National Historic Landmark

Oneida Community Mansion House in Central New York

The United States has long been a place of religious experimentation, sectarianism, and utopianism, encouraged by the rights to liberty and the pursuit of happiness. One of the most unique and long-lasting utopian experiments was founded by John Humphrey Noyes in 1844 based on the Christian concept of perfectionism: that it is possible to live a sin-free life.

Noyes was expelled from Yale University in 1834 after he declared himself to be free from sin and established his own Bible school in Putney, Vermont. By 1844, it solidified into a religious community.

“Complex marriage,” or communal marriage among members, was one tenet of this new community. Noyes was arrested for adultery in 1847.

His followers and he fled to Oneida, New York, where they again established their commune. They built the Mansion House in 1862, where they lived until 1881.

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Five Forks National Battlefield

The Battle of Five Forks was fought on April 1, 1865, southwest of Petersburg, Virginia, at junction of Five Forks in Dinwiddie County, Virginia between Confederate units under command of Maj. Gen. George Pickett and Union Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan’s V Corps in the American Civil War. The battle was a decisive Union victory and resulted in approximately 3,700 total casualties, most of which were Confederate.

Five Forks National Battlefield is part of Petersburg National Battlefield Park. The park has a visitors center, several cannon and monuments (erected in the 1960s), and a driving tour. The tour consists of five stops. There hasn’t been much development in this quiet neighborhood, so the battlefield is remarkably preserved.

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Monocacy National Battlefield

Monocacy National Battlefield is located along Urbana Pike, outside Frederick, Maryland. Fought July 9, 1864, the battle pitted Confederate Lt. Gen. Jubal A. Early’s Corps against Maj. Gen. Lew Wallace’s VIII Corps in the American Civil War. The battle resulted in approximately 2,200 total casualties.

While Antietam is a well-known and popular battlefield, many are unaware that a second battle took place in Maryland. This battle was part of Jubal Early’s 1864 campaign to threaten Washington, D.C. and draw forces away from Ulysses S. Grant’s siege of Petersburg, Virginia.

While the battle was a Southern victory, Union forces delayed the Confederates long enough for reinforcements to arrive in Washington, D.C., earning Monocacy the moniker “the Battle that Saved Washington.” Nicely-designed interpretive signs explain various stages of the battle along a six-mile driving tour route.

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Artillery Demonstration at Fort Ticonderoga, New York

Alternatively held by the French, British, and Americans, today Fort Ticonderoga is a premier museum of eighteenth and early nineteenth century military history. French engineer Michel Chartier de Lotbinière, Marquis de Lotbinière constructed the fort between 1755 and 1757 during the French and Indian War.

Daily artillery demonstrations educate visitors on eighteenth century artillery drills. Artillerists were trained to keep firing for up to 24 hours! I took this video on my recent trip to see the annual Battle of Carillon reenactment.