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

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    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.
    Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeasti
    X
    June 29, 2016 6:15 PM
    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora