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

White Oak Church

"Seems to Have Belonged to some Former Age"

White Oak Church Marker image. Click for full size.
By Kevin W., December 14, 2007
1. White Oak Church Marker
Inscription. Across the road stands White Oak Church, an important Civil War landmark during the winter of 1862-1863. Stafford County Baptist constructed the simple weatherboard structure sometime after 1789, later adding an attached shed with a separate entrance for African-American members of the congregation. A Union soldier described it disparagingly as a “miserable, insignificant structure, dilapidated and steepleless, and seems to have belonged to some former age. It looks,” he thought, “very much like some ancient horse shed and barn that may be seen in some of our less thriving villages.”

With the arrival of the Army of the Potomac in November 1862, White Oak Church instantly became the center of one of the largest communities in Virginia. For seven months, 20,000 soldiers of the VI Corps camped in the immediate area. During that time the church served alternately as a military hospital, a United States Christian Commission station, and as a photographic studio. Fifty-two soldiers who died during the encampment were buried on the church grounds. Their bodies were later moved to Fredericksburg National Cemetery.

This church has become historical. It has been the center of our operations for some time.”
- Captain William H. Hick,
White Oak Church and Marker image. Click for full size.
By Kevin W., December 14, 2007
2. White Oak Church and Marker
1st New Jersey Cavalry

Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 38° 18.05′ N, 77° 22.529′ W. Marker is in White Oak, Virginia, in Stafford County. Marker is on Newton Road near White Oak Road (Virginia Route 218), on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 985 White Oak Road, Fredericksburg VA 22405, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. 6th Corps Encampment (a few steps from this marker); Bethlehem Primitive Baptist Church (approx. 1.1 miles away); Gen. Hooker's Headquarters (approx. 2.4 miles away); Union Army Ninth Corps (approx. 2.9 miles away); Lincoln Review (approx. 3.1 miles away); Little Falls (approx. 3.2 miles away); Cavalry Review (approx. 3.3 miles away); Sherwood Forest (was approx. 3.3 miles away but has been reported missing. ).
More about this marker. In the upper center of the marker is a drawing by Artist John Hope, who "painted this view of the Second Vermont Volunteers camp near White Oak Church. During
White Oak Church image. Click for full size.
By Kevin W., December 14, 2007
3. White Oak Church
the cold winter months, thousands died of disease. Most were buried in temporary cemeteries like the one that appears in the lower right foreground of the painting."

In the lower left is a sketch of Union formations in the White Oak area, "With the approach of spring, drilling and military parades became daily affairs. John G. Keyser penned this sketch of the Third New Jersey Volunteers drilling in the fields below White Oak Church. The church appears on the ridge in the center of the picture."

In the lower right is a picture of the church, discussing how, "U.S. Christian commission delegates occupied White Oak Church during the early months of 1863. In addition to distributing testaments to soldiers, the delegates conducted worship services and prayer meetings in the building. “Meetings are now held in the church every evening…and well attended,” wrote one soldier."
Additional comments.
1. The Union Winter Encampment
Headstone of the 107th New York

Following the Battle of Fredericksburg, the Union army sprawled across Stafford County, turning this rural community into a virtual city. Thousands of crude wooden huts peppered the landscape, miles of new roads crisscrossed the county, and virtually every tree within miles
White Oak Church image. Click for full size.
By Kevin W., December 14, 2007
4. White Oak Church
of the camps came down for fuel or shelter. By mid-1863, Stafford County had been transformed.

Though the health and morale of the Union army improved dramatically that winter, death still stalked the camps. Hundreds succumbed to illness and disease, and across the county makeshift cemeteries popped up. This headstone (in Chatham Manor, see accompanying picture below) once marked the graves of members of the 107th New York Infantry, which camped near Stafford Court House. It is likely that most of the men once buried under this headstone are now interred in the Fredericksburg Cemetery.

The grave yard of the regiment was in a beautiful spot. It was on a knoll close to the river bank, and was shaded by two great trees…. The graves were all in exact rows, and in the centre of the ground was an extra stone, upon which Lieut. Dennison, with exquisite taste, had placed simply the words ‘107 N.Y.V., In Place Rest.’”
- From a regimental reunion speech, 1872.

The 107th New York camped in Stafford County at Hope Landing, about 15 miles north of here (Chatham), during the winter of 1862-63. The hardships and exposure associated with soldier life caused an appalling amount of sickness in the regiment. This old marker (displayed in Chatham Manor) stood among the graves of those
Closeup up of picture from Marker image. Click for full size.
By Kevin W., December 14, 2007
5. Closeup up of picture from Marker
who succumbed. Shortly after the Civil War, the remains of 22 soldiers originally buried at Hope Landing were permanently laid to rest in the Fredericksburg National Cemetery.

Text in this comment is from an interpretive display located in the Chatham Manor and as shown in the picture below.
    — Submitted January 18, 2008, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.

Categories. Cemeteries & Burial SitesChurches & ReligionMilitaryWar, US Civil
Virginia Historic Landmark Marker, on side of White Oak Church image. Click for full size.
By Kevin W., December 14, 2007
6. Virginia Historic Landmark Marker, on side of White Oak Church
White Oak Primitive Baptist Church has been registered as a Virginia Historic Landmark pursuant to the authority vested in the Virginia Board of Historic Resources.
Headstone for the 107th New York image. Click for full size.
August 18, 2007
7. Headstone for the 107th New York
The headstone and an interpretive marker are on display in Chatham Manor. Please see comments above to read the marker's text.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on December 16, 2007, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia. This page has been viewed 3,210 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on December 16, 2007, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.   7. submitted on January 18, 2008, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.
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