1. Welcome to the CivilWarTalk, a forum for questions and discussions about the American Civil War! Become a member today for full access to all of our resources, it's fast, simple, and absolutely free!
Dismiss Notice
Join and Become a Patron at CivilWarTalk!
Support this site with a monthly or yearly subscription! Active Patrons get to browse the site Ad free!
START BY JOINING NOW!

Witness Trees at Gettysburg

Discussion in 'Battle of Gettysburg' started by cw1865, May 25, 2009.

  1. cw1865

    cw1865 Sergeant Major

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2007
    Messages:
    1,851
    Location:
    Riverdale, NJ (Morris County)
    Made it a point to get this photograph because this tree had a run in with some lightning. This one is the honey locust on Cemetery Hill which is in between the Lincoln Memorial and the Soldier's Monument (closer to the Lincoln Memorial)

    [​IMG]
     

  2. (Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)
  3. cw1865

    cw1865 Sergeant Major

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2007
    Messages:
    1,851
    Location:
    Riverdale, NJ (Morris County)
    Series of 3

    This one is shooting from the Southeast looking Northwest with the McPherson Barn in the background.

    This first shot is 'far out' for perspective (or if you feel like finding it yourself if you go). Its very close to the Reynolds Monument on the 'Day 1 Tour'

    [​IMG]
     
  4. pamc153PA

    pamc153PA Captain Forum Host

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    7,189
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Nice pic, cw! Just saw this honey locust in April, too. Next time I'm in G-burg, my focus will be to locate as many witness trees as possible. I like to pick something sort of "different" to concentrate on on the battlefield. I spent about 3 years locating most of the positions of after the battle Brady photos taken on the Rose Farm--wierd, I know, but like the witness trees, I think it's cool to be somewhere that was there at the battle.

    Pam
     
  5. cw1865

    cw1865 Sergeant Major

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2007
    Messages:
    1,851
    Location:
    Riverdale, NJ (Morris County)
    Pointing - 2 of 3

    Back in the early 1900s some witness trees were marked with a tag. In this picture I am pointing to the tag. I am 6'6" tall, so it shows you that the tree has done some growing since that time since the tag is over my head. In this area there are three witness trees tagged, some say there is a fourth, but I could not find that tag.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. cw1865

    cw1865 Sergeant Major

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2007
    Messages:
    1,851
    Location:
    Riverdale, NJ (Morris County)
    Third and Last

    And in case any of you were wondering what I was pointing at in the last picture, here is the closeup of what it was, not very obvious at all! Its a rusty old nail ggoing through what appears to be a bent washer. But that washer is actually a tag. That tag bears a number (the number is legible but I wrote the number on my phone, but my phone's battery dropped and I can't remember the number!)

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Karen Lips

    Karen Lips 2nd Lieutenant

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2008
    Messages:
    3,096
    Location:
    Waxahachie,Texas
    Why are these trees called witnes trees?
     
    Cavalry Charger likes this.
  8. mt155

    mt155 First Sergeant Civil War Photo Contest
    Annual Winner

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2007
    Messages:
    1,103
    Location:
    Clear Lake, Texas
    Those trees were there at the time of the battle.
     
  9. cw1865

    cw1865 Sergeant Major

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2007
    Messages:
    1,851
    Location:
    Riverdale, NJ (Morris County)
    Fence

    And the fence behind the honey locust is also the Sickles' Witness Fence, ie. the fence which is the backdrop to Sickles' killing of Key.
     
  10. edwardo

    edwardo Cadet

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Auburn, AL
    The tag was always at that level; trees grow in height from the tips of the branches/trunks. They do not grow in height from the ground line. Just thought I'd throw that in.
     
  11. TheGhost

    TheGhost Corporal

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2009
    Messages:
    422
    They are a 'witness' to another point. By which the point can be relocated.
     
    KansasFreestater and Appalachia like this.
  12. pamc153PA

    pamc153PA Captain Forum Host

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    7,189
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Francis Scott Key?

    But CW, Sickles didn't kill Key in G-burg, right? Alittle confused. . .

    Pam
     
    Gettysburg Greg likes this.
  13. cw1865

    cw1865 Sergeant Major

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2007
    Messages:
    1,851
    Location:
    Riverdale, NJ (Morris County)
    Dc

    Correct, happened in DC, but apparently the fence was donated to Gettysburg. Sickles apparently requested it because apparently he wanted to let people remember that 'he got away with murder' <---don't know if that is anecdotal, but Sickles definitely feels Key 'deserved' it (even though he brought prostitutes to England), guess that is a case of what's good for the goose ISN'T good for the gander.
     
    W. Richardson likes this.
  14. Glorybound

    Glorybound Major Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2008
    Messages:
    9,246
    Location:
    Indiana
    Great thread topic and awesome photos, CW. Thank you.


    Lee
     
  15. pamc153PA

    pamc153PA Captain Forum Host

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    7,189
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Huh. Thanks, CW. Learn something new every day!

    Pam
     
    Gettysburg Greg likes this.
  16. cw1865

    cw1865 Sergeant Major

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2007
    Messages:
    1,851
    Location:
    Riverdale, NJ (Morris County)
    Good Point

    Good point, see I just assumed that being over my head that an ordinary person would nail at normal level and that over time they went up in height!
     
  17. M E Wolf

    M E Wolf Colonel Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Messages:
    17,391
    Location:
    Virginia
    Dear CW1865;

    Thank you for some wonderful photographs sir!!

    Good to see you in them also sir.

    Respectfully submitted,
    M. E. Wolf
     
  18. PvtClewell

    PvtClewell Corporal

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
    Messages:
    403
    Good stuff, CW1865.

    Those pictures make me want to go back to Gettysburg. Today.
     
    Lincolncarver likes this.
  19. Glorybound

    Glorybound Major Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2008
    Messages:
    9,246
    Location:
    Indiana
    Thanks edwardo. I was also under the impression that trees grew in height from the ground line, until your post.

    A question for CW or anybody: Are the witness trees marked as such besides the tag? How can one tell a witness tree from other old-looking trees near it? It's been a while since I was in Gettysburg ('87), and I don't remember even hearing about them except for a couple of trees near the "high water mark" that were pointed out by a park ranger.





    Lee
     
  20. ole

    ole Brev. Brig. Gen'l Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2005
    Messages:
    34,934
    Location:
    Near Kankakee
    The width of the trunk near the base is an approximate. Anything over X inches wide might be a witness tree. And that depends on the variety of tree. Some grow faster, some grow slower.

    Mature trees in 1863 are now likely dead. Most trees have a lifetime, like humans. Some lifetimes are very long. Some aren't. But if there is a tree on the battlefield that was relatively mature in 1863, it is a sacred object.

    Ole
     
  21. edwardo

    edwardo Cadet

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Auburn, AL
    Something I learned in forestry school. BTW, I'll be spending 2-3 days at Gettysburg and Antietum June 18-20. This will be my first trip; I'll have to look for the witness trees. I'm a tree hugger at heart until I sentence them to death by logging.
     

(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)
Loading...

Share This Page


(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)