We are back in Maryland until January, as the Country is shut down because of the china virus. We will stay here throughout the holidays, and celebrate my father’s 100th birthday.
Because of the home-owner’s association, we cannot park in our own driveway. So we are at an RV park in Abingdon, Maryland.
I want to leave the first week in January, drive to Louisiana for warm weather, then go though Death Valley. From there I want to go to California, see my brother, and travel up the Pacific Highway to Oregon and Washington State. (An alternate route would be to go to Hawaii, but they haven’t finished the bridge.)
That is what I want. Who knows what is going to happen. Worst case scenario, if I don’t get the virus and die, is to cut our 5 year plan down to 4, sell the RV and spend the rest of my days rocking on my front porch.
Technical Stuff: New Market, Virginia to Abingdon, Md.: 182.6 miles
On May 15, 1864, the historically significant Battle of New Market took place in which 257 teenage cadets of Virginia Military Institute (VMI) were pressed into service by Confederate General John Breckinridge in a successful effort to delay the North’s march on Richmond, Virginia. They were part of a makeshift Confederate army of 4,100 men who forced Union General Franz Sigel and his army out of the Shenandoah Valley. This was the last major Confederate victory of the Civil War. As a result of this defeat, Sigel was relieved of his command and replaced by Maj. Gen. David Hunter, who later burned VMI in retaliation for New Market (can’t take a joke).
On June 22, 1791, Henry Bushong acquired farmland consisting of 260 acres in Shenandoah County that would be home for several generations of his descendants. In 1825, Henry’s son, Jacob, built this home.
The Bushongs raised wheat, oats, cattle, hogs, and horses. To service them, the farm contained a blacksmith shop, wheelwright shop, meat house, summer kitchen and wash house.
The Battle of New Market raged across their farm lands. We walked the battlefield (The corpses had been previously cleared).
When Interstate 81 was built, it cut directly through the battlefield. A tunnel was built under the roadway so we could traverse from the west to east side of the farm.
On this side of the battle field along this line of cedar trees, the 54th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment engage the confederacy. The regiment lost 174 men in the battle.
Tidbit of Information: On October 25, 1905, surviving members of the 54th Pennsylvania Infantry gathered here to dedicate this monument to their regiment’s valor. It is one of the few statutes in Virginia memorializing Pennsylvania’s Civil War soldiers. After the ceremony, the men returned home with cedar saplings from Jacob Bushong’s field. Those trees still survive in the Johnstown, Pa. cemetery where many of these veterans are buried.
On the day of the battle, this was a recently planted wheat field, but with 3 days of hard rain preceding the battle, and thousands of tramping soldiers it was reduced to a muddy bog. In the heat of the battle running soldiers had their shoes sucked off their feet. With bullets flying, the shoes could not be retrieved, and the soldiers continued barefoot for the remainder of the battle. This spot became known as the “Field of Lost Shoes.”
Unfortunately, another segment of our journey has come to an end. With winter approaching and the china virus closing everything down, we are forced to return to Maryland.
New Market, Virginia, is located at the foot of the Massanutten Mountains in the Shenandoah Valley. Settlers first discovered the area in 1727. Many of those settlers were Germans of the Mennonite and Lutheran faiths, later joined by Scots and Irish. Originally known as Cross Roads, the town was officially established as New Market on December 14, 1796 by an act of the Virginia General Assembly.
The Town is basically one long road.
A walking tour enabled us to see some of the original homes and buildings, like the Henkel House built in 1802, it has been used as a grocery store since 1835.
A member of the Clinedinst family has lived in this house since it was built in 1882.
The Calvert House was built in 1770 and is still owned by the Calvert family, whom are decedents of George Calvert, Lord Baltimore, to whom the King of England gave Maryland. (So why is his family living in Virginia?)
Dr. Solomon Henkel, a physician and druggist, built this house in 1802.
It is noteworthy because a metal plate on the door covers damage done by Yankee bayonets and rifle butts when they tried breaking into the house after having hot water thrown on them from an upstairs window during the civil war.
The original town pump was built in 1811, of which this is a replica. Why didn’t they just use the kitchen sink?
The Confederacy is still pretty much alive in New Market.
However, some concession has been made to racism.
Fort Chiswell, Virginia to New Market, Virginia: 185.5 miles
It was a gorgeous fall day as we arrived at Fort Chiswell RV Park in Fort Chiswell, Virginia.
In 1758 there actually was a Fort Chiswell here which was an outpost during the French and Indian War. Eventually, the fort was neglected, and now no longer exists.
We are stopping here for only 1 night on our way back to Maryland. Since we are not unhooking the truck, we only walked around the campground.
On our walk, this halloween day, a black cat crossed our path. What does that mean?
To get here, we found ourselves on a wrong way concurrency, which is where the road contains two routes going in opposite directions, actually driving out US 81, we found ourselves on a double wrong way concurrency, one of the few in the United States.
Sylva, North Carolina to Fort Chiswell, Virginia: 230. 5 miles