"Quit hanging on to the handrails... Let go. Surrender. Go for the ride of your life. Do it everyday"

Friday, June 7, 2013

Field Trip Friday 1 - Battle of Athens Missouri

Boy it has been awhile since I have posted!  It has been a crazy few weeks.  School got out and then I had family over for like 2 weeks straight.  Love them all, BUT glad they have left too.  Finally able to start doing some exploring closer to home, just some fun day trips.  Since it is summer and the kids are out I am going to try and concentrate on fun and educational places we can go.  Whether I call it Field Trip Friday, Trip It Tuesday, Wanderlust Wednesday or whatever I'm going to try and see what is around us that we can investigate together.  Our first stop is in Athens Missouri.

Situated in the middle of nowhere, is a small battle site with some historical importance.  Seriously I couldn't even get my google maps to find it on my GPS to tag pictures on my Instagram account.  The building you see behind the sign was the old general store, quite a large store in my opinion.  The historical site includes the entire town of Athens, Missouri and there are a few buildings that are still left standing.  You can walk around the entire place in about an hour I think, maybe a little longer if you take a tour, which they do offer.  When we were there, we were the only people visiting so we got to have the tour guides entire attention.  I get a little spoiled with that kind of attention haha.  There are two things of importance about this battlesite.  The first is that it is the most northern battle fought during the Civil War west of the Mississippi River. 
  I thought that was an interesting tidbit of information. I find random bits of information like that interesting, so it made this battlesite a bit more interesting as well.  See there is even a plague.
The second interesting thing about this battlesite was that there still stands a building that has a hole where a Civil War cannonball went through the house, into the kitchen and a few sets of walls and out the other side to land in the Des Moines River.  Or at least that is what is assumed since they could not find a canonball in their evacuation of the different sites.
Civil War canonball exit    
There is the exit of a 6 inch Civil War canonball
This of course was of much more interest to my son then just about anything else.  Well it was between this and the fact that he got to hold a Civil War musket.  That thing was HUGE and HEAVY and we also got to see the bayonet that would have been affixed at the end.  Pretty cool for a boy!
civil war musket
 Missouri was in a bit of a unique position during the Civil War.  The state was deeply divided and eventually seceeded, although there were doubts about how legal that secession was.  Over 400 battles, skirmishes, or engagements were fought in Missouri making it the third most fought over state after Virginia and Tennessee.  For a Civil War buff this sounds like such fun for me to research and find the different sites.  Hopefully more to come as I visit them.

After we went through the house which has some neat period pieces we basically just wandered around the state park ourselves and peeked in the windows of the buildings that were not open for touring.  There is an attic at the Benning(canonball house) that has not yet been explored or evacuated.  The tour guide that we had is just itching to get up there and see what is up there.  I would be too.

Battle of Athens
If you look back behind me across the field that is where the canons would have been set up and out of one of those canons that are no longer there, they were brought ahead to the next battle, was the canonball that hit the house.  Interestingly the battle was fought in the town and the Union soldiers were lined up in front of the "canonball house" and the Confederate soldiers would have been behind me where the canons were.  This battle was given to the Union as a win because the Confederate soldiers retreated.  The battle was fought on August 5, 1861 and lasted only two hours.  The Union soldiers were able to gather up horses, arms, and knives from the defeated Confederate army.  The Union lost 23 men and the Confederacy lost 31.  Even though the state of Missouri had seceeded, in part because of this battle, northeast Missouri at least remained under Union control.
The site had some neat documentation about the battle that you can pick up if you visit.  The park is absolutely free to get in and visit.  There are some hiking trails for you to walk around as well.  Anybody else interested in Civil War battlesites and like to research ones that are close to you?

Please feel free to check out my Facebook page and photography page for further photographs and you can always find me on Instagram @lightofworldphoto or follow me on pinterest as well.

This is part of Friday Daydreaming at R We There Yet Mom and Photo Friday at Delicious Baby.  Make sure you stop by the above sites to find more fun travel posts.

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  1. Hi Sere, welcome back! Had to laugh about your comment about loving your family but glad they had left. I can totally relate:)
    What an interesting historical site. It's great they're able to preserve it despite being in the middle of nowhere. Can't get over that cannonball hole. Nice to see that your son had a pretty cool experience.

  2. haha I know it sounds awful, but it is nice to have my house back :). Thank you. Yeah that canonball exit was pretty cool to see.

  3. I love that you guys had the place to yourselves and had a private tour. I haven't been to any Civil War sites and this looks pretty cool. Glad you had a wonderful time. We can all relate to visiting relatives :_

  4. Great place to see! Thanks for taking up there!

    Sorry I am just now making it over from Friday Daydreamin! Busy 2 weeks!! Thanks for linking up - hope you do again tomorrow!

  5. I love visiting sites that are off the beaten path. It always feel private and special to visit. Sounds like there's lots of history in Athens, too!