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Witness Trees at Gettysburg

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

  1. theoldman

    theoldman First Sergeant Trivia Game Winner

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    I think your guide book idea is excellent. I am going to the gathering in September and plan to spend time on my own looking for witness trees. This thread will be my guide but if you and or Pam did a tour i will definitely participate. This thread is very informative. Thank you.
     
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  3. Doug5861

    Doug5861 Private

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    I noticed two distinctive trees on Geary ave that caught my eye. As you head away from Spangler Spring towards Pardee field, just as you get into the wooded part on the left side is a tree with a burl on it that's bigger the the tree's dia. Not too far past that is about 15 in dia. tree with what look's like three scars ringing it about five feet apart up to about fifteen feet. I assumed it was an old wire fence but the spacing and height doesn't really jibe with that. I was just wondering if anyone knows what I'm describing. They are pretty noticeable especially in April.
     
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  4. goberg4

    goberg4 First Sergeant

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    please post a picture of it, I believe its the one just past the park restroom building. There also is a witness tree burl tree on Williams Ave as you curve away towards Steven's knoll, it is at the edge of the woods on the right. Good observation by you!
     
  5. goberg4

    goberg4 First Sergeant

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    DSC00334.JPG There still are many others that you will find in the historic woods. The mammoth storm damaged white oak with cable scars is in the north part of Shultz woods just north of the Red Patch House. Then the largest and oldest witness white oak in Shultz woods is along the stone wall just south of the Confederate itinery tablets. Note the dangling support rod that was installed and broken when one of its limbs came crashing down about 7 years ago. DSC00357.JPG DSC00356.JPG DSC00334.JPG DSC00335.JPG
     
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  6. pamc153PA

    pamc153PA Captain Forum Host

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    I think I know which tree with a burl you mean, just past the SS restroom. And I might also be able to picture the tree with the "scars," which I believe are just part of the bark. I don't have pics of either, however--do you?
     
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  7. Doug5861

    Doug5861 Private

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    You're right, the tree with the burl is just past the restrooms as you start into the wooded section. It really stands out. The tree with the 3 rings is just past it on the same side. The rings just look unusual. I don't have any photos though.
     
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  8. goberg4

    goberg4 First Sergeant

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    DSC00277.JPG I noticed this when visting and documenting the controlled burn damaged area in South east Weikert woods last Tuesday. It is still going strong but this large twin trunked swamp white oak tree in the Weikert meadow by the J Weikert farm where the 6th corps brigade under Colonel Nevin stopped the advance of William T Wofford's Georgia brigade on July 2nd. The tree has burn damage and not sure if the trunk portion that fell apart was due to fire or already like that. Look at the 1897 photo, the dying ash tree that finally met its end during the April burn is the arrowed tree in the middle just below Big Round Top. The swamp white oak appears to be similar to the one from both of the photos. This swamp white oak is huge, and I think it may be the same one in the July 15 photo by Matthew Brady from Little Round Top courtesy of William Frassanito's Early Photography at Gburg 12919679_10205721393865555_6592097225833198855_paint.jpg t3095paint.jpg IMG_0162paint.jpg
     

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  9. goberg4

    goberg4 First Sergeant

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    DSC00251.JPG Some Weikert woods witness trees. The controlled burn either slightly damaged these or not at all. DSC00276.JPG DSC00268.JPG
     
  10. goberg4

    goberg4 First Sergeant

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    DSC00386.JPG DSC00379.JPG I am having a meeting with Zach Bolitho Chief of Natural Resources at GNP a week from this Friday to discuss and show some of the destruction their projects have caused over the past 5 or so years which is part of their overall Comprehensive plan from 1999. The current project they are working on is the restoration of Ziegler woods and ravine which used to be the old visitor parking lot and site of the recently dismantled Cyclorama building. I am all in favor of the landscape restoral, except they again are doing a disservice to the trees and plant life in the area. The old woods was first thinned out on the west and south side in the 1880s, replanted after the parks incorporation in the mid 1890s, and again disrupted with the building of the visitor center in the 1920s, and again with the building of the cyclorama and its parking lot in the early 1960s. So of course instead of preserving the last area of original forested area which also was a drainage area with amphibious and marsh life, on the north side of Hancock Ave. the last of the remaining woodlot this past month was cut down, along with 3 witness hickory trees. One tree in the Gettysburg Daily website was a large 80 inch pignut hickory with a do not cut ribbon tied around it. The park service has not responded to me with any answers to these questions, and further states on their website that all known witness trees in the area were preserved and protected, which is an outright false statement as I took these photos of the cut down trees before they quickly whisked them away. The old photo shows the old north side of Hancock ave woodlot where they completely cut down. The two stumps are of shagbark hickory witness trees, and the smaller upper crown trunk approx. 50 ft above ground is of the pignut hickory tree showing approx. 115-125 rings. Note the replanted trees in the foreground are from the replanting in the mid 1890s and the photo was taken from the old Ziegler observation tower. VD11VanDevereVisit-ViewNWFromZieglerGroveTowerc1896at220pc.jpg DSC00369.JPG DSC00380.JPG , and the north side of Hancock Ave. was stocked full of large battle era trees. It was wrong to completely wipe out the original members of the woodlot witness trees or not, and now the marsh area is all dried up and it will take many years for the north side of Ziegler's grove to regrow back to any similar appearance it had during the battle.
     
  11. theoldman

    theoldman First Sergeant Trivia Game Winner

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    Thanks for your efforts.
     
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  12. goberg4

    goberg4 First Sergeant

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    Gotta be the coolest friendliest witness tree on the battle field. This enormous white oak in the middle of Culps meadow is growing out of a large boulder, actually overtop of it. The tree is doing well, and is growing in the middle of where Hays' and Avery's brigades attacked Cemetery Hill on the evening of July 2nd. DSC00193.JPG DSC00198.JPG DSC00192.JPG
     
  13. pamc153PA

    pamc153PA Captain Forum Host

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    I usually walk out to see this beauty every time I go to the battlefield.
     
  14. goberg4

    goberg4 First Sergeant

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    DSC00549.JPG DSC00570.JPG DSC00570.JPG Some interesting Culps hill witness trees along the walkpath behind or east of the 2nd CSA monument.
     
  15. John Winn

    John Winn Captain

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    Thanks for continuing to be and advocate for these trees and for sharing your documentation with us. I sure wish you'd have put on a witness tree tour in September when we descended on Gettysburg and that we could have met.

    Are you still considering putting a book together ? You're the guy.

    Anyway, just checking in again to say hi and to offer my support.
     
  16. JPK Huson 1863

    JPK Huson 1863 Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    We were very lucky, one trip Pam showed us witness trees. Little smitten with them since then but can never re-find them. This thread showed up on ' Alerts ', had not been to it for awhile- and now really would like to see the tree in Culp's meadow!

    Had no idea a book was being planned, have a feeling one would do extremely well. Something about being in the presence of a living thing, sharing space in Gettysburg in July, 1863. Gets to you.
     
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  17. goberg4

    goberg4 First Sergeant

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    DSC00824.JPG DSC00821.JPG DSC00828.JPG Yes, I still am planning to do so. I am very busy at work and it would be better if someone on fb or this post that is good at photography and computer mapping and animation to give me a hand on layout. I am good on the ones to choose and also can put together a short concise historic interesting summary of each stop along the route so to speak. If anyone would like to assist that would be most helpful. I will post a couple of what could be called pages in the guide in the next few days and get feedback. This is something that others can take part in and help get out to the public whether cyber or in print. We also have to do this within a year or so as there are plenty out there, but I am also noticing in the past 2 yrs or so some of the better ones are going such as the white ash in Evergreen cemetery. Here would be a featured one as guess what gang, it is the only fruit tree that I know of that is left and I call it the General Hood wounding tree as it is near the north east side of the barn and is within shouting distance of where Hood received his shell fragment wound causing his arm to be amputation later at Breams Mill. This tree is next to the backyard of the Michael Bushman house near the well and is a pear tree. How do I know it is a witness tree other than its old craggy look ? Well if a silver metal 81 tag placed by the park service is not enough, in the upper part of the tree is a park service white electrode and the tree has been sliced through by a grounding cable that has long been removed. This tree was in the midst of the hailstorm that kicked off the en echelon attacks by Longstreet's Corps on July 2nd. Note the virginia red cedar tree shown in the photo of the front of the house may or may not be a witness tree, but it is the largest cedar in the park. DSC00820.JPG DSC00826.JPG
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2016
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  18. JPK Huson 1863

    JPK Huson 1863 Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    Seems to have been a fortunate time to get back to this thread. The Hood story is exactly why these trees are enchanting. You can get a little lost sometimes thinking about the history that must have passed by a good, ancient tree. Witness trees at Gettysburg? All that's left of anything or anyone alive to ' tell ' of those awful days.

    Hope someone(s) can help with the book! Worst photographer to pick up a camera ever, if they required a license, they'd come and take my camera back. Assumed because I'm an artist, I'd be good at it? Ha. Took quite a few classes in college, too, thinking it would improve things. All that did was spread the news.
     
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  19. goberg4

    goberg4 First Sergeant

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    DSC00781.JPG DSC00780.JPG DSC00792.JPG DSC00790.JPG Here are some witness trees in the east part of Wills woods between Doubleday Ave and the railroad cut area. This area was the fall back point for Cutler's brigade after their fight on Oak ridge, and the staging area for Robinson's Division to funnel troops, prisoners, and wounded to and from the Seminary to their battle lines along the Mummasburg road. You can park near the observation tower and walk south to the curve and turn left to follow the dirt paths to get to Hupp's battery itinery plaque. Along the way are quite a few including a cluster of them near the railroad cut.
     
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  20. goberg4

    goberg4 First Sergeant

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    I appreciate that and the guide is in the works. I definitely will meet you at the next meeting if not before. Thanks for your support
     
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  21. goberg4

    goberg4 First Sergeant

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    DSC00835.JPG A very large and old chestnut oak tree along the path to the summit of Big Round Top. The surrounding foliage this fall was really beautiful. Big Round Top is one of the older untouched woodlots on the battlefield, and still today the forrest process from sapling to death is mostly undisturbed by the park service or by any unnatural means. Also due to the rocky upslope and limited light canopy, just about every large tree is also very old because the opportunities for rapid growth are rare. This chestnut oak I would estimate is probably between 225 -275 years old.
     

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