Optional Tour, George Washington’s Stomping Ground: Fredericksburg in the 18th Century Led by Edward G. Lengel and Bruce M. Venter
Description: Long before the 1862 battle, Fredericksburg was a bustling tobacco port on the Rappahannock River. George Washington’s life was very much a part of Fredericksburg’s early history.
Our tour will start at Ferry Farm, Washington’s boyhood across the river. A newly reconstructed farmhouse depicting his original home will be completed in time for our visit, so we’ll have a unique opportunity to see what life was like for the Washington family. Next we will visit Mary Ball Washington’s house in Fredericksburg. George’s mother was quite a character and had a significant impact on his life. Our final site will be Kenmore, a premier example of Georgian architecture owned by Washington’s sister, Betty and her husband, Col. Fielding Lewis who served as Commissary General of Munitions during the American Revolution. Very appropriately, across from Kenmore is a statue of Gen. Hugh Mercer, a Fredericksburg doctor who fought with Washington and died leading his brigade at Princeton, a current preservation project of the Civil War Trust’s Campaign 1776.
Please be sure to eat lunch prior to joining the tour.
Leadership at Chancellorsville A Staff Ride with Doug Douds
Description: This tour will do a study of the April 30 to May 3, 1863 fighting around the Chancellor house. Additional tour details coming soon.
This tour is a primarily walking tour. The walking will be simple, although participants should wear comfortable walking or hiking shoes and layers as we will be outside for most of the day.
Two Battles of Chancellorsville: 1863 and the modern preservation struggle with Robert K. Krick
Description: Departing from downtown Fredericksburg, on the way out of town we will drive past the restaurant where the APCWS was born 30 years ago; the house in which monthly board meetings were held in the early days; and the impressive bronze Hugh Mercer monument, honoring the Fredericksburg resident who died at Princeton, at a spot famously saved recently by CWT. Mercer in bronze is located right in front of the spectacular 18th-century home of George Washington’s sister, the scene of another important preservation dinner a quarter-century ago.
At Chancellorsville we will visit the Zoan Church ridge, the First Day's Field (owned by CWT), the McLaws Wedge (saved by CVBT), and the site of the last meeting between Lee and Jackson. Following the route of Jackson's famous flank march, we will stop at Catharine Furnace, then walk in a surviving trace of the original woods road that his troops followed. Stops at the location where Jackson launched his Flank Attack, and again opposite the Talley Farm, will celebrate the 1989 legislative victory that made its acquisition possible.
After box lunches at 18th-century Ellwood, the "Lacy House," we will walk out to the family cemetery and visit the grave of Jackson's arm, with unusual stories about three later excavations at the site.
Afternoon stops: the scene of Jackson's mortal wounding, adjacent to the modern park visitor center; the decisive artillery positions at Hazel Grove and Fairview; and Chancellorsville intersection and the ruins of Chancellor building.
The longest walk will cover about 3/4 of a mile, and no walks will cross terrain of any serious difficulty.
In-Depth Field Tour of the Brandy Station Battlefield with Clark B. “Bud” Hall
During this tour--the pristine site of America's largest cavalry battle and the opening engagement venue of the Gettysburg Campaign--we will of course visit well-known locales on the battlefield to include, Fleetwood Hill, Buford's Knoll, and St. James Church. We will also foray, however, to seldom-visited battle sites that are not open to the public. In other words, this is truly a one-of-a-kind tour and our Color Bearers will be treated to a battlefield adventure that will prove memorable, indeed.
Our tour will involve moderate walking over uneven terrain and slight elevations will be negotiated. Strong footwear is suggested, as are long-sleeve shirts and sturdy pants. Hats are recommended. Please bring rain apparel.
War So Terrible (Times Two): 1st and 2nd Fredericksburg with Frank O’Reilly
Description: Fredericksburg is truly unique in the Civil War. Unlike other communities that witnessed the white-heat explosion of battle for a moment, Fredericksburg saw the war linger on its doorstep for almost eighteen months; and it witnessed not one battle in Fredericksburg, but two. In December 1862 Robert E. Lee achieved his most resounding victory at the expense of Ambrose E. Burnside, embarrassing Abraham Lincoln and jeopardizing the Emancipation Proclamation. It was an odd mix of new innovative military tactics and anachronistic old practices. Six months later, the armies returned to fight a second battle in conjunction with the momentous clash at Chancellorsville in May 1863. This time, Confederate strengths became weaknesses, and wiser Federals exploited the moment to win where their predecessors had said it was impossible.
We will examine the highlights of both the Battle of Fredericksburg and the Second Battle of Fredericksburg, seeing what worked for both armies, what didn’t, and what they had to change to make it work one way or the other. We will see the site of the Upper Pontoon Crossing where America’s first riverine assault under fire, and first beachhead established under fire, occurred. We will see an area of intense urban combat, and then we will tour the last open attack field at Fredericksburg: the Slaughter Pen Farm. Entering the Confederate lines, we will look at where Burnside’s Federals made a temporary breakthrough on Stonewall Jackson’s front, and then examine the legendary Sunken Road and Stone Wall. Switching gears, we will look at the Second Battle of Fredericksburg atop Marye’s Heights, including ground not open to the public around the Marye mansion, Brompton. We will also tour the Union breakthrough on the campus of the University of Mary Washington, and see Lee’s Hill, where the general confessed, “It is well that war is so terrible, or we would grow too fond of it.”
A Town's Ordeal: The Bombardment, the Crossing, and the Looting of Fredericksburg with John Hennessy
Description: In Fredericksburg, in December 1862, the military and civilian worlds collided in dramatic, destructive form. This tour will explore the site of the upper pontoon crossing, look at the Union bombardment that came in response to Confederate resistance at the crossing sites, and follow Union troops during the dramatic crossing and passage into the town. We will explore the scene of the first significant street fighting in US history and then look in detail at the looting of the town by the Union army—the acts of the soldiers, the ordeal of the civilians, the reaction of the Confederates, and the painful legacy of Fredericksburg's most difficult days.
Clash of Titans: Lee and Grant in the Wilderness with Donald Pfanz
Description: When the Army of the Potomac crossed the Rapidan River on May 4, 1864, it inaugurated six weeks of brutal combat between Generals Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee, the war's two greatest generals. Soldiers on both sides expected heavy losses, and that is what they got. In just two days of combat in the tangled thickets of the Wilderness, the two armies combined amassed an estimated 30,000 casualties. But it was the fires ignited by the fighting rather than the casualty totals that most haunted men's memories. As one Confederate soldier recalled, the "dense volumes of smoke, mingled with the pungent smell of burnt powder, rendered the movements of the troops difficult, while the noise of battle raging in that dense thicket, scarcely drowned the shrieks of the wounded as the spreading fire of the underbrush and leaves caught them. The demon of destruction was in the very air."
The tour will include stops at General Gouverneur K. Warren's headquarters, Ellwood; Saunders Field, where the fighting began; the Tapp field, where Lee attempted to personally lead his troops into battle; the site of James Longstreet's wounding on Orange Plank Road; and the Brock Road intersection, where the outcome of the battle ultimately was decided.