Between April and September 1862, an estimated 10,000 slaves fled the South through our region. As part of the local Civil War Sesquicentennial commemorations, the Trail to Freedom project was designed to give the public a better understanding of the experiences of those whom the war impacted greatly but are often only a footnote in history books.
There have been newspapers published in
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 October 6, 2007, the Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center, 907 Princess Anne Street, opened a retrospective exhibit of the paintings of Fredericksburg artist John Adams Elder, "Fredericksburg's Artist of the Civil War."
The retrospective exhibit, the first of Elder's work since 1947, included portraits, landscapes and paintings of the Civil War and Southern life. It was on view until September 7, 2008.
The paintings, many of which come from the Library of Virginia's collection, include:
In June 1816, the Virginia Herald announced a meeting to be held to formulate plans for making the Rappahannock River commercially navigable above the fall line rapids at Fredericksburg.
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)
Present-day Christmas conjures memories of snow, lighted trees, cinnamon, gifts, parties, and music. If we lived during the Civil War, what kinds of memories would we have? Would they be of family, food, warmth, and parties, or would they be of just trying to survive and stave off hunger? Would there be presents under the tree, or would we be happy just to be present with our loved ones. To learn a bit more about Christmas during the years 1861-1864, explore the items in the library and the Web sites listed below.