Early Spring at Spotsy

It was an incredible 79 degrees in Spotsylvania this afternoon. To take advantage of the weather, I took a walk around the Bloody Angle at the Spotsylvania Court House battlefield.

Aside from the unseasonably warm temps, I found this delightful sign of spring on the battlefield:

This view is looking from Grant Drive up across the field where Emory Upton’s attack took place on May 10, 1864. The Confederate earthworks, which you see in the foreground, run through a spot of low, marshy ground that sits between Doles’ Salient (where the curve in the road is) and the Bloody Angle (behind the camera).

The Stonewall Brigade was located along this particular stretch of the Mule Shoe Salient in 1864; today, it was occupied by a loud chorus of spring peepers!

Here’s the same stretch of works from the opposite direction, about 100 yards down the line:

Spotsy Peepers still

Normally the works are hard to make out, but the pools of water help highlight them. The water pools between formations built perpendicular to the main line. These perpendicular formations were called traverses, built to help protect against enfilading fire. Soldiers could be boxed in on three sides, but the unfortunate result was that soldiers sometimes felt like penned-up animals. Thus, they called the areas between traverses “hogpens.” The water you see in the photos sits in the remains of those old hogpens.


14 Responses to Early Spring at Spotsy

  1. Dr Makowski oh how you make me jealous. I cannot wait to get down there and see the wilderness, and Spotsylvania. Do you think with my two knee braces and a cane I will be able to get around these two sacred battlefields? Obviously by then my physical therapist thanks I’ll be able to walk much better and walk up and down Hills that are not overly steep. As of now we have started a very slight incline on the treadmill which I do have to hang onto with both hands. I know you can’t really answer the question without seeing how I do but if I can do it I will probably when I go to Stevenson Ridge this summer if I’m done at Belmont. I also can’t wait to meet a man so busy yet who takes the time to answer amateurs constant questions as does Daniel t. Davis. I will definitely have the money 4 the lectures, but if I have to sleep in my car and bring a large cooler of bologna sandwiches you better believe I will do it if anything to meet you and Daniel. Thank you for the beautiful view you provided, as someone who’s never been there yet the film is literally glorious. As always God bless, and may the Lord’s Providence watch over you’re beautiful child and your family.

    1. While portions of the battlefield might be tough for you to get out and stomp around at, many of the most popular areas have great rubberized paths that make walking easy. The parking lots are all accessible, too, so you shouldn’t have any trouble getting in and out. You’ll love what you see down here!

  2. Thanks for sharing Mr. Mackowski. The Fredericksburg are offers so much for the Civil War historian and trekker. It has been a pleasure following you and the other contributors for ECW.

    1. We’re glad to have you following along. And yes, the Fredericksburg area does offer a ton of great stuff to do for the history buff. Fewer places are better!

  3. I have to go off topic here, but I am curious. Has anyone else encountered difficulties with posting on this site since their recent migration to a new site? I’ve been having a heckuva time, and have even unsubscribed and re-upped (per the admin’s suggestion), and it is very inconsistent. Again, anyone else having troubles at times with this?

  4. Yes, I was about to mention the rubber path thing, but Chris beat me to it. Id like to walk about the opposite side of the open field where the Union army began its march toward the Confederate works. The battlefield is going to the dogs, literally. People early in the morning bring out their dogs by the car load to walk for hours. The Spots battlefield is literally a federally funded “dog park”. lol

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