I have heard from a guide at Gettysburg that the tree lines at Ball’s Bluff Battlefield are being adjusted back to what they were at the time of the battle. I was there several years ago and didn’t take any photographs. Like Cold Harbor the trees were allowed to fill in the entire battlefield making it was impossible to see what the battlefield looked like.
Back in the 1860′s most of the trees in the east and been removed for building materials and to open up fields for farming. There were few forests left. While there were some areas, like the Wilderness in Virginia, that were tree covered, because of the lack of forest most battles were fought in open fields. With the push to regrow the forest by Teddy Roosevelt, changes in materials for building, and farming expanding to the west, the forests have returned to the eastern United States including taking over several battlefields.
Gettysburg has led the way in returning the tree lines back to their Civil War appearance and now Balls Bluff is following their lead. There are other battlefields like Richmond, Petersburg, and Cold Harbor, which I hope will also follow Gettysburg’s example and restore the fields to their Civil War appearance.
Yes, I love the forest as much as anyone, but I also thing it is important to honor the memory of those who fought and died by preserving the ground they fought on. As a wise man once said, “The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.”