Thursday, July 14, 2011

Bloody Angle: Spotsylvania Courthouse

I took, with two companions, a short road trip to Bethlehem and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania -- to visit the famous Civil War battlefield.  Then wending down to Fredricksburg, Virginia, for a couple of days, then to Richmond Virginia for a couple more days.  
Fooling around with my new camera, I pretty much erased my Gettysburg images, alas.   But I was eager to visit the Spotsylvania Civil War battle sites.  Much smaller, and more rustic, rural than Gettysburg, the Spotsylvania Courthouse was, for me, more intimate and just as moving.  We spent time at the Bloody Angle, which saw, on May 12, 1864, 20 hours of the most intense hand-to-hand combat of the Civil War.  The battle also saw one of the first uses of trench warfare -- the Confederate mounds are still vislble.
This is the view of the Ohio monument -- 100 yards from the Bloody Angle.  The fighting took place on this field.
The Bloody Angle was a bend in the Confederate fortifications.  This is taken from the Confederate position.

"Around the Bloody Angle, the dead lay five deep, and bodies had to be moved from the trenches to make room for the living. The action around Spotsylvania shocked even the grizzled veterans of the two great armies. Said one officer, "I never expect to be fully believed when I tell what I saw of the horrors of Spotsylvania."
"And yet the battle was not done; the armies slugged it out for another week. In spite of his losses, Grant persisted, writing to General Henry Halleck in Washington, D.C., "I will fight it out on this line if it takes all summer."

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