This is a unique National Park. It is the site of the former US Armory. It is where John Brown made his stand. There was a significant Civil War battle in 1862 where Harpers Ferry changed hands more than 5 times during one day. The Appalachian Trail goes through the area as well as the C&O towpath. It is home to the non-defunct Storer College, an HBCU. There is so much to see and do. In my mind, this park is a must see on the National Park list. Unlike other parks that try to cover a specific time period or event, this park has the enormous task of covering hundreds of years of history and events.
We came to the park with a plan. My goal was to see the old Armory area, hike part of the Appalachian Trail and tour the historic town. I did this a so much more. I did not know about Storer College until this visit. Many of the campus building are still standing. This college was in operation from 1867 to 1955. It was started to provide education to former slaves.
Appalachian Trail/C&O Towpath and views of the Potomac River
This is a picturesque park. Have you been? What was your favorite part?
Donna and I wanted to visit a few of the Civil War battlefields as we travel down the coast. These battlefields are in different states but we visited them all within 10 days. That is why I am condensing the battlefields into one post. We visited Gettysburg in Pennsylvania Antietam in Maryland and Manassas in Virginia. We visited them in this order. I will describe each battlefield in order of how the battles occurred.
Manassas – This is where the first major battle of the Civil War occurred. I find it surreal that people came out with picnic baskets and blankets after church to watch ‘THE’ battle of the Civil War. Both sides were certain that this would be the only battle. The first battle of Manassas occurred in early July 1861. By all rights the Union troops should have won. They out numbered Confederate troops. However, the Union troops did not cut off the supply line so reinforcements were able to resupply the Confederate line. There was no winner of this battle. However, it did foreshadow a long and bloody conflict was about to ensue. This battle field has extensive walking trails as well as an auto tour.
Antietam – Know as the bloodiest one day battle of the Civil War. This battel occurred on September 17, 1862. Donna and I like to study troops movements. I guess we are a little geeky that way. It comes naturally to her since we was in the Marines. I am not sure where my interest came from. I was interested in viewing the corn field where the troops moved through to start the battle. I never understood this movement. The other side could see you coming; there is no surprise. Donna was interested in the Sunken Road and the Burnside Bridge. This battlefield has an extensive auto tour where you visit and get more information about each area of the battle ground. It is hard to know that exact amount of casualties at this battle but the estimates are around 24,000.
Gettysburg – This was a three day battle that occurred July 1 through July 3, 1863. We spent one day at this park. I wished we had spread it out over a few days. Moving so quickly through this battlefield felt like I was getting a firehose of water amount of information. We watched the movie; went through the cyclorama as well as the visitor center. The visitor center breaks down the battle by day. There was just so much information. The auto tour was very informative. I am glad we packed a picnic lunch. There are many places that are nice to sit and reflect while eating lunch.
We enough reflecting on American history. There are a few more places we plan on visiting on our trek down the east coast. Have you visited any of these battlefields? If so, what were your thoughts?