Thursday, March 30, 2006

On Sunday, our last day in Richmond, we went to see the highlight of our trip, the White House of the Confederacy and the Museum of the Confederacy.

Both are in downtown Richmond and are surrounded and dwarfed by the huge Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center. The Center does however provide parking for the Museum. Since it was Sunday, there was no charge.

We bought a combination ticket for both at the museum and almost immediately they called for our tour.

We went next door to the Museum through a small but pleasant back garden of the house, and through the basement door. With basement and two stories, there were a lot of stairs which was a problem for Julia. She had no trouble going up slowly but coming down was more trouble.

The first floor contained dining room, study, and living room. Then up a curved staircase was the bedrooms, nursery (the Davis's had children born there and lost one child there who fell from an upstairs balcony,) and office.

After the tour, we were supposed to go down the narrow back stairs but Julia had such a time with it that the guide suggested we go back down the main stairs. We did and on the first floor, instead of going on down to the basement, he let us go out the main front door, just like we had visited the Davises.

Lincoln himself came two days after the fall of Richmond. He visited the Union headquarters at the house.

The Museum is much smaller than I had expected; however, it is a museum where every display is first rate, no fillers. For example, they have the uniform that Lee wore when he surrendered at Appomattox. Also, Stonewall Jackson's boots. The original painting of The Last Meeting between Stonewall and Lee. (It is huge.)

Monday we left Richmond and headed toward Tennessee. We cut across Virginia to hit the interstate going down the west side of the state.

When we got over there, it was snowing. There was some snow on the ground but none on the road. The snow was beautiful, falling in huge flakes.

On the spur of the moment, we decided stop at Lexington to see Robert E. Lee's burial place at Washington and Lee University.

Lexington is also home to Virginia Military Institute. We passed it but did not stop this trip. I was acutely conscious of Terry Plunk's love of the place and as we walked around Lexington, I thought of his walking those same streets.

Lee is buried at a chapel at Washington and Lee. The chapel itself has a huge statue of a recumbent Lee. At first glance, it seems to be one of those statues like they put over kings' graves in Europe. However, it is actually supposed to be Lee taking a nap on the battlefield.

Lee himself and his family are buried in vaults below the chapel. His horse Traveler is buried outside. There were a couple on apples on his grave.

Back on the road, we stopped at Lenoir City for the night. We got there late but in time to watch the last of the CAA championship game between Hofstra and UNC-Wilmington.

Tuesday we came on home.

It was a good trip but too rushed. There are many more places to visit in Virginia and I want to stay longer at the places we did visit.

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