Follow Marlborough Point Road down to the eastern tip of Stafford County, and you will pass by lots of new housing mushrooming into the forests and fields that were once favored by both the Native Americans and colonial settlers. This section of the county is home to not just centuries of local history but millennia.
One hundred and forty-seven years ago, lines of blue advanced on a hillside near the outskirts of Fredericksburg. Those heights were manned by gray-uniformed soldiers, powerfully well-armed and rather surprised that the Union commander should send wave after wave of troops into their maelstrom of cannon and rifle fire. What followed was a slaughter about which Confederate General Robert E. Lee said, "It is well that war is so terrible...we should grow too fond of it."
Now's the time to begin making special gifts for families and teachers. Get started by taking a day or two to skim through craft books at the library, or go online and find some ideas. In this article, we've gathered a few neat projects for beginners as well as book and Web site recommendations to help create a crafty Christmas.
Stafford County was the southernmost part of the Union occupation of Virginia for much of the Civil War and as such it drew all sorts of characters to its farmlands and creeksides. General Daniel Sickles--described by his contemporaries and historians as a scoundrel, murderer, rapscallion, rogue, and adulterer--took charge of the 2nd Brigade of Hooker's Division, Army of the Potomac. He enjoyed scouting the enemy by hot air balloon and held extravagant parties for his officers while in Stafford.
The Pilgrims get the fame for their feast in New England, but two years prior on December 4, 1619, thirty-eight Virginians at Berkeley Hundred celebrated “a day of thanksgiving’ to God as required by their charter:
Our libraries will be closed on Thanksgiving and the day after, so now's the time to pick up some reading to take you through the holiday. We have many cookbooks to help plan the feast, but of our other collections these three books tell stories especially true to life and true to the heart to help make your holiday a warm one.
From the Central Rappahannock Regional Library
- Fort Lowry and Raiders on the Rappahannock by Carroll M. Garne.
- A study of the Confederate fort, whose construction south of Fredericksburg was ordered by General Lee in 1861. Fort Lowry was designed to protect the Rappahannock waterway and used mines to damage Federal vessels. Includes chapters on John Wilkes Booth's attempted escape through the nearby countryside.
Four Mayors of Fredericksburg: An Oral History by Archer Williams.
Former mayors Charles Cowan, Josiah Rowe, Edward Cann, and Lawrence Davies give their impressions of the city's growth under their administrations, from the 1950s to the 1980s.
From the Central Rappahanock Regional Library
Classic Georgian Style by Henrietta Spencer-Churchill.
A thorough detailing of the landscaping and interior design that defined Georgian style. Includes an overview of the Georgian and Regency periods (1714 to 1830), a glossary, and a design directory of the masters of Georgian style, such as Palladio, Chippendale, and Repton.
Fielding Lewis and the Washington Family: A Chronicle of 18th Century Fredericksburg by Paula S. Felder.
Local historian Paula Felder has researched the Lewis and Washington connections thoroughly and gives an interesting yet scholarly introduction to Kenmore's first family and its more famous relations.
- From the Central Rappahannock Regional Library
- Battle of the Ironclads: The Monitor and the Merrimack by Alden R. Carter.
- This book for elementary school students examines the construction, battles, and technological and historical impact of the Civil War battleships, the Monitor and the Virginia (Merrimack).
- C.S.S. Virginia: Mistress of Hampton Roads by John V. Quarstein.
- A lengthy account of the naval battle. Available to read in the Virginiana Room.
Part of the Virginia Regimental Histories series.
- Duel Between the First Ironclads by William C. Davis.
- The author weaves fascinating personal and historical detail into his narrative.
Also available as an eBook. Click here for more information on this collection.
- Duel of the Ironclads: The Monitor vs. the Virginia by Patrick O'Brien.
- A short book (36 pages) that is appropriate for elementary students who are just beginning to develop a taste for history.