Yorktown, Petersburg, and Old Confederate Cemeteries

I was gonna do some big write up about the CSA, but I guess I don’t care that much. Going to the south is like going to a foreign country where they speak English. They have their own history and aristocracy and culture and symbols and clearly none of these are mine/yours (unless you’re from there, I imagine).

And for as extremely polite as they are to your face, southerners are the most impolite drivers in the country. There, it’s been said.

Meanwhile, cool battlefields and cemeteries:

This is an artillery piece from the Yorktown National Battlefield. For as important a battle as it was (it was the last major action in the Revolutionary War), there wasn’t a whole lot to look at. OTOH, the movie was informative and didn’t make me hate George Washington like Mt. Vernon’s did.

Some monument commemorating the battle. The setting is pretty, fwiw. I’d rather have died of a musket shot here than most places.

This artillery is from the Petersburg National Battlefield. There was a lot to see there. It was sort of the South’s last hope at keeping the North out of their one industrial center in Richmond. Was struck by how similar the tactics here were to those employed in World War I (a lot of trenches, stalemates, and unfortunate runs across no-man’s lands). Also thought that the whole thing with the Pennsylvanian miners digging tunnels under the Confederate lines in order to blow them up with dynamite was pretty cool, even if it wasn’t decisive or anything.

On a side-note, Petersburg is as run-down a town as I’ve ever visited, but otoh lunch specials at the Chinese place in town were under $6. There may be a correlation.

Here’s what the Blandford Cemetery looks like:

It was kind of cool. The church there was, after the war, turned into a “memorial chapel”. The Tiffany Company donated stained glass windows for it, with one window for each state that was aligned with the South (including Missouri and Maryland). I pointed out to the tour guide that the windows’ backgrounds corresponded with the actual direction you were facing (e.g., the western windows had mountains in the background, eastern had ocean), which apparently had never occurred to her. Maybe they don’t get many visitors.

Her: That *could* be what it is.

Me: Well, the sun is rising over the ocean in the eastern windows.

Her: Or is it setting?

Me: Assuming that’s the east, I hope it’s rising.

Although it’d be interesting if the earth started spinning the other direction. Kudos to her for keeping that dream alive.

Jefferson Davis’s grave:

Seems weird he was buried in Richmond rather than in Mississippi, where he was a senator. I dunno, whatever. He moved around a lot.

The cemetery is called the Hollywood Cemetery. There are some CSA generals buried there, IIRC, and a couple of forgettable US presidents as well. They also have this:

You just don’t hear much about the Jewish Confederate experience.

Monroe and Tyler Too were the presidents. I guess there are more forgettable ones out there.

And then driving out of Richmond, I cruised down Monument Boulevard, which includes monuments to six of Richmond’s favorite sons (most of whom were not from Richmond):

  • (Gen.) Robert E. Lee
  • (Gen.) J.E.B. Stuart
  • (Pres.) Jefferson Davis
  • (Gen.) “Stonewall” Jackson
  • Matthew Fontaine Maury (renowned oceanographer (?!) and Confederate “Chief of Sea Coast, River and Harbor Defences” in Virginia)
  • Arthur Ashe (the tennis player)

One of these kids is not like the others. Nice houses on the street, though. A lot of statues of guys on horses. One statue of a guy with a tennis racket.

bkd

About Brian Dunn

More solipsistic than most.
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