A Tasty Legacy

Earthwork BerriesWorking as park ranger allows me to intimately experience the battlefield in unique ways. While clearing a section of the main line of Confederate fortifications southwest of Petersburg I stumbled upon a patch of blackberries growing in the trench–the most off-limits area in the park. Taking a quick break to enjoy the ripened refreshments, I was reminded of a North Carolina veteran’s recollection of visiting the battlefield four years after the war:

The breastworks in front of Petersburg thrown up by the Confederates, during the late war… are covered with a continuous line of peach trees of every variety, yielding an abundant crop the present year. This is the only legacy left by our poor fellows who were on the advance line within one hundred yards of the enemy. Having eaten the fruit while on picket duty, they cast the seed aside and now they appear in one continuous line of forty-five miles in beautiful trees yielding the greatest variety of the finest fruit – The Milton Chronicle, September 2, 1869

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