Past is Prologue

Clint Schemmer writes about history, heritage preservation and the American Civil War.  On Facebook: Past is Prologue  On Twitter: @prologuepast  ContactEmail Clint or call 540/374-5424.

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Parking in short supply this weekend

MORE: Read more news from Fredericksburg

Cross post from the News Desk:



Fredericksburg’s roads were likely difficult to navigate the first time the Civil War came around, and they may not be any easier this weekend—not because of the threat of flying bullets (though there will be plenty of warlike sounds), but because of a re-enactment that’s been years in the making.

City officials and coordinators of the weekend’s events recommend being patient, using the several shuttles—or avoiding the downtown area.

Two major happenings will coincide on Saturday and Sunday: the annual candlelight tour by Historic Fredericksburg Foundation Inc., and the re-enactment of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Fredericksburg.

Residents on many downtown streets will see various no-parking signs, which will make way for the rolling roadblocks ahead of the battle re-enactments, along with two-day barricades for the six-house candlelight tour.

Much of the area around Hanover Street, from Kenmore Avenue to College Avenue, will be blocked off, including parts of Sunken Road and Littlepage, Weedon, Mercer and Freeman streets.

Residents and business owners received information in their mailboxes last week, along with parking permits.

Traffic will be restricted and non-residents will be  asked to go around the area.

Lori Syner, the candlelight tour coordinator, said there won’t be any tow trucks, but HFFI wants to cut down on through-traffic for safety.

Each year, the tour draws 1,200 to 1,500 people who visit the historically significant homes. Now in its 42nd year, the tour brings in roughly $50,000 for the organization.

She did not know how the tour’s street closures would compare to the battle-related ones.

She joked that if she wasn’t part of the event, she may not be in town.

“There’s always going to be something going on somewhere,” Syner said.

Two trolleys will run for those on the house tours: one between the gift shop (the Alternative Paths Training School at 710 Littlepage St.) and Braehead (123 Lee Drive, no parking available there); the other will run a loop, stopping at the Visitor Center on Caroline Street, Brompton (home of the president of the University of Mary Washington) and the gift shop.

While visitors are touring homes, re-enactors will also relive the failed Union campaign that was fought Dec. 11–15, 1862.

On Saturday, the following streets will be closed from 8 a.m. to noon for the morning battle:

– the 200 to 800 blocks of Sophia Street, between Rocky Lane and George Street

– the 200 and 300 blocks of Caroline Street, between Rocky Lane and Frederick Street

– the 100 blocks of George, Hanover and Charlotte streets, Rocky Lane and Lafayette Boulevard, between Caroline and Sophia streets.

From noon to 3 p.m., there will then be rolling closures along Hanover Street to Sunken Road and on Kenmore Avenue, when re-enactors proceed to the battle of Marye’s Heights.

From 1 to 5 p.m., the following streets will be closed for the afternoon battle:

– the 800 and 900 blocks of Brompton and Marye streets, between Kenmore Avenue and Sunken Road

– the 800 and 900 blocks of Sunken Road, between William and Hanover streets

– the 900 and 1000 blocks of Hanover Street, between Littlepage Street and College Avenue.

School buses will shuttle visitors among the many Civil War sites, including Chatham Manor, Ferry Farm and Slaughter Pen Farm, along with downtown stops and the Fredericksburg Battlefield Visitor Center.

Find programs and detailed maps here and at and

Katie Thisdell: 540/735-1975