If I thought we left early last week, I was mistaken! This morning, we departed for Winchester and Front Royal from the Appleford at the crack of dawn (also known as 7 am to us college kids!). By the time we were in Maryland, pretty much everyone on the bus was asleep. Unlike our other trips to date, we brought our guide, Tim Smith of the Adams County Historical Society, with us. After we passed his beloved Dinosaur Land (a park from the sixties filled with concrete statues of dinosaurs), our tour of Jackson's Valley Campaign of 1862 began- on the bus!
On this beautiful day, we started our talk about the Valley Campaign in Front Royal, and then moved on to the First Battle of Winchester. Tim helped us understand many different aspects of how the battles were fought; for example, he told us about Belle Boyd, a Confederate spy who committed many daring atrocities against the Union through her charm and wits. A highlight of our discussions here was a personal one for me. Each of us in the Semester has adopted a regiment to follow throughout the Eastern Theater. Since I don't have any personal ties to the Civil War, I randomly picked the 8th Louisiana Infantry. Well, the 8th Louisiana was top notch here in the Valley: not only did they race across a railroad bridge in pursuit of retreating Yankees, but they surged onto a burning bridge and put out the flames! Clearly, these guys were awesome, and I know how to pick a regiment. We'll just have to wait and see what they did the rest of the war...
|After a long morning, we finally had some lunch, and headed back to the town of Winchester (which changed hands during the Civil War no less than 70 times!). As usual, we talked as we walked down the street. After passing the Winchester courthouse, we went in and learned about the soldier's graffiti that was found on the walls not too long ago, proving that the courthouse was once a prison during the war. Our next stop on the tour was the Stonewall Confederate Cemetery. We walked up and down the grave sites, reading names and remembering all that had placed these men here. Our last point of interest for the day was a trail for the battle of Third Winchester. This would have been a nice stroll on any other day, but we were all preoccupied with wondering how Adrienne would get there with her bad ankle.
|So instead of having a quiet, contemplative walk down the trail, everyone enjoyed watching Adrienne's face go through different shades of red as she was shifted from the back of one person to the next (even Dr. Guelzo did his part!). John gets the medal of the day, though, for carrying Adrienne all the way back to the bus! Finishing our hike, we were finally on our way back to Gettysburg after a long day in Virginia. As a change of pace, next week will find us in Maryland, for the bloodiest day of the Civil War...|