Falmouth in Stafford County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park
— National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior —
Chatham has watched quietly over Fredericksburg for almost 250 years—an imposing, 180-foot-long brick manor house once visible from much of town. It has witnessed great events and played host to important people. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln were here; Clara Barton and Walt Whitman too. To some residents it was a home, to others a place of toil, and to soldiers during the war a headquarters or a hospital.
Here at Chatham, as at few other places, is the full breadth of Southern history: its rise on the foundation of slavery, its ruin during the turbulent years of the Civil War, and its rebirth in the 1900s. Chatham is not merely the story of a Southern house, but of American culture—sometimes cruel and unjust, sometimes noble and refined, but always interesting.
Erected by National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Colonial Era • War, US Civil.
Location. 38° 18.543′ N, 77° Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 101 Chatham Dr, Fredericksburg VA 22405, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Beyond the Big House (here, next to this marker); Chatham and the Civil War (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named Chatham (here, next to this marker); Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park (here, next to this marker); A Changed Landscape (within shouting distance of this marker); Sow...Tend...Harvest (within shouting distance of this marker); A “Picture of Desolation” (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Bombardment (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Falmouth.
More about this marker. On the top is a high angle photo of Chatham with the caption, “Today the original core of the plantation remains—three buildings largely in their original form. Around them stand buildings, gardens, and landscape improvements that date to the 1900s.”
On the lower left are paintings of the Fitzhughs with caption, “William Fitzhugh and his wife Ann Randolph Fitzhugh built Chatham in 1771. Fitzhugh knew George Washington well and supported the Revolution with spirit and funds (though not with service—he had lost an eye as a child). The Fitzhughs’ granddaughter later married Robert E. Lee.”
On the middle right is a Civil War era photo of Chatham with the caption, “The Union army used Chatham repeatedly during the war—as a hospital, a headquarters, and even as a stable. This image shows Chatham in 1863; the devastation is apparent.”
On the lower right are portraits of the Lacys with the caption, “James Horace Lacy and his wife Betty Churchill Jones Lacy owned Chatham during the Civil War. Lacy held more than 100 slaves and supported secession with the same fervor that Fitzhugh had supported the Revolution. The war devastated both Chatham and the Lacys’ fortune.”
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. This marker has replaced the linked marker.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 21, 2020. It was originally submitted on September 6, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 928 times since then and 17 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on September 6, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. 4. submitted on September 7, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.