Posted in History

Experiencing History Blog Series: Reliving the End of the Civil War, Moment by Moment

I had written a blog series during the 150th anniversary of the surrender, paying close attention to the historical timeline of events as they played out. The series starts days before the surrender, allowing you to see what was happening, as well as the letters exchanged between generals, as Lee and Grant were moving in position to collide in a most memorable way. The series continues through Lincoln’s assassination which took place just days later. And the series wraps up with 5 collections of pictures that I had taken in Appomattox that year during the 150th celebration.

To make things easier for you, I’ve pulled all the links together in order. I hope you enjoy!

*Originally I had hosted a giveaway along with this series. The giveaway is over. Feel free to comment on any of the posts, but I’m no longer collecting entries.

Experiencing History: Reliving the End of the Civil War, Moment by Moment:

4/7 Part 1: Let’s jump start this series with some basic feelings from both armies.

4/7 Part 2: Grant sends a message to Lee asking him to surrender

4/8 Part 1: Lee responds and Grant sends a second note

4/8 Part 2: A quote from a Union soldier and a new message from Lee

4/9 Part 1: The armies on the move again and Grant sends another message.

4/9 Part 2: Hours before their meeting, the generals exchange 2 more letters.

4/9 Part 3: The hour has come! Read the terms of surrender and Grant’s version of the events of that hour.

4/9 Part 4: Two eye witness accounts

4/10: Read what was happening the day after the surrender by a man who was there.

4/11: Read the accounts of both Union and Confederate supporters as they hear the news of Lee’s surrender

4/12: Stacking of Arms Ceremony. Read two eye witness accounts of this solemn moment

4/13: Read Lee’s Farewell Address to his army

4/14 Part 1: Hours before Lincoln enters Ford’s Theatre

4/14 Part 2: A fictionalized account of the moment Lincoln was shot

4/15: The country is thrown into mourning. Details of the day as well as the account of a Union soldier the moment he was told.

Pictures from Appomattox:

Part 1: Reenactors

Part 2: Personal Collection

Part 3: Soldier Life

Part 4: Museums

Part 5: Stacking of Arms Ceremony


Posted in History

Experiencing History: Pictures from Appomattox: Part 5 Stacking of Arms Ceremony

The Stacking of Arms Ceremony. The very reason why I, and hundreds of others, made their way to Appomattox, Virginia. 150 years ago on April 12th, Lee’s army marched between 2 rows of Union soldiers and surrendered their weapons. It was a solemn moment for everyone involved. You can read 2 first-hand accounts of the event that I shared here on my blog.

I was able to see the ceremony twice that weekend. Once in real time. It was a wonderful experience!

The Union Army filing in:







The Confederate Army filing in:








Touching the flag for the last time:




Prepare and Stack:






Surrendering Ammunition:



It is finished:




Walking away:





The End:

















The long awaited homecoming:




I hope you enjoyed the entire Experiencing History series. You can catch up on anything you missed by clicking on the “#ExperHist” tag on the right. 🙂

Posted in History

Experiencing History: Pictures from Appomattox: Part 4 Museums

Today, I’m bringing to you a collection of interesting displays from various museums. I hope you enjoy. And don’t forget you can catch up on the entire series by clicking on the “ExperHist” tag on the right. 🙂

This is one the flags that laid across Lincoln’s coffin during his funeral procession. His procession lasted 2 weeks.



This is the doll nicknamed, “The Silent Witness.” There are several books written about the doll’s experience and you can buy replicas today, but here is the original doll, once owned by Lula McLean. Before Lee and Grant met in their home, Lula accidentally left her favorite rag doll in the room. After the men left the room it was found by one of Grant’s officers and dubbed, “The Silent Witness.”


This is Lee’s copy of the surrender terms penned by Grant himself. What lovely handwriting he has!



Below is a picture of a cracked plate. It may not seem like much, but the story behind it fascinated me. It was once owned by Emily H. Booton. Family legend has it that a detail of Union raiders visited her home looking for food. When a soldier picked up the plate of bread and butter, she snatched the plate away and hit him in the face with the plate. It’s said that the plate cracked and the hit knocked him out cold. Another Union soldier stepped in to protect the woman from the angry soldiers. 😉 I have a feeling a similar story will find its way into the pages of one of my novels someday.


Lady’s glove pattern


Below is a bodice sleeve pattern made from a newspaper page. This was just one of several ways the southern women made due with what they had.


A corn shuck cap


Lol this doll became the joke of the weekend. It’s hard to imagine her ever being a lovely play toy, but she certainly led an interesting life. She was used to smuggle medicine into the South during the war.


In this xray, you can see the hole cut into the doll’s head where they hid the medicine.


This is called the Bullet Rosette. A Union and Confederate bullet met and formed this rosette. It was found on the Spotsylvania battlefield.


Before Valentine cards were commercially made, they were homemade. This beautiful card was made by an unknown Confederate soldier.


And here’s another lovely example of a homemade Valentine. This one was made by a Confederate soldier while in the hospital. I can’t make out everything it says, but it starts off saying, “Valentine BUT by a Confederate soldier in…” The way he included the word “but” leads me to think he might have given it to a nurse, likely a Union nurse. And it doesn’t sound as if he knew her personally. I can’t help but wonder what the story behind this Valentine is…or better yet, what story I might create based on it. 😉
It is very lovely and very well done. You can see that in the close-up pictures below.




Posted in History

Experiencing History: Pictures from Appomattox: Part 3 Soldier Life

Today, I’ll share a collection of photos about the life of a soldier.


Can you imagine, opening  your front door and finding this on your lawn? Everywhere they went, they were on someone’s property. Someone’s field. Someone’s barnyard. Someone’s home.






The men used tents of various shapes and sizes. Basically, whatever was available. Here’s a nice example of a group of men that chose to throw their lot in together and build a palace.



If they were lucky, they had hay. Our friends in the picture above didn’t.





And here we have the kitchen.






We complain about school food, but they had it far worse. Since they didn’t have the food preserving technology that we have now, their rations were often served with maggots. It’s sad but true.


Infantry Drill:








The United States Christian Commission was a vital operation to the soldier. There were several other organizations like this one, but the USCC is the most well known and the most organized during the war. Their purpose was to collect and distribute common items like: food, clothing, blankets, medical supplies, and Bibles. Here are a few pictures showing these angels at work.

🙂 In this picture, the men are enjoying a game of cards, but don’t worry, they’re not gambling! And yes, I did ask. 😉







Artillery Demo:






Cavalry Demo:




One of the most important people to any regiment was their flag bearer.






But not all their fighting was done on horseback.


Last but not least. Another important member of the army was the band. No army was complete without one. These men helped give orders, wake up calls, and boosted morale.



Posted in History

Experiencing History: Pictures from Appomattox: Part 2 Personal Collection

Today’s blog post is a miscellaneous set of pictures from the weekend. You’ll find a few selfies, breathtaking scenery, and historic buildings. Enjoy!

First,  those lovely mountain shots….





The hills were just as lovely as the mountains. 🙂


I took some wonderful pictures of American flags at Civil War graves a couple summers ago, so I was thrilled to add these to my collection. 🙂



Historic Buildings:

I snapped this picture at a red light in Richmond.


The next 3 photos were taken inside a summer kitchen




The next 4 are from the inside of 2 different slave quarters.





A general store:






The next 3 pictures are of the Courthouse.




The next 2 pictures are of the McLean home. This is the home where Lee and Grant met, and where Lee actually surrendered. I wasn’t allowed to take any pictures inside the home, but I can tell you that it was MUCH smaller than it looks in the pictures.

There were so many people around the house at all times. Tons of yellow rope and things that ruin pictures. Lol I did the best I could.


You can’t see much of the house here, but I love the view of the brick home from behind the pink-blooming tree.


I forget which building they used to print the paroles, but here are a few pics from the inside. Each man in the Confederate army needed a parole certificate. They hung ropes across the room and draped the paper across until the ink dried.




I found this music box in a gift shop in Richmond. If you’ve read Where Can I Flee, you’ll remember that Frank sent Claire a small music box for her birthday. This was also the same day she walked past the Haynes mansion and saw…someone she’ll never forget. 😉 But what a pretty little box!



I also took time to try to blend in 🙂


Here’s a picture of me with my two traveling buddies. The one up front is my aunt Mary and the other is our friend, Sandra.


But not everything was fun and games. I brought my work with me and took the time to keep track of the giveaway I was running that week. Here’s my desk away from home.


You can click on the “#ExperHist” tag on your right to catch up on the Civil War blog series that I ran earlier this month and the previous photo albums. 🙂

Posted in History

Experiencing History: Pictures from Appomattox: Part 1 Reenactors

I love attending living history events, but the hardest thing about these events are the civilians. Lol I know, I know, I’m one of them, but hear me out. It takes a great deal of patience to wait for the perfect moment, the perfect angle, to shoot the perfect picture withOUT any civilians in the background. I was pretty fortunate to have walked away from an event this large and actually have some really terrific shots without civilians and/or modern junk in the background. So as you scroll through these pictures, please excuse anything that slipped in that doesn’t belong, and when you find those pics that are without modern influence, be amazed. 😉 I know I was!

This whole post will be dedicated to the those beautiful shots with the reenactors. They really do a wonderful job bringing history to life!! Please, continue following the blog all week as I bring a new collection of pictures every morning.

We’ll kick this post off with a pic of Grant and Lee posing for a picture.


This is one of my favorite shots. Through various journals, I read about how both armies mixed and mingled after the surrender and this picture captured that idea beautifully.


Ok, man on a horse may not seem like much, but look! No civilians…or yellow rope around the house in the background. Lol


I love the simple shots like this. It puts such a refreshing idea on life. It wasn’t just drill and march for the soldier; they had chores to do too!


Another amazing shot! Can’t we just imagine Frank, George, and Eddie palling around by the fence?!







I love this pic!! This is a good example of a soldier during the down time.


This was another example of a beautiful shot ruined by a busy, modern background. 🙂 I think I took six pictures before getting this one. Does this scene remind you of anything? Think back to Frank’s opening camp scene in Where Can I Flee, where he’s sitting under a tree beside Eddie and George with a group of men sitting off the side? Ok, so they’re totally in the wrong uniform, but it’s still a neat resemblance.




This is one of my favorite pictures of the weekend! So simple. So beautiful. The story behind this picture is kinda funny. I was standing in line at the bookstore (notice the armed guards in the picture above 😉 ) when I noticed that only reenactors were visible in the doorway. It seemed like a wonderful opportunity! So, paying no attention to the long line of strangers behind me, I dropped to my knees and took a few pictures. I’m so glad that I did!




I hope you enjoyed the first of five blogs featuring my pictures from Appomattox. I ran a blog series featuring the major events surrounding Lee’s surrender to Grant earlier this month. Click on the “#ExperHist” tag to your right to read the series. It’s too late to enter the giveaway that accompanied the series, but it’s never too late to enjoy history! 😉

Posted in History

Experiencing History: Winner Announced!!!

2013_06222013summer0033I had a wonderful time experiencing history together during this series. My purpose, to the best of my ability, was to share the events surrounding Lee’s surrender to Grant in real timing as it happened 150 years ago. For those that missed the series, you can start from the beginning by clicking here. You can also view my pictures from Appomattox by clicking here. The pictures are shared over five blog posts so you’ll want to use that “next” button at the bottom of each page. 😉

 Winner Announced!

Congratulations Kim Hampton!!
Here’s a look at the prize pack: 2 Magnets from Appomattox, 1 bag of old fashioned candy, 1 book from the Appomattox park (Ok, so the book came free but what’s a souvenir pack without the freebie 😉 ), and my personal favorite, the Lee and Grant mugs.
A big thank you to all who participated!! I’ll be in touch soon, Kim!


Another shout out to my wonderful and helpful sources:

*Note: Each link will either send you to the actual website or a sales link. Enjoy!

“Surrender at Appomattox, 1865,” EyeWitness to History, (1997)

The Civil War Notebook of Daniel Chilsholm: A Chronicle of Daily Life in the Union Army 1864-1865

Battle of Appomattox Court House

The Civil War Years: A Day-by-Day Chronicle by Robert E. Denney

The War-Time Journal of a Georgia Girl 1864-1865 by Eliza Frances Andrews

Battle of Appomattox Courthouse

Lee’s Farewell Address

Abraham Lincoln’s Last Day

A quick note to my new followers: I’m thrilled to have each and every one of you. I hope you’ll continue to follow my weekly blog even after this series closes. Primarily, this is a Christian Author’s blog so I do, typically, focus on a wider range of subjects. Here’s my monthly schedule: Week 1 – About the Book. You’ll find a variety of insider information about my series. Week 2 – Christian. The topics change each month, but the encouragement found in God’s word remains the same. Week 3 – About the Author. I’ll share something on a more personal level either about my family life, my walk with Christ, or a craft I’ve tried out. Week 4 – History. Not only am I a Civil War author, but I’m a fan so I love to share portions of my research.

Posted in History

Experiencing History: Reliving the End of the Civil War, Moment by Moment: 4/15

253At 7:22 am, Lincoln stood before the throne of God, and the nation, who was in shock the very night before, was now thrown into mourning. News, of course, would take some time to travel across the land and many people actually heard the news days later. Andrew Johnson will be sworn in as President at 10 am this very morning. Our friend, Daniel Chisholm, tells the moment well. Here is his account:

“At dress parade this evening ‘The Assassination of President Abraham Lincoln’ was read to us. A silent gloom fell upon us like a pall. No one spoke or moved, our sorrow was so great that we could scarcely realize what had happened. I always thought that he was most loved by all the Army and people of America, but I am now sure of that. The ‘Stars and Stripes’ was quietly lowered, and old torn shreds of Flags almost quietly dismissed and we moved away slowly to our quarters, as if we each had lost a near and dear friend at home. Quietly, quietly we went to our rest. Was anybody glad, if he was he made no sign, and well for them they did not, for they never would have reached home alive. No drill, No Dress Parade. No Nothing, all quiet, Flags at half mast, lonesome was no word for us. It was like going from busy City to a fastness in the mountains, what a hold Old Honest Abe Lincoln had on the hearts of the soldiers of the army could only be told by the way they showed their mourning for him.”

250*Lincoln’s Funeral Procession

*LAST DAY OF THE SERIES AND GIVEAWAY! IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO CATCH UP ON THE PAST POSTS. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for a mystery souvenir from Appomattox! Earn entries by sharing this blog link (comment below with your link), follow my weekly blog, and/or talk to me in the comments below. Don’t forget to leave your email address at least once during the giveaway. Click on the #ExperHist tag to catch up. THE WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED TOMORROW MORNING HERE ON THE BLOG!

Source: The Civil War Notebook of Daniel Chilsholm: A Chronicle of Daily Life in the Union Army 1864-1865

Posted in History

Experiencing History: Reliving the End of the Civil War, Moment by Moment: 4/14 part 2

94Ford’s is packed, and Harry Hawk is giving a wonderful performance. You’ve strained to take a peek at the Presidential Box, but like all the other times before, Lincoln isn’t visible. Turning your attention back to the actor on stage, you’re drawn into the story. A single shot echoes in the near quiet room. A moment of stunned silence follows as you search the stage to make sense of the sudden gunshot. An ear piercing scream pulls you out of your fuzzy thoughts and the ruckus from the left side of the room steals your attention. You jump up from your seat as people around you begin moving at once. Some kneeling down on the floors, others moving toward the exit, and others, still, craning their neck to find out what happened. A crazed man flies onto the stage as if it was part of the show; only it wasn’t. He shouts something that you can’t quite understand and then runs out the back door. Men follow him out the door in hot pursuit while the attention of everyone else shifts to the sound of the hyper cries of a woman…the woman in the Presidential box…Mary Lincoln, herself. Your heart drops to the floor as you struggle to understand what just happened. Could it be Mary that was shot? Or one of her guests? The crowd is in a full uproar now. Several rush out of the building. Several more rush toward the President’s side. And several murmur from their seats. The women and children cry, part in fear and part in sorrow as word moves about the room that it was our beloved President who was shot. When chance presents itself, you move about the room, searching The Box for some understanding of what is happening. You see very little. Then at once, there was a great movement in the box. You stand transfixed as you watch in agony as several men hoist the very still, very large body of your president. With grunts and quick movements, they are once again out of your sight. Upon finally exiting the theater, it becomes clear where the President is. What isn’t clear is the extent of his injuries. You long to knock on the door of the Peterson House that sits just across the street. The great crowd gathered outside will not allow you to get close enough to the door, but maybe if you came near, you’d learn more of the man’s injuries. You take that chance and dart across the street. The fog is now thicker than before when you walked into Ford’s. Just as you expected, you can’t get any closer to the door, but you gave up that idea already. Instead, you ask around until the message becomes clear — President Lincoln was shot in the head and, although, he still lives, there is little hope that he will continue to for much longer. With a heavy heart, you leave the crowd and try to make sense of all that had happen. But what sense can really be made of such shocking events like these?

*ONLY ONE POST REMAINING! Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for a mystery souvenir from Appomattox! Earn entries by sharing this blog link (comment below with your link), follow my weekly blog, and/or talk to me in the comments below. Don’t forget to leave your email address at least once during the giveaway. It’s never too late to enter, so click on the #ExperHist tag to catch up.

Source: Abraham Lincoln’s Last Day

Posted in History

Experiencing History: Reliving the End of the Civil War, Moment by Moment: 4/14 part 1

254 It’s Good Friday and what a day it will be! After four years of war, it’s time to celebrate something. Nothing sounds better at the moment than taking in a play at the Ford’s Theatre. The idea of dressing up and having an evening out has excited you all day and now it’s finally time to prepare for the show. Our American Cousin will be playing tonight, but what you’re most interested in is the chance to see President Lincoln. Rumor has it that he is to attend. You hope, at the very least, to have a seat that can easily see into the Presidential Box.

It’s a misty and foggy sort of night when you finally leave for the Theatre. You can’t help but pick up on the eerie feeling that seems to hang around in the air. With a deep breath, you shove those thoughts aside. With the news of Lee’s surrender, the papers promise only good things for the our country…

*ONLY 2 POSTS REMAINING!! STAY TUNED, WE’VE A LATE SHOW AT FORD’S THEATRE TONIGHT! Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for a mystery souvenir from Appomattox! Earn entries by sharing this blog link (comment below with your link), follow my weekly blog, and/or talk to me in the comments below. Don’t forget to leave your email address at least once during the giveaway. It’s never too late to enter, so click on the #ExperHist tag to catch up.

Source: Abraham Lincoln’s Last Day