Sunday, March 21, 2010

Yorktown - Where America Won THE Victory.

Yorktown, for those who are as unaware of these things as I am, was the site of the last major battle of the Revolutionary War.  It is where Cornwallis surrendered to Washington.  Why it took another year or two before the Treaty of Paris was signed, officially ending the war, I am still not sure.

Our day at Yorktown was a battle against natures elements.  It was the coldest day of the week - it even snowed the night before causing the schools in the area to be cancelled.  We New Yorkers thought that was pretty funny, though we certainly were not laughing at the wind and the cold! 

The Yorktown Visitor's Center offered us a tour of the recreated farm and soldier's encampment as well as an indoor tour of the museum.  I wish we could have taken pictures inside as one of the original copies of the Declaration of Independence was located in there.  When the Declaration was signed, 13 copies were made to be viewed by the colonies.  So neat to see that so closely!

The children each took 2-hour classes focusing on different aspects of that time.  My 1st and 2nd graders had a class on colonial life.  My 5th and 6th graders enjoyed handling and discussing artifacts from the Revolutionary Period, and my 7th grader had a good time in his class about the life of a Revolutionary War Private.

When asked what there favorite part of Yorktown was, each of them said it was learning about medical practices during that time.  I am sad we did not get any pictures of the actual tools used in order to treat the soldiers.  The utensil used to pull out a sore tooth and the sharp object used to dig out any remaining roots was of particular interest.  Not to mention the drill they would use to make a hole in a soldier's head to relieve swelling from a concussion.  Don't forget, the only anesthesia they had was whiskey.  Funny how we have such romantic notions of the far ago past - the dresses, balls, fun.  Just taking a brief look into the medical and hygiene habits of the time will quickly snap you back into reality.  We are blessed!!

A soldier's tent.  Actually, a tent like this would have been "home" to
six full-grown men - healthy or ill.

Barely big enough for four young people!

An officer would have had much nicer accomodations -though he
would have paid for them himself.  He even had a chamber pot & a
servant to empty it for him.  No walking out of camp for him.

Revolutionary period "mess hall".  There are "ovens" built into the dirt.
Each tent had their own "oven", etc., and the men would cook their
Musket & artillery demonstrations were always a hit.

My little Private disguising herself so she can fight for the cause!

I was so glad to be able to learn so much more about the War and how it ended.  It's fun to be the teacher and learn things right along side my children.  It was a cold day - but it was a fun & worthwhile day!

Next time - Williamsburg!

1 comment:

Persuaded said...

That looks like so much fun! I just love history. SOme day I'd love to do some reenacting... but mainly because I want an excuse to wear those lovely clothes;-)