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Description of the trees.

They were two oak trees, standing near together, and in rear of Walker's (Stonewall) brigade, and the Louisiana brigade, which joined the Stonewall brigade on its right. One of the trees, fourteen or sixteen inches in diameter, was whittled down by the bullets about four feet from the ground, as if a gouge had been used, and in such manner that the two parts of the tree above and below the break presented the appearance of two cones, not entirely symmetrical, however, with the apex of one resting on the apex of the other, before the tree fell. This tree had fallen prostrate—it was literally whittled down, or, I might more properly say, gouged down by bullets.

The other tree was about the same size of that already described, perhaps, according to my recollection, a little smaller, and this was also gouged by the bullets very much the same as the other, but I do not think it would probably have fallen, if a shell had not struck it, in the top, about twenty-five feet from the ground, and toppled it over. It fell aginst another tree, and hung on it, otherwise it also would have fallen to the ground. The fact that a shell had struck it was apparent, because the tree was split in the top. I saw a part of the latter tree in the museum at the hotel in Fredericksburg, some years ago, when I was visiting that place, and I saw a part of the former at least, it was so represented, at the centennial in 1876, brought there, as I was informed, from Washington with a label on it: ‘Cut down by rebel bullets.’ I think it was preserved by the war department, amongst its curiosities, and I think I recognized the stump. At any rate I inquired about it, and was informed it came from the Spotsylvania battlefield. I knew I remonstrated with the party in charge of the exhibit about the label on it. How it occurred I am not prepared to say, but I can say that these two trees were shot down by bullets in the manner I have stated. Our division was stationed on each side of and around the horseshoe, improperly called ‘angle’ Walker's brigade and the [20] Louisiana brigade, being to the left, Jones' brigade, at the toe, and Steuart's brigade to the right. The attack was made on the right and left, as well as in front of the toe of the horseshoe, and there was a concentrated fire, which must have met just about where these trees stood. It seemed to me, while at what was the toe of the horseshoe, that morning, the air was full of bullets, and the fact that these two trees were whittled down in the manner I have stated, proves that fact for no other such occurrence is recorded in the annals of our war, or in those of any other war, of which I ever read.

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Louisiana (Louisiana, United States) (1)
Fredericksburg, Va. (Virginia, United States) (1)

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James A. Walker (2)
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1876 AD (1)
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