Virginia History

"The old wines of the good people of Fredericksburg have been referred to."

By General G. Moxley Sorrel

In the aftermath of December 1862's bloody Battle of Fredericksburg, in the midst of the tending of the wounded and removal of the dead, there were some surprising flashes of cordiality between the enemy camps. General G. Moxley Sorrel, Longstreet's Chief of Staff, gives a very human side to the war in his recollections.

The old wines of the good people of Fredericksburg have been referred to. They suffered in the fortunes of war. A few nights before the opening of the battle, which was then imminent, considerable quantities of fine old Madeira and other varieties were taken out of cellars and bins, and sent by the citizens to our fellows in camp, equally ready for drink or for battle. It was known that the town would be shelled and occupied by the Federals, probably looted and plundered; therefore it was thought safest to see priceless old vintages passed around campfires and quaffed in gulps from tincups. Of course the men would have better liked whiskey, but they did not refuse the wine.

Mapping the Past

With Google's now infamous detailed photos, it's rather easy to see how a town is laid out today. But what about 50, 100, or 150 years ago? Where are the maps that show how the towns and counties grew through the years? One excellent source of information, the Sanborn fire insurance maps, is available online to our patrons at no charge.

The Weddings of Five Famous Virginia Brides

These five brides from three centuries left distinctive imprints on Virginia history. One was a humble serving girl; another was an Indian princess. The other brides were a mother, granddaughter and great-granddaughter whose marriages would place them in the forefront of national affairs.

For each, their weddings were times of celebration. The future would take them along unexpected and divergent paths.

Anne Burroughs
Jamestown — Autumn, 1608

Making the Most of Strawberry Season

Strawberry season is upon us! The red, ripe berries fill baskets at farmers' market stands, and the Old Dominion celebrates the season with pick-your-own farms and strawberry festivals. It's time for some fresh recipes served with a dusting of culinary history.

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.

CRRL Librarian Honored

CRRL web content librarian, Virginia Johnson, has received the highest award for a nonfiction book in the Virginia Press Women’s 2009 Communications Contest.

A Family Narrative of a Revolutionary Officer

By Francis J. Brooke

Macfarlane & Fergusson Printers, Richmond, Va. 1849

Reprinted in The Magazine of History with Notes and Queries

Published by William Abbatt, 1921 Extra Number--No. 74

EDITOR'S PREFACE.

OUR first item is an unusual one—a family memoir, written by a father for his children and issued as a private publication, in a very small edition: so small that its existence is almost unknown, but one copy being recorded as sold, in many years.

The author was a distinguished lawyer and judge of Virginia, who had joined Washington's army at sixteen, and after the Revolution held various judicial offices, including that of judge of the Court of Appeals, which he held for forty years.

Memorial Day: A Day of Remembrance

Memorial Day has a long history, reaching back to the end of the Civil War. On April 9, 1865, Robert E. Lee surrendered his army, and soldiers of the North and South went home to their families, their ranks thinned by the war's bloodshed. Thousands upon thousands of the men who went to battle never returned. At home, their families grieved for the fathers and brothers lost to them and looked for a way to memorialize their sacrifices.

Toll Bridge Across the Rappahannock

 Fredericksburg bridge toll token with cost given of eight centsSince the body of water known as the Rappahannock River separated two important areas of commerce and trade, it had, of course, to be crossed constantly. The Indians had their canoes and the early settlers had their boats and ferries. The first bridge was built about 1800 and was referred to as Scott's Bridge.