A few notes about Fagus grandifolia
Beech trees are easily identified by their smooth, gray bark. Often the bark is not uniformly colored; it may have a splotchy gray appearance.
In a national battlefield, it is a federal crime to deface government property, but these trees have suffered a good bit of carving on their trunks.
Beech nuts are a valuable food for wildlife. The small, three-sided nut is borne in a prickly husk that splits open when the nut is ripe. The nut is enjoyed by a wide variety of birds and mammals, as well as man.
Beech trees prefer a mildly to moderately acidic soil and a fairly moist site with good drainage. They are not particularly susceptible to disease or weather damage, but they can be injured by drought, compacted soil, and chemicals that wash off streets. Young trees can be damaged by sunscald (long hours of intense sunshine.) They prefer -- and need! -- a shaded location.
Beech trees are slow-growing, but long-lived. They may live up to 300 years. I speculate that the trees in the photo are about 145 years old. It is likely that these bluffs were cleared of trees when the Confederate forces built fortifications here in 1861-62. These trees probably sprang up from roots in the ground after the site was abandoned by Union forces in 1863.