Thursday, January 5, 2017

Salem Church - One of the Civil War’s Lost Battlefields

  Energy lawyer Duke Ligon of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, owns and manages operations at Mekusukey Oil Company, LLC. His extensive service on other boards of directors in his field has given him an in-depth knowledge of his industry. In addition, Duke Ligon supports his alma mater, the University of Texas School of Law, and a wide range of nonprofits, including the Civil War Trust in Washington, DC.

The Civil War Trust works primarily to restore and maintain the nation’s Civil War battlefields as sites of historic importance. The United States Congress has estimated that fully one-fifth of the battlefields from that era have already been lost due to poorly planned development. The trust offers the example of Salem Church in Virginia as a site almost destroyed by urban sprawl.

Salem Church represents an often-neglected chapter in the story of the Battle of Chancellorsville. In early May 1863, the church was the scene of intense fighting, as Confederate sharpshooters fired on approaching Union troops through its windows. The marks of Union bullets are still visible on the church’s facade near the upper gallery.

The church itself, along with monuments to the 15th and 23rd New Jersey Volunteer Infantry troops who fought there, is all that remains to testify to the battle. The surrounding expanse of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park honors the troops of the Battles of Chancellorsville, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, and the Wilderness, one of the bloodiest regions of the conflict.

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