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Old May 6, 2014, 5:54 PM   #1
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Default 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House/The Wilderness

Welllllllllllll, I'm back. I'm sore, sunburned, exhausted! But, what a time! I shot mainly with the K-3/Bigma and the HS50EXR. And, for the first time, I did some video. I used the HS50 although the K-3 is perfectly capable of video. I shot it freehand and even though I LOOKS amateurish (because I *am*), I'm thoroughly impressed with the way the HS50 handled itself. I can see I'm going to have to get an external mike with a wind killer. The wind was VERY strong, as you can see by the flags being almost straight out. The some of the color bearers were having a heckuva time hanging onto the colors. I've included a LONG narrative of the actual events. I'm still uploading to Flickr and when I'm pretty close to done I'll post a link to all of 'em.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJNP1-UVjJo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9X__6KoMKZM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUZ8PXvHGGg

These were shot with the K-30 & Sigma 17-70mm. This combination saw very little action for the duration. In fact, the K-30 is up for sale. Interested?

Johnny Reb


Loving couple


Interestingly, this guy's real name is Sam Grant. He LIVED and BREATHED Grant and, in essence, WAS U. S. Grant.


These lovelies were serenading the guests with "My Old Kentucky Home". They were unaware it was the day before the Derby. Of course not!! The first Kentucky Derby wasn't run until some 11 years later on May 17, 1875!


R. E. Lee -- This guy knew more about Lee than I thought possible!


Typical dragoon or cavalry. Unlike the Hollywood version, the Civil War did most of his fighting dismounted.


On May 7, Ulysses S. Grant issued orders for the Army of the Potomac to march toward Spotsylvania Court House, a small town along the route to Richmond. He hoped to get between Robert E. Lee's army and Richmond or, at the very least, to draw the Confederates into the open fireld where he could take advantage of superior Union numbers. It was Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart's job to prevent the Federals from reaching Spotsylvania. For two days, a division of Stuart's cavalry, led by Fitz Lee, had battled Union horsemen for control of the Brock Road, the most direct route between the Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House. Forced to relinquish his position near Todd's Tavern, Lee withdrew to a rise of ground known as Laurel Hill on May 8. Laurel Hill was the last defensible position this side of Spotsylvania. If the Confederates lost Laurel Hill, they would also lose Spotsylvania.

Fortunately for Stuart and Fitz Lee, help was near at hand. General Richard Anderson, now in command of James Longstreet's First Corps, had marched for Spotsylvania during the night, and by the morning of May 8, his troops were withing two miles of Laurel Hill. Anderson's corps had just gone into bivouac near the Po River when one of Stuart's couriers arrived warning him of the Union army's approach. The new corps commanders instantly put his troops back on the road and let them toward Laurel Hill.

Believing Spotsylvania to be within his grasp, Union Maj. Gen. Gouveneur K. Warren advanced his Fifth Corps up Laurel where they were surprised to find Maj. Gen. Richard Anderson and the men of Longstreet's corps opposing them. Warren's attempts to drive the Confederates were rebuffed with heavy losses and the two sides began to entrench. During this time, Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick, commander of the Union Sixth Corps, was shot dead, becoming the highest ranking Union officer killed during the war.

Grant tried to break the deadlock and Spotsylvania over the next two days. On May 9, Grant sent a portion of Maj. Gen. Winfield S. Hancock's Second Corps across the Po River in an effort to find Lee's left flank. Spying Hancock's move, Lee shifted two divisions to counter the Federals at Block House Bridge, forcing the Yankees back across the river. Grant spent the next day probing Lee's line for weaknesses and nearly found one when a young colonel named Emory Upton briefly breached the Confederate line with a tightly packed, fast-moving column of regiments. Though Upton's assault was indecisive, it gave Grant an idea.

By May 12, the Confederates had established a long line of earthworks, which included a huge half-mile bulge in the Confederate line called the Muleshoe Salient. Basing his plan off of Upton's attack, Grant massed 20,000 men of the Second Corps opposite the tip of the Muleshoe. Lee noted the Federal movement, but mistakenly believing Grant that was preparing to withdraw, removed his artillery from the salient. Thus, when Hancock's men advanced on the morning of May 12, they broke through the Confederate line that was without artillery. After the initial breakthrough, however, Lee shifted reinforcements into the salient just as Grant hurled more troops at the Confederate works. Fighting devolved into a point-blank slugfest—amid a torrential downpour—which lasted for 22 hours and claimed roughly 17,000 lives.

The stubborn stand by Confederate troops at the Bloody Angle gave Lee the time he needed to construct a new line of earthworks across the base of the Muleshoe Salient. The Army of the Potomoac, exhausted from its attacks on the Angle, did not test the new line—at least, not right away. Instead, Grant slid his army to the left. When Union troops finally moved forward toward this position early on May 18, they were met by the massed artillery fire and easily repulsed. Stymied but undaunted, Grant called off the attack and resumed shifting his troops to the left. The campaign of maneuver would continue.
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Old May 8, 2014, 11:32 PM   #2
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Wow that's quite an event.

You seem to be very passionate about the history of the civil war. Your brief history lessen with the images you have captured are great.

Thanks for sharing a fascinating piece of American history.
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Old May 9, 2014, 5:25 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lomitamike View Post
Wow that's quite an event.

You seem to be very passionate about the history of the civil war. Your brief history lessen with the images you have captured are great.

Thanks for sharing a fascinating piece of American history.
Thanks very much. Casualty figures for that war range anywhere from 650,000 to 850,000 -- more than all the wars this country has fought combined! Supposedly (and I believe it), there wasn't a home or family that didn't have someone killed or wounded. The South lost almost an entire generation of what they called their best young men. Fully one-third of them died of disease in their own or prison camps. Americans butchered Americans. The organizers of these events and the reenactors know this all too well and attempt to keep alive the memory of those that shed so much of their youth, blood, and valor so that future generations don't forget that sacrifice. Sadly, it is slipping away... just like every other war.
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Old May 10, 2014, 9:36 AM   #4
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Hi Gary.
Being a "Limey" I struggled at first to find the relevance for including the sets of images in the "Sports" section!!, however, having then read all the fantastic knowlege included from yourself I began to see the images as a representation of the conflict and not only "staged people" shots!!.
Well Done.Kind regards Graham.
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If you ever fancy writing a Historical brief of your research I'd be happy to receive it via PDF .
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Old May 10, 2014, 10:00 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by bluesman graham View Post
Hi Gary.
Being a "Limey" I struggled at first to find the relevance for including the sets of images in the "Sports" section!!, however, having then read all the fantastic knowlege included from yourself I began to see the images as a representation of the conflict and not only "staged people" shots!!.
Well Done.Kind regards Graham.
PS
If you ever fancy writing a Historical brief of your research I'd be happy to receive it via PDF .
Thanks very much, Graham. I'm not a writer by any stretch but I have studied the American Civil War for the past forty years or so. The reason I put the images where I did is because the category is "Sports & Action Photos". I think there's plenty of action, don't you. Glad you found my images compelling enough to comment.
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