Parks and Battlefields in Spotsylvania County
There are many opportunities to experience Civil War history in all corners of Spotsylvania County. The Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park is made up of a collection of Civil War historical sites governed by the National Park Service. These sites include Chatham Manor (Falmouth), Chancellorsville Battlefield, Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, Battle of the Wilderness, Fredericksburg Battlefield (Battle of Salem Church), and the Stonewall Jackson Shrine.
There were 36 Union Napoleon Guns commanded by Captain Clermont Livingston Best at Fairview on May 3, 1863. They were dueling with 40 Confederate cannons (directly forward of this artillery position) under the command of Colonel Edward Porter Alexander at Hazel Grove about 1,200 yards to the west along current day Stuart Drive. This artillery position gave Confederate General J. E. B. Stuart the ability to reach General Hooker’s Headquarters (about 2,000 yards from Hazel Grove) with cannon-shot. Eventually the battery fire at Hazel Grove struck the Chancellor House with ‘Fighting Joe’ Hooker standing on the porch. The artillery round knocked the Commander of the Army of the Potomac out of action and was a decisive moment of the Battle at Chancellorsville.
Click here for 173 photographs of Chancellorsville Battlefield.
Fredericksburg Battlefield features a visitor center with displays and presentations which map the action of both Confederate and Union forces. There are many interpretive markers along the Confederate defensive line on the Sunken Road, Marye’s Heights, Lee’s Hill (exhibit shelter), and Lee Drive.
The Second Battle of Fredericksburg was part of the Chancellorsville Campaign. Confederate General Robert E. Lee left Major General Jubal A. Early to protect the supply lines of the Army of Northern Virginia to the south at Guinea Station. He was also ordered to watch the movement of Union forces in Fredericksburg commanded by Major General John Sedgwick. If Sedgwick attempted to move his force west to reinforce the main body of the Army of the Potomac commanded by Major General Joseph Hooker, Early was to block the advance and fight delaying actions while General Lee and “Stonewall” Jackson divided forces at Chancellorsville to conduct an attack from two directions. This led to the Battle of Salem Church which successfully drove Union forces north and forced the crossing of the Rappahannock River and left General Hooker without additional troops.
Click here for 131 photographs of Fredericksburg Battlefield.
Spotsylvania Courthouse Battlefield
Spotsylvania County was under siege during the Battle of Fredericksburg, the Chancellorsville Campaign, and the Battle of the Wilderness, and Battle of Spotsylvania Court House during the Overland Campaign. During May 1864 Ulysses S. Grant serving as general-in-chief of all Union Armies, directed the actions of the Army of the Potomac (commanded by Major General George G. Meade) at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House. Confederate General Lee earned the nickname ‘The Ace of Spades’ in Spotsylvania as he ordered the Army of Northern Virginia to construct defensive earthworks to fight the attempts by the Union Army of the Potomac to capture Richmond and force the surrender of General Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia.
Click here for 86 photographs of Spotsylvania Court House Battlefield.
The Battle of the Wilderness was the first engagement of the Overland Campaign of 1864. There were several opportunities for Confederate forces to drive the Union Army of the Potomac from the battlefield and force a retreat to Culpeper. But incidents like the accidental shooting of Lieutenant General James Longstreet turned a possible victory into the continued Union advance to capture the city of Richmond. We have put together a complete album of photographs covering the Wilderness Battlefield. There pictures cover the entire battlefield including the below areas:
Click here for 99 photographs of Wilderness Battlefield.
Stonewall Jackson Shrine
The “Stonewall” Jackson Shrine is the plantation office building owned by Thomas Coleman Chandler. His 740-acre plantation named “Fairfield” was a busy plantation before the Battle of Fredericksburg (December 13, 1862). All buildings have been lost by fire and time except for the simple wood frame structure used as a farm office. The office has a few items in storage when Jackson’s ambulance arrived after a 27-mile trip from a field hospital just west of the Lacy House (Ellwood Manor) on present day Wilderness Battlefield. General “Stonewall” Jackson’s doctor, Hunter McGuire, and staff officers where offered the manor house but chose the quiet outbuilding as the best place for rest after the long ambulance ride. The immediate plan was for the general to stabilize and then board a train at Guinea Station only a few hundred yards away and transfer him to Richmond to better facilities and care.
Lake Anna State Park
Lake Anna State Park has a beach, fishing pond (accessible to children and the disabled), bathhouse and concessions, boat launch, camping, picnic sites, camping cabins, and two-bedroom cabins (7 with lake views) available for visitors. The park has many hiking, biking and horseback riding options using 15 miles of scenic trails. The visitor center has exhibits tracing the history of area gold mining and natural features, and gold panning programs and guided tours of the Goodwin Gold Mine are visitor favorites. Lake Anna is a 13,000 acre lake, and Lake Anna State Park is spread across 2,810 acres with 10 miles of lake frontage. Lake Anna activities include boating, fishing, wake boarding, skiing, tubing, hiking, wildlife watching, fine dining, and wine tasting events at Lake Anna Winery.
Spotsylvania County Parks
There are several parks managed by Spotsylvania County Parks and Recreation. The most recent is Patriot Park featuring the Ron Rosner Family YMCA of Spotsylvania County which is part of Rappahannock Area YMCA Inc.
Community parks managed by the Spotsylvania County Parks and Recreation Commission are listed below:
Spotsylvania County Reservoirs and Recreational Areas
Hunting Run Recreational Area: 9701 Elys Ford Road Fredericksburg, Virginia 22407
Motts Run Reservoir: 6600 River Road Fredericksburg, Virginia 22407
Ni River Recreational Area: 10516 Gordon Boulevard Fredericksburg, Virginia 22407
Click here for 130 photographs of Spotsylvania County.
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