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Friday, April 27, 2012

Confederate Whitehouse & Monument Drive

While in Richmond we decided to go see the Confederate White House and Museum.  The museum is 3 floors of artifacts and information all about the Confederate's side of the war and then there is the Confederate White House which was a counterpart to the White House in Washington DC as far as what took place there but on the Confederate side.

The Museum of the Confederacy is located in Richmond, Virginia. The museum includes the former White House of the Confederacy and maintains a comprehensive collection of artifacts, manuscripts and photographs from the Confederate States of America and the American Civil War (1861-1865).

The White House of the Confederacy is a gray stuccoed neoclassical mansion built in 1818 by John Brockenbrough, who was president of the Bank of Virginia. Designed by Robert Mills, Brockenbrough’s private residence was built in early nineteenth century Richmond's affluent Shockoe Hill neighborhood (later known as the Court End District), and was two blocks north of the Virginia State Capitol. Among his neighbors were U.S. Chief Justice John Marshall, Aaron Burr, defense attorney John Wickham, and future U.S. Senator Benjamin Watkins Leigh.
Sold by the Brockenbrough family in 1844, the house passed through a succession of wealthy families throughout the antebellum period, including U.S. Congressman and future Confederate Secretary of War James Seddon. Just prior to the American Civil War, Lewis Dabney Crenshaw purchased the house and added a third floor. He sold the home to the City of Richmond, which in turn rented it to the Confederate government as its Executive Mansion.

Jefferson Davis, his wife Varina, and their children moved into the house in August 1861, and lived there for the remainder of the war. Davis suffered from recurring bouts with malaria, facial neuralgia, cataracts (in his left eye), unhealed wounds from the Mexican War (bone spurs in his heel), and insomnia. Consequently, President Davis maintained an at-home office on the second floor of the White House. This was an unusual practice at that time – the West Wing of the White House in Washington, DC, was not added until the Theodore Roosevelt Administration. President Davis’ personal secretary, Colonel Burton Harrison, also lived in the house.
The Davis family was quite young during their stay at the White House of the Confederacy. When they moved in the First Family consisted of the President and First Lady, six year-old Margaret, four year-old Jefferson Davis, Jr., and two year-old Joseph. The two youngest Davis children, William and Varina Anne (“Winnie”), were born in the White House, in 1861 and 1864, respectively. Among their neighborhood playmates was George Smith Patton, whose father commanded the 22nd Virginia Infantry, and whose son commanded the U.S. Third Army in World War Two. Joseph Davis died in the spring of 1864, after a 15-foot fall from the railing on the White House’s east portico. Mrs. Davis’ mother and sister were occasional visitors to the Confederate executive mansion.

interior lighting formerly gas, now electric

The house was abandoned during the evacuation of Richmond on April 2, 1865. Within twelve hours, soldiers from Major General Godfrey Weitzel’s XVIII Corps seized the former Confederate White House, intact. President Abraham Lincoln, who was in nearby City Point (now Hopewell, Virginia), traveled up the James River to tour the captured city, and visited Davis' former residence for about three hours - although the President only toured the first floor, feeling it would be improper to visit the more private second floor of another man's home. Admiral David Porter accompanied Lincoln during the visit to the former Confederate executive mansion. They held a number of meetings with local officials in the White House. Among them was Confederate Brigadier General Joseph Reid Anderson, who owned the Tredegar Iron Works.
During Reconstruction, the White House of the Confederacy served as the headquarters for Military District Number One (Virginia), and was occasionally used as the residence of the commanding officer of the Department of Virginia. Among those who served there were Major Generals Edward O.C. Ord, Alfred Terry, Henry Halleck, and Edward R.S. Canby. When Reconstruction ended in Virginia, (October 1870), the City of Richmond retook possession of the house, and subsequently used it as Richmond Central School, one of the first public schools in postwar Richmond.When the City announced its plans to demolish the building to make way for a more modern school building in 1890, the Confederate Memorial Literary Society was formed with the sole purpose of saving the White House from destruction.

After touring the Confederate White House we took a ride down Monument Drive where we saw the huge statues of Jefferson Davis,  not to mention the gorgeous era homes along the way too.  Monument Avenue, is a premier example of the Grand American Avenue city planning style. The first monument, a statue of Robert E. Lee was erected in 1890. Between 1900 and 1925, Monument Avenue exploded with architecturally significant houses, churches and apartment buildings. A tree-lined grassy mall divides the east and west-bound sides of the street and is punctuated by statues memorializing Virginian Confederate participants of the Civil War Robert E. Lee, J.E.B. Stuart, Jefferson Davis, Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson.
George Washington
Robert E. Lee
George Washington @ Virginia Capital
These monuments are huge and so impressive and are a great tribute to men who fought in a horrible war
Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson
Jefferson Davis
Jefferson Davis

There is a ton of history in the Richmond area and I highly recommend visiting here ~ spending at least a week if you love the history of the Civil War.

"JEB" Stuart
There are not to many BIG rig RV Parks in this are so we stayed at a KOA ~ we are not big fans of KOAs because we think they are pricey for what they offer.  That being said this one was not too bad.  Click here to see a complete review of the park.
Have Fun, Travel Safe & Stay Healthy!!!


Jeff said...

WOW, what a great history lesson! THANKS You guys certainly are keeping busy.

Jeff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim and Sandie said...

I love history lessons and this one was great. What always amazed me when I lived out that way is that some of those people are still fighting the war.

Happytrails said...

What a beautiful city and what an enormous amount of history to take in.
Loved that mansion...such amazing architecture!! Do we still have craftsmen that can build like that??? (hope so)

Unknown said...

I too thank you for all this history background. Another place for the list when we make out East.

Mike Goad said...

Very interesting post. While we've only just passed through Richmond on our way to the Norfolk area to visit family, I'm familiar with a some of what you wrote about, but my familiarity is rooted in the period of the civil war. I have another blog, Daily Observations fron The Civil War ( http://dotcw.com ) where I publish daily diary entries and letters from the current day 150 years ago. A couple of the diarists have occasional interaction with Jefferson Davis and his family.

Karen and Al said...

There is a lot of history there to keep you busy for quite a while. Can't wait to see it for ourselves.

Hootin' Anni said...

Wow....just plain...WOW!!! Bud and I would really love this area for sure. Not that we're Confederates, it's just the history of it all.

Hope you're having a terrific trip/adventure in Tassie dear Donna.

Awesome image shares.

Sorry, I'm so late getting around to visiting. Busy week for us here in Texas. Now, I'm playing catchup with y'all!!!

Erin said...

Our visits to Richmond, so far, have been just short stays. If you're in the area and have some free time; you might want to check out the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. We visited the park during the Garden Festival of Lights last Christmas; even without the lights I imagine it would be a very nice place to spend a couple of hours.

Jerry and Suzy said...

Donna, you have convinced us! When we get onto our major trip starting in 2015, we'll have to include Richmond in our itinerary. But for now, you've given us a real good virtual tour! Thank you.

Bob and Jo said...

Richmond is on our list for sure.


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