Friday, September 4, 2015

Grand Army of the Republic Museum

There are many musuems and attractions in Springfield, more than we had time to see.  One of the smaller, and more interesting, ones we stopped at was the Grand Army of the Republic musuem.  The GAR was an Union veteran organization and this musuem has many artifacts from the GAR time, as well as items from the Civil War that GAR members later donated. 
Yes, this shot is pretty much the entire musuem.  But don't let its size fool you as the pictures below will show some of the many treasures on display there.
Here is a large collection of veteran musuems.

I love to play cribbage so this battleship cribbage board was interesting to me, and makes me want to create one of my own.

A cartridge biox from the Shiloh battlefield.

 Many years ago my mother brought home an old family sewing machine.  Later when we were sorting through the buttons that were in one of the drawers we came across a ribbon for the Women's Relief Corps.  Most likely one of the women of my family was a member.  It is possible she picked it up some other way but since there were many Civil War veterans on that side of the family the medal probably belonged to one of the women.

This might be the crown jewel of the musuem, at least in my eyes, and I'm surprised it didn't get more publicity.  It might be a bit hard to read but the note on this flag says that it was part of the display at Ford's Theater.  And that tear in the red cloth in the flag would be from John Wilkes Booth's spur.  That tear causes Booth to land awkwardly on the stage and break his leg.  Amazing piece of history, and one could reach right out and touch it (of course not really, but it's within arm's reach is the point).  We had just come from the presidental musuem where I think Michael was glazing over a bit from historical overload.  He seemed to like the real artifacts they had, better than the life size dioramas depicting Lincoln's life.  So here I was able to bring it all back for him.  "Remember being next to Lincoln's theater box and seeing the flags drapping it?  Well this was one of those flags.  And when Booth jumped to the stage after shooting Lincoln and got his spur caught on the flags, well this was that flag."  His eyes got bigger and for a few minutes he looked amazed. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Lincoln tomb flag ceremony

When we were researching the Springfield leg of the trip my wife found out that they have a color guard ceremont on Tuesday nights.  So of course we timed things so we would be there for the Tuesday night event.  And it was great.  About two dozens soldiers retrieve the flag that flew in front of the tomb that day and then they give it to one lucky person in the audience (believe there was a raffle to enter that we must have missed as we showed up before all the tables were set up on the path leading to the tomb).  They fire a salute, complete with artillery.  I took videos on my iphone of those aspects but here are a few pictures of the color guard marching.  If I can figure how to upload those iphone videos to blogger then I will have that as a future post as well.  I would definetly do this if we're ever in Springfield again, and next time I'll learn more about how to be in the raffle as having a US flag that flew at the Lincoln tomb would be amazing.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Lincoln tomb exterior statues

Around the tomb there are many statues, depicting Lincoln and the various branches of the armed forces that served in the Civil War.  Unfortunately the stairs providing a closer look are not open so all of my closeups are from the zoom (which isn't bad, just that I would love to get closer myself).

In the grass in front of the tomb is this large Lincoln head, with nose that is rubbed by many.  I don't want to get into the rub vs no-rub argument, although I will admit that I did it. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Lincoln tombs

Of course the tomb Lincoln now rests in is not the first tomb he was placed.  The first in Springfield was the general receiving tomb.  A second tomb was built into the hill behind this tomb and the top of that hill is where the final tomb would be.  I recall reading at the presidental musuem that the receiving tomb was never used after it was used for Lincoln however the sign at the tomb states that it was used a dozen times in the years after.
This is the Lincoln sign at the back of his final tomb.
 The receiving tomb.

This is the hill behind the receiving tomb.  At the top of the hill can be seen the back of the final tomb.  At the base of a tree in the left center there is a stone marker for where the secondary tomb was while Lincoln's grand final tomb was built.

And then the final tomb seen from the front. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Lincoln Tomb

Another must see site in Springfield is the Lincoln tomb.  The halls of the tomb are filled with Lincoln statues and plaques with portions of some of his memorable speeches.  The pictures are in order as one walks through the tomb counter clockwise.
 Little Caroline was sick this afternoon so only the boys came with me to the tomb.  They handled it very well, being respectful when needed plus there were also reenactors outside (post on a later day explaining that) that helped grip their attention as well.
Of course the main site there is where Lincoln is actually buried.  In this case he's actually under this marble block to prevent the grave robbers that were a very real threat in the years right after his death.
On the wall behind the viewer is the rest of Lincoln's family (except Robert who ended up in Arlington).