Where 100,000 Fell
Because of the immense amount of fighting that occurred here, the Fredericksburg area has been called the vortex of the Civil War. Four major battles - Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House - resulting in approximately 100,000 casualties, took place within twenty miles of the town. The Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park administers these battlefields and three related sites: Chatham, Salem Church and the Stonewall Jackson Shrine.
A 100-mile trail following the movements of the Union and Confederate armies from Wilderness to Petersburg begins at Germanna Ford, 20 miles west of Fredericksburg on State Route 3. Interpreted Civil War sites in Stafford County include Aquia Landing and Potomac Creek Bridge. For more information about these sites, inquire at the Fredericksburg City Visitor Center or at the Fredericksburg Battlefield Visitor Center on Lafayette Boulevard.
(Dec. 11-13, 1862): Brave but fruitless Union assaults against a formidable Confederate defense resulted in Robert E. Lee's most decisive victory.
(April 27-May 6, 1863): Lee wins the greatest victory of his career but loses Stonewall Jackson, who is mortally wounded in the fighting.
(May 5-6, 1864): The first head-to-head confrontation between Grant and Lee.
(May 8-21, 1864): Approximately 30,000 men are casualties in two weeks of desperate fighting, climaxing in the struggle for the "Bloody Angle."
: This 18th-century plantation house overlooking the Rappahannock River became a headquarters and hospital for the Union army in two major campaigns.
: This house of worship, whose name means "peace," became the center of fighting in the 1863 Chancellorsville Campaign.
Stonewall Jackson Shrine
: In this small building, Gen. Stonewall Jackson died on May 10, 1863, eight days after he was wounded at Chancellorsville.
: The river landing was the site of an early military action and later became a major supply base for Union armies fighting near Fredericksburg.
Potomac Creek Bridge
: Union engineers constructed a 400-foot railroad bridge across this gorge in nine days using what Lincoln facetiously termed "beanpoles and cornstalks."
Fredericksburg City Dock
: Union troops fought their way across the Rappahannock River on Dec. 11, 1862, and constructed a pontoon bridge at the site.
: Union cavalry splashed across the Rapidan on May 4 in the opening move of the 1864 Overland Campaign.
: Union and Confederate cavalry vied for control of this important intersection on May 7, 1864.
: Union troops overcame Confederate resistance on May 8, 1864, and pushed on toward Spotsylvania Court House.
Spotsylvania Court House
: Many of this town's antebellum buildings still survive despite fierce fighting nearby.
: Timothy O'Sullivan photographed Gens. U.S. Grant and George Meade here on May 21, 1864, as the Union army began its march toward the North Anna River.
Guinea Station Road
: Many fine antebellum homes still grace this road, which was used by Stonewall Jackson's ambulance in 1863 and by Union forces in 1864.