Near Bellvue in Spotsylvania County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Slaughter Pen Farm
Into the Field
After Union troops crossed the ditch fences, converging Confederate artillery fire stopped them cold. The Federals laid down in the fields in front of you as Union cannons replied in kind. Both sides suffered heavy losses in men, horses, and equipment. When the fire was too hot for the men of one Confederate battery, its commander "wrapped his battle flag around him, walking up and down among his deserted guns" to shame his gunners back into position.
"The trees around our guns were literally torn to pieces and the ground plowed up. I have been several times covered with dirt, and had it knocked in my eyes and mouth."
"Being no breeze to carry away the smoke of our guns, the gunners on firing would quickly run to either flank to clear the great volume of smoke hanging in front of their muzzles that they might see where their shells were going."
- Pvt. Bates Alexander. 7th Pennsylvania Reserves, USA
Erected 2009 by Civil War Preservation Trust and Virginia Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails series list.
Location. 38° 15.753′ N, 77° 26.565′ W. Marker is near Bellvue, Virginia, in Spotsylvania County. Marker can be reached from Tidewater Trail (U.S. 17), on the right when traveling south. Located on the Civil War Preservation Trust's Slaughter Pen Farm trail. Please obtain permission before entering the property. Call CWPT at (800) 298-7878. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Fredericksburg VA 22408, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named Slaughter Pen Farm (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); a different marker also named Slaughter Pen Farm (about 600 feet away); Battle of Fredericksburg (about 800 Battle of Fredericksburg (about 800 feet away); a different marker also named The Slaughter Pen Farm (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named Slaughter Pen Farm (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named Slaughter Pen Farm (approx. ¼ mile away); a different marker also named Slaughter Pen Farm (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bellvue.
More about this marker. In the lower center is a map depicting the unit positions in this stage of the battle. As the Union troops advanced into this field, terrain slowed them and Southern cannon fire brought them to a halt.
On the upper right is a wartime photo. "We blew up one of their caissons," remembered one Union soldier, "causing a cheer to break forth from our lines. But soon thereafter they blew up one of ours." This 1863 image was taken on Marye's Heights, a few miles to the north.
On the lower right is a portrait of Major John Pelham. Just prior to the Union assault, 24-year-old Confederate Major John Pelham advanced one cannon a mile to your left and wrought havoc on the Union lines. Dangerously exposed and outgunned, Pelham disrupted the Union attack for nearly an hour and emerged unscathed. Of Pelham's actions, Gen. Robert E. Lee said, "It is glorious to see such courage in one so young."
Also see . . . The Slaughter Pen Farm. Civil War Preservation Trust virtual tour of the Slaughter Pen Farm. (Submitted on July 26, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
Credits. This page was last revised on May 3, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 26, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,175 times since then and 31 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on July 26, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 2. submitted on July 26, 2009. 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on July 26, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 7. submitted on September 23, 2018, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.