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

Landmark in the Wilderness

 
 
Landmark in the Wilderness Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, February 16, 2008
1. Landmark in the Wilderness Marker
Inscription. The building complex known collectively as Wilderness Tavern appeared in the early 19th century to serve the needs of travellers. Located on either side of the Fredericksburg-Orange Turnpike, the original roadbed of which survives today as the private dirt driveway to your right, Wilderness Tavern served meals, provided lodging, and included tailor's and blacksmith's shops and a store. The main buildings were two-story frame structures that sat on the north side of the Turnpike, in the modern-day Route 3 median strip.

The demise of a once-thriving gold mining industry in the Wilderness and competition from railroads and the Orange Plank Road diverted patrons from the Wilderness Tavern. In 1859, William and Rebecca Simms purchased the property containing 200 acres and operated a substantial farm here with the help of ten slaves and several free laborers.

Wilderness Tavern witnessed several important events during the Civil War. On May 3, 1863, while Confederate soldiers were aligning in battle formation two miles to your left, surgeons prepared to receive the wounded from the impending attack. A field hospital, consisting of area buildings supplemented with army tents, treated wounded from the Battle of Chancellorsville. An estimated 3,000 wounded were cared for on the Wilderness Tavern grounds. During the night of May 2,
Markers in front of the Tavern Outbuilding Ruins image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain
2. Markers in front of the Tavern Outbuilding Ruins
1863, Lt. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson arrived here in an ambulance and early the next morning doctors amputated his left arm at a field hospital near the Tavern.

The following May, the Army of the Potomac filled the fields around Wilderness with their encampments and rushed from here into the two-day Battle of the Wilderness. The Tavern Buildings themselves, except for this dependency which may have been a store or living quarters, were destroyed during the Civil War and no trace of them remain today.
 
Location. 38° 19.48′ N, 77° 43.372′ W. Marker is near Spotsylvania, Virginia, in Spotsylvania County. Marker is on Germanna Highway (State Highway 3), on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Spotsylvania VA 22551, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Old Wilderness Tavern (here, next to this marker); Jackson’s Amputation (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Orange County / Spotsylvania County (approx. 0.3 miles away); The Campaign of 1781 (approx. half a mile away); A Military Scene (approx. 0.6 miles away); Union Headquarters (approx. 0.6 miles away); Archeology at Ellwood (approx. 0.6 miles away); Ellwood (approx. 0.6 miles away).
 
Also see . . .
Ruins of the Old Wilderness Tavern image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, February 16, 2008
3. Ruins of the Old Wilderness Tavern
 Wilderness Battlefield. National Park Service site. (Submitted on May 1, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on May 1, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,123 times since then and 30 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on May 1, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.
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