Falmouth in Stafford County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
A Changed Landscape
Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park
— National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior —
The sketch below, done by a Union soldier, shows the landscape in front of you as it looked in 1863. During the Civil War, this was the rear of Chatham—a functional space unadorned with gardens or architectural finery. Union soldiers had cut down whatever trees stood here. Graves of men killed at Fredericksburg dotted the yard.
During the 1920s, Chatham’s owners moved the main entryway from the river side to the façade in front of you. They also moved the formal gardens to this side, hiring America’s foremost female landscape architect, Ellen Biddle Shipman, to design the new landscape.
Shipman, the daughter of a Civil War general, designed more than 650 gardens during her career, and many consider her work at Chatham to be among her best. Although Chatham’s last private owner made significant changes to the gardens, many of Shipman’s original design elements are still present: classical sculpture, pathways, the rose arbor, and parterre beds.
Erected 2010 by National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in Horticulture & Forestry • War, US Civil.
Location. 38° 18.545′ N, 77° 27.297′ W. Marker is in Falmouth, Virginia, in Stafford County. Marker can be reached from Chatham Drive near Chatham Heights Road. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 120 Chatham Lane, 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. Sow...Tend...Harvest (here, next to this marker); Beyond the Big House (within shouting distance of this marker); Chatham and the Civil War (within shouting distance of this marker); Chatham (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Chatham (within shouting distance of this marker); Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park (within shouting distance of this marker); A “Picture of Desolation” (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Bombardment (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Falmouth.
More about this marker. On the lower panel is a “Soldier sketch of east facade in 1863.” Cumberland County Historical Society, New Jersey
Also see . . . Ellen Biddle Shipman (1869-1950). The Cultural Landscape Foundation (Submitted on September 6, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
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 844 times since then and 22 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on September 6, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. 4, 5. submitted on September 7, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.