Saturday, November 9, 2013

Seeing the Civil War

We visited some Civil War sites.  All around us are remnants of the Siege of Petersburg, which cut off supplies to the Confederate capitol of Richmond.  The siege ended April 2, 1865, and the Confederate army surrendered seven days later.

We went to City Point, an old plantation that was taken over by Grant's Union army and used as headquarters and transportation hub.  Supplies came down the James River and traveled by rail to the Union forces around Petersburg.  What was a small community of maybe 300 people became one of the busiest ports in the world.  Every day, more than 200 boats and ships delivered goods.  I learned about this from a textbook, but now that I have seen these places, I have a beginning of an understanding.

I had never stopped to consider the huge work of supporting an army.  Alec's most recent stint of training taught him how to cook for the troops, both in kitchens and in field conditions.  He showed us foldable trailers that were equipped to feed 250 soldiers, and larger trailers for 800. Wow.  Cooks, water boys, people to fix the machinery, someone to sew the uniforms, teachers of battle skills, places to live...  The support structure was then, and is now, enormous.

I shall never again complain about having to take care of a measly 10 people in my home.  Or at least I shouldn't.

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