History on Display

from Chris

We have some “new” Stevenson Ridge history on display in the Lodge. I say “new” because it’s history, which by definition makes it old–but the displays themselves are new.

The first is a frame containing some images of Brig. Gen. Thomas Greely Stevenson, for whom the property is named. There’s a brief bio accompanying the images so that visitors can learn at least a little bit about him. (More info on Stevenson is available in our book Traces

 

The Five-Leaf Clover

from Chris

One of my super-powers, apparently, is my ability to find four-leaf clovers. I don’t go looking for them; instead, they tend to leap out at me.

I always think of the scene from the movie Rain Man when someone spills a whole box of matches and Dustin Hoffman’s character glances at them and then rattles off the exact number of matches on the floor. That’s sort of what it’s like for me spotting four-leaf clovers: i just glance, …

 

Our Geese and Their Goslings

from Chris

We’ve had a pretty few intense days here on the blog because of the 155th anniversary of the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, so let’s turn our attention to something a little lighter:

We’ve had a pair of geese raising some goslings on the property this spring. The chicks have gotten pretty big already, too!

Here, momma and her four goslings are waddling from the Riddick House to the pond. Daddy goose was with the gaggle, too, but …

 

Spotsylvania Court House: The Armies Move South

A map on a wayside panel in Spotsylvania National Battlefield shows the alignment of the armies during the second half of the battle, prior to their withdrawals from Spotsy.

from Chris

Think of the village of Spotsylvania Court House as sitting at the center of a clock. Brock Road, where the armies first clashed on the morning of May 8, sits at roughly 10 o’clock. The Mule Shoe, scene of the horrific hand-to-hand battle on May 12, sits at roughly …

 

Spotsylvania Court House: The Battle of Harris Farm

A historical marker along modern Rt. 208 marks the area where Confederates broke through the Federal supply line on Fredericksburg Road.

from Chris

The main action on Spotsylvania’s eastern front opened on May 9 during the battle of the Ny River. Ten days later, in a fight that brought the battle full circle, the last major action of the battle also happened on the eastern front—or, more accurately, in the rear, rather than the front.

Robert E. Lee, discontent to …

 

Spotsylvania Court House: Grant’s Next Attack

from Chris

At daylight on May 18, Gourverneur K. Warren ordered a cannonade all along his line. Twenty-six guns came to bear in a thundering roar.

The “whole army having moved off to our right to make an assault on the enemy,” he wrote, he opened the artillery bombardment in support of the assault. It was also intended to discourage Confederates from making a counter-attack of their own along his line, which was now stretched thin to cover the works …

 

Spotsylvania Court House: The Weather Finally Breaks

From Chris

“We have had five days’ almost constant rain without any prospect yet of its clearing up,” Ulysses S. Grant told Washington on May 16. “The roads have now become so impassable that ambulances with wounded can no long run between here and Fredericksburg. All offensive operations necessarily cease until we can have twenty-four hours of dry weather.”

During the waiting game, the army nonetheless found ways to stay busy. “”[T]he army was employed in constant reconnoitering and skirmishing, …

 

Spotsylvania Court House: Lull on the Eastern Front

from Chris

The rain that began on May 11 continued without letup for days. By May 15, Spotsylvania was well soggy. Grant continued to probe for an opening to get at Lee, but with the Federal cavalry away on a raid toward Richmond, Grant was left without his eyes and ears. As a result, his infantry had to grope blindly, hampering effective movement, made even more difficult by the foul weather.

Lee, too, sought information. He sent a division of …

 

Spotsylvania Court House: All Quiet on the Eastern Front

May 13, 1864, was a rainy day on the battlefield.

from Chris

The morning of May 13 saw carnage across the Spotsylvania battlefield unlike anything the armies had before seen. Once the fighting at the Mule Shoe settled down and Lee settled into his new fall-back position, Union forces took stock of their situation. The cries and moans of the injured drifted across the muddy landscape and through the devastated forests. Otherwise, fighting quieted all along the line.

During the …

 

Spotsylvania Court House: The Mule Shoe and Heth’s Salient

Historian Gordon Rhea at Heth’s Salient during the 2019 CVBT Annual Conference

from Chris

May 12 would see some of the worst fighting of the Overland Campaign—some would say of even the entire war.

Federals launched an attack against the tip of a horse-shoe shaped portion of the Confederate line that has since become known as the Mule Shoe Salient. For 22 consecutive hours, the armies locked in combat, much of it hand-to-hand, in the pouring rain. In some places, …