Friday, December 28, 2012

Here's The Problem...

Where to begin with this project? Well, let's start with the basics.

One of the biggest challenges to be overcome is the fact that Nashville today no longer looks like it did in 1864. A century and a half of development has seen to that. Sometimes the changes are relatively minor. For example, here's a view taken sometime around 1885 by a cameraman at Glendale Park, standing near the center of the second day's battlefield (I'd love to know whose little cabin that is in the middle distance):

Now here's roughly the same scene, taken about a year ago:

As you can see, apart from being a bit more suburban, the landscape hasn't changed much. The cabins are bigger, however.

On the other hand, some changes are far more dramatic. Here's one of the few "on the spot" action sketches of the battle, made by an artist for Harper's Weekly in 1864. The scene shows the storming of Redoubt No. 3 on the first day of the battle:

Now here's the scene today at the corner of Hillsboro Road and Woodmont Boulevard. The angle isn't perfect -- the fort that was the center of everyone's attention was on the rise of ground to the left of the photograph:

I wonder how many people drive over that spot every day and have no idea what happened there 148 years ago. The aim of this project is to strip away some of this urban sprawl and allow their ghosts to speak once more. And speaking of ghosts, there are some remarkable reminders of this landscape still with us today. More on that to come.

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