7th Wisconsin witness stump

About 50 feet behind the 7th Wisconsin monument on Stone Avenue in Herbst Woods rest all that remains of an ancient white oak tree, a stump on which I counted over 270 rings over a 21.5 inch section of radius. This means that the growth rate for this tree averaged about 6.4 inches per year at just above ground level.

Counting 160 rings from the outside in, we find that the diameter of the tree a few inches above the ground would have been 18″ in 1863, already a fully mature oak standing in the midst of the furious back-and-forth fighting in the Herbst Woods on July 1, 1863. (click here to count the rings yourself).

At breast-height, the circumference of the tree was a substantial 120″, and had a corresponding diameter of 38″. It had been dead for a couple of years, was cut down by the Park Service in October 2022, and the remains of the tree, except for the stump, removed in February 2023.