28 October 2007

Richburg Park

Just a quick post to show this nice little train we found in Richburg, SC.

27 October 2007

Savannah Railroad Museum

Ok, so right next to the Savanah History Museum and Springhill Redoubt is the Savanah Railroad Museum Roundhouse. For those not familiar with train terminology, a roundhouse is a place at the end of a major rail line where trains are put on a large rotating piece of track, allowing them to turn around, or be put into any one of several repair shops inside the roundhouse. This roundhouse was built in 1835 by the Central Canal and Railroad Company. By 1859, the company had the longest stretch of railroad under one management in the world. Most of it was destroyed by Sherman in the Civil War. But the roundhouse was spared along with the rest of the city. In 1866 William Wadley took over the company and rebuilt the railroad and extended it. In 1895, the company became the Central of Georgia Railway and was the area's largest employer for over 100 years. The company was bought in 1963 by Southern Railway, who then closed the roundhouse and its shops. Seen above is the massive smokestack amidst the derelict shops, the focal point of a unique system that allowed smoke from all the machine shops to go out through the one chimney.
A rail Crane
Diesel Electric engine, built in 1964 after the compant was bought by Southern Railway, and thus has the SR paint scheme.

Steam locomotive built in 1907

Central of Georgia affice Car, used by the company president.
Small engine used for switcher service at Atlantic Steel in Atlanta until WW1
This garden is the area where company employees would relax in their off time.
Some of the heavy machinery in the machine shops.
Looking back at the roundhouse. Note in the middle forground is the actual rotating track.

A railway portable power generator built in Charleston between 1858 and 1860.

An old fire engine near the museum

The rounhouse structure was actually changed twice. It was originally smaller and a full circle. In 1926, the back half (the part seen now) was made larger. Then by the late 1950s, the smaller front portion was torn down, leaving only the larger, half circle seen today. This picture shows some of the foundation from the original wall.

Savannah Museum and Spring Hill

Ok, so here is the history museum in Savanah, Georgia. Small, but with some interesting stuff worth seeing. It is housed in the old Railroad Depot (seen above) that was used from the 1850s to 1971.
Imagine, a train in a train depot.
A collection of Civil War weapons.
Confederate torpedo (what we would call a mine these days, but also what Admiral Farragut refered to in Mobile Bay when he said "damn the torpedos, full speed ahead!")
Bench used in the movie Forrest Gump, parts of which were filmed in Savannah.
A set of old carriages

An old street sign, found in someone's yard
A US WW1 uniform and machine gun.
In 1778, Savannah was captured by the British, and in 1779, a month long seige was undertaken by the combined American-French forces. This culminated in an all out assault on Oct 9, 1779, when they charged the British earthworks, but to no avail. When it was all over, the British held the city, and more than 800 soldiers from both sides had been killed. With Savannah firmly in British hands, they felt free to launch a campaign into the Carolinas (see last post). Above are artifacts from the battle at Savannah, below is a diorama shoowing what the assault would have looked like.

Shells recovered from the CSS Georgia, sunk in the Savannah river by the Confederates to prevent its capture.
A set of old dueling pistols
These pictures show the recreation of the Spring Hill Redoubt, outside the museum. The Springhill Redoubt was where the worst of the fighting occured during the assault in 1779. While they say this reconstruction is on the original battlefield, they also say the original site of the redoubt itself is "nearby" and private to protect it from vandalism until it can be fully excavated.

King's Mountain

Ok, so shortly after the Jax festival, we went to visit in-laws up in South Carolina. I managed to get a few hours and go to King's Mountain National Military Park. So here's the story: in 1788, Savanah, GA was captured by the British, followed by Charleston, SC in 1780. Both were major blows to the Patriot cause, as they were the two most important cities and ports that far south. The British believed that the majority of Carolinians were loyal enough that they could help stop the rebellion there, and minimize the number of British regulars they sent. They certainly did find many loyal men who would help and fight, but that number also dwindled with British acts such as burning homes and farms of those not loyal to them. Also, partisan activity by such men as Francis Marion and Elijah Clarke continued to harass the British forces and stir up rebellious spirit. Following the disastorous Patriot defeat at Camden on August 16, the British believed the rebellion in the South to be effectively over, and began to move into North Carolina. General Cornwallis, leading the main British army, moved into Charlotte, but sent Major Patrick Ferguson west to protect his flank against alleged "Over mountain men" from the Blue Ridge and Smoky mountains. Ferguson, learning of a Patriot advance from a deserter, began to move back east, closer to Cornwallis' army. He decided to make a stand and fight, however, atop King's Mountain.

This is an original example of a Ferguson rifle, which he "invented" and distributed to some of his troops. In reality it was a slightly improved version of the la Chaumette breech loading rifle.
As seen in this diorama at the battlefield museum, the Patriot forces attacked up the moutain, running from tree to tree, until they got close enough that the Loyalists would charge down the mountain using bayonets. The Patriots would gather up near the bottom of the mountain, and attack again. This happened for several hours.
This photo and the one below show what the Patriots were up against. This mountain with surprisingly steep sides was what they assaulted at least three times.

This shows the view looking down the mountain, from the position of the Loyalists. Note that the trees then were much thicker, affording easy hiding spots for the Patriots coming up the mountain.

Monuments marking where William Chronicle (above) and John Mattocks (below) fell in the battle.

Spot where President Hoover addressed 70,000 people on Oct 7 1930, the 150th anniversary of the battle. He said it was a "small army and little battle, but of mighty portent....one of the crucial engagements in our long struggle for independence." Less than a year later, Congress established the National Military Park, protecting the place where this crucial victory occured for all to remember.
Monument errected by descendents of those who fought in the battle.
This plaque commemorating the victory, is in the large monument, seen in the top photo.

Memorial for Coronel James Hawthorn.
As the battle raged on and the Loyalist troops became discouraged, Major Ferguson donned a bright red checkered shirt and rode up and down the lines blowing a silver whistle and encouraging his men. It was while doing this that he was shot and killed-with eight rifle balls found in his body. The markers above and below mark where he was killed.

This is the grave of Major Patrick ferguson. Killed in the heat of battle, the British hope of its great loyalist army died with him, as over 200 of them were killed and more than 700 taken prisoner when the Patriots finnaly surrounded their camp. Cornwallis had now lost a third of his total army and lost his western guard against the Overmountain Men, who had now proven themselves in battle. Ultimately, the British would suffer major losses again at Cowpens, SC and Guilford Courthouse, NC before Cornwallis would finally decide it was time to leave the Carolinas for Yorktown, Virginia.
This marker tells the history of the nearby town of Clover, SC.

03 October 2007

Confedrate Park

Ok, so this park is just north of downtown, a small sanctuary of peace for the weary..... Well, maybe not. But here it is, and this picture is one of a pair of canon at one end of the park. Below is a monument to Confederate women.

This monument is to Robert Burns, the Scotch poet
Eagles. Yay.
Monument for the first lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows in Florida (I didn't know there was such a thing)
Marker where the 49th Iowa camped during the Spanish American War

Some local residents