Monday, August 24, 2009

West Woods Witness Trees

Those who have visited the Burnside Bridge know that at the far end of the bridge on the left side is a "witness tree." A witness tree is a tree that was alive on September 17, 1862.

There are at least five other witness trees in the park besides this one--three are in the West Woods on recently acquired property.

Of these three, one is dead but still standing, the other two, which are White Oaks, appear to be healthy.

These pictures were taken last weekend at around 9:30 a.m. and look southwest.

It is hard to tell in this picture just how large this tree is.

I estimate it to be about 175 feet tall and about four to five feet around.

To the left of the dead tree are the two other witness trees.

On September 17, 1862 these trees would have stood just to the left of the 59th New York Regiment. Jubal Early's brigade rushed past these trees on its way to engage the New Yorkers.

In the Cope/Carmen map (left), the dead tree is marked in gray and the two live trees in green.

The blue lines indicate the camera field of view (click to enlarge the map).

If you are ever in the West Woods, be sure to visit these magnificent trees--living witnesses to history.


John Banks said...

Ahh, Jim...this is great stuff. John Banks

Jim Buchanan said...

Thanks! John.

For those reading these posts, John Banks is currently researching the three Wadhams brothers from Litchfield, Connecticut. As John notes, "the brothers died within a span of two weeks in fighting in Virginia in 1864."

You can read more about John's research on this remarkable family story at War (you will have to cut and past this address into your browser address window--or click on the link to John's blog in the upper left menu of this page).

John Banks said... are u doing? Have not seen many posts lately!

Jim Buchanan said...

Hi John--Doing well but work has taken me away from blogging for the past two months. I am writing from Cairo right now (the land of insane traffic) and at the end of a long string of projects. I will start posting again in the coming week now that all of this is behind me. I have been going up to the field just about every weekend between trips and have noticed a big jump in visitors to the park and to my formerly lonely station in the West Woods. The conversations with visitors this past fall have been great and I always learn from them. Fall is a great time for a visit since the bugs are mostly gone and the leafless trees reveal the park in a new light. Thanks for the inquiry and stand by for new posts shortly! Best regards!