The Ghosts of Chancellorsville
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But I remember my government teacher telling us this was where Stonewall Jackson was shot, lost his arm, and then died shortly after from pneumonia. He said losing Stonewall was a huge loss for the Confederates and his death changed the course of the war. The Civil War still haunts this country.
Slavery still haunts this country. So it only makes sense that there have been so many ghost stories surrounding the Civil War. The Civil War is a ghost that our country refuses to exorcise.
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That ghost shows up in a lot of books that are written today about the Civil War. It shows up in a ghost named Beloved that haunts a former slave.
Both metaphor and fantasy, the ghosts of Civil War literature captures the terror and horror of the time. Part of the experience of many tourist areas throughout the South features ghost tours.
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Savannah, for instance, has a plethora of tours and gothic historical attractions. Tiya Miles finds the macabre storytelling problematic. Many of the homes and ghost stories feature the slaves that worked in the homes. Some even are about slaves who died, and the gruesome stories that accompanied their demise. A horror novel about slavery. Sethe lives with her daughter at Bluestone Road in Cincinnati, Ohio.
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The story begins in , long after Sethe has escaped from the south and slavery. The story is told in two parts starting in , but then travels back in time to the plantation where Sethe was held as a slave. The women in the house knew it and so did the children. This book had been on my radar for years.
Yes, there are funny elements in this book. During reenactments, in an attempt to be thoroughly realistic, men spoon in ditches on cold battlefields, so they can experience what their Confederate ancestors experienced before battle. Horwitz is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, so his reporting on Confederate culture is even-handed, this book is not an indictment, but it could be interpreted as a warning. Have exported this grief. Some three thousand times. Unfortunately, he was accidentally shot by his own men on May 2, The bullet ripped through his left shoulder, so surgeons had to remove the injured limb.
Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park also has three cemeteries. In the Fredericksburg National Cemetery , over 15, Union soldiers lie buried, as well as several slaves. Its two other cemeteries are dedicated to fallen Confederates. Unfortunately, most of the soldiers interred in these graveyards lie buried in mass graves because they have never been properly identified.
It is sad that they must spend eternity in unmarked resting places, despite giving their lives in defense of their nation. To get the full picture, one must see its battlefields. The Battle of Spotsylvania Court House was the longest and bloodiest of these battles. Grant and Confederate General Robert E. Lee clashed at the pivotal crossroads of Spotsylvania Court House. Though it lasted two weeks, the battle ended inconclusively and was the most costly fight during the Overland Campaign.
About 32, men were killed, wounded, or could not be found. After a devastating defeat from the Battle of the Wilderness, General Grant withdrew from Richmond and led his forces south towards Spotsylvania. During the battle, many other buildings within the district fell in the path of conflict, including a tavern, two churches, and a farmhouse.
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Spotsylvania Court House was built in and is an example of Roman Revival architecture. During the war, it was so devastated by artillery fire that the Clerk of the Court had to request the governor to have it repaired in Since then, the court house has been well preserved. The first few days of battle were spent fortifying the area and keeping a watchful eye on the enemy. Thus, General Grant decided it was the opportune moment to plan a grand assault. He gave notice to Major General Winfield S.
Hancock to begin assembling his men in preparation for an early morning attack the next day. Combat on May 12 was especially chaotic. Through a thick mist at AM, the Union Army attacked the enemy. Rain continued to pour heavily down, making the ground muddy and very slippery. Fighting was difficult and had to be done hand-to-hand because of the downpour.
General Lee was forced to withdraw his troops in order to focus on constructing new entrenchments. By the time they left, the landscape was completely leveled, and all foliage was destroyed. The next day, Union soldiers reviewed the gory remnants of their enemies:. The present appearance of the Spotsylvania Court House belies its bloody past. But there are still pieces of its violent history that remain well intact. The Smithsonian Museum of American History has preserved a inch tree stump from the Bloody Angle that was severed by rifle fire, for example.
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But what also has been sustained is pain and misery. The torment of the countless soldiers who lost their lives at Spotsylvania Court House is felt to this very day.
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Many who visit the park say that they immediately feel cold and depressed. Perhaps what they are sensing is the suffering of a wounded soldier, or the anguish of a Civil War volunteer. The park has thus been attracting ghost hunters for years. Evidence has been documented at multiple locations.