Howison’s Mill

I return to the crossing of Hazel Run (click here) to look at the mill which operated in this location for over 100 years. Howison’s Mill was constructed of wood and stone in 1797 by William Drummond. It stood two stories tall and got access to water from the mill pond built upstream on Hazel Run. Ownership of the mill changed hands several times, but at the time of the Civil War it was owned by John Howison.

Confederate Use of Howison’s Mill

The mill first appeared in a drawing of Fredericksburg, as seen from Lee’s Hill, sketched by London Illustrated News Civil War Artist Frank Vizetelly. On the morning of 11 December, while Burnside’s Union Army of the Potomac is attempting to cross the Continue reading

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Pontoons on the Rappahannock (Part 1)

With this blog, I begin a series of posts dealing with engineer support of the Union attack at Fredericksburg, VA on 11-15 December 1862. We normally tell the story of the battle from top down or from the General’s point of view. I will attempt to do the opposite, telling the story from the point of view of the engineers involved. This initially is told by Colonel (then Captain) Wesley Brainerd, Commander of C Company, 50th New York Continue reading

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156th Anniversary and Remembrance Walk

This past weekend, December 8th and 9th, the National Park Service (NPS) Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park conducted its annual anniversary and remembrance program on the Battle of Fredericksburg. I volunteer at the park and am normally found at the Fredericksburg (NPS) Visitors’ Center on the third Thursday of each month. For this weekend, I assisted the ranger/historian team of John Hennessey, Frank O’Reilly, Greg Mertz and Beth Parnicza. I managed to capture images of the activities.  Saturday, while chilly, was clear. Sunday began as an overcast day, Continue reading

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Carlton’s Battery

The Washington Artillery (click here), positioned on Marye’s Heights, received recognition for its  role in helping to defeat the Union assaults during the battle of Fredericksburg in December 1862. But what about the nearly two dozen other artillery batteries listed on the Confederate Order of Battle in Longstreet’s Corps sector? What was their contribution to the Union defeat during the battle?

Today, I focus on one of those two dozen batteries.  The Troup Artillery Battery from Athens Georgia was established in 1858 as the National Artillery under the leadership of Professor Franklin Hill who was their first captain.  The battery purchased its first gun in 1859 – an Ames Type1 James rifle. In December 1860 they received two Ames bronze 6-pounder guns from the State of Georgia. . On 2 January 1861 the battery changed its name to the Troup Artillery in honor of Georgia’s former Governor, George M. Troup.

Events leading up to the Civil War were moving fast. Shortly after Abraham Lincoln was elected President, South Carolina was the first slave state to secede. On 20 December 1860, South Carolina passed an Ordinance of Secession. They sent representatives to other slave states encouraging them to also secede. On 19 January 1861, Georgia took its Continue reading

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Brick-Kilns and Clay Deposits

It may seem strange to look at a study of the geology of Fredericksburg to understand the battle which occurred there in 1862. But here we go!

Fredericksburg is located along the Fall Line of the Rappahannock River. Similar to other cities along the east coast of America, this location provided substantial commercial and economic advantages.  “The edge of the Piedmont/Coastal Plain, where various rivers cross from hard bedrock to soft sediments, is marked by a line of rapids and waterfalls called the Fall Line… That physical pattern of rapids/waterfalls blocked ships from sailing further upstream, limiting water-based transportation of the European colonists. The natural geologic barrier to shipping delayed European settlement of the Piedmont and shaped the location of major Virginia’s cities, including Alexandria, Fredericksburg, Richmond, and Petersburg.” Continue reading

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