History & Research Travel

Fredericksburg

By on September 12, 2014

So… I unintentionally fit two-days’ worth of battlefield sightseeing into a single day. Oops.

I visited the sites of Marye’s Heights, Salem Church, Chancellorsville, and the Wilderness. I’d planned to space them out and see some tomorrow, but I was afraid weather would keep me from viewing everything I needed to. In hindsight, I should’ve given myself more time at Gettysburg, and just a day or so here. Anyhow.

Humphrey MonumentMy first stop after the visitor center was Marye’s Heights, and the monument to Humphreys’ Division (and that of my great grandfather’s). I only wish we had some sort of record of James Hasting’s time as a soldier, from his perspective. I would love to know how he survived such an ordeal. Standing on the sunken road behind the stone wall the Confederates used for cover, knowing the Union was coming across an open field, it’s a wonder any Union soldier survived those failed assaults.

Of additional significant note was viewing the monument to Richard Kirkland, or the “Angel of Marye’s Heights.” Beautiful monument, beautiful story. The second moment on this trip at which I’ve teared up, the first being Bloody Lane yesterday at Antietam.

For the sake of brevity I won’t detail all of my stops from today, but the last one is worth noting. The Wilderness. Specifically, the Crossroads, where the fight was terrible and the wounded were in danger from the fire in the woods. Absolutely horrifying to think about. But it’s in the book as well, so it was a necessary stop. It was eerie, though, standing there on a pretty sunny afternoon, hearing nothing but chirping, and just imagining the bloodbath that occurred there.

I still have Richmond on my itinerary–more specifically, Malvern Hill–but since I’ll be flying out of there Sunday evening, I have a bit more time to tour there. So I think I’ll take the opportunity tomorrow for a lot of writing, and resting, since I’ve been going non-stop since early Monday morning, and have hardly had a chance to take a breath, or process all of this information!

Of course, if I start going stir-crazy in the B&B, there’s always Williamsburg…

Farewell for now!

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September 11, 2014

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