Fredericksburg - Slaughter Pen Painting

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The True Battle for Fredericksburg

On December 13, 1862, Federal troops marched across muddy farm fields south of Fredericksburg.  This main assault of the Battle of Fredericksburg struck a weak point in the Confederate line, touching off a seesaw battle that raged from the wooded slopes of Prospect Hill and across the shell-swept plain of what is now known as Slaughter Pen Farm.  By the end of the day, more than 9,000 Americans had become casualties in one of the worst Union defeats of the Civil War.

For decades, visitors to the Fredericksburg battlefield focused on the lopsided assaults on the Sunken Road at Marye’s Heights, all but forgetting the fighting on the southern end of the field, where the Confederates suffered the majority of their casualties and where six medals of honor were won.  The Slaughter Pen Farm—scene of the most vicious hand-to-hand combat of the battle—remained in private hands.  That changed in 2006, when the Civil War Trust purchased 208 acres of the Slaughter Pen Farm.  The price—a staggering $12 million—made it the largest transaction the Trust had ever undertaken, but well worth the cost when weighed against the historical significance of this hallowed ground.  

Since then, the Civil War Trust has relied on devoted members like you to help us meet our annual commitment to keep this vital piece of American history protected for future generations.  Help us preserve the memory of those brave Americans who sacrificed so much by helping save the Slaughter Pen Farm.

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