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

Slaughter Pen Farm

Into the Field

 
 
Into the Field Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 25, 2009
1. Into the Field Marker
Inscription. You are standing near the center of the most successful Union attack at the Battle of Fredericksburg. Two Union divisions, Gen. George G. Meade's on your left and Gen. John Gibbon's on your right, advanced into this field and soon encountered the "Virginia ditch fence" visible on your right and left. The ditch fences, dug by farmers to divide their fields and to promote drainage, were much steeper, deeper, and wider during the battle. Union soldiers scrambled across this and other obstacles however they could.

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."
- "Ben," Pee Dee (South Carolina) Artillery, CSA

"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
Civil War Preservation Trust image. Click for more information.
2. Civil War Preservation Trust
Help preservation like the Slaughter Pen Farm.
Click for more information.
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.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 38° 15.753′ N, 77° 26.565′ W. Marker is near Fredericksburg, Virginia, in Spotsylvania County. Marker can be reached from Tidewater Trail (U.S. 17), on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. 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. Marker is in this post office area: Fredericksburg VA 22408, United States of America.
 
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 feet away); a different marker also named Battle of Fredericksburg (about 800 feet away); a different marker also named The Slaughter Pen Farm
Close Up of the Battle Map image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 25, 2009
3. Close Up of the Battle Map
The north seeking arrow points to the lower right.
(approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named Slaughter Pen Farm (approx. 0.2 miles away); Colonial Fort (approx. mile away); a different marker also named Slaughter Pen Farm (approx. mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Fredericksburg.
 
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
Second Wayside on the Slaughter Pen Farm Trail image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 25, 2009
4. Second Wayside on the Slaughter Pen Farm Trail
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.) 
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Looking Southeast Down the Virginia Ditch Fence Today image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 25, 2009
5. Looking Southeast Down the Virginia Ditch Fence Today
The Northwest Leg of the Fence image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 25, 2009
6. The Northwest Leg of the Fence
This side of the fence appears more a barrier to passage, perhaps due to contrast with the surrounding corn.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 26, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,031 times since then and 57 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.
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