Fredericksburg, Virginia

Fredericksburg, Virginia: From Revolution to Civil War

Say “Fredericksburg” and most people think of Civil War history.  That’s understandable.  The Virginia town was home to one of that conflict’s bloody battles.  And the Confederates’ victory probably lengthened the War.

But first settled in 1607, Fredericksburg’s history goes far further back.

After the Battle of Yorktown, George Washington held a “great reception” at his brother Charles’ home.  Built in 1760, it’s now the Rising Sun Tavern.

Fredericksburg, Virginia

Their mother Mary lived out her days nearby in a home that the General purchased for her in 1772.

Fredericksburg, Virginia

But perhaps nowhere does the march of American history through Fredericksburg come together more fully than at Chatham Manor.  Built during 1768-71 by planter William Fitzhugh, the Georgian-style house overlooks the Rappahannock River.

Leslie Carbone

Washington and Fitzhugh served together in the House of Burgesses, and the General visited the Manor during the 1780s.  Thomas Jefferson visited in 1793.

By the time of the Civil War, the home had been purchased by schoolteacher-turned-planter James Horace Lacy.  He left to serve as a staff officer in the Confederate Army.  His wife and children remained until the spring of 1862, when the Union Army, as it had a habit of doing, took over the home and occupied it as a local headquarters.

Fredericksburg, Virginia

Seven months before the Battle of Fredericksburg, Abraham Lincoln visited the Manor to meet with General Irvin McDowell and his staff.  It is the only building known to have been visited by both America’s first and sixteenth presidents.

Fredericksburg is where the Civil War meets the Revolution.

Fredericksburg, Virginia:  From Revolution to Civil WarFredericksburg, Virginia:  From Revolution to Civil War


  1. I enjoyed reading this! We live about 45 minutes north of Fredericksburg and I always want to find time to get down there and visit, but I haven’t had the chance. Here is my motivation to finally do that….when we are done being quarantined!

    1. Sort of, but plantations were much bigger than farms, really like self-contained villages.

    1. Yes, great point, some of Blackbeard’s pirates were actually jailed in Williamsburg.

  2. I love history! I know very little about these towns, and your post has encouraged me to look more into the birth of our nation. Thanks!

  3. I actually live really close to Fredericksburg and had no idea it had so much history. I will definitely visit soon once the pandemic is over. Thanks for this insight!

  4. How interesting! We are planning on bringing the kids out east for a educational/historical vacation and this would be a great stop for us to add. Thanks so much!

    1. That’s great; there’s so much history here, and travel is such a good way for kids to learn!

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