Sunday, June 11, 2006

On the trail of History

It was a crisp and windy day and we decided to take a drive down to Point Lookout State Park. That was the site of the largest Prisoner of War camp in the Nation during the War between the States. It has had a section of the Fort rebuilt and there were a couple of tents for demonstration purposes, as well as a unit of reenactors that were talking to visitors. We were quite chilly as the wind whipped over the water and into the area. The prisoners and even some of the guards were housed in tents with some using the boxes that Hard Tack/Crackers came in to build crude walls around the bottom to shield them a little from the weather. That's where the term "Cracker Box Houses" came from. I can't even imagine the hardships they suffered. The "People in Charge" figured that Southern Maryland was a warm place...obviously they'd never been there in the winter time! We then came upon the cemetary that once held the remains of the nearly 4000 prisioners that died at the Point Lookout Prisoner Camp (some Maryland citizens were also jailed there in 1863-5 for having a dissenting opinion to the forces occupying the state at the time). There are 3002 souls still buried in the grounds in the cemetary in unmarked graves, there is a large monument with the known names as one as a smaller one put there by the State of Maryland. Being there was sobering. After a quick trip to St. Mary's City, the site of the first settlement and original Capitol of the State of Maryland, we then stopped at Soloman's Island for a delicious Seafood feast on the way back home. We are fortunate to live in a state full of beauty, history, culture, and things to do.

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