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Battle of Fredericksburg programs

Join the National Park Service as we commemorate the 160th Anniversary of the Battle of Fredericksburg with guided programs December 9-13, 2022.

This year’s commemoration begins with an opening program discussing the larger context of the campaign, including efforts of self-emancipation, military events, and political pressure. This program will feature Ms. Mali Lucas-Green sharing her personal story as a descendent of freedom seekers. Other programs will follow in the footsteps of units fighting in the battle, consider the care of the wounded, and ultimately, the commemorative weekend will close with a program in the Fredericksburg National Cemetery. Tuesday, December 13, will feature extended tours of the battlefield itself.

All programs are free and open to the public. In case of inclement weather, programs may be altered or cancelled.

Program Schedule

Friday, December 9th

7 pm – 8:30 pm, “I am certain this war will set us free”: Transforming a War for Reunion into a War for Freedom

Meet at Central Rappahannock Regional Library (Downtown Fredericksburg) 1201 Caroline St., Fredericksburg, VA. Enter through the doors by the back parking lot.

Featuring guest speaker Mali Lucas-Green, a descendent of freedom seekers who crossed the Rappahannock River near Culpeper, this program will consider the context of the Fredericksburg campaign through the lens of emancipation. Freedom seekers across the South crossed into U.S. lines, forcing the question of emancipation, and in doing so, transformed the war itself.

Saturday, December 10th

10 am – 10:45 am, “Bloody Work Must Ensue”: the Road to Fredericksburg

Meet at Chatham Manor, 120 Chatham Lane, Fredericksburg, VA. Bring a chair and/or blanket for this stationary, outdoor program.

Join park staff to learn about the origins of the Fredericksburg Campaign and the choices that led to the battle. How did the Union high command determine to fight at Fredericksburg, and what obstacles hindered those plans? What actions did Confederate commanders take to plan and prepare for the upcoming winter campaign?

2 pm – 3:30 pm, Thunder and Fire: Fredericksburg Artillery at Bernard’s Cabins

Meet at Bernard’s Cabins Trail along Lee Drive, Fredericksburg Battlefield. Program will be a .9 mile walk that ends at the Bernard’s Cabins clearing, .9 miles from Lee Drive (total 1.8 miles). This program may include living history cannon fire and associated loud noises.

Can you imagine experiencing a battle in your own backyard? Explore the history of one of the lesser-known aspects of the battle: an artillery duel featuring the Fredericksburg Artillery, a unit composed of area residents. This program will also contrast the experience of Confederate forces fighting at home with the experience of enslaved people who witnessed the destruction of the forces that held them in bondage.

9:30 am – 4:30 pm, “Men Lie on the Floors as Close as they Can be Stowed”: Medical Care at Chatham Following the Battle

Drop by the medical tent located on the river side of Chatham any time between 9:30 am and 4:30 pm. In the case of inclement weather, this program will move inside Chatham.

This program, ongoing throughout the weekend, examines medical care offered at Chatham in the immediate aftermath of the battle. Learn about some of the soldiers who received treatment at Chatham after the Battle of Fredericksburg and learn about those who offered that care. From the famous like Clara Barton and Walt Whitman, to the less known but equally important Mary Walker and J.F. Dyer, these caretakers after the battle remind us to “always look for the helpers.”

Sunday, December 11th

10 am – 11 am, Fredericksburg’s Evolving War

Meet on the river side of Chatham Manor, 120 Chatham Lane, Fredericksburg, VA. Bring a chair and/or blanket for this stationary program.

As the course of the Civil War evolved in the months leading up to December 1862, so did life in Fredericksburg. Join park staff for this talk about the impact of the war on the Fredericksburg community, the bombardment and looting of the city, and what came next for civilians caught in the crossfire.

1 pm – 2:30 pm “A Continuous Stream of Fire at Every Point”: The 7th West Virginia’s Attack Against the Stone Wall

Meet at Hurkamp Park, (Intersection of Prince Edward and George Streets). Attendees are encouraged to park at the Fredericksburg Battlefield Visitor Center and walk the .3 mile to Hurkamp Park to avoid backtracking after the program.

This program will follow the 7th West Virginia Infantry (U.S.), one of the first to attack the Confederate defenses at Marye’s Heights. As a pro-Union regiment raised in the South, the 7th West Virginia presents a glimpse into those Southerners who remained loyal to the Union, and how their stories can reveal much about the individuals who fought the battle of Fredericksburg.

3 pm – 4:30 pm, “To Care for Him who Shall Have Borne the Battle”: Stories from the Fredericksburg National Cemetery

Meet at the side entrance to the National Cemetery atop Marye’s Heights.

The Civil War produced devastation – both in terms of human loss and physical destruction – that the United States had never encountered before. This devastation in turn produced fundamental changes in the individual lives of soldiers’ families and the way the federal government operated. This program will examine the stories of some of the soldiers killed in the battle and how their families navigated wartime loss. It will also explore how the country made meaning out of the devastation of war. To finish the commemoration of the 160th anniversary of the battle of Fredericksburg, this program will examine the stories of some of the soldiers killed during the battle and how their families navigated the difficult realities that war produced.

9:30 am – 4:30 pm, “Men Lie on the Floors as Close as they Can be Stowed”: Medical Care at Chatham Following the Battle

Drop by the medical tent located on the river side of Chatham any time between 9:30am and 4:30pm. In the case of inclement weather, this program will move inside Chatham.

This program, ongoing throughout the weekend, examines medical care offered at Chatham in the immediate aftermath of the battle. Learn about some of the soldiers who received treatment at Chatham after the Battle of Fredericksburg and learn about those who offered that care. From the famous like Clara Barton and Walt Whitman, to the less known but equally important Mary Walker and J.F. Dyer, these caretakers after the battle remind us to “always look for the helpers.”

Tuesday, December 13th

On December 13, the park will be offering a limited number of real-time programs that explore events on the battlefield and the aftermath of the Battle of Fredericksburg.

10 am – 11:30 am, Sunken Road and Marye’s Heights Special Walking Tour

Meet at the Battle Painting behind Fredericksburg Battlefield Visitor Center, 1013 Lafayette Blvd., Fredericksburg, VA.

12 noon – 1:30 pm “Every Inch was Contested”: The Fight at Prospect Hill

Meet near the parking lot at Fredericksburg Battlefield Tour Stop # 6 (Prospect Hill).

2 pm – 3:30 pm The Aftermath of Fredericksburg: A Special Sunken Road Walking Tour

Meet at the Battle Painting behind Fredericksburg Battlefield Visitor Center.

 

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