Nominated by @Zella
"This has been a great thread from luinrina, full of wonderful anecdotes and pictures, documenting her travels to a ton of Eastern Theater battlefields "
I'm currently touring through Virginia, hitting quite a few of the major battlefields (and then some more ) and want to share my experience with you. It's the first time I'm visiting these battlefields, and two days into the tour I can say: Nothing beats walking the ground where those battles happened.
So, day 1 started at Manassas. I hit the visitor center in the morning, and then had a ranger guided walking tour across Henry Hill. Everything she said I had read about before, but it was quite revealing to actually see the artillery positions of Jackson's line and Rickett's battery on the land.
Around noon, I did another walking tour along the Deep Cut (2nd Manassas), where Porter led the attack on Day 3 but was pushed back by Longstreet's advance. One of the group told us that he had three ancestors at that spot - one in the Louisiana regiment at the embankment that got into a boulder fight with the Union soldiers on the other side of the embankments, one ancestor that fought in one of the Union regiments in Porter's command that advanced up the hill to the Deep Cut position, and another Union ancestor in (I think) a Michigan regiment somewhere further down the Union line.
After the ranger tour I hiked the Deep Cut trail. It was a nice change to stand in the shade of the woods for a moment. It was a warm day, albeit quite windy on the hills. Anyway, the trail somehow suddenly ended after I crossed a little stream. In front of me was nothing but stomach-high foliage and the hill on which Longstreet's and Jackson's reserve artillery were posted during Porter's attack. Unwilling to go back the way I had come, I hiked cross country and felt like a soldier that had to make his way through unmowed terrain.
I visited Sudley Springs, Matthew Hill, the Stone Bridge and Chinn Ridge before calling it a day at Manassas. Here are some of my pictures:
Henry Hill, Union artillery
Henry Hill, Confederate artillery, Jackson's position
The Deep Cut
My view from the reserve artillery's position during my lost-trail-cross-country hike
The Stone Bridge
So what did I learn that day? I had always thought that immediately after the stone bridge, the ground rose to the ridge on which the Confederates contested the Union crossing. When walking the land, however, it went on straight quite a bit before rising to the hill. That surprised me.
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