History of the Rappahannock River

From the Central Rappahannock Regional Library

The Civil War on the River Lines of Virginia, 1862-1864
"Trask argues that the bloody engagements on the river lines were the most important battles of the Civil War in the East, far surpassing even the dramatic contests at Antietam and Gettysburg in significance. During the Civil War, the Union and the Confederacy fought for possession of the land between Culpeper Court House and Fredericksburg in east-central Virginia from December 1862 to May 1864, waging four great battles at Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, the Wilderness, and Spotsylvania Court House."

Fort Lowry and Raiders on the Rappahannock by Carroll M. Garne
A study of the Confederate fort, whose construction south of Fredericksburg was ordered by General Lee in 1861. Fort Lowry was designed to protect the Rappahannock waterway and used mines to damage Federal vessels. Includes chapters on John Wilkes Booth's attempted escape through the nearby countryside.

Fredericksburg on the Rappahannock River
A brief introduction to Fredericksburg's colonial history as a port town.

Historic Resources Along the Rappahannock and Rapidan Rivers
"This material is based upon work under a cooperative agreement with the American Battlefield Protection Program, National Park Service, Department of the Interior." 158 pages. Includes maps.

Indian Sites below the Falls of the Rappahannock, Virginia by David I. Bushnell, Jr.
Bushnell was active in archaeological digs and anthropological fieldwork at the beginning of the 20th century. His special interest was Native Americans. This publication of the Smithsonian Institution is 65 pages in length and includes 21 plates.

Landon Carter's Uneasy Kingdom
The Pulitzer Prize-winning historian tells the tale of the Rappahannock River plantation owner with excerpts from his diaries. The incongruity of Carter's support of the American Revolution and the rebellious attitudes of his own slaves makes for thought-provoking reading.

The Island--Brown's or Scott's--Fredericksburg, Virginia, 1805-1924 compiled by Robert A. Hodge
A chronological account of events on the island, based almost entirely on local newspaper articles. The island was often used as a place to stage entertainments.

The Rappahannock Scenic River Atlas
An overview of historic sites along the river. 31 pages.

The story of the Rappahannock River, its history, ecology and the people who live and work along the river.

Rebel Rivers
This book tells how to find historic sites by road and by boat. Includes maps.

The Shenandoah and Rappahannock Rivers Guide
"This book reveals the best angling spots, every rapid and access point, and where the best wildlife and scenery are found. Every chapter begins with an historical anecdote chronicling the fascinating past of the Shenandoah and Rappahannock. Heroes of the Revolutionary and Civil Wars come alive in the tangible setting of these rivers. The Shenandoah and Rappahannock Rivers Guide will help create your own history on the river with all the information you need to plan and enjoy your trip."

On the Web

The Free Lance-Star: History of the Embrey Dam (search results) 
Numerous newspaper articles about the now-demolished dam's history.

Historic Port Royal
A historical connection to an important colonial river town which, in its day, was the site of piracy, a rolling road, and a presidential assassin.

John R. Swanton on the Virginia Indians
A reference to Indian tribes which were once prominent in the region.

Life Along the Rappahannock: An Oral History Project
Watch, listen and learn how the river continues to be an important part of people's lives today. A collaborative effort between the Friends of the Rappahannock and the University of Mary Washington's Department of History and American Studies.

Rappahannock River Maps at the Library of Congress
Includes Civil War maps. Several have online, scalable images.

The Story of the Rappahannock Canal
The old canal, long disused, was once area leaders' hope for rich commercial profits. It also played a part in the Battle of Fredericksburg.

Tappahannock Walking Tour
Tappahannock, about an hour's drive south on Route 17, was an important port town along the Rappahannock. Numerous historic buildings remain.

Toll Bridge across the Rappahannock
Roy Butler wrote this quick history of the Falmouth/Fredericksburg bridges that includes his boyhood memories from the 1920s.

This webliography accompanied the Lunch With History lecture "The History of the Rappahannock River." presented by Erik Nelson of the Friends of the Rappahannock, on March 16, 2005.