Fredericksburg, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
The “Demon of Destruction”
Had the demon of destruction held an orgie in the town, had all the imps of hell been called together and turned loose upon the city, it could scarcely have been more blasted, ruined and desecrated than when left by the Yankee army.”
—A correspondent of the Charleston Courier, December 16, 1862
It started with shelling from 140 Union guns on the morning of December 11, 1862—two days before the Battle of Fredericksburg. Whizzing shell fragments, tumbling bricks, and raging fires engulfed the town. “Nothing in war can exceed the horror of that hour,” wrote one Mississippian. Most civilians fled; those who remained huddled in basements.
Then came Union soldiers…thousands of them. While awaiting orders to attack Marye’s Heights, they looted homes and ransacked businesses. By battle’s end, one of Virginia’s oldest cities was a shambles.
Between the shelling and the looting, few buildings in Fredericksburg escaped damage. These shell-ravaged homes stood at the intersection of Hanover and George Street.
(Caption for picture in lower right) ”Our troops…stole [or destroyed] everything they could lay their hands on…Beautiful pictures, books, jewelry, ladies dresses, silverware, and all kinds of household furniture. Every house was completely
—Lt. Tully McCrea, U.S. Artillery, December 1862
Erected by Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, National Park Service.
Location. 38° 18.137′ N, 77° 27.594′ W. Marker is in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Marker is at the intersection of Princess Anne Street and George Street, on the left when traveling south on Princess Anne Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 815 Princess Anne St, Fredericksburg VA 22401, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 10 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Courthouse ( here, next to this marker); A Vast Hospital ( here, next to this marker); War Comes to Fredericksburg ( here, next to this marker); Gen. Stonewall Jackson ( a few steps from this marker); Clara Barton ( within shouting distance of this marker); Corporation Court House ( within shouting distance of this marker); Site of Barton House ( within shouting distance of this marker); The Market Square ( about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Second Town Hall / Market House ( about 300 feet away); Fredericksburg United Methodist Church ( about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Fredericksburg.
Also see . . . Ravaged Town. Another marker about Fredericksburg's destruction during the Civil War. (Submitted on September 19, 2007, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.)
Categories. • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 19, 2007, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,548 times since then and 62 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on September 19, 2007, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia. 4. submitted on December 14, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 5. submitted on December 15, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.