Virginian memories

Could I have any more to say about Virginia? Well, a teeny bit actually. I finished writing up my holiday diaries last week, and I managed to include quite a lot of our 2008 trip where the two routes crossed. I also wrote about our time in the Historic Triangle (Jamestown, Williamsburg and Yorktown) during April’s A to Z Challenge, but there are a few places that didn’t fit into either category. Librarians like things neat and tidy, so here they are.

Civil War sites

I’ve probably mentioned before how eerie I find Civil War sites. Fredericksburg is a case in point. The Union General, Burnside, sent his troops uphill against Lee’s Confederates, most of whom were dug in behind a wall along Sunken Road at the base of Marye’s Heights. The road has been restored to look as it did in 1862 – you can walk along it and climb the Heights from which it’s easy to imagine the soldiers being mown down.

I thought I’d never heard of Manassas until I realised it was the site of Bull Run, which I remembered from school as the first major clash of the Civil War. Again, the site slopes and when you get to the top the Visitor Centre disappears. You are swept back in time, wondering what it would be like to hide in the (restored) houses while the battle raged around you. This is also where Stonewall Jackson got his nickname and his statue is prominent.

Appomatox was where Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant on April 9th, 1865, effectively ending the Civil War. Today, the twenty or so buildings of the old village have been restored as part of the National Park Service.


We stayed a few nights in Charlottesville so that we could visit Monticello, home of Thomas Jefferson.

Monticello is a must-see, and we enjoyed it, but we actually preferred Ash Lawn-Highland built by 5th president, James Monroe, who moved to Charlottesville because of his friendship with Jefferson. It’s a much more modest affair.

Finally in Charlottesville, we took a stroll round Jefferson’s University of Virginia with its Rotunda inspired by the Pantheon in Rome.

I hope I haven’t misattributed the locations of any of these photos – my memory is a bit hazy after 6 years, so that’s perfectly possible. Anyway, it’s now farewell to Virginia – until the next time.


  1. Have been to all of these places. My father was from Virginia and the battle of ‘The Wilderness’ was fought in the vicinity of the family home. When I was young he took me to a Civil War gun emplacement near the house. Very interested in Civil War history. Monticello is a favorite place to visit…I took a wonderful tour of the gardens there once.


  2. Great photos to see..always:) I was around Gettysburg when I was 18 and I felt uncomfortable. The place felt haunted and i don’t mean in a boogey-man sort of way but just the amount of death that happened. I felt that way in a Jewish museum I visited once when I was in Prague. I know what you mean. I am glad that these houses are restored. I always worry in North America as many homes seem to go the way of the wrecking ball


  3. Ahhh! Charlottesville is just a stone’s throw (by American standards) away from where we live! I actually attended UVA and am tickled pink to see them in your pictures. 🙂 I’ve visited all those sites, and I do believe you have attributed all of them correctly.


    • Oh good, thanks, I was trying to match the pictures to the descriptions in the guidebook. In the “old days” I would have written on the back of my photographs, but never get round to identifying digital ones.