Life and Times of Edward Boling and Mary Wharton


Background Recently, I updated a surname report to cover all 12, 495 persons in my ancestral tree, which has grown from 10,772 since I produced my first post on surnames in 2014. Based upon my analysis of surnames, it turns out that my father's family was much larger than my mother's.  And, the gender ratio among … Continue reading Life and Times of Edward Boling and Mary Wharton

A Remembering People


Many of my paternal ancestors lived in and around the Chancellorsville Battlefield in Spotsylvania County, Virginia. My great-grandparents, and other family members, in fact, are buried in a small church cemetery on Ely's Ford Road. So these people and events are very near and dear to me. Fredericksburg Remembered Musings on history, public history, and … Continue reading A Remembering People

Walt Whitman’s Battles of Chancellorsville: Horrific Wounds, Night Fighting, and Other “Strange and Fearful Pictures”


Mysteries and Conundrums blogs about Civil War Battles in Virginia stir deep emotions in me as I try to imagine the fear. horrors, and impact of families during these times. The Bolling family, my grandfather, 3 great grandfathers and their families (descendants from the Bolling family originally from England) and descendants of John Rolfe and Pocahontas, lived for decades (1802-1946) on Elys Ford Road immediately adjacent to major Civil War Battles at Chancellorsville, Five Forks, and the Wilderness Farms. In fact the now infamous “Widow Tapp” was my 3rd great grandmother. The bulk of the Bolling descendants also lived in Stafford and Spotsylvania Counties, and in Petersburg. Where Widow Tapp lived a simple and poor life in Spotsylvania County, Robert Bolling IV in 1823 built the Bollingbrook Mansion, known today as Centre Hill Mansion Museum. Thank you again for these wonderful posts.

Mysteries & Conundrums

from: Harrison

This year’s sesquicentennial commemorations of the Battle of Chancellorsville will build upon long traditions of eyewitness, published narrative and non-eyewitness scholarship.  Yet I’ve been fascinated lately to realize that Chancellorsville inspired Walt Whitman to make, forcefully, one of his earliest contrarian forecasts for writing about the Civil War, a view that he later expressed in the now-famous sentence, “The real war will never get in the books.”

Whitman’s longest-known rumination on Chancellorsville, dated May 12, 1863, asked

Of scenes like these, I say, who writes—who e’er can write, the story?  Of many a score—aye, thousands, North and South, of unwritten heroes, unknown heroisms, incredible, impromptu, first-class desperations—who tells?  No history, ever—No poem sings, no music sounds, those bravest men of all—those deeds.  Nor formal General’s report, nor print, nor book in the library, nor column in the paper, embalms the bravest, North or South, East or West.

(If…

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