Monthly Archives: December 2008

Happy Birthday General Meade!

Darn it! I intended to post this earlier, but forgot until reminded by the Gettysburg Daily entry for today.


A Foggy Day at Gettysburg
A Foggy Day at Gettysburg

Earlier this week  I posted entries for Meade’s Equestrian statue and the NPS wayside at Gettysburg.  Meade might not have been a Napoleon, but he was certainly no McClellan.  I always felt history was not fair to him regarding the follow up after Gettysburg.  Opportunities were lost, to be sure, but place it in context.  Having Meade assume command of the Army of the Potomac on June 28, 1863 was somewhat like elevating the batting coach to the manager’s spot for game 1 of the World Series.  On July 1,  he “rode to the sound of the guns,” and made a fateful decision to stand and fight. 

Some historians have made hay over the friction between Grant and Meade during the final half of the war.  However, consider that on several occasions during the Overland Campaign and the Petersburg Siege, Grant was reluctant to step away from the field for any long period of time, partly because someone OTHER than Meade would step up with overall control of operations against the Army of Northern Virginia. 

George Gordon Meade, born on this day in 1815 in Cadiz, Spain.  

Places That Need Markers

Or perhaps better stated, my personal list of places that require some or better on site interpretation.

One of my Christmas gifts this year was a copy of  The Golden Age of Battlefield Preservation, by Timothy B. Smith (which I heartily recommend).  Smith details the establishment and evolution of the five original battlefield parks in the 1890s.  One common stage I noticed for the early park incarnations was the placement of simple, often wooden, signs on the field to denote key locations in the battles.  These of course later evolved into the metal tablets and markers generally attributed to the War Department, which stand even today as the primary on site interpretive resource for Antietam, Gettysburg, Chickamauga, Chattanooga, and Vicksburg.   I couldn’t help but make the inference that the “signs” or rudimentary markers helped frame and in some ways feed the preservation efforts.

That thought brought me back to a comment I often make about sites I visit – “There ought to be a marker here!”  Looking back through my notes, here’s a handful of such sites I’ve visited over the last year:

Potts “Old Burnt” Mill, Hillsboro, VA.  Just outside of the Hillsboro historic district are the ruins of an old mill, destroyed shortly after  Sheridan’s “burning” of the Shenandoah Valley.  Before the war Loudoun County rivaled the counties of the great valley for its richness of agricultural products.  Corn and wheat were common exports from the lush Loudoun Valley farms, with dozens of mills to process the grain for market.  Mosby and other partisans used Loudoun’s resources every bit as those over the Blue Ridge.  So when Sheridan was ordered to burn out the “breadbasket of the Confederacy,” it was only natural that Loudoun Valley would see some of the flames.   Sheridan dispatched Merritt’s Division for the task in December, 1864 (conveniently after the elections).  In the operation the Reserve Brigade alone destroyed 230 barns and 8 mills.  In spite of all that, the “burning of Loudoun” receives only short mentions on a few markers in the area.  I say these ruins outside Hillsboro would be a great place to tell that story.

Mill ruins outside Hillsboro

Mill ruins outside Hillsboro

Monterey Pass, Pennsylvania.   With so much activity related to the Gettysburg Campaign, it is hard to believe only one historical marker stands in the area (for  The Battle of Fountain Dale).  Despite dozens of roadside markers related to the Gettysburg campaign, the state of Pennsylvania somehow neglected this area.  In lieu of on site interpretation, the Monterey Pass Battlefield Association offers information about the battle and touring the area.  In the print world, the retreat from Gettysburg received due attention this year in One Continuous Fight, by Eric Wittenberg, J.D. Petruzzi, and Michael Nugent.

Manassas Gap or Wapping Heights, Gettysburg Campaign.  Another point along the Gettysburg Campaign that is just not interpreted well.  Along Virginia Highway 55 in the gap one marker discusses a bivouac site on the road TO Gettysburg, another indicates the birthplace of Brig. Gen. Turner Ashby.  None discuss the July 21-23, 1863 actions which were probably Meade’s last chance to catch Lee on the retreat.  The cast of characters included Merritt’s cavalry brigade and the Excelsior Brigade on the Federal side, and portions of Pickett’s and Hood’s Division on the Confederate side.

Manassas Gap

Manassas Gap

Castleman’s Ferry, Cool Springs,  and Berry’s Ferry.  A series of actions fought in the summer of 1864 along the Shenandoah River has gotten some marker attention.  Still I think the greater story of this phase of Early’s Valley Campaign is untold.  Much of the ground is preserved within the bounds of the Holy Cross Abbey in a rather tranquil site along the Shenandoah River (and and new interpretation on site should respect the Abbey’s privacy in my opinion).  The action at Berry’s Ferry, several miles to the south of Castleman’s Ferry, is supposed to be marked, but I’ve yet to find the stone.  And only fleeting mention is made of Gen. Rutherford Hays’ column which pressed down from Harpers Ferry.  The actions would make a great study in the breakdown of communications among disjointed commands.

Berry's Ferry

Berry's Ferry

Unison, Va.   I’ve mentioned this site once before with regard to preservation efforts.  Sadly, one single marker, well away from the main actions, summarizes McClellan’s (slow-motion) pursuit of Lee down Loudoun Valley.

Mine Run Battlefield.  I’ve mentioned this a couple of times before.  Mine Run should be remembered as the other great battlefield within the “Wilderness” of Spotsylvania and Orange  Counties (along with Chancellorsville, the Wilderness, and Spotsylvania).  Yet it has only gotten a handful of interpretive markers.  If you missed it, there was a detailed discussion on TOCWOC earlier this year on the campaign.

Berryville, Virginia.  I would advance that the actions around Berryville on September 3-4, 1864 should be considered round one of the Third Winchester.  While the fighting was brief, the forces engaged were primarily those which would fight weeks later at Winchester and Fisher’s Hill.  While the site of the heaviest fighting is developed, enough of the battle line locations are still rural farmland to allow some perspective.  Presently a Veterans Stone and a Virginia State marker serve as reminders of the battle.

Berryville Battlefield

Berryville Battlefield

Hunter Mill Road, Fairfax County, Virginia.  As mentioned in an earlier post, the road saw a tremendous amount of activity during the war.  I hesitated mentioning it as a “place needing markers” as, although none stand today, the Hunter Mill Defense League intends to place interpretive displays in the future.  Still I’d like to mention the League’s plans and take the opportunity to push a link to their site again!

A slanted list, due more to my geographic wanderings than any slight to the Western Theater.  For every site offered here, I could probably leaf through dusty trail notes and mention a dozen or more sites in Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, the Carolinas, Mississippi, Missouri, and Arkansas that also need some on site interpretation.  Most of these sites mentioned above already have been preserved or have some preservation efforts ongoing.   But some, like Berryville, could easily be lost within a generation of development.  I joke sometimes that I advocate placement of markers to allow more additions to my collection.  However, as I think the veterans in the 1890s understood, simply securing the land does not complete the action.  A preserved battlefield may be sacred to us today, but without any context or point of reference, becomes an ordinary, mundane, meaningless tract of land to the next generation.  The placement of the markers and monuments reaches through the generations to provide that needed point of reference.   Yes, there are cases where markers have been plowed over by development.  But those are the exception thankfully.  I would contend in most cases the “marker” serves as a lodgement against development.

My bottom line – If we can’t preserve them all, can we at least interpret these sites?

HMDB Civil War Updates – Week of 29 December

Typically on holiday weeks, marker entries slide up the scale a bit.   This week seventy-six entries and updates supports that observation.  The states covered include Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and one each from California, Delaware, and D.C.  As well as one update from Maryland. Here are some of the highlights:

– The sole California entry this week is a memorial with a unique twist.  Trees from southern battlefields were transplanted to a memorial park in Sacramento by the Ladies of the G.A.R. from California and Nevada.  The transplanting was likely done in the 1890s with young trees.  So I guess you might say these are “sons and daughters of witness trees.”

– The Rhode Island-Brentwood Metro Station in Washington, D.C. was built over the site of Columbian Harmony Cemetery.  The cemetery, which had fallen into disrepair by the 1950s, was a segregated cemetery which included many USCT veterans.  The remains were moved to nearby National Harmony Memorial Park when the metro station was constructed.

– I always like it when separate marker entries from different correspondents have some linkage in events or participants.  One of our prolific editor-contributors entered a marker covering Camp DuPont, Wilmington, Delaware.  The camp was the muster site of the 4th Delaware Infantry in 1862, and the re-muster site for the 1st Delaware in 1864.  The 1st Delaware is honored by a monument near Ziegler’s Grove at Gettysburg, which I entered later in the week.

– One of the few Georgia markers this week relates the story of Governor Joseph Brown.  Note the fifth photo in the entry.  Yes, the handicapped parking sign that looks like a marker.   Hope that isn’t a new trend.

– For the Birthplace of Joseph Wheeler marker entry, our contributor referenced a link to Wheeler’s questionable promotion to Lieutenant General.

– And the “Sherman burned this place” marker for the week comes from Warren County, Georgia.  The Shoals on the Ogeechee marker discusses a mill complex burned by “Uncle Billy’s Boys” during the march to the sea.

– A memorial in Chillicothe, Ohio was erected by Richard Ederlin.  At Gettysburg on July 2, 1863, Ederlin was serving as a private in the 73rd Ohio Infantry, and risked his life to carry a wounded comrade laying between the lines to safety. Enderlin was later awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions. The man he saved, George Nixon, was the grandfather of President Richard Nixon.  Aside from that noteworthy bit of history, I find it interesting this memorial was placed BY Ederlin to honor his comrades. 

– Nearly twenty markers this week from North Carolina.  These are centered around three sites – Averasboro, Bentonville, and Durham.  Averasboro and Bentonville have growing numbers and time willing I’ll dress out those related sets.

– More markers from around Petersburg, Virginia this week.  Nine detail the White Oak Road Battlefield (CWPT).   Four markers relate the action around Swift Creek during the Bermuda Hundred campaign, for all intents a “lost battlefield.”  Only one marker serves to tell the story of the battle of Globe Tavern.   Forts Davis and Wadsworth are still well preserved all things considered. 

– And the last entry for Fort Mulligan at Petersburg, WEST Virginia is a monster.  Three times the size of your average marker. 

– My Gettysburg project continued with fourteen entries around Ziegler’s Grove on Cemetery Ridge.  

Lastly this week I was able to do the equivalent to archeology with regard to markers.  One of my “quests” is to capture the location and text details for the various Happel Panels from the Fredericksburg-Spotsylvania Battlefields.  The Happel Panels are named for historian Ralph Happel who wrote the text and was responsible for their placement.  For many years these were the main interpretive markers on the four battlefields (Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Wilderness, Spotsylvania), designed for viewing from automobiles on the tour loops.  However in recent years, the National Park Service has begun replacing these “vintage” markers with new waysides.  While the “new” markers offer better formats, with options for photos, drawings, and maps, I’m sort of nostalgic with regard to the older types.  Unfortunately I have not found, even after inquiries to the park, a definitive listing for the panels.  So I’ve been sorting through old 1980s and 90s vacation photos and various web sites looking for photos showing the old rectangular markers.  Thus far I’ve entered four “documented”  but missing Happels, and found information on an additional ten.  This week, I’ve added two of the now replaced panels.  For one which stood at Hazel Grove, Chancellorsville, Bruce Schulze at Civil War Album offered a photo of the marker posted to his site by Brian Duckworth.  However a similarly replaced Happel at the Harrison House on the Spotsylvania Court House battlefield is short a good photo for now.

Well that’s the week’s report.  I apologize for the scarcity of posts last week, but Santa had some work to do around the house!

HMDB Civil War Updates – Week of 22 December

This week we had forty-eight marker and monument entries for the Civil War category at HMDB.  Diversity is short this week, even if numbers are back up – Georgia, the Carolinas, Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan.  Here’s some of the highlights:

– In the South it is common for a church or group of churches to have “campgrounds.”  Traditionally these were not just summer camps for the kids, but places where grand revivals were held.  Of course, those localities were often idea places for marshaling activities in wartime.  The Shingleroof Campground in Henry County, Georgia was one of those, being used by the state troops as they were mustered and later staged to Confederate service.  A similar campground, also from a Methodist church, in Effingham County, outside Savannah, was actually destroyed by Sherman during his march to the sea. 

– Our sole entry from Michigan this week is the home-site of George DeBaptiste.  I’ll admit, I had not heard of DeBaptiste before the marker entry.  What few good references are available on the web point to a rather active and interesting life.  One of those “…there ought to be a good biography of this guy…” cases, in my opinion.  I’d certainly find that more interesting than the life story of that Ben Button fellow.

 – From the “Up Country” of South Carolina, the bell from the old classroom building at Furman University once rang to celebrate Confederate victories.  In later days, it also rang for victory celebrations…. those of the university’s athletic teams!   

– I’ve read of churches used for many non-religious purposes during the war.  But how about this – powder magazine?  A marker from Nashville, Tennessee, our sole representative from the state this week, states that is what happened to the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church

Fort Mulligan, in Petersburg, WEST Virginia is quite well documented by way of interpretive markers on site.  Eight markers total, with at least one more in the queue.  If one looks at the map view, under the hybrid or satellite mode, the earthworks are clear and crisp.  The fort is yet another example of CWPT’s outstanding efforts to preserve sites, both big and small, related to the war.  Sort of proves the organization isn’t simply focused on the big battlefields. 

– Several markers this week from the more famous fortifications around Petersburg, Virginia.  All of the markers at the Battery 5 trail are now in the database.  An interesting set if you are an connoisseur of Civil War artillery, the trail has some noteworthy exhibits – the main artillery display, the Confederate guns in the battery, and the reproduction “Dictator.”  The map view of the battery area is an interesting to comparison to Fort Mulligan above. 

– The quote of the week from a marker has to come from Hopewell, Virginia.  “I think this is a very good place with the exception of too many lice,” from a member of the 86th New York.  Stephen Chase was discussing the Depot Field Hospital there during the Petersburg siege. 

–  Our Freeman Markers expert added one of the Battlefield of Seven Pines markers to the set.  There were five markers by the same name in the series.  However, this particular marker was stolen sometime in the 1970s.  Later as the area around was developed, the base was completely destroyed.  The inscription of the missing marker leads one to believe even more was lost to development – the grave sites of many who fell in the action at that point. 

– This week, for the Gettysburg project, I started a set of monuments and tablets on Cemetery Ridge, around Ziegler’s Grove and the Leister House.  I must admit the area at the north end of Cemetery Ridge and Cemetery Hill is my least favorite part of the battlefield.  Has nothing to do with the battle, the monuments, or any particular dislike of a regiment or person.  Just that that seems to be the most popular stop on the field, and it is hard to get good photos without a tour bus in the frame.  My tactic is to pick one of the coldest days of the year for my visits there.  Yes, the things I go through just to visit a battlefield. 

That’s a good sampling for the week.  As always I wish there were more Western Theater markers, but I can’t complain.  Looking forward to some free time over the next few days to clear out more of the queues.

Happy Holidays to all! 

And please keep the military personnel away from their families this season in your thoughts and prayers.

Battle of Dranesville

On this day (December 20) in 1861, a short but sharp battle took place in the small Northern Virginia town of Dranesville.  Over the last few years, I’ve been able to “study” the battle in a unique kind of way.  Contemplating the terrain while sitting in traffic!  The battlefield sits astride the Leesburg Pike (modern Virginia 7), a major commuter artery into the beltway.  Two historical markers, a Virginia state marker and a Civil War Trails wayside, reference the battle.

As seen in this section of the 1862 “McDowell Map” (see the full map on file at the Library of Congress on-line map section), Dranesville sat at an important intersection on the pike:


Of course, the topographical engineers misspelled “Drainsville.”  I’ve traced the Leesburg Pike on the map in blue.  Running due east from Dranesville is the Georgetown Pike (modern day VA 193), traced in green.   A couple of parallel routes run south from the town, the eastern most runs down Dranesville Ridge, and was the most important with regard to the battle, and is traced here in red.  Today Reston Avenue (CR 602) approximates that road.  Several dwellings and buildings of importance to the battle are referenced on this map – the Colman and Thornton houses south of the town, Liberty Church, and Jackson’s Tavern.   Looking at the same area today, the road structure is similar, but the true courses have shifted to accommodate motor vehicles.

The battle itself was really a small affair, with each side in brigade strength.   In effect, this was a meeting engagement by forces foraging around the “no-man’s land” that existed between the lines in Fairfax County in late 1862.  Federal Brig. Gen. George McCall dispatched a Brigade under Brig. Gen. E.O.C. Ord, reinforced with two cavalry squadrons and a battery of artillery, to forage in the vicinity of Dranesville.  At the same time, Brig. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart patrolled north from Centreville with four regiments of infantry (including the 1st Kentucky Infantry), a detachment of cavalry, and an artillery battery.  The two forces met at Dranesville.

A good synopsis of the battle, along with copies of the official report is located on the Shotgun’s Home of the Civil War site.  The Cliff Notes version is Ord got to the intersection first by way of the Georgetown Pike.  Stuart had an opportunity to work behind Ord.  But the Federal commander acted swiftly to block, and positioned his artillery on the high ground north-east of the intersection.  Depending on which account one reads, Stuart skillfully disengaged and retired, OR was driven from the field in a near route.  One interpretation holds that Stuart was the victim of a trap, being duped by some turncoats.  Regardless, the end result was Stuart left the field to Ord.

Casualty figures were minor compared to other battles – 194 Confederates and 68 Federals.  However out of proportion of the numbers involved, this battle was widely reported both north and south.  In the North, this action was heralded as the first victory on southern soil.  In the South, some reported the battle as a disaster, others as a gallant action saving the army from some terrible calamity.

Today the battlefield is much different than that facing Ord and Stuart.  The road structure is, at best, an approximation of the 1861 courses (the widening of Highway 7 was perhaps the most serious change).  The important sections of the battlefield is now covered with houses, convenience stores, and other modern structures.  Today the intersection of the Leesburg and Georgetown Pikes is still an important intersection:

Dranesville Intersection Looking Northwest

Dranesville Intersection Looking Northwest

The service road to the left is a portion of an “older” road bed, but might not be the wartime path (the story of Leesburg Pike is one of continual adjustments to meet transportation needs since the time of Braddock’s expedition).   The Georgetown Pike enters from the right of frame, just in front of the treeline.  The 9th and 12th Pennsylvania Infantry were positioned west of the intersection, where the ground drops off.  Their lines would sweep forward in the later stages of the battle.

Federal Left Flank

Federal Left Flank

Looking north from the same location, across the divided lanes of the Leesburg Pike.  The junction of the 10th and 6th Pennsylvania was in the area on the far side.  Although the ground on there is certainly higher in elevation, at the time of the battle, it was even higher.  The crest, as with much in the surrounding area, was leveled over time by road and building construction.

Federal Artillery Position

Federal Artillery Position

Ord originally posted one section of Battery A, 1st Pennsylvania Artillery (Captain Easton) on the west side of the intersection. However, with the appearance of Stuart’s force, the guns were deployed on high ground opposite the Colman and Thornton homes.  Again, the terrain here has been altered since the war, making the elevations less pronounced.  The parking lot on that side of the highway is square in the middle of the most valuable real estate on the battlefield – the side that held that point had the high ground.

Reston Avenue

Reston Avenue

Looking south down Reston Aveune.  Captain Easton’s gunners fired at the Confederate battery deployed, generally speaking, down the road.  My best guess is the Sumpter Artillery was about 300 yards down the road, but that is based more on dead reckonings than place-mark worth mentioning.  The Federals complained they could not actually see their targets during some phases of the battle, and only fired into the smoke and haze.  Also note the Confederate position is at a distinct disadvantage in elevation.

Dranesville Tavern

Dranesville Tavern

About 1 mile west on Leesburg Pike is the only true landmark dating to the time of the battle.  And even that was moved for highway expansion!  The Dranesville Tavern was operated by George W. Jackson, and known as the Jackson Hotel at the time of the war.  The structure was moved 125 feet to the southwest in the 1960s as the pike was widened.  The site is now a county park.

Dranesville was not a major action by any definition of the term.  However it was widely reported and at the time provided the North with a counterbalance to memories of 1st Manassas and Balls Bluff during the winter of 1861-62.  Today two markers and the Tavern stand as reminders of the action.   Battlefield stompers must brave the traffic jams to view even those.  McMansions now stand where the two sides fought in 1861.

The “New Orleans” Napoleon

Continuing with an examination of the artillery pieces at Petersburg, let me stick with 12-pdr Napoleons, but switch to the Confederate side.   At Confederate Battery 5, a few paces away from the Brierfield 6-pdr, is this Napoleon:

Confederate 12-pdr Field Gun

Confederate Leeds & Co. 12-pdr Field Gun

Clearly this Confederate piece breaks the rule about muzzle swells.  The gun is a very early production Confederate Napoleon, made by Leeds & Company, of New Orleans, Louisiana.    The Leeds foundry dated back to the 1820s, however, the firm specialized in steam engine components and mill machinery.  With the start of the war, the foundry first attempted an 8-inch Columbiad, which burst during testing.  After some additional trial and error, and some private contract deliveries, the Confederate government placed an order for field guns.   Eventually Leeds delivered forty-nine field pieces.    These included 6-pdrs smoothbores, 6-pdr (actually 3.3 inch) rifles, 12-pdr howitzers, and 12-pdr Napoleons.   Of the later, an even dozen were produced.

Leeds Trunnion

The Napoleons generally followed the Federal plans for the Model 1857 as modified for production, without the handles of course.  The differences in form were generally cosmetic. Note also the breech form with the cascabel.

Knob of the Leeds & Co. Napoleon

Cascabel of the Leeds Napoleon

The neck is much thicker than Federal types, making the knob look almost fattened in proportion.  A “fillet” formed at the join between the cascabel and breech.  And the breech itself is almost flat in comparison to other Napoleons.  Compare this to a nearby 12-pdr Napoleon from Augusta Foundry:

Augusta Foundry 12-pdr Naploeon Breech

Augusta Foundry 12-pdr Naploeon Breech

Profile of Leeds Breech

Profile of Leeds Breech

The Augusta cascabel offers what has been described as a “rolling pin”, and a rounded breech face.

Then compare the muzzles:

Profile of Leeds Muzzle

Profile of Leeds Muzzle

Augusta Napoleon Muzzle

Augusta Napoleon Muzzle

The Leeds muzzle, like those on the Federal side, has a lip and fillet at the muzzle.  The Augusta piece, like most Confederate Napoleons we know, is simple in comparison.

The example at Petersburg bears the delivery date of 1861 on the left trunnion face.  Six Napoleons were delivered in February of that year.  Months later at the Battle of Shiloh in April, Robertson’s (Florida) Battery took four Napoleons from Leeds into battle.  Leeds delivered six more Napoleons that April.  However, authorities refused to allow the foundry’s machinery (including the rifling lathes) to be evacuated when the city was threatened.  So when New Orleans fell at the end of the month, Leeds ceased producing guns.



Daniel, Larry J., and Riley W. Gunter.  Confederate Cannon Foundries.  Union City, Tennessee: Pioneer Press, 1977

Hazlett, James C., Edwin Olmstead, and M. Hume Parks. Field Artillery Weapons of the Civil War, Revised Edition. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2004.

Ripley, Warren. Artillery and Ammunition of the Civil War, 4th Edition. Charleston, S.C.: The Battery Press, 1984.

HMDB Civil War Updates – Week of December 15

Well back to an ebb week.  Only thirty-six Civil War related markers entered to HMDB this cycle.  Perhaps a little off in numbers, but no shortage of interesting markers.  And a few that are just curious to say the least:

The Saga of Gold Tooth John in Atlanta.  It is meant to be tongue in cheek humor, but the format is that of a historical marker.  And there’s at least some bits of history.  So I let my wry sense of humor drive the decision to publish this marker.  I’d give Robert Moore a dollar to hold a seminar on Southern Unionists in the General John B. Gordon room.

– With a couple of markers this week related to the Battle of Peachtree Creek, I’ve started a related set for these.  (map view)

– The Site of Moon’s Station is this week’s “Anderson’s Raid” marker allocation for the week.  If I didn’t know better, I’d say the raid was the most annotated event in the history of Georgia!

– Two marker entries this week from Detroit, Michigan.  First one discussing Fort Wayne, which served as a mobilization point during the war.   The final resting place of General Israel B. Richardson, killed at the Sunken Road at Antietam, is at nearby Oak Hill Cemetery.  We have requested a photo of the grave in our “want list” for the entry.  Richardson’s mortuary monument at Antietam is part of the Bloody Lane marker set.

– One of several markers in the database for the Battle of Bentonville, North Carolina is one designating General Joseph Johnston’s headquarters.  While today the site is just a stand of woods, I have a photo in my shoebox from the 1980s with this marker in front of some dilapidated structure.  Poor Joe Johnston never gets any respect, I thought at the time.

– On the other hand, Generals P.G.T. Beauregard and Wade Hampton, always seemed to get the finest of accommodations, as seen in a marker entry from Ridgeway, South Carolina.

– Among the Virginia markers this week, we have completed the “Battlefield Markers Association” set with what is often called the “Western Division” or “UDC” markers.  These are bronze tablets, originally mounted on pedestals, around the battlefields of Central Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley.   Several reasons to check these markers.  These are artifacts of the history of our history.  To that point, Robert mentions the selective “editing” of the marker at Appomattox.  If one pays attention to the wording, and compares to more recent on site interpretation, you get a feel for the evolution the “history” of the Civil War has gone through.  To me, none is more apparent than with the “missing” Chancellorsville marker (it was stolen in 1976).  Several more modern wayside markers from the NPS are within 300 feet of where this old one stood – Lee’s Greatest Triumph, the Climatic Struggle, Civilians in the Crossfire, and the Chancellor Slaves.

– Only three entries this week from Gettysburg.   I just took a little break, to focus on Fredericksburg mostly.  The monument for the 4th Michigan opened up an interesting story, with lots of details left to be sorted out.  If you are not familiar with the story of the Regiment’s colors and Col. Harrison Jefford’s actions, please follow the links from the marker entry.  What is not discussed on the monument is the actions of Lieutenant Michael Vreeland.  One of our contributors from Michigan offered photos of Vreeland’s grave site (which actually prompted me to jump the 4th Michigan’s monument up in my queue!).  Vreeland was brevetted to Brigadier General of Volunteers by the end of the war.  After digging around some through what limited resource at my disposal, Vreeland was cited for bravery during the struggle for the regiment’s colors in the Wheatfield.  AND although he lived until 1876 (age 38), he is listed as “died of wounds” sustained at Gettysburg on July 2, 1863.  I’d love to hear more about Vreeland’s story.

Let me close with a close up of the 2nd Pennsylvania Cavalry Monument at Gettysburg.  I just think this is the most detailed depiction of a Civil War cavalry trooper in action.  The accouterments are mounted in the right locations.  The belt buckle shows the raised eagle.  Even the breech block for the Sharps carbine is detailed.

Troooper on the 2nd Pennslyvania Cavalry Monument

Trooper on the 2nd Pennslyvania Cavalry Monument