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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Waverly Village in Spotsylvania County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Salem Church

 
 
Salem Church Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Kevin W., November 10, 2007
1. Salem Church Marker
Inscription. Spotsylvania Baptists built this church in 1844 and named it Salem, a Biblical word meaning peace. Two decades later, Salem Church was engulfed by war. Initially the church had just 29 members, but by 1859 the number had risen to 77, 20 of whom were black. Black worshippers entered the church through a separate door – still visible to your left – that led to a separate gallery. White members entered through the main entrance, women to the left, men to the right.

The Civil War wreaked havoc on Salem Church. Members returning in 1866 found bloodstained floors, bullet-scarred walls, and more than 100 bodies buried on the grounds. Undeterred, they refurbished the property and resumed worship services here. In time the church’s needs outgrew the building, and its members erected a new building next door. They donated the older structure to the National Park Service in 1961.

(Caption, main picture): Battle damage is still visible on the east wall, in front of you. A thunderbolt rather than a cannonball created the crack that appears in this 1884 image of Salem Church. This photo was taken about 200 feet to your right.

(Caption, upper right picture ): The Reverend Melzi Chancellor ministered to both Salem Church and Wilderness Baptist Church at the time of the war. His house, known
Salem Church Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Kevin W., November 10, 2007
2. Salem Church Marker
as Dowdall’s Tavern, sixe miles west of here, became a landmark on the Chancellorsville Battlefield.
 
Erected by Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, National Park Service.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Battlefield Trails - Civil War marker series.
 
Location. 38° 17.322′ N, 77° 31.853′ W. Marker is near Waverly Village, Virginia, in Spotsylvania County. Marker can be reached from Old Salem Church Road near Plank Road (Virginia Route 3). Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 4044 Plank Road, Fredericksburg VA 22407, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Old Salem Church (here, next to this marker); Refuge from Horror (within shouting distance of this marker); Churchyard to Battleground (within shouting distance of this marker); Sanctuaries in Spotsylvania (within shouting distance of this marker); For All Anguish – For Some Freedom (within shouting distance of this marker); The Battle of Salem Church (within shouting distance of this marker); From Church to Hospital
Battle Damage Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, November 10, 2007
3. Battle Damage
The black stars around the sides of the Church mark portions damaged during the battle or at other times during the Civil War.
(within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Battle of Salem Church (within shouting distance of this marker). Click for a list of all markers in Waverly Village.
 
Regarding Salem Church. Salem Church was an important landmark during the Chancellorsville Campaign, May-June 1863, culminating in a battle fought on the site on 3-4 May. While much of the battlefield has been covered with modern development, several markers and monuments stand to tell the story. These are linked on the Related Markers section below.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Virtual Tour by Markers of at Salem Church.
 
Also see . . .
1. Other Chancellorsville "Virtual Tour by Markers" Sets. (Submitted on November 12, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
2. Second Fredericksburg Battlefield Driving Tour. National Park Service guide. (Submitted on November 12, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 

3. Salem Church Walking Trail. National Park Service Guide (Submitted on November 12, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
 
Categories. African AmericansChurches, Etc.MilitaryWar, US Civil
 
Old Salem Church Photo, Click for full size
By Brandon Fletcher, July 18, 2008
4. Old Salem Church
 

 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,858 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.   3. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   4. submitted on , by Brandon Fletcher of Chattanooga, Tennessee. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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