On the morning of December 13, 1862, Union troops under General. William B. Franklin advanced across the open fields south of Fredericksburg and toward a range of heights held by General Stonewall Jackson’s Confederates. The ensuing battle was intense. General. George Meade’s Pennsylvania Reserves punched a hole in the Confederate line, only to be violently shoved back across the fields. Both sides poured reinforcements into the surging melee, resulting in frightful losses. When the seesaw fighting ended, Jackson still held the high ground and roughly 9,000 men, North and South, had become casualties on the southern end of the battlefield, including what is now known as the Slaughter Pen Farm.
Longtime supporters of the Civil War Trust, well-acquainted with the Battle of Fredericksburg, know that the Trust acquired the 208-acre Slaughter Pen Farm in 2006—the largest private sector land preservation effort in American history. Now, we have the opportunity to add to the number of acres saved at Fredericksburg by saving an additional 25 acres on this crucial southern portion of the battlefield. This land, which is adjacent to the National Park, was the scene of serious action on December 13, 1862, notably when a portion of Meade’s Pennsylvania Reserves advanced across it in the assault that pierced the Confederate line. Combined with our ongoing effort to ensure the preservation of the Slaughter Pen Farm, this represents a significant chance to save an important piece of American history.