In Podcast #5 the Virginia Trekkers take you to Belle Isle.  Learn how this island in the James River used to play an important part in the Richmond iron industry; find out how it was used to bring electricity to the trolley system in the city; explore the grounds of a terrible Civil War camp where many Union prisoners died; see the quarry where granite was once mined for buildings and other structures; and visit Hollywood Rapids, one of the most famous spots for rafters and kayakers on the James.  Come on!  Let’s go trekkin’!

There was a dog prisoner on Belle Isle named Jack.  When a group of firefighters from Pennsylvania joined the Union army, they brought their pit bull mascot with them.  He was very brave and would charge to the front lines in battle.  He was captured during the Battle of Salem Church near the Rappahannock River and spent six months in the prison camp on Belle Isle.  The Union army exchanged one of their Confederate prisoners to get him back.  Jack went on to fight more battles alongside his comrades.  There is a book about him and a movie is even being made about him.

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SOL Correlation:

K.2 The student will describe everyday life in the present and in the past and begin to recognize that things change over time.

VS.7b The student will demonstrate knowledge of the issues that divided our nation and led to the Civil War by

b) describing Virginia’s role in the war, including identifying major battles that took place in Virginia.

VS.8c The student will demonstrate knowledge of the reconstruction of Virginia following the Civil War by

  1. c)describing the importance of railroads, new industries, and the growth of cities to Virginia’s economic development


4.8c The student will investigate and understand important Virginia natural resources.  Key concepts include

c) minerals, rocks, ores, and energy sources; and

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