Friday, March 30, 2012

Resolving a generations-old mystery

Splashes of paint or blood from a dying soldier?

The 1850s floor boards of the Harper House at Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site in Four Oaks, N.C., will soon yield their secrets after a forensic team recently took stain samples at the structure, which served as the Union army’s XIV Corps hospital during the three-day battle of Bentonville fought in March 1865.

Nearly 600 soldiers from both armies were treated in and around the home. The last major Confederate offensive of the war was launched at the battlefield. The Union prevailed.

Researchers hope that testing of numerous stains will result in the cataloguing of any potential DNA found into a database for descendents of Bentonville veterans to compare with their own DNA.

State officials expect to have results back by July.

Photo courtesy of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources.

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