Travels Through Virginia, 2013 – part II

We’ve been to Virginia several times now. This summer alone we spent over 14 nights in Virginia. No matter how much time we spend, we always leave with a mental list of where we need visit on our return trip.

Virginia has such a huge amount of historic sites and beautiful locations, it’s hard to take it all in.

On our second drive through Virginia this year, we drove almost straight to Richmond. I was eager to visit the Virginia State Archives, as we have families located throughout many counties in this state, and I was hoping for more research. Well, I was disappointed with the State Archives. I thought for sure they would have a great collection to look through, and I suppose it is good-sized. I just expected…more. They had a few shelves of books to look through, but no more than any decently stocked genealogical section of the average local library would have. I found a couple of books that looked promising, but didn’t end up with anything.

What was impressive was their online card catalog. I could search files, documents, and artifacts quickly and easily by putting family names in the search box. If too many hits returned on my search, I narrowed the field and tried again. While I didn’t find anything significant on either my lines or Travel Buddy’s, I still enjoyed the search.

So I left the Archives satisfied that nothing existed there for our purposes, but feeling confused. So where are all the county documents not kept at the county levels? I’d better find out before we return to Richmond!

Next: Petersburg National Battlefield. I have done a fair amount of reading on civil war battlefields, but I never attached much significance to Petersburg. Wow, did I have much to learn! Not only is Petersburg important in that Grant was only able to force the Confederate army from Richmond by cutting off the supply route that ran right through Petersburg, but this was also an important battlefield in terms of explosives and tunnels. Through signage and observing the contours of the ground, we were able to see where impressively long tunnels were dug and where an enormous crater still marks the area of probably the largest ordinance explosion of the war. My main regret is that while these kinds of slopes and flows are readily seen by the eye, they are virtually impossible to photograph. At least, my two cameras failed.

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