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BATTLEFIELD TRENCHES

Located on the border of the Northern (Union States) and Southern (Confederate) States, Fredericksburg, Virginia changed hands a total of seven times during battles of the Civil War (1861-’65). The Confederate States were fighting to break off, to secede, from the Union, and the Union Troops were fighting to stop their secession. Most people who think about the event now — laymen and scholars alike — regard it as a national tragedy in which families were divided, “brothers fighting against brothers.” Abraham Lincoln, who hailed from the midwestern State of Illinois, was the President of the United States during those war years, and is now recognized as being among the 3-4 greatest Presidents precisely because the North prevailed in the war, and the union was preserved.

On a bone-chilling week in December 1862, the Battle of Fredericksburg was fought, pitting over 100,000 Union and Confederate soldiers against each other. The hauntingly beautiful battlefield presents a poignant vision — of an area where thousands of young soldiers died.

My daily drive to work to teach my classes takes me through a 7-km stretch of the Fredericksburg Battlefield, with the trenches used by the Confederate troops running alongside the narrow meandering roadway. In the early morning it is the rising sun that strikes the trenches at a grazing angle and makes deep trenches of them, and in the late afternoons it is the setting sun in the west that recreates the effect. The time for this photo was 7:50 am on Friday March 20, and I was rushing to make an 8:00 am class. I shot the image with a Nikon D-70;18-70-mm lens, no filter, no tripod.

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Additional Photos by Bulent Atalay (batalay) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6003 W: 457 N: 10419] (34885)
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