Here’s another post about a historic site in Virginia! (There just are too many of those.) This one is about one of the most important battle sites of the American Civil War. Visiting Fredericksburg Battlefield in Fredericksburg, Virginia is simply a must-do for anyone looking to delve deeper into the fascinating story of the Civil War.
The Fredericksburg Battlefield is part of the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, a national park service unit encompassing no fewer than four separate battlefields in and around Fredericksburg. Those battlefields are located in Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Spotsylvania and Wilderness respectively. In addition, the park unit also includes four historic buildings. All are worth a visit. In this post, however, we will focus on visiting Fredericksburg Battlefield.
The Battle of Fredericksburg
The Battle of Fredericksburg is one of the most well-known battles of the Civil War. It took place on December 13, 1862. Starting with a series of assaults by the men under the command of Union General Burnside against the Confederate army of General Lee, which had a supremely better position on a hillside, the battle lasted no fewer than eight hours. As the Union troops repeatedly charged the hill, the Confederates pushed them back every single time. It became one of the absolute bloodiest battles of the entire war.
It also was arguably the most one-sided battle of the war, the Union men continuously charging, the Confederate soldiers always repelling the attacks. The Union lost more than three times as many men as the Confederacy. The total number of killed soldiers was a staggering 18,000. Over 85,000 men were wounded. It was rightly described as a “butchery.”
Visiting Fredericksburg Battlefield
The visitor center is located on 1013 Lafayette Boulevard in Fredericksburg. Visiting Fredericksburg Battlefield should always begin with a visit to this visitor center. Take a look around the exhibits and, definitely, make sure to catch the 20-minute movie about the battle. It is the perfect introduction.
Just outside the visitor center, there is a fine half-mile loop hike past a number of significant sites related to the battle. This loop takes in the Sunken Road, its stone walls and high position offering perfect cover for the Confederates during the battle. It runs past the photogenic Innis House and several information boards highlighting local people, war heroes, historic sites and troop movements. The trail loops back across Marye’s Heights and through the impressive Fredericksburg National Cemetery, the last resting place of more than 15,000 Union soldiers.
Visiting Fredericksburg Battlefield is fascinating, intriguing, humbling and exciting, all at the same time.
I recommend that you set aside two hours for this amazing historic site in Virginia. Afterward, hop back in your car and go for a drive on five-mile-long Lee Drive before heading to the other three battlefields in the area.