Today we are going to Muse about Savannah, Girl Scouts and most particularly about Railroads. If this is your first visit, welcome to Musings. If you have been here before, welcome back. Over time we are going to talk about many things: the past, the present, perhaps the future, travel, art, society and more. Wherever my musing takes me. I hope you will come along with me.
Choo Choo Savannah
Well Jeanette and I got out of town last week for a little R and R. We were in need of a break. Our summer has had an unusual amount of rain and it was starting to get to us. So off we went heading to North Carolina to visit friends.
The first stop along the way was historic Savannah, Georgia. Have you been there? We like it a lot.
While we were there, among our activities, we took a couple of hours to explore the Savannah Museum of History. I learned several things I did not know before. I thought I would tell you about them.
For example Savannah is the birth place of the Girl Scouts. On March 12, 1912, Juliette Gordon Low founded the Girl Guides, which would become the Girl Scouts of the USA, the world’s largest voluntary organization for young women.
There is an entire section of the museum devoted to Mrs. Low and the Girls Scouts with an emphasis on the movement’s early formative years.
The museum is downtown in the middle of the historic district and abuts the Battlefield Memorial Park.
BATTLEFIELD MEMORIAL PARK
The battle was the second bloodiest of the war. While Prevost claimed Franco-American losses at 1,000 to 1,200, the actual tally of 244 killed, nearly 600 wounded and 120 taken prisoner, was severe enough. British casualties were comparatively light: 40 killed, 63 wounded, and 52 missing.
Following the battle the Americans and French withdrew and the British retained control of the area until the close of the war. The battle was a defeat for the Americans. Battlefield Memorial Park presents visitors with a memorial to those who fought in the battle , and marks where approximately 800 troops died or were wounded.
Seen here is the park. The raised area in the distance was a fortification held by the British.
Influence on Haitian revolutionaries
Interestingly the battle is much remembered in Haitian history; the Chasseurs-Volontaires de Saint-Domingue, consisting of over 500 gens de couleur – free men of color from Saint-Domingue—fought on the French side. Henri Christophe, who later became king of independent Haiti, is thought to have been among these troops. Many other less notable Haitians served in this unit and formed the officer class of the rebel armies in the Haitian Revolution, especially in the North Province around today’s Cap-Haïtien where the unit was recruited.
I find this interesting because the United States has not treated Haiti well on many occasions. It was one of the last countries to recognize the independence of Haiti after the Haitian Revolution severed ties with France. Haiti is the only contemporary nation born of a slave revolt. Historians have estimated the slave rebellion resulted in the deaths of 100,000 blacks and 24,000 of the 40,000 white colonists, as well as many free people of color. President Thomas Jefferson maintained an arms and goods embargo against the new country. Due to the pressure of southern Congressmen, who feared their slaves being encouraged by the revolt, the United States refused to recognize Haiti’s new government until 1867. Furthermore, in 1857 the United States took possession of Navassa Island, a unihabited Island just off of Port-o-Prince. It is an unincorporated territory of the United States to this day. Haiti has claimed the island since 1801 and the island is in its constitution. The US even occupied Haiti militarily from 1915 to 1934. Not very gracious of us I say.
Next to the park is the Roundhouse Railroad Museum. The Georgia Central railroad was centered here.
On display are many box cars, freight cars, cabooses, and engines as well as a turntable and the railway house. The railway house, a National Historic Landmark, is interesting in its own right. Built in the 1850s, it’s the nation’s only remaining iron-roof structure and was important as an early example of a train/shop complex.
Many of the train cars are open and accessible.
Here you see Jeanette in one.
As a child I was always fascinated by the Caboose. No train was complete without one in my mind. I wondered what was in that raised central section.
Well here you see it: benches. The train men could view the world in comfort. The back section of the caboose had a stove, for heat and a table.
The railway house was a complex of workshops. Some of it was lost to an earthquake, but what remains is interesting to explore.
Of course the turntable is a central feature to the complex. Here the engines and other equipment could be brought in on a single rail line and then directed to individual work and storage stalls.
This is a unique complex, especially if you enjoy hands on exploration. Check it out if you find yourself in Savannah.
More to come
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