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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Fredericksburg in Spotsylvania County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Riverside Plantation: Mannsfield

The Battle of Fredericksburg

 
 
Riverside Plantation: Mannsfield Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, July 25, 2009
1. Riverside Plantation: Mannsfield Marker
Inscription. In 1862, the patterns of forest and field in this area reflected historic uses of local farmers. The woods around you were in fact a working part of the Mannsfield Plantation, owned by Arthur Bernard. They provided timber for construction, wood for fuel, and forage for roaming livestock. These woods were as much a part of local plantations as the farm fields themselves.

On larger plantations like Mannsfield, slaves often lived far removed from the "big house." One grouping of slave cabins for Mannsfield stood in a field just beyond these woods - about 400 yards in front of you. "Bernard's Cabins," as they were called, were an important landmark on December 12, 1862. Confederate artillery swarmed around the cabins. Union artillery promptly responded, ravaging the Confederate batteries and leaving the homes of Bernard's slaves a shambles, never to be rebuilt.

Follow the trail to the site of Bernard's slave cabins. Along the way you will follow a historic road trace and see Confederate earthworks and pre-war property ditches, likely built by slaves.
 
Erected 2009 by Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.
 
Location. 38° 15.23′ N, 77° 27.6′ W. Marker is near Fredericksburg, Virginia, in Spotsylvania County
Waysides at Bernard's Cabins Trailhead Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, July 25, 2009
2. Waysides at Bernard's Cabins Trailhead
. Marker is on Lee Drive, on the right when traveling west. Click for map. Marker is located along Lee Drive in the Fredericksburg-Spotyslvania Military Park. The most convenient access is from Lansdowne Road. Marker is in this post office area: Fredericksburg VA 22408, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Bernard's Cabin Trail (here, next to this marker); Bernard's Cabins (approx. half a mile away); Engines of Destruction (approx. half a mile away); Fredericksburg Campaign (approx. 0.6 miles away); Slaughter Pen Farm (approx. mile away); a different marker also named Slaughter Pen Farm (approx. 0.8 miles away); Death of Maxcy Gregg (approx. 0.9 miles away); Union Breakthrough (approx. 0.9 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Fredericksburg.
 
More about this marker. The background of the marker is a photo of slave cabins. No image remains of Bernard's slave cabins, but they likely looked much like these buildings, photographed not far from Fredericksburg after the war.
 
Also see . . .  Bernard's Cabins Trail. National Park Service page providing a "virtual tour" of the location. (Submitted on August 18, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
 
Categories. African AmericansAntebellum South, USWar, US Civil
 
Confederate Trenches Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, May 25, 2008
3. Confederate Trenches
In front of the markers is a line of Confederate earthwork trenches built before the battle.
Ditches or Trenches Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, May 25, 2008
4. Ditches or Trenches
Further along the trail is this line in the ground. This may be a trench dating to the battle, or a ditch as mentioned on the marker.
 

 
Credits. This page originally submitted on August 18, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,428 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on August 18, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.
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