Pamplin Historical Park is a rather nice museum/ park in Dinwiddie County. At the park, there were fortifications remade to look like the Confederate line looked back in 1865. They used massive earthworks lined with spiked sticks to defend them. These mounds were weaved back and forth and made a rather interesting site. At the park there will still some of the original earthworks from the war about a 100 yards from where we were able to see the real life model of them. Then, a reenactor there gave us a demonstration on how the new rifle of the Civil War, made in the United Kingdom, offered greater accuracy and a new style of warfare. After that, we walked through the Life of the Soldier Exhibit. In this exhibit called “Duty Called Me Here”, we were each given the opportunity to follow the life of the soldier during the war. There was an audio track assigned for each level that you walked through in the museum. In there, a narration would play and then you would hear an update on your solider on a little iPod-like device. In this exhibit were wax figures and props all around the walking pathway that allowed you to feel as if you were there in the war itself. Some of the most interesting parts of the exhibit talked about snowball fights, baseball, and religion during the war. We finished our trip to Pamplin around lunch and then headed to another site.
The next stop that we made was drastically different than the marvelous technology and planning put into Pamplin. We drove up to the 19th Annual Southside Virginia Day at the Sutherland Tavern after lunch. When we came up on the site, all we saw were Confederate flags and an old beaten up house. We walked up to find a lot more. There, we met a blacksmith making knives in the front yard, a Civil War Era gun salesmen on the side, and an excavation crew in the backyard. We went around to each station until the next tour of the Tavern started. We received a tour of this old house from a woman named Mrs. Olger and her husband, who currently own the house. The tavern was built by a wealthy Scottish man, Mr. Sutherland in 1803 at the fork of two major roads in Petersburg. The house was most famous for its involvement in the Civil War where it was the site of the Battle of Sutherland Station. This battle was fought in the front yard of the tavern and was actually used as a hospital after the battle. The owner continued to tell us about the blood stains on the wood floor that we were standing on from the battle. The house was filled with old clocks from the time and pieces of artwork that the owners collected and offered a very interesting and personal tour of a historic landmark. Though the owners still live there, the house was kept to look fascinatingly similar to Civil War times. When we realized that we still had daylight, we set out to Petersburg National Battlefield before it closed.
We were able to get in the gates just before the Park Rangers closed the park and drive through to the Crater itself. We walked down to the tunnel of the crater and then walked up along the path of it to the actual crater. The tunnel had closed off, so there was only just a peak of what it would have looked like. However the massive amount of land was still there from the Crater explosion. There were small stations that gave the positioning of the troops during this battle and described the magnitude of the event. The battlefield was maintained quite well and though it was quite cold when we visited, the sky and the endless fields of green grass with the Crater in the center of the field with trees surrounding made a stunning spectacle.
Each one of these sites that we visited gave a different experience in telling the story of the Civil War which made it a very unique. Overall it was a very successful campout.