Thursday, August 18, 2011
1887 Gathering Appears to Have Been at East Angle
In his August 16, 2011 blog posting at Mysteries and Conundrums, NPS historian Eric Mink presented a fascinating group of images taken during a visit to the Fredericksburg Area Battlefields by veterans of the 57th and 59th Massachusetts regiments. The May 1887 trip included a visit to the Mule Shoe Salient at Spotsylvania. The back of the original image has a hand written notation identifying it as:
"May 1887 - Bloody Angle Spotsylvania May 12, 1864, and near the Bullet Splintered tree."
My own inquisitiveness, and further prompting by mutual blog reader Todd Berkoff, brought me out to the field yesterday to examine the terrain and see how the current appearance of the landscape matched up with that of 1887. Following the north face of the salient from the Bloody Angle toward the east, I came to find that the image appears to have been taken much closer to the "East Angle", about 220 yards beyond the "Bloody Angle", and the fabled "22 inch" tree felled by small arms fire. In the modern view below, the bridge in the middle distance is the recently rebuilt bridge over the Confederate works, just before they begin to turn to form the east face of the salient. The direction is roughly 97 degrees south east. Click on both images to enlarge. Notice the man at center in the dark coat and light colored hat looks to be holding a plate or canteen half, along with a discarded musket ramrod, probable relics found nearby.
The approximate, modern view above, was taken around 5:30 PM, on August 17, 2011.