Digging for the Truth

Update: Here is Hennessy’s concluding post on Jackson’s arm.

Just returned from an overnight trip with Michaela to Fredericksburg, where we dined with very good friends, who I consider to be the town’s power couple in the local history profession.  On our way back we stopped at Elliewood to check out the improvements to the house.  Michaela caught me digging up…umm…I mean tending to the ground around the spot that supposedly contains Jackson’s arm.  All kidding aside, check out John Hennessy’s two-part post [Part 1 and Part 2] on the history of this particular site.  The final installment may include the final word as to whether the arm is actually there.

I also recommend checking out the view from Hazel Grove to the Chancellor House.  The NPS has recently cut the trees around Fairview, which offers visitors a much better view of what the battlefield would have looked like in 1863.  That area offers the best opportunity to interpret the battle in a way that moves beyond the traditional climax of the story which is centered on Jackson’s wounding.  I also noticed that the trees around Salem Church have been cut down along Rt. 3.

Searching for Black Confederates: The Civil War’s Most Persistent Myth

“Levin’s study is the first of its kind to blueprint and then debunk the mythology of enslaved African Americans who allegedly served voluntarily in behalf of the Confederacy.”–Journal of Southern History

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17 comments… add one
  • Woodrowfan Aug 23, 2010 @ 4:57

    While Jackson’s arm was not there, Kevin DID find where Jimmy Hoffa was buried!

  • Matt McKeon Aug 23, 2010 @ 4:55

    Are you exercising your right to bear arms?

    Thanks folks I’ll be here all week!

  • Matt McKeon Aug 23, 2010 @ 3:26

    you laugh Kevin, but I can just see Jackson’s arm suddenly bursting from the ground and grabbing you! Just like in Carrie. Boy, that was scary.

    • Kevin Levin Aug 23, 2010 @ 4:13

      Thanks Matt. That image will be with me all day today.

  • Woodrowfan Aug 22, 2010 @ 16:23

    so, you admit trying to dig up Civil War arms on a battlefield?

    • Kevin Levin Aug 22, 2010 @ 16:25

      I admit nothing.

  • Kevin Levin Aug 22, 2010 @ 16:20

    It doesn’t help that you guys egg me on. 😀

  • Chris Meekins Aug 22, 2010 @ 13:38

    Go on to Mexico and look for Santa Anna’s leg; you could start a collection.

    • Andy Hall Aug 22, 2010 @ 14:02

      I think Kevin should end this thread before someone makes a Rasputin joke.

    • Ken Noe Aug 22, 2010 @ 15:05

      Santa Anna’s wooden legs are in Illinois. The good one is in Springfield. The peg leg that Abner Doubleday supposedly used as a bat is in Decatur.

      To me, the real question is, how much new life insurance did Michaela buy last week.

  • Nat Turner's Son Aug 22, 2010 @ 11:27

    Becareful Kevin the NPS could use your statements and photo to bring you up on charges.

    • Kevin Levin Aug 22, 2010 @ 11:53

      Do you think they will charge me with pretending to dig up an arm that may or may not be there? 😀

      • Peter Carey+ Aug 22, 2010 @ 11:57

        You’re in Virginia and you’re talking about Jackson!?

        They could hang you for it..


        Peter Carey

        (I would have liked to see a video of it…you could branch out into youtube…!)

      • Nat Turners Son Aug 24, 2010 @ 9:33

        They have been rumored to bring up people on charges for things less that what it appears your doing.

        • Kevin Levin Aug 24, 2010 @ 9:34

          I appreciate the concern, but I assure you that there is nothing to worry about.

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