Near Locust Grove in Orange County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Dark, Close Wood
— The Battlefield Becomes a Park —
The Wilderness of today looks little like the tangled landscape soldiers found here in 1864. For decades before the war, loggers had cut and recut these forests to fuel nearby iron furnaces, leaving behind an impenetrable mix of dead fall, brush and re-emerging growth. Only a few small farmers had dared to seek sustenance here. Their small clearings offered only relief from what one soldier called “the dark, close wood.”
Military theorists who devised tactics of that era never envisioned waging war through such forbidding terrain. When the armies collided here, they had no time to change tactics. Instead, traditional battle ranks struggled through thickets, unable to see more than a few dozen feet. Lines of blue and gray collided without warning in horrific firefights. The woods burned – the wounded and dead, too. “It is,” one man wrote, “a region of gloom.”
The four battlefields located in Fredericksburg and neighboring counties comprise the bloodiest ground in all of North America. Yet early efforts to create a national
President Warren G. Harding attended the exercise and spent two days visiting with the troops. The event attracted national attention and renewed cries for the creation of a national military park. This time Congress responded favorably. On February 13, 1927, it established Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. Today this is one of the largest military parks in the world, encompassing four battlefields where more than 100,000 Americans fell.
Erected by Fredericksburg-Spotsylvania National Battlefields - National Park Service - Department of the Interior.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #29 Warren G. Harding series list. A significant historical month for this entry is February 1851.
Location. 38° 19.051′ N, 77° 45.386′ W. Marker is near Locust Grove, Virginia, in Orange County. Marker can be reached from Constitution Highway (Virginia Route 20) 1.7 milesTouch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Locust Grove VA 22508, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Collision of Giants (a few steps from this marker); The Fighting Ends in Stalemate (a few steps from this marker); Clash on the Orange Turnpike (a few steps from this marker); Battle of the Wilderness (a few steps from this marker); Struggle on the Orange Plank Road (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named The Battle of the Wilderness (a few steps from this marker); The Capture of Winslow's Battery (a few steps from this marker); Saunders Field (a few steps from this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Locust Grove.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on September 15, 2012, by PaulwC3 of Northern, Virginia. This page has been viewed 496 times since then and 22 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on September 15, 2012, by PaulwC3 of Northern, Virginia. 2, 3. submitted on October 6, 2012, by PaulwC3 of Northern, Virginia. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.