War and Farming: The Most Obvious Exhibit Partners

Let’s see, what would make for a good museum collection? Ooh, ooh, war stuff. Reenactments. A battle happened here. People love that.

You know what else? Farming!

Perfect. Those go together as naturally as peanut butter and pickles; cookies and vodka; apple pie and sour cream.

Welcome to Yorktown, Virgina.

All Snark Aside

This was actually a fascinating–yet disjointed–place. Why they chose to combine war with farming is beyond me, but both were interesting.

Chronicling the milestones that led to the Revolutionary War, I was surprised to see how many famous quotes came from this era:

  • Give me liberty or give me death
  • These are the times that try men’s souls
  • [Others that I observed but didn’t think to write down]

The Art of War

This is still the era of marching in a line toward the enemy. Always seemed naive and vulnerable to me, but golly, there was strategy behind it. Imagine a wall of men marching toward you, with guns blazing, mortar shooting from behind them. A wall of lead. It’s intimidating. One man falls and they fill in the gap, shoulder to shoulder, and continue marching and shooting.

The weapon of choice: a musket over the rifle. It loads faster (15 seconds) and is a double weapon: a gun with a bayonet on the end for close combat. Its flaw: only one-out-of-five bullets actually fire. Oops.

Firing a Musket at Yorktown

Why Should I Join the Army?

I wondered if the farmers and tradesfolk were as inspired by the “cause” as the gentry. Did they understand it? Did they have issue with England or were they disconnected and living their daily lives? It likely depended on the person. Regardless, how do you motivate people to join the army? The same way they do today: with promise of benefits.

The longer you served, the more you got. Three years yielded 100 acres of land (which the “government” didn’t really own, but that’s just semantics). Similarly today, not everyone joins the military for love of country; many join to learn skills and for money to go to college.

And Suddenly We’re at the Farm…

They dried fruit and vegetables (takes 2-3 weeks) so in off-season they have their nutrients. Simply put them in a bowl of water and they reconstitute. Didn’t I see an infomercial for that? The faded colors are almost as beautiful as the ripe colors.

Dried fruit and vegetables at Yorktown


They also dried out tobacco. We learned about the tobacco process when I visited a museum, but didn’t get to see this part. The desire to reach up and crumble the leaves was overwhelming. I controlled myself. Just barely.

Drying Tobacco Leaves at Yorktown


Which would you rather learn about, war or farming?

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned about either?

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