Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Battlefields - should they change?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Battlefields - should they change?

    Should the landscape at historic battlefields be restored to their original appearance?

    Here's a link to a story about what's been going on at the Manassas battlefield.

    Re-Creating Battlefields Causes New Skirmishes

    It's from August, but it's still an important question to consider.

  • #2
    If at all possible, yes!
    "Ask not what your country can do for you"

    Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

    you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

    Comment


    • #3
      Absolutely.

      Today, for the very first time, I saw Devil's Den from the Emmitsburg Road. Although I have been studying the Battle of Gettysburg for the better part of 40 years, today was the first time that I really understood Hood's assault on Devil's Den. Why? Because for the first time, I had the same view as the soldiers did, and for the first time I didn't have to try to use my imagination to try to envision things without the dense woods there.

      It's worth every dime of what it costs, and it's critical to understanding how events played out.

      Eric
      "If you want to have some fun, jine the cavalry"

      Maj. Gen. James Ewell Brown Stuart

      Comment


      • #4
        I think it should happen to. Tear down or move the darn strip malls on some of the major battle fields and reconstruct/shape them. I think Gettysburg is doing this as well. Apparently they found some old housing records, deeds and what not and decided to put them to good use.

        Article from Gettysburg.com which is the battlefield site run by locals I think.
        The Restoration Of The Gettysburg Battlefield

        DAVID M. SHRIBMAN
        Associated Press
        GETTYSBURG, Pa. - Things change, even here. The orchard that used to sit beside the Trostle Barn, site of brutal fighting on the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg, is gone. The cherry, pear and peach trees, which the fabled 12th New Hampshire used as cover during an artillery duel, have disappeared. The thicket that once sat on the Neinstedt Field, where Union infantry units established positions, grew into mature trees.

        The world outside Gettysburg has changed since the guns roared and the men cried here and, so, too has the battlefield. It has, after all, been 141 years. Trees grow, farms change, crop patterns adjust. It's the natural cycle of life, and the natural cycle of death.

        And yet here, where the climactic battle of the Civil War was fought - where more than 7 million bullets were fired in three days' fighting and where, four months later, Abraham Lincoln gave voice to the new birth of freedom the war helped win - there is the sense that things should be the same. The splendid men who here gave their lives that this nation might live have drifted away, the sense of desperation that pervaded the fighting fields in 1863 has lifted, the strategic imperatives that brought Union and Confederate soldiers to these hillsides and ridges have faded away, and still we believe that this place - hallowed ground, Lincoln called it, and he had it right - should defy change.

        It hasn't, of course. No place could. And so now the unfinished work of Gettysburg is to restore the fields to the conditions that prevailed during the Civil War and the fateful and frightful July days when this became a great battlefield of that war.

        That means new orchards, new thickets, new fields. It means a meticulous examination of what already may be the most studied piece of land in North America. It means a national understanding of the difference between conservation, which is not at issue here, and restoration, which is.

        Indeed, it is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. It is impossible to understand fully this battle nearly five generations later because 14 decades worth of natural developments have wrought their
        changes in the land. Look, for example, at the cannon preserved on the battlefield. Some of them point at big stands of trees, not across fields. That's not how it was, not at all.

        Just last month, the National Park Service took an important step toward restoring Gettysburg to its 19th-century conditions when it began replanting five orchards on the battlefield. The 345 new trees spread across 12.5 acres - five varieties of apples, two of which are known,
        tellingly, as Freedom and Liberty - will help restore the closed canopies and foliage that both armies used for protection and for relief during the battle.

        One of the most prominent orchards will be the one that was replanted just before Thanksgiving west and south of the Trostle Barn, which is well-known to tourists for the big cannon hole in its aging wall. The
        protection the original orchard provided was one of the reasons that Gen. Daniel E. Sickles moved his headquarters there when his position on the Emmitsburg Road was threatened on July 2. Another orchard, used by men in both blue and gray during fighting along Emmitsburg and Wheatfield roads, has been replanted on the site of the Wentz farm, which on July 3 was occupied by Confederate artillery officers.

        Because historians know where trees stood on this land in 1863, what grew on every corner of the 5,898 acres of the battlefield, and how the orchards and the farmlands shaped how and where some 165,000 soldiers fought in a summer battle, this is important work. It requires the placement of fences where they once were pounded into the ground, the re-establishment of farm lanes where they once lay and the restoration of open places where trees have sprung up, many of them in the 1930s and 1940s when there were dramatic changes in land-use patterns.

        This effort has been going on since 1998, when the Park Service began a general management planning process that produced two volumes as thick and as readable as the Pittsburgh phone book. But this was one federal study that actually led to action. Two years ago, the Home Sweet Home Motel on the left flank of Pickett's Charge on Steinwehr Avenue was taken down. Next year a Ford dealership, which stands on the site of an important part of the first day's fighting, is also coming down.

        Another target for restoration is a knoll, near the Pennsylvania Monument, which once provided Union officers with a 360-degree view of the battlefield. Since the battle, a group of tall trees had grown up and the vista toward the Confederate battle line had all but disappeared. The removal of about half the mature trees - the rest will be cut down next year - is part of the effort to remove a great impediment to understanding how, and why, the battle developed as it did.

        The Gettysburg battlefield has provided us with many lessons during the past century and a half. Here we learned about the horror of war, and about its cruel caprice. Here we saw bravery, and strategic brilliance,
        and courage beyond measure. Here we dedicated ourselves to great tasks remaining before us, some of which are yet to be redeemed. Here we resolved that this nation should have a new birth of freedom. Here we realize what in our hearts and in our history is worth saving, and worth restoring.
        Matt
        Last edited by Airchallenged; 21 Oct 07, 22:34.
        "We Will Stay Here, If We Must All Go to Hell Together"
        -Col. John R. Cooke, 27th NC

        Avatar: My Grandfather on the right. His twin on the left. Their older brother in the middle. In their Navy Blues

        Comment


        • #5
          It depends, what do you want more, the trees which we have fewer and fewer of, or a historical site maintained verbatim?

          Myself, I want both.

          I think if we plant 100 trees for each one cut down exceeding 20 years of growth, humanity wins both times.

          The thing is, the new trees only need to be planted somewhere useful to society as a whole. So, if the new planting is 100 miles from where the old growth was cut, who cares, it's about not losing trees as a whole.

          But there's not much point to fussing over historic sites if they don't look historic is there.
          Life is change. Built models for decades.
          Not sure anyone here actually knows the real me.
          I didn't for a long time either.

          Comment


          • #6
            I like to see the fields as close to their historical state as possible. IMHO its nice to see the clearing that is occurring in the battlefields in Missouri and Arkansas.
            Tray Green

            www.abandofgamers.com

            Battlefield Tours for Wargamers
            Normandy 2007
            ACW Border Wars 2008
            Bulge 2008

            Comment


            • #7
              All for the mighty Dollar

              Shoot the developers...

              Hang all the city planners that want to change the "hallowed fields" where many Americans lost their lives for fighting in the cause they believed to be right.

              These battle fields should not be changed, as much as nature should allow.
              Kevin Kenneally
              Masters from a school of "hard knocks"
              Member of a Ph.D. Society (Post hole. Digger)

              Comment


              • #8
                Kevin,

                I think you may have misunderstood the question. The issue--for once--is not developers or intrusion of modern development onto battlefields. Rather, the question deals with the cutting down of non-historic tree lots that have grown up in the years after the war.

                The Gettysburg National Military Park has been doing this extensively, to the point where hundreds and hundreds of acres of non-historic tree growth that sprang up after the war have been cut down in an effort to restore the battlefield to its appearance in July 1863. As just one example, due to the tree cutting, you can now see Devil's Den from the Emmitsburg Road, just as the Confederates would have been able to do on July 2, 1863. As a consequence, Hood's assault on Devil's Den finally makes sense to me for the first time, since I am now able to look at it from the same perspective as he and his men would have had and without imagining the trees not being there. I saw this view for the first time yesterday, and it's really stunning. It greatly opens up the battlefield and completely changes how we interpret things.

                A similar campaign is now underway at the Bull Run battlefield, and similar work has been done at Antietam. The Bull Run work is the subject of the linked article in the original post in this thread.

                The question is whether you support this sort of tree removal.

                I hope that helps.

                Eric
                "If you want to have some fun, jine the cavalry"

                Maj. Gen. James Ewell Brown Stuart

                Comment


                • #9
                  Interesting thread. Of course, here in Virginia we have a bad combination -- lots of historical sites and lots of people. There is no way to preserve the entire battlefield -- only a very small percentage of the Battle of Fredericksburg is preserved, but it seems (with the most recent additions) to cover all the key parts. In fact, I live on part of the battlefield (where DH Hill's division was located) in an area that was not/is not preserved as it was. I can also walk 100 feet or so to the National Park part of the battlefield.

                  Many people are disappointed when they go to the Sunken Road in Fredericksburg because you can only see a couple of hundred meters (at best), where before the view went all the way almost to the river.

                  I agree that, as much as possible, battlefield should be preserved, but we also need room for the people*. There has got to be a compromise.

                  * Including cemeteries, since many/most battlefields have one.
                  Barcsi János ispán vezérőrnagy
                  Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2003 & 2006


                  "Never pet a burning dog."

                  RECOMMENDED WEBSITES:
                  http://www.mormon.org
                  http://www.sca.org
                  http://www.scv.org/
                  http://www.scouting.org/

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    There is some that there is noway in heck that they can be restored. Like Salem Church. There is no way that they can get back all that has been lost. There is only one acre still left, and it is surrounded by roads and stores.

                    But, if you can, DO IT!
                    History of War Podcast

                    Episode 1: Why Study Military History?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Iron Brigade View Post
                      There is some that there is noway in heck that they can be restored. Like Salem Church. There is no way that they can get back all that has been lost. There is only one acre still left, and it is surrounded by roads and stores.

                      But, if you can, DO IT!
                      Salem Church is a good example of one where we could have made a difference in the 1970s, but (as you said), not today. VA 3 runs right in front of the new church, and it's one of the busiest highways in the area, next to it is Salem Church Road, which is also pretty busy. IIRC, there's a fire house behind it and stores on the 4th side.

                      When I went out there early in my college years, that was still pretty much wilderness -- there were no streetlights on VA 3 that I recall (I recall driving down it with no brakes one evening and having no problems at all -- no way to do that now).

                      I visited the site of 1st Reims Station (south of Petersburg Va) this summer as part of my trauma tour*. Altho' I am told there is a sign there, it is not where the battle took place, which is all farmland, and I never found the sign. I was able to get within a mile or so of where the 9th Va Cav helped bust up the raiders, but the truth is that this is a minor battle and it's not worth throwing some family off of their farm to make it a park -- even if the government (any government) wanted it, and there's no sign that they do.

                      *Visiting battlefields where relatives were shot -- 1st Reims Station and Chancellorsville -- to pinpoint the locations where my ancestors were wounded based on unit records.
                      Barcsi János ispán vezérőrnagy
                      Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2003 & 2006


                      "Never pet a burning dog."

                      RECOMMENDED WEBSITES:
                      http://www.mormon.org
                      http://www.sca.org
                      http://www.scv.org/
                      http://www.scouting.org/

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Whew.

                        Originally posted by EricWittenberg View Post
                        Kevin,

                        I think you may have misunderstood the question. The issue--for once--is not developers or intrusion of modern development onto battlefields. Rather, the question deals with the cutting down of non-historic tree lots that have grown up in the years after the war.

                        The Gettysburg National Military Park has been doing this extensively, to the point where hundreds and hundreds of acres of non-historic tree growth that sprang up after the war have been cut down in an effort to restore the battlefield to its appearance in July 1863. As just one example, due to the tree cutting, you can now see Devil's Den from the Emmitsburg Road, just as the Confederates would have been able to do on July 2, 1863. As a consequence, Hood's assault on Devil's Den finally makes sense to me for the first time, since I am now able to look at it from the same perspective as he and his men would have had and without imagining the trees not being there. I saw this view for the first time yesterday, and it's really stunning. It greatly opens up the battlefield and completely changes how we interpret things.

                        A similar campaign is now underway at the Bull Run battlefield, and similar work has been done at Antietam. The Bull Run work is the subject of the linked article in the original post in this thread.

                        The question is whether you support this sort of tree removal.

                        I hope that helps.

                        Eric
                        Eric,

                        Thanks for the clarifications.....

                        But I'll keep my rope handy just in case them "developers" try to get out of hand.....
                        Kevin Kenneally
                        Masters from a school of "hard knocks"
                        Member of a Ph.D. Society (Post hole. Digger)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Kevin,

                          You're very welcome. And I 'm with you concerning that rope.....

                          Eric
                          "If you want to have some fun, jine the cavalry"

                          Maj. Gen. James Ewell Brown Stuart

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Janos View Post
                            I agree that, as much as possible, battlefield should be preserved, but we also need room for the people*. There has got to be a compromise.

                            * Including cemeteries, since many/most battlefields have one.

                            Concur and in part this is geophysicaly driven in certain areas of the country/countries and determinate on population and eco factors.

                            OTOH i have a REAL problem with the idea that historical and or archaeological considerations might be driven by the desire of the public for new housing tracts and or the building of a 'Super Center'.

                            best
                            CV

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by EricWittenberg View Post
                              Kevin,

                              You're very welcome. And I 'm with you concerning that rope.....

                              Eric
                              Eric,
                              In the Ball's Bluff article they mentioned that stump removal would not be attempted due to possibly disturbing "relics and artifacts". Was the same consideration carried out at Gettysburg? It just struck me.
                              I'm torn between my desire of discovery, and respect for the remains that must still be lost on the field.
                              I'd appreciate your POV when you find the time.

                              Hal
                              My Avatar: Ivan W. Henderson Gunner/navigator B-25-26. 117 combat missions. Both Theaters. 11 confirmed kills. DSC.

                              Comment

                              Latest Topics

                              Collapse

                              Working...
                              X