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Federal Breakthrough and Prospect Hill virtual tour by markers. Use the “First >>” button above to see these markers in sequence.
Virginia (Spotsylvania County), Fredericksburg — Bernard's Cabin Trail
This mile-long trail leads to the site of Bernard’s Cabins. On the eve of the Civil War, these cabins (now gone) were home to as many as thirty-five slaves. During the Battle of Fredericksburg, the Confederates turned the terrain surrounding the cabins into an important artillery position – the focal point of violent combat between dueling cannons. — Map (db m4115) HM
Virginia (Spotsylvania County), Fredericksburg — Riverside Plantation: MannsfieldThe Battle of Fredericksburg
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 . . . — Map (db m21771) HM
Virginia (Spotsylvania County), Fredericksburg — Bernard's CabinsThe Battle of Fredericksburg
On this knoll stood Bernard's Cabins, a small community that in 1860 was home to about three dozen slaves. The complex consisted of three two-room cabins, a stone-lined well, and perhaps two additional buildings. This was only one of several such clusters of slave housing scattered across the 1,800-acre "Mannsfield" estate. The men and women who lived here helped power the most prosperous plantation in the Fredericksburg area. Arthur Bernard's plantation house, "Mannsfield" (1766), stood about . . . — Map (db m7973) HM
Virginia (Spotsylvania County), Fredericksburg — Engines of DestructionThe Battle of Fredericksburg
On December 13, 1862, nine Confederate cannon on this knoll helped repulse one of two major Union attacks against Jackson's front. At noon, Union infantry crashed into the Confederate infantry line to your right-front. Captain Greenlee Davidson's cannoneers fired double rounds of canister at just 300 yards' range. "The Yankees broke ... and you never saw such a stampede in your life," Davidson wrote. Before and after this attack, Davidson's men engaged Union cannon in fierce duels. By day's . . . — Map (db m7975) HM
Virginia (Spotsylvania County), Fredericksburg — Death of Maxcy Gregg
General Maxcy Gregg fell mortally wounded near this spot on December 13, 1862. Fiery and uncompromising on the issues of slavery and states’ rights, the South Carolina lawyer had been an early and ardent proponent of secession. When war came, Gregg, like many pre-war politicians, sought a place at the head of his state’s troops. Having voted to take his state out of the Union, he was willing to fight – and die – to keep it out. When, at midday on December 13, Union troops broke . . . — Map (db m4092) HM
Virginia (Spotsylvania County), Fredericksburg — Union Breakthrough
At 1:30 p.m., little more than an hour after Union troops began their assaults on Marye’s Heights, Gen. George G. Meade’s division penetrated “Stonewall” Jackson’s line here at Prospect Hill. Meade’s 3,800 Pennsylvanians advanced toward a tongue of trees that extended beyond the railroad, 500 yards in front of you. Because the ground there was marshy and considered impassable, Jackson had covered the area with only a thin line of skirmishers. Meade’s men sloshed through the . . . — Map (db m4094) HM
Virginia (Spotsylvania County), Fredericksburg — A Southern Memorial
The cleared vista to the left offers a framed view of a 30-foot square, 23-foot high pyramid. It marks the left of the Northern penetration into Confederate lines on Dec. 13, 1862. Federal troops under Gen. George Meade took advantage of an unprotected marshy woodland 500 yards wide, which jutted beyond the railroad tracks. Although 4500 Federals surged through the defensive line, they were soon driven out, after sustaining 40 percent casualties. R. F. & P. railroadmen used unhewn Virginia . . . — Map (db m4090) HM
Virginia (Spotsylvania County), Fredericksburg — The Meade PyramidThe Battle of Fredericksburg
Usually thought of as a Union monument, the large pyramid in front of you was in fact erected by the Confederate Memorial Literary Society. In 1897, the society contacted Virginia railroad executives asking them to erect markers at historically significant sites along their lines. The president of the Richmond, Fredericksburg, and Potomac Railroad embraced the proposal, but rather than simply erected a sign, he constructed a stone pyramid modeled after the memorial to the unknown Confederate . . . — Map (db m7977) HM
Virginia (Spotsylvania County), Fredericksburg — JacksonOn the Field
Dec. 12 - 13, 1862. — Map (db m4085) HM
Virginia (Spotsylvania County), Fredericksburg — Fredericksburg Campaign
December 13, 1862. In these gunpits stood 14 cannon of Walker’s Artillery Battalion, guarding the right of the Confederate line. While the youthful Maj. John Pelham’s light and mobile horse artillery, about a mile to the front, daringly challenged the first Federal advance, these guns remained silent and concealed. In the next attacks, about 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., they cut great swaths in the Federal ranks, weakening Meade’s Division before it came to grips with the Confederate infantry. — Map (db m4087) HM
Virginia (Spotsylvania County), Fredericksburg — Fredericksburg Campaign
December 13, 1862. “Lee’s War Horse,” Longstreet, easily beat off repeated attacks against Marye’s Heights to the northward. Meanwhile, here in the Hamilton’s Crossing sector “Stonewall” Jackson had more trouble, but his defense in depth saved the day. The gallant thrust by Reynolds’ Corps failed because Union commanding general Burnside at the last minute ordered a small effort, though his officers had counseled a major attack. Lack of immediate and heavy support plus . . . — Map (db m4088) HM
Virginia (Spotsylvania County), Fredericksburg — Dead Horse HillThe Battle of Fredericksburg
The crescent-shaped earthworks in front of you protected the 14 guns of Lieutenant Colonel Reuben Lindsey Walker's artillery battalion, which held this position on December 13, 1862. Prior to the assault of Union infantry, artillery blanketed this hilltop with a savage fire. So many artillery horses perished in the bombardment that local residents nicknamed this ridge "Dead Horse Hill." During the bombardment, battery commander Captain Willie Pegram struggled to keep his men to their work. . . . — Map (db m21901) HM
Virginia (Spotsylvania County), Fredericksburg — Jackson Holds Prospect HillThe Battle of Fredericksburg
You are standing on the right of the Confederate army, held by Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson's corps on December 13, 1862. His 35,000 troops spread along a mile front - some in the woods, some in fields, some on ridgetops, some in swampy bottoms. In front lay the Richmond, Fredericksburg, and Potomac Railroad. Some of Jackson's troops used the railroad embankment as a ready-made earthwork. As dawn broke on December 13, fog obscured the Union army maneuvering on the plain beyond the railroad, . . . — Map (db m21916) HM
Virginia (Spotsylvania County), Fredericksburg — Hamilton's Crossing
This trail leads 0.2 miles to Hamilton’s Crossing on the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad. Named for Captain George Hamilton whos home, “Forest Hill,” once stood on a nearby knoll. Hamilton’s Crossing marks the intersection of the historic Mine Road with the railroad. The small depot became a major Confederate railhead in November 1862. Union artillery located across the Rappahannock River could fire upon the tracks immediately south of Fredericksburg, so trains . . . — Map (db m4086) HM
Virginia (Spotsylvania County), Fredericksburg — Hamilton's CrossingThe Battle of Fredericksburg
This footpath leads to the site of Hamilton's Crossing, a critical supply base for Confederate troops camped near Fredericksburg during the winter of 1862-63. Prior to the Civil War, Hamilton's Crossing had been merely a flag-stop on the Richmond, Fredericksburg, and Potomac Railroad line. But once Union troops occupied Stafford County, the trains could no longer run safely into Fredericksburg. Hamilton's Crossing, four miles south of the town, became the new railhead. After the December 1862 . . . — Map (db m21797) HM
Virginia (Spotsylvania County), Fredericksburg — Fredericksburg Campaign
December 13, 1862. This is Hamilton's Crossing, the crossing of the Old Mine Road over the Richmond, Fredericksburg, and Potomac Railroad. Since the railroad was threatened from here to Fredericksburg by long range Federal cannon, Hamilton's Crossing became the railhead in the winter of 1862-63. A Confederate village of supply tents and sheds grew up at this point. Jackson's reserves lay along the Mine Road during the battle of 1862, and from this area his corps marched toward Chancellorsville on April 30, 1863. — Map (db m8865) HM
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