help returning to it as the hub of our current studies!  I know he was happy to explore Appomattox as a Civil War site, but he asked "Does this mean I'm finally DONE with the Civil War?"  For the moment...until we get to it in politics.

Jude really wanted to earn a Junior Ranger badge.  It was definitely a challenge for him, but he did it! Some of the challenges were just figuring out where to work on his answers!

We kept scouting out tucked away corners to fill in the answers.  He found this corner in the parlor where the Terms of Surrender were signed, so he could sketch the "Silent Witness" -- a doll that belonged to one of the McLean girls.

(This one is a reproduction. The original is safely housed in a case in the Visitors' Center museum.)

And if you can't find a bright corner, a dark one and a brother holding a flashlight will work.

I think we all earned the Junior Ranger badge.  Celia and Jude got their badges, but I have about a dozen mosquito bites.

We explored several buildings.  First was the Clover Hill Tavern, where presses were set up to print parole slips.

Across from the tavern was the town jail.  Before Grant and Lee put it on the map, Appomattox was a small agricultural community and stage stop on the Richmond-Lynchburg Road. 

It took the younger ones a minute to realize this ring wasn't a trap door -- it was for chaining prisoners to the floor.

They all thought the gun rack made from antlers was clever.  Celia's input: "Wow, when they talk about they used everything from the animal they hunted, they weren't kidding."

Along this open stretch is where the Confederate soldiers surrendered their weapons. It's across the path from the Peer house, where the last shots were fired.

At the other end of the small village is the McLean house.  Lee sent a message to Grant, asking him to find a place where they could meet to discuss terms of surrender.  One of Grant's men found Willer McLean outside his home (probably checking for damage after the morning's skirmish) and asked to use his home.  He agreed, and there the generals met.

In our travels, we've been listening to a new audiodrama from Heirloom Audio Productions.  We loved the two others we reviewed for them, and were so excited when this one came out.  Look for our review later, but let's say their timing couldn't be be better.  What is its title?  With Lee In Virginia.

As we traveled through the park, we found the Confederate cemetery.  However, there is one Union soldier buried there.  The parade of images of all the "which side of the skirmish line" fighting that we've seen for the last two summers came to a screeching halt.

In death, there's not much different. 

After our touring was done, we took our completed books to the Rangers for checking.  Both Celia and Jude received their badges.  They also earned parole slips -- remember the ones printed at the tavern? They have "living history" sessions where rangers show the printing process, and then they are given to new Junior Rangers.

It's a good thing they were paroled -- we're heading back north (and back in time) to visit Monticello, the estate of one of Jude's favorite founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson. 

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