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Brad’s Musings and Meanderings

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"Look at the silly, sloppy look on his face." - Stan Laurel, "Swiss Miss"

mon22.jpgAfter our incredibly busy Sunday activities, it was amazing that we were able to peel ourselves out of bed to catch an early breakfast in our digs, the Richard Johnston Inn, before heading toward Richmond, Virginia’s capital city. But we did…and were consequently able to enjoy a nice cherry and coconut dessert for breakfast. We quickly stuffed ourselves in the car and prepared to depart for our next destination(s) of the day, Monday, August 6, 2007.

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A light breakfast at the Richard Johnston Inn, but alas, no eggs

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Outside the front door of our inn

Before completely leaving the area of Fredericksburg, we stopped at the nearby town of Guinea Station, where the former Fairfield plantation office of Mr. Thomas C. Chandler was located. Not wanting to intrude on Chandler’s home, it was here that General Stonewall Jackson was moved shortly after he was wounded and had his arm amputated. He died in this very building on May 10, 1863. Amazingly the bed, coverlet, and clock that were there when Jackson passed are still there today. It was explained to us by our animated and impassioned docent that the little Chandler girl who lived in the house at the time returned the clock to the historical society in her old age.

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The Stonewall Jackson shrine

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The bed where Jackson died, and the original clock on the mantle

After this, we headed onto Richmond, first making one of our most important stops, that of Hollywood Cemetery. Here was buried JEB Stuart (whom we didn’t see), along with three former Presidents. Granted one of the Presidents was merely the President of the Confederate States of America, but a President nonetheless. Here lied the remains of Jefferson Davis who led the Southern states during the time of the Civil War.

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With President Jefferson Davis

Also, it is here that you can see the two non-related Presidents who were buried the closest together (the Adams father and son would hold this distinction if I didn’t make the ‘non-related’ caveat). The graves of John Tyler and James Monroe will be shown in greater detail, but below is a shot of Bob and me standing between their two gravesites.

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Bob and me between Tyler and Monroe

As we travelled more into the heart of downtown Richmond, we made a brief stop at the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church where both Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee had worshiped. It was here that Davis first got word that Lee could no longer defend the city.

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The Robert E. Lee pew

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The Jefferson Davis pew. I blame the heat for my ghastly appearance

From the church, we walked over to the Virginia State Capitol building. The place was rich with southern history, but instead of me trying to sound all smart and telling you about it, I’ll simply let you read one of the plaques in the lobby:

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The Capitol’s bragging rights

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In front of the Jefferson-planned Capitol

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By the George Washington statue in the Capitol rotunda. The other seven Virginia-born Presidents are represented with busts in the niches.

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In the Old House Chamber

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On the spot where General Lee accepted command of the Armed Forces of Virginia on April 23, 1861.

From here, we headed over to the White House of the Confederacy, the home where Jefferson Davis spent the greatest amount of time while serving as Confederate President. Of course, it paled in size to the actual White House, but provided for an extremely interesting and informative tour, especially with our well-versed tour guide. Inside were two statues and a mantle that had never left the house, but unfortunately no photographs were allowed inside. Abraham Lincoln had visited this house just ten days before he was killed.

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The White House of the Confederacy’s vital statistics

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At the front door of the Confederate White House

Behind the Confederate White House was the Museum of the Confederacy, chock full of momentos and information regarding the Civil War. My favorite exhibits were the outfits worn by Jefferson Davis when he was captured and uniform and sword worn by Robert E. Lee when he surrendered at Appomattox. While walking back to the car, we grabbed a cheap but delicious chili dog from a street vendor.

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Outside the Museum of the Confederacy. Don’t know what was up with the fish…

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I explore another cannon

We then swung by St. John’s Episcopal Church, where Patriot Patrick Henry made his famous “Give me liberty or give me death” speech. Bob made his infamous joke “Give me liberty or give me ham on rye” which bombed miserably. I stuck my head in the door only to find out that it cost $6.00 to tour the church. I passed on that and simply toured the courtyard and cemetery where Declaration of Independence signer George Wythe (1726-1806) is buried. We also saw where Edgar Allan Poe’s mother is buried on the premesis.

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The grave of George Wythe

Before departing Richmond, Bob and I stopped at the Shockoe Cemetery to see the burial site of ‘The Great Chief Justice’ John Marshall, who held that position longer than any others and shaped the Supreme Court that we know today. The only things we had hoped to see but didn’t in Richmond were the Federal Reserve Money Museum and the grave of Arthur Ashe. The money museum required an advanced reservation…and I convinced Bob that there was no earthly reason to give a crap about Arthur Ashe.

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At the grave of John Marshall. Something about the hot Virginia air made me look effeminate here…

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…and made Bob drink lots of water

We then drove to Charles City where we would be staying at the Edgewood Plantation. The place was beautiful and interesting and I’ll show you some pictures in the next posting. We didn’t take too much time to enjoy the place before heading out again. The lady of the house asked us what time we wanted breakfast served and we told her 8:00am – to which she replied “I usually serve breakfast at 8:30am.”

We ran by the Shirley Plantation, the oldest active plantation in Virginia, but only snapped a photo of the exterior. We chose not to follow the advice of our lady of the house to go out to eat at the Olive Garden and instead tried to find a more flavorful place indigenous to the area, so we headed into Colonial Williamsburg, also hoping to find the graves of a pair of Presidents of the Continental Congress.

However, by this time we were rather hot, tired, and miserable. It was all we could do to muster the energy to walk around Williamsburg for any length of time. We were unable to locate the graves of Peyton Randolph and Cyrus Griffin, but were able to walk around a bit on the campus of the College of William and Mary, where a number of elite Americans were educated, among them Presidents Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, and John Tyler. George Washington was issued his surveyor’s certificate there as well. I did a bit of shopping and bought t-shirts for Jackie and Ashleigh, and Bob and I posed for the great shot at the top of the posting with a statue of Jefferson. But unfortunately, the place that Bob had his mouth all upset for, The Kings Arms, was booked solid. We slowly and sadly made our way back to the car amidst the blazing heat.

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Indicating the ol’ noggin at the College of William and Mary

Since we were only a few miles from Jamestown, we decided to pop over there merely to say we were there for the town’s 400th birthday. There was nothing to eat there either.

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Jamestown, birthplace of America, is officially closed

Finally on the way back to the Edgewood Plantation, we found a Japanese steakhouse…hardly a Virginia specialty, but not bad nonetheless. We were able to get our sushi fix and had the added bonus of having three attractive young girls at our hibachi! After fueling ourselves, we headed back to our bed and breakfast and collapsed into our beds. The busy days weren’t going to let up anytime soon…

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At last, we eat…

To be continued…

2 Responses to “Virginia Monday: Richmond Mostly”

  1. I am glad that you fellows made it to Richmond to see the famous graves. JEB Stuart’s grave is on a hill along a sharp curve. People place US quarters on his rock for whatever reason…luck I suppose! A.P. Hill is buried in the middle of an intersection in Richmond. I could never find him. Richmond is such a quaint old town, but its streets are all one way and never seem to be pointed in the right direction to suit me! Finding the Hollywood Cemetery is a scavenger hunt at best. Colonial Williamsburg is a wonderful little place. It has two nice period restaurants, as I remember, and I could not get into either of them. So, I ended up at a fancy bistro in the ‘upscale’ part of the town. I hope you were able to visit Sherwood Forest, the home of President John Tyler. There isn’t that much to see, except the grounds. But, his grandson still resides there. President Tyler was born in the 1700’s, his son in the 1800’s, and his grandson (the owner) was born in the 1900’s. I thought that was amazing!

    Dave Chasteen

  2. I ain’t dead yet.

    John

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