One-tank road trips: Chancellorsville – Part 2
The museum in the Visitors Center at the Chancellorsville battlefield is rather small, but it does have a nice collection of artifacts, as well as several small, but nicely done dioramas. As a toy soldier collector and wargamer, I always keep my eye our for military dioramas.
Chancellorsville is an easy drive from either I-95 or U.S. 15. Numerous self-guided walking tours are available with the routes delineated in a free brochure available in the Visitors Center. The terrain is scenic and peaceful, quite unlike the spring days in 1863 when the roar of combat echoed through the woods.
This diorama depicts the night-time wounding of Stonewall Jackson and some of his staff, ironically shot by his own men who nervously mistook the approaching party as enemy cavalry. Jackson would lose an arm, but would subsequently die from pneumonia. One can only wonder what impact he may have had on the Battle of Gettysburg just two months later.
Ruins of the Chancellor House, which was Union HQ during much of the battle.
Frequent wayside markers help the battlefield tramper interpret and understand the culture of the region and the battle action in this multi-day slugfest. This one discusses the Chancellor family’s use of slaves. Slavery was at the heart of many of the political disagreements between the North and South which helped spark the Civil War.
A local school was displaying a hand-made diorama made by the students depicting the Battle of the Wilderness, which occurred a year after Chancellorsville on nearby ground. There is no Visitors Center at the Wilderness Battlefield, so the Chancellorsville facility does double duty.
Another view of the middle schoolers’ diorama, which uses plastic 54mm toy soldiers. When I was a kid at an elementary school in southern Ohio, we often made similar group dioramas, as well as shoe-box individual dioramas. I recall making one of the Alamo.
Kudos kids for this diorama,. and I hope that some of you grow up to appreciate and preserve our country’s heritage.
Another of the displays within the small museum at the Chancellorsville Visitors Center.
Not many museums can boast of displaying a Medal of Honor. Chancellorsville has two in its collection.
A close-up of the two medals, which are slightly different patterns.
Click here for more photographs from my March 29, 2011, visit to Chancellorsville.