Thursday, 12 June 2014

Day 39: Front Royal, Harpers Ferry, Antietam MD, GettysburgPA. 236miles/380km

Our Civil War history lessons continue.

Harpers Ferry town is almost a National park in itself. It carries a lode of history.


Lewis and Clark set off from here in 1803 on an expedition to the west coast. The expedition was instigated by President Thomas Jefferson. They reached the Pacific in November 1805 and began their return after the winter in 1806.
That makes our motorcycle journey seem an easy option.
John Brown was an abolitionist who used insurgent techniques to foster the abolition of slavery

This plaque commemorates the attempt by John Brown to destroy the armoury in Harpers Ferry in 1859.
He was captured, convicted, hung and buried.
The song ' John Brown's Body' became a Union soldiers' song...
The tune of 'John Brown's body lies a mouldering in the grave' formed the basis for 'The Battle Hymn of the Republic' - Julia Ward Howe wrote the lyrics.
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword:
His truth is marching on.
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.
Nearby is the six acres where the armoury stood.
John Brown's actions escalated the tensions that lead to the move toward secession from the Union by the Southern States and the start of the Civil War in April 1861.
Many Houses in Harpers Ferry are pre-Civil War. They are very different in style from antebellum houses further South.
We rode north to Antietam and over this stone bridge which was the site of a battle 17 September 1862.
The battle at Antietam in Maryland was the first to be fought on Union soil.

This pastoral scene was the site of terrible bloodshed.

General Robert E Lee led the Confederates. Both sides suffered horrendous caualties.

Lee withdrew from the battle fields and retreated South.

The Union victory was followed a few days later by Abraham Lincoln's announcement of his Emancipation Proclamation.

The British (Palmerston was Prime Minister) and French governments who had been close to supporting the confederates changed their plans.

The Antietam Military National Park headquarters has excellent displays about this battle. The fields are marked with memorial plaques and statues.

After that harrowing history lesson we needed sustenance. We rode to Boonsboro where my driver had a magnificent bread bowl of crab and artichoke bisque at Kristis cafe. $US 8.50

We are enjoying eating in local establishments. In many other places we have visited there has been a sameness about the food options. A consequence of the dominance of the chain restaurants which have driven many small restaurants out of business.

We rode into Gettysburg through the Gettysburg battle fields.
These Dodges brought us into the twentieth century.
We received a wonderful welcome from Shonna and Connie at the General Lee Headquarters Inn.
Dick attended to Orlanda while I caught up on local snippets of information with these lovely ladies.
After a day on the back of a bike these conversations are precious.



Scotty said...

Finally caught up on your truly wonderful trip. So, are you looping back to the west coast?

Diana said...

Thanks for touching base. Yes, the plan is to have a break for three weeks and to return and ride back to San Francisco.