View single post by pamc153PA
 Posted: Sat Apr 9th, 2011 01:15 am
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Joined: Sat Jun 14th, 2008
Location: Boyertown, Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 407

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I have never been to Vicksburg, unfortunately, but I tend to feel the same way about trees where trees weren't at the time of the battle--which is two ways.

The most experience I have had with this is at Gettysburg. I originally began to learn the battle and spend a lot of time there before the tree cutting to return the battlefield to 1863 conditions began. I was well-used to it tree-covered when the felling started, and although part of me wanted to see what the battlefield really looked like at the time of the battle, and although as viewsheds opened up I developed a whole new perspective of parts of the battle that just never made sense hidden behind mature trees, it was kind of bewildering to me to come back after a few months and see space where there used to be woods. I did a lot of my first learning of the battlefield on foot, and it was rather pleasant to walk the woods, whether they were historically correct or not. My old forestry classes made me appreciate the trees even more. I wasn't ever one of the nay-sayers; I think it was more nostalgia.

So though I generally agree with the "return it to 1863" idea, even I have to admit to a sort of "whoa--too much too soon" feeling when I returned to the park in March after several months and found Culp's Hill looking, well, almost clean-shaven! I'm almost dreading how Powers Hill will look once they do work there. I'm not exactly used to saying, "The Triangular Field--well, the field that USED to be triangular before they cut all the trees and made it more like a huge rectangle from Warfield Ridge to Devil's Den." I do get a little thrill when they uncover Confederate earthworks like on Seminary Ridge near the old Arsenal, and I do like the idea of seeing the battlefield the way my ggggg-uncle from the 153rd PA did, but it's always my own personal little battle to not miss the woods and the walks through them too much! I have to remember, too, that we really can't view the past through the present's eyes and be fair to the prevailing thought at the time, like the CCC's tree planting at Vickburg or the "parklike" setting at Gettysburg. It's just better to figure out how to fix it! 

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