Category Archives: Civil War

News Story

Top 2013 News Stories



As a new year begins, we want to take a minute and reflect on the past year.  2013 was a fabulous year for the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership, which can be reflected in the media coverage we received throughout the year.  We thank our wonderful media partners, including the numerous local media outlets throughout our 15 county region that covered our events and projects throughout the year.  I have compiled a Top 10 list of the best news stories for 2013, highlighting an article or two for each of our major projects and initiatives, including our educational programs, the Living Legacy Tree Project, our National Heritage Area, the Certified Tourism Ambassador (CTA) Program, and more.  These articles provide a great overview of the respective efforts.

Educational Programs

1.  Daily Progress, Oct. 23

2.  NPS Sentinel, Spring 2013

Living Legacy Tree Project

3.  USA Today, December 21

4.  TCIA Magazine, Sept. 2013

5.  Landscape Architecture Magazine, March 2013

Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area

6.  US FrontLine, June 20

7.  The Stamp Pad, Summer 2013

8.  Park Advocate, November 19

Regional History

9.  Black Meetings & Travel, January 18

Certified Tourism Ambassador (CTA) Program

10.  The Central Virginian, June 20

In addition to the local newspaper articles, there were countless other articles, including write-ups in the Washington Post, bthere, Hallowed Ground Magazine, and Marine Corps Times.  There were television appearances on ABC27, NBC4, NewsChannel 8, Daytime TV, and an NBC29 story, as well as various radio station interviews (WTOP, WFMD, WITF, etc.).

In fact, here are two more honorable mentions that we have to share – thanks to Kate Kelly (Huffington Post) and the New York Times.

Huffington Post, October 1

New York Times, March 8

History Through Art



By Shuan Butcher, JTHG Director of Communications

Art is a powerful tool and has always been an important vehicle to capture history or reflect on history.  As we are in the midst of the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War, art is one means for commemorating this country’s most defining moment.  On such exhibit, entitled The Civil War and American Art, is currently on display at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City through September 2, 2013.  This exhibit, which first debuted at the Smithsonian Institution, examines how America’s artists represented the impact of the Civil War and its aftermath.  Whether it is Winslow Homer’s aesthetic power in conveying the intense emotions of the period in his paintings or Alexander Gardner’s battlefield photography that documents the gruesomeness of carnage and destruction, each artist’s work portrays the triumph and tragedy of the American experience during the 1860’s.

But you do not have to travel to New York City to see an art exhibit chronicling the American Civil War.  Within the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area, there are three art exhibits currently on display that explore this subject matter.  Here is a brief description of each:

The Gettysburg Collection: Rebecca Pearl Art ShowRebecca Pearl's Robert E. Lee
National Museum of Civil War Medicine

Through July 12, 2013

Based on the equestrian monuments located through the battlefields of Gettysburg National Military Park, nine original watercolor paintings will be the anchor pieces of the Rebecca Pearl Art Show. Additionally, eight landscape views of the battlefield will be on display.  This special exhibit is open to the public and Rebecca Pearl’s artwork will be available for purchase.  For more information, visit www.civilwarmed.org.

 


 

John Rogers Mail Call“Valley of the Shadow”
Washington County Museum of Fine Arts
Through July 28, 2013

With 23,110 casualties, the Battle of Antietam remains a day of great loss for America and stimulated a chain of events leading to the Emancipation Proclamation and the Battle of Gettysburg. This extensive exhibition brings together works of art, such as Eastman Johnson’s (American, 1824-1906) “Study for ‘The Wounded Drummer Boy'” on loan from the Brooklyn Museum and objects of material culture, such as weaponry, musical instruments and clothing, to tell the stories of the war, from the soldiers who fought in its battles to the women and children who remained at home. Loans from public and private collections and the museum’s collection will come together in our largest gallery, the Groh Gallery, to create a “museum within a museum” commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Maryland Campaign of 1862 and the Gettysburg Campaign of 1863.  For more information, visit www.wcmfa.org

 


 

“Images of the Civil War”Antietam flag bearer by Susan Ruddick Bloom
Carroll Arts Center
Through August 6, 2013

The Civil War conjures sentiments on both sides, the issue of slavery, artillery, battles, the role of women and children, uniforms, portraits and more.  The 150th Anniversary of the Civil War is being honored in Carroll County with an exhibit by local artists entitled “Images of the Civil War.”  For more information, visit www.carrrollcountyartscouncil.org.

In addition to the art exhibits, there are other exhibitions worth checking out.  A new exhibit that just opened on June 16th, entitled Treasures of the Civil War: Legendary Leaders Who Shaped a War and a Nation, offers a rare glimpse into the personal and professional lives of 13 individuals who shaped a nation: Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, Ulysses Grant, George G. Meade, John Reynolds, George Pickett, Alexander Webb, William Tecumseh Sherman, George Custer, John Mosby, Frederick Douglass and Clara Barton.  This exhibit offers 94 historic items from seven different outstanding Civil War collections throughout the United States – all being exhibited together for the first time at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center. Visitors can look at Lincoln’s face mask; Meade’s frock coat and slouch hat he wore at Gettysburg; Pickett’s spur; Grant’s sword for the Vicksburg victory; Reynolds’ kepi worn at Gettysburg; a lock of Lee’s hair and his horse Traveller’s mane; and an original copy of Douglass’ autobiography “The Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass,” to name a few.  For more information, visit www.getttysburgfoundation.org.

March is National Women’s History Month



The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area highlights destinations that chronicle important contributions made by women.

By Shuan Butcher

As Women’s History Month is celebrated each March, one region in the country is highlighting the significant contributions women have made throughout the nation’s history and encouraging individuals to visit specific sites to learn more.  The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area, known as the region Where America Happened™, contains more history than any other in the nation and includes: National and World Heritage sites, over 10,000 sites on the National Register of Historic Places, 49 National Historic districts, nine Presidential sites, 13 National Park units, hundreds of African American and Native American heritage sites, 30 historic main street communities, sites from the Revolutionary War, French-Indian War, War of 1812 and the largest collection of Civil War sites in the nation.

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This 180-mile long, 75-mile wide swath of land that stretches from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia, contains a rich collection of sites that chronicle important contributions women have made throughout history.  Here are a few suggestions that will help you decide to Take the Journey™.

Elizabeth Thorn Memorial-- image by http://www.flickr.com/photos/soaptree/4478790703/

Elizabeth Thorn Memorial, Gettysburg

While most envision men and boys marching the battlefield in Gettysburg, PA, many of the town’s heroes are actually women. After the epic battle in 1863, women were often the only ones to tend to the wounded and take charge in cleaning up the town. One such woman is Elizabeth Thorn. Her husband Peter was the caretaker of Evergreen Cemetery, and was off fighting in another part of the country. At the urging of the community, Elizabeth who was six months pregnant and the mother of three children, dug over one hundred graves in the rocky soil in the extreme July heat.  Today, a statue of Elizabeth Thorn stands outside the cemetery gatehouse as part of the Gettysburg Civil War Women’s Memorial.  For more information, visit www.gettysburg.travel.

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

Continuing down Route 15, the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Scenic Byway, visitors should stop by the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton in Emmitsburg, MD.  This site promotes the life and legacy of the Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton, the first native-born saint from the United States.  Seton, who lived, worked, died, and is now buried here, founded the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph’s.  Her enduring legacy now includes hundreds of schools, social service centers, and hospitals throughout the world.  She was canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1975 in St. Peter’s Square.  Check out www.setonheritage.org for additional details.

Clara Barton in 1865 in an image by Matthew Brady.

Clara Barton in 1865 in an image by Matthew Brady.

Near Sharpsburg, Maryland, a monument stands at Antietam National Battlefield to Clara Barton, one of the most honored women in American History.  Known as the “Angel of the Battlefield,” Barton brought supplies and nursing aid to the wounded at several Civil War battle sites, including Antietam, Cedar Mountain, Second Manassas, Fredericksburg, Harpers Ferry, and others.  She later founded the American Red Cross in 1881 and led it for the next 23 years.  For more information, visit www.nps.gov/anti.

Jackie Kennedy Onassis by Cate Wyatt

Image courtesy of Cate Magennis Wyatt

First Ladies also left their mark within the region.  Jackie Kennedy’s style and grace epitomized Loudoun County’s horse country and its capital, Middleburg.  In the early 1960s, the Kennedy’s used Middleburg as an escape from Washington by leasing, and then building, their own country retreat.  In the 1990s, Jackie Kennedy Onassis often returned to spend foxhunting weekends in the Middleburg countryside, which was filled with happy memories from her time as First Lady. Today, visitors can see memorabilia at the Red Fox Inn and other establishments the First Lady patronized, and the town’s public pavilion and garden are dedicated to Jackie.  For more great places to visit in the area, check out www.visitloudoun.org.

In Spotsylvania County, the Spotsylvania Museum has a special exhibit at the Spotsylvania Towne Center about the Battle of Chancellorsville, which commemorates its sesquicentennial in May.  The exhibit features the Hawkins Girls, who were at home at the time of General Stonewall Jackson’s Flank attack across their property.  The exhibit will be on display through May 2.  To learn more, check out www.spotsylvania.va.us.

edna_lewis_wp

Edna Lewis

Edna Lewis, born in Freetown, Virginia, inspired a generation of young African American chefs and ensured traditional Southern foods and preparations would live forever.  Before her culinary journey began, Lewis found work as a seamstress and copied Christian Dior dresses for Dorcas Avedon.  She made a dress for Marilyn Monroe and became well known for her African-inspired dresses.  Eventually, Lewis opened up Café Nicholson, a restaurant located in Manhattan’s East Side. She became a local legend and cooked for many celebrities such as Marlon Brando, Marlene Dietrich, Tennessee Williams, Greta Garbo, Howard Hughes, Salvador Dali, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Truman Capote.  Known for her simple, but delicious Southern cooking, Lewis authored three seminal cookbooks and is lauded as one of the great women of American cooking. A new food festival, created in 2012, recognizes the culinary contributions the Orange County native has made.  The 2013 event is scheduled for August 10th.  Details can be found at www.ediblefest.com.

Elizabeth Kortright Monroe

Elizabeth Kortright Monroe

And finally, visitors should also make a point to stop at Ash Lawn-Highland in Charlottesville, Virginia.  This home of President James Monroe, and his wife Elizabeth Kortright Monroe, served as the official residence of the former first family from 1799 to 1823.  Here, they regularly welcomed friends, neighbors, dignitaries, and other visitors with warm hospitality.  To learn more, visit www.ashlawnhighland.org.

There are many other historic sites pertaining to notable women within the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area.  Maps, suggested itineraries, and other travel resources are available at www.hallowedground.org or by calling 540-882-4929.

Presidents Day Along The Journey



Abraham LincolnPresidents Day provides a great opportunity to visit the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area.  Known as the region Where America Happened™, the region contains more history than any other in the nation and includes: National and World Heritage sites, over 10,000 sites on the National Register of Historic Places, 49 National Historic districts, nine Presidential homes, 13 National Parks, hundreds of African American and Native American heritage sites, 30 historic main street communities, sites from the Revolutionary War, French-Indian War, War of 1812 and the largest collection of Civil War sites in the nation.

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This 180-mile long, 75-mile wide area swath of land that stretches from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia, contains a rich collection of presidential sites to visit around Election Day.  Of course, there are the traditional places where Washington slept, but many other presidents visited or lived within this historic region.Gettysburg, PA is primarily known for the battle that took place there in 1863.  But it is also home to the Eisenhower National Historic Site.  The former home and farm of General and President Dwight EisenhowerDwight D. Eisenhower served the President as a weekend retreat and a meeting place for world leaders. With its peaceful setting and view of South Mountain, it was a much-needed respite from Washington and a backdrop for efforts to reduce Cold War tensions.  For more information, visit www.nps.gov/eise.

Nearby, tucked away in the Catoctin Mountain region of Maryland sits the presidential retreat known as Camp David.  Essentially, every president since Franklin D. Roosevelt has been traversed to this retreat site while they were in office.  Although it is closed off to visitors, individuals can visit the Camp David Museum at the Cozy Restaurant and Inn located in Thurmont.  The museum celebrates the rich history of Camp David, formerly known as Shangri-La, through pictures and memorabilia of presidents from Hoover up through today.  Other information is available at www.cozyvillage.com.

Traveling down Route 15, the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Scenic Byway, visitors should also stop in Middleburg, Virginia.  Considered the capital of Loudoun County’s horse country, President John F. and Mrs. Jackie Kennedy leased and then purchased a place in the quaint town as their own country retreat.  In the 1990s, Jackie Kennedy Onassis often returned to spend foxhunting weekends in the Middleburg countryside, which was filled with happy memories from her time as First Lady.  Today, visitors can see memorabilia at the Red Fox Inn and other establishments visited by the first family.  The town’s public pavilion and garden are dedicated to her.  To learn more, check out www.visitloudoun.org.

Montpelier, located near Orange, VA, was the lifelong home of James Madison, the “Father of the James MadisonConstitution” and fourth President of the United States. The mansion core was built by Madison’s father circa1760. The house has been newly restored to the way it looked when James and Dolley Madison returned from Washington in 1817, following Madison’s two terms as President. The 2,650-acre estate features the Madison mansion, 135 historic buildings, a steeplechase course, gardens, forests, the Gilmore Cabin, a farm, two galleries and an Education Center with permanent and changing exhibits, many archaeological sites and an Archaeology Laboratory.  Information can be found at www.montpelier.org.

In Charlottesville sits Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, third President of the United States and noted architect and inventor. Jefferson began construction on his “little mountain” home in 1769 and, after remodeling and enlarging the house, finally finished 40 years later in 1809.  For more information, visit www.monticello.org.

Jefferson’s friend and neighbor James Monroe owned Ash Lawn-Highland, along with his wife Elizabeth Kortright Monroe, from 1793 to 1826 and their official residence from 1799 to 1823.  Ash Lawn-Highland is an historic house museum and 535-acre working farm of the former U.S. President and Revolutionary War veteran.  Check out www.ashlawnhigland.org for more details.

Also in the area is Pine Knott, the country retreat of Theodore and Edith Roosevelt and their children from 1905 to 1908 during his term as President.  This rural retreat from the “city environment” of Washington, D.C. provided a sanctuary for the Roosevelt family where they could hike, observe birds and wildlife, hunt, ride and enjoy the natural beauty of the area. The building had no plumbing, toilet, heat, or electricity or other facilities for the family, with a minimum of rustic comfortable furniture.  Check outhttp://www.theodoreroosevelt.org/modern/pineknot.htm.

In addition to the sites listed above, several other presidents visited towns and locations throughout the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area.  For example, President Lincoln’s footsteps can be traced to several locations.  After the Battle of Antietam, he visited the site to meet with Union generals as well as wounded soldiers.  During that trip, he stopped in other places such as Harpers Ferry, WV and Frederick, MD, where he gave remarks to citizens gathered on the street.  And a year later, he gave a short address in Gettysburg that would is recited today by many around the world.  Travelers interested in getting the presidential experience will find maps, suggested itineraries, and other travel resources are available at www.hallowedground.org.

Emancipation Proclamation 150TH



web_civil_rightsOn January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed and issued the Emancipation Proclamation.  An area of this country that was not only affected by this decision, but was the catalyst behind it, and advanced the cause of freedom for decades after, has plenty of historic sites for travelers wanting to experience the full spectrum of this piece of American History. The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area contains a rich collection of historic destinations that chronicle the African American experience, from slavery to civil rights, including the Battle of Antietam which was the catalyst for the preliminary issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation by our nation’s 16th president.  In addition to the plethora of Civil War battlefields (including Gettysburg, Manassas, Harpers Ferry, Monocacy, and Wilderness) that interpret the issue of slavery to varying degrees, here are a few additional suggestions that will help you decide to Take the Journey.

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Antietam National Battlefield, located in Washington County, Maryland, is a must for visitors interested in learning more about the Emancipation Proclamation.  The Union victory at the Battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862, led President Lincoln to release the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation five days later.  The Emancipation Proclamation substantially altered the character of the war from Restoration of the Union alone, to freedom for all. As Historian Bruce Catton wrote, “It finally determined that the Civil War was not merely a war for reunion but also a war to end human slavery; turned it from a family scrap into an incalculable struggle for human freedom.”  For more information visit, www.nps.gov/ancm/index.htm.Another not to miss place to visit within the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area is Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.  The historic quaint town has played a prominent role in the Civil Rights movement, starting with John Brown’s uprising there in 1859.  On May 30, 1881, abolitionist Frederick Douglass gave an address on John Brown on the campus of Storer College, stating “If John Brown did not end the war that ended slavery, he did at least begin the war that ended slavery. If we look over the dates, places and men, for which this honor is claimed, we shall find that not Carolina, but Virginia- not Fort Sumpter, but Harper’s Ferry and the arsenal- not Col. Anderson, but John Brown, began the war that ended American slavery and made this a free Republic.”  Harpers Ferry continued to be at the center of the African American experience in the early Twentieth Century.  The Niagara Movement convened there in August 1906 with leaders such as WEB Dubois and others, which became the precursor of the NAACP.  For more information, visit www.nps.gov/hafe/index.htm.

The Historic Preservation Society of Gettysburg – Adams County (HGAC) leads Underground Railroad tours at the site of McAllister’s Mill, adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park along the Baltimore Pike. The site, now a ruin with foundations and waterways still visible, was most probably one of the first stops made in Adams County by people seeking freedom on their flight north from slavery. About two miles south of Gettysburg and six miles north of the Mason-Dixon Line, McAllister’s Mill provided shelter to hundreds of freedom seekers during the years leading up to the Civil War. After receiving assistance at the late 18th century grist mill, the formerly enslaved were guided north about 10 miles into Upper Adams County to the homes of free African Americans and Quaker Abolitionists, forming critical links in one of the earliest regional networks of the Underground Railroad in the nation.  In 2011, the McAllister Mill site was accepted into the National Park Service National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom, a nationwide collection of sites that have a verifiable association to the Underground Railroad.  To make arrangements for one of the tours, which start in May, call McAllister Mill Tours at (717) 659-8827.  For more information on the Network to Freedom, consult the NPS website at www.nps.gov/history/ugrr.

Two historic sites in Frederick, Maryland highlight the discourse that occurred over the issue of slavery.  At Kemp Hall, members of the state’s legislature hotly debated the issue as they met to decide whether to secede from the union.  Also, the Taney House interprets a property owned by Roger Brooke Taney, the fifth Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Taney was mainly known for his affiliation with the Dred Scott decision.  To get started, check out www.hsfcinfo.org/taney/index.htm

Continuing down Route 15, the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Scenic Byway, visitors should stop by Oatlands Plantation in Leesburg, Virginia.  Oatlands was formed in 1798 from 3,408 acres of prime Loudoun County farmland by a young bachelor named George Carter, a descendant of one of Virginia’s first families.  Basing his plantation economy on wheat production, Carter eventually branched out to grow other small grains; and in 1801 he began calling his plantation “Oatlands.”  In 1804 Carter began building a classic Federal-style mansion near the southern boundary of his property. As his farm took hold and his financial position strengthened, he added a terraced garden and numerous outbuildings to the property, including a propagation greenhouse, a smokehouse, and a three-story bank barn.  Just prior to the Civil War Oatlands housed the largest slave population in Loudoun County, numbering 128 people.  On January 5th, the historic site will host a program that includes a reading of the Emancipation Proclamation, historical commentary and scene painting from area historians and educators, a lantern-light walk around Oatlands with slave remembrance commentary and hymns, and concluding with discussion and input from those in attendance on the anniversary.  For more information, visit www.oatlands.org.

Let America’s story become yours this February with Prince William County’s free inaugural conference to commemorate the 150th anniversary of President Lincoln’s passage of the Emancipation Proclamation.  “Lest We Forget: A Conference on Enslavement and Emancipation” will take place February 21-23 at Hylton Memorial Chapel in Manassas, Virginia.  Join noted scholars, historians and actors as they explore the cultural and historical legacies of the antebellum period through dramatic plays, keynote addresses, forums, concerts and roundtable discussions that highlight a period that forever changed our nation.  The conference will conclude with day-long bus tours to significant African American sites in Prince William County, including Lucasville School, a one-room schoolhouse built solely for African American children, Ben Lomond Historic Site, which has one of the few remaining public slave quarters in Northern Virginia and the Jennie Dean School memorial, highlighting a school founded by a former slave and was one of the only sources of higher education for African Americans in Northern Virginia.  Details are available at www.manassasbullrun.com.

The arc of citizenship, from 18th Century Slavery through the Jim Crow Era, can also be found at Montpelier, the former home of President James and Dolley Madison.  Understanding daily life at Montpelier during the 18th and early 19th centuries must include an understanding of the contributions and sacrifices of the enslaved community who were an integral and intimate part of Montpelier life.  The post-emancipation era at Montpelier has come to be defined by George Gilmore and his family. Born into slavery at Montpelier, Gilmore and his wife and children were living as a freed family near the property by December 1865. The Gilmore family eventually purchased a plot of land from Dr. James Ambrose Madison and established a small, independent farm. They resided in a log cabin that would be home to at least three generations of Gilmores.  And finally, the Montpelier Train Station houses a permanent exhibit entitled In the Time of Segregation.  Interpretive panels found in and outside the depot address the local African-American community who lived in this area throughout the period of segregation, the codification of laws which dictated that blacks and whites be given “separate but equal” accommodation.  Like other southern railway stations of the early twentieth century, the station’s depot building was designed to comply with state racial segregation laws. White and black passengers at the depot were required to use separate waiting rooms and ticket windows. During the same era, postal services at the depot were integrated because of federal laws that forbade racial segregation in U.S. post offices. By the end of the 1950s, all of the services at the Montpelier Train depot had become fully integrated. To learn more, visit www.montpelier.org.

The Jefferson School African American Heritage Center preserves the rich heritage and legacy of the African American community of Charlottesville-Albemarle, Virginia. Through inter-generational offerings, the Center will promote a greater appreciation for and understanding of, the contributions of peoples of color locally, nationally, and globally.  The Heritage Center is located in the heart of the African American community, its main constituency. In the early 1960s, the City of Charlottesville undertook an urban renewal project that ruptured the core of the African American community. 

The Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, opening December 2012, will create a cultural center where African American traditions and history will be readily available.  For more information, visit www.jeffschoolheritagecenter.org.

There are many other historic sites pertaining to the African American experience, Civil War, freedom, or emancipation throughout the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area. Additional information can be found in “Honoring Their Paths: African American Contributions Along the Journey Through Hallowed Ground,” written by Deborah A. Lee and published in 2009.  Maps, suggested itineraries, and other travel resources are available at www.hallowedground.org.

Lincoln Traverses the Journey



by Shuan Butcher, JTHG Director of Communications

[Antietam, Md. President Lincoln and Gen. George B. McClellan in the general's tent; another view]

President Lincoln and Gen. George B. McClellan in the general’s tent at Antietam, Maryland.

Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” movie (written by Tony Kushner and based on Doris Kearns Goodwin book “Team of Rivals) focuses primarily on the 16th President’s efforts to pass the 13th Amendment.  The roots of that endeavor can be traced to people and actions taken within the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area.  Lincoln himself visited the region on at least two separate occasions, which was the impetus behind Huffington Post writer Kate Kelly’s recent excursion to our region a little over a month ago.  Kelly visited many of the same spots Lincoln did back in 1862 and 1863 (check out her work at www.americacomesalive.com), including:

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Harpers Ferry

Two weeks after the Battle of Antietam and nine days after issuing the initial Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln arrived in Harpers Ferry.  The first site Lincoln came to after crossing the Potomac River was John Brown’s fort.  Dennis Frye, chief historian at Harpers Ferry National Park, stated that Lincoln’s reflections at that time very much could have been about his desire to finish what John Brown had started a few years earlier.  Lincoln had become hardened in his actions toward the South by that point.  Two months earlier the Second Confiscation Act was passed and a few days later on July 22nd, the President issued a warning to the South.  And then of course, the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation was issued.  A much different viewpoint than when he took office.

However, Lincoln’s trip to Harpers Ferry is just part of the story of the town’s prominent role in the civil rights movement.  John Brown’s uprising there in 1859 was a catalytic moment.  On May 30, 1881, abolitionist Frederick Douglass gave an address on John Brown on the campus of Storer College, stating “If John Brown did not end the war that ended slavery, he did at least begin the war that ended slavery. If we look over the dates, places and men, for which this honor is claimed, we shall find that not Carolina, but Virginia- not Fort Sumpter, but Harper’s Ferry and the arsenal- not Col. Anderson, but John Brown, began the war that ended American slavery and made this a free Republic. Until this blow was struck, the prospect for freedom was dim, shadowy and uncertain. The irrepressible conflict was one of words, votes and compromises. When John Brown stretched forth his arm the sky was cleared.”

Harpers Ferry continued to be at the center of the African American experience in the early Twentieth Century.  The Niagara Movement convened there in August 1906 with leaders such as WEB Dubois and others.  Visitors to the area can get a full glimpse from slavery to civil rights in this historic quaint town.

Antietam

After visiting Harpers Ferry, Lincoln visited General George B. McClellan at his headquarters at Antietam about the general’s strategies and tactics following the battle that took place there.  The Battle of Antietam (Maryland) on September 17, 1862, was not the conclusive Union victory President Lincoln had wanted, but it was enough for him to issue his preliminary emancipation proclamation five days later, which stated that on January 1, 1863, all slaves in states still in rebellion would be free. In the proclamation’s wake, the war not only gained a higher moral purpose, but also record numbers of now-emancipated slaves joined the Union Army, thereby increasing its military strength. Indeed, the outcome of the American Civil War was decided on the fields on Antietam, not by the marching armies.

Frederick, Maryland

Before returning to the Nation’s Capital, President Lincoln made one final stop in Frederick.  He stopped by to visit the Ramsey house to visit General George Hartsuff who was recovering from injuries sustained at Antietam.  The President then headed to the B&O train station, where a crowd had begun to gather.  He stopped to make a few remarks, stating:

Fellow Citizens, I see myself surrounded by soldiers and by the citizens of this good city of Frederick, all anxious to hear something from me. Nevertheless, I can only say—as I did elsewhere five minutes ago—that it is not proper for me to make speeches in my present position. I return thanks to our gallant soldiers for the good service they have rendered, the energies they have shown, the hardships they have endured, and the blood they have so nobly shed for this dear Union of ours. And I also return thanks, not only, to the soldiers, but to the good citizens of Frederick, and to all the good men, women, and children throughout this land for their devotion to our glorious cause. And I say this without any malice in my heart toward those who have done otherwise. May our children, and our children’s children, for a thousand generations, continue to enjoy the benefits conferred upon us by a united country, and have cause yet to rejoice under those glorious institutions bequeathed us by Washington and his compeers! Now, my friends—soldiers and citizens—I can only say once more—Farewell!”

Gettysburg

Over a year later, the President made a second visit to the area.  In November 1863, Lincoln came to Gettysburg for the dedication of the new national cemetery.  Gettysburg was at a crossroads, figuratively and physically, during the American Civil War.  The town, just 10 miles north of a slave state and the Mason-Dixon line, had one of the largest African-American populations in the North (per capita).

His remarks, now known as the famous Gettysburg Address, lasted for approximately 2 ½ minutes.  His speech was rooted in thought and previous remarks dating back months prior, to at least the summertime.  Another interesting piece of information about Gettysburg to note is that Thaddeus Stevens (a prominent figure in Spielberg’s “Lincoln” movie, played by Tommy Lee Jones) had a law practice near the town square for over twenty years.

(Sources:  Dr. Allen Guelzo, Director of Civil War Era Studies at Gettysburg College, Dennis Frye, Chief Historian at the Harpers Ferry National Park, Antietam National Battlefield, Harper’s Weekly)

 

Spies and Espionage



by Shuan Butcher, JTHG Director of Communications

john champe

 The new Argo movie that hit the big screen recently is based on the true story of CIA agent Tony Mendez (who lives in Washington County, Maryland).  He isn’t the first person within the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area that has engaged in espionage activities.  Here are a few other examples and lessons from the past as well.

John Champe, born in Loudoun County, Virginia in 1752, was a Revolutionary War soldier in the Continental Army. He was handpicked by George Washington and Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee for a mission, to capture the American traitor Benedict Arnold.  Champe “defected” to the British side where he was introduced to Arnold.  There, he formulated a plot to capture Arnold and he came very close to succeeding, but plans changed and the whole endeavor had to be called off.  After that, it took Champe several months before he could return back to the Continental Army.  In his honor, the Confederate rifle company from Aldie, Virginia named themselves “Champe’s Rifles” during the American Civil War.

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In 1773, Philip Mazzei led a group of Italians to Virginia to introduce the cultivation of vineyards and other agricultural practices. Mazzei became a friend and neighbor of Thomas Jefferson, and started one of the first commercial vineyards in the state.  Jefferson, along with Patrick Henry, George Mason, and others thought Mazzei might be of help to their patriotic cause oversees.  Therefore, Mazzei returned to Italy as a secret agent for the State of Virginia.  He gathered useful political and military information for Governor Jefferson, and purchased and shipped arms to Virginia as well. The state paid him six hundred luigi a year between 1779 and 1784 for his services.  Afterwards, Mazzei continued to promote Republican ideals throughout Europe.Men aren’t the only ones known for espionage.  During the American Civil War, several women played important roles as spies for both sides.  Maryland native Rose O’Neal Greenhow, a leader in Washington society and a passionate secessionist, was one of the most renowned spies in the Civil War.  During the first battle of Bull Run, she sent secret messages to General Pierre G.T. Beauregard which ultimately caused him to win that engagement. She spied so successfully for the Confederacy that Jefferson Davis credited her with winning the battle of Manassas.  She was imprisoned for her efforts but still continued to send cryptic notes.  After being released, she traveled Europe as a propagandist for the Confederate cause.  She died on her return trip to this country while trying to flee a Union gunboat.  Her rowboat capsized and she drowned.

Although not from this region, it was the actions of Henry Thomas Harrison within the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area during the Civil War that made him known.  He became a spy for Confederate Secretary of War James Seddon and then General Longstreet in 1863.  On June 28th that year, he shared with Longstreet the news that Federal forces were located around Frederick, Maryland and advancing north, as well as the information that Union General George Meade had replaced Joseph Hooker as commander of the Army of the Potomac.

With Confederate troops being stretched thin along a wide swath of land in south central Pennsylvania, so alarmed was Longstreet by the news that he sent Harrison to relay it to General Robert E. Lee, who then made the decision to concentrate his troops at Gettysburg. The move prevented the Union from being able to take on smaller groups of the enemy, but it also resulted in the epic three-day Battle of Gettysburg, where over 50,000 soldiers were killed, wounded, captured or missing in action.

NOTE:  Also check out the student-created vodcast about Jack Sterry, a Union spy in a Confederate uniform, as part of the Of the Student, By the Student, For the Student™ program at:

http://youtu.be/_bNadHm1YiY

(Sources:  Americancivilwar.org, Monticello.org, nps.gov)