Memory of an ancestor in the Wilderness

Posted on May 5, 2014 by

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It’s been a while since I last posted from a battlefield, but felt today was a good time.

I’m sitting within the lines of what was the left flank of the Stonewall Brigade (as of this very hour, 150 years ago). I’m within the area in which the 33rd Virginia stood… and to my right, the 2nd Virginia. In front of me the denseness of the Wilderness is obvious. A sign to my right refers to the nearby Culpeper Mine Road, and also quotes a New Jersey chaplain who said, “It was impossible to see the enemy… and though we peered through the thick woods, we were fighting invisible foeman.”

Such a statement holds some strange irony, for it was within this general area where my third great grand uncle fell, struck (likely) by a shot from a soldier in the US Regulars.

I took the time to post a photo of him on a nearby tree…

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My journey with my third great grand uncle has been an interesting one… spanning nearly 30 years. I remember finding out about Capt. Michael Shuler from work on my family tree. I wrote Bob Krick back in the mid-80s, asking if he had any info on him. When he replied that Shuler’s diary was at the Library of Congress, I was thrilled. Since then, I’ve put together what I could, hoping to gain some understanding as to who he was. In fact, it became even more complex within the last decade, having learned how his father (about whom I’ve also written) spoke out against secession, and his uncle was clearly a wartime Unionist.

Perhaps I’ll write more about Capt. Shuler later, but for now, I’m going to just sit, listen, and consider the meaning of his service as a Confederate soldier, combined with the complexities of sympathies of family members close to him.

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