A tour through the Stafford Region.
Allocate 4 1/2 hours for this tour. Strategically located midway between the capital of the Confederacy in Richmond and the U. S. capital in Washington, D. C., Fredericksburg was the scene of four of the most devastating battles of the Civil War. Nearly 110,000 casualties occurred in the Battles of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House. During the war, possession of the city changed hands seven times.
Fredericksburg Battlefield Visitor Center — See a film depicting the actions that took place in and around Fredericksburg. Museum exhibits portray a soldier’s life during the war, including camp life, religious life, food, medicine, amusements, uniforms and equipment, transportation, communications, and the impact of war on civilians. Also as park staff is available, opt for a short guided walk along Sunken Road. Here Confederate troops, securely positioned behind the famous stone wall, dispatched more than 8,000 Union soldiers during the Battle of Fredericksburg. The walk includes dwellings standing during the battle, a monument to the humanitarian acts of a Confederate soldier, and the National Cemetery where 15,000 Union soldiers are buried. Allow 90 minutes.
A five mile driving tour connects Marye’s Heights with Prospect Hill, the two areas fought over during the Battle of Fredericksburg. Along the way visitors have the opportunity to see remains of original Confederate earthworks, examine Civil War period cannons and learn how General Robert E. Lee had a close brush with death. At Lee’s command post atop Lee Hill, visitors can view the city and look at battle exhibits.
Chatham Manor — Chatham was an important Federal headquarters and communication center during the Battle of Fredericksburg. It was also a hospital where Walt Whitman and Clara Barton assisted the surgeons. Union artillery from this vicinity blasted the city to cover the engineers building the pontoon bridges. Allow 45 minutes.
Stafford Civil War Park — This park which opened in April 2013, is the site of 1863 winter encampments and fortifications of the Union Army’s 11th Corps, 1st and 3rd Divisions, following the December 1862 Battle of Fredericksburg. Many of the soldiers referred to the site and that winter, then and afterwards, as their “Valley Forge.” Over 3,500 soldiers died throughout Stafford County during that winter. Situated on 41 acres, park visitors can see and learn about Civil War era battery and winter hut site remains, a corduroy road, a late 18th and early 19th century sandstone quarry, and remnants of the 1660’s Potomac Church Road bed. Allow 90 minutes.