The Bullet-Shredded “Spotsylvania Stump”
Jesse Gant is a predoctoral fellow at the National Museum of American History (NMAH) and a Ph.D. Candidate in History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. On the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Spotsylvania, he shared the story of the “Spotsylvania Stump” on the NMAH “O Say Can You See?” blog.
On May 12, 1864, the combined fire of Union and Confederate guns near the “Bloody Angle” at the Battle of Spotsylvania managed to annihilate this tree, leaving a bullet-riddled stump. Many have spoken on the stump’s significance as a symbol of the war’s carnage. What most commentators have neglected to point out, however, is that without the help of an anonymous tip from an African American waiter, it might never have made its way to the Smithsonian.
To read more on this artifact click here.