July 5, 2015

A Sweet Church in West Virginia

Green Hill UMC
Sharing with Inspired Sunday

Exploring History at Droop Mountain

monumentThe 1863 Battle of Droop Mountain is interpreted in several ways at the state park. This monument to the men who died as a result of the battle is fairly new, erected for the 150th anniversary of the struggle. It stands near the park office and museum. 

The park is in the beautiful hills of West Virginia, near the appropriately-named town of Hillsboro. There is a spectacular scenic overlook which you reach by driving through the forested battlefield, which features a series of interpretive signs telling how Federal forces dislodged the Confederates who had fortified the mountain. Like many of the battles fought in West Virginia, the main reason for the battle was controlling important supply routes, such as railroad lines and highways.

(Click on image to open larger version.)

This sign tells of the "3rd West Virginia Mounted Infantry" (USA) under Lt. Col. Francis W. Thompson:
The men of the 3rd WV fought their way up this ravine extending their line of battle along the mountainside until they joined with the 28th Ohio. Upon reaching the top, they helped break the Confederate line and pursued the defeated army south towards Lewisburg.
You can see other interpretive signs for Droop Mountain on the Historical Marker Database.

Confederate Graves
Behind the Superintendent's Office is a barely-marked cemetery and a museum, located in a charming log building which appears to be a CCC-built cabin.  (For those who don't know, the CCC was the Civilian Conservation Corps, a jobs-creating program under Franklin Roosevelt's administration.

See all my Droop Mountain posts.

Reproduction of Parrott Rifle

July 4, 2015

Lookout Tower in Sepia

log towerThe observation tower on Droop Mountain was built of logs the size of telephone poles. They are grayish-brown so a sepia tint looks natural. I'm sharing this with Sepia Saturday.

I visited this part of West Virginia as a child and later as a young adult. On this recent visit I delved into the Civil War history, having studied it over the past 20-plus years. (See my Civil War Field Trips site.)  When I was younger I knew very little about the Civil War in West Virginia, for Virginia history treats the war as pretty much a Virginia affair.

July 3, 2015

The Tower on Droop Mountain

Near Hillsboro, West Virginia
This scenic lookout on Droop Mountain provides a beautiful view of the valley below. The mountain was the scene of a Civil War battle on November 6, 1863. The sign on the left summarizes the action:
Nearly five months after West Virginia was admitted into the Union, the Confederate army of Brigadier General John Echols still occupied the prosperous Greenbrier Valley region of the new state. From its headquarters in Lewisburg, his army was the foremost defense of the Virginia-Tennessee Railroad, an important Confederate supply line in southwest Virginia.

On August 26 and 27, 1863, the Confederate army had successfully repulsed an attack at White Sulphur Springs by the Federal Army of Brigadier General William W. Averell. In early November, Echols learned that General Averell had left his headquarters in Beverly, West Virginia, and was again moving south toward the railroad. Confederate outposts in Pocahontas County tried to slow the advance. General Echols marched his army north, all through the night, to Droop Mountain to reinforce them.

The reinforcements arrived just in time, for General Averell began his attack early. Throughout the morning, Echols’ outnumbered Confederate army held the high ground and blocked the highway with artillery, but in the afternoon was overwhelmed by the crushing advance of Federal infantry on his left flank. Following the collapse of his lines, General Echols retreated south with the remnants of his command. Federal troops occupied Lewisburg on November 7, 1863, but being burdened by prisoners and captured livestock, General Averell elected to return to his headquarters in Beverly, waiting until early December to lead a third, and ultimately successful, attack on the railroad. Operations in the Shenandoah Valley in the spring in 1864 drew remaining Confederate troops out of West Virginia, thus leaving the new state securely under the control of the Federal government for the remainder of the war.

With more than 400 casualties, (140 Union and approximately 275 Confederate) the Battle at Droop Mountain was one of the last significant Civil War battles in West Virginia.
I climbed the tower steps and found a sign at the top that tells the same story.

You don't need to be a history buff, though, to enjoy Droop Mountain State Park. There are magnificent views, picnic areas, and a play area for children. The lookout tower and some other park buildings were built by the CCC during the Great Depression.

Sharing with Skywatch Friday

Daylilies (On Droop Mountain)

Flowers remind me I am lucky,
For I am not color blind.
The hues and tints and tones,
The contrasts of color on color,
Color, how much I love you!

July 2, 2015

Civil War Trails, Hillsboro, WV

There are two Civil War interpretive signs near the Pearl S. Buck birthplace in Hillsboro, WV.  Both tell about the Union Army Camp that was here in November 1863. I believe the first one is older so I'll provide the text. You can read the other one on Historical Marker Database. 

Yankee Army Camp
John D. Sutton, 10th West Virginia Infantry, wrote, "The army went into camp in the levels between Mill Point and Hillsboro." These fields were later owned by 2nd Lt. Matthew John McNeel, Company F, 19th Virginia Cavalry, and the Capt. Edgar estate. In plain view of his camp was the large, brick home of Col. Paul McNeel, a member for Pocahontas County in the convention at Richmond that declared secession. Col. McNeel's son was a Confederate captain in McNeil's Rangers. Averell reportedly spent the night either in the home of Col. Paul McNeel or in the Presbyterian Manse.

Eight-year-old C.L. Stulting lived on the farm with Hermannus and Johannah Staulting (ancestors of Pearl S. Buck). Staulting wrote "around 6 o'clock, we were all sitting around the breakfast table unaware of there being any soldiers in our neighborhood, when we heard the firing of army guns just outside of the house."

While camped here, Union General William W. Averell developed a plan of attack on Confederate forces at nearby Droop Mountain.

Sharing with Signs, Signs

July 1, 2015

Canada Geese by the Fountain

Upside Down Theme Day

The City Daily Photo theme for July 1 is "Upside Down." I see one of the other photographers chose a subject similar to mine but his squirrel is Swedish and quite red.

Also sharing with Camera Critters 

June 30, 2015

Randomosity: West Virginia

The Good: Although long considered a nuisance, milkweed has turned out to be an important plant because it plays an important role in the lives of butterflies. It's a tall plant so gardeners usually grow it at the back of a natural-looking garden.  

The Random: Below we have a typical West Virginia scene. If you like farm scenes like this, check out The Barn Collective.

The Fun: This boat launch area on the New River offers pretty views. Unfortunately for my picture, no boaters or fishermen were in sight, probably because the weather forecast said that a storm was on the way. It was, but it didn't reach us until dinner time.

June 29, 2015

Molly Must's Marvelous Marlinton Mural

1st Avenue at 8th Street, Marlinton, WV

This colorful mural is by artist Molly Must. The artist explains that it was "inspired by several local historical writings, particularly those of G.D. McNeill, author of The Last Forest, and also the writings and poetry of his daughter Louise McNeill."

On the upper left is a quote: "This is the place it starts beyond the Allegheny, where the primordial river parts the hill."

Unfortunately I was not able to get the entire mural in one photo because of a tree. You can see other details of this artwork on the artist's website.

  Sharing with Monday Murals

June 28, 2015

Turkey Spur Overlook

view of distant river
New River Gorge, West Virginia
You can drive to this fine view of the gorge in Grandview. A Park Service sign provides a map and trail information. It also tells us that the "unique outcrop" called Turkey Spur may have been named for the turkey vultures which are abundant here.

Also abundant here are rhododendron bushes, which were blooming when we were here a week ago.

Sharing with Today's Flowers

Cliff Over Turkey Spur Trail

In Grandview Park at New River Gorge National River, West Virginia

June 27, 2015

Along the Turkey Spur Trail

This is another short trail at Grandview. It connects Turkey Spur Overlook with a viewing structure. Even from the parking lot you get a nice view.

See all my Grandview posts.

Sharing with Sepia Saturday

Grandview's Tunnel Trail

This is my third post about Grandview in West Virginia. It's incredibly scenic!

A man at the main overlook recommended the Tunnel Trail, a short but interesting trail that goes from the overlook area to the ball field. From there you can see the parking lot and walk back to your car. The "tunnel" is apparently not open at present but there are passageways where you can walk between the rocks.

See the Park Service page on Grandview Trails.

June 26, 2015

Colors and Themes

These photos are from Grandview in West Virginia. We were in this beautiful park on a pretty morning, and I took more pictures than I can possibly post. Here I'm focusing on colors and linking to a few relevant memes, starting with a blue sky and Skywatch Friday.

Next we have some green plants growing through cracks between layers of rocks. We were on the Tunnel Trail, which would be a good place to have a geologist along to discuss the rock formations.

Thank you to the young lady for wearing a red shirt! Red never fails to brighten an image and draw the eye. Some photographers dress their children in red or carry a red jacket for their spouse to wear in photos. And red happens to be the theme that Mersad chose  for this week's My Town Shoot Out.

I don't know this person but she was taking a picture while I was taking a picture of her.

We saw a bright shiny motorcycle in the parking lot. It's orange paint qualifies it for a spot on Orange You Glad It's Friday.

I was pleased to see pink rhododendron blooming in the park. The plants are often tall enough that the flowers are at eye-level.  They always seemed a bit magical to me.

Sharing with Scenic Weekends