From the Richmond Dispatch, 7/11/1866

THE FORTIFICATIONS AROUND RICHMOND. The fortifications which formerly swept around the greater portion of this city are now gradually disappearing, and before many years have passed over us not a vestige of them may be expected to remain. Those formidable bastions and redoubts, lunettes and salients, star forts and enclosed works, from which the cannon frowned defiance, are now dismantled and falling to decay! The gabions have rotted, the revêtments have fallen or been carried away; and on the parapet, where the sentry paced his round, the lock and the thistle now grow in wild and riotous luxuriance. The rifle-pits, where Lee’s “barefooted boys” so often lay in silence, have been filled in and levelled; the sharp crack of the rifle has given place to the golden-eared wheat and sprouting corn; and where schrapnel and cannister, shot and shell, mowed down long files of men, the husbandman peacefully wields his glistening scythe. Still of the war many sad traces are left besides those that sorrow has given upon our hearts! The spot in the old field where a soldier fell is marked by a brighter green, and the rank grass shows only too plainly where one of the “unknown and unrecorded dead” lies buried. No mound or head-board marks the grave, and the plough of the farmer must soon obliterate all traces of the place which had been made sacred forever by its baptism in a hero’s blood. The remains of many of the fallen soldiers have been disinterred and placed, by the hand of care and affection, in the cemeteries, where they can be honored and cared for by succeeding generations; but many, too many, must be lost to our rememberance and respect.

Farmers outside of the city are busily engaged in levelling the works upon their land, and they seem determined to make use of every available foot of ground. Captain Kennedy, of Marion Hill, on whose land was raised the first of the works which defended Richmond so well, is rapidly placing his fine farm in order; and those old soldiers who took part in its erection will not long be able to point out the spot where once their battery stood. Many relics are constantly being carried away from the battle-fields, and one old soldier the other day carefully brought home a handful of the earth which had so long stood as a wall of defence between him and the enemy. Let no one mock or ridicule the spirit which prompted this. Surely if a slip of the willow of Longwood, a splinter of the humble house at Stratford-on-Avon, a flower from the Garden of Ferney, or a fragment of wood from Mount Vernon, is honored and sacred, how much more dear, how much more honored, in our eyes, must be a portion of the crumbling dust with which has mingled the best blood of the simple, unselfish, and courageous Confederate soldier.

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