While in route to the Spotsylvania dedication, the Massachusetts veterans visited other fields of their past valor. On May 15th they arrived at Petersburg and were met by members of the A.P. Hill Camp of Confederate Veterans. Blue and Gray assembled together at the Confederate Veteran’s Hall and were addressed by Commander Harwood, who said in part:
"Brave men will always honor and respect brave men. Men may differ upon questions as to the constitutionality of laws, but who will doubt their fidelity to their cause, or their heroic deeds during those 'heroic days' of ’61 and ’65, when 'life was counted but a worthless thing, where honor was at stake,' of either the men who wore the Blue or the men who wore the Gray, and by their deeds showed the world the valor of true American manhood?
You gentlemen have your memories of the past; we have ours—'Memories wreathed with honor and immortal fame' –a common heritage of a brave and patriotic people."
The owner of the Spotsylvania property, Thomas Harris, had witnessed the opening engagement on what was then his father Clement’s farm. Thomas was barely ten at the time of the battle, and he and his mother and siblings watched from under a cherry tree in the garden while the Massachusetts men struggled with the approaching Confederate forces under command of General Richard Ewell. As the heat of battle seemed to get more intense, the Harris family moved from their place of observation and took shelter in the basement of their home. Thomas Harris saw it fitting to donate the parcel of land to honor the bravery he witnessed that day.
Throughout the Spotsylvania campaign the Harris home and outbuildings were used as a hospital by the Union forces.
An ancestor of my own, the Prussian born, Frederick Unger, was wounded during the fighting near the Harris farm, on the fields of their neighbor Susan Alsop, a widow. Unger served in another of the Heavy Artillery Regiments, the 7th New York. He took a bullet along the length of his forearm which impaired his abilities for the remainder of his life. His wound was treated in the field at the Harris farm by the regimental surgeon, George Newcomb.
Today, the Harris farm has been subdivided and is known as Bloomsbury, the longtime historic name of the property. The Massachusetts monument is now protected by the efforts of the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust.