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Photographer's Note

Just two weeks ago I had posted a photo of the Fredericksburg Battlefield, with the leaves just assuming their golden hue, and preparing to fall. Here is the same road after a light snow, but the with the snow beginning to melt. Of course, what makes the scene, in an otherwise monochromatic image, is the red sign, “Road closed after dark.”

Fredericksburg, Virginia is the historical city in which George Washington, the first President of the United States, grew up, and where President Monroe lived and practiced law. Indeed, a circle of 60-miles radius, with Fredericksburg at the center, produced four of the first five Presidents of the United States. Besides Washington and Monroe, there were Jefferson, Madison; and the state itself produced a record eight of the nation's 43 presidents in its history. (The eighth and last was Woodrow Wilson.)

The city became historically prominent a second time, "four-score" years later, when, during the War Between the States (1861-1865), it changed hands between the Armies of the Union (Northern) and the Confederacy (Southern) a total of seven times.

The 11-km long roadway, with a continuous trench running alonside, comprises "Battlefied Park." The placid scene in the photograph belies the misery that visited the site on an exceptionally cold December day in 1862, when over a hundred thousand Confederate and Union troops faced each other. The Confederate Army led by General Robert E. Lee (and his right-hand man, General Stonewall Jackson) was victorious in this battle over the Union Army led by General Burnside.

Just five months later in early May 1863, the Battle of Chancellorsville (approximately 30 km to the west), was fought with the Confederate Army again victorious, but with Stonewall Jackson sustaining a mortal wound from 'friendly fire,' As everyone knows, the war ended in 1865 with the victory of the North, that preserved "the Union."

Finally, about that “Road closed after dark” sign, there are no illuminating lampposts on the long drive, but there are small pull-offs to stop and read historical markers. The signs are meant to discourage the area from becoming a lovers’ lane.

I shot this photo in January of 2004 with a Nikon N90, and just recently scanned the slide for the purpose of posting at TE.

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