John G. Hurkamp and Andrew B. Adams... are hereby authorized to proceed to any front in the line of the road between here and Richmond... to inform the authorities of the Confederate Government of the evacuation of Fred'burg by the United States troops, and also to request the best offices of the Confederate Government on behalf of the Citizens of our Town, who are now incarcerated in the City of Washington, as Political prisoners. —From the Town Council meeting minutes of September 1, 1862
In early 1862, zealous local officials arrested several town residents who would not swear allegiance to the new Confederate government. They were subsequently sent to Richmond, to be incarcerated. In April of that year, these imprisoned Unionists came to the attention of Federal authorities when the Union army occupied Fredericksburg. In response, Secretary of War Edwin Stanton ordered the arrest of Fredericksburg's mayor, Montgomery Slaughter, and 18 other prominent citizens.
The Fredericksburg prisoners were held briefly at the Farmer's Bank, down the street at 900 Princess Anne Street. These citizens were then sent to Washington D.C., to be held in the Old Capitol Prison until the Unionist prisoners were released. This Federal action had the desired effect when townspeople petitioned their Confederate government
to help solve the problem they had created. The Union army moved on to campaigns elsewhere, but an exchange of hostages finally came about in September.
This corner plaza provided by the Fredericksburg Baptist Church.
Panel design by Jackson Foster, The I.D.Entity
The Fredericksburg Baptist Church sustained battle damage during the Civil War, as revealed in this 1864 photo. The brick house on the left edge of the photo stood on this corner.
Reverend William F. Broaddus (left) was pastor of the Fredericksburg Baptist Church during the Civil War. Montgomery Slaughter (right) was the wartime mayor and lived in a house on the corner property directly in front of you (the dwelling was damaged during the war and replaced in 1878). They were two of the citizens arrested and imprisoned for several months in Washington D.C.
The Old Capitol Prison was initially a Washington D.C. boarding house. After British troops sacked the city during the War of 1812, it served as the nation's capitol building, hence its name. It became a holding facility for temporary prisoners during the Civil War. The U.S. Supreme Court sits on the site today.