I had the day off today, and decided to take a hike. Originally, I was going to head to a state park about 2.5 hours away, and then I just thought how nice it would be to not drive that far. I also was thinking about Veterans' Day this weekend, and decided to honor our veterans in my own way by hiking around Petersburg National Battlefield. To all of you veterans out there (I am not a vet but my older brother is) - Happy Veterans' Day, and thank you for your service to the US of A!
Petersburg, Virginia was the longest siege in American history, lasting about nine and half months from June, 1864 to April 2, 1865. I cannot even imagine the suffering involved in this siege warfare, which was critical to bringing our great Civil War to an end. Petersburg was crucial to Richmond's few remaining supply routes because it was a major southern railway junction. Grant knew that if he could take Petersburg, Richmond would fall and Lee's army would be unsupported and without supplies. It took a long time, with several major battles and 10's of thousands of casualties, but eventually the inevitable happened and Lee had to abandon his lines and flee towards his army's surrender one week later at Appomattox Courthouse. As I walked the now peaceful and even beautiful grounds, I thought of the veterans - now long gone - of the Army of the Potomac and the Army of Northern Virginia that faced each other here in deadly earnest 148 years ago. I honor the vets of both armies, because although I do not agree with their cause, the Confederate soldiers were also Americans who fought and suffered for what they believe in. May they all rest in peace.
My walk was about 7.5 miles long, and was pretty easy - no major uphills or downhills, and the path was smooth and level for the most part. I really enjoyed myself, with my little hike through mostly beautiful forests with a historical twist. Here is a map of where I walked, starting and ending at the star, and heading in the direction of the arrows - counter clockwise.
What am I?" series. I've indicated four historic sites with little American flags.
Is this the railway to nowhere? No, it is the only surviving portion of the railway line from City Point to the Union lines at Petersburg. Ships would steam up the James River to the huge Federal supply depot and trains would deliver the supplies to the troops. 50,000 tons of supplies were so delivered. By contrast, the Confederate soldiers were extremely under supplied and malnourished.
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