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:
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.