The 23rd Regiment was the first African American unit to fight against the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. They met on the battlefield on May 15, 1864, during the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House. Today’s living history organization, named for the 23rd, is headquartered in the Spotsylvania area and works in conjunction with the John J. Wright Educational & Cultural Center Museum.
Most people today have heard of Charles Lindbergh, the first man to fly non-stop over the Atlantic Ocean. Fewer people these days are familiar with Anne Morrow Lindbergh, his wife, but, in the mid-20th century, they were both well-known in America and abroad.
Some people today fear going under the surgeon’s knife. It’s mostly a dread of the unknown. What might happen while they are knocked out, unaware of what is going on around them. They may not realize how fortunate they are. In Dr. Mütter’s Marvels, readers are swept back in time to a period before anesthesia was generally used. A good surgeon was a swift, careful cutter who could make the operation as mercifully short as possible for his wide-awake patient. He might even do some good for the patient in the process.
Ever wonder what happened after Lee's surrender to Grant that fateful day at Appomattox? Did everyone simply go back home and pick up their lives as they once were?
Three of the best historians from the National Park Service will present three different topics on three evenings at the HQ Library theater from 7:00-8:00. Each program is designed to give you information you may not have heard before and an opportunity to ask questions.
From the Central Rappahannock Regional Library
- A Different Story: A Black History of Fredericksburg, Stafford, and Spotsylvania, Virginia by Ruth Coder Fitzgerald.
- These chapters are of particular interest: Chapter 2, Occupations and Owners (Antebellum period) and Chapter 13, Occupations (post-Civil War).
- Economic Challenge and Mercantile Enterprise in a Southern Urban System: A Case Study of Fredericksburg, Virginia, 1835-1880 by Keith Edward Littlefield.
- A doctoral dissertation written under the auspices of the University of Maryland, Graduate Studies in Geography. 380 pages.
- Fifty Years of Service in the Printing Business, 1894-1944: Fiftieth Anniversary, May 10th, 1944 by Robert A. Kishpaugh.
- Mr. Kishpaugh noted important local dates in the city's history in his 31-page book.
- Four Mayors of Fredericksburg: An Oral History collected by Archer Williams.
- Mayors Cowan, Rowe, Cann, and Davies recall the events of their administrations in 20th-century Fredericksburg.
- Spotswood's Iron by Ralph C. Meima.
- Alexander Spotswood's blast furnace was an important early step for industrialization in the Virginia Colony.
- Fredericksburg Business Directories
- The library has the 1852 directory (photocopies) and the 1888-89 directory (combined with Alexandria). The 1892, 1910 (copied), and 1921 directories are also available. CRRL has a run of directories from 1938 to the present with the exceptions of 1957, 1960, 1963, and 1988 which are missing.
- The Fredericksburg Fire of 1807 by Edward Alvey, Jr.
- The 1807 fire destroyed six city blocks, including 45 homes, plus warehouses and stores.
- The Fredericksburg Times.
- This local magazine often featured articles by local historians. A separate index is available.
- The Fredericksburg Wood Working Plant by Peter Pockriss.
- Built in 1896 and shut down in 1904, the wood working plant produced milled lumber and house trim for orders that were shipped as far as New York City and Boston. It was adjacent to the old Bridgewater Mills, near Amaret Street.
- The Free Lance-Star Historical and Industrial Number: Portraying the Glorious Past and Future Possibilities of Fredericksburg, Virginia (1907) edited and compiled by Albert E. Walker.
- This intriguing glimpse into Fredericksburg's industrial past is complete with photos. An index, compiled by Robert Hodge, is available separately.
- Historic Fredericksburg by Oscar H. Darter.
- A 55-page account, written in the 1950s, by a local historian and college professor. Each year, the University of Mary Washington's history department gives a scholarship in honor of Dr. Darter’s memory.
- History of Fredericksburg, Virginia by Alvin T. Embrey.
- A history written in the 1930s that includes biographical notes.
- The History of the City of Fredericksburg, Virginia by S.J. Quinn.
- This lengthy 1908 history is often affectionately referred to as "Quinn." Also available online.
- The Journal of Fredericksburg History.
- Historic Fredericksburg Foundation, Inc.'s annual, illustrated, and scholarly volume.
- Oral History Index, 1997-1999 indexed by Ruth Coder Fitzgerald.
- An index to Historic Fredericksburg Foundation's oral history project. Click here for a listing of titles.
- Reference Materials for Historic Preservation 463 Laboratory in Museum Design and interpretation compiled by John N. Pearce, Tad Czyzewski and Kathy J. Beard.
The Industries of Fredericksburg, c1720-1996
Fredericksburg Business Data
City/Battlefield Industrial Park (Fredericksburg Industrial Park)
Fredericksburg Businesses: Major Employers
Fredericksburg: All Businesses, by Street
Documents relating to the creation of an exhibit with the working title, "Industrial Fredericksburg," at the Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center
Major headings from A History of Technology, Volumes III, IV, and V, and from Technology and Society in Twentieth Century America
The CRRL is proud to partner with area historians, museums, tourism agencies, organizations, churches, and scholars to provide programs and information that can promote understanding of the events that exploded here in the 1860s and their far-reaching impact.
Over the last four years the community has been invited to commemorate—through lectures, re-enactments, exhibits, film screenings, and musical performances—the extraordinary fact that we were a war zone from 1861-1865.
Virginia’s Civil War history sometimes overshadows her Revolutionary past. In For Virginia and Independence, Dr. Ward shares fascinating, adventurous stories of soldiers, some local, whose deeds should be remembered. There’s Peter Francisco, the strongman immigrant soldier; Jack Jouett, Virginia’s Paul Revere; Anna Maria Lane, who dressed as a man and followed her husband into battle; and 25 more.
The year 2002 celebrated the 250th anniversary of the foundation of "George Washington's Mother Lodge." According to the authors of The History of Freemasonry in Virginia, "Fredericksburg Lodge No. 4 stands out as one of the brightest Lodges in the early history of Freemasonry in Virginia." Since 1752 it has maintained a continuous Masonic presence in Fredericksburg. Many of the town's prominent citizens have been members, and many of its prominent buildings have Masonic cornerstones.
Gladys Poles Todd, long-time Fredericksburg resident, died recently at the age of 101, having witnessed and been a part of the city’s changeover from its days of segregation. She lived to see schools and lunch counters integrated, and she was an important force behind making that happen. Among her many works, Mrs. Todd organized sit-ins, led voter registration drives, and supervised night study programs.
Her obituary gives a goodly number of details from her long and generous life, but you may also wish to read more about her in Fitzgerald’s A Different Story: A Black History of Fredericksburg, Stafford, and Spotsylvania.
In 1997, she and other local leaders in the Civil Rights era got together for a forum at the library to discuss those difficult days. Fortunately, the program, Civil Rights: Fredericksburg’s Story, was recorded in DVD format and can be checked out.
Besides a historic legacy to be shared by the community, Mrs. Todd also left a personal record of her life. Her oral history, part of HFFI’s Pieces of Our Past series, is available to read in the Virginiana Room of the Central Rappahannock Regional Library.
Photo courtesy of The Free Lance-Star
"Fredericksburg; may it increase and its commerce flourish." --Toast by George Washington, 1784
Fredericksburg-area residents and visitors have the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of Washington and Lincoln. Both presidents were entertained lavishly across the river at Chatham estate, but under very different circumstances.
To Washington, this small town of Fredericksburg was his childhood home, populated by many friends and relatives. His sojourns here are noted in his diary with a pleasant familiarity. Lincoln's view of Fredericksburg could hardly be of greater contrast, for Fredericksburg was a Union-occupied town, and although the president was certainly welcomed by his own men, he was not welcomed by Confederate townspeople. In the chill of that December, Fredericksburg would become the site of one of the Union's worst defeats.