From John Hennessy:
As most of you likely know, the Fredericksburg region suffered a serious weather event last Friday night, leaving a trail of vegetative wreckage and human discomfort rarely seen in these parts (it was not as bad as Isabel in 2003, but neither was it your standard summer thunderboomer). As of this writing, Spotsylvania Battlefield remains closed entirely, as the park’s maintenance staff works to clear trees from roads and trails. Don’t fuss too much if the grass starts looking a bit scraggly elsewhere in the park; the staff will be using chainsaws rather than lawnmowers for the foreseeable future.
Amidst the common casualties of nature is one tree worth noting. On the front lawn of Chatham, about 30 yards south of the famous Catalpas, are two Locust trees, which also bore witness to the 1862 battle. One of them suffered what will likely be, over time, a mortal blow Friday night.
The tree is clearly visible in one of the 1863 photographs of Chatham. Its adjacent twin stands undamaged, though a bit bedraggled.
5 thoughts on “A Chatham Casualty”
It’s always a sad thing to lose a witness tree. Thanks for the post, John!
The queen of battle is not the artillery, but Mother Nature. Keep up the good fight of being the guardians of our heritage. The Malmquists
For our readers: Ron and Beth Malmquist have been long-time volunteers at the park, but are now relocating to flatter locales in the midwest. Their years of faithful service and intellectual energy will be sorely missed at Chatham. We thank them profoundly for their efforts on behalf of the park.
The famed Surrender Tree outside of Richmond where Richmond’s mayor surrendered the city to Union forces was felled after Friday’s storm. I was told by law enforcement that souvenir hunters were cutting off portions of it before authorities arrived.
Once again we are so sorry to see the beautiful trees falling. We remember the damage caused by Isobel and we are concerned when more damage occurs in the park. Thanks goodness there are pictures to remind us of their beauty and significance.
Thank you for leading the charge in protecting the battlefields.