March 12, 2012

Williamsburg Trip, Day 2 Mariners' Museum

Worm fence in Colonial Williamsburg
Like Day 1, Day 2 dawned bright and clear.  I went for a morning run through Colonial Williamsburg. I forget how wonderful that place is. I didn't see too much directly applicable to  my ACW project, though I did get a nice photo of a worm fence.













Company Street
When I arrived at the Mariners' Museum I was reminded that this was the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Hampton Roads. When I picked the date for this trip, I knew this was happening, but I forgot.

So I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived. The parking lot was nearly full as the museum had scheduled all kinds of extra activities, especially with  reeanctors. There was also a conference going on for naval historians. There was so much going on that I am sure I missed a great deal.

ACW era camp fire
The museum had expanded quite a bit since my last visit about 12 years ago. The focus of the expansion is on the recovered USS Monitor turret, engine and other artifacts. It is great that they are doing this important work, but I got the impression that the Naval Museum of the Civil War in Columbus, GA has more information and better dioramas about civil war naval subjects. The Mariner's Museum also covers other subjects too, such as the ships of the Chesapeake, general maritime history from antiquity to current and a large display of small craft that I skipped this time as there was so much else going on. The exquisite Crabtree model collection is still there for viewing.

Cooking demonstration (and eating too!)
Numerous reenactors had set up camp around the museum.

A detachment of the 99th New York Infantry was there representing  soldiers from that unit that were on the USS Cumberland when she was engaged and sunk by the CSS Virginia. D Company of the 99th NYSV Infantry unit suffered 10 killed, 15 wounded and 7 missing in that battle on March 8-9, 1862.

The Confederate infantry had set up quite a nice encampment with a company street, stables and a mess area.

An African American woman demonstrated cooking techniques. A blacksmith and gunsmith also were conducting demonstrations.

There were representatives from the US Colored Troops, Signal Corps, Naval Officers and seamen from both sides, and a Confederate artillery battery from Norfolk, which is still active as a U.S. National Guard unit.

Inside there were several other special exhibits including a group trying to make a park or trail connecting the ACW entrenchments near Yorktown, women sewing period clothing, museum staff advertising their research capabilities, people hosting quizzes (I got 100 percent right), a couple authors signing books, representatives from NOAA displaying work to make the Monitor wreck site a Federal Preserve, a group dedicated to shipwrecks of the mid-Atlantic,  reenactors of the ACW era Christian Commission,  and a spy hunt for kids.

(If you are in any of these photos and would like your name to be listed, please send me a note.)

One of several Monitor Turret mock-ups on display





























Detail of a stanchion used on an ironclad
A gun from the Monitor being conserved




Signing up recruits




USN Reenactors on the full-scale outdoor mockup of the Monitor

A couple posed for their photo

Norfolk Light Artillery Blues firing a 12 pound howitzer at reduced charge

I shot some video too and plan to post that later this week or next.

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