June 21, 2015

Hole in the Ground

Today was a beautiful day in Washington DC.  I had a destination that I needed to go to.  Today I drove 300 miles to Petersburg National Battlefield to see a hole in the ground.  

History Lesson (Skip this paragraph if you don't want your daily dose of history): Petersburg was a siege more than one individual battle.  The Confederates had built forts (mostly dirt and trees) around the city of Petersburg to protect it.  It was a vital for getting them resupplied by rail and by river.  During the siege a bunch of Union soldiers who were also coal miners dug a tunnel under one of these forts, put dynamite in it, and blew it up.  Great plan, until they ran right into the hole they had created, and got driven back out by Confederate reinforcements.  Today you can still see the opening to the tunnel as well as the collapsed tunnel that runs up to the crater.  The crater is still visible today,

When Matt and I were kids, we used to drive all over the country for vacations, and many of them included stops at Civil War Battlefields.  There were very few major battlefields I hadn't been to by the time I graduated college.  

The day we pulled up to Petersburg, and the parking lot for the Battle of the Crater, it was pouring rain.  Dad got out of the car and went up to see the whole in the ground.  I went too.  When we got to the entrance, and then the crater, neither of us really said anything.  We just kind of stood there.  That was one of the first times I "got it."  I was standing where history happened.  

Today I spent about about 7 hours in the car getting to and from Petersburg.  I drove along part of the battlefield and walked around a couple of the pull offs, but mainly I had destination, the Crater.  They have built a little deck around it where you can sit in the shade, or walk up and look at the entrance.  I did both, but I lingered on that deck just looking at that hole in the ground and thinking about how much I miss him.  

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