On to Richmond

by Fred Ray on June 22, 2009 · 3 comments

I was in Richmond last week speaking to the Richmond Civil War Round Table and of course visiting various book stores and museums. The talk was memorable—I was about halfway through the presentation when BOOM! there was a huge clap of thunder and the lights went out. For a time we really did feel we’d somehow been transported back to 1864 as the artillery thunder rumbled in the distance. I finished by flashlight and it’s one I won’t soon forget.

While in Richmond I stayed four nights at the lovely Linden Row Inn, which is right downtown and very convenient for the business I was doing. They got my reservation wrong and I ended up in “the suite,” two huge rooms furnished in 1860s period style, complete with bay window where you can sit with your laptop, surf the web on the wireless internet, and watch the street below. The house reminded me of the houses I grew up among in Mobile, Alabama—12′ ceilings, ornate interiors, and floor to ceiling windows. There’s a courtyard inside and an enclosed porch all around. Overall a very nice place to stay, and I was able to get it for the same rate I would have paid for the original room. If you’re looking for the authentic period experience, this is well worth your consideration. Nice staff, too.

While there I stopped by Owens & Ramsey Historical Booksellers, run by Marc and Jill Ramsey. It’s a small operation but well worth a visit. Marc specializes in Civil War titles but has a wide selection of books on many other periods, most notably the World Wars and Napoleonic period. You’ll be lucky to get out without buying something (I didn’t).

Also stopped by the Manassas Museum, a small museum in the city of Manassas that worth a visit if you’re in the area. We had a sharpshooter demonstration there a couple of years ago, and their museum has a lot of local items.

Also visited Civil War Life—The Soldier’s Museum, located next to the Spotsylvania County Visitor’s Center in Fredericksburg, it’s another one of those small museums that’s well worth a visit. Run by Terry and Jane Thomann, it has a very good exhibit of period photographic equipment and a photo gallery to go with it (and you can have your own tintype made). They also have a good selection of firearms (including some weird old German muskets used early in the war) and an exhibit on sharpshooters.

Finally, if you haven’t been to Pamplin Historical Park you should stop by. It’s the site of the decisive breakthrough that sealed the fate of Petersburg on April 2, 1865. Pamplin, like many of the smaller parks, has been struggling in the recession so I’m urging everyone to support the smaller parks and museums so they can survive until better days arrive.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Gil R. June 24, 2009 at 7:47 pm

I was at Pamplin Park myself last week, and agree that it’s an excellent museum. And just up the road is the historical marker indicating roughly where A.P. Hill was fatally shot.


admin June 24, 2009 at 8:23 pm

Gil and Fred,

I would LOVE to get to Pamplin Park sometime in the near future, but I suspect I’ll probably wait until my little guy is old enough to come along and appreciate it. I plan to eventually create an information compilation blog on Petersburg, so Petersburg National Battlefield and Pamplin Park are natural stopping points.



Fred Ray June 24, 2009 at 9:35 pm

Sadly, it’s not a very well visited park, which is unfortunate since it’s the location of one of the most decisive actions of the war.


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