Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania County Battlefields Memorial National Military Park Things to Do

  • mc coull house 1864
    mc coull house 1864
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  • new york and new jersey monuments
    new york and new jersey monuments
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  • site of harrison farm
    site of harrison farm
    by doug48

Most Recent Things to Do in Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania County Battlefields Memorial National Military Park

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    mc coull house site

    by doug48 Updated Jul 11, 2011

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    the mc coull house was built by neil mc coull in 1846. located near harrison farm it was in the center of the mule shoe salient. the mc could house was the scene of a confederate counterattack led by generals stephen ramsuer and junius daniel's north carolina brigades. the mc coull house was damaged during the battle and it's out buildings served as confederate hospitals. the mc coull house survived the civil war but was destroyed by fire in 1921.
    the mc coull house site is stop # 5 on the spotsylvania battlefield auto tour.

    mc coull house foundation mc coull house 1864 general junius daniel CSA general stephen ramsuer CSA
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    chancellorsville

    by doug48 Updated Jul 10, 2011

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    on the morning of may 3 rd 1863 at 5:30 AM the now combined forces of generals robert e. lee and j. e. b. stuart simultaneously attacked union positions around chancellorsville. generals stuart, robert rhodes, and henry heth attacked the union forces under general daniel sickles at fairview from the west. confederate general richard anderson attacked the union forces of henry slocum from the south. confederate general lafayette mc law attacked the union forces of darius couch from the east. near fredericksburg confederate general cadmus wilcox attacked the union forces of john sedgwick at salem church. early in the battle union commanding general joseph hooker was injured by a concussion when a cannon ball hit a wooden post that he was leaning against at his headquarters. the union defenses on all fronts were forced north of chancellorsville toward the rappahannock river. on may 4 th the forces of confederate general jubal a. early retook marye's heights in fredericksburg. on may 7 th general hooker withdrew all of his forces to the peninsula north of the york river. the battle of chancellorsville is considered robert e. lee's greatest victory in the civil war.

    confederate cannons at chancellorsville. general robert rodes CSA general henry heth CSA general richard anderson CSA general lafayette mc laws CSA
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    chancellor cemetery

    by doug48 Updated Jul 10, 2011

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    located at fairview is the chancellor family cemetery. this cemetery was established in 1812. during the battle of chancellorsville union solders were interned here but were later moved to the national cemetery in fredericksburg. today there are 25 headstones in the cemetery all dated after the civil war.

    chancellor cemetery chancellor cemetery
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    harrison farm

    by doug48 Updated Jul 10, 2011

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    behind the confederate lines of the mule shoe salient stood the harrison farm. prior to the battle of spotsylvania edgar harrison owned this small farm and eleven slaves. on the morning of may 12 th after union success at the bloody angle confederate general john gordon formed his division in harrison's field and began the counterattack on the upper and east face of the mule shoe. today you can still see the foundation of the harrison farm house.
    harrison farm is stop # 4 on the spotsylvania battlefiled auto tour.

    site of harrison farm harrison farm 1864 general john gordon CSA
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    the bloody angle

    by doug48 Updated Jul 10, 2011

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    on may 12 th union colonel emory upton attacked the forces of confederate general samuel mc gowan at a section of the mule shoe salient that became known as the bloody angle. the mule shoe was a bulge in the confederate defensive line that looked like a "mule shoe". both sides fought a fierce hand to hand battle here for almost twenty hours. this was the longest hand to hand battle in the civil war. pictured is the 15 th new jersey monument and the 49 th new york monument at the site of the bloody angle.
    the bloody angle is stop # 3 on the spotsylvania battlefield auto tour.

    new york and new jersey monuments union colonel emory upton general samuel mc gowan CSA confederate trenches at the bloody angle
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    mc laws trail

    by doug48 Updated Jul 7, 2011

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    on may 3 rd 1863 the confederate forces of general robert e. lee had the union surrounded on three sides. general stuart was attacking from the west. general anderson was attacking from the south, and general mc laws was attacking from the east. pictured is the area were confederate general lafayette mc laws attacked the forces of union general darius couch. for those who have the time there is walking trail of this site with several historic markers.
    mc laws trail is stop # 4 on the chancellorsville auto tour.

    mc laws trail general lafayette mc laws CSA union general darius couch
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    sedgwick monument

    by doug48 Updated Jul 6, 2011

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    on the night of may 8 th 1864 general gouveneur warren's V corps marched toward spotsylvania courthouse on and near brock road. around 8:00 AM on may 9 th general john sedgwick arrived at this spot to direct some minor redeployments of his troops. ignoring warnings from his chief of staff sedgwick walked around admonishing his troops to cease worring about occasional fire from confederate sharpshooters concealed in a wood line about 500 yards away. " i am ashamed of you dodging this way" scolded sedgwick to his troops. "they couldn't hit an elephant at this distance". shortly there after a bullet slamed into sedgwick face killing him almost instantly. general john sedgwick was the highest ranking union officer killed in the civil war.

    sedgwick monument union general john sedgwick
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    widow tapp's farm

    by doug48 Updated Jul 6, 2011

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    prior to the battle of the wilderness baylor tapp established a farm in the wilderness area of spotsylvania county. baylor tapp married catherine dempsey who after the death of her husband became known as widow tapp. the widow tapp farm was the site of confederate general robert e. lee's headquarters during the battle of the wilderness. catherine tapp's son james was a currier for general lee during the battle of the wilderness. at 4:45 AM may 6 th 1864 the forces of union generals winfield hancock and george getty attacked the forces of general a. p. hill from the east and the forces of union general james wadsworth attacked from the north. colonel william t. poague's artillery at the tapp farm delayed the union advance along with the forces of john gregg's texas brigade. by afternoon the forces of confederate general james longstreet began pushing the union back towards wilderness church. during this battle union general james wadsworth was killed and confederate general james longstreet was wounded.
    the widow tapp farm is stop # 6 on the wilderness battlefield auto tour.

    widow tapp farm union general james wadsworth union general winfield hancock general john gregg CSA general james longstreet CSA
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    saunders field

    by doug48 Updated Jul 6, 2011

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    the battle of saunders field was fought between may 5 th and 6 th 1864 between the forces of confederate general richard ewell and union general gouveneur warren. the battle of saunders field was one of the most horrific battles of the civil war. the confederate forces of generals richard ewell and a. p. hill attacked union positions held by generals warren and john sedgwick. the fighting was in the thick under brush of the wilderness. ignited by muzzel blasts fires erupted in the forest . hundreds of wounded soldiers from both sides were consumed by the flames. union lt. william patterson was awarded a congressional medal of honor for saving a fellow officer from certain death by being burned alive. picture two is an image of the horrific aftermath of this battle. saunders field is stop # 3 on the battlefield auto tour.

    saunders field incinerated soldiers at saunders field
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    doles salient

    by doug48 Updated Jul 6, 2011

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    located just past the exhibit shelter is upton road and doles salient. union colonel emory upton convinced general grant to allow him to lead a 5,000 man force to break the confederate defensive line at doles salient. confederate general george doles' line held and upton's charge failed.
    upton road is stop # 2 on the spotsylvania battlefield auto tour.

    confederate trenches at doles salient general george doles CSA colonel emory upton
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    spotsylvania exhibit shelter

    by doug48 Written Jul 6, 2011

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    the spotsylvania exhibit shelter is a good first stop on a tour of the spotsylvania courthouse battlefield. at the exhibit shelter you can see maps and get information on this important civil war battle. on weekends park rangers are on site to explain the battle.
    the spotsylvania exhibit shelter is stop # 1 on the spotsylvania battlefield tour.

    spotsylvania exhibit shelter
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    battle of todd's tavern

    by doug48 Written Jul 6, 2011

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    following the bloody but inconclusive battle of the wilderness union general grant disengaged from general robert e. lee's army of northern virginia and moved his army of the potomac southeast in the direction of spotsylvania courthouse. on may 7 th 1864 both armies were in a race to reach spotsylvania first. union general phillip sheridan met the forces of general fitzhugh lee at todd's tavern on brock road about half way between the wilderness and spotsylvania courthouse. a two day battle ensued ending in a draw. however the battle of todd's tavern allowed general lee to reach spotsylvania courthouse first and gave him time to set up defensive positions.

    site of todd todd union general phillip sheridan general fitzhugh lee CSA
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    site of the wounding of james longstreet

    by doug48 Updated Jul 6, 2011

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    may 6 th 1864 was the most successful day of confederate general james longstreet's military career. he arrived on the wilderness battlefield early in the day to find the confederate forces in full retreat and in danger of being destroyed. by midday longstreet launched a flank attack that repulsed the union advance. pictured is the site where longstreet and his staff inadvertently rode between two confederate lines that were maneuvering in the dense follage. confederate soldiers fired at longstreet's group thinking that they were union troops. a bullet struck longstreet in the thoat and another shot instantly killed his subordinate general micah jenkins. like thomas "stonewall" jackson a year before, longstreet was felled by "friendly fire". unlike jackson, longstreet would survive but he would lose the use of this right arm for life.
    the site of longstreet's wounding is stop # 7 on the wilderness battlefield auto tour.

    general james longstreet CSA general micah jenkins CSA
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    chewning farm

    by doug48 Updated Jul 5, 2011

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    the chewing farm was owned by william and permelia chewing. prior to the civil war chewing farm had twenty three slaves. permelia higgerson, the owner of nearby higgerson farm was one of chewing's daughters. on the morning of may 5 th union troops under the command of general samuel crawford emerged into this clearing moving towards parker's store on the orange plank road. the confederate forces were located nearby in positions on the orange plank road and the orange turnpike. confederate general a. p. hill's forces were located on the orange plank road but instead of attacking hill, crawford advanced toward the orange turnpike to attack the confederate forces of general richard ewell. later in the day a. p. hill captured this important defensive position. on may 6 th union general ambrose burnside was ordered to retake chewing farm but his forces were repulsed by the confederates.

    chewing farm union general samuel crawford general a. p. hill CSA general richard ewell CSA
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    higgerson farm

    by doug48 Updated Jul 5, 2011

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    the 157 acre higgerson farm was one of the few clearings in the dense woods of the wilderness. on the afternoon of may 5 th union troops crossed this field and trampled the widow higgerson's fence and garden. permelia higgerson berated the yankees and predicted their quick repulse. after a fierce battle in a swamp just east of the farm the union retreated back across this field. widow higgerson taunted them as they passed by her house.

    permelia higgerson was an interesting character in u.s. history. prior to the battle of the wilderness benjamin and permelia higgerson lived on this site with their four children and two slaves. in december 1862 they took in a sick confederate soldier and benjamin contracted small pox from him and died. on the onset of the battle of the wilderness most of the farmers in the area fled the advancing union army. the widow higgerson who was alone at the time was determined to protect her property. after the civil war permelia married william porter and had two children with him. searching for a better life the porters decided to move to st. louis. on the way to st. louis they stopped in parkersburg west virginia where william porter abandoned his family. he convinced permelia's 16 year old daughter jacquelina to leave with him and they returned to virginia. jacquelina became porter's common law wife. permelia and two of her sons continued west to new madrid missouri. at new madrid she established a store on the mississippi river called higgerson's landing. higgerson's store was flooded frequently and higgerson had to move to higher ground several times. despite permelia's many hardships she found happiness in new madrid and lived a long life surrounded by her children and grandchildren.
    the higgerson farm is stop # 4 on the wilderness battlefield auto tour.

    higgerson farm higgerson farm house circa 1930
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