Spotsylvania Stump


Physical Description

Wooden tree stump.

Specific History

Until May 12, 1864, this shattered stump was a large oak tree in a rolling meadow just outside Spotsylvania Court House, Virginia. That morning, 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 Second 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 but twenty-two inches of the tree's trunk. Several of the conical minie balls (bullets) are still deeply embedded in the wood. Unusual objects of war, such as this tree stump, come to symbolize the horror and heroism of a great battle. Originally presented to the U.S. Army's Ordnance Museum by Brevet Major General Nelson A. Miles, the stump was transferred to the Smithsonian in 1888.

Associated Date: 1864-05

Occurred: United States: Virginia, Spotsylvania

Related Event: Civil WarBattle of Spotsylvania Courthouse, 1864Civil War and Reconstruction


See more items in: Political and Military History: Armed Forces History, Military, Military, National Treasures exhibit, ThinkFinity

Exhibition: Price of Freedom

Exhibition Location: National Museum of American History

Related Web Publication:

Related Publication: Kendrick, Kathleen M. and Peter C. Liebhold. Smithsonian Treasures of American History, National Museum of American History. Treasures of American History online exhibition

Credit Line: War Department

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: AF.4435Catalog Number: 4435Accession Number: 20209

Object Name: tree trunk

Physical Description: wood (overall material)Measurements: overall: 60 in x 18 in x 18 in; 152.4 cm x 45.72 cm x 45.72 cm


Record Id: nmah_439677

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