A month or so ago I teased a very BIG announcement...
I wanted to share it then, but there were some procedures that still needed to take place. Without getting into any specific-details, I can now say that I have accepted a full-time position as a Technical Writer for the U.S. Marshals. I could not be more excited about this career move and I ask that you be patient in the coming weeks as I adjust to this new job. I think it’s fair to say that I will not be blogging as frequently in the coming weeks, but I promise to make my posts worth your while.
Confederate Campfires at the Crossroads
by Michael Aubrecht
Review inquiries welcome
Camp life is becoming very monotonous at our present abode. Winter is near at hand, and our tents a very inadequate shelter for this cold clime. Wood too has become an object-far off and bad roads to haul it over. The cold winds, howling around us like evil spirits, admonish us to prepare for "worse coming." -James J. Kirkpatrick, 16th MS Infantry, CSA
Often referred to as the "Crossroads of the Civil War," Spotsylvania County in central Virginia bore witness to some of the most intense fighting during the War Between the States. The nearby city of Fredericksburg and neighboring counties of Stafford, Orange and Caroline also hosted a myriad of historically significant events during America's "Great Divide."
Four major engagements took place in this region, including the Battles of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Spotsylvania Court House and the Wilderness. Today, the hallowed grounds that make up the Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park are the second largest of their kind in the country. In addition, the area remains home to many historic Civil War landmarks, including Chatham, Salem Church, the "Stonewall" Jackson Shrine and Ellwood Manor. Dozens of monuments and roadside markers dot the landscape, and more than 200,000 tourists visit the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania region each year.
Similarly, from 1861 to 1865, hundreds of thousands of troops from both sides of the conflict marched through, fought at and camped in the woods and fields of Spotsylvania County and the surrounding area. The National Park Service christened the region "the Bloodiest Landscape in North America," stating that over a four-year period more than eighty-five thousand men were wounded and over fifteen thousand were killed. A number of exceptionally significant events also took place in the vicinity, including the first clash between Union general Ulysses S. Grant and Confederate commander General Robert E. Lee, as well as the first recorded skirmish between the Southern forces and U.S. Colored Troops.
This book focuses specifically on the Confederate encampments that spread across Spotsylvania County and the adjoining regions during the course of the Civil War. By using the testimonies of witnesses and words taken directly from published memoirs, diary entries and letters home, readers will be able to gain some insight regarding the day-to-day experiences of camp life for the Southern armies on campaign in the Old Dominion.
According to Spotsylvania County's official history, as presented by the tourism bureau:
Spotsylvania's roots extend back to 1721, when the colony of Virginia created a vast new county that stretched past the Blue Ridge Mountains. The county was named for Alexander Spotswood, lieutenant governor of the colony from 1710 to 1720. The City of Fredericksburg was formed from the county in 1728. Spotsylvania's many historic places include the following sites: a skirmish near the Rappahannock River between American Indians and a group led by Capt. John Smith; the first commercially successful ironworks in North America; a slave revolt attempted in the 1810s; and one of the nation's most productive pre-1849 gold mines. The county is probably best-known for the battles fought on its soil during the Civil War. Because of Spotsylvania's strategic location between the Confederate and Union armies, several major battles were fought in the county, including ones at Chancellorsville, the Wilderness, Fredericksburg, and Spotsylvania Court House, one of the bloodiest battles of the war. More than 100,000 troops from both sides died in Spotsylvania.
The nearby town of Fredericksburg blends almost seamlessly into the county's landscape. Its authorized biography states:
The City of Fredericksburg was established by an act of the Virginia General Assembly in 1728, on land originally patented by John Buckner and Thomas Royston of Essex County in 1681. It was named for Frederick, Prince of Wales (1707-51), eldest son of King George II of Great Britain and father of King George III. Its older streets still bear the names