Virginia History

12/07/2009 - 4:33pm

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."

12/07/2009 - 10:48am

When some Yankee looters tried to supplement their rations with stocks from Fredericksburg homes and businesses in December of 1862, they bit off more than they could chew.

December 14th, 1862
In Fredericksburg, Va.

12/01/2009 - 10:25am

In 1873, a steamboat loaded with passengers, livestock and produce caught fire and sank on the Potomac River near Aquia Creek. Traveling from Washington, the overloaded vessel carried three times more people than allowed by its license, and the engulfing flames and churning waters claimed 76 passengers, most of them women and children. A new book, Disaster on the Potomac: The Last Run of the Steamboat Wawaset, by Alvin Oickle, gives the details of that terrible day.

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01/11/2010 - 9:25am

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.

04/02/2010 - 9:33am

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:

11/30/2009 - 9:48am

Beautiful photographs show some of Virginia's best-known and lesser-known historic sites and gardens at their most glorious. Most are open to visitors. Some of the houses mentioned include Abram's Delight, Bacon's Castle, Gunston Hall, Kenmore, Maymont, Oatlands, Point of Honor, and Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest. Includes a bibliography and index.

11/02/2009 - 3:06pm

From the Central Rappahanock Regional Library

Divided Highways: Building the Interstate Highways, Transforming American Life by Tom Lewis.
The monumental story of the largest engineered structure ever built -- the American interstate highway system -- is told in dramatic text and pictures. This is the companion volume to the PBS documentary series of the same name.

Getting There: The Epic Struggle Between Road and Rail in the American Century by Stephen P. Goddard.
A well-done bit of social history, with its focus on the triumph of the road builders.

11/03/2009 - 3:33pm

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.

09/09/2014 - 3:01pm

The Central Rappahannock region produced many of the men who led the fight for independence and fashioned the new American nation. Some are remembered, and afforded their due. Some, like John Francis Mercer, are not remembered -- but should be….

11/11/2014 - 5:47pm

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…. 

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