White Oak in Stafford County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
White Oak Church
"Seems to Have Belonged to some Former Age"
With the arrival of the Army of the Potomac in November 1862, White Oak Church instantly became the center of one of the largest communities in Virginia. For seven months, 20,000 soldiers of the VI Corps camped in the immediate area. During that time the church served alternately as a military hospital, a United States Christian Commission station, and as a photographic studio. Fifty-two soldiers who died during the encampment were buried on the church grounds. Their bodies were later moved to Fredericksburg National Cemetery.
This church has become historical. It has been the center of our operations for some time.”
- Captain William H. Hick, 1st New Jersey Cavalry
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 38° 18.05′ N, 77° 22.529′ W. Marker is in White Oak, Virginia, in Stafford County. Marker is on Newton Road near White Oak Road (Virginia Route 218), on the left when traveling north. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 985 White Oak Road, Fredericksburg VA 22405, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. 6th Corps Encampment (a few steps from this marker); Bethlehem Primitive Baptist Church (approx. 1.1 miles away); Gen. Hooker's Headquarters (approx. 2.4 miles away); Union Army Ninth Corps (approx. 2.9 miles away); Lincoln Review (approx. 3.1 miles away); Little Falls (approx. 3.2 miles away); Cavalry Review (approx. 3.3 miles away); Stafford County / King George County (approx. 3.3 miles away).
More about this marker. In the upper center of the marker is a drawing by Artist John Hope, who "painted this view of the Second Vermont Volunteers camp near White Oak Church. During the cold winter months, thousands died of disease. Most were buried in temporary cemeteries like the one that appears in the lower right foreground of the painting."
In the lower left is a sketch of Union formations in the White Oak area, "With the approach of spring, drilling and military parades became daily affairs. John G. Keyser penned this sketch of the Third New Jersey Volunteers drilling in the fields below White Oak Church. The church appears on the ridge in the center of the picture."
In the lower right is a picture of the church, discussing how, "U.S. Christian commission delegates occupied White Oak Church during the early months of 1863. In addition to distributing testaments to soldiers, the delegates conducted worship services and prayer meetings in the building. “Meetings are now held in the church every evening…and well attended,” wrote one soldier."
1. The Union Winter Encampment
Headstone of the 107th New York
Following the Battle of Fredericksburg, the Union army sprawled across Stafford County, turning this rural community into a virtual city. Thousands of crude wooden huts peppered the landscape, miles of new roads crisscrossed the county, and virtually every tree within miles of the camps came down for fuel or shelter. By mid-1863, Stafford County had been transformed.
Though the health and morale of the Union army improved dramatically that winter, death still stalked the camps. Hundreds succumbed to illness and disease, and across the county makeshift cemeteries popped up. This headstone (in Chatham Manor, see accompanying picture below) once marked the graves of members of the 107th New York Infantry, which camped near Stafford Court House. It is likely that most of the men once buried under this headstone are now interred in the Fredericksburg Cemetery.
The grave yard of the regiment was in a beautiful spot. It was on a knoll close to the river bank, and was shaded by two great trees…. The graves were all in exact rows, and in the centre of the ground was an extra stone, upon which Lieut. Dennison, with exquisite taste, had placed
- From a regimental reunion speech, 1872.
The 107th New York camped in Stafford County at Hope Landing, about 15 miles north of here (Chatham), during the winter of 1862-63. The hardships and exposure associated with soldier life caused an appalling amount of sickness in the regiment. This old marker (displayed in Chatham Manor) stood among the graves of those who succumbed. Shortly after the Civil War, the remains of 22 soldiers originally buried at Hope Landing were permanently laid to rest in the Fredericksburg National Cemetery.
Text in this comment is from an interpretive display located in the Chatham Manor and as shown in the picture below.
Categories. • Cemeteries & Burial Sites • Churches, Etc. • Military • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia. This page has been viewed 2,596 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on , by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia. 7. submitted on , by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.