Civil War memories, the Capitol and cheese steaks

Sorry for the delay! We have been very busy in New York so have fallen behind! More to come on New York later…

After leaving John and Hope’s place in Raleigh, we continued north stopping in Petersburg in Virginia.

This town was a key link in the supply chain to the Confederate capital of Richmond and the scene of some of the deciding battles in the Civil War – when Petersburg fell to the Union, defeat soon followed for the Confederacy.

We took the opportunity to tour the main battlefields, including the site of the Crater where a union soldier with coal mining experience dug a tunnel under a fort, and then surprised the enemy by detonating tonnes of dynamite.

However, the Confederates won this battle because the Union changed their battle plans as to which battalion would lead the charge. Instead of skirting around the outside of the crater, Union soldiers ran straight into the ditch where they were sitting ducks.

Here are some photos from the Petersburg National Battlefield (click each for a larger version, some have captions):

After Petersburg, it was back on the road to Washington – a major museum stop for us!

We spent the next day in the Smithsonian Natural History museum, the Air and Space Museum and the National Holocaust Museum – which were really interesting (this far north it was starting to get colder, making museums a great option).

Below are a few snaps from the museums, and the major monuments and buildings in the city. It was awesome to see the Capitol building, White House, Washington monument and Lincoln memorial up close and in real life!

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Christmas Eve came, and it was time to head to New York – but we decided to take the scenic route to Gettysburg – scene of the famous Gettysburg address (by Abraham Lincoln). This meant a very early start, on a particularly bitter morning (there was even a little snow on the ground!)

In this now war-defining speech, Lincoln declared the civil war to be not just about the secession of the south, but also the struggle for human equality.

And now, what you’ve been waiting for (well I’ve been waiting for …) our next stop – Philadelphia!

Before lunch, we quickly checked in at the Liberty Bell. The bell was often rung to summon lawmakers to legislative sessions and to alert citizens to public meetings and proclamations. It was also rung to mark the reading of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, but these days it is best known for its crack! There are a LOT of theories as to why there is a crack in the bell – one being that caretakers of the bell found a fissure that was affecting the ring – so promptly arranged for it to be repaired. During this process – the fissure expanded into the crack you can see today! (Haha show us your crack!)

And yes, what better to have for lunch in Philadelphia than a cheese steak? We sampled the fare from local legend Tony Luke’s.

Next stop, New York, New York!




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