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

US Border Patrol Union Accused of Taking Sides on Immigration

Report alleges agents leaking info to immigration opponents, appearing at their private events; Center for Immigration Studies director defends agents' actions More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

Video Rights Monitor: Hate Groups' Use of Internet to Inflame, Recruit Growing

Wiesenthal Center's Abraham Cooper says extremists have become skilled at celebrating violence, ideology on Web 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.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs