Sunday, August 24, 2014

Why do you visit a battlefield park?

Recently, I had the opportunity of attending the first Emerging Civil War symposium in the Spotsylvania area of Virginia. It was great experience participating in the panel on Friday evening, attending lectures on Saturday, and touring the Spotsylvania Battlefield on Sunday. Kudos to the staff of the Emerging Civil War blog for putting on a great event!

Saturday afternoon, I slipped out a few minutes early to visit the rehabbed visitor center at the Chancellorsville Battlefield. They have done an overall great job. I was impressed with the portrayal and evolution of breastworks from the Chancellorsville time period (May 1863) to the Spotsylvania (May 1864). I was disappointed by the lack of information on the various regiments and brigades that fought at these battles. Why do Park visitor center planners think people come to these parks?

Thankfully, I've been around long enough to have collected a good understanding of the battles that were fought, and could probably give a decent tour (at least pertaining to Tar Heel troops) myself. This comes from a great deal of study and a fair amount of time personally spent on the fields.

I spent most of Saturday late afternoon and evening on the field, mostly at Chancellorsville, visiting a few places I had not been in several years, like the spot of Lee and Jackson's last meeting and Catherine Furnace. I capped this off by a drive down Lee Drive at the Fredericksburg battlefield.

Overall, it was an awesome weekend, and I look forward to attending the Emerging Civil War conference next year. 

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