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Monday, June 01, 2015

Harper's Ferry and More

This morning we started out about 7:30 to take a drive to Harper's Ferry.  We plotted our route, only had a few missed turns, but we made good time.

Drive by Virginia.  When we looked up our route we at first thought we should go up 95. Then we had a second thought and realized that going up 95 at 7:30 am on Monday morning would not be the smartest thing ever. We went up 17 and various other back roads. It was great!  We went by Paris. I did not know there was a Paris Virginia.

 We made it up in about 2 hours, which is the time the gps said it would take to go up 95.

After  you go to the Visitor's Center, there is a bus to take you down to old town Harper's Ferry.

History Bit on the Town

Harpers Ferry is a historic town in Jefferson County, West Virginia, United States. It was formerly Harper's Ferry with an apostrophe and that form continues to appear in some references.[7] It is situated at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers where the U.S. states of Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia meet. It is the easternmost town in West Virginia. The original, lower section of the town is located on a low-lying flood plain created by the two rivers and surrounded by higher ground. Historically, Harpers Ferry is best known for John Brown's raid on the Armory in 1859 and its role in the American Civil War.[8] The population was 286 at the 2010 census.
The lower part of Harpers Ferry is located within Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. Most of the remainder, which includes the more highly populated area, is included in the separate Harpers Ferry Historic District. Two other National Register of Historic Places properties adjoin the town: the B & O Railroad Potomac River Crossing and St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church.
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) headquarters is located in Harpers Ferry and the town is one of only a few through which the Appalachian Trail passes directly. Harpers Ferry is also an outdoor recreation destination. Popular activities include white water rafting, fishing, mountain biking, tubing, canoeing, hiking, zip lining, and rock climbing.

It is a gorgeous place.  There will be beauty shots.

The sign in the window says a man's shirt made in an hour and 1 minutes on this machine. Lon looks at me and says, you can do that Mom!

Studying the diorama at the Ranger Station.

Asking the ranger questions. There were sections in the booklet that were ask the ranger.  We got all those done. It was very fun talking to them.

The sweet shop!  We wished the were real.

Can you see Lon down there?

Beauty shot

We not only learned about Harper's Ferry,  John Brown's Raid, and the Civil War, we learned that Lewis and Clark did some of their outfitting for the Corps of Discovery in Harper's Ferry.

A much needed lunch break! We finished up another booklet during lunch. The hot dogs were so good, the fries, not so much.

As we were finishing the master Jr Ranger badge Lon noticed this ghost sign. I can not figure out what it is advertising

I did not get any photos of Lon getting his Master Jr Ranger badge. This was the rank he got when he completed everything in the booklet. All 19 requirements.  He did receive three badges, Apprentice, Journeyman, and Master.
He finished his booklet on the Underground Railroad. He had to go to 2 out of the 16 parks listed and finish the activities in the back of the booklet to get it. He visited three parks, Frederick Douglass, Arlington House and Harper's Ferry.  At lunch we finished the last pages.

The Shenandoah River

Our map was not very detailed to get up to Antietam Battlefield.  I used my phone's GPS.  and it sent us on this wild ride through roads like this. Took us over an hour. It should have taken about 15 minutes as it is only about 9 miles north.  The road got very narrow and up and down hills and around sharp turns.  I did not take any more photos, since I was concentrating on the drive. Lon was filling out his booklet for the C & O Canal.

Once we found the town of Sharpsburg, I turned off the phone.  We spotted the brown signs and followed them !
Lon got his booklet for Antietam, and we watched the movie, then did the booklet.

History Bit:
Morning phase
Dunker Church
The Battle began at dawn on September 17, 1862, when Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker began the Union artillery bombardment of the Confederate positions of Maj. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson in the Miller cornfield. Hooker's troops advanced behind the falling shells and drove the Confederates from their positions. Around 7 a.m. Jackson reinforced his troops and pushed the Union troops back. Union Maj. Gen. Joseph K. Mansfield sent his men into the fray and regained some of the ground lost to the Confederates.
Midday phase
Sunken Road.
As the fighting in the cornfield was coming to a close, Maj. Gen. William H. French was moving his Federals forward to support Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick and veered into Confederate Maj. Gen. D.H. Hill's troops posted in the Sunken Road. Fierce fighting continued here for four hours before the Union troops finally took the road
Afternoon phase
Union positions below the Confederates at Burnside Bridge
On the southeast side of town, Union Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside's XI Corps had been trying to cross Antietam Creek since mid-morning, being held up by only 500 Georgia sharpshooters. Around 1 p.m., they finally crossed Burnside's Bridge and took the heights. After a 2 hour lull to reform the Union lines, they advanced up the hill, driving the Confederates back towards Sharpsburg. But for the timely arrival of Maj. Gen. A.P. Hill's division from Harpers Ferry, Burnside would have entered Sharpsburg. Instead, the Union troops were driven back to the heights above the bridge

Getting his badge! Number 60

The Dunker Church.

LONG history bit:
The Battle of Antietam, fought September 17, 1862, was one of the bloodiest battles in the history of this nation. Yet, one of the most noted landmarks on this great field of combat is a house of worship associated with peace and love. Indeed, the Dunker Church ranks as perhaps one of the most famous churches in American military history. This historic structure began as a humble country house of worship constructed by local Dunker farmers in 1852. It was Mr. Samuel Mumma, owner of the nearby farm that bears his name, who donated land in 1851 for the Dunkers to build their church. During its early history the congregation consisted of about half a dozen-farm families from the local area.
During The Battle
On the eve of the Battle of Antietam, the members of the Dunker congregation, as well as their neighbors in the surrounding community, received a portent of things to come. That Sunday, September 14, 1862, the sound of cannons booming at the Battle of South Mountain seven miles to the east was plainly heard as the Dunkers attended church. By September 16 Confederate infantry and artillery was being positioned around the church in anticipation of the battle that was fought the next day.
During the battle of Antietam the church was the focal point of a number of Union attacks against the Confederate left flank. Most after action reports by commanders of both sides, including Union General Hooker and Confederate Stonewall Jackson, make references to the church.
At battles end the Confederates used the church as a temporary medical aid station. A sketch by well known Civil War artist Alfred Waud depicts a truce between the opposing sides being held in front of the church on September 18, in order to exchange wounded and bury the dead. At least one account states that after the battle the Union Army used the Dunker Church as an embalming station. One tradition persists that Lincoln may have visited the site during his visit to the Army of the Potomac in October 1862.
As for the old church, it was heavily battle scarred with hundreds of marks from bullets in its white washed walls. Likewise artillery had rendered serious damage to the roof and walls. By 1864 the Church was repaired, rededicated and regular services were held there until the turn of the century.
After the War
The congregation built a new church in the town of Sharpsburg. Souvenir hunters took bricks from the walls of the church and a lack of adequate maintenance weakened the old structure. In 1921 a violent storm swept through the area flattening the church.
The land and church ruins were put up for sale and purchased by Sharpsburg resident Elmer G. Boyer. He salvaged most of the undamaged material of the building and in turn sold the property. The new property owner built a home on the foundation of the old church and in the 1930’s operated a gas station and souvenir shop on the site. This structure was removed in 1951 when the property was purchased by the Washington County Historical Society. They in turn donated the site, then just a foundation, to the National Park Service. The Church was restored for the 100th Anniversary of the battle in 1962 on the original foundation with as much original materials as possible and now stands as a beacon of peace on the battlefield.
The Dunker Church Today
A visit to the Dunker Church today is like a step back into time. Take a seat inside and contemplate the sacrifice of the people of 1862. Note the simplicity of the church with its plain windows, crude wooden benches on which you may have sat for hours during the services in bygone years, and the simple table at the front where the elders of the church would have read from the old Bible.

 We went up to Williamsport, MD to see about the C and O Canal. We found it. However, it was closed till Wednesday. The one near the battlefield was closed till Friday. The other two C and O Canal sites were too far away to make it in the time frame we had left. 
The good thing about this was that we were able to get on Interstate 81 south. 

These are the black cows for Grammalyn!! 

We were barreling right toward this. It got worse before it got better.  It started to rain hard enough that I had a difficult time seeing out the windshield.  There was a large pick up next to me, and a car riding too close to my bumper, The median was on my other side. I did not see the large sheets of plywood with the large nails sticking up out of it till I was about to run over it. Thankfully, I did not hit any of the nails and there was no tire damage. Whew! 

After dinner we went to Carls. Lon LOVES Carl's Ice Cream! 

Being goofy 

It was a good day! 

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