Spotsylvania County (Va.)

To the North Anna River: Grant and Lee, May 13-25, 1864

By Gordon C. Rhea

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Rhea looks at the initial campaign between Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee between May 13 and 25, 1864--a phase that was critical in the clash between the Army of the Potomac and the Army of Northern Virginia. Rhea charts the generals' every step and misstep in their efforts to outfox each other.
Includes illustrations and maps.

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Forgotten Companions: The First Settlers of Spotsylvania County and Fredericksburgh town (with Notes on Early Land Use)

By Paula S. Felder

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An examination of the earliest days of Spotsylvania and Fredericksburg with a special emphasis on land acquisitions.

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Accessing the Old Newspapers of Fredericksburg

There have been newspapers published in Fredericksburg since 1788. (The only gap came in 1862-65, when the city was devastated by war.)  Fredericksburg has been a one-newspaper town – the Free Lance-Star –- since the 1920s, but before that many newspapers were published locally…. 

Spotsylvania African-American Church Celebrates 150 Years

On October 18, 2009, Little Mine Road Baptist Church will be marking its 150th anniversary. Founded just before the Civil War, the congregation first met in a tent. According to an article in the Free Lance-Star, the members weren't able to buy the land to build their permanent sanctuary until 18 years later in 1877, and the current structure was built in 1974. A series of special worship services October 18 through 20th will celebrate the church's long history.

African-American History of Spotsylvania, Virginia

By the Spotsylvania Department of Tourism

From The Start ...

Blacks first arrived in isolated and sparsely populated Spotsylvania County along with white settlers in the early 1700's. Through the years before the Civil War, as slaves and occasionally as free men and women, they were an important force in area development. Occupations included labor as farm and plantation workers, as domestic servants, and as artisans, such as blacksmiths, carpenters, coopers, and fine needleworkers. They also worked in the iron industries, mining, construction, shipping on the Rappahannock River, and in their own businesses.

By the first half of the 19th century, Spotsylvania County's population reached about 11,000, overhalf of whom were black.
Alex Haley's award winning novel, Roots, cast his African ancestor, Kunta Kinte, as a slave of a Spotsylvania family.

Civil War Diary of A.L. Peel, Adjutant, 19th. Mississippi Regiment: April 29-30 -- May 1863, The Battle of Chancellorsville

By A. L. Peel

 Editor's note:
Albert Peel was raised in Mississippi. At 17, he left the Kentucky Military Institute to come home and enlist in the 19th Mississippi Regiment. He was killed May 12, 1864, at Spotsylvania's Bloody Angle and is buried in the Confederate Cemetery near Spotsylvania Courthouse. These diary entries, written a year previously, tell of the Battle of Chancellorsville.

Wednesday, April 29 - Orders came this evening to fall in to fight. Major Hardin went to take command of the right wing which was on picket. Col. Harris was absent so I formed the left wing & formed on the 12 Regt, marched in quick time to the Chanseller Hotel, & Genl. Posey sent us on picket 1½ mile up the road. I put out 2 Companies in advance as pickets. Col. Harris came to us at 9 p.m. Our pickets brought in a prisoner who reported that a company of the enemy had crossed at germanias ford.

A Fugitive from Persecution

From A History of Hamilton County, Indiana

At Spottsylvania, Va., prior to the war of 1812, lived a wealthy and influential citizen, George BOXLEY. He was a man of strong character, and, when he believed himself to be right, he was immovable. By honest toil, he had acquired his wealth, and, at the time of which we write, was the proprietor of a saw-mill, grist-mill and "carding-gin" or woolen-mill, all three being operated under one roof, in a building situated on the bank of one of the streams of Spottsylvania County. Like many persons of means in those days, he possessed a number of slaves, but became impressed with the injustice of the institution and liberated them.

Diary of a Tar Heel Confederate Soldier

 

"We are all boys between the ages of eighteen and twenty-one."

Louis Leon joined North Carolina's Charlotte Grays in April 1861. He was to serve throughout the war and spent considerable time in Virginia. Captured at the Battle of the Wilderness on May 5, 1864, he spent the war's last months imprisoned at two notorious facilities: Point Lookout, Maryland and Elmira, New York. He published his war-time diary in 1913.

May 5—Moved this morning, feeling for the enemy, and came up to them at noon, five miles from the Run, in the Wilderness. It certainly is a wilderness; it is almost impossible for a man to walk, as the woods are thick with an underbrush growth and all kinds of shrubbery, old logs, grapevines, and goodness knows what. My corps of sharpshooters were ordered to the front. We formed in line and advanced to the enemy. We fought them very hard for three hours, they falling back all the time. Our sharpshooters' line got mixed up with Gordon's Brigade, and fought with them.

Matthew Fontaine Maury: Pathfinder of the Seas

This article was first printed in the May 1978 issue of the Fredericksburg Times magazine and appears here with the author's permission.

This American who is truly deserving of the terms "great" and "famous" was born January 14, 1806 in Spotsylvania County. He was the seventh child of Richard and Diana Minor Maury.

The Narrow Gauge Railroad

In 1852, Fredericksburg business men were concerned with the failure of the Rappahannock Canal (see Fredericksburg Times, Jan., 1978), the impassability of the turnpike, the incomplete state of the plank road and the loss of county trade to the Alexandria markets via the railroad.