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

Riverside Plantation: Mannsfield

The Battle of Fredericksburg


— Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park —

Riverside Plantation: Mannsfield Marker image. 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 National Park Service,
Waysides at Bernard's Cabins Trailhead image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 25, 2009
2. Waysides at Bernard's Cabins Trailhead
Click or scan to see
this page online
U.S. Department of the Interior.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansAgricultureAnimalsSettlements & SettlersWar, US Civil. A significant historical month for this entry is December 1898.
Location. 38° 15.23′ N, 77° 27.6′ W. Marker is near Bellvue, Virginia, in Spotsylvania County. Marker is on Lee Drive, on the right when traveling west. Marker is located along Lee Drive in the Fredericksburg-Spotyslvania Military Park. The most convenient access is from Lansdowne Road. 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. 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. ¾ 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). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bellvue.
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.) 
Confederate Trenches image. 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 image. 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 was last revised on May 3, 2020. It was originally submitted on August 18, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,885 times since then and 22 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on August 18, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.

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Apr. 11, 2021