Tuesday, September 4, 2007

September 4, 2007 Gordonsville and Spotsylvania, VA

We finally made it to Spotsylvania. This was the site of a very long, bloody, costly in manpower series of battles. From the stalemate at The Wilderness, General Grant saw the intersection at Spotsylvania, next to the court house, as the spot to beat General Lee so that he could stop Lee's retreat to Richmond. He believed that the war could be ended here, if he stopped Lee. Lee won the race and was waiting for Grant. This turned into a war of attrition with Grant knowing that he had almost unlimited manpower and that Lee had a dwindling force. Grant believed that he could end the war by simply overpowering Lee with a tide of manpower - if his losses were great, the north could stand them better than the south could. What looked, prior to going there, to be a small area that could be observed in a very short time turned into another several hours of observation. At Gettysburg, we took our time looking and reading and now have a good feel for what took place. We took this attitude into this tour and, once again, came out with a tremendous understanding of what actually occurred. We saw earthwork bunkers that had been dug and logs and trees piled onto them. The trenches are still there but the logs and bunkers have disintegrated in the hot, humid, insect infested Virginia environment. A reproduction of one of these bunkers is present. The Spotsylvania Tourism Center stated that the bunkers were similar to those used in World War I. The 17th Michigan Volunteer Infantry Regiment fought in this battle and the units of the 17th are listed on the only unit marker that we saw here.

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