A journal following the history, design, construction and operation of Bernard Kempinski's O Scale model railroad depicting the U. S. Military Railroad (USMRR) Aquia-Falmouth line in 1863, and other model railroad projects.
©Bernard Kempinski All text and images, except as noted, on this blog are copyrighted by the author and may not be used without permission.

July 3, 2011

Seeking Freedom

Refugee freed slaves near Fredericksburg, VA.

The March: A NovelMy research shows that many former slaves sought freedom via the USMRR Aquia Line. See this post for more detail about slave experiences on the Aquia line. To try to depict and commemorate the experience I created a scene showing a family of freed slaves at Falmouth.  The figures  are from the Knuckleduster Women and Townsfolk sets that I painted as African Americans. I muted the colors added heavy mud weathering to simulate that these folk have been walking quite  a distance to get to Falmouth. My daughter looked at the figures and said, "Dad, you made them really muddy." I was thinking about the characters Coalhouse Walker and Wilma from E.L. Doctorow's, "The March" when I was planning this scene, though they didn't have children in the book.  By the way, "The March" is a great book that takes a personal look at Sherman's march to the sea.

The mule carries all the family's worldly possessions. I made the sacks on the mule with two part epoxy. I also made a pot and skillet to hang off the mule. The mule color is a dappled gray based on a color scheme I saw in a photo I found on the web. It just occurred to me that me looks like Eyore, of Winnie the Pooh.

The blanket on the box is also two part epoxy. The crate is one of my hard tack boxes.

I was going to hang the box on the mule too, but it was too much.

Here is the completed scene. The father gestures to the agent to show where they came from. 

Maybe the father will seek work on the USMRR construction corps. 

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