Sunday, September 12, 2010

Appomattox Visit

McLean house

This year’s annual battlefield stomp was a success. My friends Jerry, Richard & and I logged in over 1000 miles, most of it touring Virginia. We decided a back door route. Down highway 81from Harrisburg Pa. through the Shenandoah Valley,  east to Appomattox. Day two we would push due east following the route of Lee's armys retreat. That way we could return via I95 catching whatever battlefields we had time for.

Stops included-

Day 1- Williamsport, Maryland, Falling water, West Virginia, Appomattox, Virginia.

Day 2- Appomattox, Sailors Creek, Petersburg Virginia.

Day 3- Richmond, Fredericksburg- Home

This blog entry deals with the part of our visit to Appomattox. As usual the NPS is doing a great job of conservation & education. Keeping our national heritage alive for us 21-century neophytes. All the park rangers that we met and spoke with were fantastic & eager to share knowledge with us. I was shooting with my Holga pinhole & a Holga N120. The weather was humid. The sun was braking in & out of heavy drizzly clouds. So my average exposure times for the pinhole camera was about 10 seconds +. For bright sun I find that about 9 seconds is the norm. I shot mostly Tri-X & T-Max 400 speed film.
When it came time to develop my Holga N120 film, I found the negatives way over exposed. I went through my darkroom  processes and found my pinhole negatives looked normal. Then a day later I was thinking about it & noticed that some over exposed images showed signs of camera movement. With this clue in mind I checked the camera, and sure enough it was still set on bulb. The shutter was staying open as long as I held it down. I must have forgot to reset it after shooting the Ebenezer project. So much for the pre-shoot check list.
All in all we were quite impressed with Appomattox. The McLean house and parlor were just as I've pictured it.  But I found the most meaningful area along the Richmond- Lynchburg stage road. It was along this road that one of the finial acts of the American Civil War was played out.
As usual our old friend Joshua Chamberlain was not only present, but presided over the surrender of arms. He put into words the historic moment.

“On they come, with the old swinging route step and swaying battle flags. In the van, the proud Confederate ensign. Before us in proud humiliation stood the embodiment of manhood; men whom neither toils and sufferings, nor the fact of death… could bend from their resolve; standing before us now, thin, worn, and famished, but erect, and with eyes looking level into ours, walking memories that bound us together as no other bond; was not such man-hood to be welcomed back into the Union so tested and assured? On our part not a sound of trumpet more, nor roll of drum; not a cheer, nor word, nor whisper or vain glorying nor motion of man… but an awed stillness rather, and breath-holding, as if it were the passing of the dead!”

View of the back of the Court House. This image was taken with a Holga Pin Hole Panorama camera. Kodak T-Max 400 with about 10+ seconds exposure.
McLean house photographed with a Holga pin hole panorama camera. 10+ second exposure.
The yard of the Peer's house. Holga N120 image. One of the last artillery positions of the war. The Richmond Howitzers.
View looking west along the Richmond-Lynchburg stage couch road. It was along this fence line that Lees's army lay down there arms.
View looking east along the Richmond-Lynchburg stage couch road. It was along this fence line that Lee's army lay down there arms. In the distace along modern route 24 is Lee's head quarters site.
In the center is the place where under an apple tree Lee & Grant meet after signing the terms of surrender.   


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