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Fredericksburg, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Willis Hill Cemetery

The Battle of Fredericksburg

 

— Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park —

 
Willis Hill Cemetery Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, May 25, 2008
1. Willis Hill Cemetery Marker
Inscription.  
"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 Southern regiment paused here before charging down the hill into the Sunken Road.

By the time the battle had ended, the cemetery was a wreck. Union artillery had scoured the hill, toppling the cemetery's red brick walls and shattering its headstones. Although the damage was later repaired, the scarred marble gateposts stand as reminders of the fury that once engulfed this peaceful spot.
 
Erected by National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Cemeteries & Burial SitesWar, US Civil. A significant historical year for this entry is 1865.
 
Location.
Willis Hill Cemetery Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, May 25, 2008
2. Willis Hill Cemetery Marker
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this page online
38° 17.635′ N, 77° 28.139′ W. Marker is in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Marker is on Sunken Road, 0.1 miles north of Lafayette Boulevard (Virginia Highway 1), on the right when traveling south. Located on the Marye's Heights walking trail, which starts at the Fredericksburg battlefield visitor center. The Sunken Road is closed to vehicle traffic. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Fredericksburg VA 22401, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Fredericksburg National Cemetery (within shouting distance of this marker); 127th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry (within shouting distance of this marker); The Willis Hill Buildings (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Confederate Artillery (about 300 feet away); Fredericksburg Battlefield (about 400 feet away); Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park (about 400 feet away); Sunken Road Walking Trail (about 400 feet away); Andrew Atkinson Humphreys (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Fredericksburg.
 
More about this marker. On the left side of the marker The Willis Hill Cemetery is faintly visible in the background of this 1863 photograph taken from the Fredericksburg city waterfront. A black arrow indicates the location of the Willis Cemetery in the photo. The graveyard is the final resting place for members of the Carmichael, Willis, and Wellford families. On the center and right, a portrait of Robert Wellford and a silhouette of George Lewis are captioned, George Washington's nephew Major George W. Lewis (above [silhouette]) is buried here, as is Dr. Robert Wellford (left [portrait}), surgeon general of the United States Army during the 1794 Whiskey Rebellion.
 
Also see . . .  Marye's Heights Virtual Tour. National Park Service page. (Submitted on July 2, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
 
The Cemetery image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, May 25, 2008
3. The Cemetery
Photo taken through the front gate of the cemetery.
Willis Hill Cemetery Marble Gateposts image. Click for full size.
By Roger Reus, February 25, 2012
4. Willis Hill Cemetery Marble Gateposts
The marble gateposts at the entrance to the cemetery still show several dozen bullet holes and one clear cannonball strike.
Willis Hill Cemetery Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brandon Fletcher, July 19, 2008
5. Willis Hill Cemetery Marker
Close up of post struck by cannon ball
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on April 20, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 2, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 2,332 times since then and 62 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on July 2, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   4. submitted on February 26, 2012, by Roger Reus of Richmond, Virginia.   5. submitted on July 26, 2015, by Brandon Fletcher of Chattanooga, Tennessee.

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Oct. 22, 2021