Camera: Fredericksburg

Fredericksburg was a battle site featured in the film Gods and GeneralsThis was a huge win for the Confederate army, and a virtual slaughter of the Union army.

Here is the site where the Irish Brigade of the Union Army made repeated attempts to overtake the wall from which the Confederate army slaughtered them. At that time, all the trees in this photo were not there, and the Union soldiers continually tried to attack over a wide open area. Ironically, and tragically, the Confederate regiment on the winning side of the stone wall was also an Irish one.  It was a tragic battle for the Irish men who hoped to return to Ireland and gain freedom from England. Instead, the men cut one another down in a devastating battle. The Union’s Irish Brigade was demolished from over 1600 to a mere 256.

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This home has stood here since before the Battle of Fredericksburg. All of the house, and its interior, are still riddled with bullet holes from the Civil War crossfire.

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Here is the statue honoring Richard Rowland Kirkland of South Carolina. After a gruesome day of battle, all of the Union’s wounded lie moaning and crying out on the battlefield. Union soldiers could not retrieve their wounded for fear of being picked off by the Confederates behind the stone wall. The moans and cries for water from the wounded never ended, and Kirkland could no longer stand it. Without protective fire cover or assistance, Kirkland crossed the wall and began giving water to the wounded Union soldiers. It was a beautiful demonstration of compassion in the midst of a terrible battle.

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Chatham House was used as Union headquarters and a hospital. From this great height across the river, the Union battery had cannons trained on the city of Fredericksburg.

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A neat feature of this mansion is the graffiti from wounded Union soldiers. Men signed and wrote on the walls as they were being cared for, and these were re-discovered during the restoration of the home. Below is a signature from a soldier in Michigan’s cavalry:

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The tree trunk below belongs to a Catalpa tree that pre-dates the Civil War. Struck by countless bullets and shrapnel, the tree began to “heal” itself by growing over its wounds. The result is an extremely knobby, gnarled, interesting tree with quite a story to tell.

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I’ll leave you with this final image – this is a portion of the original stone wall at Fredericksburg, stones holding the blood, sweat, tears, and shrapnel of the most heartbreaking of wars.

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