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Sunken Road and Marye's Heights Virtual Tour by Markers Use the “First >>” button above to see these markers in sequence.
Virginia, Fredericksburg — E 44 — Battles of Fredericksburg
During the First and Second Battles of Fredericksburg, the Confederates occupied Marye’s Heights, a defensive position enhanced by a sunken road and stone wall on the eastern slope. On 13 Dec. 1862, during the first battle, Lt. Gen. James Longstreet’s Confederate corps withstood attempts by Union Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker’s and Maj. Gen. Edwin V. Sumner’s Grand Divisions to take the heights. During the second battle (Chancellorsville campaign), on 3 May 1863, Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick’s Union . . . — Map (db m1672) HM
Virginia, Fredericksburg — Sunken Road Walking Trail — The Battle of Fredericksburg
On December 13, 1862, Union troops poured out of Fredericksburg to attack Confederate forces behind the town. The heaviest blows fell here at Marye's Heights. For eight hours Union troops repeatedly charged the heights only to be slaughtered by the volleys of Confederate riflemen occupying a sunken road at the base of the hill. This half-mile trail takes you down the Sunken Road, then climbs the hill and comes back along Marye's Heights, concluding at the National Cemetery. Those not wishing . . . — Map (db m8830) HM
Virginia, Fredericksburg — Field of Battle — The Battle of Fredericksburg
This photograph, taken from the heights to your right-rear, shows the landscape in front of you as it appeared the year after the Battle of Fredericksburg. The town of Fredericksburg sits atop the ridge in the distance; the spire of St. George's Episcopal Church dominates the skyline (and it still does). Before the war, much of the open ground in this view had been Fredericksburg's fairgrounds. Fences that once enclosed them and sheds that once dotted the fairgrounds were swept away during . . . — Map (db m8847) HM
Virginia, Fredericksburg — The Union Attacks Begin — The Battle of Fredericksburg
In 1862 the ground in front of you was an open plain stretching from here to the outskirts of Fredericksburg, one-half mile away. As Union troops left the town to attack Marye's Heights, they had to break ranks to cross a canal ditch, then knock down fences on an old fairground. For the last 300-400 yards of their advance toward the Sunken Road, they were virtually without cover. Eighteen Union brigades - more than 30,000 men - successively swept across the field. For eight hours the killing . . . — Map (db m8502) HM
Virginia, Fredericksburg — The Confederate Line — The Battle of Fredericksburg
You are now standing beside the Sunken Road, part of a heavily used 19th-century road system that linked Washington, D.C. and Richmond. In 1862, Confederate riflemen fired from the road upon line after line of Union troops advancing across open fields to your left. (Houses constructed early last century now cover most of these fields.) A waist-high stone wall protected the Confederate riflemen; Union troops had no such protection. To your right is Marye's Heights. Nine guns of the Washington . . . — Map (db m8510) HM
Virginia, Fredericksburg — Thomas R. R. Cobb — The Battle of Fredericksburg
The monument across the road marks the spot where General Thomas R. R. Cobb suffered a mortal wound. A brilliant Constitutional lawyer prior to the war, he left his practice to take up arms for the South. At Fredericksburg Cobb fought his first battle as a brigadier general in command of a Georgia brigade. He was determined to do well. When told before the battle that he must fall back if the troops on his left gave way, Cobb growled, "Well! If they wait for me to fall back, they will wait a . . . — Map (db m8522) HM
Virginia, Fredericksburg — The Stephens House — The Battle of Fredericksburg
The foundation outlined before you marks the wartime home of Edward and Martha Stephens. On December 13, 1862, the house was caught in the vortex of Union attacks against the Sunken Road. Confederate sharpshooters fired from the house windows and roof. The Union artillery shell that killed General Thomas Cobb passed through the house before exploding. Legend holds that Martha Stephens, unlike most local residents, remained in her house throughout the battle. She purportedly made repeated, . . . — Map (db m8550) HM
Virginia, Fredericksburg — Stephens Family Cemetery — The Battle of Fredericksburg
Buried here are eight members of the Innis, Mazeen, and Stephens families, including the most famous of them all: Martha Stephens. Local children knew Martha Stephens as "Granny." They also remembered her ever-present apron, the pipe often clenched in her teeth, and her matronly form. But Martha Stephens was no typical "Granny." At the time when women rarely owned property, she owned no fewer than seven tracts, including a 92-acre farm in Spotsylvania County. For a time, she ran a saloon in . . . — Map (db m8568) HM
Virginia, Fredericksburg — Innis House — The Battle of Fredericksburg
This frame building, known as the Innis (or "Ennis") house, stands as a mute witness to the terrible combat that engulfed this spot. Located along the Confederate line of battle, the small structure was marred by soldier graffiti and perforated by bullets and shell fragments. Confederate General Lafayette McLaws wrote that the house "had no space as large as two hands on it that had not been pierced." Although the family replaced the exterior clapboards, you can still see bullet marks on one . . . — Map (db m8569) HM
Virginia, Fredericksburg — Brompton — The Battle of Fredericksburg
The house and grounds are not open to the public. "The pillars of the porch...were speckled with the marks of bullets. Shells and shot had made sad havoc with the walls and the woodwork inside. The windows were shivered, the partitions torn to pieces, and the doors perforated." Traveler John T. Trowbridge, September 1865 A home, a headquarters, and a hospital: each of these terms accurately describes "Brompton," the large brick house one the hill above you. Built around 1824, the . . . — Map (db m8635) HM
Virginia, Fredericksburg — Fredericksburg Campaign
December 13, 1862. The Washington Artillery of New Orleans was posted around the Marye House here on Marye's Heights. Col. J. B. Walton, the commanding officer, had his headquarters in the house. This unit and Alexander's Reserve Battalion, which relieved it during the afternoon, helped hurl back seven Federal charges. On May 3, 1863, Sedgwick's Federal VI Corps, attempting to join Hooker at Chancellorsville, successfully stormed these heights, only to be defeated at Salem Church, four miles . . . — Map (db m8636) HM
Virginia, Fredericksburg — Original Wall — The Battle of Fredericksburg
Standing here you can clearly see how the Sunken Road got its name. Cut into the base of Marye's Heights, the roadbed sits several feet below the grade of the surrounding hill slope. Stone retaining walls on either side of the road hold the banks in place. When the Confederate army arrived here in November 1862, it found a ready-made breastwork behind which to fight. At the time of the battle, the stone wall stretched for more than 500 yards along the eastern (left) side of the road. After . . . — Map (db m8638) HM
Virginia, Fredericksburg — The Ebert House and Store — The Battle of Fredericksburg
You could smell the gingerbread and candy when you went into the store. It was utterly quiet, the only noise was the ticking of a clock...and an elderly lady knitting and rocking. A local resident On this corner stood the home of the Ebert family, Henry and Sophia Ebert emigrated from Prussia in the 1840s, joining a growing and prospering community of German entrepreneurs in Fredericksburg. The Eberts opened a small grocery store in their home on this corner, catering to travelers . . . — Map (db m8640) HM
Virginia, Fredericksburg — Angel of Marye's Heights — The Battle of Fredericksburg
While the Civil War entailed immense destruction and tragedy, it did not always engender hate. For two days following the battle, wounded Union soldiers, caught between the lines, cried out for water. Though exposure to enemy fire even for a moment meant almost certain death, Sergeant Richard R. Kirkland of the 2nd South Carolina Volunteers tried to help. Filling several canteens with water, the young Confederate stepped over the stone wall to care for his wounded enemies. When Union soldiers . . . — Map (db m8661) HM
Virginia, Fredericksburg — Kirkland Monument
In memoriam • Richard Rowland Kirkland • Co. G, 2nd South Carolina Volunteers • C.S.A. At the risk of his life, this American soldier of sublime compassion, brought water to his wounded foes at Fredericksburg. The fighting men on both sides of the line called him “The Angel of Marye’s Heights.” Born Kershaw County, S.C., August, 1843 • Sergeant at Fredericksburg, December 1962 • Lieutenant at Gettysburg, July, 1863 • Killed in action at Chickamauga, September 1863. . . . — Map (db m1150) HM
Virginia, Fredericksburg — The Killing Fields — The Battle of Fredericksburg
This view, taken a mile behind you, shows the vast open space in front of Marye's Heights only months after the December 1862 battle. Union troops crossed the plain between the town (in the foreground) and Marye's Heights. Some attackers advanced to within about 80 yards of the Sunken Road, and a few got as close as 40 yards. More than 7,500 Union troops fell killed or wounded in the span of the photograph, on the ground just behind you. The photograph shows clearly both the stark nature of . . . — Map (db m8663) HM
Virginia, Fredericksburg — Battle of Fredericksburg
December 13, 1862 the Confederates under Lee defeated the Federals under Burnside in a sanguinary conflict marked by extraordinary bravery on both sides. In a series of gallant charges the Federal army sustained heavy losses and Burnside was forced to recross the Rappahannock. — Map (db m4762) HM
Virginia, Fredericksburg — Confederates on the Ridge — The Battle of Fredericksburg
"What chance had flesh and blood to carry by storm such a position, garrisoned too as it was with veteran soldiers? Not one chance in a million." Alexander Hunter, 17th Virginia Infantry. At noon, December 13, 1862, the first of nine Union divisions poured out of Fredericksburg to attack a Georgia brigade that occupied the Sunken Road below you. "How beautifully they came on!" wrote an admiring Southerner. "Their bright bayonets glistening in the sunlight made the line look like a huge . . . — Map (db m8689) HM
Virginia, Fredericksburg — Confederate Artillery — The Battle of Fredericksburg
Artillery was an effective weapon, particularly when used in defensive combat. Nowhere was that demonstrated more clearly than here on Marye's Heights, where nine guns of the Washington Artillery shattered the ranks of the oncoming Union army. "The shells fell thick and fast, exploding with deafening roar right in our midst. Shattered, torn and bleeding, our column still pushed on," wrote one Union soldier. Toward sunset the Washington Artillery's ammunition ran low and the battalion retired . . . — Map (db m8690) HM
Virginia, Fredericksburg — The Willis Hill Buildings — The Battle of Fredericksburg
In December 1862 Confederate artillery on this hill rained shot and shell on attacking Union soldiers advancing out of Fredericksburg. Next to the guns was a small brick building, one of three that then occupied this part of the heights. "The little brick house, which was white at the beginning of the battle, was perfectly red with bullet-marks at its close," wrote one Confederate. "There was an odd cooking-stove in front of the house. The balls striking it kept up a perpetual 'bing, bing,' . . . — Map (db m8712) HM
Virginia, Fredericksburg — Willis Hill Cemetery — The Battle of Fredericksburg
"There is a private cemetery on the crest, surrounded by a brick wall. Burnside's artillery had not spared it. I looked over the wall, which was badly smashed in places, and saw the overthrown monuments and broken tombstones lying on the ground." John T. Trowbridge, 1865 This quiet hilltop graveyard, dating to the mid-eighteenth century, sheltered Confederate soldiers during the Battle of Fredericksburg. Medical personnel treated wounded soldiers behind its walls, and at least one . . . — Map (db m8718) HM
Virginia, Fredericksburg — Fredericksburg National Cemetery — The Battle of Fredericksburg
Approximately 20,000 soldiers died in this region during the Civil War, their remains scattered throughout the countryside in shallow, often unmarked, graves. In 1865 Congress established Fredericksburg National Cemetery as a final resting place for Union soldiers who died on area battlefields. Confederate soldiers were buried in cemeteries located at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania Court House. Work on Fredericksburg National Cemetery commenced in 1866 and was completed in 1869. Veterans . . . — Map (db m8740) HM
Virginia, Fredericksburg — Fredericksburg Campaign
December 13, 1862. On this ridge, called Marye's Heights, blazed the cannon of Col. J.B. Walton's Louisiana battalion, the Washington Artillery. Late in the day, out of ammunition, it yielded the post to Col. E.P. Alexander's Reserve Artillery. Gen. Robert Ransom's North Carolina infantrymen supported the guns and reinforced Cobb's Georgians and Kershaw's South Carolinians in the Sunken Road below. The open field of attack was raked "as with a fine-tooth comb," Alexander assured corps commander . . . — Map (db m8821) HM
Virginia, Fredericksburg — The Second Battle of Fredericksburg
Five months after the Battle of Fredericksburg the Union army finally captured Marye's Heights. On May 5, 1863, General John Sedgwick's Sixth Corps streamed out of Fredericksburg to attack this ridge. Twice Confederates on the Sunken Road repulsed the assaults, but on the third try Sedgwick's men triumphed. Charging up a ravine 500 yards to your left-front, the victorious Union soldiers swept across this plateau, capturing eight cannon, including two guns of Captain William W. Parker's battery, . . . — Map (db m8848) HM
Virginia, Fredericksburg — Parker's Battery
May 3, 1863 In this vicinity the men of Parker's Confederate Battery (the "Boy Company") under Lt. J. Thompson Brown fought two guns, twice gallantly assisting in repulsing the Union VI Corps before being outflanked and overwhelmed. — Map (db m8850) HM
Virginia, Fredericksburg — The Fifth Corps, Army of the Potomac
To commemorate the valor of the Fifth Corps, Army of the Potomac, and in loving memory of its heroic dead this monument has been erected by Major General Daniel Butterfield, U.S.V., its commander on this field December 13th 1862. Organized July 22, 1862, disbanded June 1, 1865. Casualties 35708. “Brave Companions Tried and True” — Commanders: Porter • Hooker • Butterfield • Meade • Sykes • Warren • Griffin. (List of Battles) Hanover . . . — Map (db m1677) HM
Virginia, Fredericksburg — 127th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry
. . . — Map (db m9089) HM
Virginia, Fredericksburg — Andrew Atkinson Humphreys
(Front): Erected by Pennsylvania to commemorate the charge of General Humphreys' Division Fifth Corps· On Marye's Heights Fredericksburg Virginia December·13·1862 134th 129th 126th 91st 131st 133rd 123rd 155th Penna · Vol · Inf Brigadier General Andrew Atkinson Humphreys Third Division·Fifth Army Corps (Left): First Brigade Brig·Gen·E·B·Tyler 134th Regiment Col·Edward O'Brien 129th Regiment Col·Jacob G· Frick 126th Regiment Col·Ames G· Elden Lt·Col·Watson Rowe 91st . . . — Map (db m8751) HM
Virginia, Fredericksburg — Col. Joseph A. Moesch83rd New York Volunteers — Ninth Regiment New York State Militia
(Front): In memory of Col. Joseph A. Moesch Killed at the Wilderness May 6, 1864 ——— Erected by Surviving Comrades (Rear): 83rd N.Y. Vol's ——— Ninth Regiment N.Y.S.M. -- N.G.S.N.Y. 2nd Brig. 2nd Div. 5th Corps. — Map (db m9092) HM
Virginia, Fredericksburg — The Sunken Road — The Battle of Fredericksburg
For 130 years, this was a road like thousands of others. First called the County Road, then Telegraph Road, it carried farmer's wagons into Fredericksburg or townsfolk to visit relatives in the country. During the 1830s an adjacent landowner built stone walls along the road as it passed below Marye's Heights and "Brompton," the home of John L. Marye. In the 1862 Battle of Fredericksburg, the road shed its former names and became simply the "Sunken Road," one of the most famous byways in . . . — Map (db m8854) HM
Virginia, Fredericksburg — Fredericksburg National Cemetery — The Battle of Fredericksburg
Approximately 20,000 soldiers died in this region during the Civil War, their remains scattered throughout the countryside in shallow, often unmarked, graves. In 1865 Congress established Fredericksburg National Cemetery as a final resting place for Union soldiers who died on area battlefields. Confederate soldiers were buried in cemeteries located at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania Court House. Work on Fredericksburg National Cemetery commenced in 1866 and was completed in 1869. Veterans . . . — Map (db m8851) HM
Virginia, Fredericksburg — Fredericksburg Campaign
With Richmond as his objective, Gen. Ambrose Burnside started the Federal Army of the Potomac from Warrenton on November 15, 1862. Forcing a crossing of the Rappahannock on December 11, he occupied Fredericksburg and the plain south of town along the river. Across that plain, on the morning of December 13, the Federals attacked Gen. “Stonewall” Jackson’s front in an unsuccessful attempt to break the Confederate right flank. Then, about noon, other Federal columns formed at the . . . — Map (db m4191) HM
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