This shattered stump was once a healthy oak tree in a rolling meadow just outside Spotsylvania Court House, Virginia. On the morning of May 12, 1864, 1,200 entrenched Confederates, the front line of General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, awaited the assault of 5,000 Union troops from the 2nd Corps of the Army of the Potomac. Twenty hours later, the once-peaceful meadow had acquired a new name, the “Bloody Angle.” The same fury of rifle bullets that cut down 2,000 combatants tore away all twenty-two inches of this tree's trunk.
Constitution Ave. between 12th and 14th Sts. NW Washington, District of Columbia 20560
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Smithsonian National Museum of American History