When Christmas morning dawned in December of 1862, the sun rose over the battered town of Fredericksburg. Once a bustling colonial port, more recently a pleasant stop for travelers by coach and boat, on this day, the little town lay in ruins. And, if the brick and mortar firmaments suffered such catastrophic damage, what of the flesh and bone of the human armies that had battled there mere weeks before? What became of the wounded who survived the first days of battle?
Brilliant, Beautiful Light!
On May 24, 1852, the General Assembly of Virginia passed an act incorporating the Fredericksburg Gas Company. This act authorized William Hargrave White to sell stock at $50 per share to raise not less than $15,000 nor more than $100,000 to be used for the purchase of up to three acres of land for the construction and operation of a works to manufacture, from bituminous coal, gas to be distributed and used for private illumination.
As the first Germania Mill blazed, local artist Gustavus Erickson captured the fury of the flames. Earlier, he had painted the conflagration at the woolen factory. The painting was given by Mrs. Frances Jones in memory of Charles Seddon Latham and William Deacon Latham, both Gustavus Erickson paintings are owned by the Fredericksburg Museum and Cultural Center.
Travelers who take a turn off of busy Route 1 near Aquia Harbor find themselves viewing a living monument to colonial Virginia's past. Protected from the surrounding sprawl by its location, nestled on a hilltop surrounded by trees, this beautiful church dates to the decades before the Revolutionary War. Its long and sometimes difficult history--preserved in bricks, stone, and written memories, includes tales of preachers, firebrands, soldiers, and star-crossed lovers.
Iran, once known as Persia, is an old, old land. Ancient mountain ranges ramble through a landscape that runs out into the Caspian Sea. Tradition-bound, yet at the crossroads of many an expanding empire, Iran has struggled to adapt to changes while maintaining its culture.
The University of Mary Washington Department of History and American Studies presents the "Great Lives" public lecture series each spring semester.
Coming up in March:
March 17 - Clara Barton
March 19 - Catherine the Great
March 26 - John James Audubon
March 31 - Mary Todd Lincoln
Find out more! Explore the Central Rappahannock Regional Library collections with our Great Lives Webliographies.
The 25th of January 1759 occasioned Scotland's most famous birthday, when, in a blast of snow and winter winds, Robert Burns was born in a humble cottage in Alloway. That birthday is still celebrated in Scotland, and by Scots and poetry lovers around the world.