So, where was Robert E. Lee’s last major battle before he surrendered at Appomattox Court House? I thought it was Richmond, Virginia (based on the phrase “like Grant took Richmond”), but I was mistaken.
Grant began his march from Washington, DC with the intention to take the Capital of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia. He fought many battles on the way, in which Lee continued to outflank him (as stated in previous posts). Because of no decisive victories, and suffering some defeats, Grant decides to attack Petersburg, Virginia, as that is the hub of the Confederacy’s supply and transportation lines. The thought was cut off Lee’s supplies, and Richmond falls. It was not as easy as he thought. The siege of Petersburg took him 9 months.
Finally on April 2, 1865, Grant breaks through the confederate line at what is now called the Breakthrough Battlefield. We hiked this battlefield today, about 2 miles. Once Grant broke through, he was able to cut off all the supplies to Lee. Lee telegraphed Jefferson Davis in Richmond and told him to evacuate. Lee himself retreated, hoping to make it to North Carolina to meet up with General Joseph E. Johnson (see Day 249).
After the breakthrough, Grant pushed on after Lee, finally trapping him at Appomattox seven days later, where Lee surrendered.
When a portion of Grant’s army entered Richmond, there was no troops or government there.
l learn something new every day.
This area was first settled in 1732 by John Lewis and his family. The town that ultimately grew up in 1747 was named in honor of Lady Rebecca Staunton, wife to Royal Lieutenant-Governor Sir William Gooch.
The town is most noted as being the birthplace of Tommy Wilson on December 28, 1856. He did not start using his middle name, Woodrow, until college.
We visited his home and museum.
His favorite car, a pierce-arrow, was on display in the garage.
His house was actually a parsonage, as his father was a Presbyterian minister, as was his grandfather and nephew.
Woodrow became a lawyer, but found it distasteful. He then went to John’s Hopkins University in Baltimore and received a Ph.D. in History so he could become a teacher.
His run for President was unique in that it was a 3 way race: The Republican Taft, the Democratic Wilson, and Teddy Roosevelt trying to make a comeback by forming the Progressive “Bull Moose” party. The 1912 Democratic Convention was held in Baltimore, Maryland. You remember that, don’t you?
After the World War, Wilson traveled the country garnering support for his League of Nations, which had fallen in the House, and was up for a vote in the Senate. During that trip he had a stroke from which he never fully recovered. His second wife, whom he married while President, Edith Wilson, began to screen all matters of state and decided which were important enough to bring to the bedridden president. In doing so, she de facto ran the executive branch of the government for the remainder of the president’s second term. She, therefore, was really the first female President of the United States. Supposedly, Edith was a descendant of the Indian Princess Pocahontas.
An interesting part of the museum was a recreation of a World War I trench.
And you thought someone else came up with the phrase.
Traveling to within striking distance from home, we are in Staunton, Virginia. It is pouring down rain, and is expected to last most of the week, also calling for snow showers. We are 219 miles from home. We were going to stay here a few days then move one more time before arriving home on the 13th of December. But with the weather, we might stay here a week and just go home.
Our campground was a plantation in the 17 & 1800’s. It has hundreds of sites, but only 5 RV’s are here, as it is now out of season. The temperatures are in the 30’s. When the rain stops, it is predicted to go into the 20’s this week with highs in the 40’s during the day. We have been requested to disconnect our water in the evening so the exposed hose does not freeze.
Although we have the fireplace and a space heater in the Sphinx, we still must turn on our propane heat if the temperature goes below freezing so it heats our water pipes under the RV to prevent them from freezing.
No pictures, it is pouring down rain.
Wytheville, Virginia to Staunton, Virginia 141.5 miles
2 hours 50 minutes