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Posted: 3/29/2006 3:12:41 PM EDT
Chancellorsville and the Wilderness.

Holy shit, those guys were tough. At my physical peak I might have been able to march as far as they did every day, but probably not fight at the end of it. Oh, and they did it half-starved, sick, barefoot, and knowing that if they were wounded the bullet would be dug out or the limb would be sawed off without anesthesia.

Read one marker that described how the wounded were left on the field without water, medicine, or shelter from the sun and rain. It took some of them more than a week to die.

There's a cedar grove where Lee and Jackson had their last bivouac. I'd like to sneak in there and spend a night just to commune with the ghosts.

Met an old-timer who told me that when he was a kid there were still minie-balls and other artifacts laying around on the surface. I wonder how much is buried under subdivisions and strip malls now.

Link Posted: 3/29/2006 3:17:58 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/29/2006 3:20:42 PM EDT by Old_Painless]
Good post.

Those battlefields make me humble.

Edited to add: I once visited a civil war era home that had a large collection of minnie balls and lead balls. The home had been used as a battlefield hospital. The balls were found outside the kitchen window where the Doctors had thrown them out the window as they were dug out.

There were hundreds.
Link Posted: 3/29/2006 3:18:46 PM EDT
I live about 20min from Antitem,just over the boarder in MD.Have been there many times and you just get the chills thinking about what the men from both sides went through
Having been to Arlington a few times,I thought I knew what the term "Hallowed Ground" ment,but a battlefield where tens of thousands of men died is a little different
Link Posted: 3/29/2006 3:23:30 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Rodent:
Chancellorsville and the Wilderness.

Holy shit, those guys were tough. At my physical peak I might have been able to march as far as they did every day, but probably not fight at the end of it. Oh, and they did it half-starved, sick, barefoot, and knowing that if they were wounded the bullet would be dug out or the limb would be sawed off without anesthesia.

Read one marker that described how the wounded were left on the field without water, medicine, or shelter from the sun and rain. It took some of them more than a week to die.

There's a cedar grove where Lee and Jackson had their last bivouac. I'd like to sneak in there and spend a night just to commune with the ghosts.

Met an old-timer who told me that when he was a kid there were still minie-balls and other artifacts laying around on the surface. I wonder how much is buried under subdivisions and strip malls now.




Spotsylvania is my favorite.

A 22 inch oak was fallen by SMALL ARMS fire there. Its in the Smithsonian now.

www.nps.gov/frsp/bloody.htm
Link Posted: 3/29/2006 3:32:21 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/29/2006 3:33:48 PM EDT by DOW]
My wife and I go to Gettysburg every year, this year we might hit Antietam.

Check out this photo I took to show my beat up G-Shock in an older thread. In the background you can see the 12 pdr. cannon ball recovered in Bethel, Va. and the 3" Hotchkiss shell recovered at Gettysburg, Pa. I display on my bookcase.

I'm a Civil War buff I suppose.
Link Posted: 3/29/2006 3:48:10 PM EDT
Those are all great places to go. I have been to (excuse my spelling in advance):

- Antietem
- Bull Run
- Gettysburgh
- Manassas
- Olustee


I could literally spend days at each site envisioning the battles as they developed. Great stuff.
Link Posted: 3/29/2006 4:10:33 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Rodent:
...Met an old-timer who told me that when he was a kid there were still minie-balls and other artifacts laying around on the surface...



Same fellow told me that Marine general Chesty Puller and four other Marines dug up Stonewall Jackson's arm once to see if it was really there. A Google search turns nothing up on that subject.
Link Posted: 3/29/2006 5:46:07 PM EDT
My cousins used to live in Fredricksburg. I'd spend the summers and we'd go out with metal detectors into the woods. We'd find all kinds of things -- minies, cannonballs, buttons, cutlery. Very cool, very humbling.
Link Posted: 3/29/2006 5:52:17 PM EDT
Two of my favorites are Gettysburg and Vicksburg. Gettysburg because from several locations you can see the broad panorama of how the battle unfolded. Most of the rest of the big large maneuver battlefields have reforested or have most of the vistas at least partially obscured. Vicksburg because you can really get the full flavor of how the siege evolved. And it is one of few really big classic siege scenes. Most of the battlefields you get small pictures.
Link Posted: 3/29/2006 5:53:56 PM EDT
Back then everyone walked everywhere, so youd probably be used to it, but the fighting would definatley make it alot tougher
Link Posted: 3/30/2006 3:42:50 PM EDT
Today I hiked all over Spotsylvania Courthouse. Also viewed a private artifact collection that included a CSA belt buckle with a bullet hole through it. Can't even imagine the agonies that poor kid suffered.

I was trying to imagine the aftermath of these titanic battles, what the local civilians endured after two huge armies appeared, foraged through the countryside like locusts, left tens of thousands of rotting corpses, then disappeard into the unkown again. Imagine what the women and kids went through. No crops, livestock, fences or house left. The woods full of starving stragglers and freed slaves with nothing to lose. Wondering if their own men are out there.

I enjoy talking to the reenactment crowd and share their interest in authenticity, but most of them need liposuction. No sense worrying about the correct buttons for your jacket if they're screaming "HELP ME!"
Link Posted: 3/30/2006 4:23:41 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/30/2006 4:43:03 PM EDT by DOW]

Originally Posted By Rodent:
I enjoy talking to the reenactment crowd and share their interest in authenticity...



Several years back in Gettysburg I watched a Confederate reenactor dressed in butternut sit on a bench, sewing a shoulder bag over a period of several hours. He was an older guy with a white beard as I recall, and I could only admire his attention to detail and authenticity. The guy could have gone and bought another bag from one of the many "suttlers" in Gettysburg, but he didn't. He sat there for a few hours and sewed the old one back up, as a real Confederate trooper would have done.

Some of those guys take their shit seriously.
Link Posted: 3/30/2006 4:40:59 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/30/2006 4:46:49 PM EDT by B-Splat]

Originally Posted By Rodent:
...Met an old-timer who told me that when he was a kid there were still minie-balls and other artifacts laying around on the surface. I wonder how much is buried under subdivisions and strip malls now.



My Dad would to take me on trips to different Civil War battlefields when I was a young teen. He would bribe the local property owners with a bottle of wine and they would let us dig on their property.

One of the properties was in Chanellorsville near the cross roads where Hooker's HQ was located. The Rebs almost broke throught the Federal lines at this point, they were stopped by Federal artillery. I found a frament of a hollow cannonball.

We found all kinds of cool stuff in many places. The best time was when I put a replica eagle chest plate in the ground and let my Dad dug it up. I thought he was going to have a heart attack...serious. It was great, believe me, he had it coming.

edited for grAMmAr
Link Posted: 3/30/2006 4:54:39 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Rodent:
Chancellorsville and the Wilderness.

Holy shit, those guys were tough. At my physical peak I might have been able to march as far as they did every day, but probably not fight at the end of it. Oh, and they did it half-starved, sick, barefoot, and knowing that if they were wounded the bullet would be dug out or the limb would be sawed off without anesthesia.

Read one marker that described how the wounded were left on the field without water, medicine, or shelter from the sun and rain. It took some of them more than a week to die.

There's a cedar grove where Lee and Jackson had their last bivouac. I'd like to sneak in there and spend a night just to commune with the ghosts.

Met an old-timer who told me that when he was a kid there were still minie-balls and other artifacts laying around on the surface. I wonder how much is buried under subdivisions and strip malls now.




tough. they called stonewall jackson's soldiers the 'foot cavalry'. if i remember it right they could march like hell and jackson would stop every hour for ten minutes. he supposedly had the logistics of foot marching down to a fine art. for instance you dont want the parts of your army to become strung out. was very important to keep up so and move into battle immediately upon reaching a battlefield.

as to battlefields. i walk kennesaw mountain several times a week. good exercise.

for a long but very informative read, read shelby foote's 3 books on the civil war. basically he boiled down all of the official battle records to 3 novel like tombs. took me a while but i read em all. second book gets slow. third book really picks up though..
Link Posted: 3/30/2006 5:06:31 PM EDT
Ain't they something? My G Grand daddy was in the 61st Virginia, Mahone's Brigade, The Confederate Defenders. He was at most all of those places. It humbles me to think how tough he must have been to have fought in the snow with hardly a coat or shoes, and go for days with no food. My Grand daddy told me that the old guy and what was left of the 61st cried like babies at Appomatox. Their battle flag is in the museum there today.

Thanks for the great post which brings back many childhood memories of my relatives.
Link Posted: 3/30/2006 5:12:05 PM EDT
How'd you find those DOW?

I'm heading to Gettysburg for the second time this June 10th throught the 17th and plan to also go to Antietam and Harper's Ferry.
Link Posted: 3/30/2006 5:30:59 PM EDT

Originally Posted By hughjafj:
How'd you find those DOW?



I found them here
Link Posted: 3/30/2006 5:37:49 PM EDT
Link Posted: 3/30/2006 5:49:16 PM EDT
You're in my hood now...

If you get to Richmond, you might want to go to the Tredegar Iron Works.
Link Posted: 3/30/2006 6:46:34 PM EDT
I've been to the national park at Vicksburg and I was shocked at how close to each other these guys were. The courage these men must have had is awe inspiring. We have driven by Pea Ridge in Arkansas but never stopped.

I hope to someday make it to Gettysburg.
Link Posted: 3/30/2006 6:54:24 PM EDT
Friend's home in MD (or VA I forget which) is listed as a national landmark. Used as a Civil War Hospital, the attack has graffiti from all the wounded Union and Confederate soldiers buried their. Incredible.
Link Posted: 3/30/2006 6:54:46 PM EDT
I really hope one day to be able to tour some of the Civil War battle fields. My family actually immigrated after the Civil War but I've always been intrigued by it.

Patty
Link Posted: 3/30/2006 6:57:47 PM EDT

Originally Posted By DOW:

Originally Posted By Rodent:
I enjoy talking to the reenactment crowd and share their interest in authenticity...



Several years back in Gettysburg I watched a Confederate reenactor dressed in butternut sit on a bench, sewing a shoulder bag over a period of several hours. He was an older guy with a white beard as I recall, and I could only admire his attention to detail and authenticity. The guy could have gone and bought another bag from one of the many "suttlers" in Gettysburg, but he didn't. He sat there for a few hours and sewed the old one back up, as a real Confederate trooper would have done.

Some of those guys take their shit seriously.



One of my best friends in grad school was a reenactor. He introduced me to a friend of his who was VERY serious about reenacting. The guy bought an old farm house, and had all the indoor plumbing and electricity disconnected.

I thought that was taking things just a bit too seriously.
Link Posted: 3/30/2006 7:18:04 PM EDT
Back then, most people lived on their feet. A few years ago I was watching and a sports doctor was talking about how these people could probably sprint as good as an athlete today. Because they were on their feet so much, their bodies developed more like a runner's body today. They were much stronger in the hips and because they were on the move most of the time had really well developed lower body muscle structure. Today we mostly sit and while walking 5 miles is a chore to us, to them it was just a warmup walk.

One other thing about these soldiers. They were usually fought in the summer in the southern part of the country and often after marching miles before going into battle. I would hazard a bet that man for man, the armies we fielded in the Civil War were probably the most physically fit armies we ever fielded.
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