Diorama Work in Progress: Fredericksburg Diorama

Pat Answer

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My friend Doug @1863surgeon Garnett took these next 3 photos of it as well. The scene depicts returning Confederate troops amid the devastation in the city following its occupation by the Union Army before and during the battle.

View attachment 361813

Wow, that really captures the feel: the Union artillery bombardment damage and absolutely shameful looting of the town...
 

Harms88

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Wow, that really captures the feel: the Union artillery bombardment damage and absolutely shameful looting of the town...

I was about fourteen when I read that Confederate cavalry in the town had already looted it in November and that what the Union looted was simply what hadn't been taken. However, I've never read anything to corroborate such a story.

The size of Fredericksburg I feel give the false impression (especially to those just getting into studying the war) that Fredericksburg was something that was a unique instance and you wouldn't see anything like it until Atlanta. However, it's simply not true, as with that one town in Alabama (I forget the name) earlier that same year got torched by some of Buell's men. Or starting in 1863, several times Confederate troops would shell towns demanding ransom from them, such as what happened at Chambersburg.
 

Lubliner

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I was about fourteen when I read that Confederate cavalry in the town had already looted it in November and that what the Union looted was simply what hadn't been taken. However, I've never read anything to corroborate such a story.

The size of Fredericksburg I feel give the false impression (especially to those just getting into studying the war) that Fredericksburg was something that was a unique instance and you wouldn't see anything like it until Atlanta. However, it's simply not true, as with that one town in Alabama (I forget the name) earlier that same year got torched by some of Buell's men. Or starting in 1863, several times Confederate troops would shell towns demanding ransom from them, such as what happened at Chambersburg.
Blue And Gray magazine put out a winter edition in 2005, 'A City Under The Guns: Fredericksburg During The Civil War'. It has some modern photography showing key buildings and locations within the city with a brief history of each. (Volume XXII, Issue 1).
Lubliner.
 

Harms88

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Blue And Gray magazine put out a winter edition in 2005, 'A City Under The Guns: Fredericksburg During The Civil War'. It has some modern photography showing key buildings and locations within the city with a brief history of each. (Volume XXII, Issue 1).
Lubliner.

The March 2020 issue of America's Civil War has a "Filched at Fredericksburg" article which details what happened to some of the items that were looted. Quiet a bit seemed to find it's way back to Fredericksburg.
 

Pat Answer

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I was about fourteen when I read that Confederate cavalry in the town had already looted it in November and that what the Union looted was simply what hadn't been taken. However, I've never read anything to corroborate such a story.

The size of Fredericksburg I feel give the false impression (especially to those just getting into studying the war) that Fredericksburg was something that was a unique instance and you wouldn't see anything like it until Atlanta. However, it's simply not true, as with that one town in Alabama (I forget the name) earlier that same year got torched by some of Buell's men. Or starting in 1863, several times Confederate troops would shell towns demanding ransom from them, such as what happened at Chambersburg.

Yeah, no matter how you slice it war ain’t pretty - definitely some good and bad guys on both sides. This sack sticks out for me because there just wasn't any reason for it. You could justify the bombardment on military grounds to some extent, but the sheer destruction once the town was occupied was unnecessary. More than a few Union officers were disgusted and appalled, it should be noted.
There was Confederate cavalry looting during the war but I have never heard about any at Fredericksburg in November 1862 either. I'm quite sure Stuart would have had someone's butt...
 

Cavalier

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@Harms88 A fascinating project. Thanks for posting all this. I believe the 20th Mass. had a very good reputation in the Army of the Potomac, although someone, (I can't remember who of course), once remarked after complimenting them on that, "but they have no poetry in a fight". Never understood exactly what he meant by that.

James N. Can't be too much of the Irish Brigade for me.

John
 
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View attachment 361815



Above is one I took during our marathon April, 2018 auto tour of Eastern battlefields.

View attachment 361814

My friend Doug @1863surgeon Garnett took these next 3 photos of it as well. The scene depicts returning Confederate troops amid the devastation in the city following its occupation by the Union Army before and during the battle.

View attachment 361813
View attachment 361812
It’s been a few years since I last saw this. It’s more wonderfully done than I remembered. I recalled it was an actual street fighting seen.....memory playing tricks I presume. Thanks for the photo
 

James N.

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I was about fourteen when I read that Confederate cavalry in the town had already looted it in November and that what the Union looted was simply what hadn't been taken. However, I've never read anything to corroborate such a story.

The size of Fredericksburg I feel give the false impression (especially to those just getting into studying the war) that Fredericksburg was something that was a unique instance and you wouldn't see anything like it until Atlanta. However, it's simply not true, as with that one town in Alabama (I forget the name) earlier that same year got torched by some of Buell's men. Or starting in 1863, several times Confederate troops would shell towns demanding ransom from them, such as what happened at Chambersburg.
Fredericksburg began evacuation in November when Burnside's army began to gather in huge numbers across the Rappahannock, making it obvious something unpleasant was likely to happen there. Cavalry of both sides were notorious about violating the sanctity of homes of both friend and foe alike. THAT BEING SAID...

I seriously doubt any of the Confederates of any branch: wantonly smashed heirloom furniture; slashed family portraits of ancestors going back to the Revolution; dragged cushioned sofas and chairs outside to rest their muddy feet on; smashed mirrors and windows including the frames; also dragged outside and gutted pianos and pianofortes to use as horse troughs - and all for no better reason than that they could!
 

James N.

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It’s been a few years since I last saw this. It’s more wonderfully done than I remembered. I recalled it was an actual street fighting seen.....memory playing tricks I presume. Thanks for the photo
This diorama is by now very old, possibly dating to the opening of the Visitor Center, I believe in the 1940's soon after WWII when such scenes would've been familiar to many vets of the war in Europe. I remember seeing it during my first visit there back in the 1960's during the Centennial and believe it's pictured in one or more of the NPS Fredericksburg-Spotsylvania NMP brochures or Historical Handbooks I have.
 

Harms88

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Fredericksburg began evacuation in November when Burnside's army began to gather in huge numbers across the Rappahannock, making it obvious something unpleasant was likely to happen there. Cavalry of both sides were notorious about violating the sanctity of homes of both friend and foe alike. THAT BEING SAID...

I seriously doubt any of the Confederates of any branch: wantonly smashed heirloom furniture; slashed family portraits of ancestors going back to the Revolution; dragged cushioned sofas and chairs outside to rest their muddy feet on; smashed mirrors and windows including the frames; also dragged outside and gutted pianos and pianofortes to use as horse troughs - and all for no better reason than that they could!


Not to go too far down the rabbit hole of this particular subject, but, I think people forget who it was that did the looting. Fact is, I think we should be more surprised at how many cities actually escaped such barbarity.

Yes, they were soldiers. But first and foremost, the majority of them were between the ages of 16-25. You are basically giving weapons to young men that are running on aggression and testosterone. Take our own unpleasant past two weeks and who are most of the looter? Young and male. Boys basically that took advantage of a situation to indulge in base instincts. What was the World War II saying? "You will never find a meaner bunch than an 18 year old American."

But even beyond that, since the very beginning of time, it was accepted that a city where resistance was given to the advancing army had no right to expect to have it be spared from pillaging, raping and the like. Only a city that surrendered without resistance could expect a stay of execution. It's much more of a modern invention that under no circumstances should civilians and their property be touched, and that's pitted against thousands of years of social history and eons of male genetics.

There is indeed a very fascinating biological, psychological and social history to be explored via this subject, and obviously, more than we could ever truly explore in this humble thread of a dude painting a bunch of small other dudes to pose those painted small other dudes to show a story. lol
 

Harms88

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I guess it is a good thing that the Michigan Toy Soldier store is within driving distance for me. However, I am not sure when it will open for in store shopping.

Oh, Michigan Toy Store wasn’t where I was getting my rebs and diorama base from. I was getting it from Amazon. I’ve actually had three packages with a possible fourth within the past month get lost from Amazon (which is a 400% increase from my usual amount of loss). I had two civil war books end up being sent back to the sellers (they claimed they were undeliverable?) the one with the soldiers which also had two books in it, one on Carthage and the other on the Crusades. The possible loss is a book on the Peninsula War.
 
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This diorama is by now very old, possibly dating to the opening of the Visitor Center, I believe in the 1940's soon after WWII when such scenes would've been familiar to many vets of the war in Europe. I remember seeing it during my first visit there back in the 1960's during the Centennial and believe it's pictured in one or more of the NPS Fredericksburg-Spotsylvania NMP brochures or Historical Handbooks I have.
Not to go too far down the rabbit hole of this particular subject, but, I think people forget who it was that did the looting. Fact is, I think we should be more surprised at how many cities actually escaped such barbarity.

Yes, they were soldiers. But first and foremost, the majority of them were between the ages of 16-25. You are basically giving weapons to young men that are running on aggression and testosterone. Take our own unpleasant past two weeks and who are most of the looter? Young and male. Boys basically that took advantage of a situation to indulge in base instincts. What was the World War II saying? "You will never find a meaner bunch than an 18 year old American."

But even beyond that, since the very beginning of time, it was accepted that a city where resistance was given to the advancing army had no right to expect to have it be spared from pillaging, raping and the like. Only a city that surrendered without resistance could expect a stay of execution. It's much more of a modern invention that under no circumstances should civilians and their property be touched, and that's pitted against thousands of years of social history and eons of male genetics.

There is indeed a very fascinating biological, psychological and social history to be explored via this subject, and obviously, more than we could ever truly explore in this humble thread of a dude painting a bunch of small other dudes to pose those painted small other dudes to show a story. lol
well said Harms88. Certainly a part of war that’s too often overlooked. I recall reading a story of a widow living in Fredericksburg just before the federals started their occupation who gave her cow to the southerns in the city because she knew the the federals would take it for fresh meat/milk
 
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This diorama is by now very old, possibly dating to the opening of the Visitor Center, I believe in the 1940's soon after WWII when such scenes would've been familiar to many vets of the war in Europe. I remember seeing it during my first visit there back in the 1960's during the Centennial and believe it's pictured in one or more of the NPS Fredericksburg-Spotsylvania NMP brochures or Historical Handbooks I have.
I am a native of Fredericksburg and still live here nearly all of my 3/4 of a century. My first visit to the visitor center was on a class trip in 1957 or 59. I am not sure but I believe the diorama was there then. My second and last trip there was in November 2018. When I saw the diorama i immediately remembered seeing it before. However ones memory does play tricks so I am unsure of the first date given. I may have visited the center sometime after the mid 1950’s but just didn’t remember it.
 

Pat Answer

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Oh, Michigan Toy Store wasn’t where I was getting my rebs and diorama base from. I was getting it from Amazon. I’ve actually had three packages with a possible fourth within the past month get lost from Amazon (which is a 400% increase from my usual amount of loss). I had two civil war books end up being sent back to the sellers (they claimed they were undeliverable?) the one with the soldiers which also had two books in it, one on Carthage and the other on the Crusades. The possible loss is a book on the Peninsula War.

Only the current times can excuse this.
 

Harms88

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Only the current times can excuse this.

This year (even prior to the world shutting down) has been kinda rough when it comes to me actually getting packages.

For example:

Back in early March, I came across an ebay seller who was claiming that he had an 1883 Waltham silver pocket-watch that was owned by Joe Hooker. He didn't have a certificate of authenticity for the watch's ownership, but he did have a piece of paper from an antique dealer that he had taken it to that stated that it was indeed an 1883 Waltham.

I would have passed up the pocket-watch but what made me decide to get it was, the seller had an actual pocketwatch owned by Ben Butler, with the documentation to prove it really was owned by him and the price matched ($10,000 for that watch). Whether either actually were owned by these men, obviously I could never be 100% certain. But at the very least they'd be the same model and I could use it as an example of what Hooker had actually owned.

So, I bought the pocket-watch after outbidding everyone for $180 (the watch had some damage to it). I watched the progress of the watch and it arrived a week later at the post office. I showed up later that night to collect it, only to find no parcel box key or package pick-up slip. Maybe they had not yet organized the package so I went back the next day. Nothing. After the weekend (four days later) I went to talk to the front desk lady.

"We don't get packages addressed to here," was how she first opened up our conversation.

"Ummmm......you guys do get packages sent here, that's the whole point of a post office," was my response.

Thus began one of the weirdest arguments I've ever had.

During the argument, several times she up and walked away, only to come back after leaving me hanging for a few minutes.

She got into an argument with me that it couldn't possibly have shown up, otherwise it would be in my box ready to pickup and it must not have been delivered. I told her, "The UPS website says specifically that a man named Drake signed for it on your reception dock. And you can't tell me Drake doesn't work here because he has signed for nine of my packages that have been sent here over the past year." She complained about how I couldn't know that as I didn't have a tracking code. Which I promptly showed her on my phone.

So she leaves to talk to the mail organizers and come back and says, "Well, clearly no one remembers getting your package."

"I'm sure they don't, they get tons of mail here. However, you have all my information and it says it was delivered. Is it possibly you guys put it in the wrong box?"

She got extremely angry I would dare throw aspersions on the work ethic of them there. Which I wasn't I knew these things happen from time to time. I never did get the pocketwatch, but it wasn't that big of a monetary loss and I hope that the person who got it is enjoying it and has become a Civil War buff.
 

Booner

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This year (even prior to the world shutting down) has been kinda rough when it comes to me actually getting packages.

For example:............. I hope that the person who got it is enjoying it and has become a Civil War buff.

And I hope the person who stole the watch comes down with the worst case of bleeding hemerroids that medical science has ever seen, and they use a cheese grater to remove them.

I can't stand a thief.
 
Joined
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Location
Spotsylvania Virginia
This year (even prior to the world shutting down) has been kinda rough when it comes to me actually getting packages.

For example:

Back in early March, I came across an ebay seller who was claiming that he had an 1883 Waltham silver pocket-watch that was owned by Joe Hooker. He didn't have a certificate of authenticity for the watch's ownership, but he did have a piece of paper from an antique dealer that he had taken it to that stated that it was indeed an 1883 Waltham.

I would have passed up the pocket-watch but what made me decide to get it was, the seller had an actual pocketwatch owned by Ben Butler, with the documentation to prove it really was owned by him and the price matched ($10,000 for that watch). Whether either actually were owned by these men, obviously I could never be 100% certain. But at the very least they'd be the same model and I could use it as an example of what Hooker had actually owned.

So, I bought the pocket-watch after outbidding everyone for $180 (the watch had some damage to it). I watched the progress of the watch and it arrived a week later at the post office. I showed up later that night to collect it, only to find no parcel box key or package pick-up slip. Maybe they had not yet organized the package so I went back the next day. Nothing. After the weekend (four days later) I went to talk to the front desk lady.

"We don't get packages addressed to here," was how she first opened up our conversation.

"Ummmm......you guys do get packages sent here, that's the whole point of a post office," was my response.

Thus began one of the weirdest arguments I've ever had.

During the argument, several times she up and walked away, only to come back after leaving me hanging for a few minutes.

She got into an argument with me that it couldn't possibly have shown up, otherwise it would be in my box ready to pickup and it must not have been delivered. I told her, "The UPS website says specifically that a man named Drake signed for it on your reception dock. And you can't tell me Drake doesn't work here because he has signed for nine of my packages that have been sent here over the past year." She complained about how I couldn't know that as I didn't have a tracking code. Which I promptly showed her on my phone.

So she leaves to talk to the mail organizers and come back and says, "Well, clearly no one remembers getting your package."

"I'm sure they don't, they get tons of mail here. However, you have all my information and it says it was delivered. Is it possibly you guys put it in the wrong box?"

She got extremely angry I would dare throw aspersions on the work ethic of them there. Which I wasn't I knew these things happen from time to time. I never did get the pocketwatch, but it wasn't that big of a monetary loss and I hope that the person who got it is enjoying it and has become a Civil War buff.
Love your story. Those PO workers are. Some of the most disgruntled and argumentative folks I ve delt with. Our PO shuts down from 12 to 1 everyday for lunch even though fed regulators only provides 30 minuets and does not permit workers to ad break time to lunch time. I got notice once a package had arrived but the PO never gave me a slip sayings it was ready for pickup. After three days I went to the front desk to inquire and showed the tracking notice. They got angry and told me that if the package was there I would be notified by the PO. They would not get off their lazy butt to even look. One week later I got notice to pick up the package.
 

James N.

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In my case it's been idiots delivering mail while talking (loudly) on cell phones and not paying attention to anything they're actually doing. One Ebay purchase of a bayonet got delivered to the right address number - but one block over on a parallel street. I had several unpleasant exchanges with the seller before a month later it got re-delivered to MY address - fortunately, the resident at the other house who had been away when it arrived recognized the mistake once he returned. Yet I still get odd bits of mail addressed to that house; no telling where mine goes. Fortunately, it's almost certainly nothing but junk mail!
 
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