Monday, September 15, 2014

End of the the book begins

Chicago, IL
As I am riding in the truck sitting in rush hour in Chicago, I figured I should turn my computer on and catch up on my blog.

Last Friday we went back to Bull Run, after studying the battle maps more closely, and took photos from the areas where my great-great-grandfather, George W Ordner actually engaged with the Rebels and fought.

While in Grafton, WV a week ago, I had found a copy of Fabricius A Cather's diary, one of the leaders of GWO's regiment, 2nd West Virgina Infantry. In the diary I discovered that George was wounded on August 30, 1862 on the last day of the battle. This information makes it most likely that George was wounded while defending Henry Hill between 4:00 and 6:00 in the afternoon of August 30. Milroy's brigade (the 2nd WV was in Milroy's Independent brigade) was fighting along the Sudley/Manassas road at the bottom of Henry Hill. The Union was severely defeated at several battles during the previous two days, taking many thousands of casualties. This was their last stand and chance to stop the armies of Stonewall Jackson and Robert E Lee from taking the hill. It was a vicious and bloody fight finally ending in a draw with the coming of night fall. The Union army was able to maintain possession of Henry Hill, thus ensuring they could safely withdraw to Centreville via the stone bridge and turnpike.
Stone Bridge. This was destroyed during the first battle of
Bull Run. Union Troops built a wooden ramp between the two
remaining stone supports during the second battle.
The wounded were taken care of at several of the farm houses after the battle and on the field. George was wounded in the right shoulder (according to the 1890 Veteran's Census), so could probable still walk. Most likely he was bandaged on the field, or if a bullet had to be removed was operated on in the Stone House or in Henry Hill's house.

Stone House on the battle field of Bull Run. This house is almost
all the original frame and foundation that was standing during both battles.
It was originally a Tavern in 1860.
Notice the cannonball to the right of the front door facing
Henry Hill which is across the street.

It was incredible to be able to pin point the times and retrace all the places my grandfather walked and fought during the three days of battle. And the battlefield is similar to what it would have looked like 150 years ago.

Bull Run Winery
After the battlefield trek, we had to stop at the Bull Run Winery which was right next door across the stone bridge. Apparently the "mansion" that was originally on the current winery grounds (now in ruins) was also used as a hospital to treat both confederate and union soldiers. The winery's tasting room actually had glass showcases containing artifacts found on the property which was part of the original battlefield. Really interesting to see the buttons, tools, gun parts, bullets, belt buckles and other items that 20,000 troops left on the battlegrounds.

Gettysburg, PA
We checked out of our campsite and headed north to spend a few days with family in Harrisburg, PA. They live about 30 minutes from the Gettysburg battlefield. Of course, my grandfather never fought there, but it was on our 'must see' list while out East. We drove through the battle field, I was amazed there were so many HUGE stones and boulders scattered across the fields. All these rocks would have made fighting on these fields very different from the other battlefields we visited. We didn't spend too much time, we had to make it to Dirty Billy's Hats - a maker of museum quality period reproduction headwear before they closed. Jeff for a few years has wanted to order a Mexican War 1839 forage cap to wear to our reenactments. Very cool place! They didn't have one on hand that fit Jeff, so he had to order it. It should be done sometime in November. So next year.

Heading home...
After two plus weeks on the road, we are currently on our way home - just to head out again Wednesday to our last rendezvous of the year!

I will keep updating this blog, weekly though, as I write my book and keep you updated on what additional information I find...I am still looking for more and have my new friends helping me research....

Until the next time...

1 comment:

  1. What a fantastic end to a long research adventure! So glad to have been part of it ;) Can't wait to see whats next!