Fw: Civil War Witness Trees
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----- Original Message -----
\Sent: Thursday, August 11, 2011 11:25 AM
Subject: Civil War Witness Trees
Civil War Witness Trees
Posted by Diane of Genealogy Insider
Workers at Gettysburg National Military Park last week were cutting up a
fallen oak tree on Culp's Hill, a key location in the 1863 Battle of
Gettysburg, when they hit 148-year-old bullets.
Battlefield trees like this one, still bearing scars and bullet wounds, are
called Civil War witness trees. (Another kind of witness tree is found in
public land states—a surveyor would blaze a tree near a section corner as
evidence of the section boundaries.)
I hadn’t heard the term until I read about the Gettysburg discovery, and it
makes perfect sense: Eyewitnesses are long gone, but these trees stood on
the battlefields when our ancestors dug trenches, reloaded guns, charged the
other side, were injured and died.
Many witness trees are famous and were captured in contemporary drawings or
Mathew Brady’s photographs, for example:
Burnside Bridge Sycamore at Antietam, Md.
Appomattox Courthouse Pin Oak in Virginia
Copse of White Oaks near Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg, Pa.
Southern Magnolias at Andersonville, Ga.
You can see photos of these and other trees at The Bivouac website.
Sections of the Culp’s Hill tree with bullets will be displayed in a museum
at Gettysburg. The Gettysburg Daily blog has posts about witness trees, with
lots of photos and directions for finding them.