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Two armies faced each other in winter camps across the Rappahannock River. The fighting in December had gone very badly for the Union as they tried to take the Confederate position at Marye’s Heights. Friends and sometimes family had been killed, and the Southern town of Fredericksburg was largely left in ruins.
For months, these two enemy armies went about their business on opposite sides of the river. During those long days and nights, they weren’t firing cannons anymore, but they were sending out volleys of music to lift their soldiers’ spirits. Each side had its patriotic songs. Often they had the same tune but different words, and each side would sing and cheer their own bands.
On those winter nights, they might close with a special tune. One that everyone sang the same words to: “Home, Sweet Home.”
Fifty members of the Patawomeck tribe will recreate one of their villages at the library. On the front lawn, you’ll smell venison and fish roasting on an open fire, hear live Patawomeck music, explore a longhouse, sit in a 13-foot canoe, and see Patawomeck dancing. You and your family can pound cornmeal, play Indian football, play drums, and meet a Pocahontas reenactor. Inside the theatre, you’ll see artifacts that are 10,000 years old, learn how regalia is made, hear Patawomeck storytelling, watch a movie, and make crafts.
Save the date: Saturday, August 5, from 9:00-3:00 at Headquarters Library. This event will be cancelled if there is rain.
On May 29, 2005, a public dedication ceremony was held at the Richard Kirkland Monument, adjacent to the newly restored Sunken Road. Workers spent months burying power lines, removing pavement, and restoring the stone wall. All of this recreated the look and feel of what became one of the bloodiest pieces of ground in the Civil War.
Fredericksburg rises from the fall line of the Rappahannock River. Its natural hills are generally considered to be just part of the scenic landscape. Wealthy townspeople, such as the Willis and Marye families, built their mansions on the heights. Before the Civil War, the scenery was pleasant but otherwise unremarkable.
From a Scottish port to colonial Fredericksburg to the royal courts of France and Russia, the little man who famously refused to give up the fight was perfectly at home in both cottages and elegant salons, but he was always eager to set sail for adventure and glory.
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We are so lucky to live in a state with such a rich and long history! We have a number of books on Virginia including its history.
Before the Creeks Ran Red by Carolyn Reeder
Through the eyes of three different boys, three linked novellas explore the tumultuous times beginning with the secession of South Carolina and leading up to the first major battle of the Civil War. (catalog summary)
Blood on the River: Jamestown 1607 by Elisa Lynn Carbone
Traveling to the New World in 1606 as the page to Captain John Smith, twelve-year-old orphan Samuel Collier settles in the new colony of Jamestown, where he must quickly learn to distinguish between friend and foe. (catalog summary)
By Fredericksburg Area Tourism Department
The spirit of the past still lives in Fredericksburg, Virginia. George Washington's footsteps seem to echo on the paths and streets of his hometown. The voices of Thomas Jefferson and other colonial leaders seem to resound through the Rising Sun Tavern.
For more than two hundred years, this Spotsylvania farm has stood as a witness to Virginia history. Originally carved from land given to colonial Governor Alexander Spotswood, Ellwood willingly hosted two armies-that of the Marquis de Lafayette during the Revolutionary War and General Robert E. Lee during the Battle of Chancellorsville in 1863. However, in 1864, during the Battle of the Wilderness, Ellwood became the headquarters for Generals Gouverneur K. Warren and Ambrose E. Burnside. General Grant took his position a few hundred yards away from the house, at a spot still called Grant's Knoll.
From The Fredericksburg News, Thursday, January 10, 1878
THE ICE HARVEST is a large one, and the business activity of the past few days to gather it in, has been a stirring scene on our wintry streets. Men and horses, waggons and carts, have improved the fleeting hours in the most rapid manner and the rumble of wheels over the icy ground has been unceasing from morning till night. Mr. A. P. Rowe's pond has furnished a large amount of excellent ice, about five inches thick, and all the Ice houses in town and country will be filled with this indispensable luxury, of home production this Season.
With Google's now infamous detailed photos, it's rather easy to see how a town is laid out today. But what about 50, 100, or 150 years ago? Where are the maps that show how the towns and counties grew through the years? One excellent source of information is the Sanborn fire insurance maps.