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Sunday, June 1, 2014

#22 - Spotsylvania Court House Battlefield

Part of the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park
Week after week, hiking has become a means to enjoy the outdoors, rid the stress of the week, and simply enjoy the experiences that are offered through natural beauty, wildlife, and history. It is uplifting and, on most occasions, leaves you feeling stronger, refreshed, and clear of mind.

But every once in awhile, it has a different effect. Instead of clearing the mind, it gives you more to consider, and causes you to pause. This was the case with the battlefield I visited today.

Assault at Muleshoe Salient
It was a beautiful day. I went to the battlefield simply to cover the 7 mile loop the area provided. Upon parking at the exhibit shelter, I started reading about the battle here in Spotsylvania, the Mule Shoe, the "bloody angle", the desperate hand-to-hand fighting. It slowed my pace. As I moved along, I stayed on the trail in respect for those who laid dead or dying in these fields. 32,000 in all.

It seemed appropriate the stillness of the area. The only sounds were those of the breeze through the tree tops. Most of the fields were covered with wildflowers and plant life, made fertile in part, I assumed, by the large amount of blood shed here. Butterflies flew from flower to flower.

There were remnants of farm houses, overrun by both Union and Confederate forces - the occupants lucky to escape with their lives.

Willis and Lucy Landrum's Farmhouse - at the edge of the battlefield
Landrum Farmhouse - two chimney's remain

Harrison Farmhouse
McCoull Farmhouse
The trails led me across fields, through woods, over rolling hills and grassy knolls. It was the last leg of the hike that took me to the first battle of Spotsylvania. On Laurel Hill. Union soldiers from Maryland were the first to attack here.

To Laurel Hill
Laurel Hill
A marker for the Maryland Brigade - first Union forces to assault Spotsylvania defenses
Laurel Hill
I finished up my hike feeling I had relived many of the events that happened here between May 8th - May 21st, 1864. I could not get over the fields. Lush green, abundant growth. No sounds but the trees blowing in the wind, birds chirping.

Spotsylvania Court House Battlefield is a great place to spend a half day, with a 7 mile loop. Plan to go at a slower pace.

Keep hiking, friends!


1 comment:

  1. I am really enjoying your experiences Mike - I just wish I could do some of the walks too!!!!