Snow Along the Sunken Road

frsp-sunken-road-snow-2017Fredericksburg’s Sunken Road stretched before me, empty, covered in still-falling snow. On the hillside to my left, tall stalks of yellow grass swayed in the wind, although the heavy confetti of snowflakes brought with it a heavy hush. The battlefield felt not just barren but forsaken.

So different this day than it was on December 13, 1862. Quiet. Lonely. Atop the heights, cannon belched only small mouthfuls of drifting snow.

As I walked from one end of the Sunken Road toward the other, a single set of bootprints came up from the direction of the parking lot, accompanied by a set of small pawprints. The parallel tracks veered from wayside sign to the next, the human apparently reading each one. I could see where snow had been wiped away, although enough had already fallen to re-obscure each panel.

Down the Sunken Road, around the Innis House and the Kirkland monument, and even up to the crest of Marye’s Heights—the dog walker made the entire circuit. I crossed paths with another dog walker, too—or perhaps the same one making a second loop—but otherwise the battlefield remained deserted.

Elsewhere in the southeast, the winter storm caused a Saturday’s full of apoplexy. For me, there on the battlefield, it proved to be one of the most beautiful days I’ve ever spent—in any season—on hallowed ground.

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9 Responses to Snow Along the Sunken Road

  1. Theodore Savas says:

    This is terrific, Chris. (What side did they fire from in this photo?)

    • Thanks, Ted. In the photo, Confederates would’ve been standing in the road (the open white space) firing toward the right of the frame. The evergreens in the photo would not have been there at the time of the battle; the Federals approached from that direction.

  2. Kim Brace says:

    Great pictures. I stayed inside, where it was warm!! See you next week at Manassas Museum

  3. Theodore Savas says:

    I figured. Somewhat ironically, I have only been to Fredericksburg twice and have never fully toured the field. I need to. Who was holding that part of the line in the image?

    • Cobb’s Brigade. I was standing toward the right end of the 27th NC’s line, looking toward the rest of their position and the position of 18th Georgia. The 24th Georgia was beyond them. Some of Kershaw’s men later came down and filled in, too, once the battle really got rolling.

  4. Diane Mcvey says:

    Thanks, Chris for those beautiful photos.I always amazed a the sense of Peace I feel while looking at a battlefield where great violence and massacres took place.May their souls Rest In Peace

  5. Andy Douglas says:

    I too want to say thanks Chris for those beautiful pictures and meaningful words. I’ve volunteered at Fredericksburg Battlefield for 7 years and It still has a special affect on me. The calmness of your pictures makes a severe contrast to the fighting that took place there so long ago. Thanks again for your words and pictures. Andy Douglas

  6. Pingback: Modern Photography: Fredericksburg Favorites | Emerging Civil War

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