Friday, April 25, 2014

Not a pretty picture: Salem Church (Va.) battlefield

THEN AND NOW: In a circa-1950s image, Virginia State Route 3 (historic Orange Turnpike) 
is relatively uncluttered. Salem Church  is just around the bend to the right.
 The Google Maps image is roughly the same view today.
(Top photo courtesy Pat Sullivan)
I enjoyed a great e-mail exchange today with Pat Sullivan, a Spotsylvania County (Va.) native who has fond memories of growing up in the area rich with Civil War history. Posts that I wrote on the obliteration of the Harris Farm and Salem Church battlefields prompted the initial e-mail from Sullivan, whose ancestors fought for the Confederacy. Once open land, the Salem Church battlefield was long ago destroyed by urban clutter and a greatly expanded State Route 3, the historic Orange Turnpike. The traffic-snarled highway has made it a challenge to get to the old Salem Church, which was used as a field hospital during and after the battle. Sullivan shared with me an image of a circa-1950s Route 3, which is quite a contrast to the mess today. Check out Pat's excellent post on his blog on the old Spotsylvania County he remembers.

THEN AND NOW: A post-war image of Salem Church, courtesy of Pat Sullivan. The images were
 taken from opposite sides of the church.

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