Union Action at the Poor House

On the day of the Union attack against Marye’s Heights, two batteries of Union artillery supported these attacks from lower Fredericksburg. They were Lieutenant George Dickinson’s Battery E, 4th US Light Artillery and Captain Charles A. Phillips 5th Massachusetts Light Artillery Battery; alternatively known as Battery E of the Massachusetts Light Artillery (I will use the former designation for simplicity). Choice in placement of these batteries quite literally meant the difference between life and death. Both batteries are described using as landmarks high ground near the Poor House and a Continue reading

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The Poor House

This post is a continuation of my previous post on the area of lower Fredericksburg (click here). One location of interest in my previous post was the John L. Knight’s Poor House and nearby brick yard. Both the Poor House and the brick yard and kilns feature prominently as land marks in some Union official reports, letters home and personal accounts of the Battle of Fredericksburg.  As a researcher, my problem is that both the Poor House and the brick yard and kilns disappeared years ago! We have a general idea as to their location, but to understand their true place in history, it is important to locate them. The following is what I have come to understand about them. Continue reading

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Lower Fredericksburg

I have always been interested in finding out how the terrain of Fredericksburg influenced the Battle of Fredericksburg. I begin this research by looking at one area of the city; the lower or southern end. This area of study is bounded by the Rappahannock River on the east, Hazel Run on the south, and the Fredericksburg, Richmond and Potomac (RF&P) Railroad on the west and north. It is this part of town, just south of the RF&P railroad tracks, that is often neglected by tourists. It was an important area because several Union Continue reading

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Fredericksburg Confederate Cemetery – Part 3

This is a short post. While I was researching my next several topics, I came across a reference to one of the Confederate soldiers highlighted in my last post (click here).  I was paging through William Owen’s book on the Washington Artillery when I came across a reference to Major James Charles Campbell of Company K, 18th Mississippi Regiment.  I include this passage in order to make his biography a little clearer.

Owen is explaining the loss of Marye’s Heights on 3 May, 1863 in what is called the second Battle of Fredericksburg during the Chancellorsville Campaign.  Owen misidentifies Campbell as a Lieutenant Colonel. Continue reading

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Fredericksburg Confederate Cemetery – Part 2

Memorial Day, officially the last Monday of May, is set aside as the time when the nation honors the dead of all wars. The sheer magnitude of the 620,000+ dead, the direct result of the Civil War dictated the need to remember the fallen in a different way. Various cities and groups have veyed to be the “first” to act upon this need.  In the South, this was generally ascribed to the Ladies Memorial Associations and the name given was ‘Decoration Day’. On this day, women would go to the known graves and lay flowers. In Continue reading

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