this historic building was built by george washington's brother charles around 1760. charles washington's home was converted into a tavern in 1792. some famous patrons of the rising sun tavern were thomas jefferson, john paul jones, james madison and george mason. general george washington hosted his "great reception" at the rising sun tavern after his victory over the british at yorktown. today the rising sun tavern is a museum on early american life. the rising sun tavern is listed on the national register of historic places.
this beautiful georgian mansion was built by william fitzhugh between 1768 and 1771. fitzhugh owned a 1,280 acre plantation with over 100 slaves. chatham manor was named after william pitt, the earl of chatham. in 1805 there was a slave revolt at the plantation and an armed posse was sent to chatham to put down the rebellion. one slave was executed and a number of slaves were deported to islands in the caribbean. in 1806 fitzhugh sold the plantation to major churchill jones, a former officer in the continenal army. in 1862 chatham was occupied by the union and was the headquarters of union general irwin mc dowell and later general ambrose burnside. during the battle of fredericksburg chatham manor served as a union hospital. chatham manor is listed on the national register of historic places.
dr. hugh mercer opened a pharmacy in fredericksburg in the mid 18 th century. hugh mercer served with general george washington in the revolutionary war. mercer was killed in the battle of princeton in 1777. today the apothecary is a museum on the life of hugh mercer and 18 th century medical treatments. the hugh mercer apothecary is listed on the national register of historic places.
on may 3 rd 1863 union general john swedgwick was ordered to again cross the rappahannock and take marye's heights. marye's heights were defended by the forces of confederate general jubal a. early. after a fierce hand to hand battle at a stone wall at the base of marye's heights the union forced the confederates to withdrawl to the west and southwest of fredericksburg. after the capture of marye's heights sedgwick was ordered west to chancellorsville.
fredericksburg national cemetery is located on marye's heights in the fredericksburg national battlefield park. this cemetery is the final resting place of union soldiers killed in the battle of federicksburg.
the fredericksburg confederate cemetery was established by the ladies memorial association in 1867. six confederate generals and 3,300 confederate soldiers are inturned here. many of those buried in the confederate cemetery were reinturned from battle sites in the fredericksburg area. the monument in the center of the cemetery was erected in 1884.
after the capture of marye's heights union general john sedgwick moved west on plank road (VA 3) in the direction of chancellorsville. the confederates under the command of cadmus w. wilcox met sedgwick at salem church. after several attacks from both sides sedgwick's forces were forced to withdrawl north back over the rappahannock to the union camp at falmouth virginia. the battle of salem church was an important confederate victory in the second battle of fredericksburg.
after the battle of antietam the army of confederate general robert e. lee withdrew back to virginia. union president abraham lincoln appointed general ambrose burnside to attack the confederates at fredericksburg. burnside's plan was to cross the rappahannock river into downtown fredericksburg using pontoon boats. there was a delay in shipping the pontoon boats to fredericksburg which gave general lee time to set up defenses to the west of town. on december 10 th 1862 union forces crossed the rappahannock and met the forces of general james longstreet. for two days there was fierce urban fighting in downtown fredericksburg. the union captured the town on december 13 th and proceeded to loot the town. the behavior of union troops outraged general lee who compared their actions with those of ancient vandals. a day later lee ordered a counter attack on the union occupiers.
prospect hill was a confederate defensive position just west of downtown fredericksburg. from this point the confederate artillery could shell union positions in downtown fredericksburg. general ambrose burnside ordered generals george meade, abner doubleday, and john reynolds to take the position. after a day long battle the forces of confederate generals a. p. hill and william taliferro held the hill and the union forces had to withdraw back into fredericksburg.
the battle of fredericksburg visitor center is a must first stop for a tour of the fredericksburg, chancellorsville, wilderness, and spotsylvania courthouse battlefields. here you can also get information on the thomas jackson shrine. at the visitor center you can get maps of the battlefields and a ranger guided tour of portions of the fredericksburg battlefield. the driving tour of all of the battlefields in the fredericksburg area takes a full day. for serious students of these battles you can easily spend a week here. for those interested in civil war history this is a must see stop in central virginia.
general robert e. lee's headquarters during the first battle of fredericksburg is located between marye's heights and prospect hill just west of downtown fredericksburg. it was here that general lee, general jackson, and general stuart planned the counter attack on the union occupiers of fredericksburg.
marye's heights was the site of fierce fighting in both the first and second battle of fredericksburg. during the first battle of fredericksburg union general ambrose burnside ordered general william french to take this confederate position. french failed to take the hill and general oliver howard was ordered to take command from french. howard failed to take the position and was replaced by general samuel sturges. sturges also failed to take the hill and was replaced by general charles griffin. by this time the union had lost over 5,000 men in this battle and burnside finally gave up. this major confederate victory was the last battle in the first battle of fredericksburg. that night burnside withdrew across the rappahannock and the union did not return to fredericksburg until may 1863.
located near prospect hill is the meade pyramid. this 23 ft. tall granite pyramid was built by the confederate memorial literary society in 1897. this pyramid was modeled after the confederate memorial pyramid at hollywood cemertery in richmond. ironically this confederate memorial is named after a union general.
howiston hill is located between marye's heights and prospect hill near general lee's headquarters. from this position heavy seige guns could send 30 pound shells into union positions in fredericksburg over a mile away.
the fredricksburg train depot was an important transportation hub for both the union and confederacy during the civil war. the current frederickburg train station was built in 1910 by the richmond, fredericksburg, and potomac railroad. today the station has been modernized and is a amtrak stop between the cities of richmond and washington dc. for those interested in railroad history the fredericksburg train station is worth a look when in downtown fredericksburg.