2 Responses to Bumpy Road to Richmond

  • Astounding when you consider that today Richmond is a fairly quick drive down I-95 from Washington D.C. You can see on a map how close the two cities are, of course, but the nearest of the 2 Civil War capitals never really hit me until I visited Richmond.

    I visited most of the historical battlefields in the DC-Virginia-Maryland area, but the Civil historical memento that sticks in my head most vividly is not Fredericksburg or Manassas, but a young Southern soldier’s letter home, displayed in the Confederate White House in Richmond. The letter was yellow, soiled, and had ancient stains, maybe bloodstains, on it, but you could still make out the writing. It was a very simply composed letter. The soldier was writing to his mother (from a field hospital, probably), telling her that he was dying and that he loved her very much. He wrote down the names of his sisters and other people he loved and asked her to tell them that he loved them too and he hoped to meet them all again in Heaven. That was it. When I was done reading it, I had to go into the Ladies Room to pull myself together. Crying in museums is not something I normally do. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that young man’s letter.

  • The great tragedy of the human condition is our mortality. The great consolation of the human condition is that death is not the end for us.