Wednesday, February 1, 2012
New Year - Old Sites: Juxtaposition - Chancellorsville
The Chancellorsville intersection, circa 1900. Photo by John Okie.
Hunting dogs of Thomas P. Payne, a Spotsylvania County deputy
commissioner of revenue. Image is courtesy of Kathleen Colvin,
Payne's granddaughter. View looks north along the Old Plank Road.
The Chancellorsville intersection, January 1, 2012.
The top image was taken about thirty-seven years after the 1863 battle of Chancellorsville. Life had begun to assume a feeling of normalcy at this once hotly contested intersection. The Chancellor house, which had been destroyed during the fighting, was rebuilt, but would survive just another twenty-seven years until it would be, yet again, consumed by fire.
One hundred and twelve years have gone by since these dogs sniffed about the muddied road, always dutiful, always vigilant. Man's best friend. Tens of thousands of sunrises have crossed the landscape. Inside the house the day-to-day human dramas would unfold. Children would laugh and cry. Words were spoken in love and anger. Joy over births, and sorrow over deaths. The gamut of human emotions lived out within the walls, echoing in the hallways, until they were no more. Gnarled remnants of once great shade trees now sway in the winds. The surrounding fields that had provided generations of crops turned fallow and returned to grassland, yet no cattle graze today.
An eerie silence hangs in the air. The ghosts of over three thousand soldiers, killed near here, bide their time in eternity.