Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 36.djvu/224

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Southern Historical Society Papers.

through the pine branches. Although now silent and deserted, one can easily imagine the thunderous terror of the guns on that eventful day, when the Blue and the Gray were struggling together from early morning until long after nightfall for the possession of the strategic point. Looking from these fortifications over to Bloody Angle, the woods and fields seem again alive with men fighting like madmen, the atmosphere is again heavy with rain and smoke, and the cries of the soldiers and the shrieks of the wounded are again resounding upon the air.

It was at the Bloody Angle that the firing was so severe as to actually cut in two an oak tree twenty-two inches in diameter. From the top of the tree Mr. Landrum took twenty-nine pounds of bullets, while the stump is still preserved in Washington.

Writing to General Halleck on the nth of May, before the heaviest day's fighting had occurred, General Grant estimated that he had then lost 20,000 men in six days' fighting around Spotsylvania Courthouse. It is said that in thirty days he lost 32,500 men actually killed. The Confederate loss was also enormous. Even nowadays bodies are plowed up every time the ground is turned in the spring, while bullets are as numerous in the soil as stones. Mr. Landrum said to me that he had found so many corpses on his place that the keeper of the National Cemetery at Fredericksburg grew tired of coming after them. This, it is to be remembered, is thirty-five years after the battles occurred.

It was at his headquarters just in the rear of the Union lines that Grant wrote the historic line, saying that he proposed "to fight it out on this line if it takes all summer." The site of his headquarters is, of course, included in the boundary of the proposed park.

The interest of the old soldiers all over the country in the present appearance of this locality is shown by the large number of letters which Mr. Landrum receives. He had one in his pocket the other day. It had been addressed rather indefinitely to "Landrum House, Spotsylvania Courthouse, Va.," and asked for some particulars as to the condition of the Bloody Angle and its contiguous fighting ground at the present day. There is no doubt that when the proposed park is established, and its