News / USA

Trees Tell Lost Tales of US Civil War Soldiers

Trees Planted in Memory of US Civil War Soldiersi
X
February 28, 2013 12:14 PM
The U.S. Civil War was the bloodiest war in American history. From 1861 to 1865, at least 620,000 soldiers died in the fighting. The war was fought between the states of the North - the Union, and the South - the Confederacy, which were divided over states’ rights, including slavery. Now 150 years later, the soldiers who died are being memorialized through a tree planting project that will span four eastern states where many of the battles took place. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Deborah Block
The U.S. Civil War was the bloodiest war in American history.  From 1861 to 1865, at least 620,000 soldiers died in the fighting.

The war was fought between the states of the North - the Union, and the South - the Confederacy, which were divided over states’ rights, including slavery.

Now 150 years later, the soldiers who died are being memorialized through a tree planting project that will span four eastern states where many of the battles took place. 

These are the faces of soldiers who were pitted against one another during the U.S. Civil War. More than half the soldiers died and most are no longer remembered.  

Now the group Journey Through Hallowed Ground is keeping their memory alive by planting trees, or dedicating existing trees, to each of those soldiers. 

Trees are being planted along a 290-kilometer road from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania - where the most famous battle occurred - to the home in Virginia of Thomas Jefferson, the third U.S. president.  Beth Erickson is with the organization.

“Each tree is a life," said Erickson. "As you see these trees one after another, it will truly make an impact.”

The first trees were planted in November on a former plantation called Oatlands in Leesburg, Virginia. Today, the early 19th century home is owned by a historic trust. 

Andrea McGimsey, executive director of Oatlands, says the estate was a natural place to begin the tree project.

“Oatlands has some very old trees and they were here during the Civil War time. Many of them are actually going to be adopted as part of this project,” she said.

McGimsey says Oatlands was also part of civil war history. “Oatlands had 128 slaves in 1860, right before the Civil War started. And also the family who lived here had two sons who joined the Confederate Army.”

Richard Williams, the grandson of the last family that lived in the house, says one of his ancestors was a famous Confederate general.  His family still owns property next to Oatlands, and they too are involved in planting the trees.

“We’re hoping as private landowners we can also show it’s a great success and encourage some other private landowners,” Williams stated.

The $65 million project is being financed through private contributions, in which individuals can also help by donating $100 for a tree. The trees will be geotagged to allow Smart Phone users to learn the story of a soldier. 

“These trees will have a number associated with a person.  They can use GPS technology to find out who these people were,” Erickson noted.

Eleanor Adams has contributed a tree to honor her ancestor, Joseph McGowin, a 23-year-old Confederate soldier from the southern state of Alabama who was shot and killed.  He fought, along with several brothers, only two of whom survived the war. 

McGowin wrote letters to his family about the hardships on the battlefield.  “He talks about sickness, the heat in the summertime, the bad food - really a tough time being a soldier in those days,” she said.

Adams hopes other relatives will join her in planting trees for the rest of the brothers who died in the Civil War.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama, Modi Break Nuclear Deal Deadlock

Impasse over liability issues had been stalling bilateral civilian nuclear cooperation; deal reached at start of US president's three-day visit to India More

WHO's Late Efforts in Tackling Ebola Highlight Need for Reform

Health experts debate measures to reform agency’s response to global public health emergencies in special one-day session on deadly outbreak More

One Tumultuous Year in Power for CAR's President

As sectarian violence raged across Central African Republic, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has Herculean task: to end civil war and put country back on right track More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid